With the highs comes the lows

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So the news is out, YAY! What a relief for me that I don't have to keep this secret anymore.  On the other hand, maybe it was a better secret to be kept.  I have thanked you all for your outpouring of support and love, but now I feel COMPLETELY overwhelmed and sad by this reaction.  Sad because I realize that this is my new normal for a while.  Just for a while, this isn't going to be me for the rest of my life.  I can't let it. Again, I don't have time for this shit.

I went to bed last night with a full heart and was overly emotional.  Messages kept pouring through my phone, computer and carrier pigeons.  I heard from people near and far, old and new friends it was incredible.  On top of my body being pumped full of toxins (FDA approved, duh), I am also being pumped full of emotions.  It wasn't really until last night after the kids were asleep, and we had a minute to come down that I realized I have been living in overdrive for the past few weeks.

If you look at the calendar, this all happened over a 3 week span.  I found the lump, went for scans, went to docs and shit found myself in a chemo chair.  I haven't let myself breathe and really absorb what's to come.  I really don't think I wanted to or had the wherewithal.

I never realized that I was a person always on the go.  Many people think that I am a lazy sloth, but in reality I have a lot to do and keep going.  Whether it's my kids, husband, dog, house, whatever.  I am always doing SOMETHING.  That's where my realization kicked in.  I can't keep GOING without coming down.  If  I constantly live UP, then there is going to be the inevitable FALL.  That's where last night came in and I kinda had a breakdown.  I think its rightfully deserved, yes?

The point of this post is to let you know that I am a fucking WARRIOR but I am also HUMAN.  I am going to have great days and I am going to have bad days.  So far I am feeling super fortunate to not have the effects of chemo that one might expect.  I don't have my head in a toilet or screaming out in pain.  Lets just hope that the rest of the treatments stay this way as well, because I could use a little break.


Well I'll be damned

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So, the proverbial cat is out of the bag, and now y'all know I have cancer.  Thank you from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes for your love and well wishes.  I don't want any form of a pity party, but cupcakes are always welcome (don't tell my ass that though).  

This is a shitty road to travel and it won't be fast.  It will take time and a lot of energy and help.  Help- something that I NEVER like taking from anyone.  That is probably the first thing that is truly hard for me.  Saying YES.  I hate saying yes.  I hate taking from people.  But alas, I will succumb to the help because that's the only way I will get through this.  So to everyone who has sent things, offered to pick up my kids (you'll regret that one), bring food or just be my Frank Concierge, I thank you and love you.  
Its funny how this happens, sometimes you feel so insignificant and lonely then all of a sudden people are popping up everywhere.  Ive said it before and I'll say it again.  THANK YOU.
Enough of this sentimental bullshit.  Lets talk the good stuff!  I washed my hair today!  With these cold caps I cannot wash it every day, this is very distressing to me.  But today was the day and let me tell you, I babied the shit out of it.  I combed it so gently, I felt like I was a baby lol!  But seriously, I will get into a groove of washing it and making sure not too much falls out.  The success rate is about 30% thinning, I can deal with that!
The nausea isn't so bad today, the doctors and nurses said that I should start to feel badly today if I do at all.  They pumped me with so much Emend and other shit that hopefully it will stop it.  Tomorrow I can take Zofran if it gets bad.  I'm like an old lady now, who has a pill box and calendar in my medicine cabinet to make sure that I don't miss a dose.  That would be bad!  
I am just going to relax today and get used to the “new” me.  The temporary me.  The bump in my road me.  So if you feel like reaching out, I am here.  
Again, thanks for your love and support.  Now I'm getting off my sappy soap box.  I have shit TV to watch because I can!!!

Hydration Day!

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I made it through day 1! One down, 5 more chemo treatments to go.  Maybe people are wondering what my cryptic Facebook and Instagram posts are all about.  I am not ready to go public with my blog, but if you feel like sharing, please do! I feel that the cat will get out of the bag sooner rather than later.  It has become easier for me to have people spill the proverbial beans so to say.  It is an exhausting topic and I really don't like rehashing it every two minutes.  So if you feel inclined, drop the cancer bomb and watch their eyes bug out.  It has become rather amusing to me. I am so sick and twisted.  So much so, that I've been calling myself swisty.

Anyway, I slept last night and was able to knock out around 9;45 thanks to Ativan.  That shit is strong. I woke up at 4:45, before Dylan! I didn't move until 5;45 though, thanks Asher.  He does sense something is going on, I can only imagine what a 3.5 year old who is so used to mommy being around to vanishing for hours at a time.  So I did what any normal mom would do.  I lied.  I told him that I got a job where I will be gone for a few days at a time.  I'm sure he won't care as long as I am there for bedtime and presents.

I think that's the hardest part right now, adjusting to not being around the babies so much.  Dylan is now 9 months old- how that happened I have no idea.  Asher is 3.5, how is that even possible! Everyone thought I was insane for sending out a save the date card for the kids.  What else am I going to do while getting toxic drugs in my system than divert and plan fun things?  So those who were wondering, yea I did send that card from my chemo chair.  Again, I'm swisty.

