Tricky Taxol

Just finished 2nd round of Taxol today.  Weird thing is, this time it gave me severe chills instead of hot flashes.  They had to give me two warmed blankets and a heating pad.  Again, I was there all afternoon.  This treatment takes a long time to be administered. Nurse Marilyn even stopped it for a bit to allow me time to recover from the severity of the chills, but as soon as she said I’d never finish before 5:00p, I decided it’d be best to try and tough it out.  I sunk into the chair and buried myself in the blankets and heating pad.  After I had dozed off for a while, the chills subsided and I had no more use for the blankets and pad.

I gotta say those warm blankets are sweet to have draped over you when you’re freezing.  My pops came and sat with me.  He too dozed off in the chair beside me.

I stopped off for a mojito (or two) and chicken nachos at The Iguana Grill on my way home.  Not part of my diet plan, but sometimes you have to indulge your “screw it” attitude.

How is this good?

A good friend sent me an inspirational e-mail today that begs the question “how is this good?” in every circumstance.  What great advice.  So, I’m going to train myself in this new philosophy. 

How are these things good?

  1. Having cancer – Hopefully, it makes you refocus and transforms your journey in life for the better.  (This is what I strongly hope for myself.  Although, oddly, I seem to be fighting tooth and nail and stumbling daily to learn these life lessons.)
  2. Going through chemo – builds strength of character.
  3. Starving yourself for the next 3 months and working out excessively –  potential new body and closer to surgery target weight.
  4. bimx/recon surgery – new, lifted boobs.
  5. financial meltdown – time to fix what is broken.
  6. challenging work environment – it’s good to have a job that keeps a roof over my head and provides much needed health insurance–grin and bear it!

Remember also:  “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances…”  – First Thessalonians
                                   “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Going it alone

Ugh, I can’t believe I’m even writing this post, but for some reason certain things have been weighing heavily on my mind recently.  I’m really expressing alot here–Crazy girl!

So, there’s a man out there I just can’t seem to stop thinking of.  And let me just say, it’s been like this for a while.  I wish I could get him out of my head, I really do!  My last encounters with him I thought would have done the trick, clearly amiss, but they didn’t.  Is it that I have this odd, long-standing attraction to a man who wants nothing to do with me (for good reason–I’ve acted like a jerk, lunatic and total loser) because I’m going through all of this single, or is it something more?  I don’t know, it’s hard.

For me, I know it has alot to do with everything I’ve been going through for some time.  All this cancer crap!  Having to decide on whether to remove your reproductive organs and mammary glands and of course the big-C, even the thought of it, really puts a kink in things.  I haven’t even mentioned the other incredibly major, life-altering events that have plagued my life the past few years (yes, aside from being BRCA1 and now having breast cancer).  Then there’s the weight issue.  I have to overcome all the hurtles in my mind about all of this.  It’s only making it a lonely experience for me.

The other day I read another woman’s blog post, also a breast cancer survivor, who talked of her first dating experience after cancer treatment.  The man asked her about her visible, port scar.  Something she wasn’t quite prepared to discuss on a casual date.  She wondered if other women had similar experiences or could offer any advice.

For some women, the scars of breast cancer, both physically and psychologically, never factor into their identity as a woman.  For others, it matters a great deal, especially if you’re fairly young and single.  I wish I could be in the first group, but I’m just not there yet.  Some women are completely okay with lopping off their breasts entirely with no reconstruction, ever.  You go sisters!  My breasts are a part of my identity.  However, now they’re trying to kill me, so they kinda have to go.

Yesterday at treatment I saw a young couple around my age.  Husband and wife.  The wife has cancer and the husband was there for support.  He’d help her to the restroom, just sit with her and from time to time get up to get various things for her.  It was nice to see, but at the same time hard to watch.

Several friends have said that this is just something I have to get through first.  It just blows going it alone.

Oh, the hot flashes!

I started Taxol today. Been here forever and still no sign yet of the finish line.  Walked into TxOnc at 9:30a.  I did have labs and a dr. visit, plus more problems accessing my port.  Well, they couldn’t get a good blood return.  Started treatment around 11:15 or 11:30.  It’s now almost 4:30p and I’m one of the only patients left here.  My father is here too.  He’s been here with me since around lunchtime.

