About Those Doctor Appointments…….

Ok ok, I know. It’s been 2 months since my last post! Talk about leaving you hanging! Well I promise you there is good reason for my silence. First off, let’s talk about this silly thing called a thyroid. Well I somehow went from having a slightly over active thyroid to a slightly under active thyroid. I tell ya, I seriously keep my doctors on their toes! Never a dull moment with me. So they have put me on Levothyroxine or synthroid which is basically a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone my body produces. Which brings me to the reason for my silence.

You see, I was preparing for that radioactive thyroid uptake scan i was telling you about at the end of May so they could more accurately diagnose my thyroid issue. Of course I was reading about side effects and all, with nothing too much concerning me. Biggest no no is being pregnant as the radioactive dye is highly toxic to the baby. No worries there. I just had my first period since treatment began like the other week. No wait, when was it again? Oh it was last month. Ok, so it’s due umm, umm, oh umm (check my calendar) it’s due yesterday. Yesterday? So take the test to be sure I’m good. I mean abnormal cycles after everything I’ve gone through are super common.

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like those doctors appointments will continue and probably multiple!

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And yes that’s right. One test wasn’t enough. I was in such shock, I had to take all three just to be sure! Holy sh*t! We are going to have a baby! Is this really happening??? Of course at this point I actually remember to call and cancel my scan. I was so happy and thankful that I found this out prior to having the scan done. That just would have been awful!

Now as you can imagine the incredibly massive wave of emotions hits and I’m all over the place. Is it too soon? Are my doctors going to scold me? How viable are my eggs given the treatment I’ve just endured? OMG, we did it! Naturally too! This is a miracle! Don’t get too excited. It’s still so early. But I want to tell everyone! We should wait. But these are the people that are my support and if by chance things go south, they will be my up lifters. Ugggg those first few days and weeks were tough. And I so wanted to shout from the rooftops that we are pregnant. But after discussing it, we decided to wait until the first trimester was over and until we saw our high risk doctor.

I have to apologize for my absence over the last two months. You see, I have ZERO poker face through my blog or in person. The news is just so damn exciting that I knew if I tried to post results from my thyroid or anything else, I would totally blow it. So I remained silent. However, that’s all over now. I plan on blogging every little bit about my pregnancy. Miracles do happen. I’m living, breathing, walking, talking proof of that. And so is this sweet little bundle of unimaginable joy that I’m carrying. We’ve been through absolute hell and made it out on the other side. From being pregnant, to preterm labor at 24 1/2 weeks, to 9 days in the NICU, to holding our sweet Cameron as he passed, to breast cancer,surgery, fertility preservation, treatment, recovery, and now full circle to getting pregnant on our own. The only word that comes to mind is BLESSED. I think that this chapter in my ongoing story may be the most important yet. It will be one of hope. A message to everyone to never give up. Miracles happen.

Next up is my pre-op appointment on the 8th as I will have surgery on the 19th for a cervical cerclage. This will help support my cervix and hopefully get us to full term. I will also have weekly progesterone shots starting that week to assist in keeping contractions at bay. Our doctor explained to me that in classic cases of incompetent cervix, woman typically efface and dilate with no warning and no contractions and usually around 17-18 weeks but does occur further along in pregnancy. This is usually because the cervix doesn’t function properly due to surgical procedures or multiple abortions. Unexplained preterm labor presents with contractions and then effacing and dilation. This can occur in woman who have a weak cervix so to speak where the weight and pressure cause it to thin. So they feel the best course of action is to do the cerclage to strengthen and progesterone shots. Both are highly effective if done prior to complications arising. (This has been your medical lesson for today! Lol) The shots can be administered by myself or at the office or even by a home service. My doctor felt in my case, given everything that we’ve been through, coming to the office weekly would be the best way. They will be able to keep a close eye on me and this will help keep the worrying down. Funny thing is, I feel like I’m in such amazing hands that I’m not worrying. We have already been through tough times. This is the light. And I know these doctors are going to do everything they can for us. The time for worry is over!

I’m excited for this next journey and all that comes with it. And I’m even more excited to share it with all of you! Say hello to our little miracle! 13 weeks today and doing well. Just perfect! CHEERS to all of you and thank you for sticking with me and always lifting me up! I wouldn’t be here without you all! Xoxoxoxo

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Round 3

Left the old iPad at home on Friday so I didn’t get to post from treatment. Spent the day with my mom and Jenna. They made the treatment day go by very quickly. And helped ease my mind when I was given the news of complications. Since I had surgery prior to chemotherapy, I can’t have any blood drawn, IV’s, blood pressure etc from my right arm. These things pose the risk of developing lymphodema because of the lymph nodes I had removed. This limits me. On Friday they couldn’t get a good vein in my arm and had to use my hand, which is their last resort. Because the adriamyacin is so strong, there is a possibility if leaked out of the vein, I could loose my hand. So, the talks of getting a port implanted were brought up again.

