If aggravation had a picture next to it in the dictionary it would be my face. Lately I have been in a horrendous mood. I have severe insomnia, I don't wake up til like 3pm in the afternoon and when I do wake up I have zero motivation to actively do anything constructive. I am definitely in a crappy slump of nothing-ville and crappy town. I've also been extremely moody and everything seems to piss me off- this includes people, circumstances and my general environment.
I did decide to do a quick video update on my life so if you don't want to read all this just watch this:
Well as of last week, I had my last Herceptin medication through my port. If you didn't follow my blog in my earlier entries, I had genetic testing done last year and I am HER 2 positive which means I have a likely chance some sort of cancer will come back in 5-6 years time so I have to take a medication to kind of half block it and half control it. Basically... to better explain it to you- the nasty cancer cells grow uncontrollably and they are running buck wild in my body. Herceptin tries to works the surface of the cancer cell to block those gross chemical signals that can make them grow. Kinda like a personal weed wacker. I have been on this medication for one whole year. So that means every 3 weeks for 1 year after my chemo was done I had to go back and sit there for 2-3 hours while this is pumped into my veins. It was also done at the same time when I had my second half of chemo so it was like I was pumped with nothing but liquid!
I was definitely relieved that this part of it was over. Herceptin doesn't really make you nauseous or feel gross like chemo did but it was just a freakin' hassle to go back and forth to the hospital every month to get it done ....but I have no choice in the the matter. I have to do what I have to do.
Anyhow all this time I haven't had any follow ups with my doctors or any news if all the cancer cells were zapped by radiation so I was starting to get really pissed off and irritated about the next steps. As I've mentioned before my reconstruction surgery has to be 6 months after radiation has ended so roughly in April I'm supposed to have that scheduled but meanwhile I have not had any new CAT scans or MRIs or anything which was strange because in the beginning of my treatment I had nonstop calls of things and people I had to see and do. My nurse Paula finally made me an appt. with my oncologist Dr. Wulfe for a follow up.
She's a She-Wulfe ;)
When I saw her she was shocked there had been no prior follow up so first thing she told me was that I was almost done with the Herceptin. Fabulous I thought. I'm home free and can just focus on reconstruction surgery. Um but of course-NOT so damn fast. She announces that I should be starting on Tamoxifen now and that this was an optional step but that I could get a shot every 3 months to block the estrogen in my system so it could be preventative for future Ovarian Cancer.....I thought about it for a minute and I asked her how long I had to do both- thinking it was probably a year max....NOPE. it will be:
5 FREAKING YEARS that I had to get a shot and take a pill. I know you are probably thinking "well, what's the big deal, it's only a quick shot and a pill" well let me tell you when you go through breast cancer and you think you are almost done and then all of a sudden you have to start all over again- you just want to slam your head on the door. Think of it like this- you have one last payment on your car but you want to upgrade and trade it in and now you have to start paying off the new car all over again from the beginning. Wouldn't that piss you off? Yeah I thought so. It took everything in me not to burst into tears but I held it in. And I chose to just do both because I wanted zero chance that this will come back again because I don't think I can handle it a second time. And 5 years down the line my body is not going to be as strong so I decided to not take any chances and just do it. I also didn't mention that while I was on the last stretch of chemo I had THE worst hot flashes known to man and I lost my period for months. It just returned like 2 months ago and now with this new regimen it's going to disappear again and the hot flashes are going to return. FML.
After my appt, I had to go straight to Paula to do the Herceptin. She then tells me we are starting the shot that very day. Um. SAY WHAT? And also she put in my new prescription so I can pick it up later on. Damn Paula, mad skills lol. I have been poked and prodded so much in the past year none of this really phased me anymore but now my heart was racing since it has been a few months since I had to even give blood anymore. By the time she came over with the needle I was almost having a mini panic attack. The needle was a big as the ones Dr. Lee used for my fills. I wished I took a pic but I didn't have a second to so I will be sure to take it next time but yeah I was actually getting very nervous. Paula then came over and told me to lean all the way back and that it was going to be done on my stomach. UGH. If there is one area that freaks me out it's my stomach because it's so soft and sensitive. As she came towards me with the needle she told me it wouldn't be injected IN but would be injected to the side of my stomach so it would kinda pierce me like a shish kabob. BOOM! in it went and I felt immediate pain and winced a little. It left me looking like this:
Like Dracula left his mark
Oooh just 5 more years to go. No biggie. At least every time I come, I get this wonderful view of the treatment area:
I'm bringin' sexy back
A couple of weeks later, I was supposed to have a follow-up with my breast surgeon Dr. Houlihan who is awesome and wonderful. This appt was made back in like August but unfortunately she was in surgery all day so they pushed my appt with her senior nurse. I snapped this as I was waiting for her. I also had a nasty cold and they made me feel like I had SARS and made me wear a name tag where I had to "put it somewhere where it is visible" and made me take one of those ugly face masks to "cough into"....
Johnny Angel, how I love him
I forgot how much I didn't like this particular nurse. I had met her months before and I just didn't recognize her new hair. And I'm not just being bitchy. You just get a vibe sometimes from some of the medical staff. She was condescending to me right off the bat and made comments about my hair like "oooh, is that your real hair? I see you like the bright colors.....and OMG I love your purple strand" REALLY? I mean I am a breast cancer patient. Do you really think I grew my hair out to be bright ass red? Ugh. She just had that fake I'm-just-making conversation-but-I'm secretly-judging-your-life-decisions-sort-of-way. She even pried and asked how my work search was going on and gave me that "well you've had it hard" speech. Gag me.
She apologized I got lost in the mix and said I needed to get a new mammogram for my right side since "she wasn't aware I was removing the right breast". (I don't know how she wouldn't know since all of this is in my file that she didn't bother to read.) UGH. Not that blasted torture device again. I asked about when my reconstruction day would be and she told me I had to see Dr. Lee since he was all about the reconstruction and that was his call to coordinate. More appts. lovely. As I got dressed she assured me she would tell the receptionist out front to make all the appts for me so I didn't have to worry. When I got to the front desk I was all but over it. The receptionist was nice and was trying to coordinate all the times so I didn't have to come back on 50 different occasions but I got so frustrated with the back and forth that it would have just been easier if I just looked at my own calendar and coordinated myself. But it's all good. In the end everything was booked including Dr. Lee.
Or course I screwed up and overslept when I was supposed to see Dr. Lee this week. My appt was for 10am and I woke up at 8:30am with every intention to get dressed and get going but I fell back asleep and woke up at 9:50am...yeahhh....I called and tried to reschedule for the same day but he was also off to surgery all day so no dice. I have to wait til next Friday to seal my fate.
All in all I am doing okay but mentally I am having a tough time lately. The job searching is so annoying and I have a semi good opportunity coming up this week that I don't want to jinx or talk about yet so soon as it's over and I hear some news I will share ....Unemployment stopping has really stressed me out but good thing Yong's always have a back up plan. I don't know how I'm staying afloat but it's happening. I also just turned 33 so thank you everyone for all the well wishes :)
Anyhow, I think this entry is far long enough. I am looking forward to making the C4YW conference happen next month. So far with donations I have received about $360 from friends and family so thank you so very much for all the help....The flight round trip will be about $500 so I am hoping to save enough in the next couple of weeks to book the ticket and just get away from Boston for a little bit... ( read my last entry if you are interested in donating or don't know what I'm referring to)
Much love and I'll try to do a video update next time,