Friday, January 21, 2011


After several upsetting, stess-filled, and sometimes nightmarish weeks, I feel like I'm back.  
...and I find myself almost afraid to say anything, lest I jinx things. 

I've been pretty verbal about everything going on over the past few months, and each time I get too happy or encouraged, that happy rug just gets yanked right out from under me.  I really hate when that happens...sick of it.  So that whole "jinx" concept keeps creeping into my thinking. 

I've always said that I don't believe in luck and am not superstitious, but maybe I'm wrong.  I think I do have superstition issues.  What is it about humans that we tend to do things like knock on wood, cross our fingers, wear our lucky underpants, or avoid things that might "jinx" us?  What the heck is a jinx, anyway?  I'm a Christian, for goodness sake.  I believe in God, in prayer (not the "Dear Santa"  kind, either), and in how Jesus Christ taught us to live.  Yet I still find myself afraid to say or do certain things in relation to what has happened in the past when I've said or done certain things.

Got that? 

This is how I'm thinking...
I've celebrated a variety of things concerning the treatment of this cancer in earlier blogs...and almost every time I celebrated the "good news", things later went south.  Pride goeth before the fall and all that, I guess.  Over and over that rug has been yanked, so, oddly, I've reached the point of being afraid to say anything.  Now that is superstition, if it's anything.

I've had so many twists and turns along this journey over these past 6 months, and almost all of them have been negative.  I am more comfortable being positive and optimistic, so in light of these past twists and turns, I find myself feeling more comfortable in silence.  I am not comfortable with the negative, to put it lightly.

It brings to mind the days when my boys were babies and I would, ever so carefully, put them to bed and then tiptoe out of the room, trying to be as silent and stealthy as possible.  Or maybe a better analogy is that of waking a sleeping giant. NOT wake up this giant.

Right now, I feel great (until chemo next week), have been healing nicely from surgery, am eating healthier than I've ever eaten, am enjoying daily walking and talking with God (and Cleo), am sleeping well, and am educating myself on every possible thing I can do to beat triple negative breast cancer.  That's a lot of positive and, I admit, I feel slightly uneasy in putting those good things in print.  Please let this rug stay right where it is.  No more falling down.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, kind words, and unlimited love.  That is one thing that has always been positive.  You all are the best and there is nothing that can change that!  Praise God!

Oh, and...

Knock on wood.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

This New Chemo is NO FUN (not that that's possible)

It's funny how this time last week seems like a decade ago.  Years.  Ages.

I am a different person than I was then.  Sickly and weak and dizzy and sometimes queasy.  I don't like this version of Patti, in fact, I'm sick of her.

I had my first round of my newest chemotherapy regimen on Tuesday at Highland's Oncology.  That evening I felt pretty normal and was so happy that I had not been given that bag of Benadryl that came with my three previous (and failed) rounds of TAC.  This round meant I spent 8.5 hours at the clinic with my precious son, Sean, my chemo buddy.  This was his first experience and his first observation was something to the effect of, "This makes me think of 'Breaking Bad'".  He was a great companion and didn't grumble once as our day lasted much longer than we thought it would.  He waited on me when needed and was all around great company.  I love that boy.

During this round I was given what seemed like endless bags of fluid, including Zometa (for bones), Emend (for nausea), Gemcitabine (for cancer), Cisplatin (for cancer), and plenty of saline before and after to flush things out (since Cisplatin can possibly damage kidneys).  I think there were other things thrown in there, but I can't recall what.

This was similar to the regimen recommended by Dr. Nagourney with Rational Therapeutics, following my tumor profiling back in November, only, apparently, quite a bit stronger.  I went in eager for the big guns and did not hesitate when I learned this would be considerably stronger. 

I held my own until about 10:30 the next day...when the train wreck happened.  Seriously, I was expecting a slow decline into feeling crappy, kinda like I did with the TAC, but no such luck.  Mid morning Wednesday - WHAM!  I went from cleaning the kitchen to, five minutes later, heading for bed and calling for help.  I was rocked with severe chills (as in entire body trembling), major nausea, and complete weakness.  I crawled in bed under my down comforter, fleece blanket, and anything else I could find, and remained there for the day, barf bucket at the ready (which I never had to use - I guess that was the extent of the anti-nausea meds...I kept my food down.) 

Thankfully, between my two sons, someone was here all day.  They were good to check on me frequently and make sure I didn't need anything.  JC later told me he was pretty frightened by the whole thing.  I guess it looked like mom might not make it.  But, of course, I did.  I was taking the Zofran that had been prescribed and later added another anti-nausea med.  By that evening I was running a decent fever and David called my oncology nurse, Shannon (we kept her phone busy that day).  I took some Tylenol and managed to sleep most of the night.

Since then I have not reached the same heights of sickness, but have been consistently weak, feeble, and dizzy (yes, dizzy).  I am counting this as day 4 following chemo and have read that Cisplatin can cause nausea for 5 days or more (Dr. Beck informed me that Cisplatin has been known as excellent nickname for a hideous drug).  Each day I hope will be the last day of this sick feeling and it just seems to be consistently bad...though nothing like Wednesday.  This has to end sometime, right?

Next Thursday I go back for more, though fewer, drugs. Gemcitabine only...should take about 2-3 hours.  I am praying I will be stronger by then and it will affect me much more gently.  I am also praying that my bloodwork comes back decent so they CAN continue this regimen.  As rough as this has been, I'm a bit worried about that.  I want to keep going.

So, this first week of 2011 has not been the greatest.  Maybe it helps that I barely know what day it is.  Obviously, I have not started back to work and I do not know when that will happen.  That's an entirely different category of concern.  I just keep imagining the future when I am healthy, hearty, and strong again...back at work...back to normal...and able to relate to those who are suffering through hell on earth.  It's a gift I never wanted, but one I expect to someday be thankful for.  I can do this.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

(Yep, that's the plan...I CAN, and will, do this, but not alone.  Never alone.)