So far, so good

Hello there friends, so we are 2/3 of the way through my first cycle of chemo. This week was even easier than last week’s infusion since it was roughly 2 hours shorter. Gone are the days of 9 hour infusions, THANK YOU LAWD.

This week I was infused with Taxol only. Taxol is the drug that I am receiving weekly. Taxol is the weekly chemo part of this dynamic duo while the other is an antibody received on the first day of every three week cycle. Last week I only felt crummy on Sunday and had some mild stomach “yuck” but aside from that I was generally okay. I do anticipate a cumulative effect where I may grow a bit more fatigued or worn out over time but so far, so good.

Yesterday’s infusion consisted of about 45 minutes of IV a pre-drugs: Zantac, Steroids, and my personal favorite- Benadryl. The steroids would explain why I feel like a million bucks the day after treatment. I wished the lasted a little longer, I could probably climb Kilimanjaro with the energy it gives me. Mom and Dad stayed with me until the Benadryl started to take me into nappy dreamland. They kindly used the next hour to go to my apartment and clean for me! What gems. I mean, how did I get so lucky? There is nothing like coming home to sparking floors and countertops especially when performed with such love. Thanks Mom and Dad! After an hour of Taxol we were all done. In and out in no time.

Today I woke up feeling pretty good. So far I’ve treated myself to breakfast at the Wayland Diner and stuffed my face with eggs, fruit, toast and turkey bacon. On that note I have been absolutely RAVENOUS in the past week or so. My appetite found its way home! The thought of food for the better part of the last year made me physically ill and eating it also made me physically ill…hence my current double digit weight. I’m still within my BMI but really cutting it close on the lower end. That being said I’m bulking for bikini season. No one needs to see skeletor at the beach. I’m sure that my nutritionist will be quite pleased to hear that I’m happily shoving all sorts of foods down my pie hole.

741-Feed-me

When my doctor was researching treatment options for me she was very fixated on creating a much better quality of life than what I’ve had in the past. I honestly get a little choked up as I reflect on this because even though it’s only been a week I already see a vast difference in how I feel both physically and emotionally. This past year was plagued by constant illness and depression and this spring has opened a much more optimistic chapter. I finally feel like I have the ability to be well. For a while I became pretty jaded and lost the hope that I was capable of going into remission. I can’t fully explain why but I’ve restored my faith in this process. Even though it’s still a shitty thing to have to experience, it’s somehow better. I have high hopes that in a few months when we look at my next scan that we will see some progress.

I’m going to wrap this up with a couple shout outs:

Happy 30th birthday to the beautiful, talented, sassy, amazing, best nurse-navigator that ever lived- Sheila Enderby! I hope you enjoyed your party and amazing Prince cake.

princecake

Happy birthday also goes out to a beautiful nugget that I have yet to meet- Karly Jae born yesterday to proud parents Joanna and Kyle. You are going to be amazing parents to this little girl! (If you need a break Uncle Cory, Uncle Sam, Auntie Alicia, Uncle Hudson and I will totally babysit and spoil the crap out of her)

Enjoy your weekends everyone!

Infused with love…and antibodies…and chemo (but mostly love)

Holy moly I am feeling the love! Usually I end my entries with the appreciation I have for those cheering me on. I still receive daily messages from family, friends and supporters from all over the globe. It is that encouragement that helps me to continue this fight. Thank you for your unconditional kindness.

The love fest continued yesterday at the Women and Infants infusion center. It was like coming home.

I was lucky to be joined by the ever handsome and supportive Cory Tysoe. He came up to Rhodey the night before and we enjoyed taco Thursday (doesn’t sound as good as Taco Tuesday) followed up by a documentary inspired by this YouTube sensation: Winnebago Man (aka “The Angriest Man on Earth”)

The documentary was essentially a result of Netflix Roulette. A little offbeat but worth a watch if you want to see the impact of becoming a viral internet sensation.

