I don't know if it was the rainy weather, returning to work finally, or going to see my oncologist, Dr. Pruitt, but it was just another manic Monday.  And yes, I wish it were Sunday cause that's my fun day.  I'm going to go ahead and admit it.  I was a big cry baby today.  I'm not usually very emotional about things, but for some odd reason everything seemed to set me off.  I got to work early today to clean off some of the patient charts that were awaiting my arrival and then had to head to occupational health to get them to sign off on my return to work.  Dr. Proffer released me to work, but I'm on a 10 pound lifting restriction and can only work 4 hours each day for one week.  As most of you know, I'm an outpatient physical therapist at Northwest Texas Hospital here in Amarillo.  Lifting and using my arms are a big part of treating patients, so I'm really just helping out around the clinic as needed in different areas.  I had been prescribed some muscle relaxers for the continuing pectoral muscle spasms, and I thought it was helping until today.  I got back to work and didn't even do much with my arms and began having spasms on the left side.  This subsided somewhat and then the right side began and hasn't let up even with the muscle relaxers.  Then, I began having blood in my right drain, which hasn't happened since right after surgery.  It is now back to more clear or yellow drainage, so I think it is ok.  If it continues, I guess I'll call Dr. Proffer's office.  You know I had been thinking about my cancer lately.  I had a chest CT scan at the end of January this year when I had bad bronchitis.  Everything looked fine according to that scan, so I guess the cancer had not happened yet.  Then, bam 7 months later I have Stage II breast cancer with 3 masses in the left breast, mets in 2 lymph nodes, and cancer that had actually gotten behind my breast into the fascia of the muscle.  My cancer is grade 3 so it was highly malignant.  Now you see why I'm now a big fan of women doing self breast exams and of the government moving the age down for starting mammograms.  I saw on t.v. today that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime.  I don't like those odds for anyone.  Crazy huh?

Chris and I went to my first follow up with Dr. Pruitt today since my surgery.  I thought I was emotionally prepared for talking about chemo, but again I broke down.  I don't know if it was about the hair loss thing or just the fact that I don't feel like I should be having to talk about this at my age.  The bottom line is all this just stinks!  I had been handling everything fine, but like my sweet friend, Darcie Milsow, says sometimes you need to just cry it out and get it over with.  I'm over it now.  We found out that I will probably get my chemo port placed next Tuesday at 2:30 pm with Dr. Arredondo in day surgery.  That will only happen if my drains get pulled before that date however.  Then I will start chemo the next day (11-16-11) at Northwest Texas Hospital where I work.  I will receive 2 chemo drugs (adriamycin and cytoxan) that will take about 2-3 hours to administer along with some of the side effect meds.  This will take place every other week for 4 treatments.  These are the more potent chemo drugs, and yes hair loss is one of the more common side effects unfortunately.  Dr. Pruitt says I can keep exercising and working during this time to combat the fatigue side effect.  He said the nausea problem has really been minimal with most patients because they give you meds before your chemo and oral meds after chemo to take.  There are some other bad side effects but they only happen in very few patients.  After 2 months of this, I will then do chemo with a drug called taxol.  This is less potent, but will be once a week for 1 hour each.  This will last for 12 weeks.  So total chemo time will be about 5 months.  Then, like I said before, I will do radiation for 5-6 weeks to the left chest wall.  Then, I can still look forward to 2 more plastic surgeries and having a complete hysterectomy.  Man, I'm ready for 2011 to be over cause it has not been real nice to me.  I'm hoping that 2012 will be better.  Wednesday, Chris and I have to attend a chemo class from 9-11:30 am at Harrington Cancer Center to learn more about it.  Dr. Pruitt said if I get a high fever or my blood counts are too low, he may have to put me in the hospital to protect me from infection.  I hope we don't ever have to worry about that.  I'm just glad that today is almost over because I'm expecting  tomorrow to be a good day.

I guess I don't have any good advice for everyone today except that God never gives us more than we can handle.  I know at times it seems like Chris and I have a big mountain to climb, but we decided that we are going to just look for our next handhold and foot placement for each cliff.  Then, before we know it we will look down at what we have accomplished (only with God's help) and celebrate the victory (maybe with a cruise or returning to our honeymoon island of St. Lucia which will be well deserved by that time!!!).  Thanks again for the encouragement through your cards, calls, e-mails, and texts.  I need them to help me through this, but most of all I need God.  Please continue the prayers for me, Darcie Milsow, who is bravely fighting colon cancer, and for Jenny Mills, another strong woman fighting breast cancer.  Darci and I have met up two times recently for coffee and lunch, and I admire her so much.  She is so strong, and I love being able to vent to someone who really understands, firsthand, how I feel and what I'm going through.  She is my strength going into this storm ahead.  I know God can heal both of us, and Darcie and I have hope and faith for this.  Take care and God bless.  Love - Shayla

If anyone wants to read posts from past months, just scroll up and look at the archives on the right hand side of the .  It will list September and October.  If you click on one of these, you can find the old posts.
Katy Glowicki
11/7/2011 21:33:24

Pray for you daily Shay!!! I love you!!! You are so strong!

