NO MORE CHEMO!!! CHEMO GRADUATE OFFICIALLY !!JUNE2012

So I made it!! one year of chemo in the books!! Another chapter of this hilarious journey closed. No more beeping infusion pump alarms, port access, poking, prodding , and a little less anxiety. I had become a solider in this war on cancer… every Tuesday I marched into the infusion center with my posse in tow ready for the next batch of toxic agents that would kill this cancer.  I would miss all these beautiful and supportive faces that had been woven into my existence and into the fibers of my new life. Each one of them had touched and changed my me personally during my most vulnerable time and while they were mere strangers in the beginning they grew to be part of my family.

Now, the side effects I would come to learn would worsen and linger. The  exhaustion, the waves of nausea, and OH the neuropathy in my legs and hands would be the most torturous,  almost debilitating. I had a hard time walking short distances or holding a pen,  the pain was maddening. I could  not get to it, I was unable to rub it away it, it literally was nerve-racking. As time progressed… eh almost 2 years later it was all getting better. Despite being done with the infusions I was still dealing with the lasting effects both physically and emotionally.  I would be excited for my hair and eyelashes and taste buds to grow back. Oh how I longed to be able to savor flavors again. Big and Small victories!

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the last drops of chemo

the last drops of chemo

PUMPED STOPPED!!

PUMPED STOPPED!!

last message on the bag!

last message on the bag!

Dr. Hahm and her chemo graduate

Dr. Hahm and her chemo graduate

these two!! always worried!

these two!! always worried!

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CHEMO GRADUATE!!

CHEMO GRADUATE!!

MARY ANNE!!! love her!!!

MARY ANNE!!! love her!!! Chemo mix-ologist!!!

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I came out of my self described “chemo suite” to share my final drops of chemo to what I had termed the “general population”.

my sweet shay!!! the bestest oncology nurse on earth!!!

my sweet shay!!! the bestest oncology nurse on earth!!!

chemo graduation celebration steak dinner!!

chemo graduation celebration steak dinner!!

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First Day Of Poison eh hm.. I mean Chemo 6/21/11

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Four days after Vascular Surgry let the party begin…Nah Not really!

I would be scheduled to get 4 rounds of Carboplatin and Taxotere combined with one year of HERCEPTIN. Yes I said ONE YEAR of infusions with Herceptin.  Herceptin is a life saving mon-clonial antibody that targeted my aggressive form of HER2+ breast cancer.  My cancer cells were replicating fast and furiously and they needed to be STOPPED! Only I would need a year of this infusion to kill every last one of them!!! I would get infusions of the Carboplatin and Taxotere once every 3 weeks but I would have Herceptin every week  for a year. Have I said I HATE CANCER!!! Grrrrr!

I was blessed to get the most amazing Oncology Nurse ever created Shamichael!!  From my first day of Chemotherapy orientation, no seriously you have to complete it before you begin .Good times right? Unfortunately, I hate to admit it but  I had a horrible attitude that afternoon during my orientation  but Shay was not phased in the slightest. She was positive, encouraging, hopeful and oh so happy. It was hard to resist her positivity. She is truly an angel sent here on earth to help guide me and my family through the hardest and most frightening time of my life.So  with a better attitude than when I arrived we parted ways only to see her again in a few days to begin this portion of the journey.

I was so incredibly nerveous this day.. what would it  feel like? how would it make me feel? how sick was this going to make me?would the cold caps save my hair and MOST importantly would it WORK????? WOULD THIS KILL MY CANCER and not me in the process??

First DAY of Chemo

the first day of chemo my crew is ready

the first day of chemo my crew is ready

Penguin Cold Caps

The adventures of the cold caps: Please let them work and pretty please help me not lose my hair from CHEMO!!! PLEASE GOD PLEASE!!

I invested several of  thousand of  dollars  not covered by my insurance to save my follicles. I had so little that I was able to control in this disease I thought I might manage a sliver of control by using this technique which had proven to save your hair during chemo.  Losing my hair was going to be hard and i was going to try with every ounce of my being to prevent that from happening. I knew there was a chance that it would not work but  I was definitely going to try…

Heres how it works:Penguin Cold Caps

This innovative  approach reduces chemotherapy induced  hair loss by cooling the hair capillaries and reducing the metabolic rate of the hair follicles to a hibernated state, preventing the absorption of chemotherapeutic drugs into the hair bulbs of the scalp.

Penguin Cold Caps: The "A" team

Penguin Cold Caps: The “A” team. MOM DAD AND THOMAS

Life saving Poison and a literal brain freeze!BURRR

Life saving Poison and a literal brain freeze!BURRR

Cold Cap Round !

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Thomas keeping meticulous tabs of the temperature of the cold caps.saving the follicles