I’ve been against it from the beginning because of the risk of infection and just the thought of having another surgery make me cringe. But when you think of loosing a limb or permanent damage it tends to change your perspective. So after careful consideration I will be undergoing the surgery next Wednesday for the port. Yeah, the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a pretty quick procedure but still surgery with its risks. Hopefully I’ll get some good rest so I can enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.

On a lighter note, I’ve been feeling pretty good this go around. I managed to get ahead of the constipation, which in turn keeps the nausea at bay. I’ve also been given a prescription for Prevacid from my doctor which combats the heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Being able to control these side effects for me is huge. This info applies to anyone out there on the AC followed by T regimen and looking for relief. On the day of treatment I take my Prevacid then go to treatment. That night around 9 I take two stool softeners and 2 senna laxative pils. By morning, my digestive system is operating regularly. I wake up around 6. Then take my Prevacid while eating some delicious baby food! About 7 I eat cereal or toast and take my decadron steroid. Making sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. Then repeat. Since I only take the decadron for 4 days after treatment, that’s the only days I take the stool softener and laxative. I continue to take Prevacid everyday while going through treatment.

Baby food, prune and pear juice have really been helpful as well. And resting whenever possible. Hopefully that wasn’t TMI for everyone. But that’s the just of my life for a week. It does get better. I’m over a third of the way done and coming up on halfway to the finish line. It’s progress and I’ll take every little bit I can.

For all my house progress followers out there, things are moving along as well. HVAC, plumbing, and our electric service upgrade are complete. Tile, drywall and kitchen are next, then bathrooms. Still on schedule to move in by the end of next month. Hopefully it stays that way!

Next up, port surgery and Thanksgiving! Really looking forward to being with my family and of course enjoying all the wonderful food!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow ;)

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Yesterday was the big hair cutting day at Amy of Denmark. First I was surprised by my mom, Heather and James. James came in the door with balloons for me saying SURPRISE! What a sweet sight. When we got to Amy’s I was pretty nervous. I know, it’s just hair, but its something about letting it go of it that gets me. I think it’s like cancer trying to take away your femininity. Which brings me to the reason we all went back to the wig shop in the first place. I was not letting cancer dictate when I was going to loose my hair. I was telling cancer whose the boss here. ME!

The girls brought wine and champagne to take the edge off and it was time to begin. Once Tina started cutting I was actually ok. I mean I’ve had short hair before so its not that crazy. Just different. So once all the pieces were cut, Tina brought over a wig to show me how they would fit and feel. I thought she was placing in one of my wigs since I knew they needed to be adjusted. But to my surprise it was the real hair wig I had tried on during our first trip that I fell in love with! At the exact same time my lovely friend Sarah Nees handed me an envelope. In it was a card that stated “it’s not the size of the girl in the fight, but the size of the fight in the girl……and the size of the group of people who love her. Your dream wig is yours, from all of us!” OMG are you serious??!! My heart just exploded as the tears overflowed. I mean, this wig cost $$$$$$ And all these people, some of whom I’ve never met and don’t even know, did this for me. There are no words to express how incredibly loved I felt at that moment. Not because of the wig or the money that was collected. But to know that I matter to all of theses people. That they all came together out of love for me and a strong dislike for this disease just is amazing. I’m still crying while typing this post!

I know that hair doesn’t make you beautiful. Your soul, your heart, that’s what matters. I hope that when I loose my hair I can walk with confidence and rock the all natural look. But to know that I have this amazing wig to boost my self esteem on a bad day means a great deal. For everyone that had a hand in this THANK YOU! You truly made this girls day! Oh and here is the ” new do”. I’m thinking maybe Tinkerbell for Halloween? Suggestions? 😉

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The Red Devil

Yesterday was our Chemotherapy Teaching Day at the infusion center. I learned a lot about what my treatment will consist of. It’s AC followed by T. First 4 rounds of chemo are AC with Nuelasta. The A is for Adriamycin (or Doxorubicin hyrdochloride) more commonly known as “The Red Devil” because it is a red liquid that comes in a tube and is super toxic.  Put it this way, if it drips on you or out of your IV,which I surely hope the nurse gets correctly in my vein, it can scare the hell out of your skin.  Oooo please sign me up!  It belongs to the general group of chemotherapy drugs known as anthracycline antibiotics. This chemo drug stops the growth of cancer cells causing the cells to die. Cancer cells grow quickly, so do the cells for hair and nail growth as well, hense the side effect of hair loss. Common side effects are decreased white blood cell and platelet count, loss of appetite, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting. Sounds fun right?

