It seems that life is coming at me too quickly these days. I’m doing my best to keep up with everything. So another big day tomorrow. I will be updating my blog hopefully by tomorrow night if everything goes my way.
Sunday May 8, 2016 (Laptop died yesterday, finished writing Monday.)
Today is Mother’s Day. I celebrate today in peace. Literally, peace and happiness. There is no “Mom… Mom…Mom’s” being spoken much today. I am not needed and not taking care of my young kiddos. Lenny and Austin are beside me as we drive a U-Haul to Arizona. Nonetheless, I do miss Bailey and Charlie but a small break is also relaxing in its own way.
Life continues to throw curve balls. Just last week my in-laws were due back in Colorado after spending most of the winter in Arizona. They recently bought a new house in Arizona and had planned on coming back to their CO house to pack things up and move to AZ full time. My FIL got sick this last week and has been in the hospital since last Tuesday evening. (He is out of the hospital and is recovering and doing better.) He has an inflamed liver and gallstones and doctors have been trying to find the cause. This is why we decided it would be the most helpful to drive a U-Haul with their belongings down to AZ before Lenny left for two weeks and before I start treatment which may not allow for us to help them much in the future.
I have been trying to prepare myself for the possibility of chemotherapy and for my upcoming appointment on Wednesday. I will know if chemotherapy will benefit me or not along with being provided my exact treatment plan. Praying for the best news. Appointments are with both my medical and radiation oncologists. My surgeon and both oncologists will be meeting on Tuesday to discuss my treatment plan.
Before going into surgery and only having my biopsy report; my medical oncologist already stated chemotherapy is likely due to my age and the aggressiveness of the cancer. This was when my biopsy report indicated a grade 2 cancer and now after surgery my pathology report indicates I have a grade 3 cancer. I’m staying optimistic however but also feel it necessary to prepare for chemo mentally just in case. As I have continued to learn being young with breast cancer is an independent predictor of adverse outcome. Extensive research indicates the younger you are the more aggressive the tumor and the higher the recurrence rate along with the higher mortality rate.
Most people will know this but quick down low on chemo. Chemo targets rapidly dividing cells. Since it cannot differentiate the difference between the rapidly diving cancer cells and the rapidly diving healthy cells it ends up killing both and wreaking chaos within the body.
Almost all side effects of chemotherapy sound dreadful. It seems the only thing good about chemo is that is will kill the nasty cancer intruder and clean house, hopefully for good and to never return. However, that is the most important fact I need to just stay focused on for now. I have my list of questions and hopefully won’t need to ask any of them because I am praying this treatment will not be necessary.
What we understood from my surgeon is that if chemotherapy is beneficial for me then every 5 years my recurrence rate will increase very little over the course of my life (picture a line graph slightly increasing over the years remaining almost horizontal) vs. if chemotherapy is beneficial and I do not opt to receive treatment my recurrence rate will increase every 5 years at a much significant rate. My current recurrence rate is 27, which falls at the high end of the intermediate risk, 30 is the cut off for high recurrence . I tend not to try to focus too much on percentages and statistics because I was already able to snag cancer in my 30’s while being healthy and having a very low .4% risk of developing breast cancer.
I have been reading up on the use of certain essential oils, particularly sacred frankincense, frankincense, thyme, and roman chamomile and the radical effects these oils have to kill cancerous cells. I have also been given information about cannabis oil and the same effects. As I dive more into success stories and the research behind each I am also weary to try them internally without exact medical recommendation. Peppermint oil helped me with nausea while I was in the hospital. Frankincense has the power to kill cancerous cells without killing your healthy cells however when doing chemo one must stop the use at least one week before treatment and wait 3-4 weeks post treatment to begin again as the EO can protect those cancer cells during treatment allowing for chemotherapy to have little affect. I have been thinking I may just use EO’s for the side effects post all treatments regardless of which treatment plan I am given. As for the cannabis oil I have read it can be tricky with breast cancer and if your cancer is estrogen driven which mine is, you must be careful as the oil can cause the cancer to grow rather than eradicate it. My medical oncologist is open to discussing the oils and I will discuss it further with him Wednesday. The EO will also help with the side effects of radiation and hormone therapy.
During this long drive today I have been able to read more and even out loud to Lenny and Austin. At one point reading about all the side effects I had to stop because the tears start to run. I have been in tough mode since I was diagnosed and as the next step arrives I feel ready yet also nervous and more emotional as it continues to feel more real. (Crazy I know but somedays it just doesn’t seem real.) I want to be prepared for any scenario and especially mentally which I’m pretty sure I’m only about a quarter of the way there.
I believe I will try to take the same mental approach I do when I train for half marathons or when I have trained for fitness competitions. If I set the goal and have the determination to train and stick with it, it becomes a way of life, as most call it now a “lifestyle change”. As long as I tell myself I can’t give up and I train daily and put forth the adequate and necessary determination in my workouts I manage to run the race even through the uphills in a relative easy manner. If I don’t train or prepare I get anxious and most of the struggles aren’t smooth and end in a battle that reminds myself the importance of training. One step at a time, one day at a time, positive attitude with God by my side and I’ve got this!
I pray tonight that God can teach me the glory in and through this experience and that I can continue to feel at peace through this journey. Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
These days are passing quickly and I’ve learned to be content and more grateful for the here and now. The laughter of my children, the closeness of my husband, the beautiful sunrises, the beauty in each new day. The kindness of friends and complete strangers. The fun life gives. The love life gives. I have learned how to focus on life’s sweetest moments more so than ever before, and to never forget how truly blessed I am.