Monday, December 31, 2012

Viewers Needed

I hope this post finds you well on New Years of Eve.
I have a request that may seem all too simple for some which have been blogging for quite a while, but I would like to see my viewership increase. I know that I cannot expect a whole lot being that it is a tiny piece of my heart and brooches a subject that not everyone is comfortable with hearing. I first started this little thing as an information train for my family and friends. Finding out you have been diagnosed is horrible then to have to tell people is another. Everyone wants to hear your condition and prognosis and I was just not up for telling the stories over and over again. I thought this would be better.

Then after Chemo started and I found different side affects and I had to look them up, I came across some great sites that help and great information that might just help someone in your list of family and friends. Let me tell you when going through Chemo there is just about nothing you will not try to stop some of the side effects.

I want this to be a place where others want to comment. Please if you blogg, message me suggestions to make it better. I am not saying I won't contact you to ask you to help me figure out especially while I have Chemo brain! I want to be fun, informative, shocking to some extent and a place where I can bear my heart and you can too. I want links of wonderful sites i have found to help me get through this all.

So my proposal. I will be sharing this on FaceBook, Google+1, and email. I have a goal to have 100 viewers join by January 5. I think this could be done. Anyone joining now till midnight of that night is eligible for a homemade gift sent by me to the person coming the longest way away! Just be sure after you join, post at the bottom of this post a note to me. I will message you for your address.  Another gift will go out to those who go on an read some of my past posts since October of this year. You will need to leave a message under the post that you had read it. There will be a drawing for several small gifts to those who read the most. This again, the deadline is midnight January 5th.
Happy Reading! And share, share, share!

The onset of Menopause due to Chemo


Chemotherapy Treatment for Breast Cancer (cont.)

How Will Chemotherapy Affect My Menstrual Cycle?
Cancer and its treatment will undoubtedly cause many changes in your life. One change you may experience from chemotherapy is alterations in your menstrual cycles - from irregular periods to the symptoms of menopause (the end of menstruation).
Experts don't fully understand all of chemotherapy's effects on the female reproductive system, but this article will begin to answer some of the questions you may have, including:
  • How does chemotherapy cause or contribute to the development of menopause?
  • Will chemotherapy affect my ability to get pregnant?
  • What are the symptoms of menopause and how can I deal with them?
  • How will I know if the way I am feeling is associated with menopause and not with my treatment, stress, or another factor?
  • What are some other conditions related to menopause?
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a normal stage in a woman's life. The term menopause is commonly used to describe any of the changes a woman experiences either before or after she stops menstruating. As menopause nears, the ovaries produce less estrogen, causing changes in the menstrual cycle and other physical changes.
Technically, menopause is the end of the reproductive phase of a woman's life, when the ovaries no longer produce eggs and she has her last menstrual cycle. The diagnosis of menopause is not confirmed until a woman has not had her period for six consecutive months.
How Does Chemotherapy Influence The Onset Of Menopause?
During chemotherapy, women may have irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea (disappearance of menstrual periods). Some medications used in chemotherapy may also cause damage to the ovaries, resulting in menopausal symptoms or menopause.
Menopause triggered by chemotherapy may be immediate or delayed, permanent or temporary. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately determine how or when chemotherapy or other cancer treatments will affect your menstrual cycle.
However, menopause is rarely a sudden response to chemotherapy. When treatments begin, you may notice some menopausal symptoms, but usually the symptoms are delayed for several months after treatment is started. This is natural. Menopausal symptoms may last for years after treatment is completed.
The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, emotional changes, changes in the vagina, sexuality changes, and weight gain.

Will My Menstrual Flow Be Different After Chemotherapy?
Menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman. Some women may experience less frequent cycles than they had prior to chemotherapy. They may skip a period or increase the number of days between periods. Other women may have more frequent periods.
Some women may not experience a change in the length of their menstrual cycles but the flow pattern may be different than it was before treatment (the number of days or amount of flow may diminish or the flow may be heavier). Mixed patterns are also common: some women may have shorter menstrual cycles with heavier bleeding, or infrequent cycles with many days of a very high flow.
Even though periods tend to be irregular around the time of menopause, it is important to be aware of bleeding that is not normal for you. It is very important to call your physician if you ever have very heavy bleeding that is associated with weakness or dizziness.
Will My Periods Return After Chemotherapy?
Many premenopausal women retain or recover ovarian function and their periods return after treatment is completed. Return of ovarian function may depend on the woman's age prior to treatment and the type of medication she received during treatment.
Can I Get Pregnant While I'm Receiving Chemotherapy?
Yes. There is always a chance that you can get pregnant as long as you are menstruating. While on chemotherapy, your menstrual cycle may become irregular. As a result, you may never quite be sure where you are in your menstrual cycle and your period may take you by surprise. Some of your menstrual cycles may be non-egg producing, but you cannot rely on this.
Even if your periods seem to have stopped, you should use a safe and effective method of birth control for at least four to eight weeks after your chemotherapy treatment has ended.

