Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taxol # 10 completed! 2 left!

Yesterday, I had my 10th Taxol. It's still hard to think about it almost being over! I only have 2 more Taxol treatments and then 4 FAC treatments left and I'm DONE. WITH. CHEMO!!! My adorable husband with with me to this one. He was feeling a little left out because I had so many friends taking me, but I just didn't want him to miss work if he didn't have to. So, I told him he could go with me to my next 2, starting with this one. I already have a friend lined up for the last Taxol. Chris is also going to go with me to all my FAC chemo treatments, just in case I get sick or am not feeling well. I'd rather he be the one to see me like that. No need in losing a friend because I puked in their car....right? (can you believe I caught him smiling in this picture?)
Brayden, my 5 yr old calls this my cupcake hat, because... well... it DOES look like a cupcake on my head. I gotta give him credit for that one. I have a few in different colors (black, pink, creme) but these are THE BEST hats for hair loss, hands down. You can change out the scarf, and they are cute, stylish, NOT ITCHY, and they cover your head all the way down for extra coverage. I found them online here and I love them! I honestly don't know if I'll wear my wig much now that these have all come in the mail.

Taxol #10 was like water! I'm loving these nutrients and smoothies I am on!!!

Shawna and Logan got to stop by to see me. It was really nice to visit with Logan this time. She is ALL DONE!!!She had her tumor removed and has gone through all her chemo treatments, so all that's left for her is follow up visits. She gets to ring the big bell next Friday. They brought me the Team Logan shirt I ordered. Her cheer team did a similar fundraiser and had some shirts screen printed and they got the proceeds. I loved the color combination, so I HAD to order one....after all, so many people helped us out that way so I have to pay it forward. Logan is so beautiful and has such a sweet spirit about her.

Well, that's all I got for now. Tomorrow will be a lengthy post as we kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month!! Don't forget to wear PINK tomorrow!!!

Ta-Ta till tomorrow!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A night out....

Chris and I got to enjoy a night out last night for our friend Joyce's birthday. I got to get all dressed up (as much as I felt like dressing up anyways...I was tired) and enjoy a night on the town.

We went to dinner at JB's brewery and I ate the BEST salad ever! I had to make a run to the store this morning to get more salad ingredients to mimic their salad. YUM!

Me and Joyce at the club (she's my hairdresser, so I thought the rhinestones were appropriate)

Joyce and Tim

It was so refreshing to get out. I thought I would have a hard time going out for the first time to a bar. We went to a night club after dinner, but I did very good. I was the designated driver anyways...(you know...cuz I don't want to get cancer or anything from drinking too much.... hehehe) but I drank water all night and my drink of choice was a "cherry coke".... so I felt like I was indulging. I didn't wear my wig because I knew it would smell like smoke and wasn't sure when I'd get a chance to wash it. So, I opted for a blinged out beanie cap, and I added my zebra flare to match my outfit.

I had fun! I enjoyed the whole night, and I stayed awake! Love ya Joyce!!


Friday, September 24, 2010

And the winner is.......

Today was the raffle drawing at my husbands work. I headed up to Wyman Gordon with Grayson for the drawing and lunch. I got to draw the ticket, since it is me that is fighting this stupid disease. I was honored and humbled by his company. First of all, they raised $3,000 for us to help with medical expenses. Now, I added up what we've paid this month alone, since the bills are finally starting to roll in. We have put $3,384.00 on our mastercard this month in medical alone, so God has provided for almost all of that with the help of these donations. I am continually amazed by the generosity and concern from SOOOOO many people. It is so amazing that God has used this awful diagnosis to bring people into our lives at just the right time. I am humbled, grateful, and so sincerely thankful for each and every person who has helped us out, financially, emotionally, and physically. Cooking, cleaning, giving rides, and donating to our expenses are just a few ways that have really helped us out during this time.

I cannot express enough thanks and gratitude to everyone involved in our journey. Special thanks to Mike Laboski for heading up this raffle!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

So.....the winner of the TV was......


......Joshua Hale...Tonja Hale's son.

Congratulations are a lucky kid!!! Enjoy!!!

Taxol #9 and Dr visit

So, my ninth Taxol treatment went well. My Dad went with me to this appointment and chemo.

