That first and second week left me mentally, emotionally and physically drained! I had no idea I had set foot onto an evil roller coaster that was gonna take me up to highs then swoosh back down to lows and whip me around like a rag doll. And just not let up or let me off. Appointment after appointment kept flooding in. I was so overwhelmed with it all it’s amazing I didn’t lose my shit or have a nervous breakdown. I was poked and prodded and felt up and run through machines and more ultrasounds and it just didn’t stop. It was ruthless. The rest of February was nothing but doctors and tests and more information. If I thought February was rough, it’s nothing compared to what was looming over the horizon. 😞
Feb. 23 –
I had to do an MRI, my first one ever! They want to make sure that none of those little suckers have gotten loose and swam to my lymph nodes. We have lymph nodes in our armpits and around our neck and if any have gotten loose they would go to our lymph nodes in the armpits first because those nodes feed off of the breast. And if they did, I would need surgery to remove those nodes. 😦 They have to hook me up to an IV so they can inject contrast to see the images better. The tech can’t find my veins. I have very sneaky veins, they like to play hide and seek. She tried all of the possible areas. By the time she found one, in my least favorite spot even, I had bandages on all areas! I looked like I had been making tracks. That machine was huge and NOISY, geez, good thing they gave me some headphones to wear and listen to music during the procedure. It wasn’t so bad but it did take FOREVER! and it was cold in there. We’re all done! I can change and go home. I would have results soon. I hope it comes back good.
Feb. 28 – results.
I get the call with my results. The MRI showed nothing in my lymph nodes. They are clear!! Thank the Lord, but. . . . they see a shaded area in my left breast that needs further evaluation. Man alive!!! Is this ever gonna end? With every bit of good news I get, it seems like I get double the bad news 😟 I can’t take this anymore. They have me scheduled quickly for ANOTHER ultrasound and ANOTHER MRI guided biopsy at the end of the week. *SIGH*
That evil roller coaster whips me around like a silly ass rag doll through March
Mar. 3 –
Ultrasound and biopsy day. Well, here I am yet again at the butt ass crack of dawn to do more testing at the imaging center. I really hope nothing is wrong with my left side. I don’t need extra things to worry about. It’s already super stressful and exhausting on all levels. I have one of my ‘work sisters’ with me, MaryBeth, she is another one of my cancer crusaders. She too has been with me since I told her my news, they no longer let me do anything alone 💚 All of my ‘work sisters’ have been fabulous!! See, I have no bio sisters, they are my sisters, I have 3. So she is here with me for support and company. After the last time I was alone, I got the shock of my life and it was here, at this place. So, now I ask someone to come with me. My work sisters are so different outside of work. They’re awesome!!! I just love them!
Time to get ready for the ultrasound, that will be the first test. Nope, they can’t see anything from the ultrasound, the area in question is way too small. Thank God for that. . .I guess? This will need the high tech machinery of the MRI. I’m sent to do that. Now I’m back with the noisy machine. I meet the doctor who will perform this biopsy. He is soooo cool. LOVE THIS DOCTOR. He wants to make me as comfortable and happy and relaxed as he possibly can. They must of told him of my experience with the first biopsy, remember 1. . .2. . .3. . .POP? Yeah, I’m still traumatized by that. Anyway, he was super good with me, gave me lots of numbing medicine to be comfortable as ever. The only thing I felt was pressure, no pain at all. He was very attentive to how I was feeling. He took 7 samples and that wasn’t bad at all. And he did make me feel comfortable. We’re all done. I need to do a mammy, not a regular one but a simple one with not so much squeezing. They need an image of the titanium chip he inserted into the breast at the area, to let future technicians know that the area has already been addressed. I forgot to mention that my right breast also has a titanium chip from my first biopsy. This is a mandatory procedure when we go in for biopsies, a titanium chip is inserted to the area. You don’t feel them at all, but will always be there, they are never removed. They stay with you for a lifetime. And no, they don’t set off medal detectors. The doc comes out and explains I should have results in a few days. He was super awesome. MaryBeth even says, “if I ever have to come in for a biopsy, I want HIM to do mine!!” Haha, he was great. Ultrasound and MRI done!! I can go home.
Mar. 6 – Echocardiogram.
I need to do an echo to make sure my heart is healthy enough to endure the heavy chemo they have planned for me. I didn’t ask anyone to come with me to this cuz it’s just a heart scan, but geez, once I got here I was overcome with anxiety. Like bad. My heart just about beat right out of my chest. I almost started crying, so here I am texting my friends to try and calm me down.
When I first found out my news, I reached out to Tammy, she is the one who also went through what I’m going through right now. Every little thing I go through, I ask her about and what it was like. I’m grateful I have her to walk me through things. So naturally, I’m talking to her right now, trying to bring my anxiety level down.
We do the echo, we’re done in like a 1/2 hour. I leave. Why was I in such a panic? I think everything that is happening so fast, is getting to me. It just doesn’t slow down. I’m trying to stay strong and positive and I think it’s wearing me down. Plus, I’m still working through all of this, I’m not missing a beat. And its wearing on me bad.
