Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cancer Rant

It's really sad that "Cancer" is becoming a popularity contest in this world!
People are labeling others with misperceived perceptions, like how others should feel, look like, or which cancer is worse than others. It's a shame. I know I don't even want to have this label over my head. I wish cancer never knocked on my front door and kicked me in the face! But it did and now I have to deal with it, trying to make the best of the situation.
Any form of Cancer is horrible! There is no better cancer than the other! Everyone has a different experience in any situation. It's weird to me that we segregate these diseases. Don't get me wrong, I think it's cool that each cancer has its own colored ribbon or National "Blank" Cancer Month, but we make a big hype with certain diseases more thank others. Such as Breast cancer! It is made into a whole huge ordeal! I see kids, young kids, not even teenagers, wear the "I love boobies" bracelets around like it is just something cool, the next fashion fad. But do they really know what that stands for?
Anyways, I could go on and on, but it would be ridiculous! LOL! I just want to state, scream rather, that I HATE cancer! I wish it didn't exist. And I don't care what kind of disease people are diagnosed with, it sucks! ALL cancers suck! That's the best label I can put on it.

ICE phase two

I'm just starting to feel better from the second round of ICE chemotherapy.
It was a roller coaster ride this time. I immediately got sick when leaving the hospital. I felt so bad for my mom! It was a long ride home. Fortunately, I was prepared ahead of time with my Nuelasta shots, which boost my immune system, and extra nausea medication to help me out. Otherwise, I would be as miserable as last time!
I feel so relieved I'm on the up swing of this journey. I am very ready to be over with this! Next stop, PT scan and praying that it comes back CLEAR!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Losing IT!

When I started my previous chemo treatments they told me that my hair would definitely fall out. They almost never had seen people who kept their hair. My hair did start falling out about a month after my very first treatment of ABVD. But it only thinned a lot and didn't fall out completely. I felt extremely lucky that I didn't lose it all. My Dr. and the oncology nurses were shocked and surprised that I kept the majority of my hair.
I never experienced the outer side effects of chemo and cancer. So when others I talked to, that were going through a similar journey as I am, expressed how emotional it was to lose their hair throughout chemo and how hard it was to deal with hair loss, I felt a little sad that I couldn't relate.
I still don't really know how others feel about their experience on losing their hair because I think I am going through a whole different change.
With the new treatment plan, ICE, the nurses and Dr. assured me this time that my hair WILL fall out! I thought to myself, we'll see, because they told me that last time! But they were right! It started to fall out dramatically two weeks after my first treatment. It was definitely a little shocking and I kept thinking, how am I going to look bald? The unknown was scary for sure! When hair was eventually falling out in hand fulls and I could literally see trails of hair on the floor, I knew it was time. Time to shave it all off! My fiance' also shaves is head willingly so we already had the tools to do it.
We both went into the bathroom, I took a deep breath and started to shave my head!. Ahhhh! I couldn't believe I was actually doing it! I was frightened I was going to not like it and wish that I would have waited, but when I was done with the shaving, I felt so much BETTER! It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I felt happy and relieved in a very bizarre way.
A lot of people who I have chatted with said they started to break down and cry when their hair started to go. Or they felt like less of a person. I would feel so sad for these people, and hoped I would never feel like this when the time came.
I didn't feel any sadness when I was getting rid of my hair. I knew it was only a matter of time anyways and I was lucky I had a year of preparation already before it actually left for good! The next day though, I will admit, when Ricky, my fiance', looked at me and said, how do you like your new do?, I started to cry a little. For a split second I thought, he's not going to love me anymore because I'm bald! He re-assured me that he loves me unconditionally and he understood my feelings, which made me feel all warm and fussy inside lol!
I actually never would have thought I would say this, but I enjoy my baldness! I'm thankful that I am handling it rather well and embracing change. I do get stares and a lot of awkward moments with people, but that comes with the territory. If I was normal looking, I would probably glance at a bald chick too, and wonder what is the matter with her?!

                                               This is what I looked like before cancer.
This is what I looked like during ABVD treatment 
And this is me now during ICE treatments!

Monday, October 8, 2012

ICE phase one

Last week I had my first ICE chemo treatment. Three days in the hospital was quite challenging.
The first day was OK, felt the normal fatigue of chemo. The second day I had infusion for 24 hours. It was extremely difficult. I was so tired! On top of feeling nauseous, having a splitting headache and body aches, they wouldn't let me sleep, waking me up every hour! I always feel somewhat emotional when I receive treatment, but this time it hit me hard. I didn't want to be in the hospital at all. I just wanted to be in the comfort of my house, my own bed.
Going home was hard also. Ricky, my fiance', already had prior obligations, the marathon he was training for, for a long time, so he wasn't able to be there when I got home. I asked my mom to be there for me because it's really hard to do anything when your done with treatment. She was amazing! And she helped me a lot!
I usually don't get too sick after treatment but this one seemed to hit me harder. I was sick for almost three days, not being able to keep anything down. On top of all this I got a horrible cold which didn't help my symptoms any.
With the other chemo I received, the day after I would need to get a shot called Neulasta to boost my white blood cell count up. It was one shot that pushed your body to the limit even more and made you feel like you got ran over! This time I am taking a shot called Neupogen which I give to myself for seven days after treatment. My doctor said he would have the shots ready for me when I got out of the hospital, but that never happened! I have been having a hell of a time getting this doctor to follow through on what he says. I was pretty mad that he didn't have these ready for me when he said he was going to! He had three days to do it, and the nurse said he forgot! Ugh, so annoying!! On Monday, feeling really sick, I called the office to see what the scoop was on these shots. I got the run-around from the nurses who finally told me hours later to just come in the office to take the first shot. It's so difficult to drag your butt out of bed and drive thirty minutes so the Dr.s to take a shot that takes three seconds, so I had my mom come pick me up and take me. Thank god for mommies! After I received the shot I almost immediately felt a little better. My immune system and white cell count was so low, that I definitely needed that shot!
The next day I picked up the rest of my shots to give to myself at home for the next six days. The first time I gave myself the shot I almost passed out LOL! I'm not even scared of needles and they usually don't bother me, but doing it myself and seeing the needle go into my stomach made me very unsettled! The affect of the shots didn't hit me until the third day. It leaves you with pounding headaches, which hasn't gone away yet, and lower back pulsating pain.
After about a week of recuperating after treatment, you start to feel better. Slowly but surely you become normal again. I think this is one of the most difficult things for me. People know that I had treatment, but they don't know the affects it has on my body, because when they see me I look normal, I look happy.
I try to write a lot of details to try to inform people that don't know what I am going through how truly difficult this is. Chemotherapy is no joke! It is literally the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life!
Having Cancer has changed my life so much! It has left me with slight neuropathy in my toes which is getting worse with this new treatment, crazy looking hair LOL, and lung damage just to name a few. Of course it has taught me very valuable life lessons, but it has also shattered dreams! But one thing it can't take away is how much I have learned how strong I truly am!