Neulasta

Last night I did better than after treatment 1. I turned the air conditioning down a few degrees and was able to sleep without taking any Benadryl. 

I got my first Neulasta injection this morning. And the syringe wasn’t gold, it was a disappointing blue prefilled disposable plastic. I expected it to be gold and monogrammed based on the anticipated cost.

It was an easy injection in my stomach, similar to taking an insulin injection.

I didn’t notice any side effects during the day. After work I went home to take an early evening power nap and when I was finished I noticed the back of my head was sore where it touched the pillow. I only laid down on the couch for 30 minutes so I didn’t understand it.

At night I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t figure out why. My right hip hurt. So I turned over. And my left shoulder hurt. So I turned over. And over, and over. I still can’t sleep on my stomach or totally on my sides from surgery. I still have internal sutures and sore spots. With the implants I’m not sure if stomach sleeping will be possible again.

Around 6:30 my alarm went off and I had an epiphany. They told me I might have bone and joint pain from the Neulasta. If I had remembered this last night I could have taken some Tylenol. It worked in the morning. 

Next time, along with nausea meds and insulin (so much insulin) I’ll take Tylenol.

I took 15 pills this morning.

Fifteen pills = 2 glasses of water

Chemo #2

I almost didn’t get treatment #2. This morning my pre-treatment bloodwork showed a really low white blood cell count. Much lower than they expected. That means I’m severely immunocompromised and at high risk of infection. They gave me the chemo but I have to return tomorrow for an injection of Neulasta, a white blood count booster. I’ll get it after chemo each time.

Neulasta is billed at anywhere between $3000-$10,000 per in injection. Unfreakingbelievable. It must be delivered in a golden syringe.

I saw the PA and was advised to stay away from germs for a while. I’m trying to practice germ precautions. Lots of hand sanitizer, hand washing and avoiding hugs, kisses handshakes and snotty or hacking people. You can give me an elbow bump.

The chemo infusion was pretty easy and I don’t even have an IV bruise. Treatment #1’s  bruise was huge and lasted 3 weeks. It disappeared the day before #2.

Afterward I went to work and just waited for the steroids to start increasing my blood sugar. Steroids are like diabetic kryptonite. It started going up in the evening. That’s when I discovered my pump only goes up to 200% insulin dose for a temporary basal rate. My plan is to start on chemo day 1 with a 300% basal rate and then step it back down to the normal 100% over 4-5 days. I had to create a new basal pattern and manually program it until I got below 200%. Medtronic, please increase the temp basal max!

Feeling good this evening and hoping it continues tomorrow. I put a pink streak in my hair again today for good luck.

Chemo #2

I love my BFFs

I received a lovely surprise from these ladies today. My college friends sent me a great shirt, bracelet, and a Dunkin Donuts gift card to feed my donut habit. They also included an Amazon card to feed my Kindle habit and followed up with a list of recommended trashy novels. I use the term “novel” loosely, but when you are sitting around being pumped full of toxic chemicals a trashy novel is just the thing you need 😉. 

They also wrote me a poem.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, your college friends are slackers so this is just getting to you.”

I love these ladies! We met the first day of college and have been through everything together.

Check us out then and now, 1995 and 2014. Same bar. Same counter. I was impressed we could all still get up there easily, but in my opinion we are aging well (except for the cancer thing)!

   
 

Testapalooza

I went to see one of my many “ologists” today, my neurologist. I get migraine headaches, always have, and recently had him switch my migraine meds in order to take another med prescribed by a different doctor.

When I visited him this morning he recommended that I get a brain MRI because I have never had one and breast cancer is one of the types of cancer that can metastasize to the brain. This is incredibly unlikely for my stage one cancer but I think it’s CYA for him.

I hate MRIs. Technically I hate small enclosed spaces, like MRI machines. But I agreed to the MRI if I could have either the open machine or drugs to prevent a panic attack in the tunnel. I barely made it through the only MRI I’ve ever had a few years ago.

I’ve already met my annual out of pocket max, so let the testapalooza begin. I’m sure I’ll be tested for anything and everything in the future.

Luckily there is an open machine imaging center literally across the street from my office. 