What Is The Safest Type Of Birth Control During Chemotherapy?
A safe and effective contraception (birth control) method is necessary during your treatment. Guidelines for young women undergoing chemotherapy may include the use of barrier contraceptives such as a diaphragm or a condom. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may be acceptable for some women, but are generally not recommended for women with breast cancer.
What Happens If I Get Pregnant While Receiving Chemotherapy?
Becoming pregnant while receiving chemotherapy could result in a complicated pregnancy.
Some chemotherapy medicines to treat breast cancer are safely given during pregnancy.
If you think you might be pregnant, it is important to tell your physician right away so that steps can be taken to ensure the health of you and your baby.
After I've Completed Chemotherapy, How Long Must I Wait Before Trying To Get Pregnant?
Pregnancies after chemotherapy are not uncommon, but need to be planned after you complete treatment. Consult your oncology physician about your plans to get pregnant. In many cases, pregnancy will not influence the return of cancer. But there are situations in which pregnancy should be considered with caution.
If infertility is an issue after your treatment is complete, there are alternative therapies. Discuss your options with your gynecologic doctor.
Are There Risks Of Chromosomal Abnormalities Or Cancer In Children Conceived After Chemotherapy?
No. There is no known risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a woman's children after she has had chemotherapy. There is also no evidence that cancer treatment causes cancer in children conceived after the treatment is complete.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Madeline Joy & Kayleigh Faith

My two beautiful daughters, Kayleigh is 24 and Madeline is 17. I could not go through what I am going through right now without them or their help.

I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to help raise my beautiful granddaughter Phoenix Marie who is 3. Kayleigh and Chris work nights so about 4 nights a week I pick Phoenix up after work and then take her home in the morning before I go to work. Some would think it is a lot of work, but she is so good. She keeps herself occupied with playing with her horses and watching Horseland.

Kayleigh has made other arrangements for her sitter Amy to watch her the nights after my Chemo and Nuelasta injections. I hate it when i can't see her but those few days I am in so much pain, that it would not do her any good to see her Mimi like this,much less there is very little I could do for her at that time. Kayleigh has done very well with helping Phoenix understand that Mimi is sick. She knows that I can no longer pick her up due to the PICC line in my left arm and having biopsies in my right. She knew I would loose my hair, although her concern was more that it would make me a boy and not a girl Mimi.
Kayleigh also fixes me meals during the week which is nice to know my kid does know how to cook!

Madeline being 17 still has to carry on with school. She is an A student and takes 2 college classes along with playing volleyball and basketball. Not to mention all her darling friends who keep in touch with me by Facebook, text, or coming over. And her boyfriend of over 2 years Lance. They cook for me over the weekends. Madeline also cleans the house. Going above and beyond, she came home after my first Neulasta injection and found me laying doubled over the toilet in utter pain. She got a hot bath ready, undressed her mother, and put her in the tub, remember I have about 70 pounds on this little girl! She made me squeeze her hand every time the pain came, asking me to breathe like I was in labor. She dressed me and put me to bed with a heating pad.

As a mother this is not what you want for your children. Its not what you want your children to remember about their childhood. Yes, i agree after taking care of my father it made me stronger, a much stronger person. But still your children should have the parents to take care of them always.

To my beautiful girls, I owe you both so much gratitude of the grace you have given me these last few months. You have encouraged me and pushed me farther than I could see. I have the best children in the world. I don't know  what I did do to deserve the best but Thank You God for giving me these girls.

