Let’s Talk Taboo

Alright, there are so many taboo topics out there, that we all just don’t talk about. Whether its sex, death, money, diarrhea, or religion. I’ve got nothing to hide, and I’ve made myself pretty vulnerable to you all in this little journey of mine, so why stop now? As I get through each day, I try to think about what I can share with all of you, what you may or may not know about what I am going through. So, let’s talk about SEX. We attended our “chemo class” at the start of this. One thing the nurse told us was that a lot of couples really struggle in their sex lives not only during chemo, but this entire fight. Each step brings new struggles, but they’re all hard in their own ways. But no matter what comes with each, it’s all more than worth it. First of all, how many of you know that for the first  at least 72 hours after chemo, all of my bodily fluids are toxic? Come on, don’t lie, we can’t be the only ones who had no idea. I have to use a different bathroom than everyone, we need to wash our pillows and sheets, I need to wash my make up brushes, I’m not suppose to kiss the boys, or swap spit with my sexy husband (REAL challenge for me) and obviously not have sex. In fact, our nurse informed us if we so chose to have sex within that time, we would need to make sure to use “barriers” as the chemo could really hurt my husband. First thing I did when she told us that was laugh, thinking “man I feel bad for the guy who found that out”. Then, you get pass that initial 72 hours, and that’s the exact time I start getting really sick. All of my favorite side effects start and usually a few new ones. I typically really do not feel well for about the next 8 days. Between being miserably sick, pain, and sheer exhaustion, there is surely nothing happening in the bedroom. I’m happy if at this point I can just get a few hours of sleep. After quiet some time, I slowly start feeling better! At this point, my pain is subsiding, my rashes are somewhat healing, I’m not pooping my ever loving brains out (which just makes anyone feel sexy) my nausea is less frequent, and my mouth sores are healing (do you know how hard it is to kiss your husband when your mouth is covered in sores?) There are some things though that are always somewhat difficult. No matter what point I am at in treatment, my nose is constantly running. Why? Well, along with all of the other hair on my body, I’ve also lost my nose hairs. Not really a big deal right? It’s really not, but, it is somewhat annoying, embarrassing, and not sexy when you’re kissing your husband and your nose is constantly running. Alright, you come to terms with the fact that your nose is constantly running, and you figure out that if you blow your nose, and then head towards your super sexy husband to get yourself a nice squishy kiss, right before you kiss him, sniff your nose really hard, and you can typically get an un-snot interrupted 3-5 second kiss. No big deal. But, lets not push our limits and try for any make out session of any sort as it will end up wet and salty. Haha. Body image is next. Every woman with or without cancer struggles with this on a daily basis. And if you don’t, I admire you. On top of any regular insecurity you may have had, add some additional weight that you have had the pleasure of gaining from all of the steroids, chemo, and hormone treatment you’re on. You develop a pretty nice fluff. I know what you’re all thinking as you read this, she’s worried about the extra weight she’s gaining from chemo? At least she’s alive. And you’re right. In the big picture, there are a lot more important things, but it doesn’t make it easy, and it doesn’t take away the insecurities, or make it any less real. I still feel these things, I just choose to grow through them, to push myself, and to find confidence in myself that I’ve never had. In addition to your  extra fluff, you get to be bald. I know, I know, I should well past this. For the most part I am. But, I can’t find the right words to explain how uncomfortable as a woman it is to want to be “sexy” to your husband, but how out of place and weird you feel when you’re laying in your bed next to him, and you’re bald. My husband has not changed the way he looks at me in the slightest, he thinks I am even more beautiful now, I can feel his love for me in the way he looks at me, or looks into my eyes. This is a personal struggle. A struggle to feel sexy, and to feel like a woman while I have no hair. The amazing thing is, that when I get through all of this, I will have a true unbreakable confidence in myself. Each day I fall more into my own body, my heart, my soul, my very being. You have to really fall in love with yourself, and get to know the you you’ve never known. But what an amazing gift. At the end of this, I will have fallen in love with every inch of me, I will have pushed through every insecurity, every fear, and become a truer, stronger, confident, unshakable me that I never knew could exist. On the other side of this is my husband. I’ve learned a lot recently, how much my diagnosis effects many more people than me. I’ll expand on this in another post, but for tonight, I want to talk about my husband. No, he does not have cancer, and he’s not going through chemo, but he is very much going through this too. I could not imagine how hard it would be for me to see him go through this and feel so helpless. I’m sure he feels helpless, frustrated, hurt, and stressed to say the least. He also has a lot that falls on his plate. By the time I get home, I am beyond exhausted, and I don’t have much energy as it took everything to get through the day. So, who do you think dinner, the kids, the house, and the dogs fall on? Yep, that amazing husband of mine. He’s happy to do all of it, but that doesn’t make it easy. He does all of those things, and takes care of me, all with that beautiful smile on his face that never fades. In addition to the emotional side, and all of the stress he takes on, let’s think  about how much he worries about me. Let’s get back to our timeline, 72 hours I’m toxic, next 10 days or so, I’m sick and miserable, I start to feel better, but I’m insecure, and then my husband is stressed, and very worried about me. Well, before you know it you wake up and its time to get chemo again, and this whole thing starts over. So, let’s talk about sex, and how hard it is to keep alive while you’re going through this. But here’s the thing, you figure it out, you have to. But not only do you figure that out, you find a lot of other ways to be intimate. We may not have a crazy, wild, hair pulling (yeah I just went there)sex life while I am going through this, but we have found intimacy in different ways. We are very quickly becoming very good communicators, he is constantly holding my hand, getting lost in my eyes, divulging secrets, insecurities, emotions, and his truest heart, kissing me in the sweetest ways, connecting on levels we didn’t know existed, and growing the most amazing trusting friendship. He has the ability to take away any pain or worry with his touch. That’s the honest truth. When I am really sick, or in pain, or sad, the one thing I can consistently count on to ease me or take it away is a simple touch from my husband. I can fall into his arms and be at peace. I don’t know about you, but that’s something truly amazing.

