Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Got ghastly sick last week. Went to my doctor and once again I got the viral flu going
around as well as a nasty bug in my bladder (charming). 
Quite bad this time around so I was given 2 different rounds of antibiotics and I
seem to ben slowly feeling human again.
Seems as if my immune system has just about had enough.
I'm having chemo done on the 23rd of December - sincerely hoping I won't be 2 much out of it.
I hope everybody is enjoying the Christmas holidays - to those of you who are off - lucky you!!
I wish you all a blessed christmas with many special moments filled with love and happiness :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not too much 2 say today -
Just watched a movie called "Living Proof" which is based on a true story about a man named Dr. Dennis Slamon who invented the miracle drug I am on "Herceptin". It's about the amazing way in which this doctor takes 12 years to have his drug approved and about the various women who are chosen for this special trial. Pretty amazing stuff but it also hits home a bit on how serious my whole matter is. It just seems so surreal...yes. still....believe it or not.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More Great News

For those of you who are unaware - I had my 2nd CT scan done last Tuesday. Results are positive - another reduction of 30%  :)  with my first CT scan I lost 42%...unfortunately these 2 percentages cannot be added together for a magnificent result that one can only dream of. In true fact I am about 52% in the clear instead. I wish I had a magic wand (or at least knew of somebody who owned one) to just make it all go away. How amazing would it be to hear the words 'You are in the clear!"

To sum up my overall measurement of my cancerous leisions it originally measured 165.4mm. It now measures 81.8mm :)

My doctors feel that I am doing really well on the treatment. They think I am coping amazingly well and might just put me on an extra 2 months of treatment just so I can get better results seen that I am responding so well. I hope and pray with all my heart that it works!! It really has become a weekly routine and it is extremely tedious but I am up for anything to make me feel better :) I seem to be part of the furniture now in the oncology department.

I am feeling an unusual symptom of tight chest/ weazing. Hoping it all goes away because it's making me suffer in the sleep department! 

I feel like I'm kind of getting away alot easier than what other patients are going through. About a month ago 2 new people started. The one girl I barely recognised because she dosn't have a hair on her head and the other lady is now in a wheel chair because her strength is so bad. I know my chemo is a bit milder than what the others have but wow - it's quite a reality check. I almost feel as if the severity of my cancer isn't real. Is it really that advanced?

I can't believe we are nearing the end of year already - where on earth has the year gone? could it be that 4 months of treatment have gone by so dam fast already?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's been a while since I have updated my blog - I keep getting reminded by certain 'followers' :p 
I had a bad reaction last week during my chemo session. Sincerely hope that doesn't happen again! Not quite sure why It happend but I was fine on my rechallenge again. Thank goodness...
I am having my next scan done on the 23rd of this month - I am soooooo nervous. Can only hope that the  progression continues as good as the results were the last time. Cross your fingers and toes everybody - I will do nothing but POSITIVE thinking over the next week! If I am on nerve it's really because I'm as nervous as hell for the next set of results...

For all the men supporting 'Movember' - Good on you all :) I think next year we should have a competition going on to support men with prostate cancer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

onward we go

Ok - so the hair is still there. It seems that every week my one specific trial doctor will walk up to me in utter amazement and gasp that my hair  is still there. Yay me!

So lately I  have been thinking about everything I have gone through since being diagnosed. I try to stay on the positive side of things but my mind seems to waft back to the idiot in the white coat who misdiagnosed me. Everyone says that it's extremely hard to sue doctors about misdiagnosis but then I think about it-  my mom who is a medical technologist at a blood bank for Western Provice - everyday she has the stresses of losing her job if she makes a mistake of giving out the wrong blood or not double checking up after herself on the records etc How is this different!? I trusted this doctor would put my mind at ease to something that was 
clearly a worry for me. If the cancer had been discovered I could easily be over it all right now and it wouldn't have spread to my liver. I think I have decided that towards the end of my treatment I am going to investigate such cases like mine. If anybody has had a personal experience in this (or you have heard of such stories) the advice would be much appreciated :)

My better half asked me the other day if I think I have changed since going through the whole ordeal. In many ways yes but I think I still have quite a journey to go. I find I am even more calm than what I was and I don't let the silly things bug me like they usesd to. I walk away before an argument event starts and another huge aspect is an urge to help people in a similar situation to me. I just want to help and go the extra mile for the people who deserve it. Especially the people in my life who love and support me so much.

