If you’re new around here, this is part two in the series of My Breast Cancer Journey. You can read The Day I Found Out I Had Breast Cancer here.
Hair loss. Wigs. Fatigue. Sickness. Heartbreaking. These are just some of the words that swirled around in my head on the day I found out I needed chemo.
When you hear the word cancer, you automatically think chemo. At least that’s how it was for me. And being a 35-year-old happily married woman with two young kids, my next thoughts were, “my husband won’t find me attractive anymore,” and “what are my boys going to think?”
If you’re going through this, and you’re thinking that, too, I’m here to tell you, it’s OK. Those thoughts that you’re having about your appearance and about feeling sexy for your husband are not vain. You are not a terrible person for wanting to keep your beautiful hair and eyelashes (that was my thing!). You’re just human.
And it’s normal to worry about how it will affect your kids—of course you worry. You’re a mom. But really, you don’t need to. Your kids will always recognize the brave, strong and beautiful woman you are. Read that again.
Continue this post over at Healthcentral with my column titled Tales From The Chemo Chair: The Day I Found Out I Needed Chemo
Just Some Personal Thoughts
I honestly felt hopeless. There wasn’t anything left for me to do or say. I felt mad and angry. I literally just turned 35 (I got my diagnosis 3 days after my 35th birthday). I’m not supposed to be going through this. I have two young boys. I need to be here for them and the rest of their lives. They’re only 4 and 2. I need to be here for Chris. We’re supposed to start our new lives in Colorado. But now this?
It’s not fair. That’s what kept going through my mind. The timing sucks beyond belief. The timing for a cancer diagnosis is never ideal obviously.
But we’re here and now we have to deal with it.
So Chris is in Colorado. My sister and her daughter move in with us and would be taking Declan to school with her every day. My in laws are helping out with Beckett. I go through the 8 weeks of A/C. Each session got progressively worse. And they said that would happen. It was mainly the fatigue and lack of energy that got me.
I finished my last around of A/C on November 5, and we left Houston on November 14th to drive up to Colorado. The last round kicked my booty. And I was out for a good 4-5 days. Meaning I was on the couch and barely had enough energy to get off the couch to go to the bathroom or get something to eat. But that’s where you have to be OK asking for help. Let someone else pick up the kids. Let someone else bring you dinner. You have to be OK with taking care of yourself so you can be at 100% for everyone else. That’s what I had to keep telling myself.
A Few Quick Tips
- Electrolyte water is your friend. Your body is going through some serious shit. Yes, I said. Your tastes buds are out of whack and pretty much everything tastes metallic, especially water. But I could handle electrolyte water. And your body needs the extra electrolytes.
- Eat every two hours. You may not want to. Actually you probably wont. But you need to. So keep smaller snacks around.
- Get your rest. When you feel tired, go to bed. Even if it’s 9pm. Yall, this was the best thing I did. I knew what my body was going through and I know that rest is what it needed. So listen to your body and just rest!
- Let others bring you food. This helped out so much. Especially on my chemo days. Have a Meal Train set up and just let others help you.
Next, I would have 12 weeks of paxiltaxol. That’s right, I’m now up to 20 weeks of chemotherapy. That puts me into February.
But there had to be a two week gap between the last round of A/C and the first round of Taxol. So the doctor said if we planned our move in the middle of that two week period then I should be good and without any side effects. And that’s what we did folks. And I felt like myself in those two weeks. Hallelujah!
That brings us to today. I have lost all my hair. I do wear a wig most of the time. I’m not at that point yet where “it’s so liberating not to wear a wig.” I feel *sort of* like my self with a wig. So that’s what you see 🙂
I have gone through my third week of Taxol with minimal side effects. The first round, they gave me Benadryl as a pre med. You are given Benadryl or allergy medicine to help fight the histamines in the chemo meds. In lamens terms, to help with an allergic reaction. Well, that first round, the Benadryl knocked me out. Meaning, about 45 mins after they gave it to me, I was so sleepy, but with the steroids I was restless too. It was a mess.
Chris comes to pick me up with the two kids, and I’m so out of it. I come back home and sleep it off for another few hours.
Well, if you’ve been following me for some time now. Then you know that I tell my doc everything and I couldn’t go through 12 more weeks of feeling like that.
So, for week two, they switched it out and gave me Zyrtec instead. And I felt like myself. It didn’t knock me out.
Biggest tip for you: TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. So that you can find out what works best.
I am going into each chemo day with a positive mindset. Because really, that’s the only thing you can do. I also pray a lot. I pray for God to soften my heart through this journey because there is still anger there. But I’m working on that and start each day with my gratitude journal (more on my stories. And when you focus on the good, the good gets better.
Thanks again for being here and reading my journey. My hope in writing this is to give hope for others out there who are going through breast cancer. To let you know that you are not alone. You are not meant to go through this alone. Reach out to me, I would love to meet a new face in this #breastcancer #chemolife thing.