Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Still swimming.... Dose #2

Today I had my second chemo doses.... In addition to the pre- meds (Benadryl, steroid, Pepcid, zofran), the her2 drugs herceptin and perjeta, the yucky taxotere, Dr. Fellin added Zometa for the bone mets.... Phew I'm exhausted just writing them out! It was easier today as I did not have that bone pain I had last time..I slept through most of it as the Benadryl really knocks me out..... Dr. Fellin (onc) was happy to see me feeling and looking so good. I asked how long I was to be on taxatere (it's the one with all the annoying side effects and if the her2 drugs are the ones working then maybe I don't need it so long and ok cause I'm losing my hair and dread it again... I know it's so petty, but I feel so ugly bald, no one ever really saw me without a wig or scarf except my family but I see it, Jason and the kids see it and it's hard... It's hard being 40 let alone a bald 40....ok enough of the pity party- it's really the least of my problems and I'm grateful there are drugs to shrink these rumors.... And as a good friend said- I rocked the pixie cut;) OKAY, so dr Fellin said the " protocol" is 6 rounds of taxatere, but if I'm doing well, ie tumor shrinkage, then maybe we can just do 3-4... So we' ll re-scan and see.... Probably after # 3 or # 4.

So, I felt terrific these past couple days..... So hopefully once this taxatere clears I'll be back to that terrific feeling again.... Usually by Monday... Until then, I just take it easy and get lots of rest.

I officially told the kids tonight, they of course already knew something was up- I mean lots of delicious meals and treats, flowers, and gift boxes being delivered by good friends and Mom Mom doing our laundry...Pop Pop driving me to "work".... They are smart and knew... But it felt good to talk it out with them. They do not know the extent of it, just that I have cancer again in my body so need the medicine that gets rid of it, and yes I'll lose my hair again, will have days that I'm tired but good days to- and that was it, back to eating dinner... I think they saw me get better last time, I'm doing my best to "carry on" and not disrupt our busy life so they are fine. I'm planning on finally seeing a therapist as I need someone (impartial) to talk through these crazy, fluctuating feelings I have so will talk about the kids as well....

Thanks as always for your prayers.... and for helping me to Keep Swimming!

Love xoxoxo, Kellie

He said, "There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live"- Dalai Lama

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Even better.

Another week has passed and the pain is still gone! I do ache in my spine and legs a bit (esp. later in the day or after standing) but nothing like before! (and nothing a little Motrin can't help). I'm feeling very good otherwise, just tired. I wish I could strap my running sneakers on and go for one of my famous runs, but I'm afraid I would only make it to the end of the block. I did go for a walk last week (2 miles) and went to yoga but was exhausted after both. Maybe after the next treatment I'll get another miracle boost.

My bad reflux turned out to be thrush, ewww, I know TMI, but it's common with chemo. Dr. Fellin Rx dyflucan and it instantly resolved- yay for Dr. Fellin (he is so wonderful). We've also tapered and d/c my Prednisone as my breathing is much better.

Since I'm feeling much better I'm working. I'm fortunate to be able to work easily from anywhere! Online, e-mail, texting- I'm always connected to my students and co-workers! Working is important to me, first because I love what I do, and second it keeps my mind busy... otherwise it wanders to places I'd rather not go right now. So, still Just Swimming!

We've been so fortunate to have many delicious meals delivered to us this week - your generosity is amazing and we so appreciate it (The treats too!).

Thank you for everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers, my heart swells with love for all of you!

Love, Kellie

"Never let the sadness of your past and the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present"

Monday, March 10, 2014

What a difference a week makes....

I'm so happy to share that the terrible spine/ bone pain has not returned. Ever since chemo last Wednesday I have been fine and so have not had to use any percocets. I'm actually in awe of those hers2 blocker drugs and how immediate they worked! My breathing has also improved and my shortness of breath almost resolved. My system took a few days to work those percs out (including, no lying, double doses of Miralax, Metamucil, 1 bottle of Mag Citrate, and no less then 3 enimas- ewww!) but I'm finally back to semi-normal.