Love you guys!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

{insert swear word here}

I fear I am not a 'robocop' and infact my hair is thinning out Beeeeeeeg time. I comb my hair every morning with the utmost precautions over the sink and every morning I swear infront of the mirror hoping it's just my hair thinning and not actually falling out. 'Maybe just maybe it'll stop doing this' I tell myself. 3 months later seems a bit delayed compared to the normal 'after one treatment'. Suppose if it happens it happens but a young womens hair is more than you think. The silver lining : goodbye damaged hair hello healthier hair???? ...Always trying for a positive side. I tried :p
On another note I am starting on my 4th cycle of treatment (every month is a cycle) but I think my body (and hair) is starting to feel it now. I feel more and more tired lately and I'm finding I need my naps - can't concentrate to save my life either it seems when I reach mid day.
Have a good weekend all :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

and so it continues...

I got a bit of a surprise yesterday when at treatment. It turns out it's not 3 months long but 6 instead! 
The trials department seems a bit confused and now I will be continuing the 'journey' to get better..
I'm definately not against it because I am certainly hoping that it 'zaps' the rest of the cancer away but it does leave me a bit worried about work. I am only working 3x a week and I am basically out of leave by now. It's a bit worrying but it's the least of my worries I suppose...
Feeling good today - just a bit drained so doing stuff from bed and listening to some good tunes...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Man (Lady) Down!!

No treatment yesterday - extremely ill with flu. Let me tell you something - it knocks you big time!!
My blood count for the first time ever was pretty bad. White blood cells were sky high. 
Was no option really - doc basically told me I will definately be in hospital within a few days if I did go through treatment. It's not a good thing at all but we'll take it as it comes.
People, if you are sick - please don't consider me rude if I run for the hills. Trust me - don't want to feel this sick ever again in my life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's still a very unsureal thing - having breast cancer and all...Here I am almost through my treatment and all  and I'm still thinking 'how odd of this to happen to me'.

After the good news last week I can't but help think that my body is under a lot of pressure to be fighting off the last of the dreaded 'c'. My doctors find the chances slim for going back to 0%  cancer free but I'll show them ;) I have already surprised them so far so let's keep on going! I'm loading up on the vitamins, good vibes and healthy food as much as possible! I hear so many stories of people going the natural route using herbs/ only organic food/ ozone therapy etc but my doctors won't have any of it. Suppose I better listen to them otherwise I'll get myself kicked off the trial.

I'm still not sure whats going to happen to me after the trial but I'm crossing my fingers for good things. I hate how I don't know - it's complete torture! All I know is I need my 'liquid gold' for another year. I think after my chemo I need a mini getaway with my better half. I just want to get away knowing I don't have to have blood taken today/ injections/ resting or be prepping myself for chemo.

I got the sweetest message the other day from an agent saying her children wanted to know what I looked like because they pray for me every night. Couldn't help but shed some tears. Thank you so much for the prayers everyone - they honestly mean so much to me. I have had various comments on my blog - thank you readers - I just apologise for my punctuation and spelling!! ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Front Page news

I have got the best news ever today - My cancer has shrunk 42% :) How awesome is that!?

