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I got to ring my bell.

1 Apr

Yesterday I had my last infusion treatment.  At first I was upset because after a year and a half of surgeries, chemo, radiation, and her-2 antibody infusions, I realized that my journey is just beginning.  My oncologist is insisting that I take a pill called tamoxifen once daily for the next 10 years.  It is upsetting because it is an everyday reminder of everything that I have been through. With my pharmaceutical background I entered the doctor’s office armed with a very highlighted Package Insert of the drug.  We went over every possible side effect the percentages of getting those side effects and what it would mean for me mentally, physically, and emotionally to keep taking this drug.  

She stated that the biggest chance of reoccurrence happens within the first 2 to three years.  Then after 5 years there is another peak period in which it could come back so that is why I would have to take the drug for 10 years.  Then after the 10 years or when I am post menopausal, I would have to go on another drug to continue the inhibition of my estrogen receptors.  

The purpose of doing this is to reduce as much as possible the chance of the cancer coming back, specifically into one of my organs, which would be considered stage 4 cancer.  

I then had to head upstairs to get my last her-2 antibody infusion.  I had a new nurse for my last infusion treatment.  I consider her my angel.  I was feeling a little down from my conversation with the oncologist.  This nurse came from a cancer center in Texas.  She said that every time someone finished treatment they would ring a bell.  Some patients never got to ring it because they were not going to get better.

All of a sudden I became very thankful.  It was a huge accomplishment to get through treatment.  Its pretty major that I am now considered cancer free.  I may have some challenges moving forward from side effects, but it certainly beats the alternative.  I now feel invigorated, motivated and inspired to face the world and truly appreciate life’s beauty.  

I am ringing my bell, now only for myself, but for all those that couldn’t.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me and helped me on my journey to becoming a Cancer Free Cutie.   

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Exercise and Eating Healthy

11 Feb

So I am finally able to get out of bed and start trying to get my life back to normal.  I only have 3 treatments of perception left.  I get infused once every three weeks and can’t wait for the final poke. As a result of treatment, I have gained 30 pounds.  Now I am working on not necessarily loosing all of the weight but making sure that I exercise, and eat as healthy as possible.  I make my green smoothies to keep my blood rich with cancer fighting nutrients.  I am also working on recipes which use as many alkaline foods as possible.  Now that I have taken the scientific approach to ridding my body of cancer.  I am using the holistic approach to get myself healthy.  

I started off my day yesterday by trying to exercise.  It was discouraging even trying to find something to wear to the gym because nothing fit.  Finally I found something. I take a quick subway ride to my beloved equinox in downtown Brooklyn.  I took a class called Tabata. And yes, It was as difficult to do as it is to pronounce.  I though I was going to either throw up or drop dead  of a heart attack.  I started fighting back the tears and focused on finishing the high intensity workout.  After the class I bumped into the instructor in the equipment room.  “I said sorry for not keeping up with the class, I am not lazy, I had cancer and my body is not the same.  It is going to take me a while to get everything functioning the way it used to.”  He was so nice.  Asked me to give him a hug.  And said he looked forward to seeing me next week.  He told me not to give up.

So I leave the gym inspired walking past the Shake Shack., (a famous shake and burger joint).  Instead of concentrating on those delicious smelling burgers, I decided what alkaline food could I make from all of the wonderful veggies in my fridge.  

I decided on a Leek and Cauliflower soup inspired by the great Chef Franklin Becker.  He does this soup at his restaurant, “The Little Beet.”  It is absolutely delicious creamy and you don have to use milk.  Hope you enjoy this recipe.  Thanks for the inspiration Franklin

Leek and Cauliflower Soup

Tablespoon and a half of Olive Oil

2 Leeks

Half of Large Spanish Onion

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 Head of Cauliflower

3 sprigs of Tyme 

A quarter Lemon.  

Add olive oil to very large Frying pan or soup pot.  Sautee onions add a little salt to keep onions from Browning.  Add leeks cook till almost tender then add garlic, cook until fragrant but make sure not to burn the garlic.  then add cauliflower, give it a couple of stirs then add a box of vegetable stock.  Add the three sprigs of tyme cover pot and cook until cauliflower is tender.  Fork should go through very easily.  When done to your texture and thickness, remove tyme stems and let cool a little.  Then just throw in a blender squeeze a couple of drops fresh squeezed quarter lemon, puree and you will have the most delicious soup ever without feeling like you are on a diet.  

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Getting Back to Healthy

21 Jan

Good news.  I got my blood levels back from my internal medicine doctor.  Everything came back within normal range.  No more vitamin D or B deficiencies.  Thats a good thing because those deficiencies help to create an environment for cancer cells to grow.  White and red blood cell counts are within range.  I have even lowered my cholesterol.  

I am so happy because there was a period where I was very weak and could not get out off the couch.  I bought a hammock for camping for the summer as a Christmas present.  It comes with a stand so I set it up in my apartment.  I was literally so weak and sick from the radiation and the chemo that I laid in that hammock from Christmas Eve until, well to be honest this weekend.  