I'll tell you about my Doctor visit first because I found it very interesting.
He went over the official ultrasound reports first. Here are the measurements of before and after: My tumor started off as 4.1 x 3.7 x 2 cm which is a total of 30.34 cm. Monday, it measured 3.1 x 2.5 x 1.9 cm for a total of 14.725 cm. So, it decreased by half the size!!! Praise God!!!

The lymph node (there may or may not still be 5 affected, but they only measure the biggest one) started off as 3.0 x 2.4 x 1.0 cm for a total of 7.2 cm and Monday, measured 1.9 x 1.9 x 0.8 cm for a total of 2.88 cm. It's gone down about 60% in size!

My blood counts are doing EXTREMELY well, and in fact, the pharmacist stayed behind after the doctor left to ask me if I was taking any supplements. I of course told her about my special nutrient regimen, which I believe is the sole cause of my immune system tolerating things so well. With the right nutrients, the body can heal itself from anything....including cancer and chemo reactions. (My blood levels are staying around 5.4 = White BC and 4.2 = Red BC, well within normal range...not low or high at all!!!)

All in all, I am doing GREAT and I feel confident that my body will heal faster than normal with everything I am doing. Brocolli sprouts daily, wheatgrass and nutrients daily, and my daily supplement packet are doing well, and I'm staying committed to that regimen, especially since I see such an improvement.

My Dad and I at chemo #9

Getting my drippings

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good News Monday

First things first.... I had my ultrasound today. After a night of almost NO sleep, worrying about the test, fearing a bad dream, and having anxiety, I woke up this morning at 5:30am and hit the road....TIRED. I arrived at MD Anderson finally, and checked in for my exam. I had a few minutes to relax before they called me back. It's such a long corridor to the ultrasound room when you're saying one last prayer, but I prayed the whole way down the hall. So, after about 15 minutes of scanning, the ultrasound tech said the radiologist would be in shortly. The radiologist came in and said the tumor was being responsive to the chemo!! Originally, my tumor was measuring about 4.1cm and today it was measuring around 3.1cm and also breaking into fragments and dissolving. She also said the lymph node (single...not plural?) was shrinking as well. (They originally told me about 4-5 lymph nodes were affected and she said NODE without the S.... so I'm not sure if I only have one affected now, or if there are still more...)

yeah...I did a happy dance....

...and then headed home to sleep.

Secondly.....I heard 3 times this week that people suffer from withdrawal if I don't post every day. I'm SORRY!!! :-) I love you, but my cousin has been in town and I've barely even gotten on the computer during his visit. I'll try and make it up to you this week...okay? He is leaving tomorrow. We are sad. Grayson has really become attached to him and stole his heart. Russell has been pushing him on the swing, and watching TV with Grayson snuggled up next to him. It's super cute. Grayson has that effect on people...I think it's his cheeks. I often use one of Lightning McQueen's lines from CARS to describe Grayson's cuteness.... "I create feelings in others that they themselves don't understand". He brings out those feelings in others, and I think if Russell could take him home with him, he would. All the kids have really taken to him and I think they might cry when Russell leaves. But, we've had a good time and made some great memories.

So I go for my next Dr Appt with Dr Theriault this Thursday, followed by chemo. They had to move it to Thursday this time because he is only in the clinic on Mondays and Thursdays and he was booked for today and he has to write my orders for Taxol before I can receive another Thursday it is! My Dad is going to take me to that one since it's a late afternoon appointment. It has totally thrown off my whole week though. Now I have to find something to do on Wednesday...with Grayson in tow. Maybe I'll feel good enough to clean??? Nah.....probably not... hehehe ;-)

Ta-Ta- till tomorrow....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Halfway Mark!!!

I'm halfway through Chemo!!! I had Taxol #8 yesterday. That means 4 more rounds of Taxol and 4 rounds of FAC (done in 3 week increments, for a total of 12 weeks). So, all together, I have 16 weeks left of Chemo.

I go Monday for my ultrasound to measure the tumor and see if this is working. I am hoping I get my results that day, or better yet, can tell by looking at the machine and the Dr's expressions if it is shrinking!

My cousin, Russell Sprouts came in Tuesday so he and Chris went with me to chemo while my Aunt Dianne and my mom came out to watch Grayson. We grilled hamburgers and had sweet potato fries when we got home.