If it wern't for my liver right now - I think I'd grab a bottle of champers and drink to the special news. So to all those reading this - you know what to do :p

So I went for the CT scan and for those of you who don't know thats where they scan your whole bodyand they inject some Iodine into your blood stream so they can see the effetced areas. They then run you through this 'hoop' and they get the images from there. Well I went for mine and lucky me (not) some Iodine dripped out of the vein. I went for treatment - looked down at my arm and saw it was twice the size and couldn't even bend my arm. Suppose I can live with the swollen arm though :)

Oh , see my results below for those of you that are interested. Have an awesome long weekend and thanks for all the support!!!

old diameter of cancer:165.4mm (the leisions are measured all together)

new diameter 95.3 :)

here is the breakdown

breast: it was 33.3 - now 29.5
lymph node: was 12.6mm - now 11.8mm
segment 8 liver: 43.7mm - now 21.1mm
segment 7 liver: 25.0mm - 12.8mm
segment 8 liver: 29.7mm - now 16.1mm
segment 4 liver :21.1mm now 4mm :)

so significantly my liver is a lot better overall - yay!!!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

1/2 way there ;)

Time has gone by so fast - can't believe I'm already 1/2 way through already (If I'm lucky of course).

Last Thursday was a reeeeeeeeally good day. My doctor examined me and she seems to think that the tumour has definately shrunk (± 1.3cm roughly - it was measured at 3.35) and the tissue is much softer than what is was. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch but my scan is on the 21st of this month  - it would really suck if I got my hopes up for nothing but positive we shall remain!! It certainly made a bunch of peoples day :)

Adding to the great news I had no bad reactions either (yay!!) The doctors were a bit concerned that they would have to move me over onto something but then realised that I might be reacting to the steroids and premeds instead of the chemo so they spaced the time periods out longer and vwalah!! no reactions :) All in all a good day.

No serious symptoms this week - just out of breath and a bit tired and for some reason my port is pinching big time. Always have to be careful with it - I have heard so many stories where the port has come loose and was found in the other lung or blood clots have caused harm to it.

For those of you who wonder what the 'daunting' chemo room looks like I snapped a super quick pic of how it looks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

After yet another treatment last week another bad reaction -grrrrrr. It's left me with a rather stressed out week because after having 5 different 'anti' reaction medications for the chemo (which leave me rather high as a kite and on another planet) I still had a bad reaction!!!
I stress that the trial will not want to carry on using me and boot me back to my normal oncologist.

I had quite the depressing weekend. I stayed home the entire weekend (I find it so frustrating) I felt too ill and weak to even sit at friends. I'm not ill to the stage where I'm physically throwing up (thankfully) but there is the fine line that I walk. I either sleep or lay on the couch and watch T.V. - Let's just say I watch an unbelievable amount of the 70's show at the moment ;)

I want to thank everybody who helped raise money for my fundraiser. An unbelievable amount was raised and I am so greatful for all your help, thoughts, prayers and words of wisdom. Thank You Thank You Thank You!!

I'm still as positive as ever and certainly plan on being the next 'Lance Armstrong'. With my brother being an avid lance fan I decided to read the book and it's so empowering to see that someone who was only given a 3% chance to live (after being diagnosed with testicular, brain cancer and lung cancer) is now a world champion and survivor of the dreaded 'c'.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tomorrow is treatment number 5 -  time has gone by so fast now that I think about it...I only wish I knew how the treatment is doing and weather there is some good progress going on inside.  I feel good - lets hope that reflects on the inside too! ;)

I have new symptoms of itchy skin- it's driving me insane!! It's due to the chemo effecting the end of my nerves causing a pins and needles sensation/ itchiness. Together with the itchy skin I have some constant headaches but I suppose I should be happy that it's all things I can deal with and that it could all be much worse.

Happy secretaries Day to all my work collegues reading this!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am almost 1/3 of the way through treatment already :)

I had yet another bad reaction last week to the chemo. The first time I had it my body had never experienced it before therefore I was completely fine, the second time my body had realised what it was and formed the reaction...3rd time was quite bad. Not even 2 minutes had gone by of the nurse opening up the drip and I was gasping for air and I was as red as a lobster once again. I pictured myself as the girl who swells up  like a massive blueberry in charlie and the chocolate factory - my skin felt like it was going to pop right off I was swelling up. 10 minutes later I was back to normal again. I had to wait almost 2 hours for the doctors to allow me to carry on with the chemo ( I got the impression they wanted to stop it ). The doctors have now decided that my anti allergic medication isn't strong enough and now I need to have an injection as well.
I only got out at 4:30 that afternoon. What a looooong day.

