PMS-ing Without the Period

A couple of days ago I could feel myself starting to get cranky. I was disinterested in everything and getting annoyed at the smallest things. I was hungry and craving sugar. The next day, I snapped at Dan like I haven’t in almost a year, and got inexplicably angry about something dumb that isn’t worth mentioning (ok, it was because our Tablo was freezing during the American Ninja Warrior finale).

I haven’t had my period or PMS in almost a year, though there was a point last month where it felt like I might be PMS-ing.  It’s strange to get the symptoms, but not have any hard evidence that it’s that time of the month. Maybe I am just turning into a cranky old woman? Though the bloating and sugar craving makes me think otherwise.

I’m happy to know that pre-menopause hasn’t kicked in yet due to chemo, but it is a little strange to know that I’ll never have a period again. On a positive note, no more awkward moments of buying tampons and pads at the store?

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

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Fork to Farm

Remember in my last post when I said it was way too smoky to workout? Well, apparently the weather gods were listening and now there is snow on the mountains a couple miles away and the temperature has been in the 40s. It’s so cold. What happened to fall???

After a couple days of rain and freezing cold, we got a quick reprieve on Sunday just in time for a 40-mile bike ride called Form to Farm. We rode around the Bitterroot Valley to four different farms where we got to tour each one (including farms where we get our CSA and milk from) and get snacks. It was a great ride, but exhausting. 40 miles is harder than one thinks. I thought I’d be ok with breaks in between, but man, were my legs tired. Luckily, one of my friends have ibuprofen and that helped me get through the last 15 miles.

The doctors told me working out wouldn’t be the same as before, and while I believed them, it’s still frustrating to live out. I can now run a mile without stopping, but it’s at an 11-minute pace. I can do a yoga class without going into child’s pose, but my body shakes while holding poses (ok, I’m pretty sure it did that before as well). We started doing spin class and I feel like I’m lagging behind everyone when we’re sprinting or trying to “climb that mountain.” At least I’m getting out there though, right? #smallvictories

I should actually be out for a run right now because the sun is out, there is blue sky mixed with clouds, and it’s 52-degrees. Instead I did some housework, prepped dinner, and am trying to keep this blog alive. I also think that I’m pms-ing right now, or supposed to be on my period because man, do I have that period feeling of lead-legs and exhaustion.

Here are some photos from Sunday’s ride. Mostly Dan eating food.

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Dan enjoying frittata at stop SweetRoot Farm (where we get our CSA box).
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Dan enjoying some local bread, passing on the ratatouille.
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Piglets!
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The cow our future milk will come from at Lifeline Farm.
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Last glimpse of summer.
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Local cheese and honey. But seriously, that cheese (from Tucker Farm and Lifeline).

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Easing Back Into Working Out

It’s been two and a half weeks since my last chemo treatment and one week since my last radiation. I’m feeling pretty good and back to eating almost normal. I am not loving meat as much as I used to. I’ll eat a couple bites and then not able to do anymore. I had a moment of panic last week at a friend’s dinner when I tried red wine and thought it tasted horrible. I was devastated. I had been looking forward to red wine for months! But luckily the same friend came over last night and brought red wine and it was delicious. Whew. I still don’t like beer, but… I suppose that’s better for my waist line?

But back to the main topic; I’ve been trying to get back on the workout bandwagon. The first week after chemo I did a yoga class, and I’m pretty sure the instructor, a friend who knows what I’ve gone through, did a pretty easy class to help me ease back in. There was also only four people in class so it was easier. This past week though, class was full and it was pretty difficult. Near the end I started to feel faint and had to stop mid-pose to regain my composure and catch my breath.

I also went on a couple “runs” last week. I took Fred who stopped me every 3 minutes, and I had to do a run/walk combination, plus I could only go a little over a mile. The smoke has been really bad here lately, making it even harder to run and motivate myself to get out there. It’s slowly clearing out, so I might I try to give it a go today.

I have also been doing some biking which I’m new to. After years of owning my bike, I finally got it fitted this summer so I have better posture, and bought clip-ins so I have more power biking. The routes I’ve gone on have been around 13-16 miles at around 11-12 mph, which apparently  is slow. But whatever, I’m getting a good workout! My legs have been tired. On Wednesday I got home from a bike ride and was exhausted, and felt the sort of sick I get after a long run. It’s hard to remember that I’m not at the same fitness level as before.