Aside from that, we've just been hanging out, chilling, and relaxing all week. Russell and Aunt Dianne leave next Tuesday to go back to Tennessee. (Oh, and apparently he has a girlfriend...sorry ladies...did not know that.)

I'm still not really having any side effects, except that I'm tired and my fingernails and toenails feel like they are lifting, even though they aren't. My meds are working well, so my pain, headaches, and moods have been under control for the past week. Thank goodness.

Raffle tickets are still available for $20 each, or 6/$100. The drawing will be September 24th for a 42" HD TV flat screen.

Also, there is still time to join Team Tiffany! Click on the link to the left to join or donate to the Susan G Komen foundation.

Tee-shirts should be available Tuesday, for those who have ordered, they will ship next week. For those that have not, get yours while they last!!!!

Oh.....and settle an argument for me..... My husband is the biggest smart ass I know. The other day, I gave him a dose of his own medicine and smiled and said "I got my smart-ass-ness from you". He says "you can't catch smart ass" and I say you can..... especially when you've been married to one for 10 years! What do you think?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah

My head hurts! I have had a headache all day and it won't go away, despite the headache pills I was prescribed. I'm just glad we didn't have to go the the Jonas Brothers concert tonight, or my head would be slamming-hurting! Kaylee doesn't even know they are in town.....thank GOD!

I've had a fun day of errands with the kids and Chris preparing for a visitor this week.

I am super excited because my cousin "Russell Sprouts" is coming in from Tennessee on Tuesday. He booked his trip when I was there visiting with the family, the day before I found my lump. So, we decided that since he already had his ticket, he and my Aunt Dianne may as well go ahead and come. Aunt D is staying with my mom, but Russell is staying with us! The kids are super excited! Brayden is the one who gave him his nickname. I'm not sure exactly where it came from, but he came up with it and we all had a little giggle.

So, Russell Sprouts will be here for a week, and he will be going with me to chemo next Wednesday. You'll all get to see how handsome he is when I post the pictures (and he is single, for all the younger ladies out there...) I'm sure him and Chris can muster up some quality "man-time" and get into some sort of trouble while down there for the day. I hope he has a good time here next week. Originally we were going to go party it up while he was here, but this stupid cancer kind of put a damper on my "partying" plans.... Oh well.... I'll stay out of trouble and just watch them drink a few beers and let loose. I'm normally not the designated driver, or the designated "non-drinker" but I will take one for the team....

Nothing new to report, except the headache. It sucks. I'm thinking a good nights sleep and a lazy Sunday should do the trick of making it go away..... I hope. Meanwhile, I got a lot of bows to make so I can clean my office up and put a bed in there for the cuz.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chemo # 7...lots of visitors

One of my childhood friends, Lisa, came with me today to my chemo. She used to be my neighbor when I lived with my mom, but we were never close. FB and a mutual friend from Jersey reunited us by accident. Turns out, she was moving from Ohio to my town last Thanksgiving, so we've re-connected and realized we have a lot more in common than we had all those years ago in grade school. So, it was a fun day. We are both talkers, so there was not any down time.
This is a close up by accident, but I liked the way we both looked so I posted it too.
This is a picture of me getting my weekly "drippings" with my wig on.....
I finally got to meet Moni. She is one of my "big sisters" in this process as she is quite a few weeks ahead of me in the process. I was blessed enough to meet her through a friend at church and we have identical cancer, except hers is genetic, and mine is not. We are both triple negative cancers, stage 3. She had complete response to chemo, and when they did her mastectomy, they told her that was very rare, so I am holding out hope that I have the same results also. We decided to take bald pictures together....because the opportunity is not around for that often...and we are both totally cool with a bald/short hair head.... I think we both rock it out bald (even though she's not technically bald anymore, she has short hair)...... She's is beautiful, inside and out and I have enjoyed our FB chats, our family feud war, and all the tips and advice she's given me along the way.

Pre- "wig stripping" picture....

