October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so to all the guys who have girlfriends, or girlfriends who have girlfriends, single ladies and wives, feel those tatas and if you feel anything weird or have any pain or tenderness, get your
ass... BOOBS into a doctor and get them checked out!!
I followed my gut and am so extremely grateful I didn't put it on the back burner!!!
PEACE OF MIND IS KEY!
I was a little nervous about Chemo. I welcomed it because I knew it meant I was one step closer to being done, but I still was afraid of how I would feel during and after. To be honest, the "during" process was NOT bad at all.
The week before my first Chemo I had my port (communication badge) put in and the area around my port was VERY swollen and burned A LOT and I was nervous about how it would feel to have a nurse poke a needle through that area.
The day before my chemo I scheduled to continue with more genetic counseling to determine if my breast cancer can be linked to something from either side of my family. The initial testing I had done was to determine whether or not I had the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which came back negative *total sigh of relief*, but there was still more testing that could be done and I was going to do it. When the hubs and I went in to meet with the genetic counselor I decided that I wanted a full panel done which would test approximately 32 different genes to determine if there is any mutations which could have led to my diagnosis.
I have a few reasons for doing this:
1. I've already met my deductible (a LONG time ago) so I might as well...
2. To make my female family members more aware if there is something found
3. So if in my future I am blessed to have a daughter, that SHE can be educated and have the knowledge she needs to be proactive.
4. My tests will also be used in research and studies for other women/men who get diagnosed with breast cancer.
I figure that while I am going through this I might as well help with research to help other people! That is the same reason why I decided to send "Arnold" aka my tumor off to sunny California for research.
Well...the day before with genetic counseling was terrible. Because the area around my port was so sensitive and I was worried about them taking my blood draw from my port, I opted to see if they could use a vein in my arm. Not a good idea....AT ALL! My vein rolled, which left me crying, panicked and very stressed out knowing that they were going to use my port. The nurse originally doing the blood draw was also having a problem finding exactly where my port was because of how swollen I was so she called in one of the Chemo nurses to assist, and that is where I met Lara! She is awesome! She found the port and wham bam thank you ma'am, put the needle in. It did NOT hurt like I thought it was, it almost felt like a pinch or bee sting. They have this numbing spray that they put over the area that frankly I think stings more then the actual needle going in. They took a couple vials of blood and they were sent off to a lab to be tested!
I am SO happy I went through that the day before starting my Chemo, it definitely lessened my stress level the day of.
Fast forward approximately 24 hours, Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 9:00AM and I was back in the hospital, being re-poked and ready to rock for Chemo.
Denise (the most amazing photographer ever) at the hospital the following morning. I was brought in back by one of the nurses got all poked in my port and ready to rock for Chemo and brought back through the Infusion area and into a room where we waited a short while until Lara came back and got me started. She went over the basics and answered any questions that we had! She was so thorough and just has a great personality to make you feel comfortable!
I had a combination of different cocktails given to me that day. I was given some steroids to help me out, which made me feel like I was slurring my words and loopy. Then I was given some anti nausea medications and finally Adriamycin (the chemo med) or what I like to call, a Jello shot. The nurse manually put in the Adriamycin in this huge syringe, slowly pushing it in, and about five minutes later I was pumped full of the red stuff. And trust me this stuff runs through you pretty fast, within about 10-15 minutes I was peeing red and it continued that way for about three days!
A weird side affect while getting all those meds pumped into me was the nurse told me that about the last five minutes before the steroids were done I would start to feel my sinuses clog up and boy did I. It started out with some tingling in my nose, and then within a matter of a minute or so it felt like a full blown sinus infection. But at least for me, as soon as it started, it was over once the bag was empty!!
At the end they flushed the line to my port so it wouldn't become all gooed up with stuff and cause more problems. She also brought in a box of awesome bracelets that was made by the wife of a man who was diagnosed with cancer and was going in there for treatments, and let me choose one!
So right now I'm 1 down 7 to go....piece of cake :)
Even though I have to go through all of this crap, I am truly blessed to have met the people I have. As weird as this may sound, It's not like I would have wanted to get breast cancer, but without it I would not have been in a situation to have met Denise (who is photographing my journey, but I also consider a good friend or even family now), my surgeon Dr. Kepple and Dr. Hussussian (who are amazing by the way), Dr. Kepple's nurse Judy (who has a phenomenal personality) and Lara (the chemo nurse) who made my first chemo actually fun and not as scary!