It’s nice getting back to normal life. I can clean the house now, and do other things besides sit on the couch, curled in a ball watching tv. I spent yesterday evening prepping for a BBQ we’re hosting today, and three hours in the kitchen wore me out. My legs are still sore from all the standing and walking around! My weight has stayed the same, so now I’m just trying to tone everything, and as always, get rid of that extra pooge that hangs around my tummy and thighs.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Dear Baby Gossett

To our sweet baby,

Today is the day you should have come into our world. Though if you’re anything like your mom, you would probably be a little late. A fashionable entrance I like to call it.

I’ve had a long time to think about what to say to you. I’ve started many sentences, just to mentally delete them.

I’m still not sure what to say, except that I love you. I know your dad loves you and we think about you often. We will never forget you and you will stay with us always. I had so many plans for us. I know we’ll be together one day, even if it’s much later than I would like. Our next journey together will be different since I can no longer carry you, but I will love you the same and wait with even more anticipation to see you.

I can’t believe it’s been 37 weeks since I first learned about you. 37 weeks sounds like a short amount of time, but in actuality it feels like years. I can still remember seeing the first test, then the second. Calling your auntie Jess in disbelief. Telling your dad as soon as he walked in for lunch and his shocked reaction. The look on your halmonie and halahbuji’s faces when they read the card. The joyful exclamations from both your grandparents when we FaceTimed them.

In the short time you were with us, you have brought so much joy and happiness. We thank you for everything you’ve given us and we love you so much. You’ll be with us forever, and we can’t wait to meet you one day.

Love,

Your Parents

Radiation Treatment: Check!

You can mark radiation as completed! On my list of “Things I never imagined I would have to do”, radiation and chemotherapy have both been checked off. This week I completed two rounds of brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy, for those of you lucky enough to not be in the know, is a type of radiation in which a plastic tube called a dilator is inserted vaginally and the radiation comes from a source, and specifically targets a certain area, in my case, the apex of the vagina. The dilator looks like a church altar candle, and is closed on the end that is inserted, but has an opening on the other side that the source is fed into through a wire. You awkwardly lay on a gurney while they insert the dilator and make sure that the angle is correct, and hold it in place with an intense looking metal device. The device reminded me of the Black Widow scene in the Avengers when she’s being sterilized, guess it’s a good thing that doesn’t effect me anymore! They then take a CAT scan to ensure everything looks good, then moved me to a room that the source is held in.

What is the source you ask? That’s a great question. I am not 100% sure, but I know it’s held in a radiation specific box, that’s not that big, and just hangs out in a room by itself. It goes through a wire that gets fed through the dilator. It’s not painful, but you definitely feel a weird thump during it. Well, it is painful, because there is a lot of pressure on a sensitive spot, but not any sort of burning sensation.

The first day, the whole process takes about 45 minutes with the angling, measuring, CAT scan, moving to another room, waiting for the program to give all the information needed for the treatment, and then treatment was three minutes. The second day, I went straight to the source room, had the measuring and angling, then had the treatment, so about 15 minutes all together. Not too bad.

It feels amazing to finally be finished. I have my follow up appointment in Seattle in October with a PET scan. I’m a little scared something will grow between now and then, but one cannot focus on that. I’m still trying to recover from chemo, my appetite is slowly coming back, but I’m still sensitive to certain foods and smells. I went to yoga on Tuesday which felt amazing, and tried to “run” a mile on Wednesday which was painful. Not sure how this half marathon in 3 weeks is going to go… Hopefully I can try another “run” this weekend. I use quotes, because honestly, it’s more a shuffle than an actual run.

It’s bittersweet celebrating this moment. We should be celebrating something else tomorrow instead. I’m trying to stay positive and not focus on my alternate reality, but it’s hard. It will continue to be hard. I’ve been dreading this weekend for months. I’m hoping if I surround myself with friends and keep myself busy, it will make it easier. I’m sure it won’t be though. I know the moment that silence hits or that I’m alone I’ll start crying. And that will be ok when that happens.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Chemo Day 6; Radiation Day 25

You guys. It’s official. I’m done with chemo and my daily drive to radiation! I would be celebrating more if chemo wasn’t having one last go at my stomach. I have two rounds of brachytherapy next week, and after that I’ll be completely finished with my treatment!

