Happy Cancer Girl

A Happy Girls Journey with Cancer

Chemo #5 and Chemo #6

The last couple of weeks have been my easier weeks, but I have to admit that the taxol is taking its toll on me. My hair is still falling out, which is ok, but my hair follicles are swollen and sensitive. My toes are starting to go numb, it’s a weird feeling, almost like they are asleep. Mouth sores are also common when taking taxol, I had a canker sore but I’m not convinced it was chemo related. Sometimes I just get canker sores! This week I have been really tired and have been taking naps, going to bed early and sleeping in longer.

This past Monday I went to a program for women with cancer called “Look Good Feel Better”. The workshop was 2 hrs of pampering. The volunteers showed us how to put on makeup, to help hide some of effects that cancer has on our bodies. For example, how to hide the dark circles under your eyes, how to make it look like you have eye brows or eye lashes, and more importantly how to just feel good about yourself. At the end of the workshop we got to take home a big box of cosmetics, it was truly an amazing experience. I’m not really a makeup kind of person, but it was nice spending time with woman who are going through the same thing as me. You can learn more about the program here.

Next week I start the first chemo of my third cycle, which means that I have both carboplatin and taxol…it will be a rough week for me. Thankfully I have figured out my nausea medication, which helps make me feel a bit better, but I will still have a few days that I will spend in bed.

It’s a long weekend here in Canada, I hope that you are all going to enjoy it! I am visiting my family which is really nice. I’ve heard that Daft Punk’s – Get Lucky is going to be the song of the summer. I haven’t decided if I like it or not….maybe it’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just not what I would expect from Daft Punk. Anyway, here’s the song for you to decide for yourself!

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My Chemo Cocktail

I have a spare hour so I thought I would finally write another post to keep my awesome followers/supporters up to date on what is going on with me. I needed some kidlet time so I went to my parents last week so I could spend time with Karston and Marlee (my sister’s children). For me it seems that no matter how bad I feel, or how sad I am the faces of the children that I love always picks me back up and gets me on my feet. I was a little down last week because I have found the back and forth between my Halifax surgeon and my Saint John oncologist to be extremely frustrating. Spending time with the kids didn’t change my situation but it did help me forget about it for a while. I was also able to have an early Easter dinner with my parents which was really nice.

*Side note – I am currently at Starbucks and am sure that the girl sitting beside me just moved to the other side of the room because I am typing too loud!!!

I returned back home in time to spend a couple free days with Owen, which was also really needed. He has been working really long hours, so most of our time together lately has been spent at the hospital. The weather was wonderful so we were able to spend time with our neighbours (we’re kind of like the Cul-du-sac Crew on Cougar Town with much less wine) and we also had a lovely Easter dinner with the Addison’s (thanks guys it was greatly appreciated).

Monday brought rain and a 24 hour urine collection (yup it’s as gross as it sounds). I couldn’t really go anywhere because I wasn’t about to bring along a jug of pee and a gross plastic hat to collect it in. I had to go to the hospital again yesterday to hand in my urine and get more blood work done. Once I got there I was told the doctor wanted to see me. Never a good sign! Turns out the oncologist talked with my surgeon and the surgeon and her team of oncologists have recommended two chemo drugs for me, carboplatin and taxol.

I will now have chemo every 21 days which will consist of both drugs and then once a week with just taxol. For the next 20 weeks I will be connected to poison that will hopefully kill any tiny cancer cells left in my body. Unfortunately with chemo it comes with a whole host of side effects that are mostly short term but will probably suck while my body is drinking up the chemo cocktail.

Very likely side effects that I will experience are:

Risk of infection – This is really important, or will really impact my life as time goes on. The carboplatin reduces your number of white blood cells. White blood cells fight infection and because of this I will have to monitor my temperature and will have to go to the hospital if I have a fever of 38C or above. I have a card that I have to carry to give to the ER staff if I go to the hospital with a fever after hours, that way I will get in to see a doctor in a timely manner.