So here I sit with hydration in my veins and a shot of Neulasta later.  Hopefully the drugs they gave me yesterday will be enough to hold me through the weekend and the worst of the nausea won't actually hit me.  Medicine has come a really long way, where they don't expect you to be hugging the toilet like many of you did in college (I was an angel of course and didn't do that).

I don't know what this weekend will actually bring, but I am prepared to face the worst and hope for the best.  You are all my guiding lights and I thank you all so much for your unwavering support.  My entire family thanks you and I don't know what I did to deserve you all but I love you all so much.  I guess I had to get cancer but maybe it was worth it?  KIDDING!  Oh and a big shout out to my nurse Stephanie.  SHE'S THE SHIT!  And Gavin, my cold cap guy.  He's the dude who's making sure I keep my hair.

Happy Friday!


CHEMO and the COLD

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I finished my chemo for the first time today.  YAY! Now tell me this, how surreal is that shit?  1 down, 5 to go!

The cold caps went on first, I will be honest and say they aren't so bad after all.  I was more nervous about the cold than the chemo,  how funny is that?

The day started off OK, there were a LOT of people after me all at once.  I met Gavin, my cold cap technician.  He's awesome and a nice British gentleman.  Then I met Stephanie my fab nurse.  Paige came over, she's my rock star PA and others that i couldn't name if i tried.

At one point a pharmacist came over and I swear to god I have no idea what she said.  She came in they midst of my Ativan and Benadryl haze.  I think my dad and sister came too, but I can't remember LOL.  I keep lowering my doses of Ativan because it is fucking me up too hard.

The caps need to be switched every 30 minutes or they get too warm.  By cap 2 I was basically numb and can't feel my head, its kinda nice but my brain still works.  I have this warm cozy electric blanket that I am totally digging.  Without it I might freeze to death!

I have two caps left, and then I get to go home.  This has been a very long day and I will write more when i am up to it.  I am just thankful that I have made it through the day and only have 5 more chemo treatments left.

Let's hope the old saying pertains to me also- “Time flies when you're having fun.”


First meds

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I left Rite Aid with 5 medications yesterday. Five. I left my orientation Monday, with a list of over the counter medications. I'm officially a pharmacy. Did you know that Claritin can help with nausea? Now you do.

Honestly, I had no instructions or was told that I'd need to take meds prior to chemo. Well, maybe I was told but I sure as hell don't remember. So here I was, with 5 bottles of REALLY important medications and no clue what to do. I mean I could have actually read the bottles and followed along, but I was too nervous to do that until I talk to someone.

I heard back from my new bestie, Paige over at my docs office. She told me to start my first medications today. Shit this is really starting. Fucking pre-meds for my pre meds?? So there I was, standing in my kitchen swallowing 8mg of dexamethasone (it's just a steroid apparently) and realization hit like a ton of bricks.

I have cancer. I have breast cancer. BREAST CANCER. I feel like hell, I'm terrified for tomorrow. I will be strong because I have to. I'm constantly asking myself why me, but I guess it's just the deck of cards I was dealt. I know that good always comes out of bad. Remember my little 9/11 story? I wouldn't be where I was with my husband and kids, had that not happened (if you don't know, I'll tell you that and my banana bread story.).

Tomorrow is the big day, infusion #1 of 6. Keep me in your thoughts tomorrow.  No, not because of the chemo but because my head will be frozen like a fucking block of ice! Google Penguin Cold Caps and you'll understand.  Here's to a good phlebotomist for a one prick IV!


Am I living in an episode of Grey's or ER?

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Well, today I don't have much to write about except for the boring wait for my PET scan.  When I was a kid, I thought that a PET scan was a scan of your family pet.  Duh, I was super wrong.

During said waiting, I had some realizations.

1- My life has turned into a full blown medial drama.  I can't quite decide if I'm more “Grey's Anatomy” or “ER.”  I mean I am definitely NOT House, sadly because they know that I have cancer and it's curable.  Also, my doctor is not a sexy doctor walking with a cane (He had something, ok?), but rather a lovely woman.  Boring.  But she's brilliant so there's that.

2- While waiting to go into the “quiet room” before my scan, I got scared that I was going to be seriously radioactive.  Like glowing yellow.  The stuff they inject you with actually IS radioactive, so I can't be near the kids for a day.  Ok its only 6 hours, but the kids need to hang with Grandma and Grandpa during the week right?  I should be relaxing and enjoying the quiet but I'm not.  Back to my point.  While I was waiting, there was an older man in the quiet room.  Not to be gross, but he pissed all over the bathroom I think.  Like to the point that they were worried about radioactivity.  How do you like that picture?  They then told me to go in that room.  OH HELL NO.  I wouldn't go in there until I knew it was safe.  I mean I already have cancer, but I'm not interested in turning into the Incredible Hulk or something today.  After I was assured it was safe, I sat on the chair and relaxed.  For the first time today.

3- PET Scans are oddly relaxing.  So much so that I fell asleep.  Everyone could use a scan every now and then, or maybe just a day at the spa.

