Saturday, October 27, 2012


Good Morning!

Had Chemo #10 yesterday!  Chemo went smooth as can be.  I arrived a little early, they got me back there and boy was it a crowded Friday.  They told me I could have my own room, but I have kind of liked to sit on the floor with other people lately.  I don't talk to anyone, but I feel like taking a room for such a short treatment is a little selfish.  Some of these people are there a lot longer and may need more time to rest and relax and I am sitting there logged in to work and talking to almost all the nurses these days about my boys and amaze them when I tell them I don't have to take any anti-nausea medicine, my hands and feet are not tingly, I have not lost my taste of smell and taste and I do not get short of breath doing things.  Yes this is all amazing stuff and I think I enjoy hearing this from them, it gives me the support I need for the week from them to look past these small side effects and keep going!

My blood levels are about the same.  Hemoglobin back to 8.7 from 8.6 and WBC , what am I talking about, they went from 2.3 to 2.7 so they are on the rise.  Still would have a lot to rise to get me to surgery if that were approaching and still have one more Carbo scheduled for next week which will probably knock them down one final time before surgery.

Speaking of surgery, This week is going to be information overload and I know will cause a lot of extra anxiety for me so I will need a lot of extra prayers!  Wednesday morning we meet with the Plastic surgeon.  I have not met him before, Dr. Fine out of Northwestern.  My understanding is he comes in after the removal of my breasts from the surgeon to do an hour or so of work to reconstruct as much as possible and put in what are called expander's.  The expander's will allow my skin to be stretched some so that when I get my implants, they will fit like a glove:)  Again, I only know from others and books I have read but it sounds like every so often I will see him to have saline pumped into my expander until I am the size I want to be so it seems like he and I will be getting extremely close since I have decided I should shoot for the starts and request double EE implants some day!  Totally kidding!  My plan is to go as natural as possible and just thank God that they can do things like this to still make me feel like a women after having so much taken away.  But like someone posted on my Facebook awhile back, "Heck yeah, these are fake, the real ones tried to kill me".  Plus who else gets a all paid night in the hospital and implants paid for?  Okay, don't answer that, because Most breast cancer patients do get this, but I'm trying to find the positive in getting fake boobs!  After this appointment Don and I will probably try to go to Gino's East and have some yummy pizza and process as much as possible.  Then we head home and the first time in the history of kids, I will be home for Trick or Treating!  YES!  I could always have requested off at work to leave early in years past but I never have.  I work with a lot of people who have kids and have always had others request and did it on a first come first basis, but always put them ahead of me and had I been working this day, I would have done the same thing because I know myself too well.  But I need and deserve this so this appointment being rescheduled for this day was meant to be!

Thursday will be a normal work day with just blood work at lunch time. Then Friday it is back to Northwestern to meet with Dr. Bethke who is the surgeon.  His appointment is at 8:30 in the morning so this will be an early morning.  I need my brain to work and I need to have as many questions out there that I can think of.  He has one shot to go in and remove this stupid cancer.  So this appointment will be difficult not only to pick his brain but also I know it will entail seeing a lot of pictures of mastectomies and this might actually raise more fear in me.  I have researched and act brave, but this surgery I know will have an emotional impact on me and seeing pictures and picturing myself waking up at a hospital and have lost some of my women hood, as easy as I say it will be to have that stupid tumor out, I know it will be emotional.  Plus he needs to get it all?  What do you give a Dr. to bribe them?  Anybody have any ideas?  That is the important part, he needs to get it all!  I was thinking I could find out his favorite treat and bring it to him the day of surgery?  I can't pay for a trip to the Caribbean for him right now, but ideas?  Or do I just bring 2 gorgeous pictures of my boys and threaten him?  Maybe that is the best bet! After this appointment we head to Naperville for a noon appointment with Dr. Hantel where I have a lot of questions as well and then a double treatment that day.

So a huge week approaching and my throat is closing just thinking about it.  Please pray that there is no negative in any of these appointments.  I need to hear we are moving forward with surgery and that is that.  I do need to ask the tough questions of what if it is in more lodes than originally thought or if they don't get it all so I know the next steps for that too, but more importantly, I need my next steps if they get it all and I go to radiation and my follow ups that will be required to keep me cancer free.  Again this is the only way, but this lump in my throat will not go away until I know and I may just ask one of these guys for some meds to get me through the four weeks between chemo and surgery.  Those weeks will be long and painful for me.  No treatment and my fears will be sinking in I'm sure.  Plus a breast MRI to get size will put into perspective the size of this stupid thing for real!  Right now we go by my feeling it daily and analyzing the size and Dr. Hantel feeling it every 3 weeks and always being happy with the results but following it up that some women you can't even find the tumor at this point.  So good mixed with bad news.....

So prayers is all I can ask from everyone during this time.  I do have some things planned with my head shaver friends to get my Christmas shopping completed and wrapped and Thanksgiving is in there....I love Thanksgiving and have a lot to be thankful for this year, but I will be more thankful that this year is coming to an end.  It started out wonderful with the arrival of Ryan, but I would have to say the bad has outweighed the good.  I love him to death and I know he lead me to discovering this tumor, but I have missed so much of his growing up.  He is cruising furniture for Gods sake.  When did he learn this?  It makes me want to rewind to watch everything he has done, but I never want to look back and that is sad because that means not looking back on a lot of his firsts!  Some day I hope I can.  The good news is he won't remember this bad time and someday we will have to tell him all about it.