Then there is C which is for Cytoxan or Cyclophosphamide which belongs to a general group of chemo drugs known as alkylating agents. It has the same effect on cancer cells as Adriamycin. The side effects are decreased white blood cells, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, sores in mouth, diarrhea, stopping of menstrual periods in women, and tiredness.

Now while I am getting these drugs I also get pre-meds that consist of decadron (dexamethasone) a steriod used to combat nausea (and make me gain 10 lbs, Kim Allafi-I will be in Crofton Bootcamp when this is over!), Ativan for any anxiety if needed, and some other drug also for nausea that is slipping my mind right now. After I get these two drugs on Chemo day, I go back the next morning for a shot of Neulasta. This shot helps to boost my bone marrow to make more white blood cells to aid my immune system. I only have to get this shot after the AC regimen portion of chemo (first 4 cycles).

The last 4 cycles of chemo consist of T for Taxol. Taxol is in the general group of chemo drugs known as taxanes. It is a mitotic inhibitor as it stops cell division resulting in cell death. Common side effects are the same as above also numbness and tingling in hands and or feet and muscle and bone aches for 3 days after treatment. Good news is I won’t endure the nausea with this part of treatment so they tell me. The nurse I was with today is a breast cancer survivor and endured the same treatment as me only hers was for a longer duration. So I’m feeling confident taking her word for it. Chemo starts next Friday the 12th. I know I will loose my hair so I’ve made a plan to go back to Amy’s of Denmark and have my hair cut before that happens. The nurse says it will most likely begin at the start of my second treatment. I figured I would dictate when I am going to loose my hair and not cancer. I don’t particularly like being told what to do. Take that cancer!

Chemo sure sounds scary. But aren’t the possible side effects of any drugs always scary? I’m trying to enter this phase of my journey as positive as possible. I know staying that way will be hard, but it’s mandatory for me to get through this with a smile. (please remind me I said this when that smile starts to fade)For now til chemo day I am just going to try and enjoy my time as much as possible. Feels strange not having any doctors appointments to go to for the next 10 days.

Wigging Out!

I have to say I am truly blessed with an amazing family and friends. My friends got together and thought it would be fun to go do some wig shopping together. I welcomed the idea as I see it as a great way to bond with my friends and be a little silly in an otherwise serious situation. Cancer. Always trying to take the fun out of everything. Well I’ve decided NO WAY am I letting it take my sense of humor.

Our trip to Amy of Denmark in Wheaton, MD was nothing short of a blast! The girls made it memorable and outrageous, trying on wigs themselves. What a welcomed change to just let go and enjoy myself. The staff of Amy’s was just outstanding. They made us all feel right at home. They jumped right in and started bringing me different wigs while the girls looked around for some of their own to try on. They even took pictures of all of us together. I know when I have some down days I’ll look at those pictures and smile. Cancer really does suck. But there are little moments like these that occur in this journey when I want to say “Thanks Cancer”. Thank you for bringing me closer to these ladies in my life. Thanks for reminding me of what’s really important. I might not be looking forward to this journey but I’m here and it must take place. What I am looking forward to is the relationships that will be forged as a result of this horrible disease. Cancer, you might be able to take my hair but you can not take my faith and you can not take all the love and support that surrounds me. In fact, the only thing that you can be sure of is that you ARE responsible for making those aspects of my life better. So thanks!

How’s that for positivity!

Wigging Out at Amy's

Wigging Out at Amy’s of Denmark

Sensory Overload

In addition to talks of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, mastectomy and reconstructive surgery I had another important issue to tackle. Since one of the possible side effects of Chemotherapy is early menopause, we also decided to meet with a fertility doctor to discuss our options.

After receiving all the information we decided to proceed with the egg retrieval process of IVF. We will be working with Shady Grove Fertility.  This involves about 7-10 days of giving myself shots and having daily appointments for blood work and ultrasound. Once the eggs are at a desirable size, I go in for a minor surgery to have them extracted and frozen. All in all its a really wonderful reassuring feeling knowing we can still have a baby when all this treatment is said and done.

Next stop surgery then our first meeting with my oncologist to discuss my chemo schedule. Time to get down to business. First things first, I am in need of a nap. So much information.