Mar. 7 – Results of 2nd Biopsy of left side
I get my results from the MRI guided biopsy. Great news!!! Everything is clear for that breast and so are my lymph nodes! Wow, finally some reassuring news. Do you know how bad I’ve been needing good news?! I really needed this! 🙇
Mar. 8 –
Time to get down to business. The hospital already has me scheduled for my chest port. I will need a chest port inserted into my upper chest so that when I start receiving chemo, this is where it would be rather than through a vein on my arm. Through here they will access my central vein. I’m scheduled for the 13th of March. eek. That roller coaster is taking me through cork screws!!
Later that evening, I get a phone call from Trish, she is the one who will be doing all of my scheduling at the cancer center. The doctor would like to start chemo as soon as my chest port is in 😧 I had a feeling this was gonna happen. She lets me choose a day of the week that will work for me. I do Thursdays. I’m off on Fridays and Saturdays, so this will give me a few days to recoupe. My first treatment will be on the 16th 😥 Once again my evil roller coaster is picking up speed and whipping me around. She gives me the weeks’ schedule of appointments. 3/13 – chest port procedure, 3/15 – chemo class, 3/16 – 1st round of chemo & 3/17 – Neulasta- booster shot. Here we go, it’s all happening soo fast 😟. Chest port, treatment, etc. I don’t want chemo but I have to. Chemo just scares me! How is all of this gonna affect my son? I’m gonna lose my hair. I may be sick a lot and in bed and tired all the time. I just break down and cry. Honestly, the reality of it all is just too much. I can’t take it. I cry my eyeballs out. Chemo will go on through summer and the only thing I can think about, is how all of this will affect my son.
I text my oldest brother, Jake, and tell him that chemo will start soon. We both figured this was gonna happen once my port was in. I’m soo scared. But once all of that happens it’s time to get down to business.
My treatment schedule:
4 cycles of intense chemo ( once every other week ) then 12 weeks of a different chemo ( once every week )
I give Jake my treatment schedule and just *sigh* heavy. He tells me, “its just a trip down the beach with two sets of footprints” Referencing, ‘Footprints in the Sand’. I LOVED that he told me this and it did make me cry more, but I needed to be reminded of that. In response, I said, “Yes, I know and when I only see 1 set, I’ll know that I was carried.” It’s not the kind of beach walk I was hoping to take but at least I won’t be alone. My God is ALWAYS with me!!
Mar. 12 – Day before chest port
Lab work ✔ No aspirin 5 days prior to procedure ✔ No ibuprofen 5 days prior to procedure ✔ No blood thinners prior to exam ✔ Need to have a driver with you ✔ Nothing to eat or drink after midnight ✔ Check in time is 10:30, procedure at 11:00 ✔ I’m gonna starve!!! 😕
Mar. 13 – Chest port procedure day
It’s Monday, it’s procedure day. I can’t have anything to eat or drink and my procedure isn’t until 11 and will last a couple of hours. I have to go downtown, I hate downtown. Good think Jake is with me. I needed someone to be with me and drive cuz they’re gonna put me under for the procedure and I’ll probably be loopy. I’m such a light weight when it comes to anesthesia.
It’s amazing how calm I am today. I have no nerves at all. The doctor comes in and explains the procedure to me and shows me how and what will be going into my body and where it will be set. After a few days I shouldn’t feel it at all.
They’re running behind, almost 12:30, I finally get rolled back. I get all hooked up, the anesthesiologist is funny, she’s great! She asked me if she could get me anything and sarcastically I said, “like a hamburger!” She couldn’t bring me any food but she did tell me she would give me a ‘kick ass’ cocktail that would put me in a twilight. And in twilight I was. I remember seeing the clock at 12:30 now it says 2:30. Where did 2 hours just go? It felt like 5 minutes. They’re unhooking me and rolling me back out. Everything went smoothly.
They find my brother and we go to recovery. I’m exhausted! And loopy and starving!! They bring me apple juice and applesauce, mmmm. Finally, a little something to eat and drink. I swallow it up. A few minutes later, uh oh, mad heartburn is coming on. Oh crap, I wasn’t able to take my acid reflux meds cuz I couldn’t take anything prior to the procedure and having apple juice and applesauce was NO BUENO!!
4:30pm, we finally get to leave!! On the way home “I need to throw up, I feel like shit!!” My head is pounding! I was so dehydrated from not being able to have anything to drink from the night before causing my pounding headache, and my acid reflux was in full force. I have a headache from hell. The drive home seemed like an eternity not to mention it was rush hour from downtown. I had to spill my guts, luckily we made it home. I didn’t feel bad from the surgery itself but I did feel awful from everything else. It was a horrible combination of dehydration and mad acid reflux.
After a little bit of rest, some food, my acid reflux meds and some rehydration. I actually felt like my old self again. Back to normal. Just a bit sore and of course, tired from the day.
I went to work the next day feeling as good as new.
Sorry, I know this post was super long but I hope you stayed with me til the end. It’s all part of my blind journey.