Saturday, March 14, 2009

the calm before the storm...

Second day of chemo treatment...I'm using as much of the energy I have before the poison (chemo) hits me hard (usually after 2-3 days). I've had sleepless nights since I'm taking Dexamethasone, which is supposed to help prevent swelling. I also keep up with my anti-nausea medicine (Zofran) to prevent myself from spending too much time in the bathroom puking my guts out.

What I eat to help with energy: I loaded my refrigerator with Ensure Plus, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, and Yoghurt (Activia) so that I can have all the protein and calories that I need. Solid foods for the next two weeks will be impossible, especially foods with strong smells. Simple protein/calorie packed, popped in the microwave type foods will do. These types of foods are usually good because I don't have to handle sharp objects. You wouldn't want to cut yourself and bleed to death.

I was told my hair might thin a little bit, but there's also a chance of complete hair loss. I will make a trip to the beauty salon while I have energy left and get a short hair cut. I also purchase a couple of ski hats (cold in Monterey, CA) to help hide my bald head.

How do I feel right now: I really cannot describe how I feel right now, all I know is, I better be ready to combat any and all side effects and give my body the nutrition it needs in order for me to survive and live a semi-normal life during this treatment. We really never know how bad it's going to be until we get there.

on fighting cancer...

March 13 (Friday) 2009, on my way to Palo Alto, California for my first chemotherapy infusion. The drive was a little gloomy (typical Monterey morning fog) in the morning but it was sunny late in the afternoon when I left the hospital. The treatment took about 5 hours. My veins were too small so the infusion was set to slow (e.g., 2 hours vs. 1 hour). So the infusion started at 9:30 a.m. and I didn't leave the infusion ward until 4:30 p.m.

I felt fine thoughout the infusion, just bored from sitting for so long. The nurses station was also very noisy and the beeping noise from the other infusion chairs was irritating. It would be nice for the room to have a nice view and maybe a nice relaxing music, but that could be asking for too much.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the diagnosis...

I can't tell you how I felt when the test results for breast tumor came back positive. It's been four weeks since the diagnosis but I still don't know how I feel. I know I'm stuffing it all down and am trying to be brave about this whole thing but I feel I'm going to break down one of these days. I actually thought this whole thing is all behind's been more than 10 years since my first diagnosis and I was told I was out of the woods and that there is nothing to worry about. I was down to once-a-year check-up. I feel as if I built something and someone came in and knocked it all down as I nailed the last board.

The treatment: Bilateral mastectomy and 4 rounds of chemotherapy! I had the surgery done on February 11th and am now 80% recovered from the butchering. I'm still afraid to look at my chest and I hate to touch the scars when I'm in the shower. I tell myself everyday that I didn't need them and that they are not important, but somehow I feel like I lost a big part of my life (or body).

how long has it been...

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since my last post--almost 2.5 years! As I've mentioned in one of my post, I moved back to California for school and work. The job was great and school is hectic. It definitely feels great to be back and be out of Taiwan for a while. Good things, as well as bad happened since my last post. However, there are more good than bad so I'm not complaining.

From this point on until my the completion of my treatments I will be writing about my battle with breast cancer. I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and went through the treatment and survived for 10 years. However, I have a recurrence and I'm now scheduled to go through chemotherapy treatment. Going through chemotherapy treatment in 1997, I can still remember how terrible it was and how I promised myself that I would never opt for this treatment should cancer recur. Now that I find myself in the same situation I was 10 years ago, I find myself wanting to live a little longer for the sake of the people I love. So, I am once again doing chemotherapy starting March 13, 2009 (this Friday).