Working for a Living

I went back to work yesterday. I worked from home because the kids didn’t have school and all I had scheduled was an entire morning of conference calls and then cleaning out my email.

It’s the end of day two and I’m still not caught up on email. It was great to get back in the office and see everybody today. 

They brought me an edible arrangement (I love these) and balloons to celebrate my return.

I also got to visit with another woman who works on my floor who is going through breast cancer treatment. I find it shocking that there are so many of us going through this an I hate this is happening to her but I’m happy to have a sister on my journey..

I left early and picked up my kids from carline. They weren’t happy because they wanted to go to aftercare. 

I was surprised when I got home at four and promptly fell asleep on the couch for an hour. The only reason I woke up is that I had set an alarm reminder to put dinner in the oven.

Luckily I had saved some food people brought in the freezer and we had a great lasagna and fruit dinner and all I had to do was put it in the oven.

Thank you to my great support system for keeping us fed and healthy so I can take a post work nap!!!

Comfortably Numb

Last night, as I was applying moisturizer for scar reduction (a polite way to say I was oiling my new fake boobs) I noticed that something was poking out just above the incision on my left foobie (this is the breast cancer survivor lingo for fake breast). It looked like a suture trying to escape from inside, poking out like a needle but not breaking the skin yet.

As with all things weird, gross or creepy I did what most wives do, and called out to my husband, “Come and look at this!”

I of course wanted to discuss it at length. Contemplate the tensile strength of dissolvable sutures. Search the internet for case studies.

My calm, rational husband simply said, “call your doctor tomorrow.”

I left a message on my plastic surgeon’s nurse’s voicemail the next morning. It’s my first day back to work but I’m working from home. She called back and asked me to come in at 11:30.

I dragged my kids along with me and ployed them with electronics and the promise of wifi and chick fil a or something good. My husband was able to meet us and sit with them in the waiting room so they weren’t stuck with me in the exam room.

The plastic surgeon, Dr A and his nurse were waiting for me. “I can’t wait to see what this is” said Dr A. I put on a gown and he took a look (that really means he felt me up). “It’s a stitch tail poking out through your skin,” he said. The win goes to “Dr. Dajnowicz”. I felt validated for my correct diagnosis.

“You are one of my intelligent patients so I  want you to watch it. It’s best if we can leave it, but if it comes through you need to call me and we will numb you up and remove it. Call even on the night or weekend.”

I should have asked but all I could think was, why does he need to numb me up? As a result of surgery I have become comfortably numb. I didn’t feel a piece of high test fishing line working it’s way through my skin from the inside out. It’s like wearing a strapless bra and deodorant made of numbing gel.

Well, at least if I decide to get nipple tattoos, it won’t hurt.

Angels and Demons

Last week I was driving and one of my kids, I think it was my daughter, asked me if I have ever personally seen an angel or demon. 

Do all kids ask these kinds of questions or is it because I send them to a Christian school? 

I had to think about it a little. I told them I don’t think I’ve ever seen a demon, but maybe breast cancer is my demon. 

I have lots of angels watching over me who have been through cancer. Both my grandmothers, my aunt Yvonne, Beth Dotson Whitmore, Grace Heigel, Cole Sawyer and especially Kara Bailey. Kara was my best friend from college and she passed away after a long battle against cancer and MS last year. 

I don’t see her, but feel her with me when I drive fast listening to loud music with the windows down. She’s the voice in my head that says “get your ass out of bed.” But because it’s Kara, it’s followed up with “but don’t put on any makeup because you’ll look too good and I’m not going to do it. I’m going to get in your bed and take a nap while you are out.” So I put on makeup anyway just to harass her. I imagine her playing with my friend’s children who passed away last year and it comforts me to know they have her as a friend.

So just when I’m wondering if this conversation is helping them or if they’ll be permanent damaged from crazy mommy’s musings they shift the conversation as only young children can.

And we are back to more important theories such as whether Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber are going to get married and why One Direction is breaking up.

Apparently they aren’t permanently scarred and I need to get a copy of Teen Beat or it’s contemporary equivalent to keep up with them.