I’m having severe hot flashes, so they’ve had to turn down the speed of the dosage several times.  Got to the point where Nurse Suzie had to steal a fan from a co-worker to make me more comfortable.  I hope it’s not always like this.

My horoscope – The Austin Chronicle, Aug. 16-22, 2013

I typically don’t read horoscopes, but you read just about anything when you’re stuck in a chair for 5 hours getting treatment.  This one is a good one for me–inspiring, and something to keep in mind.

Pisces (Feb. 19 – Mar. 20):  Aldous Huxley was the renowned 20th century intellectual who wrote the book Brave New World, a dystopian vision of the future.  Later in his life he came to regret one thing: how “preposterously serious” he had been when he was younger.  “There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,” he ruminated, “trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.  That’s why you must walk so lightly.  Lightly, my darling. … Learn to do everything lightly.  Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.”  I would love for you to put this counsel at the top of your priority list for the next 10 months, darling Pisces.  Maybe even write it out on a piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror. ~ FREE WILL ASTROLOGY by Rob Brezsny

Doesn’t really sound like a horoscope, but great advice and exactly what I needed to read today.  Lovingly written–Also what I needed as I’ve had harshness in one form or another for weeks now.  Don’t you just love when a writer refers to his/her readers as “darling”?  Makes it more personal, that they’re writing just for you. Gives me the warm fuzzies all over!

Where’s the love?

Dear friends and family, I’m having a really hard time of it and my support system has waned.  I have several girlfriends that have been totally consistent in their support for me!  Deb, Beth, Kim and Mary, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you girls!  And Ryan and Terri, and Dad! I cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support!  I love you all!!!

For others in my life reading this post, I started this blog to keep you all informed, certainly not for you to disassociate with me.  Where’s the love?  I realize we all lead busy lives, but I could really use your support throughout this ordeal. If only to drop me a line via e-mail or text every week or so, or comment on my blog posts cheering me on and/or just letting me know you’re thinking of me.  If you care about me, please show me some love.

You’ve all stated to let you know if I need anything and I realize I’m quick to show I’m capable of going it on my own, but this is much harder emotionally than I let on or anticipated.  Could use more love from all, please?

Time to Forge Ahead

Okay, I’m feeling better now.  I have my survivor fitness class tonight at the Y.  I’ve missed the last three classes.  The instructor even texted me stating they’d been missing me in class. 

I’m hoping the worst of the chemo is over with now, and that the Taxol will be easier so that I won’t have bad days like with the AC.  The AC really screwed with my ability to focus on preparing for bimx/recon surgery.  Now it’s time to make some serious strides forward.  Don’t know if I’ll make end of year.   My MedOnc doctor has given me a three-month timeframe after chemo (which ends in early November), even though she’d prefer sooner than later.   So, just after the first of the year is doable.  I need to strive for year-end through.  I just need to do it! 

It’s either radiation or surgery and I don’t want to do radiation, and because I’m BRCA1 and the cancer is triple-negative, surgery is inevitable at this point.   I’ve faced a number of obstacles over the past few years, which I haven’t divulged here, but the truth is I was planning for preventive surgery.  Cancer struck first.


So, slowly over the course of the day I’ve stopped crying.  I’m trudging with heavy foot and brow.  How literary of me.  I had to seek out further inspirational quotes, like the ones I’ve already added to my sidebar aren’t enough.  Anyway, added more, which I think helped a little to bring me back to an acceptance-type state of mind.  I don’t know.  If I didn’t have these crappy, emotional days, and express them here, the good days wouldn’t seem to count as much.  None of us can be strong all the time, and who really wants to be.  Sometimes things just suck and its hard, so hard.  I’m not out of the woods and all the inspirational quotes in the world don’t seem to help the process move any faster.  Sometimes things just suck!  

But, hopefully, after the smoke clears, I’ll get up again.


My bad days have lasted longer this time.  So long.  Maybe they gave me a double dose this time knowing it’d be my last.  Out of work for three days.  I think my firm is ready for me to take a flying leap.  Today is not a good day.  Their recentment shows!

I’m having such a hard time and I can’t stop crying.  I just can’t stop.  I’m supposed to pull it together and be strong.  Inspiring, right? 

No, this all sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!