Archive for October 2nd, 2012

Tina brought tea from Dunkin’ Donuts – highlight of the chemo infusion!

Today, chemo week five at Dana-Farber, was fairly routine. Not much nausea, not much pain at the infusion site by my wrist, and mom and Tina were there for my amusement – and I for theirs. It was a blood work and infusion only week, but my doctor stopped in to visit anyway.

Yesterday for the first time I admitted to one of my friends how I am really feeling and what is happening  – and felt so bad when she started crying.  I even admitted, as I did with Phil when I told him that I am listening to him and not going to attempt to do the Newport Half Marathon, that I am not invincible. I need others to know because they rely on me and we need to be prepared. If it was just all about me, I’d stay in denial as long as possible!

You’re probably wondering what the heck is happening. No, I am not dying, and I don’t have another lump. Things are simply getting worse. I honestly hate saying (or writing) it because that makes it real, harder to deny and could make people feel bad for me. I hate it when people feel bad for me or baby me!!! I just want to be treated completely normally, just with understanding of my limitations so people aren’t counting on me for more than I can physically give.

It’s really interesting, and somewhat ironic. I find it amazing that officially I no longer have cancer, but things are worse from the treatments than I ever felt when the cancer was in my body. Looking at me, you’d say “she has cancer” but I don’t actually – now I’m a cancer survivor. Just still in treatment so I look like crap. And while some things are starting to get better, other side effects are kicking in…


  • My hair is starting to grow in. Really! And not just on my head – I have to shave my legs! I will never complain about that again… My doctor confirmed that it sure appears to be coming back and that it can happen while on Taxol, but isn’t normal so she doesn’t mention it as she doesn’t like to give false hope.
  • It appears my eyelashes and eyebrows are no longer falling out – so while they are sparse, it would be so fabulous to preserve what I have and for them to start to grow back too.
  • I was able to cut back to a normal dose of benedryl starting today, and starting next week can start to cut back on the steroids slowly, as I haven’t been having any of the real bad Taxol reactions. So that means I shouldn’t keep gaining weight, and I won’t be as hungry all the time – thank goodness ’cause I hate all the weight I’ve put on, and am ready to get back into my smaller jeans…
  • Being able to work four days a week, unlike the A/C cocktail.

Getting worse

  • My fingernails are starting to go. They are increasingly brittle, have lines I try to cover with light nail polish and four have broken off below the skin, complete with bleeding – so not fun…
  • The aches and pains throughout my body are increasing, as are the hand and feet tingling. And it will continue to increase each week.
  • My liver is elevated – at first we thought it was because I had a drink and took tylenol, but I cut both out this week and it’s elevated again. Now the thought is that it could be too much ibuprofen because I’ve been taking a bunch for the abovementioned aches and pains. So I’m afraid I am going back on pain killers so I can cut down on the ibuprofen – but will only take them at night when I have no where to go, as I am not supposed to drive or work – it makes my head fuzzy, which I hate! Will take only when absolutely necessary…
  • So I know I have to face that I may not last four days a week at work the entire rest of the time.

It’s all relative, right? It’s only seven more weeks. And no matter how bad it gets, I can get through/handle anything for just seven weeks. And then I will get better. And have a fabulous 2013, and hopefully rest of my life. And until then, at least my hair is starting to grow back – and it’s brown, thank goodness! 😉

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Wonder why everything around you is suddenly pink? October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s everywhere – from NFL players’ sneakers and gloves to the coupons in the Sunday newspaper. And every other post on Facebook is a different version of the pink ribbon, features a pink ribbon in their profile or promotes something pink. Yes, I think it’s great – anything that can raise awareness and money to support research and people impacted who need assistance is wonderful and appreciated. But it also makes it a bit hard to forget.

Anyone who follows my blog knows I am prone to denial and simply blocking it out. I like to forget about cancer as much of the time as I possibly can. (I think there’s a little part of me that still doesn’t quite believe it and is convinced I’m going to wake up from this nightmare.) I go through as much of my work day and my weekends as normal as possible and am usually too busy to think about it anyway. But in October there is no ignoring breast cancer. It is in your face.

If you can’t beat ’em (or ignore ’em), join ’em. So I am involved in a bunch of things this month – and probably more as the month progresses, but this is what I know about so far. I invite you all to join me, either at one of these events, supporting one of the folks fundraising or doing your own thing, like a simple self check.

  • October 12 – This will be a day for raising my own awareness. I’m attending Breast Cancer In Younger Women: A Forum for Patients and Survivors. I’m not only going because it’s being held at Lucca in Back Bay, although that’s a definite plus because I’ve wanted to eat there. I’m going to learn more about this thing I’m dealing with and meet others who are in the same boat. Hopefully we can learn from each other.
  • October 14 – The Newport Half Marathon was supposed to be my first half. I signed up for it with my cousin Tara and friends Kathy and Jessica, after going last October (when I’d just started running) to support them. Well, I am back on the sidelines this October, and Tara is running in my honor and raising funds for Dana-Farber. Sponsor her here: Tara’s Run for Dana-Farber. That same day, many of our Genzyme Running Team will also be running in Newport, supporting the National MS Society. You can donate here. (Hey, it doesn’t have to be all about breast cancer – support what is closest to your heart – and MS is yet another impacting my family and friends.) Many of us will be hanging in Newport that weekend – at least Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon – so come on down and join us for lunch, dinner, drinks, brunch, whatever!
  •  October 20 – That morning, I will be walking (and maybe a bit of running) in the 20th Annual Komen MA Race for the Cure. (Talk about a lot of pink – I think that day will take the cake!) If you didn’t get a chance to sponsor me in the Jimmy Fund Walk (and even if you did and just want to again), you’re welcome to sponsor me for this one: Amy’s fundraising page
  • October 20 – That night, I would love it if everyone wanted to join me in New Hampshire for what’s sure to be a fun night out: Nashua Harley-Davidson is having their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fashion Show and Live Auction. It’s from 4 – 9 p.m. in Merrimack, NH, tickets are only $10 and will benefit the American Cancer Society.  I can’t wait!

I feel like I’m forgetting something – I probably am, but that’s chemo brain for you. Oh, and it’s late and I have chemo in the morning so if I did forget something I will add it later… So in the meantime, please don’t get sick of all the pink. Just let it be a reminder of all the positive energy gathering together to support a cause – and do whatever you can to join in and be part of the change. Thank you! xoxo

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