Another picture of my drippings, but sans wig. (apparently I was looking up too far to take the "self portrait" so my head is very wrinkled....that's not normal...just for the record...)
I also got to chat a little bit with Shawna, Logan's mom. She was there getting Logan checked in for her last treatment (fingers crossed). Logan was enjoying coffee with her Dad, so it was just Shawna, but super sweet that she dropped by to say Hi. I always love that I can have my little support group that has actually "been there, done that" and can relate to my conversations. It's so funny that we can just quote these long names of our chemo regimen like it's a Bible Verse or something. It took me forever to learn Guafenesin, and I'm still working on the correct pronunciation of that phenylketonurics.....but gosh darn it, I can tell you what FAC stands for in one breath....
So, lots of visitors, a great nurse, and over all, another awesome visit at the magical MD Anderson.
I kicked butt, as usual....don't expect any side effects, and I will fight them off if I do. So, I won this round too. Still score of Taxol: ZERO, Tiffany: 7 !!!!
Ta-Ta for now.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It can't come fast enough....

I go for a scan on September 20th. At that time, we will see what 8 rounds of Taxol has done to the tumor. I am anxiously awaiting this date because I can tell it has been shrinking, but not sure how much. When my journey first started, I had a golf ball size lump that protruded a little bit out of the side of my right breast. It has now subsided somewhat, and I think quite significantly, but not sure exactly how much. So, I wait and wait. I'm anxious to see if all this chemo and all the extra stuff I've been doing is actually working....

Well, obviously SOMETHING is working, but to what extent?

As for chemo, I am amazed and surprised at how well I'm doing. It all came clear the other day as my friend pointed out that the first 2 rounds were the only rounds I really had side effects. That was when I started on the nutrients, and added the wheat grass to my daily regimen. This stuff helps your cells communicate, and if the cells can communicate, and with the right nutrients, your body can heal itself. So, in combination with the chemo, there is NO WAY IN HELL that something hasn't worked, and the fact that I can physically feel it working is my proof and my incentive to keep up the good work. Believe me...the morning smoothies are NOT appetizing, so choking them down every day is quite a chore.

I am usually tired on Thursday- Sunday and I am proud to say I only took a nap today. I probably could have taken one on the other days, but I was ok without it. My tummy has felt fine, and I'm actually getting out more and my anxiety has leveled out a lot. I usually only go to church for the first part, and by then I'm ready to go home to I made it through Sunday School AND "big church" as we call it. I think people are surprised when I say "I'm feeling great" because of all the pre-conceived notions of how people react to chemo. I drop my kids off at school every day, and pick them up...I go to the gym every chance I get....I chase a 2 yr old all day long...and I'm doing hair bows here and there. I cleaned my entire house Friday with only a little help from Chris, and cooked spaghetti for 20 people and cupcakes too! (WITH NO NAP!!) I'm sleeping well, I'm sleeping solid, and I'm energized when I wake up (after my initial 20-30 minutes of "wake up time").

I honestly feel like aside from being bald, I have no reminders that I have cancer. Especially stage 3, triple negative breast cancer. Seriously, you'd never guess it.... unless you see me bald and wearing a scarf or bandanna instead of my wig.

So, things I get to brag about from cancer......
1. I haven't shaved my legs in over a week and they are still smooth as a baby's butt!!
2. I haven't shaved my armpits in 5 days and they are still smooth.
3. I can shower and get ready in 20 minutes or less, with full makeup!
4. I don't have "bad hair days"
5. I haven't plucked or waxed my eyebrows in about 2 months and they still look newly waxed.
6. I don't have to wear a headband to keep my hair out of my face when I wash my face at night, nor do I have to hold my hair back when I brush my teeth and spit.
7. I am saving lots of money on shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, and razors.
8. I am 3 days late on my period, and I'm thinking maybe I won't have anymore. (I'm not really sure when this was supposed to kick in, but I was told that I would be going through early menopause at some point during treatment. I usually get severe cramps for 2-3 days before, and they aren't maybe I'm done??? Don't really want to speak too soon though)
9. I have an excuse for not having a tan, and for gaining a few lbs.
10. Not only am I allowed to take naps, I am URGED to take naps.....

So, there you have top ten list for "ha-ha, I have chemo..."

I am sitting here staring at my husband over the top of my laptop, and he looks delicious. So, I gotta go.......


Thursday, September 2, 2010

What a day....WHAT A DAY!!!

