It's been a month since I blogged.... yikes! It's been a busy month and I have lots of updates.
Aside from getting "the news" in September..... the past couple of weeks have been the toughest for me. I've now tried twice to get my 6th round of chemo and both times my blood platelet counts were too low so I couldn't move forward with treatment. It's like getting amped up for a really big game, or prepping for a big trip... clearing your schedule, packing up your bags and then getting to the airport and having the trip canceled. Twice. Never thought I would WANT to get chemo so badly! My next attempt will be this Tuesday. I wish I could eat platelets or something.. (I'd do it!!) but apparently there's nothing you can do to bring the count up but wait. The doctors said that it's not a scary thing or something that I need to worry about but it is really bumming me out because I want to get this stupid cancer show on the road and now it's more than two weeks behind schedule! I had my mastectomy scheduled for Feb. 24 which was going to work great with the NHL schedule- (Kelly would be home and off) but now it looks like it will be the week of March 17th and he'll be on the road the whole week. So all in all it's more than a two week delay, then the start of radiation will be delayed two weeks and it will now take me into early June instead of being done mid May. If I'm able to get my chemo this Tuesday then they'll give me a lower dosage of carboplatin for the next three rounds, which is the drug that is affecting my platelet counts. So hopefully I can get back on schedule!
I'm also really missing my hair!! I got my new "custom system" put on last week and although I do like it, I guess I was a bit underwhelmed. I am very appreciative of it and the color is much better than the "temporary" one but it just doesn't look as natural as I was hoping. It looks pretty good down but when I wear it up it looks strange. You know that game that little girls play in the pool where they go under and get their hair wet then come up with the hair in their face and flip it over to look like Martha Washington? That's how I feel when I put it try to put this hair up.
|Oh Google you never cease to amaze me. Searched "Martha Washington pool hair" for this lovely picture.|
In other news.... I've learned more about the mastectomy/ plastic surgery that is in my future and feel confident in my doctors that will be doing the procedures. There are a lot of options for the reconstruction and it sounds like we'll figure out which one to move forward with after I'm done with radiation. Then I have to wait three months before the final reconstructive surgery.
One other surprising thing that I've learned is that I do in fact have the "BRCA1" gene which means that the cancer is hereditary. It makes no sense and I was totally shocked to hear that news since nobody that I knew of in my family has had breast cancer. But at least I have more of an idea of why this has happened to me at such a young age. It wasn't something I did! It turns out my mom has a cousin on my grandpa's side that does in fact have the BRCA1 gene and has battled breast cancer twice. After hearing that news my genetic counselor said that she wants to test my mom for the gene. She said in almost all cases in which a child has the gene, they contracted it from one of their parents. So now we have that to worry about!!! I'm encouraging my mom to get the gene test- because even if she does have the gene, she'll at least know and there are many options for her. It's the same kind of deal that happened to Angelina Jolie.... her mom had breast cancer and she knew she had the gene so she took care of her breasts before they took care of her! Not a bad idea at all and I honestly wish I'd somehow known that I had the gene so I could have done the same thing. They'll also probably want to test my brother for the gene because he could be a carrier. If he's a carrier, he'll be like me and have a 50% chance that he'll pass the gene down to any future children. I was really hoping to not have the gene so my current family and future family wouldn't have to worry! Which brings me to another topic......having kids.
The discovery of this BRCA1 gene means that I'll have to have my ovaries removed eventually. The gene is connected directly to having a high risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. As my doctor put it... my ovaries are now a "ticking time bomb" and there is a very high chance that I could get ovarian cancer as well. YAY! She said that I could probably wait about three years before having the hysterectomy so that gives me about a three year window to have kids, if I can in fact have kids. That's probably not going to be easy since the chemo destroys basically everything inside of you.... including your ovaries. I'm trying to be optimistic about it. I'm getting a shot of a drug called "Lupron" every three weeks that is supposed to help protect my ovaries so I can hopefully still have children. (It also has some lovely side effects such as hot flashes! Little future baby.. I love you so much I've brought on early menopause for you!) Those hot flashes are not joke. Ugh. So I've tried to find stats about conceiving after chemo and there's just not much out there... since most people who get this disease are at least 40 and have most likely had children already. I am researching all my options and will probably contact a fertility clinic to find out more about my specific situation and what I can do. It's funny- before cancer I was not on a fast track, or really any track to have children. I actually was planning to wait as long as I could so that I could focus on my marriage and career... and maybe I'd just get another cat to tide me over :) But now... after finding out that I may not be able to have kids of my own, I think about it all the time and it's something I want more than anything in the world. (And maybe it's also due to the fact that all my friends are getting pregnant! Very happy for them. :))
It's crazy how you think you have life all figured out one moment and the next you learn that you indeed do not, not at all. As much as you think you have everything in control, it can all be changed within a second, within a doctor's appointment. God had a different plan for me so I'm going to do my best with it. It hasn't been easy and I know it is still only the beginning. It's going to be long journey to get my normal life back. So for now, I'm just going to pray that I can get my next chemo on Tuesday and move forward with the plan, mentally and physically prepare myself for the impending mastectomy, and try to keep on keepin on!! I know it will all work out in the end. :) And a million thank you's for everybody's support and encouragement! I could not do this alone.... that I know for a fact!! Hope everyone has a great start to 2014.... keep loving on your hair and getting those mammograms for me!! XOXO