The more I put off writing, the more it seems I have to write about and it just snowballs into this overwhelming monster that I keep putting off. But it’s pretty quiet at work, so now is the time.
After last year’s chemo treatment I was relieved and happy to hear that those shitty 6 months were not all for naught. The cancer had stopped growing and in fact shrunk significantly in size. (If you recall, I had a normal squishy boob again!) My new maintenance hormone suppression treatment had minimal side effects. And although hot flashes can be a total bitch, I always have my fan handy. My hair came back in full force and the chemo curl is strong with this one. It’s pretty wild, I literally have Shirley Temple ringlets. Never in my life did I image I would have hair like this, and I have no clue how to maintain/style it. But I make due, my new curly hair is the least of my worries.
In my last post, I shared that I had recently moved into my new place and am living alone (with Pickle) for the first time. And even started going on dates again. My energy levels were backup and life was beginning to feel as normal as it could, considering having menopausal symptoms at 32. Around April/May I started experiencing brief pangs of pain again in my left breast. I mentioned this to the nurse during my monthly appointment to have my ovarian suppression injection. The nurse told me that she also has a surgical clip in her breast and experiences discomfort from time to time because of it being a foreign object in the body. That made sense to me, and since my PET Scan from March came back clear I wasn’t too worried.
It was probably around June/July when I was becoming aware of the tumor again. I felt that hard mass return, and a pea sized bump was beginning to form on my areola. My heart sank. I think, in that moment I knew but I certainly wasn’t ready to admit anything to myself. I emailed Dr. Kwan requesting I have a PET Scan before our next scheduled visit (which was for the first week of August). The day of the scan came, I cried while I was going through the machine. I knew something was wrong and these results would confirm it. The scan was on a Monday and my appointment with Dr. Kwan was for Friday. I was so terrified about the results I knew I would receive I lashed out the rest of the week and became a MEGA BITCH to everyone and anyone in my path. Mainly my co-workers, it was so bad I had 3 different people ask me what was wrong because I was not acting like myself. I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud, so I just told everyone nothing was wrong and tried to keep to myself. Looking back, I feel quite terrible about it. There is no excuse for acting like I did, but there was a reason. I was projecting my anger, fear and anxiety. If you were a victim of the MEGA BITCH, I’m sorry, you didn’t deserve that.
Heather and Tana came with me to my appointment with Dr. Kwan. She told us that the scan showed the tumor was active again, and growing. I asked her, “OK, so what’s next?”. And she responded, “We start chemo again.” Everything stopped. I sat silent. Many different thoughts running through my head.
I just finished hell on earth chemo, not even a year ago.
I was supposed to be on a hormone blockers for at least 3-5 years.
I was not expecting to hear that. I don’t know what I was expecting to hear, but it wasn’t that. No one else spoke. I finally responded, “When?”. Dr. Kwan responded, “Next week.” Silence again, more thoughts.
I am going to Cuba and New York next month.
What is happening?
This is my life now.
Constantly in and out of chemo?
What are Heather and Tana thinking?
Why? Just why?
So we discussed the new treatment plans, and scheduled my appointments for the next three months. And I started chemo the following Tuesday.
That was 3 weeks ago. I’ve since had my first treatment (special shout out to my sweet beautiful angel Toni who came with me to my first treatment). I had to skip my second treatment because my white blood cell count was too low (and now have to give myself shots for 3 days following every chemo treatment going forward). This is my off week, so no treatment. So far this new regimen (Carboplatin & Gemcitabine) isn’t nearly as awful as the PINK DEVIL from last year. Little to no nausea, a lot of fatigue and cloudiness though. I’ll be in treatment for 6 months again this time. And I plan to really push for a double mastectomy after chemo.
My dear sweet mother started another crowdfunding page (https://www.gofundme.com/help-danielle-to-keep-fighting). And yet again, I am overwhelmed with my community and everyone’s generosity, love and support. It fills me with so much warmth and brings me to tears (happy ones, I promise!). All the love makes my heavy heart a bit lighter. Which helps me in more ways than you may understand. It’s so easy to feel very alone in this, but everyone’s outreach keeps me positive. Keeps me pushing forward and fighting. I also want to take a moment to thank Eddie Orso, another super sweetie, mega talented musician and all around amazing friend who in just 1 week raised $2k through the sales of his most recent album for me to receive supplemental vitamin IV treatments during chemo. (https://www.eddieorso.com) You all are truly incredible and will forever have my gratitude and love.
There is so much more to talk about, but this is it for now. I can’t make promises on the frequency of posts, however I will make the effort to post more. Like I said, I still have a lot more to say. And it will come, with time.
I leave you with a very silly video of me giving myself my white blood cell growth stimulator injection.
***Trigger warning: I give myself an injection. … With a needle … don’t watch if you don’t like needles. But the needle is really small, just FYI.***
Touch your boobs.
Hold your friends hands.
I love you all.
Until next time.