Phew. I did it. I wrote about something pretty taboo, but also pretty scary to be so vulnerable and open about. I promised myself to push ,y limits, to be vulnerable, and to share the most honest experiences I can through this. So, here I am, being brave and talking taboo.

One Step Closer

IMG_3050Going into the 5th round of chemo, we pre planned 2 separate IV fluid appointments in hopes that maybe we could prevent me from being so miserable. My oncologist also wanted to keep an eye on the rash that I keep developing about 5 days after chemo. Right on schedule, the evening of the 5th day following chemo, I kept waking up with my arms feeling like a had a very bad sunburn, and the next morning, the rash was covering my right arm. My appointment for fluids on Monday also consisted of my oncologist being very confused by the rash, and giving me IV steroids as well as 4 days of oral steroids. Not only did this not help, my arms kept getting worse, much worse than the previous round. Off to the dermatologist I went. He was unsure what exactly the rash was, but thought he would give me 2 weeks of a higher dose of steroids. For those of you who are not aware, steroids are not enjoyable. You’re cranky, hungry, puffy, and its impossible to sleep. But, if it’s going to make me better, its worth it. My rash is getting WORSE. The best way I can explain the pain is for you to imagine what it would feel like to have someone hold a torch to your arms. As miserable as it is, I keep going through each day thinking as positive as I can. If the chemo is destroying my arms the way it is, imagine what it is doing to the cancer in my body! Now, it’s time for my appointment with my oncologist prior to my next chemo. This time our appointment is a week before my 6th chemo instead of the same day. We’re sitting in the exam room like usual, Dr. Mayer walks in laughing (as he has done time and time again, because what else can we do other than laugh at all of the things that are constantly thrown my way?) he sits down and tells me I need to go to the dermatologist today, and get a skin biopsy. He is unsure what is causing my rash, and we need to be sure it is nothing dangerous. Then he completely takes my breath away, and tells me with the rash getting as bad as it is, that we do not need to complete the 6th neo-adjuvant chemo! Wait, what? I’m done with the neo-adjuvant chemo? I don’t have to go through this Hell again? I don’t have to go through the emotional and mental torture for the next week of preparing myself for the pain, for being sick, mouth sores, headaches, rashes, vision changes, and GI issues? But, wait, I do not want to “half ass” this fight. I want to be hit with all of the hard stuff, give me everything, all of it, no matter how hard, so that this will be gone and I can move on with my life. Dr. Mayer talked us through the clinical trails for the chemo I am on, and in fact, most made it through 5 rounds of the chemo, so I was doing pretty good. But, with as bad as the rash is getting, and the compounding side effects of the chemo on my body continuing to get worse, it was time to stop the neo-adjuvant chemo!!! I couldn’t breath right at this point. I DID IT! I made it through this Hell of neo-adjuvant chemo! 5 rounds! I pushed myself, I picked myself up each and everyday, I cheered myself on, and I didn’t give up no matter how hard! I am so damn proud of myself!! I am stronger than I could have ever imagined I could be!! We finish up my appointment, and start to head to the car, and I can’t stop smiling, I jump into my husbands arms, I kiss him a thousand times, and then, I get into the seat next to my husband, and I just cry. I’m crying because I am so happy to be done with this . I’m so proud of everything I have accomplished , and I’m excited to move on to the next step! My husband holds me and tells me how proud he is of the woman I am, how tough I am, how beautiful I am, then kisses me the way he does that fills me to the top with strength, confidence, love, encouragement, and bravery. Then we