Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When Chemotherapy Goes Bad

Today I had my first chemotherapy treatment.  It almost killed me.  But before I tell you about that I will start with yesterday when I had a port surgically placed in my chest.

The day started with chemo class where I learned about the side effects of chemo.  This information may have saved my life today.
Before surgery my family said I looked like a Blue Bonnet or a Blue Sunflower.
After surgery I had a allergic reaction to the something they had put on my neck.  The nurse put this heated blanket around my head. When they rolled me into my room my husband thought I looked so funny that he just had to snap this picture. 

In this picture you can see the port in my chest and you can also see the red rash on my neck, itchy itchy. 
They started my chemo session around 12 noon. 
For the first 45 minutes they gave me nausea medication, benedryl, and Xantax.

A friend had given me this Holding Cross.  It was very comforting to hold the cross.
I also wore my BFF braclet so my "Best Friend Forever" would be there with me.
My husband, my mother and her friend were all there supporting me. 

The first chemo chemical that they gave me was Taxotere.  Once it was started I sent my husband to get a prescription filled for nausea medicine.  My mother was in the waiting room.  About 5 minutes after the chemo started dripping I couldn't breath and my heart started beating out of my chest. I knew from what I had learned in class that I needed a nurse immediately.  There was no family there to get a nurse.  Thankfully a nurse walked by and I yelled at her.

At this point my face flushed bright red.  It felt like it was on fire.  Then my back started hurting, a little at first then I had very severe back pain.  The nurse stopped the chemo drip and gave me an injection of steroids.  My blood pressure was very low then it went extremely high. 

I actually thought I was going to die.
I was back to normal in about 20 minutes.

Prayer works. 

My oncologist checked on me several times during this episode.  She said I had a severe reaction to the Taxotere which is very unusual.  We are going to try again the first week in October with some other combination of chemicals.

They let me go home once my blood pressure was stabilized.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Until next time,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Great State Fair of.....OKLAHOMA

Yesterday I went to the State Fair.  I love the fair even though it is about the same every year.  Attending the fair is one of our family traditions that was started when I was a young child.

There were only 3 of us yesterday.  My oldest daughter is on the left, her partner is in the center and I am on the right.  Thank you Cox Communication for providing this picture.

I hope to take my grandkids to the fair next weekend but I will have to see how chemotherapy goes.

We get to the fair as soon as it opens and we ALWAYS start with a huge cinnamon roll with buttercreme icing.  I did share this one with my kids.

The Native Americans are a big part of Oklahoma and we celebrate their heritage. 

These were new at the fair this year.  They are Garden Sloggers and oh my goodness, they are so comfortable.  They say a lot of nurses wear these since they are waterproof.  I will be using them to stomp around in the garden.    They are made in Canton Texas so "Made in America" woohoo!!  They cost $35 so if you are interested in a pair here is their website.  They have 5 color choices. 

Health Update:  I found out Friday that I will have surgery on Tuesday to put the port in my chest.  I had no idea it was a surgery.  I thought it was like an IV and they just poked it into your chest and you went on your merry way.  I am learning so much right now. 

On Friday I colored my hair for the last time until it grows back in.  Yes, I color my hair.  I always have.  I think my hair is a mousy dishwater blonde but who would know...not me!  You better believe that if it comes back in gray it will not be that way for

Until next time,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chemotherapy Begins...YUCKY

First off, totally unrelated to my topic, the Oklahoma State Fair starts today.  I love the fair, my family loves the fair.  And just as predicted the high today will be 62 degrees and rainy.  This is truly great fair weather.  The next 2 Saturdays I will be at the fair with my family. I can't wait.

Now for the YUCKY part.  Yesterday I received a call from my oncologist asking me to come into her office to meet with her.  That is usually not a good sign.  If it was good news she would have told me over the phone. 

My Absynnian Banana is about 6 foot tall.  It likes the shade. I must throw in a few pictures to keep this blog 

My Oncotype DX test results were in.  Oncotype DX is a diagnostic breast cancer test that looks at the activity in 21 different genes in my breast tumor tissue.  The test measures the chances of my breast cancer returning and the likelihood of my benefiting from chemotherapy.

I scored a 23 on the test.  The scale runs from 1 to 100 with 50 and above being the worst case.  I thought a 23 was very good but it is considered marginal.  My doctor recommended that I take chemotherapy but the decision was left up to me.  She said there are no guarantees with any of these treatments.  The cancer may return even if I take chemotherapy and radiation.  Also the cancer may never return even if I don't take chemotherapy.  It's a roll of the dice.

I planted my miniature banana in the ground this year (verses leaving it in a pot).  It loves being out of that pot!  It has produced bananas in the past that I could eat. 

I talked to my husband.  I made the decision to take chemotherapy.  If the cancer were to return at least we both would have a peace of mind that we did everything possible to prevent it.  So again I am thinking about losing my hair and all the other horrible side effects that come with this treatment.

The chemo cocktail that I will be taking is a combination of Cytoxan and Taxotere.  I will take 6 treatments, one every 3 weeks ending sometime in January.  Then I will start 6 weeks of radiation.

This cocktail causes 5% of the patients to develop leukemia.  Hopefully I will be part of the 95% that it doesn't effect. 

In the next week I will have a port inserted into my chest.  This should help save the veins in my left arm.  Since I had lymph nodes removed in my right underarm I can never have blood drawn or blood pressure taken in that arm again. 

I have chemo class next Tuesday then chemotherapy starts on Wednesday September 21. 

Please remember that I am putting all of this information into my blog for my own reference and for anyone else that might be interested in my journey or is going through the same treatments. 

I am not usually a "Debbie Downer" but I plan on documenting this whole process on my blog.  Never ever feel obligated to leave a comment.  I promise this will NOT become a depressing blog. 

The saying in our family is "It's All Good".   

Thanks everyone for caring. 
Until next time,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

100 Degrees Again?

What is up with this weather?

I took this picture of our local weather man on September 1.  At that time I thought we were at the end of the hottest summer ever.....BUT it was 104 degrees at my house.

BUT the State Fair of Oklahoma starts on Thursday which means rain and cooler weather is coming.   The weathermen are forecasting rain for Thursday.  It is so funny that it rains every year during the fair. 

It has been a while since I posted any pictures of my cats.  Today Nosey will be my model.

Behind Nosey (where the blue garden hose is) used to be nice green grass.
  It has all burned up in the heat. 
Guess I didn't use that blue garden hose enough.
And you can tell Nosey is sitting in a dry birdbath.  No birds for her today!!

She is sitting on top of the grandkids playground set, about 8 foot high.  She has a very good view of the garden from here. 

That's all for now.  Until next time,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monarchs Are Here

Today I was working in the garden and Oh My Goodness, there were Monarch butterflies everywhere.

I plan to get back to my normal blogging theme with health updates thrown in here and there.

Right now I am in a holding pattern like this Monarch.  The doctors haven't decided where I should land.
Last week I was tattooed for radiation.  Radiation was to start this week.
Then I found out I must take chemo before radiation if in fact I need chemo.

We are waiting for a test result that was ordered 3 weeks ago.  It looks like insurance slowed down the authorization process for the test but it has been approved.  This test will tell us if I need to take chemotherapy. 

I hope to land on that beautiful flower soon and I sure hope that flower is called radiation.  If it turns out to be chemo then I will have landed on a ugly

Until next time,