I am dealing with bad reflux which is a very typical side effect of the chemo I'm on, but I will have the doctor Rx something to help (I'll take reflux over the others any day). I have to admit and would be lying if I didn't say, I'm nervous to lose my hair again.... but I got through before and I'll get through again. There might be a chance it will just thin, so we'll see. It would not start to happen until after the next chemo dose.

So the plan is to keep on living, taking it one day at a time, being grateful for small (and big) miracles and continue to pray for these chemo drugs to do their magic. It is not the path I had invisioned for me or my family, but it's the one we've been dealt and so will make the best of it. My, our, goal is trying to carry on and keep things as normal as possible - cause really what's the alternative? Worrying, being sad, not getting out of bed is not really living at all. All we can do is Just Keep Swimming!

As always, THANK YOU for your concern, thoughts, well wishes, and prayers.... I'm so humbled by your kindness....

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Treatment plan….

Although I had a very long day yesterday ( I was at Jeff from 9- 3:45), I'm happy to have a plan (and chemo) started. Dr. Fellin has prescribed chemotherapy every 3 weeks- Herceptin (Hers2 blocker); Perjeta (Hers2 blocker); and Taxatere (regular yucky chemo). Then after a couple of cycles, to add Zometa IV to assist with the bone mets. We'll re-evaluate the taxatere in a few months (maybe give me a break if possible)… but most likely will always be on some form of Hers2 blocker, but these chemo drugs do not cause the annoying side effects as the others. However, with taxatere, I will have the fatigue, funny taste, toxic feeling days 2-4, and hair loss but maybe to a lesser degree as it's only one chemo drug (vs. 2 like last time).

I was still having the terrible bone pain as of yesterday, but once I got home and laid in bed was amazed that it actually let up! I don't know if it is psychosomatic or the chemo working already but I'll take it anyway. I was living dose-to-dose with my percocets and didn't even feel like I needed one last night or this morning, took it anyway as sometimes the pain rebounds worse, but it's promising that it has gotten better (this is what we were really hoping/ praying for).

I have a wonderful healthcare team, and feel comfortable and well looked after at Jeff. My infusion nurse is a current MSN student of mine so she took extra good care of me. So now it's just continue with chemo, watch for improved symptoms, and re-evaluate after a few cycles.

We are so grateful for your prayers, support and well wishes… when asked if I have a support system at home I tell my healthcare team the best there every was! You all know I do not do well with accepting help (losing control), I need to work on that, but am grateful for every request to help, for every card, note, text, e-mail… it's amazing to feel so loved. And I love everyone of you so very much!

"One day she finally grasped that unexpected things were always going to happen in life. And with that she realized the only control she had was how she chose to handle them. So, she made the decision to survive using courage, humor, and grace. She was the Queen of her own life and the choice was hers".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Port… check!

I've had a rough few days but today woke up feeling a bit better. I had my port placed yesterday and that seemed to have gone well. Dr. Berger (my surgical oncologist) tried to get another tissue sample from a lymph that we thought felt swollen but was unsuccessful (the needle biopsy didn't work either). So, we are just going to treat it as a hers2 positive cancer and see how it responds. An option may be to get a liver biopsy in the future but for now I'll start chemo tomorrow. Not sure of my schedule yet, Dr. Fellin (Oncologist) will discuss that with me when I see him, (probably every 3 weeks).

I'm starting to have spine and bone pain so this is making things more difficult to be my usually get-up-and-go self… with the Breast Cancer I did not "feel" it so was on the go most of the time. However, I have resorted to taking Percocets around the clock, which work on the pain but have other side effects to deal with (sleepiness, constipation, fuzzy feeling)…. taking it one day a time works!

I'm so humbled by the outpouring of support, prayers, and friendship. I know how much you all want to help, for now we just ask for you to keep us in your prayers! I will definitely speak up if we should need help with anything else!

Love you all,