head downtown to meet with My plastic surgeon. My mastectomy is scheduled for May 18th @ St. Joes. Our appointment is to discuss final details. But first, I want to touch on second opinions. A while back, we met with a plastic surgeon who was very nice, but what he wanted us to do for my surgery was not something I wanted, nor did I feel comfortable with. I thought about my consult with this doctor for several weeks and was unable, no matter how hard I tried, to accept orbe comfortable with his surgical plan for me. So, I did something I’ve never done before, and decided to get a second opinion. I’ve always been someone who is almost “too trusting”, I mean, he’s a doctor, he knows what he’s doing, I need to just trust him, right? Well, in most cases yes, I do just that, but my gut feeling was a little overwhelming on this one. It wasn’t a quiet whisper that I could just tune out, it was the equivalent of a 3 yr old little boy scream. For you momma’s out there, you know it’s close to impossible to ignore a sound like that! Long story short, I made the call, saw another plastics doctor, and I am so glad I did! He is completely on board with what we were hoping for, and we felt so comfortable and connected to him. I no longer am afraid for my upcoming surgery as we fully trust our surgeons. May 18th, I will have my mastectomy, and have expanders placed at the same time. Our appointment was to discuss size and shape of the implants I will eventually have. Because I have to have radiation, I will have my expanders for a little over a year. Let me tell you just how weird it’s been for me to research what breasts I would like to have. We were sent home with “homework” to look up pictures of breasts to find the shape and size that I like. I’d wait until the kids were in bed then sit in the corner of my couch where if the kids came up the stairs they couldn’t see the pictures of boobs on my computer. I would type ” breast implants” or “reconstruction after breast cancer” or “boob job pictures” and many other things to bring up as many pictures of breasts as I could find to look at. After a few hours of sorting through different pictures I saved the ones, or should I say “pairs” that I liked the best. At this point, I took a BIG deep breath, and text my husband something to the effect of “I’m going to send you some pictures of boobs I like. Can you please look at them and tell me which you like the best? And then could you please delete them from your phone, never ever think about them again, and promise me you will love my boobs the best no matter the scars?” I know, ridiculous right? But, I don’t think any of you quiet understand what its like to try to make a decision on breast size, and shape, while you worry about the scars, the pain, and the simple fact that what you would really like is to just keep the breasts you have. But, I can’t do that, because the breasts I have are currently very mean and trying to kill me. You’ll be glad to know that I picked the size and shape I would like, and we are ready for surgery. One other fun fact, we also discussed my nipple options. This is something I don’t really have to completely decide right now, but I did have to decide if I wanted my surgeons to save my right nipple or not. My breast cancer is in my left breast and my surgeon is unable to “save” my left nipple. So, I needed to decide if I wanted my right nipple to be “saved” or if I would like it removed for the symmetry. I decided not to save my right nipple, and that when construction is complete I will have 3d tattooed nipples. I know, I know, sounds crazy. But. Google it. It’s actually really great. I’ve come a long way in my feelings on this upcoming surgery, and I’ve decided its kind of fun to pick out what size and shape, and what kind of nipples, and well, it’s kind of like picking out your perfect car. I get to pick out and design my own boobs! And I’ll tell you this, at the end of all of this, I’ll have the boobs I want!

The little things aren’t so little.

The little things aren’t so little.

