Browsing Category:

Treatment

Update on Surgery!

Posted in Treatment by

Hi everyone! This is Chanty (Jessica’s sister) writing in my sisters blog on how she is doing!

Surgery went great! Whoop whoop!! The doctors removed what was left of the tumor (very small piece), tissue, and two lymph nodes. The lymph nodes looked good by the looks of it but will be sent to the lab to confirm it. The doctor did tell my sister that the fact is she is now cancer free!!! She is recoverying well and will be going home sometime tomorrow 🙂 Today she was able to move around and went walking around the building a few times to help with recoverying. Overall great day

 

Tonight is a sleepover! Girls night!! about to get crazyyyyy!!

Image

Image

 

Love you sissy pantalones!!! :))

 

October 11, 2013
/

Surgery day is tomorrow!!

Posted in Treatment by

So I had written this post a few weeks ago and just hadn’t had the chance to post it. Today  is the day before my surgery and I feel kinda well…..I don’t know. Some very mixed feelings. I left work early to pick up Gianna and spend some QT with her. We went and picked out some pumpkins followed by some ice cream at Menchies. Her teacher told me that she was so excited that she told the entire class that Mommy was going to pick her up early and go to the pumpkin patch! That really made me feel wonderful.  So here’s my post regarding the surgery I’m having tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll feel OK by the weekend to update.

So what now? I’ve completed 4 rounds of the red devil and 4 rounds of the famous Taxol-now what? The next step in treatment is surgery. My surgery as been scheduled for October 9 (originally it was Oct 2). Before going on I’ll define the word, foob. Here’s the definition according to the Urban Dictionary:

Foobs:

Term popularized by breast cancer patients to mean former, future, or fake boobs. Often used during the various stages of reconstruction after mastectomy.“It’s been four weeks since surgery and my foobs are still really itchy.”

I had a few options as to the what type of surgery I could receive. Let me tell you that having “options” has its drawbacks. First, I was highly recommended by my surgeon to do a bilateral mastectomy (bmx), go through radiation then wait 9 months to have reconstruction. Um yeah, my reaction to that was basically a hell no! That option was just not right for me.  The reason this was his first recommendation was because  if you start the reconstruction process before radiation there is a higher chance for complications and not so perfect results (looks wise). He went on to explain, how radiation can effect the skin and he’s seen some bad results because of it. After making it pretty clear that this would not be an option for me he said we may be able to do a lumpectomy now, then 9 months after radiation do a bmx & immediate reconstruction.  Dr. Kiluk (my surgeon) had to first look at the originally films from my MRI and see if this was even a viable option. Two days later, I received the news that based off of my first MRI, a lumpectomy could be an option. Yeah!!! Decision made, now lets schedule the surgery!  After lots of prayer, research and inner soul searching, I started to back away from the whole lumpectomy option. Truth is I have no desire to save my boobs. I actually started to feel very strongly that I wanted to do a BMX as soon as possible.

With this new decision, came some homework. I needed to find a plastic surgeon that does reconstruction even through radiation. This reconstruction process is done over many months time with something called tissue expanders. Immediately following a mastectomy, the plastic surgeon comes in and places  expanders where the new foobs will be. The expanders are slowly filled with saline until the desired size is reached. However, since I will be getting radiation I can’t have any “fills” during this time period. I would get a few “fills” before radiation then start them back up a couple months after radiation has been completed. Hopefully my skin won’t be completely fried after radiation. In the case that it is, they will take skin from my back and replace that radiated skin during the swap out. By swap out I mean, taking the tissue expanders out and replacing them with the implants. This all sounds like a walk in the park, huh?

The first plastic surgeon I met with told me upfront that he won’t even touch me until 9-10 months after radiation. He wouldn’t even do reconstruction on me if I just did a lumpectomy! He came highly recommended by one of my doctors but one of the things I’ve learned during this whole process is that each case is different and you have to make decisions based off of YOU-not someone else. I did some more homework on other surgeons and found one that was very upfront with me, but still confident that she could give me the desired results I wanted. The bad thing is that she is out of network. However, I do have out-of-network coverage which covers 60%. Not the 100% that I would otherwise receive, but I know she’s the right plastic surgeon for me.

