Monday, July 15, 2013

Coping, when the physical storm has quieted...

but things grow inside not only the body but in the mind.

I haven't written for a while. I've been in a place that I haven't been able to really figure out.

I've healed from surgeries. I've been back at work consistently (part time). I'm even back at the gym (hoorah, time to loose some weight!). I've felt so strange though, ever since surgery. At first I thought it was just my friend moving away, but my mental anguish only increased. My body too, is not the same. My doctors tell me that the things that I am feeling are all due to menopause. Instead of gradually moving into it as other women do, I was thrown smack down into the heart of it by having my surgery. I was dealing with the hot flashes, but I had this horrible insomnia. So, being already sad, and then not sleeping, kept me in a constant circle of what can only be described as depression I guess. I kept denying it, how could I possibly be depressed when I'm given a continued gift of life for now? I felt sort of like a completely ungrateful jerk being depressed when I still get to wake up every day to this beautiful world. Even knowing that, I couldn't help it. Last month I was crying all the time. Everything overwhelmed me. Anyone who really knows me knows how much I hate to cry...I've always been sort of ashamed of crying, like I was being weak. It scared me too- I know how much strength it takes to live with cancer and continually keep it at bay, and I was scared that crying was going to harm me. There was nothing I could do though. Its so weird to knowingly acknowledge something unusual happening, but not be able to do anything about it. So, my oncologist said it was time for me to start taking an anti-depressant. They not only help with my mental state, but also reduce hot flash symptoms.

So, things have been slowly getting easier to handle, mentally. I sleep more because the hot flashes at night have gotten much more infrequent.

I did have to start taking another pill though- an aromatase inhibitor. Basically without ovaries, my body stopped producing 98% of the estrogen in my body. But, your adrenal glands produce the last two percent. Unfortunately this percentage is enough to be dangerous, so I have to take these pills that are supposed to shut down that production. The side effects are a bummer though... I have a higher risk of bone density loss, I have a bunch of joint pain (especially in my hands), I have increased fatigue (which is also a side effect of my antidepressants), and menopause side effects in general are increased.

Its funny the things you have to go through... You have to decide what is worth it. Quality of life...
I'm still learning to deal with all of this stuff. This blog entry is sort of rough, I wonder how many people have made it through, haha.

I'm learning, trying, to look at each day and each day only. No backwards or forwards. Just today. Today, I'm grateful. I woke up to a day of sunlight, saw my parents (my angels), spent time with my beloved babies Pierre, Biko, and Elvis, and I know that I will see my sweet husband in a couple hours. I am grateful for life. It is very easy to take it for granted, to take those that you love for granted. Unfortunately it takes something crazy shitty for you to see sometimes... I spent alot of time in my life being ungrateful and regretful. No more.

Thank you for life. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my babies. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for the light, the air, the love, the joy...

I'm going to try harder to be brave again. I know its the changes in my body that are affecting my mind and I will find my way back to being a warrior.

Love,
Linds

Sunday, May 5, 2013

30 Days Post Surgery - Ups and Downs

Hey all,

The month of April was definitely a crazy month for me. On April 3rd I had my lumpectomy and then April 5th I had my ovaries removed. Having two surgeries in one week was pretty crazy, but it is good to know that it is over with.

Let me start out by saying that pathology results showed that my cancer wasn't actually growing. The MRI had been changing probably because of scar tissue and effects of my infusion treatments. I'm still very glad that we chose the more aggressive route of removing the cancer and my ovaries. Pathology on the ovaries showed no evidence of cancer, which rules. So, I'm super happy to know that my medicine is working at keeping the cancer down.

Surgeries weren't too bad... I was able to get up and moving pretty much the next day after the ovary surgery. I did my best to do what I called "Zombie-ing" up and down the street. I walked slightly hunched over, extraordinarily slowly, back and forth, for as long as I could, every day. Eventually the pace quickened, my posture improved, and I was going on legit walks with my dad after a few weeks.

I'm sort of having some issues now, a month out. I think I pushed myself a little too fast and I seem to have re-injured something somewhere in my stomach...They think somewhere around my rectal sheath (muscles that run down the front of your stomach). I'm having an ultrasound tomorrow to see if anything can be seen. My oncologist, and aunt (who is a nurse) and myself all thought that extreme rest was a good idea. So, although I had been back at work the last two weeks, I had to take off again. I've been on super couch rest since Thursday. My stomach is feeling ok, but I know that as soon as I go to lift something or move to quickly, I'll pull whatever I hurt again. Whether its torn internal stitches, or a pulled muscle, the pain was really bad so hopefully this period of resting will help it heal. I'm also having some sort of issue with possibly an allerigic reaction to something around my incision sites...so we shall see.