It’s day 8 post Chemo Round #5. That means only 1 more of these babies!!! I can’t believe I’ve made it through 5 rounds already. Each day brings something new, and each day is a challenge, but I am proud to say I’ve made it through 5 rounds already! This next one will bring even more emotions than the last I’m sure. Not only will I have the usual emotions of fear, and anxiety, I will be so relieved to have made it through one of the hardest chemo regimens out there! This round so far has had it’s ups and downs, but seems to overall actually be better than the last! We’ve had some fun things to deal with like this chemical burn like rash on my arm. I cannot explain to you the discomfort of it. It burns constantly. Trying to sleep is hard because when anything touches it and the pain is very intense. They gave me IV steroids and then put me on 4 days of oral steroids in hopes that it would help. No luck yet. I will calling my onco RN this morning when they open for any new ideas they may have. I do think our decision to schedule me for fluids on day 4 and 7 of this round has helped. If anything just having the IV fluids may be keeping my body stronger and giving me more energy to fight the effects of chemo breaking me down from the inside out. The burning stomach pain has been an issue again this round, my Onco has me taking Prilosec twice a day, and 4 Pepcid completes as well. I have not noticed much relief, but I understand it can take a while to start helping. I’ve also developed a pretty sexy 1-900 phone operator voice as I have caught a lovely cold. The boys seem to like my voice, maybe I’ll keep it! Another thing that has come along with this round has been my overall appreciation for each moment I have, each true relationship I have, and all of the small things that really are not small at all. Since being diagnosed I have had an overall change in my outlook that keeps growing, but here in the past week something seems to have clicked in my heart and soul. I have a whole new perspective for the littlest of things. I find myself so overwhelmingly grateful and appreciative of all things that seemed so small. Above all, I am so very blessed and thankful for the truest relationships I have. My husband, I cannot put into words how incredible he is. My marriage is the absolute center of my heart and soul. He fills me with more passion, joy, happiness, completeness, life and love than I could have ever imagined. He is my rock. He always seems to know just what I need at just the right moment. He has shown me who I really am, taught me how to be myself, and love myself. My boys never ever fail to amaze me with their love, support, innocence, happiness, joy, and sense of wonder. There could not be one possible thing in this world that could ever over shadow the love those 2 boys have in their eyes for me. I believe in myself more when I try to look at myself through their eyes. Because I can not only see the sparkle in their eye when they look at me, I can feel it. My family, has been more than amazing in so many ways. My mom, I don’t know what I would do without her. She has been such an incredible source of support, encouragement, help, love, laughs, and more. She has not missed one night of staying with me while my husband is at work. She is there the same time every night with a kiss for me and the boys, she allows me to rest after I made it all day through work somehow, and she loves and supports my boys a long side me. Although I am a grown women and a mother, I could not get through each day without my mom. It doesn’t stop there, my step mom Kat, has been so supportive, and willing to help with anything at the drop of a hat. I know without a doubt that if there is anything no matter how small, she would jump at the opportunity to be there, or anywhere I need her. My sister, my daddy, my step dad, my wonderful in laws, and my grandparents. They’re all so loving and supportive and true. I am trying to be better at letting them in. I am learning that although I am stubborn and push through each day and sometimes don’t know how I made it, that all of the people in my life are waiting to be of help. I am learning that everyone is going through this too. No, they may not have cancer, or be going through chemo, but they are hurting too. It’s my goal, especially with surgery coming up, to utilize those in my life who just want to be of any help instead of pushing myself so hard. On to friendships. I have one very true and dear friend, you all know, she is my person. I never can find the words to explain her friendship. She truly is the most beautiful person I have every known. Our friendship is one you only find once in a lifetime. And when you do, you hold on tight and never let go. I know that we have a lifetime together, and I thank God everyday for her. I do also have a handful of true friends that genuinely care about me and my family, but it has been quiet eye opening to discover how few are far between they are. But, I am not sad or upset about it. I was. But  now, I am just thankful and blessed for those that I do have. You know who you are, and you know how much I love you. Thank you for being my friend, and for loving me and my family through these rough times. We will always hold you close to our hearts and forever be thankful for your friendship. So, I will end this with saying, the best thing I have taken from this round of chemo has been peace. I am at peace with the relationships I have, they are so incredible. I am also very aware and appreciative of the smallest of things. It’s cliché but its true, each day the sun rises and I’m alive, and I am so thankful.

Orange is quickly becoming my favorite color.

