My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

13 December 2013


Well, chemo has begun! I sat in a chair for 3 1/2 hours on Wednesday morning and received my first of six chemo infusions. (Not a great picture, but there it is.) Once again, though surgery eradicated all traces of cancer, chemo is the insurance policy against any rogue cells that may have escaped undetected. It also helps lessen the likelihood of recurrence, particularly with my kind of aggressive cancer.

So far I'm feeling OK. Its been almost 48 hours since I finished the first round. I'm feeling a little headachy, tired, and food tastes funny. But otherwise, no serious complaints. I'm expecting to get more and more tired over the next few days, and any other side effects that I'm going to be prone to will show up soon too. So, we wait and see! And while I'm still feeling remotely well, I'm trying to get a few things done without overexerting myself ... a tricky task with three little girls to care for, Christmas presents to wrap and a birthday girl to celebrate in a week!

Interested in the details of chemo? Keep reading!

When I arrive for my treatments, they put a somewhat large needle into my port, implanted a week ago near my collar bone. This administers the drugs more directly into my system, almost directly into my heart, making them work faster, as well as save my surface veins from over use. They start with about a half hour of preemptive drugs. These include two forms of anti-nausea medicine, a stomach calmer like Pepcid, and Benadryl, for any potential allergic reactions. I had no reactions to the chemo drugs, but I will still get these with each treatment. There IS a cumulative effect to the chemo, and each infusion will be a little tougher. 

The first of my chemo drugs is called Taxotere. The dose takes about an hour to administer. Common side effects include temporary decrease in blood counts, allergic reactions, fluid retention, hair loss, fatigue, odd sensations, excessive tearing, rash, nail changes, muscle and joint aches.

The second chemo drug I get is called Cytoxan. (For you Fringe fans out there, I keep wanting to call this one Cortexifan.) This one only takes about half an hour to administer. Common side effects include bladder irritation, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, temporary decrease in blood counts.

So far, I have not experienced any horrible side effects. And the only one I'm fairly sure of, unless I fall into the three percent of people who DON'T lose their hair on these drugs, I'm expecting to be bald by New Year's Day. I'm prepared. I think I would feel like I was cheating if I didn't lose my hair.

Its hard for me, with so much to do in my house, to sit and rest. I'm trying not to overdo it while I feel OK, knowing I need to let my body heal and not overuse it. But its hard. If you're the praying sort, pray for our little family as we head into a week of mama being out of commission. Thanks!

1 comment:

Starlene said...

Heidi, I had no idea that you are going through this. I will be praying for you and your family and that the cancer will forever be gone. Sadly, I have several people that I pray for daily because they are fighting cancer (and one who has a different disease). I will add you to my list. It's so hard to fathom what you are going through.