4- The scan was clear in the lymph nodes.  Thank G-D!



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Well I guess you could say that I have had my fair share of orientations over the past three weeks.  Ive met oncologists, radiologists, breast surgeons, reconstructive surgeons, nurses, technicians, survivors, aliens, dinosaurs and a few monsters.  Oh, the last three were just my kids and a dog.

Shit there's a lot of info for a person with cancer.  Aside from learning about what kind of cancer I have, there is so much terminology and technical shit that goes a long with it.  Besides all of that, I am basically having to learn all about myself and my emotions.  That whole emotional side is really important, so you don't just shove away your feelings in a box in the closet.  Let me tell you, crying is not easy when you need to do it.  Why can I cry at a stupid commercial with no problem?

I had my chemo orientation today.  Just me, Nurse Debi and my mom.  Orientation at UofA was so much more exciting.  No dorms or drinking involved here.  I just got to learn about my port, the medications I will be on and side effects.  BTW- I'm getting a port so my veins aren't completely fried over the next year (yes YEAR) of medication.  if you're wondering, I will have chemo for 18 weeks, every three weeks for 6 treatments, and following that I will have another med for an entire year.

Back to today.  When I woke up like cancer literally hit me in the face.  I think it really did, because this is the week that it all starts.  Every day i will have to be at either the oncology building or the imaging buildings at Cedars.  It's fucking exhausting, but I will know the in's and outs of Cedars and Beverly Hills by the end of this shit.  And my boobs will look killer.

So with that, I'm going to kick ass and take names.  I am going to knock this shit on its ass, and any other cliche you can think of.  Ive said it before and I will say it again.  Please don't pity me, join me on my journey and hopefully we can all learn something either about cancer or ourselves.  If I have learned anything so far, it is the importance of early detection and being true to yourself.  It will be a long fight, but I'm ready for it.


Day 1

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Well this sucks.  I never wanted cancer, but who does? For those that don't know already, surprise! I have cancer.  Its sad, yea I know but please spare me the pity party.  I have shed enough tears to  solve the California drought.  It is Breast Cancer by the way.  Its ok, I will be ok.  I have to be.  I have two young kids and a kick ass husband.  I didn't move to Longridge to kick the bucket and not send them to Dixie, right?  Anyway back to me.  I will be ok, and it was caught early.  I will just have a long road ahead of me.

You ok? Are you breathing?  It's cool, I get it.  I didn't really breathe for a few days and sometimes I still forget to.  Some of you are reading this and are like, what the fuck Jessie! Why didn't you call me?  Well because its just too much to talk about.  I am an open book as we know, but this is just too emotional to discuss and talk about face to face.

I love you- well most of you that is, and I just didn't have the energy to call and say “Hey, hows your kid? I have cancer.”   So instead, I plan on chronicling this fucked up journey through the only outlet i can control…writing.  I knew it would come in handy being a journalism major.  Thanks mom and dad for paying for college!

Ok, so you want to know the story?

I felt a lump back in March.  I ignored it and proceeded along with my life.  I went to Vegas with Zack to see Guns N' Roses and had the best time.  Once we got back, i realized that i needed to do something and saw my OB.  After an exam, she decided that I needed a mammogram and an ultrasound.  Well that was fun waiting for the results.

Then they came.  I needed a biopsy.  I prepared myself for the procedure, but of course i would have to wait a week.  So in i went to my biopsy.  Figuring it would be benign, I wasn't so worried.  I would get the call the next day by 2:30.  The tech said if she calls its good, if he calls its bad.

He called at 1:55.  “I'm sorry to tell you Jessica, its cancer.” Um what? Did he just say CANCER? Yes, yes he did.  Not only did he say cancer, but he said i would need a mastectomy and radiation.  WTF.  What the fuck.  WHAT. THE. FUCK!

First thoughts through my brain: MY KIDS, ZACK, DEATH, DEFORMITY.  FUCK.  He walked me through it and told me what i needed to do.  I need a breast MRI and i need it stat.  Oh great, I'm claustrophobic.  After catching my breath, it was time to go into warrior mode.  I made my appointment and thankfully got in that Thursday.

I went for my MRI and wasn't prepared for what was next.  The cancer was all over my left  breast, not just the two spots we thought.  Thank god I was checked when I did.  I seriously thank god for this.

I already had calls into my oncologist- who would have thought that i would need to call in a favor for an oncologist appointment.  I am so glad that we did.  By the following week i had met with my breast surgeon, my oncologist and reconstruction doctor.  Thankfully everyone told me the same good news, that i will be OK and live a long and happy life with awesome boobs at 70.  The bad news is that I will need chemo and not radiation.

To wrap this long fucked up first post, I will tell you that I start my first chemo treatment on Thursday the 19th.  I will be having 6 treatments over the next 18 weeks.  Its going to suck ass but I plan on being the toughest, strongest and biggest warrior I can be.  Not only does my family need me, but you do too.  Who else will make you laugh during this little bump in my road?

Oh and get your boobs checked NOW ladies!!!!