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.