I'm having a hard time lately though. I've been having good news, and I hope these issues I'm currently having are minor, but the hardest thing I've been dealing with lately is having a friend who had to move. Its funny I feel like I'm in third grade all over again or something. My surgeon's PA, Leah, has been one of the most important people in the world to me. I don't think I would have the same attitude and strength about this whole thing if I hadn't have met her. She was there from the beginning, explaining my diagnoses to me and helping with the millions of questions. She knew how to bring a sense of calm. She brought reiki into my life from the time chemo started until she moved a couple weeks ago. She held my hand before surgeries and came with me into the operating room so the last thing I would see would be a friend. She took time out of her life to come to my house every day after surgery to give me blood thinner shots. She brought yoga back into my life. She is this incredible person, AMAZING friend, brilliant girl... Reiki, and her presence and friendship, I truly believe were huge parts in my recovery. I am sort of scared now that she is gone. I mean, not gone, she just moved back to her home town for an amazing job opportunity and for family, which is awesome... I feel sort of selfish being so sad about it. But... Anyway.. I've blathered on about this. I just think that facing this without her so close is going to make it much harder.

Anyway, if I was going to talk about anything else I've forgotten it by now. See, I'm not always tough.

Love,
Linds

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ovaries Today, Gone Tomorrow

This is sort of a hard one to write, but I sort of feel the need to write about it. At least something short, cause its almost 10pm and I have to be at the hospital at 5:30am.

I lose a part of me tomorrow that is a huge part of what makes a woman a woman. You can't see them, but come on, our ovaries do so much. More than for just having children...

I have this scary surgery tomorrow, and I'm going to wake up and nothing will be the same. 29 and in menopause. I'm not sure exactly what that means yet, because I know it is different for everyone, but its not something you expect to deal with. I guess you never expect to deal with anything that I'm dealing with at 29, but, hey, its the cards I was dealt. I'm still in the game.

I'm scared.
Probably the most I have been so far.

But when I get in bed, I'll meditate, i'll try to go to bed with a positive head, I'll listen to very relaxing music, i'll hold Nic's hand, and I'll ask for everything to go well tomorrow.

I guess this post isn't as "chin up" as usual, but you can't always be that way. I feel like i'm allowed to mourn my ovaries.


As far as my boob goes, i've got this super big wound, and I don't even think i'll mind the scar. Battle scars, cause I'm fighting. It doesn't hurt too too bad. I would have liked to have taken the ibuprofen regimen given to me, but I couldn't since this second surgery popped up so quickly (per my request...just didn't anticipate two days later hahaa).

The cats have been hilarious and they make me smile. Everyone who loves me and knows me knows how important they are to me. My family have been amazing throughout it all, but of course especially so during healing times. My honeypoo Nic is the best. He's gotta bring home the bacon so I don't see him as much as I like, but he is off tomorrow so I get to spend all the time after surgery snuggled with him.

I'm blessed with family (human and kitty alike)

Tomorrow will be ok...

Love,
Linds.

Here is a picture of Pierre and Elvis. Elvis loves shirts. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breast Surgery Today

Hey all-

This will hopefully be a quickie since it is late. I had my lumpectomy today, and so far, its not as painful as I was expecting. I guess I have to wait a little bit to hear from the doctor about the pathology.

What is crazy is that I was supposed to have my ovaries removed at the end of this month, but that seemed quite far away so I asked the surgeon if we could move it up a little. That turned into this FRIDAY. I'm really nervous about this surgery because it is much more invasive. They are planning on doing a laproscopic surgery. Hopefully everything goes as planned, and I am still an outpatient. I have to be intubated though, and I'll be in menopause afterward, and there is just a whole bunch of worry that comes along with being 29 and having your ovaries out. I am out of options, so I'm happy we are making this decision, but it doesn't stop be from being scared.

If you pray, please pray for me on this one. I have a great surgeon though, Dr Abbas at Sinai (he'll be performing the surgery at St. Joes though).

Oh yeah, I have to give myself blood thinner injections in the stomach every day for two weeks after surgery. y i k e s.

Anyway, as soon as I'm feeling up to it after surgery, i'll update everyone.

Love,
Linds

Friday, March 22, 2013

Long Time No Chat, eh?

