Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Soap Commercial and 2nd Round of Chemo

On Wednesday, April 17th, I completed my second round of chemo.  My best friend/college roommate, Steph, came with me and we had quite a few laughs throughout the day. Steph had put the date in her calendar as "Chemo with Kristi" and for some reason we both got a big kick out of that actual term and used it often throughout the day.  The day went well...lots of giggles. 

On Thursday, April 18th, one of my college friends, Sarah, sent out an email to all of our college girlfriends (about 15 fabulous ladies) with a link to a commercial from Dove (the soap company) that has been popular this week online demonstrating how women view themselves. Here is a link to the commercial:

(you may have to cut/paste link)

This is where I needed to grab a BOX of tissues! My friend, Steph, who went to chemo with me on Wednesday, responded to Sarah's email with this:

Yesterday I was privileged enough to go to what has now been dubbed “Chemo with Kristi” and here is what I saw:

The bravest, strongest, proudest, most beautiful woman in the world to me.
She has short spiky blonde hair with darker roots, dark in the back, it’s shiny and smooth and is currently still attached to head regardless of how many times she tries to see if its still there. 
Her face is thin, with a prominent chin, on top of long thin neck.
Her eyes are bright, they smile and twinkle when she laughs, which is pretty constant.
She cozied right into that recliner, with her trash magazines, and her shoulder exposed for the port delivering medicine that will make her well.
She has a way of making everyone around her comfortable and wanting to be with her – the nurses and aids kept coming to chat and we learned more about the receptionist and her life in Key West  in 5 minutes that you can even imagine. My  cheeks still hurt from laughing.
She is brave, strong and proud. She rocks.
Simply beautiful.
It was my best day in long time – thank you Kristi. 

Need I explain why I have been friends with her for 25 years? :) This is the most beautifully written item that I have ever read, thank you Steph. 

It is my understanding that the chemo effects are "cumulative" and I guess I have found this to be true. The nausea and joint pain set in a few days earlier this round but I feel like I have medications figured out to help control both so all is well. I am taking one day at a time without any huge expectations! 

I forgot to mention that I met with a genetic counselor a few weeks ago to determine if I carry the "breast cancer gene".  Based on my family history, the possibility is very low (about 5%) that I do carry the gene.  I should have the results in about a week or two.

Once again, this week has been FILLED with love and support from family, friends and neighbors. Thank you for everything!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Play Like A Champion

This week following my first chemo treatment has had more ups than downs.   I felt great up until Saturday when the constant feeling of nausea set in and decided to stay. I equate the feeling to somewhere between morning sickness (which thankfully I never really had) and a never-ending hangover!

I have been able to manage the nausea fairly well with various medications.  The last few days have allowed me to feel decent from morning up until early afternoon.  I told Kent a few days ago that "I actually feel like myself" for a few hours each day.  Today has been the best day yet so hopefully this continues throughout the weekend.

I have my second round of chemo next Wednesday, April 17th, followed by another white blood cell count booster shot on Thursday.  I think I have intentionally ignored putting the actual dates of my chemo appointments on my calendar because I think I have felt like this nausea is never going to end.  Then I saw this on Kyle's bedroom wall:

Ok, ignore the misspelled words.  Clearly it is tough for an 8-year old to concentrate on spelling when changing marker colors from red to black!  A few weeks ago, Kyle and his friend taped out a knee hockey "rink" in his room with masking tape along with creating many signs, photos of NHL players, tournament schedule, etc... they did a great job.  Yes, he is also a Notre Dame fan.

This sign made me think that my chemo treatments are similar to sports (I think we all know the kids inherited their skill/love of sports from Kent which is why this realization is new to me!).  I just need to "play like a champion", go in to each day with intent and strength and I will win. The "season" of chemo will have an end.

On that note, I still managed to torture Kent on Monday by going wig shopping followed by a "quick" trip to Costco. Of course he did not complain, the wig shopping was fairly painless and productive.  Costco may have been a different story:).

Thanks again to everyone for your support, I feel like a broken record but I am AMAZED at the kindness and love we receive every day.  

Enjoy the snow!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Round of Chemo Checked Off My List

Just finished my first round of chemotherapy at Woodwinds Hospital today, it went very well!  I was prescribed a few different nausea medications and so far they are working.  I may be a little optimistic, it has only been a few hours :).

I return to Woodwinds tomorrow for a medication that boosts my white blood cell count, the side effects can be "flu-like"  and can take a day or so to kick in but only last a few days.  The side effects from the chemo can vary greatly,  days 7-10  (from today) will be low points (fatigue) due to diminished white blood cell count.  Day 14 will bring on hair loss.   I will definitely be shopping for a wig next week!

Hopefully I will continue to feel well, I do not want to miss any volleyball or hockey games this weekend!

Thank you everyone for your positive thoughts and energy as well as the upcoming million carpool rides for our kids to/from sports. This is a HUGE help!!