It’s been a very long six weeks filled with nausea and sleeping. Having our parents here really helped out with driving me every day and helping around the house. I haven’t had any energy to do anything. I can’t even muster up enough energy to feed the pets, but maybe part of that is hearing my mom feed the animals. I pretty much grew up without a pet, and seeing my parents with Fred makes me think we should have had an indoor dog. They spoil him like non-other. I cannot imagine what life will be like if we’re able to have our own child. She also coos over our persnickety kitty as well.

Our friends here have been amazing as well, dropping of dinner, driving me to Missoula. It’s been wonderful. I haven’t seen a lot of them in awhile, and I look forward to hanging out again. I’m hopeful that I can get through this weekend of sickness and then everything will be better. I am having some radiation side effects though, the kind that needs Immodium, not Docusate. Apparently that might stick around for awhile. I also need to wait a couple months and see if I go into pre-menopause thanks to the chemo. I guess I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but I am so happy I made it through chemo.

I hate chemo. I’m very lucky that I only had to be on Cisplatin, and not a combination of other drugs that could potentially send me to the ER, or cause my kidneys to not function properly making me miss a treatment. It was a rough six weeks, but it was only six weeks. I spoke to a few other patients during treatment, and they had all been going through this for a few years. Not everyone had weekly treatments like me, but theirs was ongoing, no real end in sight. I feel horrible for complaining when mine was short lived.

I asked my hematologist what would happen if the cancer came back and I had to go through this again.

“It won’t come back.”

My doctors are so certain that they got the cancer and I should be in the clear. I want to trust them, but it’s scary. What if a rogue cancer cell escaped and is ldormant until I have another hormone surge? I know I can’t think like that, but once you go through this, the idea lingers.

And with that, I’m spending one last couch-ridden weekend (from chemo at least, hopefully never from a hangover again…) stalking cruise forums to learn as much as I can about our upcoming cruise.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Chemo Day 5; Radiation Day 21

It’s the final week! Well ok, the final week of both chemo and radiation. Next week I’ll do two rounds of brachytherapy. I cannot wait to get my life back to normal, where I have a normal appetite and don’t spend the weekends sleeping.

It was great having my friend out this weekend, we watched some Harry Potter, marathoned House Hunters International, and Real Housewives. I slept more than I had hoped, and my appetite wasn’t great. I’ve been eating a lot of simple carbs and fruit.

My weight is still dropping a little, but nothing too drastic. I wouldn’t mind staying at this weight after treatment, but let’s be honest. As as soon as I get my normal appetite back, it’ll be fall and I’ll want to bake all the things and make delicious fall foods. I almost tried my wedding dress on last week, but I was too exhausted to try and take it out of the bag. Maybe this week?

Fingers crossed this week goes by quickly and my last round of chemo isn’t horrible!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Is chemo brain a thing?

I’m pretty sure it is. And Dr. Google apparently agrees. After my friend mix-up a couple of weeks ago, I knew my brain was pretty fuzzy. Fast-forward to Monday a couple of days later when I show up at my doctor’s office for an 8:45am appointment, just to find out my appointment was the following Monday. At 10am.

What is going on with my brain? Probably a combination of exhaustion, nausea, drugs, stress, life, and everything else. It’s frustrating to feel like you never know what’s going on anymore, but what can you do but laugh? Thankfully nobody got left at the airport, and I haven’t missed anything important, but I wonder if I should just carry a stack of Post-Its around to write notes to myself.

I can’t wait for this all to be over. Only 9 more days, but two more chemo treatments. I didn’t do so great after this last round, a lot of nausea and sleeping. I couldn’t even go with my father-in-law to the airport on Saturday because I was so tired. I ended up sleeping until 3pm.

I hope it’s better this weekend, my best friend is ACTUALLY coming into town (I have triple-checked the itinerary plus she texted a reminder) and it’s her first time visiting so I want to hang out! The wildfires have been horrible though, so the valley is filled with smoke. Just another reminder of why I can’t wait for fall!

And with chemo brain, I’m signing off.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Chemo Day 4; Radiation Day 14

Hello! Sorry I missed last week’s update. I was all set for my friend to fly out and come visit on Friday afternoon, when I received a text from a different friend Thursday evening saying she was on the plane and excited to see me soon.