Each day I take a variety of different medicines to manage the symptoms and side effects that come along with chemo. Although the chemo is killing the cancerous cells that are in my body, it’s killing a lot of other things too. One of the first things that comes to everyone’s mind is the rapidily dividing hair follicles. You lose your hair on your head, which as you all know as that started to fall out by the handful, we took control and my husband and boys shaved it for me. It made it so much less painful, and it was one less thing my cancer was going to take from me. I also lost my leg hair, arm pit hair, you know where hair,(which means no painful waxing for me!) nose hair (which actually kind of sucks because my nose runs constantly with those hairs) and as of recently I’ve really been losing my eye lashes and brows. It seems that most people thing with Pretty Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer that’s what you get. I’ve been told by many people “don’t worry, it’s just hair, you’ll grow it back! It could be worse” I smile politely and walk away. It IS worse! Chemo also kills and breaks down your mouth and you develope beyond painful mouth sores, you lose your sense of taste, you develope painful sores in your nose, burns, rashes, and sores all over your skin, inability to sleep from pain, fear, emotions, or steroids,my vision goes out the window, my eyes get infections, my intestines are stripped out and very painful, I am in an intense amount of cramping pain, and extreme diahhrea, and lastly, it takes away every single lay one of energy I have each day. The GI effects alone are hard to put into words really. The mornings are tough. I usually wake to my bodies own alarm clock being the intense pain in my bowels. I jump out of bed nauseas, both from the pain, and the chemo in general and dart to the down stairs bathroom.(I know it’s silly, but I still try not to poop anywhere near my husband 😉 ) I spend quiet some time in the restroom with very intense cramping and diahhrea. At one point last cycle, I had got up 20 times in between 10pm and 4 am. I had taken 16 Imodium, and 4 lomotil with no relief. I was beyond exhausted, dehydrated, and in so much pain. These particular side effects happen every round. Before I eat any meal, I take Imodium and lomotil to try to make my experience a little less miserable. I can typically make it through a meal and talk for 10 mins before the cramping starts and I need the restroom. That’s enough about poop 😉 On to my point. There are very real painful day to day side effects and symptoms from my Pretty Pink Cancer that most people don’t really know about. Thankfully, we have some really great medicines available to help manage the symptoms the best we can! That bothers me. It burns my heart and twists my soul when people have not the slightest idea what I go through on a daily basis for the simple fact they truly have the idea in their heads that The hardest thing that a breast cancer diagnosis brings to a woman is hair loss. I want you to know the hard, the scary, the truth. Breast Cancer isn’t pretty, and it isn’t easy. But, I can do it, and so can you. Each day brings new challenges, and not all days are bad. One of my closest friends reminds me daily that there are silver linings in each day, and she is so very right. No, I would not sign up for a Breast Cancer Diagnosis, but, I do know with every fiber of my being that the good that I am getting from this is irreplaceable. I have become a stronger woman than I could have every imagined I could be. I have been heart broken when losing friends or realizing the friends I thought I had I don’t, but for that I am grateful. The few who stand by me, through it all is more than I can dream of. I don’t take anything for granted, I’m slow to anger, quick to forgive, and have become quiet good at finding the positive and good in everything. Like I’ve been told by those who have held my hand trough this, laughed with me, been brutally honest, and continue to pick me up each time I fall, each day is a blessing, live each day to the fullest, because everyday counts. 👊🏼💪🏻💗 


The Healing Power of Makeup

Waking up the day after chemo can be quite the ordeal. I’m immediately exhausted, I’m puffy from fluids and steroids, my eyes are swollen and painful, the inside of my nose hurts, my chemo face breakouts have already begun. On top of all of the physical changes, I start to feel nervous for what’s still to come, I feel somewhat insecure in my own skin, and I have about 1 Hr to put my big girl panties on, pull myself together, and just keep swimming. I’ve come to realize how ridiculous I sound when I’m so worried about how I look. I’m fighting a battle of a lifetime, to have a lifetime with my husband and children. I’m being ripped apart by this chemo from the inside out. Who cares what I look like? Well, I’m not that girl who can bravely face the world without putting herself together the best I can before I leave.I am however, the girl that will be open about how I feel, how hard it is,how I look before I cover my face, who won’t cover her scars, port, or burns on her body. I’m me. Getting through each day and this is how I do it. It doesn’t make it any more or less graceful or brave then the women out there who hide from everything, or those who hide nothing at all, we are each beautiful, graceful, brave, and strong. This battle and journey is as individual as we are as individual women. What matters is you’re fighting. The picture below is half of my face put together and work ready, the other is not. You can see I’m really starting to lose my eyebrows and eye lashes now too. There have been some very entertaining eye brow application mornings! Don’t worry, I won’t let you down, you’ll see some of those too ☺️ Have a wonderful day, and make today count!  