Justin had a good week, but not without injury.  He was enjoying recess at school earlier this week and stood up under a bridge outside and bumped his head causing a screw or bolt of some sort to go into his head.  Yes, it went in his head.  The school nurse called and told me they had controlled the bleeding, but I needed to get there.  When I told her I was about 30 minutes away since I was up at work, she scared me more by saying I needed to send someone closer.  Good thing Whitney is at our house and is mother of the year!  She was able to load up Ryan and go get him to meet me at the Pediatrician office. If she weren't here, I am not sure what they would have done since no one would have been able to get there any quicker than I could have.  Oh well, the Dr. cleaned it up really nice and decided there was not a need for stitches.  Justin of course was worried because his Khaki's were covered in blood and so was his shirt.  He wasn't sure I could get it cleaned up, but I did!  He was also worried because Thursday was picture day. Good thing this was on the top of his head.  I think all of the blood was due to a head injury, but he is fine and we are thankful and remind him most little kids by this point have been to the Dr. several times for falling or need stitches, so he is good!

One story from treatment and then I'm off to get some door busters shopping while the roids are still kicking!  Yesterday I sat next to a women who looked about my age.  She had on a pink shirt so I will imagine she is a breast cancer fighter like me.  Because I spend so much time in there, I can tell sometimes based off of the drugs what they are fighting.  Well, she wasn't getting drugs she was getting blood.  So this made me realize she was probably there all morning and had some time to go.  I thought, I should strike up a conversation with her. She was alone and Don was parking the car.  Then I thought, no I'll just log in to work and glance at her a few times in case she wants to talk to me.  Eventually she fell asleep so I knew talking wasn't the right thing, she was wiped out.  Finally the nurse came to wake her up to tell her it was time to go.  She was trying to wake up and I stand up and was struggling so bad.  I hope it was just because she was awoken, but I am not sure.  Her poor voice was so weak and the nurse had to help her up.  It was almost to the point where I wanted to un-hook my stuff and go help the nurse get her out.  Then it clicked, I am a patient, I am probably just as sick as her or possibly more sick.  I feel good about this next comment, but I just don't get it.  How is it that I can walk in there and open my lap top and work and be unfazed by the chemo side effects?  How do I not need help walking out of there every week with treatments and a transfusion under my belt?  I go in and walk up and down 2 flights of stairs every Thursday and Friday.  For God sake I just discovered 2 weeks ago that there was closer parking for the cancer center.  Before that I was parking usually on the third floor and running in heels to the cancer center for testings.  I walk up and down 3 flights of stairs to get to my counselor's office each week.  Am I really a super hero and don't know it?  Have I blocked this out completely that I don't recognize the side effects?  If so, is that something good to do?  I don't know, and I am not wanting to compare myself to this poor girl who looks to be going through hell, but I did thank the good Lord for my strength and not taking that away from me through this ugly fight.  People tell me all the time, my mindset is perfect and I'm strong, but I always say yes I know but I have my moments of weakness far too often too, but this was a wake up call for me.  I'm an strong like bull!

Okay, one more story and then I'm going.  Last week we were at Kohls getting a winter coat for Ryan. Whitney was off looking at some other coats and I had Ryan on the floor putting a coat on him.  A women approached me with tears in her eyes and said "I just need to hug you" I didn't know what to say but I accept her hug and a kiss on the cheek.  I tell her I am almost done with chemo and I'm feeling good and then she tells me her husband is fighting stage 4 brain cancer.  She tells me all the places she has taken him to try to heal him.  She had 3-4 kids (I don't know, I was trying to let my eyes water but not break into tears).  So add this family from Kohl's to your prayers.  Here she is living hell every day with traveling everywhere for a cancer that will probably take her poor husband from her far to soon and she was concerned with helping me get Ryan in a coat.

With that, I leave you with some prayer requests, for the family above.  For my good pen pal that I have found through my cousin Amy who was diagnosed in September and just completed the first 4 rounds of the hardest drug I think in the world....A/C.  She is off to weekly treatments like me and I we are helping each other every step of our journey together.  So prayers for her.  Prayers for my sister in law Lauren and her family.  Her mother was diagnosed about a month ago.  The tumor is very small fortunately, but she will have her surgery this Thursday.  Prayers for her surgery and recovery to go smoothly and most of all for her and them to get the piece of mind that the tumor is gone and that it did not travel to any nodes and she will be DONE after Thursday!  And of course for us that we get the answers we need this week and I can control my anxiety.  Most of all shrink this damn thing so I can feel like I have that under my belt!!!

I will post an update with pictures from Halloween this week so stay tuned!

Lots of Love



  1. Wow. You are giving us quite an education on your situation and what all you have to deal with. We just didn't realize all you and other cancer patients have to go through. Thanks for another amazing blog update. We are so proud of you. Prayers will continue, of course.

  2. You are amazing, Amber! Prayers are headed your way and the way ofthose you mentioned. I think of you often and always think that you are such a strong woman. You have refreshing perspective. My best to you!

  3. Amber:

    You are such an inspiration to me! I'm so glad I found your blog. I hope that I can go through chemo as gracefully as you are. We gotta just remember that this is just a little speed bump and what we are fighting for to keep us moving!

    Ask me anything about surgery you want. I just posted a little about recovery...its been 6 weeks for me. The hardest part is the anticipation I think. The expanders are a piece of cake...its weird that they use a magnet to find the port in the expander to fill it up but it only takes a couple minutes.

    I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers! Hope you have a great Halloween and great appointments this week!