Me: Wait, you’re not coming next weekend!?!?

Kim: No… I’m on the plane. What should I do?

Me: Stay on the plane! Obviously!

So even though I had just arrived home from radiation, Dan and I turned around to go back to Missoula. Apparently, I mixed-up weekends and my Friday friend wasn’t coming for two weeks! Can we blame chemo brain?

It was a fun weekend and I was so happy to see my sorority sister. I felt bad because I went to bed early on Friday, and took multiple naps on Saturday. I made up for it though by being DD for Beerfest that evening, and we floated the Bitterroot River with friends on Sunday.

Treatment continues to go well. I learned from my mistake of not eating that first round, and have been forcing myself to eat. This has helped immensely. I still have some nausea, but nothing like that first weekend. If you’re reading this and going through chemo: EAT. Eat whatever you can, whenever you can. Thank goodness it’s summer, because all I want is fruit. I eat cherries, grapes, watermelon, and pineapple. I eat white carbs when I can. If it sounds good, I eat it. Even if it’s not great (like a plate of nachos from a restaurant I was sooooo looking forward to), I eat as much as I can. Without a doubt this has saved me. Also the ginger tea my mom made, but… Eating is key.

On the other hand, I had been experiencing excruciating pain in my lower pelvic region, so Dr. Goff and Dr. Menendez ordered a CAT scan. And because I thought I was picking up my friend at 1pm on Friday, I agreed to the 6:30am scan, but at least I could get radiation directly after so we could head home after.

Friday morning we got up at 5am, then drove up for my CAT scan. They asked for my previous scans from UW which made me nervous, but they just wanted to compare. Jokes on them though as I’m missing a few organs now! Happily, my scan came back negative.

Less happily, the radiation machine was broken. Hours after trying, they called the maintenance guy, who was two hours away in Kalispell. Six hours and one nap later, I finally got my scan. I could have gone home and extended treatment by one day, but I was insistent on not having to make ANOTHER trip up for radiation.

For some reason this week, I was really dreading chemo. I don’t know why, but the idea of the Cisplatin dripping into my system really upset me. I don’t know if I’m scared of side effects or what, but I was like a toddler being told it was nap time. It actually felt like mile 20 of a marathon; I know the end is in sight, but I’m just so tired and want to sit down and have an ambulance take me in. Chemo was fine of course, the lab got blood on the first draw (first time), but the IV took two tries to get in (last week it was one try). She made it in the vein, but when she tried to thread it, my vein puffed up and said “Hellllll no.” It still is a little puffy.

I’m over halfway done with treatment though. Only two more rounds of chemo, 11 radiations, and two rounds of brachytherapy. Which is a whole other thing.

I should probably go to bed, but I feel a little amped up. I’m not sure if it’s the coffee ice cream I just had, or the steroids from treatment, but I’m just not tired. Hopefully once I lay down and play some Words With Friends and do some BuzzFeed quizzes I’ll pass out.

Cheers!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Shout-out to StitchFix

Last month I ordered my first StitchFix box. I received two dresses, a blouse, a pair of jeans, and a pair of heels. I ended up keeping one dress and the blouse, but returning the rest. I had to exchange the dress and blouse for a size down though, and explained that I was going through cancer treatment so I wasn’t sure what my size was anymore.

On Saturday, Dan brought in the mail and said we received something from StitchFix.

“That’s weird, I swear I didn’t order anything.”

I opened the box and unwrapped a Happiness Planner and a kind note from the StitchFix team wishing me the best and to stay positive. It was so thoughtful and amazing, I started crying. I didn’t expect anything from them, maybe just some understanding if I don’t order another box while I wait and see what happens to my weight. Receiving the card and the planner really brightened my day, and it made me appreciate StitchFix and want to order another box. I’m still waiting, but Dan is planning on another box next month. I’m pretty sure he buys more clothes than me.

I’m planning on using the planner next year, when I hope to make some happy memories. As far as I’m concerned, 2017 can burn in a fire and I would like no memories of this year. We have some great plans for 2018 so I’m looking forward to it!

Thanks again for making my day, StitchFix! And if anyone reading this has ever wondered if you should give them a try, you definitely should!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl