Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chemo Treatment #1

  It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm feeling pretty good!  Chemo started Friday at about noon.  We were done by about 3pm, and went straight from the hospital to pick up our daughter, then up to Heber to watch our son's basketball game.  Felt totally normal.  Slept great, then woke up Saturday with my taste buds a little numb, but feeling better than I expected.  We had an early volleyball scrimmage to watch, and the normal sports shuttling Saturday events...and just as we were trying to decide what to make for lunch, cute little Debbie Worthen showed up with her daughter, delivering hot homemade potato soup, with fresh made bread, brownies, and even a jar with fresh honey from their bees!  Perfect timing, and a wonderful treat for the whole family!  A nap, then quiet evening at home...still waiting for bad stuff to happen.
  I'm keeping hydrated and eating small meals, and so far, no nausea or big pain.  My taste buds are still a little numb, and I have a little heartburn, but I know the first treatment is just building up for combined effects as we go along.  I love hearing stories from survivors who managed to keep up their normal lives through their treatments!  It doesn't sound easy, but it gives me more hope that I might be able to do it too!
  I was pretty nervous all day Friday before my appointment, so it helped to be at work with friends, and to treat it like a normal day.  Other than my husband driving me to work at 4 in the morning (so we wouldn't have two cars at the hospital after the treatment) the day was mostly normal.  Not everyone on their way to chemo gets to ride in the news truck with friends- Thanks Carla and Tom!  They are part of our great team helping document my progress, and so far, I think it's a good distraction for me.  Thinking about which shots to take, and if the microphones are on, keeps my mind a little distracted from what's really happening to me.  We were even greeted in the parking lot by a Brazilian spitfire of a gal, who pulled up in her car to show me her great wig, awesome make-up, and gave me one of the best pep-talks I've ever had!  Times like that make me see benefits that outweigh any negative aspects of sometimes being considered a celebrity. (That's a whole 'nother blog subject!)
  Like the lumpectomy surgery, that didn't really technically sink in until I watched the surgery video in the edit bay, the impact of chemo might sink in more when I watch what they shot Friday.  My husband and I were so impressed with the people at the chemo center.  The nurses, managers, volunteers, and the other patients were all so nice and, I want to say "comfortable."  Throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, and one breast cancer patient who we'll see every time we're in, because she's a half hour ahead of me on the same appointment schedule!  We all know what we're going through sucks, but that it's what we need to do.  I got a card from a friend that said, "Chemo sucks...but if it's sucking the cancer out of you, then, YAY, CHEMO!"
  We go back tomorrow for the big Neulasta shot, that will rebuild my white blood cells to help repair the chemo damage so we can go back for more.  I understand that shot comes with another batch of fun side effects that should hit me this week.  Just the beginning, really...
  Thanks for the warm thoughts and prayers... I have so much support, that I'm sharing it with many others who need help right now.  Keep your friends and relatives close and in your thoughts...I'll be okay!


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    1. mary i am pulling for you all the way for you! cancer runs in my moms side of the family! my aunt had what you got, and she did not go get a memogram either if she went is would have saved you life!so she passed away at the she of 601 iam getting a memogram in 2 weeks for my check up.

  2. Mary, so glad to hear that your first chemo experience went as well as it could. I think it is so inspiring and interesting that you are sharing your whole journey. I know it will help people everywhere going through the same situations. You are an amazing woman and hope the very best for you! Know you are in my thoughts every day and I will be avidly following your blog. If you are up to it and want to have something to read during your 'down' time, feel free to visit our blog: Keep up the great attitude!

  3. You will be okay! You have the greatest attitude and I really appreciate you sharing your story and experiences!!!

    Go Mary! You are in our prayers!

  4. Thank you Mary for sharing your story. I love you and the Morning team. I hate that you have to go though this, but your attitude and spirit is GREAT! Even my husband wants to know how your doing. He asks if you have posted anything. Know your in our prayers Mary! Thanks for making your fans feel like your family.

  5. You will do great, Mary! You always have a smile on your face and makes everyone around you happy. I love how you are sharing the story and how things are going for you.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers!

    From The Kenney's

  6. Mary,

    Your courage and upbeat attitude inspire us every day! You are the first and last thought we share as a family every day and we are so proud that you are family!
    You inspire us as Favorite Aunt Mary, Sister-in-law and Little Sister!

    The Oly Leonard's -

  7. My mom also had triple negative breast cancer. She went through the same chemo / neulasta and then 5 weeks of radiation. She just finished treatment in October and has a good prognosis. Glad that you are sharing your story with others. Prayers are with you.

  8. are in my thoughts and prayers. You have the greatest attitude! If you ever need anything let Jay or I know. Also if you need a meal brought to you and your family let us know!

    Sarah, Jay and Liam

  9. Breast cancer runs in my Mother's family. I lost an aunt years ago to it before they had all the treatments and options available now. My doctor said breast cancer shows up in men as colon cancer, so I have had three colonoscopies and they have removed polyps every time. As a bald headed guy I am jealous. Your hair will grow back and mine never will. I hope the best for you and your family as you go this trial in your lives. Alan

  10. Yes, Mary! You will be okay! Thanks again for your attitude and for the inspiration you are to all of us!

  11. That is great you are doing so well. I know I could either get the potent stuff and have 4 treatments or the less potent and have 8 treatments. They were both successful 'poisons' lol. The 4 treatments he told me 100% I would lose my hair and be sick for 4-5 days and the other 50% chance I would lose my hair and I would be sick for 2-3 days. So knowing I had to keep working as much as possible being a single mom I chose the 8 treatments. I would leave work at noon on Thursday and get the chemo for about 3 hours and head for home to plop on the couch watching TV and sleeping with a big glass of juice and a bucket; just in case. I was able to go back to work on Monday but I missed half a day Thursday and all day Friday. I did that every 3 weeks for 8 treatments. There were a few times my blood count was too low to get more chemo so it was postponed for another week. The only negative is I had the CMF chemo and the studies show there are cognition problems with it. It affected my work....I called it brainmush or chemo-mush, but it was fine..... When I told my cousin who received the same chemo with her breast cancer about the studies, she was actually excited to hear that.....she thought she was getting early alzheimers. You will be surprised how well you can fit it in your schedule. You will be fine, just a small inconvience for a while. I had stage III and had a modified radical mastectomy. I'm happy you caught yours so early. It's been 12 years for me.....they have come a long long way since then. 99% success rate now!!! You have a huge support group!!! Keep Smiling!

  12. ADVICE REGARDING NEULASTA... i have a lady friend who had to take neulasta she told me that the best remedy to its side effects is Claritin in fact its medically recommended and for it to work you have to begin taking it according to the instructions on the package 24 hours before receiving the shot and for as long as you experience any pain... else you will suffer the full effects of the shot which includes near debilitating bone pain that lasts at least 5 days AFTER the shot

  13. Claritin was the only thing that helped me with the bone pain. Not even Lortab would help like the Claritin. I highly recommend it. It certainly wont hurt. Sending lots of love and prayers your way.
    A fellow triple negative SURVIVOR! Just a little bump in the road...

  14. I think about you every day - my mother and I have been waking up with the 2 News team for as long as I can remember really. You and I are pretty close to the same age. My mother sent me a text message to see if I had seen the story that you had been diagnosed with breast cancer the morning that the show aired, and both my mother and I planned schedule our annual mammograms (which I was about six months late for) the day you did your touching story. We both cried. I immediately texted my own daughter to let her know to be sure to watch the evening news to see the story as well. She called me and told me she had been moved to tears just as I was. The 2 News morning show has been a regular part of her routine since she was small. Her mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor so it was especially moving and touched close to home to both her and her husband. We wish nothing but the best for you, and will tune in every day as usual to send some supportive vibes your way :)

  15. Love you, Classy, beautiful Lady. I'm thinking about you and praying for all to go well. You are a hero in many eyes. thanks for sharing
    ~anita hahn

  16. Hi Mary, I too have triple negative breast cancer, I am stage 4. I have had 14 chemotherapy treatments thus far. I am currently on a break and it is wonderful to feel like myself again.