The eve of New Years Eve

Upon the eve of New Years Eve, I am looking back through the year as we all do.
So much has happened and I am still reeling from most of it. Trying to prepare for a wedding that was to have happened, postponed until this dreadfulness leaves me, and the worst words you could possibly hear, You have Cancer. Yes, everything has seen to taken a back seat to this last one. It is as if my life has been put on hold. The doctor told me this week, after the chemo treatments and then radiation and starting the hormone therapy, they would not even test me again, to see if all the cancer is gone until it has been about a year. 
When you are faced with looking at days a head and have decisions to make, make them wisely. Use the days wisely. I can tell you living day by day for a year, is not what I would have planned for my life at 43 nor would I for anyone. Yes, I was known to plan maybe a little to much, maybe more organized in some areas than others, but I would trade that all today instead of waiting. Waiting just to know that I am cancer free.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Traveling Pharmacy

* Warning Possible TMI
I decided to take inventory of my bag tonight. First of all, my beautiful sister Regina got me this incredible bag. It's the must have of all chemo patients. (ps I had to be the envy of all the others at my first session while covered in my black and white patterned throw while they took their cocktails under sterilized white hospital blankets!)

The items listed are not at all what I had originally intended to fill my bag. I read my "chemo bible" and stocked up on individual servings of peanut butter, crackers, apple sauces, and bottled water along with the great blank book and glittery pen my sister got me to jot down notes to my doctor when I think of them. Instead I keep adding to this bag (thank God it's big!) as the days progress. Now I am trying to fight off the flu, thanks to some freak. So i have to take ibuprofen and monitor my temperature. 100.5 is considered urgent to chemo patients. So without further adue, see my packing list!

Hydrocodone 325 mg every 1-2 hours
Potassium CL 10 meq    1 a day
Dexamethadone 4 mg  on days 2 and 3 of chemo each session
Ondansetron HCL 8 mg every 8 hours for nausea
Prochlosperazine 10 mg every 6 hours for nausea
Ibuprofen 200 mg as needed 
Ranitidine 75mg after meals for heartburn 
Blistix deep renewal - for extremely dry lips
salt water/ baking soda rinse for sores in mouth
Digital thermometer
Purell sanitizing gel
Benadryl creme for the numerous rashes rashes all over my body
Vaseline for dry lips
ayr saline for sores in my nose
Ginger, Honey, Lemon chews for nausea
Dulcolax 5 mg (no explanation needed)
Vitamin C 500 mg 2 a day to get rid of this flu crap
Walzan 150 mg to help me keep from itching
One a Day Vita Craves 2 a day vitamins
Lubriderm Daily SPF 15 applied daily because I live in Amarillo
Rose oil & baby oil spray (I made myself) skin very dry due to chemo

Monday, December 10, 2012


Neulasta is the shot that is given 24 hours after chemo treatment. This has been very painful for me, even more so than my fibromyalgia. The video and information below is really great and better helps one to understand about cancer and white blood cells.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8, 2012

Greetings from my bedside. My oh so soft bed is not so soft today. But I am surrounded by love- Splode the chichi, Nebo the my rescue kitty, and Lil Butt Maddy's new baby. All faithful and loyal laying at my feet.

Not sure where I should start, at the chemo or the pain I am in now and why I am writing from my bed. Guess I will back up, but spare you all gory and boring details.

The meeting with my surgeon was good. No more surgery! He said he took enough (5 cm by 4 cm! ). Where they are to take out a centimeter around the tumor, mine was cancerous. So he had to go a centimeter beyond that. Within that margin there was a trace a cancer. They can only hope that chemo will kill it. That is where HOPE comes into play in all your cancer lingo and slogans. I asked why we would not do a PET or CAT scan if they feel that cancer cells are floating throughout my body and they said that they are so microscopic they would have to first attach themselves to something and multiply to be seen. There again it is only HOPE it doesn't happen. They can only apply a chemo/ radiation regime that has worked for others in the past, and again HOPE. 

Chemo lasted from 11 am until about 5 before all was said and done. After they checked my blood count, etc, they gave me nausea meds through the PICC line then started the first bag of chemo.  I am weakling, I got sick. They had to give me Adovan so basically I slept through the 2nd bag. A big thank you to Amy who sat there and watched me sleep in phase 2. But she did her job and made me laugh and tried to make me forget why I was there in phase I. (loves Amy!)