I've been a bad bad blogger. I got into this routine of doing my best to forget that I have cancer. Impossible, truly, but I tried. There wasn't really much going on other than going to infusions every three weeks. I guess I could have been writing about other things. People may read and find it interesting, or they may not, but at least I'd be active on here.

But hey, I've got action to write about now! Action is never a fun thing to write about in a cancer blog though. So, after some scans, the news is that the cancer is growing back in my breast. I was very scared because we didn't know if that meant it was growing back in the liver too. I had a CT scan on wednesday, and my doctors tell me that it looks the same as from three months ago. That is VERY good news, to I guess soften the blow of the reality- its growing back.

Its growing. That means something they are giving me isn't working. My ONC says that its probably the Tamoxifen (my estrogen blocker). He said that is not always very effective in women with Her2+ breast cancer. So, that means Tamoxifen is out, and a new game plan is in.

I'll be having a lumpectomy of the area that is growing back. I also am going to have my ovaries removed. No ovaries = no estrogen to feed the tumors. Also, being BRCA1, I have a 50% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. Its not the thing you want to hear at 29... menopause, bone density issues, sexual side effects, cholesterol, hot flashes, etc. I believe that this is the only option though. I'm hoping that they can coordinate the surgeries so I can have both procedures done at the same time, but they said there wasn't a big chance of that working out.

The cancer is growing in such a weird spot in my breast...its like near my armpit and deep set. They can't really get a good map from the MRI or the Mammogram (yeah, had my first one of those today...ouch). So... I have to have another freaking biopsy during and MRI so they can put in a metal clip to use to navigate to the site during surgery. To say that I'm super scared is an understatement. My liver biopsy was such an excruciating experience... I'm not looking forward to this. It is supposed to be set for Wednesday... fun fun.

This week had been pretty hard. Pierre has been very sick and I don't know why. We had bloodwork done but I still don't have results because my vet was off, and then sick today. I'm hoping to get results soon. He's been going to the vet for fluids the past few days. His temperature was finally normal today, which makes me feel some relief, but he's still not walking, eating, drinking, or acting normally. I'm praying for him more than anything.

Also, we got a new kitten almost two weeks ago now. He's a real cutie.. no name yet, but hopefully we will agree on one soon. <3

OK, bye for now friends, and I'll leave you with a photo of the little one.
Love,
Linds


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Scan Results and a New Year

Hey All,

Soo... back on the 21st of December ( the same day as Nic's birthday and the apocalypse ), we got the results of my latest scans. Sorry I'm slightly delayed, but the holidays are a crazy time, and I've been trying to get my Meow Match website going again, which has been driving me bananas.

Anyway, so my scans show that currently there is almost no visible cancer. (whee!). The doctors conversed and they agreed that surgery isn't really in the cards for me at the moment because you can't cut out what you can't see. Since I am already stage 4, it doesn't really make sense to go through the double mastectomies currently because, I mean, its already spread, so, it could spread again whether I have my boobs or not. So I'm pretty stoked that right now I don't have to worry about having surgery. I am extremely grateful to my doctors, medicine, my family, love, positivity, all of the prayers, reiki, the awesome food my mom has been feeding me... everything works together.

I'm not out of the woods, unless they come up with some new amazing drugs or cures, I'll never be out of the woods. But I've found a sunny patch for the moment and I'm going to enjoy it :) I'm trying to work more on my business, i'm going to see if I can get some of my products in stores as well as get ecommerce up and going on my website (pain in the butt).

I still go for infusions every few weeks for my targeted drugs, and they've added Tamoxifen into the mix to help block the estrogen. Hopefully these drugs keep working for me for a long time. There are no crystal balls though, no guarantees.

Its important to appreciate all of those amazing things around you, and all the amazing people in your life.

I am so grateful to everyone who has been by my side, physically or figuratively. The fight definitely isn't over, but we've got good news now, and that rules. Hopefully 2013 is filled with good news :)



I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years!
Love you,
Linds

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

technical difficulties

So, I was trying to edit the post I wrote earlier today, and somehow it deleted the whole thing. I'm not going to sit here and re-write it all, so here is the jist in a bulleted list:

• finished chemo
• waiting to get scans (MRI friday, PET/CT monday)
• will meet with oncologist and liver surgeon after scans and discuss surgery/dates
• still get infusions with my targeted drugs, but I feel way better after those now since there isn't any chemo

and that is about it!

oh, and I finished with this painting I created last night of one of the best internet cats around, Grumpy Cat!


ok, i hope everyone is having a beautiful day
love,
Linds