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Today we set the record for the number of times it took to find a vein in my left arm to work: four. And that was four times of repeatedly trying and routing around in each of the locations. Not fun. The photo above shows the vein locator that was finally broken out, but didn’t end up being a ton of help, as the good vein that was found was below one that was already tried, so couldn’t be used. Ultimately what was decided, as this has become a growing problem, is that next week I will have a port put in that will be used for the five remaining infusions. The procedure to insert it under my skin will take place just before chemo so it will just make for a longer day. While it also has its pros and cons, at least we won’t have to go through the time and pain of searching for a vein to work any more – it’s just too bad that we didn’t do it in the beginning. But hindsight is always 50/50, right? (So if you’re just starting out and know, as I did, that your veins aren’t great, ask about a port!)

Overall, once we got the IV in, all was pretty good. I was able to dial back the steroids another dose, although that made the Benadryl hit me more so I dozed off a few times while talking to mom and Tina. As usual, they just laughed at me – most lovingly, of course!

Before the infusion, I had a great consultation with my oncologist. My blood work was all good, although it was interesting that there was a small blip in my liver that must’ve been the one time I took ibuprofen this week. I will continue to try to stay away from it… She answered all my questions about the increasing side effects I’m encountering and it was very reassuring. I can do this – only five more to go!!!

Because of my upcoming trip (check out my next entry for the exciting news), I was given a prescription for a compression sleeve. I visited the Friends Place boutique at Dana-Farber where Rosemary not only fitted me for the sleeve so that I can fly (helps prevent lymphedema), but also for a compression glove and found me a bra that instantly helped with some of the pains I’ve been having lately. Everyone there is so nice and helpful, I highly recommend it for everything from cancer-related gifts, jewelry and such, to the basics live compression items, wig fittings and other specialty services and products.

Then it was home to nap, and so far so good, since. I am glad to be counting down and to be done being a pincushion!

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I told Amy I’d fill in (comparatively poorly, I’m sure) for her here until she’s feeling well enough to update you all herself, in her own amazing words.

I do want to take the opportunity (while she’s still in surgery and can’t give me a hard time) to just take a minute to reflect on how amazing, strong, determined, and loved she is.  She knows she is surrounded by loving, compassionate friends, family, coworkers, etc.  And just as she has helped us all through one drama, crisis, challenge, and joy at one time or another, we’re all here for her, too.  I’m not even going through what she is, the choices she’s had to make, and the ones she hasn’t been able to make (like running away and ignoring all this 🙂 and I am so moved by people that have reached out to me to check in on her, offer a hug, kind and encouraging words, even cupcakes.

You’re one in a million Amy Lee, we love you like crazy.  I hope that all these good wishes, good vibes, hugs, kind words and gestures, are keeping you company while you’re in surgery today. 

And I can’t wait to update everyone that you’re smiling and ready to tackle the next challenge.

 

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I should be happy. I should be elated. I should feel better. I got the results of the BRCA genetic test today and it’s negative – no mutations were detected. So I won’t be passing it on to my future granddaughter or nieces, which is the one part I AM overjoyed and infinitely thankful for. And of course I’m glad there’s not the likelihood of ovarian cancer, so I can keep my ovaries. So why am I not jumping for joy?

Because it means I have another damn decision to make. If the genetic test was positive, it would’ve been a double, plain and simple. The decision would be made. And early on I thought it was clear that if it was negative it would be a single. But then I went and spoke to people and read a ton, both discussion boards and other research, and so many people (including doctors and those who’ve been through it) recommend doing both anyway.

Their reasoning? Those who do just one have to be tested every six months. And they go through the worry all over again each time. And put their loved ones through it all over again. And then when there is something detected, it’s more biopsies and pain and stress. And God forbid it does appear in the other breast – it’s everything you’ve just been through repeated. This is not fun and not something I want to do again. And there are the cosmetic reasons too: doing both at once is easier to match and feel better about yourself in that way.

Why do some only do one? Less invasive – avoiding doing a possibly unnecessary surgery. Less pain and recovery time. To keep one natural breast, so you retain the feeling and the opportunity to breast feed if a baby is in your future.

So I don’t know. I’m so sick of options when there isn’t a clear one and none are good. Again, I hate all the options, and again, doing nothing isn’t one of them. Tomorrow is my pre-op so I will talk to my surgeon and see what he thinks. And I’ll also look into things more with my insurance. And I will make a decision. Because I have to.

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