Friday, August 23, 2019

Day 319

I left my 💗 in New Mexico

I am happy to announce that my second video in my two part series on wellness came out!  You can watch it by clicking here: Wellness: A Call to Action.  If you missed the first one, I wouldn't want you to miss out, so here you go: Introduction to Wellness.  I am going to gush again, but I am so grateful to work for a company that values the well-being of it's employees so much, and makes it a priority.  

Speaking of wellness exams, I went and did that yesterday.  Got all my lab work back and I am happy to report I don't have any additional things wrong with me so yay!! It was so weird being back where this journey all began.  I was looking forward to it, yet it was strange and touching all at the same time.  Strange because so much has happened since I saw him last year, and touching to hear that he had been following my journey as it unfolded.  I know I have been through a lot, but it still makes me pause when people, even medical professionals, are in awe of what you've been through.

This week I traveled to ABQ, NM for one of my first branch visits and am wondering why in the heck I never have been to New Mexico?  It's like the best kept secret!  Granted, I love a desert environment so if that's not your jam you may not be as impressed as I was.  And it's monsoon season, which means thunderstorms, which means I was SO happy.  If you know me, you know I love a little thunder and lighting, and the current offerings in Oregon for storms leave much to be desired.  The sunset was probably the most beautiful I have ever seen.  It was so great to connect with the team there and have some face time with the folks I'll be partnering with.  I miss them already!

My chemo was delivered last week before my business trip.  Quite honestly, I was hoping for there to be a little more pomp and circumstance with the delivery.  Like I wanted to open the door and see the UPS driver DECKED OUT and my pills contained in some bio-hazard bag.

But no go.  A very benign, bubble wrapped envelope with pink pills arrived, compliments of our friendly local man in brown knocking on the door.  Boo.  

So, minus a chemo delivery extravaganza, I started my oral chemo yesterday which (so far) has been pretty easy.  I am not sure if the effects are cumulative though and my last round will be December 5th, two weeks on, one week off.  I have been more tired and the chemo brain is sneaking up a bit, and my feet have been a little on the tingly side (which is concerning), but if this is the worst, I can totally do this.  Although I have now traded in my flip flops for what I lovingly call, "Crocs and Socks".  I know.  Crocs.  But trust me, it's worth not getting the hand and foot syndrome which sounds like a nightmare, so whatever.  Fashionistas can kiss it.  

And I got another puppy but whatever.  She's not cute or anything worth reporting on really, so just going through the motions here...


Anyway, meet Nerd Puppy #2.  Because what's better than one Labrador life partner?  That's right.

She's the most chill puppy ever which in contrast to Finn is a blessing.  Little Chewy is going to keep it all together here at the house because that's what Black Labs do.  LOL totally Finn in the middle.

That's it for now!  Hoping to hang out with all the BFF's this weekend since Aaron is in town for Kevin's birthday.  Three musketeers unite!  Jess gets back from seeing her dad in AZ tomorrow so also going to pick her up and then be subject to teenage girl angst again after a little reprieve, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I am home for the weekend and next week, and then travel begins back up.  Nevada the week of Labor Day, Dallas a few weeks after that, and then  Nor-Cal mid October.  Phew!! 

Mucho love your way!  Send good vibes that chemo stays easy....I need it to, I don't have time to stay down.


Post blog upload update: I just took my pm dose of Xeloda and I am feeling like ass. Ugh.  Cancer.   The worst.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Day 305

I love my new hair so much it gets it's own blog post.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Day 303

Found:  Boobs. 

Yay!!  They found my boobs and they've been "installed"!  Found out why they weren't there the day of my surgery.  With the big recall on textured implants, apparently nothing shipped from Allergan, including my non-textured implants.  Still doesn't explain the breakdown in the process that allowed me even to get to the hospital that day, but hey.  Moving forward.

After my surgery on Monday (which went so smoothly and my blood pressure stayed strong at 110/73 - YES!!!)  I ended up overdoing it on the two days after my surgery, which resulted in a fever and me laying in bed for (almost) the remainder of the week.  I should learn but I won't.  But, besides the incredible bruising and pain on the right side, I think everything looks just great! 

And they are so much softer than the tissue expanders which is great, and I can move my arms over my head now.  I guess how the tissue expanders are inserted and mounted onto your body, it restricts range of motion in your arms, so that is an immediate and welcome side effect.  I'll start PT soon and hopefully that helps with strength and adding more range. I'll likely have to do yet another surgery to correct the damage under my arms too.

The plan now that my chemo has been ordered and approved by insurance is I will start Xeloda on 8/20.  I am going to make the most of the time between treatments and enjoy myself   I even went to a concert last night and saw Berlin, OMD, and the B-52's and it clocked my ass, but I had so much fun!!   I am preparing for the four months of oral chemo to be not great.  Even though I have been assured it's easier, I've heard that before (see Day 105).  If you know me, you know my love of flip flops and I won't be allowed to sport my favorite shoe while I am on this chemo since friction can increase the chances of developing palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (hand and foot syndrome), which is basically huge burning blisters on your hands and feet.  Nice, right?  Don't forget the diarrhea.  Where can I sign up?!?!  I know I can do it.  Shit, I made it through the four months of IV chemo, but.  It's a hard thing to do to sign up willingly to poison your body but if I don't do this and it comes back, I could never live with that guilt, so poison it is!  I am very hopeful that this will do the trick and I will finally hear the words NED or remission.  Something that has never come up in any of my conversations with my oncology team.  Crossing my fingers so hard!!  I really need to hear that and the fact that I haven't is a heavy burden. 

And, the best most amazing/incredible/crazy news!!  Remember when I said a few weeks ago that I had the hugest surprise??  Well!!!  My company, Associa, has embraced my journey in fighting cancer, and has given me a platform to reach hundreds, even maybe thousands, of my work family to stress the importance of being proactive in our wellness.  A subject that you may know is very near and dear to my heart.  It's a two part series, and I will share the second part when it comes out.  I am so grateful that I am part of a company that has been so supportive.  Words cannot even say enough.  

I wanted to extend my message to all of you too, first and foremost, because I truly care.  And also because even if you haven't hit the career jackpot and are lucky enough to work for Associa like me, the importance of my message is the same.  I'm not trying to be preachy, I want to inspire. I know I say "ummm" a lot in the video. Just trying to #keepitreal.

****hopping on soapbox now****

Be involved in your wellness.  And by involved, I mean actively seek to have an intimate knowledge of your health.  Advocate for yourself and be proactive.  Ignorance is not bliss.  Please don't take your health for granted, even if you feel invincible.  Knowing is power.  Be there for yourself and the ones that love you. Get an annual wellness exam.  It saved my life.  If anyone can learn and change their habits from my vulnerability in sharing my story, then I have achieved my goal.

****stepping down****

Love you all.  Video is below.  Please take a few minutes to watch.