Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sooo... what now?

First things first, I'm now 27 years old. Yay? Haha. I can't say I'm especially thrilled to have turned 27, but after everything I've been through recently, I guess I have no right to complain to be alive for another year. I'm actually quite happy and thankful to greet each day now.

I got spoiled rather well by all my family. :) My parents threw a fabulous party for me, and I was treated to lobster by my mommy-in-law. It was nice to be able to celebrate my life with so many of my loved ones. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a woman so I naturally hate turning a year older, but on the other hand I'm just happy to be here. So thank you to everyone who celebrated with me! I love you guys and appreciate you coming together for this silly ol' Anj.

I spent today awaiting my phone call for my MRI results. I got a blocked phone call at one point and answered in case it was the oncologist calling. Turned out to be my nurse navigator Susann (the wonderful woman who aided me with setting up initial appointments, giving me hugs, handing me tissues and even sitting through my first MRI with me the day I first found out my diagnosis). She had gone to some event and was asked to give away a free spa day to one of her cancer patients. Guess who she thought of? :D

She said I had been so strong and positive about everything I'd had to face, and thought I could use a day to relax. So as long as my surgery isn't on June 18th, and my oncologist gives the okay, I get a fancy spa day with lunch for free in Newport Beach!

Now then, back to issue of my results! I was much too impatient, so with some encouragement from Susann that I should call to get my results... I did!

Let's do bad news first. The cancer is still there. That one lymph node still has some involvement. Also, they saw another mass in my right breast. Now for the good stuff! My tumor and the lymph node have "greatly diminished in size".  The tumor went from almost 2cm in diameter to 0.3cm. :) The new mass they found also seems to be benign. Although they can't know for sure without a biopsy, but seeing as I was given the okay for surgery, I can't see any point to test it. Apparently my oncologist has the same idea as me, as his note accompanying the results said I had completed chemo and he'd be talking with my breast surgeon.

Time to quote my post title!! You may be thinking as I am *ahem*:

Sooo... what now?

Well, tomorrow I will call and try to set up an appointment to meet with my surgeon. Then we'll really have a game plan. Otherwise, all is back to normal again. For now.

Praise the Lord that the first chapter of this has ended, and with His aide, onto the next!

"Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance."  Romans 5:3

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A moment to exhale

If my heart was overflowing with love and gratitude for Christ before... now, it's bursting!

On Friday I had my follow up appointment with my oncologist. I didn't even notice I was nervous about my appointment until we were there. After waiting for what seemed to me as much longer than it actually was, my doctor came in. My blood work from 2 days prior all looked excellent, and I quote him, "you wouldn't even know I had given you any chemo". :) Haha, so I guess I'm still really healthy?

He then examined me. The verdict? Well, he believes the tumor has disappeared just as we had thought/hoped! As for what's next, I will be getting another MRI done on my breasts very likely this next week. This way my surgeon will know exactly what is or isn't there yet. Then I'll probably be going to appointments to discuss my surgery and reconstructive surgery, etc.

After the details of surgery are squared away, I should get a breather for a while. My oncologist figures they'll want to wait until early-mid June to do my surgery so my body has had time to fully recover from my last chemo session.

But the best news of all? There's no definite plan for any further chemo! In fact, he's hopeful that as long as my pathology reports come back looking good after surgery, there will be no need for more chemo. Praise the Lord!

I will be praying hard for that. I'm not sure I can mentally/emotionally withstand another 4 rounds.

That said, I had a very tough time dealing with that last round. The accumulation of all my treatments had me down and out for a solid week.

Jason thought he'd surprise me and try to cheer me up by taking me to see The Avengers last Tuesday as we'd both really wanted to see it. Very sweet and valiant effort on his part, but it was just too soon. My body was so fatigued, I came home and slept for several hours afterwards. That was sad because all I did was sit somewhere other than home for a few hours and I was still exhausted.

When we went to get my blood work done (as we do every week) on Wednesday, I got winded just walking to and from the car. I was beyond frustrated and at my maximum capacity for dealing with all this chemo-symptom nonsense. I let my boss know I wouldn't be in for any of my shifts for the week. I was so scared I was going to show up at work and be unable to stay, I figured it was safer to just have someone able-bodied there in my stead. Lol

Thankfully Diablo 3 came out earlier in the week to help stave off the boredom and to get my mind off this yucky stuff. Oh yeah, readers who may not know me personally, I'm a geeky gamer girl. :3 haha, but seriously, I've been waiting for this game to come out for ooh... a decade? Yep. I was even playing original Diablo back when I was 11 years old. I'm that awesome. Anyhow, I was very happy with the distraction.

I'm pleased to say as of yesterday, I felt much more like myself again. Still feeling many side effects that are lingering ones of course. My tastebuds are still wacky and off. My internal thermometer runs warmer than normal, and I often get night sweats. I also have dry mouth that won't quit. Can't wait 'til these all disappear too. For now though, I'm just relieved to know there's no planned chemo in my future. ;)

Ahh yes, and while I don't have any NEW hair growth... what I do have left has been growing a bit. I do wonder how long it will be until I get new growth? Only time will tell I s'pose.

And next Sunday, we're going over to my parents to have a mini "no more chemo"/birthday party for me. My brothers will be there with their wives and kids, and I haven't seen most of them in months. So I'm super excited for that. ^_^ Also get to see my kitty, which Jason and I had to leave with my parents because our apartment is too small, so YAY!

Oh, and there will totally be beer at my mini celebration. Haha. I have been craving a good beer and was scared to have alcohol during all this. So yay for family, kitty and beer! Haha.

Now though, life can return to normal for a spell. I work all this week, and I suspect I work all next week too. That's fine with me. I will never take feeling normal and living normally for granted. It's a gift that should not go unappreciated, much as each day is.

