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I am so bad at keeping up with this blog. Guess life has been a bit busy since the last post. So much has happened since. I did start my chemotherapy, I started two medications one called Taxol and another one called Herceptin. I was supposed to have 12 rounds of Taxol once a week and Herceptin every 3 weeks for 17 weeks. Immediately after my first round, my stomach was a mess. Mild cramps, constipation, heartburn, and a loss of taste were my main side effects. I must say that it was not as bad as I anticipated. My energy was still high, my hair had no signs of falling out. I felt that I could totally handle this chemo thing. This continued on until my sixth round when I really hit a wall, while I was plugged into the machine getting Taxol I had such horrible cramps that I thought I would have to go straight to the emergency room. I decided then and there that I no longer would continue treatment. I also switched oncologist to someone I am more comfortable with. And although he did recommend that I try another type of chemotherapy he was supportive of my decision. And so here I am post chemo and thriving. Sure my hair fell off and I look like a baby chick with fuzzy hair, but I no longer have all those stomach issues.

Someone asked me if I was scared of stopping mid treatment and the truth is that I can’t answer that with a simple answer. Yes and no. I mean anything could happen at any time. Radiation which I start next month is known to cause cancer, Tamoxifen which I also start soon, has a whole lot of issues that come with it. I don’t really know how to feel. The best I can do is eat healthy, find more time to exercise and enjoy my life and be around the people that love and support me. I will not pause my life waiting to get better, I’ve done that enough recently.

With that said, I am really happy knowing that I have people reading this blog. Let me know if you have any questions about any of this. Although I am learning as I go, I totally get how confusing and overwhelming this all is. It drives me crazy how much information there is out there. I will keep you posted on radiations and all that other stuff. Thanks for reading.

LR

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A girl’s girl

Jana
Definitely not dumb.

Chemotherapy starts this Thursday and I am nervous as all hell. All these questions, like what will it feel like? Will I be wiped out from all the drugs and not be able to enjoy my life? What if I lose my hair, will I look cute bald? I know, isn’t that awful that I ask that question? But then it’s worrying about the little details, like dinner and who will give Ayla her bath if I’m too weak. Or worst, who will comfort her because lately she is all about her mama. Although I am happy that she needs me so much, the thought of not being able to tend to her makes me so sad. I do not know what I would do without my mother’s help or my husband. Either way, I won’t know until I know. And stressing out over these things does not help matter.

SIDENOTE: Have you heard of Gabriele Grunewald? She is a badass babe! She participates in races while on Chemo. Like if I ever feel weak or I am feeling sorry for myself, remind me that us women are warriors!

So, last Saturday my lovely friend Liz threw me a surprise brunch at Sugarcane. She invited some friends Giselle, Maria, Monica, Jana, Otilia and Haydee. She is so sweet and supportive. We over ordered and had bottomless sangria pitchers. We had a great time and everyone was so sweet. We forgot to take pictures, could you believe it?  I did manage to take one. That is my friend Jana up there holding up the book that Liz got me to pass time during chemo. I love it. It was really touching to see all my friends together in one spot.

At the end when all is said and done, I must declare that I have a solid group of people cheering for me. And no matter what happens that is a nice feeling to have. Knowing that you are loved and needed.

I will be posting a Father’s Day post as well. Yes a little late, but excuse me, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.

We are warriors

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One thing I did not dream of while starting this blog and talking to people about my diagnosis was the amount of support I received. Also, tons of inquiries about how I first discovered it, how I will treat it, etc…

Many ladies out there have found lumps and are too scared about the outcome. But I urge you to go get a mammogram sooner than later because breast cancer tends to be aggressive if left alone. I am the kind of person that if I know if something is wrong, I need to get it resolved as soon as possible. Please don’t be scared to get tested because no matter what the outcome is, you are strong and you can deal with whatever comes your way.

The goal of early detection is to diagnose and treat breast cancer patients in an early stage when the prognosis for long-term survival is best. Delays in diagnosis and treatment, could result in a poorer prognosis for women with breast cancer.

PLEASE LADIES, no time to waste when it come to your health. Get tested and move forward. Everything will be okay.