Even though I decided I would take the chance of having complications with my new foobs, I HONESTLY don’t think that I will be one of those bad cases of radiated skin. I’m fully aware of the risks and complications  and I’ve decided to just deal with those when and if they come. For now, take my boobs off and fill up my foobs!

October 8, 2013
/

Last Chemo Session!!

Posted in Treatment by

Yesterday was my last Taxol infusion. The last infusion I hope to EVER HAVE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE- this will be on my prayer list every night now!  My sister and I dropped Gianna off at school that morning, then headed over to Moffitt for my last chemo treatment.  She asked me if I was happy and excited. I really wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be-I kinda wasn’t excited at all! Before you ask what the heck is wrong with me…hear me out.

Having these toxic drugs in my system means that something is actively fighting the little C sucker! I’ve heard of other patients compare it to a safety net and that’s exactly how I feel about it. So aside from the medical treatments that I’m being given to fight this thing. I’ve been slowly making small changes in my nutrition and vitamin intake. More on that later, but I really just want this post to be about how my last treatment went.

I can no longer feel the tumor (but I stopped feeling it 2 weeks into treatment). According to my oncologist this is wonderful news and speaks volumes in terms of me being fully “cured”. I don’t know what it means as far as a recurrence, I would like to think it means my chances are lowered but who knows. I’ll focus on the present for now.  After my labs and seeing the doctor, my sister, Mom and I went into the art room that they have for patients and their families. First of all I LOVE art and this is like my 4th time going in there. It’s very therapeutic which is why they call it, Medicine in Art. My Mom was pretty emotional that day so my sister and I decided she needed some intervention therapy! We made some awesome prayer/wish bracelets. We made one for each person who has been with me the most throughout this whole journey. Those who emotionally and physically where there for me when I needed them even when I said “I’m Ok, I don’t need anything”. If I had time to make more bracelets I would, but I had to keep it to 4. We made a bracelet for my sister, Mom, Dad, and best friend. The bracelet is made up of one bead. The “bead” is a rolled up colored piece of paper and you write a wish on the back of it. The colored pieces of paper are actually paintings by other patients. My Mom and sister each wrote a wish for me on their bracelets. And I wrote a wish to my best friend, Manda and my Dad. I’ll have to post a pic later. My Mom made me my bracelet and in it she wrote me her prayer/wish for me. I think we all got some great therapy out of this art session!

On to the infusion. Luckily I had a room this time, which was awesome because my best friend and hubby were joining the party. My best friend showed up with flowers, balloon and card. I am so blessed to have such an amazing best friend. She deserves her own post-seriously!!  Then Justin came, but unfortunately he had to leave early to pick up Gianna from school. As soon as the nurse unhooked me from the infusion machine for the last time-I was FINALLY EXCITED! Relief and happiness finally came over me. I rang the bell and walked out of there praying that I will never have to go into infusion again.

My Mom and best friend at my last chemo session

My Mom and best friend at my last chemo session

Once home I was greeted by my other amazing friends, Gianna, Justin and Manda’s daughter Kendal. Kendal and Gianna “decorated” for my party. Aren’t they the cutest lil darlings? Look at the details in the pictures…the ribbons, bracelet, etc. Raisins were on the menu too..haha!

The girls decorated part of the house for my celebration. Look on the table-the ribbons and bracelet!

The girls decorated part of the house for my celebration. Look on the table-the ribbons and bracelet!

More of thier decor :-)

Do you notice the cancer ribbons in the picture above. Our girls are so creative :-)!

Of course the occasion called for a toast. My toast was to never go through this again, and I had the same wish for everyone there that night.

 chemo toast

God is so good and through him and my family, I’ve made it past the first round virtually unscathed. Yes, I lost my hair but I managed to keep my eyebrows and eyelashes through it all. My shower time is seriously cut in half! I wish I can say that losing my hair has helped with being on-time,  but honestly it hasn’t. I managed to work full-time and still have energy for my family every evening. My work has been AMAZING and really helped keep the “normal” in my life.  Not to mention it keeps my mind busy.  So now what? Well, the month of September will be filled with our yearly beach trip to Treasure Island (we leave Saturday!), work, family, friends, lots of rest, a party for me on 9/14, a trip to South Carolina for work and who knows what else. My surgery is scheduled for October 2. I will post all about that in the next week or so. Until then, I’m appreciating all the beauty around me, my family, my friends, beautiful sunsets, fresh air, pumpkin everything, strength….I can go on and on……

September 5, 2013
/

Pulling the cancer card and the flu

I almost pulled the cancer card today. So how do you get that annoying sales clerk to stop offering you up the flu shot you ask? Just say I’m sorry, I can’t. I have cancer. I really didn’t say that. Nor do I know if I really can get the shot or not, but they just kept pushing it and did I mention it was FREE!  I really didn’t pull the cancer card but it would’ve shut them up. I mean I can also say “no thanks” in various ways so many times. I don’t know if having cancer and flu season is a bad combination.

