Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 4 of round 4

I just realized the last post hand published.  I'm doing good, but having more nausea symptoms than before. The side effects can be cumulative so this isn't unexpected.  However, I probably won't be on blogger or Facebook (or email or texting) till next week.

Thanks for your messages and for checking in!!!

Round 4 started today!!!

Well, I'm happy to report that I've had some pretty good days!  I've been able to enjoy some "me" time - and decided to spend a couple of minutes by the beach enjoying the Sun and the calming ocean. I promise I had sunscreen and the hat on most of the time, but wanted a good pic of the bald head, my smile, and the beach! ;)

My inlaws are in town, to help my sister in law get settled (she started college today, I can't believe it!!!!), so we've been able to hang out.  My daughter has been having a blast, and I even got to take her to a bounce house during week 2 (can you see her running around?)

Unfortunately, we've also had a cold going around, and even the little one got it.  She had a fever yesterday, so I got to sport this awesome mask for a couple hours last night... :(. Not the most fun, especially because my 3rd weekend is the time to have fun and enjoy myself before going to the next round.  The good news is that we've had plenty of help, and that so far my counts seem to be unaffected!

I'll probably go on another computer hiatus to avoid the nausea again, but wanted to give an update.  By all accounts we're doing well, my main complaint is that while food has stopped tasting like vinegar (yay!!), it still doesn't exactly taste like anything.  That is disappointing, but not even a problem in the grand scheme of things.  My oncologist said if the taste buds for return till chemo is gone, he'll personally instruct  my husband to get me high quality dark chocolate to enjoy, which means he understands my concerns very well!  Until next time, hugs to you all - thanks for all your emails, comments, text messages, and Facebook messages! :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It takes a village...

I've written a little bit about things that friends or family have done for us to help us out.  However, I've tried not to share a lot, because I feel that others should have a right to their own internet privacy (and because I keep meaning to take pictures of certain things and forget - chemo brain!).  Having said that, I want to share a story with you.  When I first got diagnosed, not only did I have to deal with my own feelings (anger, frustration, pain, fear) but also those of the people that loved me.  It is kind of funny to think about now, but I did a LOT of reassuring others during the first couple of days after my diagnosis.  In some ways, re-telling the details of what was going on or could happen, the prognosis percentages, and the fact that I was 100% ready to fight - helped me gather the courage I needed.

I did some funny things prior to chemo, like buying some nice earrings because I was determined that I would have cute earrings that I could later give to my daughter and let her know her Mama beat cancer wearing them.  I bought a crazy bright hot pink lipstick (which you've all seen), because I wanted to be BOLD if I had to be bald (and eyeliner and eyebrow liner which I was told might come in handy as the eyelashes and brows fell off).  I know many around me were trying to figure out with ways to cope themselves - not just with what I was going through, but with the reminder that life is precious, life is short, and life can throw one heck of a curveball at you when you least expect it.

As I was preparing for my battle, a good friend of mine, Becca, felt the need to do something herself - and she decided to start training for her first marathon while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).  LLS research is responsible for one of the game-changing chemo drugs that I am on (Rituxan), and they continue to invest resources for blood cancer research.  Training for a marathon is no small feat, and we've shared comments back on forth on how we're both exhausted!  The Puerto Rico chapter of LLS doesn't have any local marathons, so she will be flying to Miami for the run.  Her fundraising page is #JoelleStrong Team Fundraising page (it is a little embarrassing to read all the nice things she says about me), and she has been documenting her training in her own blog if you'd like to take a look.  I am humbled by what she is doing, and I hope to join in on cancer research fundraising efforts once I'm done with all my treatment and recovery!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Emerging from hibernation...

Well, its officially wednesday of week 2, and I feel good!  The nausea finally started subsiding yesterday, and today I feel like myself again.  I can now log onto the computer and not feel like the world is spinning!!!  We had read that the third round of chemo can be rougher for people, and therefore were dreading it a little.  I think it was rougher in terms of the nausea and the tiredness, but it seemed to take about as long to get back to normal, so that's good news.  The main complaint I have right now is that all foods taste like vinegar, which is no fun.

We saw the doc on Monday, and it was great to hear him once again say that I am in remission!  We have to continue going weekly to monitor my blood counts, and the only number that is looking a little low is hemoglobin.  He stated that in this case, iron supplements and iron-rich foods wouldn't help bring the numbers back up, that we just need to monitor during treatment (Depending on how the counts go, they might adjust my medicine dose).

I feel awesome today, almost too good because it was tough to take it easy.  I am sure my Mom will be shocked to hear this, but I had so much energy I did laundry, and also decided to declutter - I have a box of books and a box of toys to donate now.  I am looking forward to a week and a half of feeling like myself before round 4. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Round 3 has started!

Nausea has already started (it's a sad day when even chocolate milk doesn't taste good), but it is manageable.  I had to take it easy today and will do the same tomorrow.

However, I had an amazing weekend.  It started on Thursday, with a Duffy boat (small boat with sun cover, sits 12) lunch ride with some friends/coworkers.  It was great to see them, and a very relaxing ride.  Reminded me how much I miss some of the people I work with, will need to plan some more lunches so I can get to say hi to others!

As a bak story, my daughter had been asking to go to disney every morning for about a week, and I was feeling guilty about my energy levels and not being able to take her since chemo started.  It may sound like she's spoiled by getting to go all the time, but she also has to deal with her mama not being able to interact much with her every other 1.5weeks, so I think she, my husband and i deserve all the fun we can jam-pack into our one good weekend!

We went to Disney on Thursday evening for about 2 hours so that I could test out energy levels.  We only did one ride and dinner, but I was ok and our daughter was happy since she got to see some of the characters from afar.

Friday after my good prognosis announcement, we went to our good friend's house and had some mimosas (don't worry Mom, I didn't have a whole bottle like my sister suggested ;) ).  On Saturday, even though we were pretty tired, I was ecstatic to be able to join a group of fiends on their second cooking party, it was great to spend time with their kids too!

Are you guys getting tired just by reading this? Saturday after nap time, it was another Disney day - and on Sunday we went to aquarium with another set of friends.  Needless to say, I was exhausted by Sunday night, but as my husband says, it was good for the soul! We are already talking about fun things to do on next pre chemo weekend, although I'll have to schedule some more breaks... :)

I am still on a high from hearing good news about my prognosis, but I haven't forgotten how tough this disease can be. A friend of mine, who is battling cancer for the second time, just left the hospital after 12 days and 3 surgeries.  Please send positive thoughts for his speedy recovery, I know we will be!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Good news from 2nd PET scan

My oncologist called to give me the good news.  My PET scan results came back "as close to normal as possible"!  He also said that the mass in my chest had "shrunk significantly." I didn't get all the details because I was too excited to ask.  I'm sure ill get more info on Monday.  For now, doctor said to celebrate and enjoy the weekend, and that's exactly what we plan on doing. :)

Thanks again for all your support, prayers, acts of kindness - they have helped carry us through 1/3 of the way already!

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31 year old navigating life with husband and almost-2-years-old daughter :)