As you can see the evening before new chemo wasn’t tense or worrisome. We just went about out night, a rare midweek dinner date at home, and I adored it.

The next morning while I pulled myself together (put on sweatpants) Cory made breakfast because he’s a stud. After breakfast we packed up my infusion supplies (phone chargers, a cozy blanket, books, etc.) and made the 1.9 mile journey to W&I. ONE POINT NINE MILES. Beats the hell out of the 2 hour commute to and from Boston.

My former chemo nurse Sheila is now my nurse navigator and straight hooked me up at the infusion center. She got me a room with a BED! I only had that once in my previous IV infusion experience. It is a rare treat, especially when you’re receiving Benadryl pre-drugs (right Jen?).

My new chemo nurse was at a conference so Sheila set me up with “boss lady” Heather (Sheila’s words, not mine). “Boss lady” has been in women’s oncology for over 17 years and she was amazing! When she accessed my port I barely felt it and her bedside manner was unparalleled. She had a sunny disposition and made sure that Cory and I were comfortable. I am a major fan of her. I’m also a fan of the fact that her and Sheila are working on assigning Rosa as my regular chemo nurse. Rosa treated me previously as well as my friend Jen. I adore her and I’m happy to be seeing her again.

I’ve talked about this a lot in my blog before but I have to stress what a strong sense of community WIH has. Everyone remembers you from the front desk to the phlebotomist to the nutritionist to nurses you didn’t even have! All of the aforementioned people popped in my room to say hello. They weren’t pleased that I had to come back but I did feel the warm welcome. I think that it gave Cory some peace of mind to see me surrounded by such loving and positive people.

I’m painting a rosey picture here but the reality is that no one looks forward to chemo infusions. What I can speak honestly about is that I look forward to the warmth felt in this particular infusion center. It turns a crappy situation into an experience not quite as bad.

wpid-20150424_115346.jpg wpid-20150424_120334.jpg

Even though Sheila works in the main building now, she stopped by in the afternoon to say hello. I was deep into my Benadryl nap and I felt someone jump on top of me. In true Sheila fashion she climbed into bed to give me a big hug and say hello. This would only be weird if it wasn’t her.

Overall the infusion went well. We were only there for about 4 hours (in comparison to my previous 8-10 hour stints). I was also told that I will be there for even less time in future infusions, maybe 2 hours max? Honestly, once the Benadryl hit my veins it was all over. I fell fast asleep and only woke up periodically when the IV pump beeped to switch over to the next drug. Poor Cory sat in the dark room for hours answering work emails while I passed out.

When it was all over I was famished and had an undeniable craving for Harry’s Burger bar. So Harry’s it was! I housed two sliders and some fries then immediately went home and took another 4 hour nap. I woke up around 8pm to my darling washing dishes and tidying up the kitchen. Seriously where did I find this man?! (Thank you for being born Sam Favata, without last year’s birthday celebration I would be Cory-less). Cory made me a cup of tea and we cozied up on the couch and watched hours of Top Gear. Another perfect evening at home.

Aside from feeling tired I generally felt well after the infusion. It wasn’t until almost midnight when I went to lay down and was overcome with nausea. Unfortunately I threw up. I don’t believe it was a result of the chemo though, it was probably gorging myself with burgers and fries then topping that off with some Ensure plus. Too much for my little tum tum.

Today I feel perfectly normal so I’ll say that new chemo thus far is a success! Let’s hope that it’s killing tumors so I can really call it a success in a few months.

Next week I will be joined by my lovely parents so they can see first hand how well I’m being cared for 🙂 In the meantime I return to normal life. Today I’m popping by the Izzy Room at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to see my dear friend Sarah pull off the greatest disney party of all time for the little patients and their families. Tomorrow I have the honor and pleasure of attending my cousin’s bridal shower and visiting with family in Connecticut. Monday- back to work.

I want to thank everyone again from the bottom of my heart for the love and support. Every drop of it is internalized and greatly needed.

Fight on.