Friday was my Birthday. Slept nice and late, Nigel took the day off, had family come over and then I was taken to my favourite restaurant for Sushi - Belugas of course :) Had an early night and caught up on sleep (quite sad considering if I didn't have cancer I would be partying it up with my mates as per norm). On saterday morning I had 23 of my friends join me for breakfast at Ciao baby at Eden on The Bay. Was really nice - felt soooo loved and spoilt!

I was overlooking my whole situation this weekend with being a year older and really is a horrible situation but I really do consider myself lucky with all the support, prayers and thoughts that I get. I realised how extremely calm I am and asked myself am I normal??? Between Nigel and Yvonne they always joke that I'm like a Robocop...Here is to hoping I am and that this will all be a walk in the Park ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quite the boring weekend  - This whole ordeal certainly sucks life out of  a whole bunch of things thats for sure.

Wasn't feeling too great today - I think I pretty much slept 3/4's of it... I am glad however that I'm not off suffering terribly bad - I think treatment has come extremely far over the last few years. The doctors give you 
tablets to prevent as much as possible. I think movies put too much image into ones mind.

It's my birthday this week (here is hoping I don't feel too sick for it - wouldn't want to sleep it away :(  )

Thursday, August 12, 2010

no. 2!

Treatment no.2

To those of you who have read/ joined the blog - thank you for your support and all your kind words. It was quite a surprise to find out RE/MAX was doing a fund raiser. Thank you Thank you Thank you!! The support is unbelievable.

Presently I am sitting in the treatment room getting my treatment. After about 30 minutes I was feeling the sensation like I couldn't breathe. My chest was on fire and I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and my face turned a nice shade of lobster red. Well that was unexpected... The nurse stopped the treatment for a while and injected me with something to take the side effect away. Apparently this is a side effect...pleasant hey?

My mom comes home today from her trip to UK - I'm so excited to get out of here and see her!! It's been almost 2 weeks which may not be a long time but she's been with me throughout -except for my first treatment and this one. It gets her that she couldn't be here but she deserved a good time. She has always put us first and never herself.
Can's sleep today for some reason - I think it's beause just too much is happening at present. My uncle who has also been diagnosed with liver cancer had various testing done but unfortunately no answers because they could not get enough fluid out to be tested (he has to be tested only next mont again - such a long wait), my mom came home and my dad is having a op on his ear...too much for one day and now I just can't sleep (grrr).

A friend visited me and bought me lots of yummy things for the metal taste in mouth (sorry yvonne - no chocolate) -can't stop snacking (very frustrating).

Friday, August 6, 2010

3rd of August  
‘D’ Day is here and almost gone.

I had my first chemo session today! It was a lot better than anticipated.
I walked into the treatment room (a room full of lazy boyes and drip stands) and met up with the nurse who would be responsible for me. This woman was like a mother Theresa might I add. She took me to a chair, I put my bag down and literally from the time I leaned down with my back facing her she knew I was in tears handing me tissues. A wave of emotion just hit me like a tidal wave all of a sudden because I was starting the biggest fight of my life and I was unaware of the ‘unexpected’ because everyone is different. This was just plain blady scary and the pills that I had been given to take didn’t numb/ calm me in any way from this. Another nurse from across the room saw me in distress and came and rubbed my shoulders ‘welcome to the chemo room’ she said – well did this set me off further… Is she mad to say such a thing?! – terror just struck me all over and I pictured myself in the ‘panic room’ instead. Eventually ‘Mother Theresa’ and Nigel managed to get a smile on my face and got me ready to start.
To my shock I could only have visitors every 30 mins for a span of 10 minutes. For my first time that was a bit harsh considering I was a bit of a bundle of nerves. Nigel and my dad however tried to come in and stay for as long as someone would notice bringing me snacks and stuff to drink. I was there for 4 ½ hours...

