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

Chemo Day 2; Radiation Day 4

I’m not gonna lie. Chemo sucks. I was tired on Thursday, and so nauseous on Friday and Saturday I ate the equivalent of one piece of bread and a couple bites of vegetable barley soup. I was supposed to drink a couple liter of waters to flush my kidney, but Friday I got down about 46oz, and Saturday probably around 28oz. I slept for most of Friday afternoon/evening, and was awake probably six hours on Saturday. I finally started to feel better on Sunday, but was so weak from not eating, and my stomach was in pain from being empty for so long that trying to put anything in it hurt. I finally got back to “normal” Monday, just in time to start the cycle again today.

On a positive note, I’ve lost 4lbs. Which promptly came back when I was pumped full of saline and other drugs today and downed my required 2-3 liters of liquid to clean out my kidneys.

My goal for this round of chemo is to eat. My mom has made a magic concoction of fresh ginger, water, lemon, honey, and Korean pepper and that has helped a lot with the nausea. I was so miserable this weekend I wondered if I could just forego the treatment all together. It wasn’t like the worst hangover, but the annoying one in which you can’t tell whether you’re going to throw up or not (I did not). It reminded me of morning sickness, which… Isn’t ideal. Hopefully I can stay on top of it this time around by taking my Zofran and Compazine, plus all the ginger in the world.

I was in the infusion center for six hours today. Two were waiting to see the doctor and getting my IV put in (which took three tries. I almost started crying when the first nurse kept missing and digging around for the vein). They had to slow down the infusion after Decadron and Amend as my sensitive veins could not handle all the medicine coming through. I tried working throughout, but the last 30 minutes I got really tired so took a little nap. After that, I went to my radiation appointment and met with my radiologist.

Radiation every day has been ok so far. It’s annoying to drive more than two-hours a day for a 15 minute appointment, but what are you going to do. At least everyone there is nice and I love my doctor. I drove myself yesterday and it was a great way to catch up on some Podcasts! Stuff You Should Know is a particular fave.

Fingers crossed week two of this goes much smoother than week one.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Chemotherapy Day 1

They say laughter is the best medicine, unless you have cancer, in which case chemotherapy is more effective.

 

Mark that checked! I was supposed to start radiation today as well, but insurance didn’t pre-certify it until later this afternoon, so I’ll have my first date with radiation on Friday.

It went pretty well (as you know, chemotherapy can), minus the fact that my princess veins decided to be difficult. I had to be poked twice both for the blood draw and the IV. Like my stomach, my veins like to roll… My delicate veins also didn’t like the hour-long infusion pump strength, so I will now be receiving my Cisplatin in a two-hour dose instead of one. Dan and his mom joined me today. I also got some work done which was nice. Major perks of working from home — Not having to use PTO to go to these appointments, I was there for almost seven hours. I’m hoping I can save up all my PTO for a well-deserved vacation!

It’s a little weird being at a cancer center. Minus two people, I was the youngest person there by about 20 years. Everyone seemed nice, but kept to their visitors. I had read stories about making friends from chemo, but I’m not sure if that will happen.

Side effects right now include weird tingly feelings, exhaustion, and a metallic taste in my mouth. Though the exhaustion could be from waking up at 3am MT, watching Dan run the Missoula Marathon (which he kicked-butt at!), then hopping on a plane to Seattle for a three-hour appointment, worked Monday, then had my one-month follow-up with Dr. Goff.

As I mentioned my stomach roll above… I asked Dr. Goff if that was swelling… Maybe a combination of swelling/fat. And her reply?

“Well, it has been awhile since you’ve been able to workout.”

Harsh.

On a positive note, I can start working out again! I went to yoga yesterday and it was great. I was going to go for a run today, but we ended switching to T-Mobile and were stuck at the store for three hours. I’m excited to get back into working out. I have a goal of running a half-marathon in September… We’ll see how that goes!

Not so positive note, my exam was pretty painful and Dr. Goff is worried about infection, so I’m back on the Levofloxacin, Metronidazole, and a suuuuuuper fun lady cream. Goodbye bourbon for the next 10 days, plus trying to time when I can have dairy.

I’m glad I’m finally starting chemo and radiation. It feels like we’ve been waiting for this for forever, and when this is complete we can finally close this chapter of our lives and move on. Except for those times when we fly back to Seattle every three months for scans. Minor details.

Fingers crossed radiation on Friday goes well!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

As Time Goes By

It’s been 16 and a half weeks since I was hospitalized in March. 16 and a half weeks since we last heard our baby’s heartbeat. 16 and a half weeks since I was 16 and a half weeks pregnant.

Even though so much has happened in these past couple of months, it seems like time has crawled by. To be fair, I guess there was four weeks of the pregnancy that I didn’t realize I was pregnant.

It’s hard to imagine what I would like 33 weeks pregnant. I’m pretty sure fat. My round face much rounder, my size 7 feet maybe a size 8, my stomach the size of… a beach ball? Definitely more beached whale than Beyonce.

Truthfully though, who knows if I would still be pregnant at this point. While I dream about a normal pregnancy, in actuality I would be 15 weeks into chemo with no hair. I’d be living in Seattle away from Dan. My high-risk OB sat us down in the hospital to give us the facts of pre-mature babies. She made it sound like 24 weeks was the goal, but 28 weeks would give us a greater chance.

Nobody knows how far along I would have carried the baby with the cancer. I know when I think about the pregnancy, the cancer has no place in my mind. I just imagine being the size of a small house, sitting in the Fred’s dog pool, trying to stay cool in our 100 degree summer that we’ve been having.

Dan and I are continuing to plan our future, but it’s days like this that makes me long for what we should have had.