Pictures to last a lifetime

We went for spring family pictures this weekend, I took a deep breath, dug down deep for every once of courage, and took my wig off. I took it off to make sure we had pictures of this time in our lives to remember each moment, for myself to see the love of my family the same without my hair, to see my own beauty , courage, and strength, for other women going through this along with me, for women I’ve never met who are struggling with the hair loss, and for everyone to see there is more to a woman’s beauty than her hair, ❤ Deep breath, and JUMP! Here are a few for you to see, more to come soon ❤

Chemo Round 5

Started struggling emotionally Sunday in anticipation for going in for round 5 today. I’ve said it before, and it never gets easier. My counts come up, my side effects subside for the most part, I start to feel good, and its time to willingly sit in the infusion chair and submit my body to hell. I cannot begin to describe the fear I feel leading up to the first drop of chemo going into my port. I want to continue feeling good, have energy, function somewhat normally,and get up and ready for work with less pain. As scary as it is though, I walk in today, no wig, smile on my face, hand in my husbands ready for another round of chemo to fight this cancer! We walk in and head straight to the scale to get my weight for my chemo dosing, not fun. We all see the movies where every “cancer patient” is skin and bones, I have sad news, NOT the case especially with Breast Cancer Patients! Then it’s into the infusion center and to my favorite spot by the window. I sit down and get comfortable, then the pain begins. My nurses always have a hard time accessing my port because its tilted and I’m “busty”. I breath through the pain of pushing, pulling, moving, and poking my port until we’re in and good to go. Labs are drawn and we wait. Our M.A. grabs us for our pre chemo appointment with my Oncologist. He walks in and greets me with ” well hello ‘weirdo’. I get this comment because I have truly had the weirdest side effects that seem to stump everyone. Among those this round, I have burns, rashes, bloody stools, and intense stomach pain. We’re not sure at this point what the rashes/burns are from exactly. Leaning towards my body having some sort of an allergic reaction to the Carboplatin. For now, our plan is for pre scheduled IV Fluid appointments on Day 4, and Day 7 for 2 reasons. 1, to try to prevent me ‘hitting a wall’ like I have the last 2 rounds, and 2, watch and diagnose the rashes/burns. This gives both myself and my husband relief. Round #5 down, now we sit and wait, and FIGHT! 


Chemo Round 4

We had a wonderful weekend in Arizona leading up to today! Time together with my husband is always so much fun! We had a less than wonderful trip home though. We ended up having a blow out, and another flat after that which lead to a 20+ hour drive. I’m not entirely sure how Ty was able to drive that long, but so glad he did! Made it home at 3am and was able to get 3 hours of sleep before heading in today. This last round I had a really rough time with the GI issues, and ended up having to come in for fluids from dehydration. Prior to each chemo, I meet with my Oncologist to discuss how each round went and decide if we should change anything. To hopefully prevent the terrible GI side effects, we’re going to pull the Perjeta from this round of chemo. I’ve already had a lot of the med and the risks of the side effects at this point out weigh the benefit. If I still have the same side effects this round, we will add the Perjeta back in next time. Tomorrow we have an appointment with another Plastic Surgeon for a second opinion. I know it seems like my reconstruction is so far away, because well, lets be honest it is. But. My bi-lateral mastectomy is FAST approaching. Even though I have to have delayed reconstruction a year after radiation is complete, what decision we make for reconstruction will effect my mastectomy. We have several different options for reconstruction, and to be honest, I don’t have the slightest idea what I want. What I do know, is that I am 29 yrs old, and I want to first of all have my chart read “History of Breast Cancer”, I also know that I want to have great looking breasts afterwards. Some people don’t understand that, and to be honest, that’s okay. You don’t have to. This is my body, and whether you think it’s ridiculous or not, I want them. Another struggle that I’ve been working through is grieving my fertility. Even though having a baby was never something we really planned on doing, being told at 29 yrs old that you cannot have a child is really hard. Because my cancer is hormone receptive, a pregnancy would be very risky for my body. Part of my treatment plan is removing my ovaries after all of this to “shut down” my hormones to make sure we are not feeding my cancer and to prevent a reoccurrence. I’ve struggled more than I had anticipated with coming to terms that I will not be having any more children. I don’t really know how to explain the feeling. We have our 2 boys, and we love them and our family with all that we are, but grieving my fertility whether we were having another child or not, has been very difficult. Little things like people in our lives announcing their pregnancies, or being asked if we are going to have children, kind of hit hard and burn your insides. These are not things people do or say intentionally to hurt us, and you don’t even realize are going to hurt you until it happens. I am working on growing and accepting that this is my journey, my plan, and being happy with it. And I will. The next little bump I’ve been learning to work through is a little emotion I’ve named “Cancer Envy”. There have been several people in my life who have had cancer scares, or even been diagnosed, and I cannot help but be jealous sometimes. There have been times when someone has shared their cancer scare with me, and I am so jealous. Why couldn’t that of been me? Why couldn’t my breast biopsy be negative? Or, how wonderful would it be to only need radiation? I know that we each have our own paths, and God gives us what we can handle, and our plan is ours, that everything happens for a reason. But, I can’t help but wish someone else’s diagnoses was mine, or that I could have been given a little easier path. On the other hand, there are many people who feel the same of my diagnosis. They’re going through worse than me, and pushing through each day the same. Here’s the thing, cancer scare, diagnosis at any stage, or really any other struggle someone is facing is hard. You hear those cliché quotes, but they’re so true. “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” The one sure fire thing I have developed is a bigger heart. I am much more patient, kind, loving, appreciative, forgiving, and genuine. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, I cannot wait to see the woman I am to become at the end of this. Cancer changes you in so many ways, but a lot of the changes are for the better. I will be the best woman I can possibly be, and I cannot wait to come out on the other side of all of this. 