    I understand the taste bud thing. The only thing that I found soothing and was able to eat and truly enjoy was CREAM OF POTATO SOUP. My boyfriend would make a big batch of it before my chemo. I enjoyed it with scallions on top. I loved fresh strawberries and tomatoes but the acid gave me mouth sores, as did orange juice.

    I am so glad that you caught your cancer early. It is amazing how curable this dis-ease is if caught early.

    I have to have neupogen shots. I was able to handle the pain during the day just fine and would take percocet in order to sleep. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't.

    Another thing I would like to say is this... At first when something would come up as a result of my treatment I wasn't sure if it was the beginning of something that would continually get worse... whether that be the pain, rashes, spells of vertigo... whatever... What I found is that these different side affects would come and go, nothing I experienced continued to get worse and not subside. I hope this helps, I learned from experience.

    I wish you the best Mary, you appear to have a really good attitude and that is everything! But it is okay to cry when you need to. Best wishes to you and yours, Jennifer Harris

  17. Thanks for sharing your story with us! My mom is a breast cancer survivor and while it was a rough road, she beat cancer and is my hero.

    If you get a chance, check out this blog

    It's written by a young mom who is also battling cancer and she is such an inspiration. I promise it will be worth your time :)

    Best wishes to you!

  18. A positive outlook brings positive results, and you have that covered. My sister in Idaho is finishing up her second bout this week. She was clear for nine months but her monthly follow up discovered some suspicious spots, so rather than risk it she entered into the second treatment period. Her strength is awe inspiring for Cheryl and I. Your decision to share your private journey inspires all of us at Unified Fire and we are with you Mary all the way. BTW I wear my pink heals tee every workout at the fire house to remind me of the courage of you, my sister and all cancer survivors pocess. Fight Like A Girl! Godspeed jack and Cheryl.

  19. Mary, you are such a trooper, letting this whole journey be filmed. My sister went thru chemo, and she lost her hair in the 4th week from first treatment, it started coming out in clumps, so her hubby cut her hair down and then used a shaver to finish the look. She tried wearing a wig and hated it. So she went to scarfs and turbans. She did well, having had a mastectomy, but she had been thru chemo twice before, kicking Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in the butt! It has been 2 years now, and she is doing well. So don't might try a turban look for the camera. It really is not bad, and Sandy worked all the time (for the state youth judicial system) she went thru the NHL in her mid 30's. She is now 55. What you are going thru will make you look at life in a different perspective. It will become more precious as time goes on. But with all your prayers being said on your behalf, you should be done with this and be able to move on to better days.

    I am sending Angel prayers your way daily....and light my candles at home as I pray.

    Hang in there Mary. The toughest part is still to come, but you have an awesome support system between work and home. And your viewers are pulling for you too!

  20. I am sending lots of prayers your way Mary. I will keep your kids and family in my prayers as well.

    My mother just battled and beat rectal cancer. She also had chemo and radiation but it worked so it was well worth it. She had a friend cut her hair very short as it started to fall out. She said it just made it less traumatic for her than to see it fall out. You might think about that when the time comes. She wore some gorgeous scarves on her head too.

    You have a great support system so I know you will do very well. I am not saying it will be easy but I know you will get through it. You just have to focus on getting rid of the beast we call cancer.

    I love that you will be keeping us informed. I have been watching you on the news and just feel like all of you on the morning team are like family so believe it or not I worry about all of you. Keep up the faith and all will work out.

  21. Neulasta....the aches and pain shot. When I was going through treatment, Amgen ran commercials that said, "I'm ready for chemotheraphy." Sorry, Neulasta, but no one says that! Two of my friends who recently went through treatment were unable to get the shot because it was considered "medically unnecessary." Due to the high cost, many insurance companies will not cover it unless your white blood cell drop lands you in the hospital. The benefits of the shot far outway the cost.
    The pain does wear off, and your life can get back to normal for a little while until you start the next round.

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