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Week 5 Update... 3 down. 1 to go.

Episode XXIII: We are such stuff...

I managed to make it through another chemo treatment! Yay!

I will admit that on my drive in last week, I was like "Do I really have to do this again?" I really hate when they jab that needle into my port. I really hate the side effects. But whatever... I put on my big girl panties and my bald girl cap and made the best of it!

Chemo cap on... ready to go!

The treatment went as well as could be expected. The side effects were tolerable. Of course I felt bad - but I am feeling better! It seems that every week new things just creep up on me, like rashes, constipation, and so many other things. The quirks of chemo never cease to amaze!!

For real, a rash on the center lower back! Come on!

Of course I seem to be susceptible to everything. I got a sore throat and some thrush over the first weekend after treatment – which went away quickly on antibiotics. I probably helped myself by calling the doctor the minute my throat started to bother me. After the last go round, I learned not to wait… especially if it could be a cold. This time, my recovery was faster – so that was good. But the overall discomfort in my mouth was annoying and unpredictable. Seems as if sores and irritation were just par for the chemo course. Some of the mouthwashes help, but it comes and goes as it pleases.

All these just to make me function... my daily routine!

I will admit I am my own freak show and my family was getting a kick out of it. My Jeopardy answers were usually half coherent and half correct. I may have my own language of combining words that make me sound nonsensical at times. I am a slow moving target that’s only defense was to tense up rather than protect if unforeseen objects were accidentally hurled in my direction.

Yep! I am the Freak Show...

The most annoying thing is how friggin’ s-l-o-w I am! 
S-l-o-w thinking. S-l-o-w moving. S-l-o-w reacting. Overall, S…L…O…W!!! I am staying away from those silly “real age” tests, as they would probably tell me that I am in my 70s-80s!!! However, my newly formed sloth-like reactions and speed should improve when I get done with all these drugs. I hope!!!

Sums me up!

Like I keep saying, this experience could always be worse. Some of it is downright funny! My son was away during the week so my daughter and I seized the opportunity to have some silly girl time together. Also, I have had a few weeks of gifts and thoughts from others. I have received cards, flowers, and knit hats sent from some friends and family. Plus, I went out for a girl’s lunch where it was great to get out of the house and enjoy good company. These things were unexpected and all nice! I have a lot of things to be thankful for - and I am!!

Before the last chemo treatment, I met with a Genetic Specialist to discuss testing. I got to learn a little about breast cancer, genes, and genetic testing. Only 5%-10% of cancer is genetic, so the likelihood mine being genetic was very small. From what I was told, most people get spontaneous cancer - with the emphasis on "most". Seems they are learning and researching about cancer and finding out stuff about how it works. They hope these tests and research will lead to better testing in the future.

Test my genes!

In some ways my youth was on my side again – insurance will cover the cost of the genetic testing because I am still in my 30's. Apparently breast cancer in the 40's was considered way too young, so me in my 30's was super young. My insurance covers the cost if you are under 45 and if you have met your deductible – which of course I have now. The cost for the test was somewhere over $4000 – WOW! Who can afford that stuff without insurance? Its amazing that one blood test can cost so much. But then again nothing about Cancer or anything medical was cheap.

So, now I am 3/4 done with AC Chemo… only one more next week. Sweet! Then I will have the weekly treatments of another type of chemotherapy. I will be happy to check the AC Chemo off my To Do list! I am hanging in there and really learning the most I can from the experience. Plus, I am trying to laugh at the crazy things that happen along the way!!

In my head...

What can I do, but do. I just keep on moving and making my way through these treatments. Looking for as much humor in odd situations. Taking each lesson as it comes. I have the opportunity to make the experience as pleasant or unpleasant as I want. I choose to enjoy the ride, or as much of it as I can.

“Do," said Louisa finally, "whatever you can't not do.” 
― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Episode Reference:   We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep .
-Shakespeare, The Tempest (Act 4, Scene 1)


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