I also made it to church this morning. It was the first time I had gone since before my treatment began. I said a whole lot of formal thank yous while I was there. It felt amazing, and I'm glad I was able to feed my soul. I needed a recharge!

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

That's truly all the news I have for now. I will post updates once I've got news to share, but for now, I'm happy to have nothing else and grateful for the upcoming normalcy. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Round 4 - Anj vs. Chemo: ANJ WINS!

Round 4 is in the books! Done done done! ....for now. Next Friday I meet with my oncologist and find out his plan for me. It's looking like I will be doing another four cycles of chemo, but what's up in the air is whether I will be doing it now or after surgery. My guess is still that it would be post surgery. We shall see though!

Sorry all, had to take my own pic this time! Haha.

Seems rather surreal to say I have finished this "last" round (even if it's not technically my last). I am so grateful to be able to say it, regardless of that fact though! It means I have completed the first part of this difficult journey, and for that, I am relieved and pleased!

My treatment went smoothly. Got the vein on the first try and it went quickly again. Jason is still super sick with that gross cold I had. Oh! Which, by the way, I started feeling better from on Wednesday a bit and then by yesterday felt much much better. I still have a cough, but it's manageable.

Anyway, because of his being sick, he took me to my appointment but stayed in the car so as not to risk infecting other patients. So I was flying solo. Least I didn't have to completely go it alone until my last one when I knew what to expect. I just pray he feels better soon, my poor fella. :(

We stopped for a quick bite for lunch and then headed back home. So far I feel okay. Nothing shockingly different. I had some iced tea I probably shouldn't have had, so I feel like I've got a little too much adrenaline. Otherwise I'm okay.

Other than that, I've lately been missing my hair. Haha. My work wig is looking shabby and I was never 100% satisfied with it anyway, so my parents have generously/kindly bought me a new one and it's ordered and on the way. So much cuter. Looks like how my hair did when I had an angled a-line bob but um, better. Since it's always perfect and waaay easier to manage. ;) I don't know why but they never have dark colored wigs in stock. As an "I want it now" person, it's frustrating to wait but what choice do you have? Lol.

Speaking of kind/generous deeds; my dear friend Samara has kindly purchased dinner to be delivered for Jason and I tonight. She says it's to help celebrate. :) I thought that was very sweet, especially since neither of us are really up to cooking. So thank you again girl!

God is good, and I'm so happy to be through some of the most trying portion of this. And even if we have further trying times ahead, I'm thankful to be done with some part of it. I'm one large step closer to recovery. Without His help, I would not be. For without the courage I've been granted, I would not have made it this far.

So here's to the next part of the journey, whatever that may entail. May Christ guide me and my husband through it with renewed courage and strength so we can endure this. May our love for one another and for Him grow stronger.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend! Happy Mothers Day to all my loved ones who are mothers and all you other moms reading, and especially my mom! I love you Mom! Thank you for everything and enjoy your day, I wish I could spend it with you!

"Always giving thanks to God the Father, for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Ephesians 5:20

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chemo and a cold... seriously?

Did you know you could get a regular old garden variety nasty old cold while you're going through chemo? If you did, then you knew more than I did! Started probably last Wednesday? Hard to say though, as I felt crap from the after effects of treatment as usual anyway. I know that's about the time I started with a tickle in my throat. Sporadic coughing and such.

This last go round was tough. Lots of crying and frustration on my part. I went back to work this past Thursday, as I have been, and wasn't able to get through it. I had to go home after being there only a couple hours. I was beyond fatigued and dizzy. Of course I was displeased with myself for that. Missed work Friday, went back Saturday... but by then my cold was beginning to kick in.

Nobody is at the oncology office on the weekend, so I had no idea whether it was okay for me to take any OTC cold meds. I suffered through until this morning without anything. I'm still surprised they didn't want to give me antibiotics or anything. They also were not too worried about if I were still sick for my infusion this Friday. Wtf? Haha.

It just gets to the point where you're simply sick of feeling sick. Now is when I would regularly feel "normal" again before going through it all over again, so it really sucks to be genuinely sick before feeling chemo-sick.

Praying I feel better ASAP. I need a breather, if only for a day.

Work has been shorthanded as well, as we lost a couple of employees due to various circumstances recently. So I feel an extra responsibility to be there. The thing about that is that nobody else really has any excuse to skip work if the girl fighting both cancer AND a cold simultaneously is there for her shifts. ;) Lol

Poor Jason caught my cold too, but he's just beginning it.

We're gonna be a sorry looking pair. Haha.

And speaking of us as a couple, tomorrow is our anniversary! <3

We'll have been married for 2 years.

We've been through A LOT of stuff in those 2 years of marriage too. Both of us were both unemployed through part of that first year, then I was trying to find work without any luck. I finally found my job at the beginning of this year and we got our own place, then I was diagnosed with cancer seriously only a month after we'd moved.

Not sure why we've been dealt the cards we have, but I can say without a doubt that our love can survive anything. The bond Jason and I have forged through all our trials is paramount. And the foundation for our love? God. If we didn't have God as our marriage's rock, I don't know we'd have made it this far. Love is grand no matter what, but without Christ, difficulties the magnitude we've faced together would have easily torn us apart if only from the stress.

So thank you Lord, for holding us up when no one else (not even ourselves) could. I will continue to thank Him, as I know He will get us through this as well. He already got us this far, and this will have been the first huge challenge of this journey. :)

Guess that's all for now, my lovely readers. I shall post about my FINAL (for now) treatment later this week. Hope you all have an easy and safe week!

" Be merciful to me,  LORD,  for I am faint; O LORD, heal me,  for my bones are in agony." Psalm 6:2

God bless!