Archive for October 24th, 2012

Chemo week eight wasn’t fun, but the infusion was the least of it. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be posting right now because I am on painkillers and they say I’m not supposed to ‘drive, operate heavy machinery or make important decisions.’ I think that basically means you’re not in your right mind – and I do know that is true, and figure you probably shouldn’t write things for all the world to see when you’re like that, either. Oh well – I am anyway because I feel guilty not – so many people have been checking in on me because they haven’t seen a post yet and I feel bad having anyone worrying about me… instead you get to read my rambling! That said, I’m going to keep this brief, so I don’t say anything I’ll regret in the morning.

Tuesday (was it really only yesterday?) started at 5:30 in the morning, rousing mom and Nick so we could get to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and I could be the first in for the port. Long story short, I was dozing on the operating room table when I was woken and asked if it was ok for them to put the port in my arm rather than my chest as they were concerned about the placement of the tissue expanders. Since the last thing I want is one of those popped (I have a friend with implants and one has deflated – not fun), I said of course. Whatever they deemed best.

The next time I woke up we were done and I was in recovery with mom and Tina. I don’t remember much except that all was fine with the world (yes, I was heavily medicated), I got dressed and they wheeled me on over to Dana-Farber for the infusion. They used the port for both taking blood to do my labs and the infusion, so it was already paying off – no routing around my poor veins any more. The redness around the port was definitely growing, though, and the nurse drew a circle on the clear bandage, saying if the red spread outside the circle to come back.

Home we went and as the evening went on and the meds wore off, the pain increased… and this morning the red was well beyond the circle and felt much worse than the ‘slight discomfort and tender’ that the discharge papers said I’d feel – I couldn’t even put my arm down at my side! I called and it was back to the hospital for us…

Luckily it isn’t the type of red they’re concerned with: the doctor said, in fact, that most of my upper arm will turn red and then black and blue (note to self: may want a dress with sleeves for CMAs), and that it is only ‘infection red’ (didn’t realize it was its own special shade) and warm to the touch that they worry about. He also said it should be better by next Tuesday for the next infusion, and it’s not so bad for most because they can take Tylenol or ibuprofen. I can’t because of my liver, so he said to stick with the painkiller I was prescribed – but I can’t take that and go to work. So I get the choice of comfort at home or pain at work – great.

So for the rest of today I chose rest, and tomorrow it will be back to work, and I’ll grin and bear it. I hate to say it, but I am getting so used to hurting that I don’t really care. I don’t think there’s been a day since the surgery in April that something on my body hasn’t hurt, and the aches increase every day. I am holding out hope that it all really does subside shortly after the last treatment.

Overall, though, I am just thankful that it hasn’t been worse. That I can still get up and out of bed every day. That I can still work. That for the most part – other than the aches and pains and cringing every time I look in the mirror and see my mostly bald head  and the weight I’ve gained – I’ve been able to maintain relative normalcy in my life throughout all this. And that I will live and, as so many keep reminding me, someday this will just be a chapter in my life rather than the main storyline…

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Written on Oct. 21, 2012

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This was without doubt the pinkest weekend of my life. It was the peak of the pink month, at least for me. First it was the Komen MA Race for the Cure, and then the Nashua Harley Davidson Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fashion Show and Live Auction benefit. It was an incredible show of support at both events. Every time I attend an event with the breast cancer community I am amazed at the positive, inviting, friendly vibe. And it was the same at the Harley event, too, where we felt as welcome as if we were one of the family, even though Vanessa, Kevin and I had never been there before. Thank you to Robin Dixon, who organized the incredible fundraiser – we can’t wait to go again next year, and plan to bring more family and friends! The walk was great, too. I was joined by my good friend Alicia, who conveniently lives just down the road from the park where the walk was held, and Linda, who just finished radiation – so it was a celebration of her completing treatment! While I hate being constantly reminded that I have breast cancer, I am very thankful for the heightened awareness and support, which is leading to more research and eventually, hopefully, a cure for all types.

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