Monday, January 6, 2014

Chemo #8 and Closing This Chapter in my Journey

I can't get over it.  I need to pinch myself to realize how far I have made it!

breast cancer, stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma, chemo, last chemo, chemotherapy, survivor

I still have Herceptin treatments till November of this year, but to be past this hurdle feels AMAZING!!!!! And I didn't have to have a Neulasta shot the day after which saves both my insurance company and my wallet a ton of money!

The night before I was having a ton of pain in my feet and legs, but managed to bake up some pretty sweet cupcakes to bring in the next day!

cup cakes, cupcakes, last chemo gift, chemotherapy cupcakes

cup cakes, cupcakes, chemotherapy, last chemo, last chemotherapy, survivor

That day was great, no allergic reactions and no double dose of Benadryl!!  I got my chemo, slept for a few hours and woke up feeling like a million bucks!  Walking out of the hospital after this chemo was like walking out of high school on the last day of school, triumphant and knowing you won!! BOOYA!! Cancer-0 Emily-1 :)  I think I could hear this song in the background as I was walking out:

The pain that I am having compared to my previous Taxol treatments is different.  Rather than it starting the next night around 9:00PM, it started two days after my treatment and has decided to be this dull throbbing in my legs, back, fingers, teamed up with some pretty gnarly headaches, which I didn't have nearly this bad before.  The pains so intense that I haven't been sleeping well at all, tossing and turning for hours before I finally fall asleep.  Last night I almost biffed it going down my stairs in my house because I lost my footing due to the pain and somehow I managed to regain my balance.  How? No clue. And no it wasn't my awesome lack of coordination that I seem to have.  So I can conclude that it was NOT the Neulasta shot that was causing all of this pain, but the Taxol.

One terrible thing that I've been experiencing is Neuropathy in both my hands and feet.  I have days that it feels like I have pins and needles in my hands and feet and it is almost impossible to walk.  I have also noticed that the skin on my feet is peeling like a bad sunburn and the tips of my fingers and hands are crazy dry.  Oh and not to totally gross anyone out, but my big toes have a slight color change and my pinky toenail fell off.   It didn't hurt, but I realized that keeping them as short as possible helps a ton.  So to help that I've started Biotin again, which helps grow strong hair and nails and I'm hoping it will help with all those issues.  I plan on combating the pain in my feet with Topricin.  This stuff is supposed to work miracles for Neuropathy and foot pain, so why not?  I'll let you know if it works.  Or if anyone reading this has tried it, let me know how/if it worked for you!

topricin, neuropathy, stinging, tingling, feet, numbnessand biotin, strong hair and nails, growth, strengthening

While I am SO happy to be at this point in my journey, I do have a lot of fears.  Trust me, I do not want to have had gone through chemo, but I feel that now that I am done, people might think, "oh, she is done with chemo, so she should be 100% OK now and back to normal."  And I don't know if I will ever get back to "normal".  The biggest part of anyone who is going through this I don't think is the physical pain, that I could handle.  But this battle is more emotional then anything.

In the passed SEVEN months I have been through:
Needless to say that is NOT how I wanted to spend the later half of 2013 and into 2014, but I obviously want to be around for a long time so I did what I had to do and will continue that fight.  With having all of those procedures done, I really do not think I have come to terms with the reality of what I went through. Every once in a while I will have a melt down, or as I call them 5% moments, realizing how strong I truly am, but at the same time how afraid I am if I were to have to go through something like this again.  

I am pissed that I have Li-Fraumeni and what it could mean for my future.  I'm mad that I spent all that money on the infertility treatments and now I have to get my embryos tested to make sure they don't have it. While I'm mad, I'm blessed that advancements have given me the ability to know if the embryos tested carry it, but I am very impatient though and knowing I have to wait a few years to know sucks.  My biggest fear is that all the embryos have Li-Fraumeni and then I won't have anything.  I know adoptions always an option, but I have always wanted one of my own and I want to go through the whole pregnancy pains, discomfort etc....  The most frustrating part for the hubs and I is seeing women who are using drugs, or not taking care of themselves have kids and thinking what did we do to have to go through this.  We did everything right. Had the house, careers, I was saving up sick time to be able to have enough for maternity leave, we were just getting out of debt and then we get hit with this.   I guess this experience told me that no matter how much you try to plan, the rug can be pulled out from under you and you can't control it.  The physical pain I felt after my double mastectomy is NOTHING compared to what I've been going through emotionally....

I would give almost anything to be able to go back before all of this crap and remember what it felt like to be care free, stressing out about having to work, or getting enough sleep before late shift, being frustrated if the hubs didn't take out the garbage and it stunk.  I think that in the back of my mind I will always have the fear of the "C" word coming back.  I told the hubs that I wish I could have amnesia from just all the cancer drama.

**On a positive note, my hair is starting to grow back....just a little, but it makes me happy**

This is cheesy, but song has really helped me when I'm down and out and helps me realize how strong I truly am!

I have this new reality that I do need to come to terms with and I think it will take time....and maybe some therapy...


  1. Congrats on finishing chemo!! I found your blog and I have been following you these past few months. Unfortunately I am in your same boat. I am 28 and was diagnosed at the end of September. I am on the same chemo treatment and just 2 weeks behind you. My last one is 1/16 and I am so excited I can barely contain it. All your fears are so similar to mine it's almost like I'm writing your blog. :) Know that it's been very helpful reading your story and knowing that I'm not alone in this journey. I journal my story here:

    Congrats again! I wish you nothing but love health and happiness for your future!


    1. That is so awesome that you're almost done!!! It is kind of overwhelming, especially if you have grown a bond with your infusion nurses! I hope the next couple days fly by for you and you can close this chapter in your journey as well!! Best wishes BC sister!

      Em C