Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just like Spongebob, I'm Ready...for all of this to be over!

I'd like to start of with an apology...I'm sorry for the lapse of time between my blog posts.  One day led to a week, to a month, and then over two months.  You have all been so supportive, and I failed in keeping you updated.  Please accept my apology.

My children like Spongebob.  If you don't know who Spongebob is, consider yourself fortunate.  Personally, I have never been a big fan of the "who lives in a pineapple under the sea" (that's from the opening theme song) yellow underwater creature who serves crabby patties and continually does silly things, but Arleigh and Griffen enjoy watching it.  Even amongst his mindless antics, Spongebob attacks every task with enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and continually repeats, "I'm Ready!". 

Lately, I've been feeling like Spongebob.  I wish I embodied the positive attitude and enthusiasm part of his character, but I AM READY!  Ready for this ordeal to be over with.  Ready for my life to be "back to normal" (which I wonder if it ever will?) Ready for my schedule not to revolve around medical appointments, whether or not I'm able to go to work, what symptoms I need to get ready for, and what medications I need to take.  I'm ready for it to end...but unfortunately it won't for some time.

Five rounds of chemotherapy have been completed.  There are six rounds in my prescribed treatment, and today should have been my final round...but it's not.  Adelia was one of four JCHS students selected to represent Jones County at the University of Georgia's January High School Band Festival this week, in Athens.  The final concert will be held this Sunday, and if I had chemo treatment today, I certainly would not have been able to attend.  Fortunately for my family, my oncologist postponed my final treatment until next week.  I am very excited that we will be able to travel to Bulldog Country this weekend and attend the JanFest Concert.  For a few more days, I get to pretend that I am normal.

It also means that I get an extra week of feeling good! My chemo side-effects have remained about the same.  Some symptoms have gotten better, while others have worsened.  The nausea is controlled fairly well with medication.  Thrush and mouth sores are lessened by taking anti-viral and anti-fungal medications.  Fatigue has worsened with each round, as have body aches and flu-like symptoms from the treatment drugs and Neulasta injections.  Around round three, I developed a drippy-runny nose.  I joke with my family and co-workers that my brain is leaking!  A thin, clear, watery-like substance drips from my right nostril, and my right eye waters often.  Guess what???  Yet another side-effect from chemotherapy, along with swelling of my hands and feet.  (Wait a minute and let me go get another tissue...forgive me for being crude, but it's so annoying that if I could figure out a way to put a female sanitary item up my nose, I would.  That gave you a pretty good visual, didn't it?)

One of the biggest reasons I am ready to be finished with chemotherapy is I'm so tired of the drugs.  Not just because of the IV poisons, but because of the other drugs I have to take.  In order to lessen my side effects, since round two, I have been taking double steroids each round, for a total of five days each time.  On my last day of steroids, I have to begin taking seven days of an antibiotic.  Amongst that I'm taking medications for nausea, headache, diarrhea and thrush.  It's a wonder that I don't rattle as much medicine as I have to take, for I truly feel like a walking pill-bottle!

When I first received my intial diagnosis, I was trying to look for the bright side of it, and the only one I thought of was, "Gee, I'll actually be on a diet that works...the Cancer Diet!"  (I mean no disrespect to friends and loved ones on this diet.)  Just my luck though, even the Cancer Diet doesn't work for me.  In fact, a great number of chemotherapy breast cancer patients gain weight during their treatment, due to the steroids.  That's the category that I have fallen into, as well as many of the women I've encountered over the past few months at Georgia Cancer Specialists.  One would think that at least the silver lining through all of this could be a few pounds shed, wouldn't you?  As I encounter people, they say "Oh, you look so good!"  I really wonder if in their minds they are thinking, "She hasn't lost any weight...don't people on chemo loose weight?" 

Throughout this entire process so far, I know that I am truly blessed.  Blessed with a wonderful family.  Blessed with wonderful friends and co-workers.  Blessed with God's grace and comfort, and Blessed with your prayers and support.  In the scheme of things, I am almost finished with phase two of this journey.  Phase one was my surgery.  Phase two is chemotherapy.  Phase three is radiation.  Four is my preventative surgery / reconstruction, and  five is a five-year regime of an estrogen recpetor blocker, like Tamoxifen.  It has not been an easy road, but it could have been worse...  Regardless, I'm ready!

Thank you again for your continued prayers and support!