Randomness

Ha, so, I was going to update this blog regularly…and then chemo started and I got so sick I ended up taking a couple months off of work, and I just couldn’t handle blogging.

I have now done 16 rounds of chemo from February to July, then on July 25th I had a bilateral mastectomy. I then had a second surgery to remove a cancerous lymph node that didn’t get removed during my full axillary dissection (long story, that one). I then had another surgery because my incision on that side got irritated from procedure #2 and decided to open.

I’m doing okay mentally, but in some ways I’m still barely keeping my head above water. I might blog about it more once things settle down.

Right now though, I am healing from my third surgery, and feeling very stir crazy. I’m starting to think about our house again, and projects I want to do around here. I’m working out scheduling for work and kids and everything else during my next 7 weeks of radiation. I’m feeling a little panicky because this is the calendar they gave me and holy heck that’s a lot of appointments all on its own:

And that’s just October. Sob. I’ll be going through November 21st. It could be way worse! But yeah, it’s a lot.

On the positive side, I’m escaping to the gulf for a couple days soon with my husband – I’ve never been and seeing the Gulf of Mexico is a bucket list item for me, so I can’t wait! My kids are all doing well in school, I feel like I’m finally getting my brain back and that I’m able to focus during work again, and oh! I have hair again:

So yeah! That’s a super short version of the last, oh, 9 months. Hahaha.

Funding a Cure

Thisssss.

If you want a good charity to donate to for breast cancer research, check out https://www.metavivor.org/ or https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/

No Half Measures

Those of you who read my blog know that I’m living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Before my diagnosis, even though my mom is a survivor of breast cancer, I was astonishingly ignorant about breast cancer and trials and drugs and so many things that now occupy my entire life. I look back and am a little perplexed why I wasn’t more interested inlearning more, in understanding more about genetics and how I might be affected. Coping mechanism, I suppose.

Now that I am immersed in the world of metastatic breast cancer, the more I learn, the more I’m enraged.

It pisses me off that breast cancer has become a brand in the US.

Like really pisses me off.

I often grill people about where funds go when I see something pink. I’m sure some of them might recover at some point. Being under cross examination is not…

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Waiting, Testing and Productivity

So since my last post, I’ve seen more doctors and gotten more tests back. (And my cats are getting really tired of how much I’m out of the house. They are used to me home a lot because I work from home. Remus decided to take matters into his own hands, er, paws, and sit on my shoes last week to keep me from going out again.)

The biggest information that we now have is that my particular cancer is “hormone receptor positive”. This mean it grows in response to estrogen and progesterone. This article talks a bit more about it.

We are unfortunately still waiting to find out if my cancer is HER2+ or not. The first test was inconclusive. HER2+ tends to mean the cancer will be more aggressive and fast growing, so that’s not great, but there are meds they can give that directly focus on “shutting off” HER2 in your body – so I’m trying not to worry too much. I should find out today at some point which one it is, and then my oncologist can make some treatment decisions.

Today and tomorrow I am doing a bunch of testing to make sure my heart is healthy enough for all the chemo drugs, and also to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread. I am trying to stay positive. It’s been hard. I’ll be glad once those are done and the results are back. My oncologist assures me that they should send him the results very quickly, at least.

This sign was super comforting while waiting for today’s testing…hahaha! I’m not glowing (yet) though…

Once everything is back and I’m cleared for chemo, I’ll get something called a “port-a-cath”. This is a small item placed in my chest that will be connected to a catheter going into my blood stream. Having the port will mean that I don’t need to be stuck with an IV every time they need blood or to give me chemo meds, so this is a really good thing.

In order to burn time while waiting on all these tests, we have been cleaning and purging. Awhile back we had cleared out our storage unit and had placed a bunch of the boxes, our old crib, and a few other random assorted items like that into our loft so I could sort through them. We needed to move my office space up into the loft again (we had moved it down to a more central area of the house, but I don’t want it there while I will be in and out of work) and also get our loft set up for having guests in and out. We are now about 90% of the way there overall – and the loft is 95% clean – so yay!

We also watched the live action filming of Rent last night. I loved parts of it, was meh on other parts. Anyone else watch it? What were your thoughts?

Or actually, cancer

Also known as, one of the suckiest ways ever to restart a blog.

On January 1st, I found a lump in my breast. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. I had been feeling weird all day, which may or may not have been connected, I don’t know. Went to change after getting home from a family event and looked in the mirror to try to figure out why that area felt “off”, and there was a divot with a lump under it.

I gave it a couple days but I think deep down I knew it wasn’t going away. Saw my primary on the 7th, mammogram and ultrasound on the 8th, they determined I needed a biopsy. I didn’t realize the extent of how bad it was until I got the ultrasound report on Friday the 10th:

I won’t lie, I pretty much fell apart. I called out of work and spent about an hour crying, then started cleaning my house in that frantic “I need to control something” way. It was…fun.

Saw the surgeon Monday the 14th, had the biopsy Monday the 15th. Genetics testing on Thursday the 17th, because you’re not supposed to get breast cancer in your mid thirties, and now some family history is suddenly making everyone wonder. Initial biopsy results did show that the lump was malignant. I’ll get the rest of the results today.

I’m still pretty numb, and my brain is not all there – I keep making stupid mistakes at work, I am having trouble helping my kids with homework, stuff like that. Overall though, I think we’re all doing about as well as can be expected when something this devastating comes along.

It hasn’t all been bad. My colleagues are being amazing and my friends are super supportive. I feel very lucky to work where I work and to have the friends and family support system that I have around me.

Over the long weekend, we did also escape to Orlando. It was a very low-key trip but we managed to snag last minute reservations at ‘Ohana, and get a not-great-but-still-important-to-me picture in front of the castle in Magic Kingdom:

So yeah. It’s going to be a journey, but I think blogging about it will help, so here we go…

Future Loft DIY Plans

We bought our first house in May 2017. The house we bought is your standard two story home. No basement, but it has a great loft area that serves as a bonus/family room.

The railing in said loft area looks like this:

Our loft railing – from the MLS listing pictures when we bought the house

It’s ugly, barely meets code and has started to wobble. Then, some spindles started falling out. We’ve reinforced them with screws for now, but that’s a very temporary solution and not one that is incredibly safe.

After some discussion, we’ve decided that our first big DIY project in this house is going to be to rip out that railing and replace it with a half wall that contains built in bookcases. We haven’t quite decided if we’ll build the bookcases ourselves, or set half-sized Billy bookcases from IKEA into the space and finish around the bookcases to make them look built-in.

Here’s my incredibly artistic drawing of what I’m thinking…

I know you’re jealous of my drawing skillz.

And a few Pinterest pins with similar ideas to what I’m thinking…

We’ll see how things go, but right now, I’m pretty excited about this particular project.