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Carolyn
11/7/2011 21:44:46

Hey girl i will be praying for you.

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Brook W
11/7/2011 21:52:13

Thanks for the update Shayla. You most definitely have earned a good cry (or many!)
Take care and we love you. I may be coming to Amarillo soon, will give you a buzz if I do!
You are in our prayers. Love you!

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Diann Rose
11/7/2011 23:00:02

Praying for you often! Keep holding on to God's promises. He will see through this time in your life! Remember God is good!
Love you

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11/8/2011 11:10:48

Praying for you Shayla. It's ok to have a break down. I think God wants us to be honest with Him!! I'm amazed at how you keep turning to Him. He will see you through. Love you!!!

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darcie milsow
11/8/2011 11:40:04

Dear Shayla,
You indeed earn a cry yesterday. You have a lot on your plate and it is crappy. I am so sorry and hurt for you that you are having to go through this. I know exactly what you are feeling. Take comfort in knowing that it will get easier. Brent and I alway say "That is the last 9th treatment I'll have to do." it helps a little bit. :-) I had my doc prescribe me xanex and lexapro for my anxiety. The lexapro had been so great!!!! I can't really tell a difference with the xanex...seriously, how can a pill take my anxiety away? Anyway, something for you to think about. If it helps and makes your days better...
I continue to lift you up to God for total healing and for the pain to cease. You are so tough. I truly admire you. I have loved spending time with you and hope to do it again soon.Good luck with the port. It is so much better than getting stuck each time and blowing the veins out. Love you sweet girl. Keep you chin up and hate that nasty cancer with all you've got.
Love and hugs,
darcie

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Sarah Kendall
11/8/2011 12:35:44

Hi Shay,

I have been keeping up with your journey through Susan. She sent me the blog site this morning.

I have not given platelets or blood for a long time.
So I should be able to donate platelets if you need them.

I'm post op nearly two weeks from a knee revision so I will call Coffee and let them tell me when I will be ready to donate. If you are starting a list of platelet donars, put me on it. Those platelets are really important little dudes.

I continue to pray for you, your family and all of those who will care for you.

Remember P B P G I F W M Y! Please Be Parient God Isn't Finished With Me Yet.

Have a blessed day and a restful evening.

Love,

Sarah (Coleman's mom)

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Glenda May
11/8/2011 16:16:13

Dear Shayla,

I had not checked your blog for a couple of weeks until today. So now I am caught up. Thanks for the posts. It helps all of us who have not experienced a crisis like this to catch a small glimpse of what you are dealing with on a daily basis. You are such a strong individual and a huge inspiration to me. Keep walking with God, and no matter the outcome of this disease, you will be a winner. I'm still praying for the best outcome for you and Chris and Brenley.

Love,
Glenda

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Susan
11/8/2011 16:59:40

I am praying for you sweet friend. I know that nothing I can say will take away this journey you are on. I just continue to lift you up to God and ask for mega doses of healing and comfort and peace for you and yours. You are a treasure to know and my heart hurts because yours does. I love you, dear sister in Christ.

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phila weatherly
11/8/2011 17:10:22

I feel your pain,,,Only God can give you the peace that passes all understanding,,,I loved my wig and they can be a lot of fun,,I would love to come and sit and entertain you during a chemo session,,,that is what friends and relatives are for....love you bunches Phila

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Claudette Simpson
11/9/2011 01:53:19

I am so sorry that I have been so caught up in my own world that I have not contacted you or Chris. Don't think for a moment that you and your family have not been in my thoughts and prayers daily.
The class at Harrington is very good and will be helpful. When we went they gave us an awesome cookbook with recipes that aided every side effect of chemo.
Feel free to call, I'm here if you need anything, anytime!!
Love you guys!!!

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The Loflins
11/9/2011 09:36:27

Shayla, we continue to be amazed by your strength and grace. I know you want to be strong for your family, but there is no shame in crying...sometimes it makes us feel so much better. =)
Love you and praying for you daily!!

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Debbie Boyer
11/9/2011 23:48:32

I just learned last night that you and Darcie are friends! I have been praying for you both, but now I can picture you having coffee and a good chat together!

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Cheryl
11/10/2011 21:39:02

Thinking of you night and day. Stay strong but remember it's not weak to be human. That's when God scoops you up in his arms and helps you get through the next step. Love you and hope that each day is one step towards better times.

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candi
11/11/2011 12:13:20

Shay - hang in there. You are going to have days like this and are entilted to cry. You are handling this like a champ. Think and pray for you every night.

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Nonette Robinson
11/13/2011 10:26:50

Shay: Nothing wrong with a good cry and telling God your frustrations. He made all emotions---happy and sad--- and believe me He and I had many a talk though my treatments. Your chemo schedule is exactly like mine. If you have any questions, frustrations, or just need to vent---don't hesitate to call. I can really say----I know what you are going through. Hey, I have a really cute wig with some flashy hot red highlights you are welcome to wear. Let me know!!! Nonette

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Jenny Mills
11/29/2011 13:45:21

Shayla~
You are a dear angel. I have really enjoyed reading your posts...you are so inspiring!

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