To those of you who seem to think/ picture the chemo room as something scary and depressing it really isn’t at all. All the people who are being treated (all older of course by like 20  years or so) all have smiles on their faces and are as chirpy as ever. Quite a buzz going on. After about  4 1/2 hours of different drips (cortisone, saline, anti nausea stuff – all to which made me really sleepy and generally with a slight ‘hot flush’ )I was given the ‘liquid gold’. Nigel sat joking for every drop that went through was R10, R20….R500. It’s outrageous how much it costs. This person who invented it (and we love him so) must be stinking ritch!
Eventually I got to go home. I slept for about 3 hours and after that was wiiiiide awake. Symptoms? Hideous metal taste in mouth (swear I’m going to be a elephant within a mouth because I keep stuffing sweets in my mouth to get the taste away), mouth sores, achey body, weakness and nausea. All of which hasn’t been too bad really. It’s really just like the flu really – well I certainly hope the symptoms don’t get worse!! I just finished this amazing book called the ‘C word’ by Lisa Lynch who went through a similar situation to me also being as young and her symptoms sounded unbearable. Guess it’s a good thing that everyone is different. Lets just hope the hair stays put!! (can only hope and pray).

Next treatment is next Thursday – wish me luck!

In the Beginning...

The 15th of June – a day I will never forget certainly has changed my life – not only mine but to all those who are close to me as well. On this very day the doctor had called me in (with instruction to bring someone with) to bear the bad news that I had Breast Cancer. After hearing that my lump which was detected was indeed maligment  – it dosn't  feel like a reality. It can’ t happen to me - I’m  only 26 after all? It appears with my bad like (really bad luck might I add with everything that has happened in the last year and a half) I am part of a very rare statistic where yet 3 % of women under the age of 35 will get breast cancer…

The very following week I was scheduled for surgery to have my nodes checked out and yet another biopsy taken. More bad news…not only had this BC spread to my liver but it was stage 3 and to put icing on the cake I was HER2 positive. To explain HER2 positive in a way that people will understand better – this means there is a cell that is making everything replicate even quicker. Oh S&*T!

What furiates me the most here is that I originally felt the lump myself in November. I went to an idiot (putting it mildly) of a GP that misdiagnosed me by saying it was a swollen gland (knowing that I had cancer both sides of my family) – why I didn’t have it checked out sooner after that I don’t know. Guess not all people in white coats are smarter than you think…The thing that upsets me is that I would be at an earlier stage of BC or even over this 'ordeal' by now if it weren’t for him.

This blog may be a bit cheesy and cliché but it’s my way of letting everyone know what’s up/ my way to vent/ remember how things go. Please don’t feel obliged to read it. I just find people are always asking how I am and how I’m feeling. If I offend anyone I apologize in advance.

The doctors have decided to go the Chemo route with no operating. Keep it under control is all they can really do. My diagnosis is a bit of a dangerous one because it’s in my system already and it’s making it’s  route around the body ready to latch onto something else.

I have the worlds best support team :). My family, close friends, work and  Nigel. They don’t bombard me with all this craziness that is. They just know when to step back, be there, hear me rant, load me with love and support. 

Oh – forgot to tell you the good news (yes, amazingly there was good news!). When visiting my oncologist they insisted that they wanted to start on treatment asap but I should consider going on the trial (they were looking for a study case with my specs if you could say). You see my treatment is so expensive because I have HER2  that they can offer it to me for free if I decide to go on this case. Medical aids stop paying for the treatment (Herceptin) because of the costs. This ‘liquid gold’ costs R25 000 for just 2 sessions and I’m getting it not only for free but possibly as long as I’ll need it. Woop Woop!

On the 26th of July I had my chemo port put in. My veins are so small and impossible to get hold of so they inserted a small port about just smaller than a R5 coin beneath my skin in my chest area. It’s going to make the process so much easier. I was off work for a week with the port. You have noooo idea how much you use the muscles in this area. Could barely roll over in bed – and here I thought I would be off for just a day!