Chemo Round 3

First, I want you to know, I’m still alive and kickin! I have not updated my journal since my last infusion! Time has quickly been flying by in some aspects, and time has crawled in others. We’ve been taking each day, a step at a time. Still have not missed a day of work! Whoop! Which surprises even me, as there have been some hard days! Each morning is filled with getting myself and the kids up and ready for work/school. Which as all of you parents know, is not as easy as you wish sometimes. I’ve learned to pick my battles lately. While trying to be able to just get out the door, I’m breaking up fights, or running to the bathroom, or laying down while I wait for the cramping or nausea to pass, so on days like that, if Tate wants fruit snacks for breakfast, well, that’s what is going to get. Pick your battles. PS- I let him have fruit snacks and a apple and a yogurt 😉 Not JUST fruit snacks. I will also say, I’ve grown to be comfortable in my wig lately, which is great! And ladies, let me tell you, it’s MUCH easier to throw your wig on when you walk out the door than have to dry, straighten or curl before leaving! I mean, I do have to wash it and style it once a week, but hey, who cares?! I’m thinking I am going to get it cut and probably throw some highlights in it to make it a little more like my hair and I might feel a little more comfortable. For most of us ladies, we look forward to going home and taking our bras off, but for me, I want to get home and take my hair off! I enjoy just being me. I feel so safe, loved, and secure at home without my wig. And, I’ve quickly learned the boys prefer me without hair actually. Tate especially enjoys rubbing my head. He grabs my face each night and tells me “you’re super beautiful momma”. A little something he seems to have picked up from Ty 🙂 Ty tells me I don’t know how many times a day that I’m beautiful and the boys must see what it means to me, so they do it too. I am one spoiled lady! Round # 2 seemed to go a little smoother with the side effects. I had less mouth sores, and did not break in a rash which was a relief. There were still the same side effects, but we are managing them better than we did the first round. I still have nausea, dry skin, dizziness, aches, pains, diarrhea, and vision changes. I did however start experiencing some new symptoms as well, numbness in my hands and feet, more headaches, this weird painful bruising/rash in my arm pits, and the fatigue was much worse. Which from what we have been told, the fatigue will continue to get worse with each round. For those of you whom are uncomfortable with talking GI symptoms scroll down. One of the hardest side effects through each round has been the diarrhea. I will typically have very painful cramping and nausea that go along with the GI issues everyday. I would say on a regular day after chemo, so days 2-10, I will have 30 or so bowel movements a day. Which is not only painful, it’s hard to plan around. Everywhere you go, you try to plan on where the restrooms are, what you eat, how long has it been since you used the restroom last, are the cramps too painful to walk/drive? And of course as if that wasn’t all enough, you are using the restroom so much your hind end is so sore, so painful, and sometimes you bleed. I know I know, how sexy am I? Well, guess what? Breast Cancer, or any Cancer really, is more than a Pink ribbon, it’s more than most people know. It is not pretty, or fun, but, you do not have to stop living your life. Each day counts. that’s the truth. You have to live each day, get up each day and keep going. You may have to breath through a lot of the pain, lay down a few times while you get ready, re-do your make up once or twice because you cried it all off while you looked at yourself in the mirror, but all of those things don’t matter at the end of the day. You get up, dress up, put on a smile, because your life is not over because you have cancer. You have a new outlook, a new strength, and a new appreciation of all the wonderful you already have each and every day. Yes, it’s hard, but I promise it’s worth it. You don’t stop your life, or stop doing the things you normally do, you may do them in a different way, or less frequently, but you keep up what you can. While looks, and beauty are not everything, they are a big thing to all of us ladies. One big struggle I am still learning, is to really get down to me, comfortable in my own skin, my own beauty, my soul, my very being. Each day gets easier, and I can only imagine the woman I will be at the end of this part of my journey. We passed the half way mark, which is a milestone! And although we are trying to take each step one at a time, there are a few upcoming milestones I am pretty emotionally struggling with. My last new-adjuvant chemo will be April 26th, approximately 3 weeks following the 26th I will have my double mastectomy. I’m excited to mark it off of our list, to remove my breasts and hopefully never have to deal with this again, but, I am absolutely terrified. Terrified of the surgery it’s self, the pain, how I will look afterwards, the scars, as a woman not having breast for a year, the emotional struggle, being comfortable as women in my new body. But, that step is not here yet, I cannot worry too much about it. When the time is here, we will take the bull by the horns and come out the other side happy and healthy and strong! How could I not succeed with the most incredible, and I mean incredible best friend and husband by me every single step of the way? With 2 amazing little boys who lift me up and give me strength I did not know I even had, and all of you. My family, and the few true friends I have are so important to me. Thank you all for every little thing you do for me and my family!!