Bruising and Bleeding – The drugs will also impact my platelets which help your blood to clot. So no contact sports and I need to be careful when handling sharp objects. If you know me personally you know that this is going to be an issue for me. I am clumsy! I fall on ice often (thankfully winter is over), I drop knives almost every time I use one and I get paper cuts more often then not! I will have to learn to be a little more careful with my body.

Nausea and Vomiting – I think this may be a side effect of all chemo drugs. I have been given steroids to take before I go in for my taxol treatments, to help with the pain and I will also be given drugs to help control the nausea and vomiting.

Fatigue – I will likely be tired, but I hope that short walks in the fresh air will help with this.

Hair loss – It’s true…in a couple weeks I won’t have any hair. I have hats and scarves and I may get a wig, but because it is going to start getting warmer around here I’m unsure about the wig. I’m already warm because of menopause I don’t think fake hair on my head would help cool me down any. I think I’m ok with the hair loss as I have had months to prepare for it. It sucks a little that last week the doctor said I wouldn’t lose my hair and this week I was told I would, but I will lose my hair for the extended living I will get to do.

Sore mouth – There is a chance my mouth will be sore, or get sores. Thankfully I drink a lot of water so this should help.

Diarrhoea and Constipation – Yup, both…gross! However I hope that it can be controlled by eating the right types of food. I know they have drugs to help, but if I can control it on my own naturally that will be much better for me.

Numbness in hands and feet – This is caused by taxol. People get pins and needles in their hands and feet and this is one of the most concerning side effects to me. This is one of the side effects that can be long term, but in most cases the pins and needles goes away a few months after treatment is complete.

Pain in joints and muscles – This is also caused by taxol and the pain usually lasts for a few days after treatment and then goes away.

The drugs are hard on your kidneys and because of that there is lots of blood work done to make sure your kidneys are functioning properly.

So this is what I am up against. I will be at the hospital a lot over the next four months, chemo treatments, doctors appointments and lots and lots of blood work. On the plus side I won’t need to have any hair appointments or take time in the shower to shave my legs!

My free hour is just about up, I have a jam packed day. I had a nice visit with Bruce this morning, my hour to write this post, lunch with friends and then off to St. Stephen to get Owen’s taxes done and St. Andrews to drop of medical documents. Tomorrow I get to go back to the hospital..yay me! But this afternoon will mostly be driving in the car…that means music!

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Crazy Sexy Cancer Book Review

I am a reader, that is a fact. I read a lot of books every year and challenge myself to read more. I like a wide range of books and I always find it helpful to read books when I want to learn something new. So I bought some cancer books. I was shocked that there were so few, but I was thankful to find some really great books written by Kris Carr. I had heard about Kris’s Crazy Sexy Diet but didn’t know her story. I bought a copy of Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor and of course Crazy Sexy Kitchen because I LOVE cookbooks and wanted to know what types of food Ms. Karr has been eating!

CrazySexyCancer

Kris has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer, but thankfully it is slow moving. Her books are full of tips such as making a cancer posse full of woman who also have cancer or are cancer survivor’s, allow yourself 3 days to have a pity party but then pack it up and get going with your life (yes you can have pity parties again, but only allow 3 days each time), make sure you indulge in some retail therapy (I won’t argue there), journal (or in my case blog) and many other tips. The books are positive and uplighting and exactly what I needed when I found out I had cancer. As great as the books are there is something missing, she talks about surgery and treatments but she hasn’t actually gone through them herself. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, BUT a lot of people who have cancer do have to have surgery and will go through treatments. The other thing that was hard to relate with is the fact that she is/was a actress/model and all of her friends that she has in the book are also in the entertainment industry. However, it is her story and like I said it was exactly what I needed those first few days.

As for the cookbook, it is filled with 150 plant based recipes which is right up my alley. If you are interested in the recipes she has some one her website here: http://kriscarr.com/recipes/

I’m not going to lie, I haven’t actually made any of the recipes from the cookbook yet or her website, but they do look good! If you have made some of her recipes please let me know what your favourites are.

Kris has also done a documentary on her journey of trying to find a cure and how to live with the cancer that she has, I haven’t watched it yet, but here is the trailer:

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