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The First Two Weeks Between

My particular experience for this chemotherapy protocol gave me two weeks “off” to rest up and have somewhat of a normal life in between treatment weeks. That is not what they are intended for, but after the first treatment, I was feeling fairly normal for these weeks after the first week. That would change as the summer went on. That is not to say I didn’t spend a significant amount of time during these weeks at the doctor’s office or dealing with cancer related things in addition to having a newborn. It just means, I didn’t spend them feeling entirely terrible all day long everyday and laying around the house unable to do much of anything trying to keep my food down.

This second week after treatment, it felt so good to feel good again. I still had flowers to plant and weeding to do. I couldn’t quite tackle it all, but my mom was able to help get it done. I joked that she did the “heavy lifting” and she really did. She did the weeding, digging, and lifting. I plopped flowers in the ground when she was all done with the tough parts. It felt so good to be able to do that and I was so proud of myself. I had to rest afterward, but to finally have my flowers planted was so good. Especially since the areas we finished up this week bordered where the new patio furniture would be. I was excited to have a little sanctuary for our family.

For the first of many appointments, I had to have my port site checked. The area was still very sensitive, but everything was ok according to the person who looked at the incisions. My Nadir appointment and first low blood count issue occurred during this cycle. I did not have to do a full neutropenic diet, but I only ate raw fruits and vegetables when I had control of the situation at home.

I also was finally able to get my genetic testing results back. I was a nervous wreck. I googled all night long (don’t do that!). Of course, I couldn’t sleep. Of course, it was important for my daughters to have the results when they are old enough to need them. Part of me needed an answer as to why this was happening to me and a genetic result would give me that. Of course, that also meant I had to deal with the entire repercussions of that for my lifetime and pass that along to my daughters. The surgical options recommended would also change based on the genetic results from my understanding. The surgical choices would also give me a pretty clear path if the results came back with either of the BRCA indicators. In the end, I tested negative for all twenty-something of the indicators they looked for. Looking back on it today, of course, that is the best case scenario. Several people on my care team and the genetics counselor have expressed varying degrees of certainty that just becasue I tested negative now, does not mean that in the future something won’t be discovered that shows that a genetic reason is behind this having happened. In an effort to do my part to help this process, I am currently participating in a research project where they are looking at the genetics of those who have gotten breast cancer at a young age.

My diet at home was still changing as I tried to up my intake of fruits and vegetables. There were a lot of smoothies in my life these days. It helped with the nausea and provided healthy vitamins and minerals. We were also fortunate enough to have people bring us dinner another time this week. That Guy’s sister also spent the night at our house to give us, really That Guy, a break from getting up overnight with That Baby.

It seemed like by that weekend, everything actually became very real to me. I was pretty angry that my blood counts were in the gutter. A lot of people had told me horror stories, but many had said, oh you are young, you’ll be fine. I wanted to be better than my body was allowing me to be. Oh and did I mention my hair started to fall out. That was pretty much the icing on the cake, if cake was poop and icing were more poop. I knew all of these things were “normal”. I knew it could be much worse. Still, I was mad. My body was not acting “young and strong”. Did someone forget to give my body the memo? I had a complete emotional cry-fest and just needed That Guy at some point during this time. I needed to get to the grocery store myself and find alternatives to what I now felt like were poisons we had been feeding our family. I wanted to revamp and go organic, dairy-free, soy-free, and preservative free. We literally called in help so we could take a date time out with just the baby to go to the grocery store. Romance at it’s finest!

For some reason, going into this, I was very anti-shaving my head. I would never have done it under any other circumstances so I couldn’t see why I would do it now. I also didn’t really think that through, but I’m pretty stubborn. Once I made that decision, it was kind of like a big middle finger to the whole situation and I wasn’t going to just give in. Part of me also wanted to see how my hair would fall out. Never having gone through it, maybe it would hang in there longer than I was expecting. So I hoped. I had already gotten my hair cut to just past my shoulders prior to having That Baby in preparation for it falling out. Well, let me tell you, it was a mess. And it was probably the most traumatic way to go through it. I had to clean globs out of the shower each time, bathroom floor after drying or brushing, the bathroom counter just from being in there, and that’s not even talking about my pillow and the bed. That Guy tried his best to clean it up for me when he would see it first, but it just wasn’t practical to think he could keep up with it and keep it out of sight and out of mind for me.

My hair farewell

After less than a week of dealing with the mess, I asked my mom to cut it to chin length, thinking it would help it appear thicker and less patchy. I should add, I was supposedly the only one noticing that my hair looked thinner. My mom swore she could take care of this for me. So outside we went to take care of it. After one snip of the scissors, I am not even kidding, it was above my ears. I started laughing and crying at the same time. She started laughing and crying at the same time. I squeaked out, “do you know where my chin is???? Can you see my ears way above my chin????” It was too late. It was not a good look. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard I tried to accept my new skater boy haircut, for those of you who went through middle school in the early 90’s.  It lasted about four hours through the visit of one friend and one brave text to another friend that included a picture. No one said anything terrible, but it was bad and I knew it. So I definitely wore my wig out that evening when we were finally able to get out and see friends. I still had quite a bit of hair underneath, which made the logistics a little more difficult, and I was pretty anxious about wearing it out in public, but my options were pretty limited! The process of losing my hair took quite a while. Even when it was “gone”, I still had a few areas that stayed with just a few strands around my temples, for example.

We finally had our new patio furniture, flowers planted, my new “look”, and a long weekend was here again. We had some time with my family to relax and eat dinner outside. We did some work around the house. We relaxed. Then it was time for my next treatment.

 

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Comments

  1. So brave and lovely x

    Like

  2. I can literally hear u asking ur mom if she knows where ur ears are!

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] wish I could say the days between this cycle were normal and routine like the first two cycles. It seemed as if I were in the doctor’s office every day for something somewhere. […]

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