They warned me I really will not feel the effects unitl days 3 or 4 all the way through days 11 or so. The day you receive chemo is day zero. I am now day 3. No nausea, but I have developed a rash on my thigh, normal, but Benedryl is not cutting it.  However so far the toughest part is the drug they give you the day after. It is a drug that makes your bone marrow produce platelets.  They warned it would hurt, and they are not kidding. It worse than day I have suffered with my fibromyalgia. Dr. Reddy said not to be a hero and take my Hydrocodone, do I have taken 3 doses today, that's how bad it is. I cannot sit still. You can literally feel it moving in your bones and you feel them twinge.  It is freakish, it makes me want to punch the area when I feel a twinge.  One lady told me to take a long hot soak my whole body. That would be nice but I have this great PICC line that I can't get wet, so I put minimal water in the tub (believe me I will not be the cause of the PICC line if it fails!)

Today I had my class with Texas Tech. They have a group they are studying of women surviving Breast Cancer. They were able to get me in and I am so happy to be apart of something so huge. They are teaching women the 6 stages of change when faced with a diagnoses of Breast Cancer.  Our group is the first study of its kind to launch the start of national and international seminars funded by Texas Tech. It was so worth my time with the women I met today. Each were in a different phase of treatment from someone who had her second surgery two weeks ago with 32 lymph nodes removed up to a 19 year survivorI learned a lot about myself and why I feeling the way I was feeling and trying to cope with this all. Just like the various stages of love and various stages of grief there are various stages of change and to understand this helps us deal better in all situations.

I have an appointment on Wednesday, it is just for Dr. Reddy to see how I have adjusted to chemo, check for rashes, and then schedule my next round which should be just before or just after Christmas. Oh yea! Lucky me! Guess I will be eating lots of mashed potatoes for Christmas!

Love to you all. Miss all my family and friends, please stay well. Send emails and pics to keep in your loop please, I miss you all so much!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012

    This is me and Nebo*, I'm sporting my new Cabela's cap. This is not just any cap, it's a special cap. It is lined with fleece to keep my soon to be (micro-mini haircut tomorrow) bald head warm.
    Also what makes it so special is because it was given to me by my sister Regina, brother-in-law Steve, and the worlds best two nephews Hayden and Jaxon. I requested a Cabela's cap when I first found out I was going to have chemo for two reasons. One because I love the Cabela brand (unpaid endorsement!). Second it reminds me of my time in Lockhart with my family.
   After my divorce my sister said "you need to move home". Home? Lockhart was not my home, and I did not want to move back to Brownwood and bad memories from Abilene still linger. She explained I needed to come home to family. She was right. What little family I had there, she, Steve and the boys and my cousin Tim and his beautiful family, turned into a bigger family when we attended church at Lockhart Church of Christ (miss you all so much!) and I worked at Southpark Village apartments. 
    Our Sunday ritual after getting out of church was to eat some bbq from Chisholm Trail then we would drive to Buda to Cabelas. They have everything sporting!  They have an aquarium. This was Hayden's favorite place to go. We used to joke that when Hayden goes on his very first date (many, many, many, many years from now!) that would be where he would take the girl. I do not know how many hours we could spend walking through there, or how many hours Steve and Gina still do! Those are very special memories for me. Watching the fish with Hayden, shopping the Bargain Cave with Gina, and practicing at the indoor shooting range next to Steve. 
Gina, I have another request.... a Cabela's slumber party!!!! Do you think they would let us have a slumber party in the store??? I could get my girls here and we could have a road trip to Buda to meet everyone. We could dress in Cabela's jammies, cook Cabela's food on a Coleman (maybe not!), sleep in the tents setup upstairs! We could play hide n seek! ( I already have a list of hiding places started!).
Ok, this post ran a lot longer than I expected. As you see it is ode to family!
Gina, Steve, Hayden, and Jaxon, I love you each. Gina you are my rock. Steve thank you for building us a wonderful family. Hayden and Jaxon you are Aunt Kimmie's boys, your smiles warm my heart and every story I can get about you from Mom and Dad makes me love you even more.
Love you all. 

*Nebo is my rescue cat I have had for a while now. He was rescued first by the Pampa Fire Department in an abandoned house fire, then rescued by PAWS of Pampa from the Pampa Humane Society the day he was to be put down. When I got him he was 5.8 pounds. He now weighs over 14 lbs! He is my guardian, watching over me when I sleep and guards the house while I am at work.