Speaking of the cancer thing. I guess I owe you guys an update or something. Well, this week’s treatment kicked my a$$. I was down all weekend and then some. I also think I was just drained from all the excitement I had the week prior. On Friday we had to go to the ER because Gianna hit her head on the playground at school. The teacher called me and said she was Ok and she didn’t even cry but that I really should probably take her to the doctor.  She ended up getting 3 stitches right in between her eye and eyebrow. Now we have to go back and get the stitches taken out in a couple days-that should be fun. Maybe they should go ahead and stick her with the vaccinations that I’ve been putting off this year. The week before we found out that she had an infection that ended up being mrsa. It was on her leg and at first we thought it was an ant bite. Her pediatrician asked me if anyone in the family has been to a hospital recently. I started crying and said yes, me! I felt awful, but come to find out I had tested negative for mrsa in a test I had taken a few days before we discovered her infection. So it wasn’t me-but who knows how she got it. Luckily she was all cleared up before school started (pre-school). I think the stitches look cute on her 😉

Tomorrow I meet with my radiologist and hopefully finalize what type of surgery I’m getting. That’s another thing that has been emotionally draining as I try and decipher all the information and make the right decision. More on that later. Next Wednesday will be my last treatment…..yea!!!!! Then I will have a month of nothing which is kinda scary. At least with chemo there is something actively fighting the sucker. Surgery will be scheduled in October. Prayers, prayers, prayers.

August 29, 2013
/

Taxol-Day 3

Posted in Treatment by

Since there are followers that are really close to my treatment schedule I wanted to make sure I add my update on my experience with Taxol. For those about to have their first treatment let me just say- it is much easier on the body than A/C.  I did experience a few side effects. One side effect I have is Peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling of the hands and feet). This annoyance makes things like opening a water bottle or buttoning a shirt extremely difficult. Day 2: To say that I successfully survived a birthday party at  Chuck-E-Cheese this Saturday is a bigger deal than you think. However, that was pretty much my one activity of the day. The rest of the day was spent lounging at home with the fam.  I’ve been in such a good mood that I sometimes think people don’t believe me when I tell them how good I’ve actually been feeling (aside from the fatigue).

Then I have a moment. Ugh.

Saturday night, in the middle of watching a movie- I lost it.  No warning sign, no dramatic set of events, just a harsh reality of what’s going on….I have cancer. But within a minute of releasing the tears I was surrounded by a seahorse, bear, princess doll and who knows what other stuffed animal. Gianna wanted to “make me happy” so she grabbed a bunch of her stuffed animals and surrounded me with them.  I heard her tell my sister, “we have to make Mommy happy”. Her sincerity and innocence was indescribable. She was comforting me by rubbing my arm and adorning me with her favorite stuffed animals.

On to day 3.

Today is day 3 and the peripheral neuropathy has gotten better.  I did feel some weird shooting sensations in my legs, but nothing too bad. As always, I limit myself to one activity a day.  So today we had party. We decorated the kitchen, made appetizers, dinner, more snacks and my sister baked a cake. Gianna said it was the best party ever :-). Mr. J looked at us like we were crazy but he was still invited to the party.

Overall, Taxol has been much easier to handle than A/C. I know everyone is different so I hope this is the same for you all. On A/C I could actually FEEL the toxicity of the drug. Glad I’m done with that drug.

Three more treatments to go.

My monkey that Justin won me at a fair. Its turned out to be one of my "comforting" things. This is one of the animals Gianna brought me during my breakdown.

My monkey that Justin won me at a fair. Its turned out to be one of my “comforting” things. This is one of the animals Gianna brought me during my breakdown.

July 28, 2013
/