I spoke with my oncologist and she said that feeling this way was normal.  That sometimes it could take up to a year for your body to bounce back.  Although I had this knowledge, I still felt, “what if it’s coming back, what if it’s coming back.”

It is so nice to hear that I am healthy.  

Guess those green smoothies are helping.  On my way to the gym now.  Hope everyone has a blessed day! 

In the mist of getting my nails done

5 Oct

I am on the phone with one of my besties and a call comes in on the other line.  I tell bestie, “It is a strange number I am not clicking over its probably a bill collector.  She is like, “Oh just take the call, your new life is about facing things head on.”

So I click over and am told that I have a special delivery that I must sign for in person, and that it is urgent.  Now ladies you know what it is like trying to get your nails done on a Friday night.  I look at the lady before me, can see that I have at least 7 minutes before my turn and make a made dash back to the building to pick up this “special package.”

Bestie starts laughing so I know it is from her.  

To my college mate, my confidant and one of my very best friends thank you so much for being their for me day in and day out.  I appreciate it more than you know.  

P.S.  I didn’t lose my place in the nail line.

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My last day of Treatment

4 Oct

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Well everybody, I did it.  Thursday, October 3rd 2013 was my las day of radiation treatment.  It has been a long year.  There were times I thought I would suffocate in that x-ray room, but I didn’t.  Each time I came out stronger.  Now the real work begins.  I have to exercise on a regular basis.  Drink only on special occasions, and try to eat really healthy.  And goodbye stress.  I guess that means I have to sign up for Bikram Yoga.  Thank you Rich, Carla, Phina, Stacy, Ilaria, Jeff and Veleniss for helping me get to and get through the appointments.  Thank you Aurify Brands for donating the lunch on my last day of chemo.  Thanks Billy, Jean, Phyllis, and Zahir for your consistent phone support.  Thank you to my Breast Cancer Community.   Please continue to follow me on my journey to remaining cancer free.  

At first I thought…..

18 Sep

It is a terrible thing to have to go to your treatments alone.  But as I look up from typing, I see an 11 year old boy going in for treatment.  That’s enough to straighten my whiny ass out.  They are backed up today so there are about 50 friends and family members sitting in the reception area waiting for their loved ones to come out of treatment.  Although I am physically by myself, I look at them as my cancer family.  So I am not alone.  They may not be my blood family, but they are all that I have for now.

I had a boyfriend but things are a little rocky right now.

See that is the problem when you settle for a boyfriend instead of a husband.  It is a lot easier to walk away when the going gets tough.  Well maybe not, but anyways my cancer family is here with me.

The one problem that I see for today is that I took out some meat from the freezer to cook for dinner and the meat will probably spoil.  Whatever, so much for eating healthy tonight.  I can’t worry about it.

I started talking with this mom next to me and her daughter was in the back getting treatment.  The daughter has stage 4 cancer and is only in her 20’s.

I bet she would give anything to switch places with me.  So I am not afraid.  I will go in the room with the machine and take my treatment like a trooper.

The Farmer’s market in Prospect Park

7 Sep

Ahhh.  Finally its the weekend.  I get two glorious days where I don’t have to go to the hospital for treatment.  Two days where I don’t have to think about the cancer except for the neuropathy in my legs and feet.

I decide to go for my morning 5k walk through Prospect Park.  I have to keep my legs moving.  It helps with the neuropathy in my feet that I have developed as a side effect from the chemo. With a positive attitude and my Farmers Market Coins in my pocket, I start selecting veggies to make my green smoothie.

I continue my walk around the park, going slower than usual because of the tingling in my feet.  The doctor said that the side effect would go away in time….The more my feet tingle, the more I walk as if I could walk the neuropathy out of my body.  First I see one shirt.  On the back it says, “One Run.”  Suggesting there should be one run for all forms of cancer.  Then I see a 5k race starting.  I think to myself oh I would like to train to run a 5k race, get rid of the 20 pounds I gained from the steroids.  The runners also have shirts on, for ovarian cancer, which by the way could be a side effect of one of the meds that I have to take to keep my estrogen levels down.  It is a low percentage but it could happen.  I asked the doctor what would I do if that side effect occurred and I was told,  “Oh just take your uterus out,” like it is no big deal.  WTTTTTTTFUUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK.

I take a short cut through the park to avoid the Ovarian Runners with tags on their shirt saying in memory of…. , or I am a 23 day survivor, or I am a 15 year survivor.  By the way the 23 day survivor had 10 times more hair than me and I stopped my chemo July 12th.  I wanted to chase here down and ask her her secret, but I didn’t think that was the appropriate time to do so.

It seems like no matter where I go, no matter what I do, I am constantly reminded of my cancer.

I don’t necessarily think that it is a always a bad thing, its just a thing thing.

Well on a happier note, I found my wig!

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