Breast Cancer was one of the scariest things I have ever had to face. Who would have thought that at 37 I would be fighting for my life, I was too young. We've been fed that lie for way too long! It can happen to you, man or woman, at any age.
Anyway, let me tell you a little about my chemo journey...
After I was diagnosed things moved faster than I could have imagined, but then again, I guess a stage 4 diagnoses gets things moving. A year later things are still a bit of a blur for me. Just days after getting the diagnosis I has having my first surgery and was honestly terrified. It really wasn't a big deal, but I had never been cut open before. They put the port in and sent me home within hours. That was Friday morning.
Three days later, on Monday, I had my first round of chemo. I walked into it not really knowing what to expect. My oncologist was amazing and had told me what to expect, but there is no way to truly be prepared for what I was about to face. With my hand quilting in tow and my mother by my side I sat down in the chair that would eventually heal me.
Overall the process was simple and a breeze... until later that day. The main side effect that I had was exhaustion and nausea. Of course that didn't kick in until later that night since they had me on I don't even remember how many different nausea meds.
Almost a year and a half later and things are still a little blurry from that first treatment. What I do remember is thinking that if my first round was this rough I didn't know how I was going to survive 7 more treatments. The nausea was so bad that I could hardly eat anything in spite of 3 different meds I took as often as I could. My understanding of chemo was that each round gets harder to bounce back from, so I was truly scared. I was scared that I wouldn't survive.
Thank God for my amazing support system. I had friends, family, and stranger from all around the world praying for me. They also made sure I had everything that I needed, they helped take care of my housework, they fed me and love me and my family. Without them this journey would have been so much more difficult to get through.
I was blessed that each round got a little easier to deal with. I went from eating almost nothing because I was so nauseas to being my "normal" self over the course of 6 months. Halfway through my treatments, when Brad (my husband) was killed in a car accident, his grown kids came out to help take care of me. Later they told me that they were blown away by me and if they didn't know my story they never would have guessed that I was just days out from a chemo treatment. By my last treatment I was only sleeping 1 full day from all the Benadryl that they gave me and then I was back at living life and remodeling my home.
Now I stand here, a year after my last treatment and look back. I can hardly believe that it's been a year. So much has happened... I had a mastectomy and full hysterectomy where they got all the cancer! Being stage 4 meant that I had lesions on my liver, lungs, and bones so I have continued to receive infusions to strengthen them. The results of those infusions have been better than my oncologist expected. Basically I'm totally in the clear and that's something to celebrate!
There are so many women (and men) that are fighting this same battle, and let me tell you it's not an easy battle to fight. Stay strong, stay positive, and lean on those around you. If you or someone you love is facing this battle feel free to reach out to me to talk. Having someone that's been there can make the journey a little less scary.
As a closing comment.... Check your boobs, mine tried to kill me! 😛