After the storm

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It has been about a month since the surgery and the recovery has been pretty smooth. Of course it’s such a pain in the butt to feel tender and sore and limited on the things that you can do but overall, I feel great. A couple of weeks ago I saw my surgical oncologist and he was a bit confused about treatment options for me. At the time of the lumpectomy they bumped me up from Stage 0 to Stage 1, ER+/PR+/HER2+. That basically changed the treatment that they had in mind prior to the surgery. My cancer was a bit more aggressive than what the biopsy had shown but still I fell short of the recommended chemo treatment. My doctor recommend that I see another oncologist.

The new oncologist was very confident that I need chemo as a preventative measure. He answered all my questions but was a little too dismissive of my concerns with the treatment. Although he was very nice and obviously an expert he really did make chemo seem as if it were a massage at the spa. Since then I have spoken to my own general doctor and Dan’s dad who is a oncologist and they both reassured me that the reason that he suggested chemo is because I am young and I will recover from it and that I will have great results from the treatment. And so it starts. I will have a port placed next month and shortly after start chemo. I am still so nervous and scared but I am trying not to over think the whole thing and just get on with it. The sooner it happens the sooner it ends.

I will keep you posted.

 

Done Deal

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All the anxiety that was building up for the lumpectomy was causing me major stress. As much as I tried to take it easy and trust that everything was going to be okay, I could not help but feel the what if’s of my daughter growing up without a mother. I know, tons of people have endured way more than any of this and still have made it. But I couldn’t help think about death, I just couldn’t. I joked with Alexis that I would haunt him if he picked the wrong second wife. (I would!)

Friday, April 21st came and I hyped myself up for the event. My team of doctor’s and nurses were seriously the best. I went to the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. There was not one person that I encountered that was not accommodating and just very caring and supportive. I got there and Ana the nurse that attended me through the entire process made me feel very comfortable and at ease almost immediately. She gave me a hard time about drinking water prior to the surgery but I was so thirsty and thinking about not drinking water for 12+ hours made me even thirstier.

My mom stayed with Ayla then Alexis and I made our way to the hospital to be there by 10 a.m. We got there, registered and then it was just a continuous loop of registering at different locations, giving my name and date of birth about a hundred times and getting procedures done. The first procedure was getting two long needles inserted in the area that they were going to remove, to protect the needles from snagging on things or hurting me they literally covered them with a styrofoam cup that got taped to my chest. Totally normal and comfortable. Then they take you to a pre-surgery room where other patients are also waiting and you kinda get all your vitals taken, meet the rest of the team that will be in the surgery room and that’s where your family comes and says their goodbyes.

A little snag happened that I did not realize until it was a bit too late. After the plastic surgeon came to speak with me, mark the area up and take pictures of the before area. My main doctor realized that they forgot to schedule the Sentinel lymph node biopsy which they were supposed to do prior to the surgery. He gave me a choice to cancel the surgery and come back the following day. (HELL NO!) I had a styrofoam cup taped to my boob, no way was that happening again unless some serious drinking is involved. We decided that he would test the lymph nodes during the surgery with the ink that is not as accurate as the one they were planning on using but still a common way to test them. The final step was anesthesia, I swear the doctor looked like Cuba Gooding Jr., he kept calling me young lady. SMOOOOOTH! Prior to me drifting off he leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “I am a decade older than you.”

LIGHTS OUT!

I don’t remember anything after that, not one thing. Those drugs were good. The surgery lasted about 4-5 hours and everything went well. They removed 3 lymph nodes and the doctors did a great job removing and reconstructing the area. I did have a reduction and a lift on my right side to match the lumpectomy side. And I have a drain hanging out of my body which is no fun but not as annoying as I thought. My dad, Alexis and my friend Giselle were all there after the surgery but truth be told, I don’t remember them visiting. I was pretty out of it after the surgery and by the time I fully woke up visiting time was over and I was left alone in the recovery room with the nurses. Ana, Vladimir, Jaime and Alain helped me pee, drink water, open saltine packages and brought me warm blankets.

Overall the experience was far less traumatic than I imagined and I am sure the reason for it is the staff that attended me. I could not say enough good things about the hospital and it’s staff. The nurses were heaven sent and I would recommend this facility to anyone undergoing this diagnosis. As for me, now I wait and see what my treatment will be. Probably radiation and hormone therapy but I won’t know any of this until next week. And for once I am fully relaxed regarding this subject.