It’s been 10 days since my FIRST chemo infusion and I finally think I’m ready, both physically and mentally, to write an update!!

You know that feeling you get the night before something BIG is going to happen? Like you can’t sleep, can’t shut off your brain and can’t seem to figure out how you’re ever going to make it through the night… Well, I’ve had that feeling several times in my life – mainly for POSITIVE events; my wedding day, the inductions for both Brody and Sadie’s births… Yep, those were the nights I never slept, but was excited for the morning; however, the night before infusion day one, I definitely couldn’t sleep for other reasons. My mind was full of “what ifs” and “what’s going to happens”! I had NO idea what I was about to go into. Sure I’ve read about it, had the doctor explain it to me, and had some amazing chemo “vets” share their experiences with me, but this was about to happen to ME, and as someone who likes to be thoroughly prepared for everything, I was petrified of the unknown and not being able to prepare myself for it…

As the hours ticked on.. 8 am (my scheduled infusion time) came closer and closer. My parents/chemo buddies for the day picked me up at 7:30 and we were on our way to the infusion center. I’m not going to lie – walking into a building labeled in BIG WHITE LETTERS as – CANCER CENTER – was a humbling experience. Was  I really about to get chemo? Did I really have to do this? Like I said before, this entire situation feels like a movie at times. The moment I walked through those doors I was again back in my Lifetime movie, following the protagonist on her journey to kicking cancer’s A**! I was rooting for her, scared for her, and worried she wasn’t going to be strong enough…

We got up to the 3rd floor and checked in. Apparently only one person was allowed to come back with me, so my mom stayed and my dad headed out to play with my kids! (He did eventually make his way back in several hours later WOOHOO!) We met with my infusion nurse, Diane, and she was super friendly and nice. After getting acquainted we settled into our “area” and got ready for the injections.

Fortunately, Diane was a pro and was able to get my IV in on the first try (I have the world’s crappiest veins and everyone has issues getting my blood or starting IV’s!) I was grateful that she was an expert and easily started the IV. YES, so far so good! She explained I would be getting an assortment of medications prior to the chemo and proceeded to tell us that we had a long day ahead of us… 6 hours at least! Oye vey…

They started my medicines which consisted of some steroids (in case I had an allergic reaction to the chemo), benadryl (which is APPARENTLY super strong when given through IV – holy cow, I was knocked out from that!), and two anti nausea medications that Diane told me were relatively newer and awesome (they last for about 2-3 days!). I got one after the other after and my mom and I just sat there and chatted for most of it, but then a woman came around who was an artist and she had a cart of crafts. Anyone who knows me knows I like me some crafting, so when she said we could make our own earrings, I was all over that! I made an awesome pair of earrings that of course were teal (ovarian cancer colored) and silver, and my mom made a beautiful pair of ivory elephant earrings that are so her style (she likes elephants). This definitely helped past the time and I was grateful I had the crafting to keep my mind off of the chemo.

Diane hung the first dose of chemo – TAXOL – and she said it would drip for 3 hours and then I would get the next dose of chemo – CARBOPLATIN. Once it was started I assumed I would feel something – tired, nauseous, tingly, something! But, I felt NOTHING. In fact, I felt more from the Benadryl then I did from the chemo. 4 long hours later and I was done with my first infusion. It was, in all, successful, had no complications or set backs (a WIN for me, the queen of set backs!), and was relatively unproductive.

When I finally got home I was pretty tired, but wanted to hang out with the kids because I honestly didn’t know how I was going to be feeling the next few days. I didn’t have really any side affects other than a funky metallic taste in my mouse (a side affect of Carboplatin). Around 8 pm I felt like I was hit by a bus…probably from all of the medications (not the chemo) I had gotten that day, so I decided it was best to call it a night.

The next morning I woke up nauseous and TIRED! So, so tired… remember, I was still recovering from all of the procedures I had gone through only 4 weeks before so my body was hating me at the time. I rested throughout the day and just tried to eat/drink whatever I could. I kept telling myself that I had to eat and drink my water and that’s the only way I was able to get anything down. It was mental for me at that point…

Post chemo day two proved to be worse – I could barely get out of bed, but forced myself because I knew I needed to not get into the habit of just laying in bed all day. Something happens with chemo… it’s sort of like a “chemo fog”. I would be sitting on the couch trying to play with the kids when suddenly I would get hit with a HAZY/FOGGY feeling. It’s hard to describe, but I knew that meant I needed to rest and put myself to bed. Another thing that is AWFUL is that when I would “sleep” it was an uncomfortable, restless sleep – sort of like I was so fatigued that I just couldn’t get into a good sleep pattern, which made the next few days terrible sleep wise.

Post chemo days 3-5 are DARK DARK DAYS for me. I have a feeling this will be my chemo pattern. Days 1 & 2…tired but not too bad, then days 3-5 HOLY HELL BATMAN! I felt tired like I have never felt before – and I have TWO children who liked to keep my up for days and days on end. This was a new tired, a “HEY LADY YOUR BODY HATES YOU TIRED”! Every atom in my body was knocked out cold and I just didn’t know how to wake them up. Again, I forced myself out of bed, stared at my bowl of organic oatmeal and fresh squeezed juice battling my stomach with my mind/will power to make myself eat what was in front of me despite the way I felt. I focused on being able to do small tasks like read a book to Sadie, or build a lego ninja turtle lair with Brody – even if it was only 10 minutes, I felt like it was a win for me. My bones/muscles ached – almost like they burned from the inside out, but again, I made myself go outside and walk around. Did I cry, YOU BET I DID – I cried from the pain, the exhaustion, the fear of now knowing what was going on with my body… I cried because I felt defeated these days – like I just couldn’t BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF THIS STUFF that was attacking my body. But in those moments when I cried and felt like a failure I tried to remember that the reason I felt this way was because chemo was WORKING. It was making me feel awful because it needed to in order to kill those cancer cells that were creeping around in there. And of course, I always kept my babies in my head – get past these days for them…be strong for them…don’t let them see you sad, weak, upset or hurting… with the strength of Jeremy, my rock through this ENTIRE ordeal, I made it through those days!

Post chemo day 6 and so on brought new, better days! The nausea is pretty much gone – I FEEL HUNGRY at times, which is a strange feeling after not feeling hungry for so long. I can play with the kids, stay awake the entire day without napping, work on my business, do things around the house and feel “normal”. A HUGE win for me happened today and what I’m about to say might not seem like anything “great” or out of the ordinary, but it made me proud. Today I drove myself to Target (haven’t drove since the beginning of June!), went shopping, drove myself to get my bloodwork done (once a week, EVERY week!), went on a bike ride with the kids and Jeremy (WOOT WOOT), played outside with the kids, folded the laundry, went to a birthday party and sat through a movie and am STILL up and able to write this blog post! Again, a totally normal day to most, but a VICTORY day for me…Today, I feel like a warrior who has won a battle. Sure, in the back of my mind I know that in another 11 days I will be right back in that infusion chair, and there will be another post chemo days 3-5, but now I know how strong I am. Now I know what to expect. Now I know that I am not just a survivor, but a warrior….

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FIGHTING CANCER LIKE A BOSS!!!

IMG_52051To everyone who has helped support me and my family during this time, words can’t describe how grateful and thankful we are. My amazing friends have set up a fundraiser to help us get through these months…

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-support-an-outstanding-mother-wife-best-friend-/198485

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