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Happy 4th!

AKA the last day I have to take my Lovenox shot! That in itself deserves some fireworks. We’re heading to a bbq at a friend’s tonight after a long day hiking, fishing (just Dan), and attempting to make sourdough bread. We are trying a sourdough starter — Wish us luck. The hike was 6 miles round trip and the most exercise I’ve done since… Probably February. I feel good though so hopefully this means I’m recovering quickly!

Fisherman Dan
Fisherman Dan.

It’s been a busy weekend with one of my best friend’s visiting me from Omaha and bringing out one of her friends, her mom, her mom’s boyfriend, and her 120lb wooly mammoth. Ok, maybe a German Shephard-Malamute mix, but really a wooly mammoth (as seen above). I haven’t seen her since my wedding and I was so excited to hangout with her.

Chemo and radiation start next Wednesday, so I’m trying to relax as much as I can before then. Minus the fact that Dan will be running the Missoula marathon on Sunday and then we’re hopping on a plane to Seattle right after for my follow-up appointment on Monday. Then flying back that night. And then my MIL is coming on Tuesday. So yes, trying to relax until then.

Hope you have a safe and happy 4th!

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Surgery: Three Weeks Later

Three weeks after the surgery and I think my swelling is finally starting to go down. I still have a pouch over the incision, but at this point, I’m not sure if it’s swelling or just fat…. I’ll just say it’s swelling to keep myself happy.

The pain has been a bit stronger this past week, but I think that’s just the effect of the numbness wearing off. There are still a couple of numb spots, but it’s slowly going away. Dan keeps telling me that his knee was numb for the longest time due to all the nerves, and I wonder if that will happen to me. I also have 8 more Lovenox shots to give and I cannot wait for next Wednesday when I no longer have to inject myself with burning pain.

We met with the hematologist yesterday to discuss my chemo treatment. Luckily, I’m getting a very low dose of chemo so I shouldn’t have too many effects. My hair may thin (which super sucks since my hair is pretty thin anyways) and I’m going to get nauseous. I asked about any weight gain, but I’ll be put on a very low dose of steroids so I won’t feel anything from that. The doctor said that if I were just doing chemo at this dose, it wouldn’t do anything. The chemo is just there to help the radiation.

Speaking of radiation, my appointment isn’t until Friday. Radiation is driving my treatment so I don’t have a calendar yet. I am still worried about radiation causing me to go into early menopause. The hematologist told me that chemo will put my ovaries on pause, so if I do have hot flashes, it could just be chemo. It’s still a scary thought though.

Until my appointment, I’ll just be filling my time reading all the Pretty Little Liar recaps and going through old articles. I still can’t believe **** turned out to be Uber A! What? I just… Can’t. Guess it’s time to start Gossip Girl.

Until then…

XOXO,

Gossett Girl

Surgery: Two Weeks Later

Ok, more like two weeks and one day. I’m doing pretty ok physically. I’m off my Tylenol/Ibuprofen mix, and on/off my Docusate/Senna cocktail (for those in the know…). The pain is still there, both in my incision and inside where parts of me were cut out. I still have feeling coming back to my skin. When I put my hand on the area it tingles and feels a little dull. My skin on my stomach is getting dry though, so I’m trying to be better about nightly moisturizing. Also, I still have to give myself nightly Lovenox shots to prevent blood clotting.

FYI — Risk of a blood clot is much higher if you have cervical cancer and need a radical hysterectomy. So they make you take a shot that is more painful than all my IVF shots put together. The needle is small, but the medication is painful. The injection burns as it goes in, and the area stings for quite a few minutes after it’s done. I still have about 18 more days to go with the shots. Not that I’m counting down… I almost gave up on my shot yesterday because I couldn’t even jab it into my skin, until my best friend said to do it because she had just read about Toni Braxton having blood clots in her lung. I’m not sure if it’s just so sore because I’m still sensitive from the surgery (injection site is subcutaneous in the stomach area), or if it just sucks. Probably both.

Dan and I went for a walk yesterday and our neighbor was surprised to see me walking around already. I feel like I have the energy to get out, and a small part of me wants to get back to exercising, but I know I’m nowhere near healed. I also stopped taking the pain medication because Sunday night I had the worst stomach pains. It felt like my stomach was trying to explode or burn a hole in my body. Dan was worried I had an ulcer or some sort of reaction to the surgery. The pain finally subsided, but came back briefly Monday night. I think it might be my stomach’s way of telling me I ate too much. Sunday night I had a Seattle dog (hot dog with cream cheese, onions, sauerkraut, jalapenos, mustard) and perhaps it was just too much for my gentle stomach (ok reading the description now, I realize that maybe the Seattle dog isn’t for the faintest of hearts). Maybe at 32 I just can’t handle what I could in my 20s after a night out drinking… (No I wasn’t drinking on Sunday.)

Mentally I’m doing just ok. I was supposed to see a friend yesterday but I didn’t have the energy to meet up and chat. There’s a commercial going on right now that talks about how amazing women’s bodies are; they give birth, run marathons, etc. It makes me feel like my body isn’t amazing. Though, I have run a marathon so I guess in that case, I am pretty amazing. And my body has been through so much these past couple of months, and I’m still going strong. I’m still sad though. Seeing families and babies still makes me cry. I can’t watch Modern Family when Gloria is pregnant, and I’ve decided the Real Housewives of NYC are my favorite housewives because none of them are trying to get pregnant.

I’m sure one of these days I’ll be back to normal. But until then I’ll just wait and see if Bethenny and Ramona can be friends again and if Tom and Luann’s relationship will last…

XOXO,

Gossett Girl