So, the day after Chemo.... I managed to get 6 hours of solid sleep. Not bad, but I still needed a nap at some point today, I just knew it after what was in store for this evening. I got up at 4am, laid in bed for a bit until Chris woke up. Took care of Chris and the kids, got him off to work, and got the kids ready for school. Then I took a quick shower. Have I mentioned that I don't have to shave that often now, so my showers are QUICK! Anyways, back to my day.... dropped the kids off at school, headed to the gym and did my 5K practice run. I didn't think I'd be able to do it because I've only been to the gym 3 times since school started back up, and I took the whole summer off. It's only 3.1 miles, so I got it done in almost 50 minutes flat. (here's my proof!) Also, one of me AFTER my workout. I know, it doesn't look like it, but I did break a tiny sweat. I try and try and the only time I break a sweat is if I work out HARD outside... I did wipe a bit from my brow before I snapped the self portrait with my iPhone... which explains all the blurry-ness and bad lighting... I just figured it would be kind of weird carrying a camera into a gym..... LOL

I ran some, walked some, and I did a hill program because I'm not sure if there are hills in Downtown Houston. I turned on my iPhone and basically ran one song, and walked one song and tried to time it so I was walking the tall hills and running all the rest. So, after my cardio was a success, I went and did a few weights and got Grayson from the daycare there at the gym and headed to the grocery store. I always enjoy doing our weekly grocery shopping with a kid in tow...((being SOOO sarcastic). 1 hour later, we were FINALLY headed home after a muffin and chocolate milk bribe. On the way home, I turned a corner too fast and a glass bottle of pineapple juice toppled over and landed on the glass bottle of apple juice and shattered and spilled all over the back of my car. So, once we got home, I had to vacuum up all that mess, wash the carpet saver mat thingy, and put the groceries up. Then, I finally made Grayson and myself some lunch and put him down for a nap (and then got to eat my cold lunch while I paid a bill and balanced the checkbook). By this time, it was 2:30 so I knew a nap was out of the question because I leave at 3:30 to go get the kids from school. So, I jumped in the shower AGAIN and showered off all my sweatyness from the gym, and noticed the bathroom counters were in need of a quick scrubbing. So, I scrubbed those, finished doing my makeup, and grabbed my wig. (It was raining and it takes FOREVER for a wig to dry, so I knew I didn't want to put it on until we were in the car. Grayson woke up just in time to put his shoes on and we headed out the door. (I put my wig on once we got in the car)

I picked up the kids from school and came back home. Made the kids clean the playroom while I washed the kitchen counters off, emptied their lunch kits and put up shoes. Then, 30 minutes from when we got home, I had to load them all up and drop Kaylee off at dance. We drove back home and I packed us all a "lunch-dinner" to eat in the car. Headed back to dance to get Kaylee, ate our lunch-dinner and waited for her class to let out. Then, we all loaded up and went to Grayson's preschool for Meet the teacher night. (He finally starts preschool next week so I'll have 2 WHOLE.DAYS.OF.ALONE.TIME) We met his teacher and left and got home just in time for the kids to go to bed. WHEW......

So, during all of this, Chris was helping his Granny move and it HAD to be today, of all days. (That's a Saturday story that won't get shared publicly, but it was a tense, stressful situation that had my anxiety levels all up in all sorts of you-know-what)

Less than 24 hours after chemo, 6 hours of sleep, NO NAP, 2 showers, a good day at the gym, lots of errands and chores, and a night of "single mommy" left this girl TIRED and DRAINED! Tomorrow doesn't look any better. We are throwing a "small" family Birthday celebration (keeping it low key and not inviting all our best friends) for Brayden, who turned 5 this week, so I gotta tidy up a bit, vacuum, make cupcakes, spaghetti for 20 (I have a HUGE parents had 7 kids, and we weren't catholic... they just didn't get a TV in their room until the last kid was born...) and go get the kids from school.....all by 3:30....I see no nap in my future for tomorrow either. Do you think I deserve to sleep in on Saturday? I DO!!!!!! I just hope hubby agrees.

I'm not saying all of this to brag...I'm CERTAINLY not a super-mom, but this is a usual day for Tiffany, the Stay-At-Home-Mom to 3 little people who keep her busy.....even when Cancer strikes....

Now, I'm off to bed....and again, It's almost 10pm.....