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All Puffed Up

So here we are, day two in the hospital, after a sleepless night and quite a day that led us here. That Guy was with me, my dad still hadn’t seen me so he came up at some point that morning. The doctors came around doing rounds. When I awoke, my arms and hands were even puffier than before! It seemed like this day brought even more questions than answers, which was very frustrating.

I was still very out of it. Some might say I always am, so just imagine how I was even worse. I was not allowed to eat solid food we found out and was not allowed to eat anything until after my IR check that day. Someone had allowed me to have dinner the night before, whoops! And that kind of sums up how everything went that day.

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Error In My Favor

Once I was back in a little private triage room, which in reality was a hallway where there was a little staff room if I remember correctly, I remember feeling really puffy. I started taking off my rings. Then my necklace. Then my bracelet. And then my wig. The gentleman who had gotten me the wheelchair was seriously the most calm person ever considering the circumstances. He got my mom a little bag to put everything in for me (Catch up with my trip to the ER starting here).

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What Everyone Wants to Know

People keep asking how I am doing right now. I’m hanging in there. I know that sounds silly and non-commital. Probably because it is. I have good days. I have bad days. I have sad days. I have tired days. Like any mom, there are hard days with the kids. Then there are really awesome days where everything just goes easy. Well, maybe not everything goes easy in one single day.

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Danger Danger

That Little Girl has a little diddy she likes to sing. It goes something like this, “Danger! Danger! Choking Hazard. Choking Hazard. Danger! Danger! Choking Hazard. Choking Hazard….” It started a little bit after That Baby was born and there was a particular toy she wanted. We tried to explain all the small parts were dangerous to not just her but also her baby sister. We agreed to buy it if she kept it all out of her mouth, something we are still working on. So now she calls all similar toys, “choking hazard Tinkerbell” or “choking hazard such and such” when talking about them. Well, the next part of the story is about me and the day I felt like I was in danger and well, like someone was choking me. Don’t worry, they weren’t.

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Wrapping up with AC

So I had finally gotten to the last cycle of this first chemotherapy duo. I was still having these awful moments where I felt like someone was choking me. My chest was still turning purple. I was dizzy “more often out of nowhere” (a direct quote from the notebook I take to appointments). Another direct quote from my notebook, “When do we start worrying about this pressure in my neck?”

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Third Time Was Not Such a Charm

Immediately prior to the third cycle, I started to have some new strange symptoms or side effects. For one, I was gaining weight, but the chemotherapy protocol I was on included a lot of steroids and fluids, plus I wasn’t hugely active. It wasn’t out of the question that this would be happening. Additionally, the chemotherapy caused photosensitivity so when my chest and face would appear red and blotchy, I reported it to the doctor, but there were explanations for that as well. The pressure in my neck was concerning, but they didn’t know what it could be. Over that weekend, just helping my daughter get dressed made me breathless and a purpley red coloring. Putting That Baby in the car carrier was extremely difficult since I was bending over even if I was kneeling. My puffy achey eyes were attributed to the chemotherapy. I was told that eye drops would help that, as would using my reading glasses more frequently. What concerned the doctor I saw that day the most was the sharp pain I had in my back/ribs area when I took a deep breath. There were reasonable explanations, playing with my daughter and her friend on a playground or just the Neulasta shot or a normal tweaked muscle. With a history of pulmonary embolisms, he felt that was the most concerning to him. Before I could be cleared for chemotherapy, I had to have a CT scan to check for pulmonary embolisms. That Guy had accompanied me to the doctor appointment, but he had to get to work. My chemo buddy friend for the day was able to shuffle her team to extend childcare and stay with me for the long haul. I’m telling you, it truly takes a village!

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Ring That Bell!

DSC_0495So I just can’t wait to catch up to the present day to write this post! I received so much support on the Facebook page about this that I just had to do this now!

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Take Two

Prior to each chemotherapy treatment during this cycle, I had to have my bloodwork done so it was ready for review at my oncologist appointment and I could be cleared to receive treatment. Now that we had gone through one cycle and weeks that followed and we had some time to gather more information as we had more answers, I went into that oncologist appointment with quite the list of questions. Keeping a notebook and a running list between appointments became my thing. A trademark if you will. I love it. I’m not so sure the doctors feel the same way, but I think they are understanding that it is just how I have to deal with things.

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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.

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Cycle One Week One

The day after my first A-C chemo treatment, Day 2, I woke up feeling fairly normal. This was as expected I think. I was careful not to kiss my family on the lips. I was using my own bathroom. I was drinking plenty of water. I was careful to take the prescribed medications exactly how and when they were prescribed to avoid side effects.

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