Round 2

Round 2

In the days leading up to this round of chemo, I had quiet a lot of fear and almost anxiety around going in on Tuesday. I know we are fighting this, and getting through each step we need to have a long healthy life, but it was really hard to wake up and know what I was about to put into my body and the hell I’m going to feel for the next few weeks after. it was also hard starting to feel somewhat normal and know that it was going to end that morning. But, I Made it through round 2 Tuesday, despite my dog Maya jumping on my port with both paws as hard as she can trying to play, and leaving me on my bed in tears of pain and fear of how much more painful it was going to be to access my port that day. All the while, she sat there tail wagging wondering why I was crying and not playing. My person made her trek to me despite the blizzard and we made it in with smiles on our faces! For those of you who don’t have the blessing of having a person, you should find her. You should find the person our there that will love you not matter what comes your way, in thick and thin, that you don’t even have to say anything, just give a look and she knows what you are thinking or feeling, the person you can count on for anything, even just a simple laugh, and the friendship that doesn’t cause havoc on your heart. It’s easy and natural and real. True friendships exist my friends! You know, I thought I would have cancer and go through chemo and lose weight. Wrong. I dread getting my vitals taken when I check in. I’ve been told what a misconception it is to think you will lose weight through this process, especially women with breast cancer. All of the treatment I am on is hormonal which we all know that means weight gain, plus all of the steroids which makes you “puffy”. Oh how wonderful this whole process is! But hey, I may never be a size 2, but I’ll embrace whatever body I have to happily live the rest of my life in with my incredible husband and 2 wonderful boys, because they don’t see my size or weight, they tell me without ever missing, how beautiful I am each and everyday! Within no time after accessing my port and starting my chemo, the “high” I was on from starting to feel somewhat “good” is quickly taken away. Headache sets in first, then puffy eyes from steroids, nausea, and fatigue. So far this round, I have 4 new meds to help with the side effects, and I also starting doing baking soda rinses twice a day, and the prescription mouth washes twice a day starting the morning of chemo hoping the mouth sores will be less. We’re doing everything we can to manage what we can, the rest, we just push through knowing each and every minute is worth it and everyday counts. Next step, is meeting with Rad Onc next Monday to find out our radiation plan which will define my reconstruction process. No matter what we are told, we know we will get through each step, one at a time. I also received my genetic testing results, and the entire 17 test panel was negative! This is great news! That means I do not have to worry about passing this to my children, or their children, or worry about my sisters and nieces. Great news! But I was also somewhat disappointed. I know, weird, why would I be un happy with great results? Well, it just felt like I had no answer as to why this is happening to me. here’s the thing thought, did you know that only 10% of breast cancer is genetic? That means well it’s some sort of random thing that happened to you, or environmental, or just plain bad luck I guess. But even if this was some sort of crazy “bad luck” it changing our lies for the better, We are growing individually and together more than most people do their entire lives! So, not I didn’t get breast cancer from sheer bad luck, I got breast cancer because it’s God’s plan for me, my husband, my children, family, and all of you who are also effected by all of this. To shape us, and put us on the road to the path we were meant to walk, and be the truest people we were meant to be. On to a new day! PS- it’s only 21 days until my birthday, and we were suppose to be in Mexico on vacation, but, we’re just putting that on hold while we fight this fight, but Mexico for my Dirty 30 WILL be happening!!! ❤