Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chemo log 9 - boob alert

I have under my skin one unhappy expander. The tale begins Thursday July 8th, around 10:00 AM. My visit was anything but routine, this was my first visit to see him with the boys and no other adult. The kids would have to go with me to my appointment and either hang out in the waiting room or go in to see the Doctor with me. *******Quick note to all the people who have volunteered there time to help, this schedule change was totally last minute I really didn't even have time to whip out the phone numbers********I really didn't mind the idea of taking the boys to Phoenix for the day, it seems like they are growing up so fast, summer is going to be over before we know it . I am however terrified that maybe for what ever reason, their behavior during my 20 minute office visit could leave a lasting impression on the Doctor's office or staff, and not in a good way. The ride down was pretty peaceful and I prepped the boys for what exactly would be expected of them. They are very smart and knew exactly what kind of behavior I was looking for. We get to Phoenix and it is 112 degrees with monsoon humidity weighing heavy in the air. This is my anti-climate, not only do I hate the heat but I start to suffocate with all the moisture. I feel like a rat that has to scurry as quickly as possible from space to space. The time it takes to help the kids get out of the car becomes impossibly long. The walk to the office building is the 1st half of my marathon, the second would be returning.

We enter into the Medical Complex, greeted by that friend to all air-conditioning. The elevator ride is always a highlight for the boys and they take turns pushing the buttons. We enter the office and the strategy is divide and conquer. Corbin is to sit tight in the waiting room, armed with his LEGO Starwars book. Mason is to come back with me to my fill. Mason and I go back when the nurse calls. I am not really sure how this part is going to go. I have done this fill thing so much, but not with my little boy. I remind myself that this is a medical journey, one that the boys are on as well. There is more fear in the unknown for myself as well as them. I put on the robe, Mason instantly asks "Are you going to take a nap mommy?". I could of sure used one at that moment. We wait together like every Doctor visit of his life, this is really not so different. Dr. Berardi arrives in a few minutes with the saline, we have our customary chat. He and I are not in 100% agreement on when to stop filling the expanders. I want small and perky, his vision is somewhat larger.

The fill goes pretty much as scheduled. Mason asks a few questions, "Does it hurt Mommy?", "Why does it look like a bow and arrow? (the butterfly used for the fill)", "Does that make them bigger?" We are all sitting in the room and chatting, Dr. Berardi makes a comment like " It's like filling up water balloons." Mason thinks that is hilarious, and he feels very big for being a part of this. After my fill Dr. B notices my left breast mound is kind of red and splotchy. He didn't seem to notice it at the start of the fill. I wasn't to worried, I told him I walked through an inferno to get to the office, and my general Dr.'s office anxiety was probably heightened with both the boys being with me. He asked me if I had any chills or felt feverish??? Not really, I leave with orders to watch for redness, fever and chills.

The boys and I stop for lunch at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I start to feel horrible, food doesn't taste good, it's hot I am tired. I try to relax and get the boys to eat. We then make a quick stop at the import store for mom, and we start heading home around 12:00. We have to stop in North Phoenix for a bathroom break, great, it's only a 112 outside. I check my breast there and it is red and hot. I tell myself to calm down it is only the heat and I drive home. We arrived home around 3:00, I am completely spent. Thankfully my friend Dani is at my apartment when we get home and she helps my unload the car. I go directly to the couch and take my temperature 99.5. I call the Dr.'s office and he immediately calls in a prescription for an antibiotic. Dani to the rescue, she goes to the pharmacy to pick-up my prescription and a pizza for dinner. I call my oncologist to make sure the new prescription will not interfere with my chemo. It's official I am under the weather, I call in sick to work for Friday. Then I begin to sit and try to get better............ I have really been doing to much of this.

This is the first health scare since I have recovered from my original surgeries. My temperature hit 101.5 at one point and that is the magic number where they hospitalize chemo patients. I really didn't want to be admitted to the hospital, who ever really does? I also did not want to delay my next chemo, that was scheduled for the following Wednesday. Then of course there is the worst case scenario with the expander infection, that of course would be removing the expander and starting the whole process over............... This very serious course of medical events caused me to hunker down and heal. How exactly do you do that? The only things that seem to work are take your medicine, sleep, eat, drink water, and breathe (of course). Seriously it's like trying to sit around and watch my hair grow. Very boring with a side of dull. By Saturday (7/10) my infection had not improved enough my Dr. put me on and additional antibiotic. My friend Jen came over and helped clean my apartment, fortunately for me cleaning is not on the list of how to heal quickly. Later her husband and boys came over for a little swim, and to hang out with my boys. I appreciate the help and the company as do my kids. I am well enough to sit around and do a little something, just not much. Jen invited us over for a little BBQ for dinner, very casual, food and trampoline time for the boys. I have become that dinner guest, the one that eats and will take my dish to the kitchen but no longer am able to help with the clean-up. Jen and Danny don't seem to mind and their help to my family is priceless.

By Sunday (7/11) my infection seemed to be receding. I know this because I was told to outline my infection with a sharpie so that I could monitor it better. My fever had been managed with Tylenol, but the redness in the skin was still there and it was still hot to the touch. Once again, another day of laying low with the kids, waiting to get better.

Monday (7/12) I took my second trip to Phoenix in 5 days. I am told to pack a bag in the event that I need to be hospitalized because of my infection. The next line of defense is IV antibiotics....hmmm thanks but no thanks. Luckily Dr. B feels like the oral antibiotics are working, I need to take them for 14 consecutive days, I can handle that. He is however not sure whether I should have Chemo on Wednesday. I am suppose to talk with my oncologist and see how he feels. More medical wondering on my part. I am determined to get this A/C Chemo under my belt, it is the last of this type and I have scheduled our summer vacation for the last week of July in hopes that I will be strong enough to handle the rigors of LEGOLAND.

Tuesday I return to work after what seems like the longest weekend of my life. My day is pretty ordinary and I have very little stamina after such a sedentary weekend. I just keep thinking, heal, heal, heal, I really want to have chemo on Wednesday......what a mantra but treatment makes you feel that way.

Wednesday (7/14) finally arrives and Kate is my chemo buddy. I am scheduled at 8:30 in the morning. I have a power-port in my chest which is used to administer the chemo and draw blood. It seems whenever they try to draw blood it doesn't work. Drawing my blood is the first course of events, so the Dr. can go over the results and give me the yea or ney for treatment. There is the usual attempt to draw blood via my port. Followed by me waiting for the lab nurse to draw my blood conventionally. This part makes me anxious, even typing about it makes me gaggy and nauseated. One nurse tried to draw my blood and missed the vein.........aaargh.............I don't have the stamina for this. Not to mention it is pretty painful. Finally the regular lab nurse draws my blood, slight prick and I focus on other things and it is pretty much over. The whole time I am praying please let me have treatment today, please let me have treatment today.

Drink water and breathe.....................


  1. Since I haven't been spending much time in C.V. lately it is great to be able to follow you on your blog. You have such a wonderful spirit & I wish you ALL the best.

  2. One hopes that you've been having way too much fun at Legoland to update. Keeping good thoughts.

  3. Hi Sarah, Amy, KimKim, Kimberly, Kaleb and Kelsey send their love and support. We hope you were able to go on your vacation. You all deserve it! Lots of prayers for you!