All I can Do is Smile


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This Week & Last

As I type this, I only have 3 more infusions remaining. It’s almost hard to believe. While I know it’s not “over” yet, a chapter is definitely getting ready to close.

Each round has brought it’s own unique challenges and variation of side effects. The constant has been knowing that the first week will suck, but ultimately will also pass. Last round was no exception, with the usual bowel and nausea issues. This time around, the “chemo brain” made things even more difficult. Yes, yes, chemo brain is real, providing loads of fun like: difficulty finding words and forming sentences that make it seem like English is my second language. I literally cannot do strenuous brain activity (anything that requires me to think and problem solve) during the first week, or I immediately get nauseous. What a pain in the ass.

Needless to say, by the end of the week, I’m crawling out of my skin. I’ve got a couple irons on the fire in addition to the projects I’m doing for my regular job, so a week of staring mindlessly at the TV feels like such a waste when I want to do ALL. THE. THINGS.

The upswing has begun, dampened only by the fact that our water heater went kaput on Saturday. It was over 20 years old, so we weren’t super surprised when it completely failed, but we are without hot water until the mold remediation is complete (sometime next week). Thank goodness for my gym membership that gets me access to a hot shower. (And frankly, it forces me out of the house for a quick workout anyway!)

Other than that, all is well! Hard to believe MAY is nearly here and with it, my 35th birthday, 4th wedding anniversary, and (hopefully) a clean bill of health.

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Clarification on the Mastectomies

So… my what’s next post seemed to cause a fair amount of confusion. I realize I missed re-sharing an important piece of information with all the other information, and that my initial sharing of said information just got lost with all the other stuff contained in the post.

Because. let’s face it, there’s a shit ton of information coming at us in this process in general, so no wonder people were confused when I started talking about boobs.

Let me clarify.

Three months ago, we met with a geneticist. We received results that I am positive for the BRCA1 gene (this links to a big ol’ FAQ with all sorts of information). This result is actually is good news. Why??? Because we know what caused my cancer and my doctor can more effectively provide treatment.

Dealing with the ovarian cancer is the first step. Once I’m done with chemo, I will be recommended to a breast specialist. My desire is for prophylactic surgery but the timing for that remains to be determined.

Hope that clears it up! Happy Friday!


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Power Songs & Food Prep

Okay dear readers, near and far, help me out! What is your power song? AKA: The song that you just can’t help shaking your booty to and dancing to and puts you in a great mood and you can just listen to over and over again…

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That’s the song I want from you. Or songs. Post your answer in the comments so I can add them to my dance party mix — a little midday rejuvenation technique I’m trying.

Also, for local peeps, I’m looking for food prep volunteers on Monday, April 18 (as in, next Monday) to help me get food ready for ROUND FIVE! I’ll start around 11am and go into the afternoon, so the more the merrier. (And heck, maybe there will be a dance party.) You can also reply in the comments if you’re able to cruise over.

Happy Hump Day!


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What’s Next?

With only two (TWO!) rounds left, a lot of folks have been asking “What happens next?” Well, that brings us back into the unknown.

Once I complete chemo, I’m done! No radiation is anticipated. Upon completion of the 6th round, I’ll get a new CT scan. If (when) that comes back clear, they’ll schedule surgery to remove the port. I’m not sure if that’s an outpatient procedure, but I imagine it’ll be an easy one regardless. That will occur 2-3 weeks after chemo ends.

Then, I get recommended to the breast specialist! (I was sad to realize that Dr. Tierney would not continue with me on this journey, but you know, wrong body part and all.) This is where the unknown comes in.

The new doc may want to wait out the recurrence period (18 months) before we proceed with any breast surgery. At first, the reaction was that if it was medically necessary to wait, we would, but if it wasn’t, we would seek other options outside of Kaiser. Upon further education, a double mastectomy is quite the undertaking. (Understatement of the year.)

It’s not a matter of “woohoo new boobs!” — all of the breast tissue is removed and tissue expanders are inserted and saline added until the desire skin stretching has occurred. Approximate timeline: 4-6 months. Hmmmm, maybe the full Cs I was thinking about aren’t sounding so great anymore.

In any case, we’re taking this one thing at a time. But that’s what on the horizon!