Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ups and Downs

So I have good news, and I have bad news....the good news is that Tuesday's chemo session was a smooth one with no major complications that day. The bad news is the complications came on Wednesday.  I am experiencing "radiation recall." That on top of the severed nerves from my lymph node removal last spring makes for a burning sensation that on some days is simply incapacitating.  What makes things worse is that the pain pill causes a migraine every.single.time.  Therefore, I'm left choosing the lesser of two evils. I knowingly invited a headache last night because the burning was so intense which resulted in about two and a half total hours of sleep.  Thank goodness it is such a beautiful day. I have all of the windows open, and the spring like breeze feels amazing and very soothing.

I have an appointment this coming Tuesday with Dr. Pippas to discuss a possible steroid regimen to hopefully keep the pain in check. We are also switching back to Tamoxifen, solely based on the fact that the new drug was $80 as opposed to $20!!! That unfortunately but realistically makes a big difference to a gal with no income.

In other news, my client Kati and I had great success in our shopping adventure this week.  Within the realm of only three stores we expanded her wardrobe exponentially. I ran into her husband and he paid me the ultimate compliment by saying "TLC's What Not to Wear has NOTHING on your skills!" I will of course be requesting his official client's spouse's testimony after we finish the coordination phase tomorrow. ;)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bone scans, closets, chemo, and Mardi Gras

Happy Fat Tuesday everyone! As I apply my Lidocream to my chemo port, I can't help but wonder if the chemo room will be decorated in shades of purple, gold, and green.  Considering the nearly provocative yet mandatory placement of my port, I should at least score one set of beads, riiiiight??? :)  I've never been to New Orleans but have been very seriously contemplating changing that this year.
So many good things to report in one post! For starters, my bone scan results were NEGATIVE! That is a great thing! Here is the direct quote from my favorite nurse:
Hi Carly, Dr Pippas looked at your bone scan from yesterday (2/8/2012). He said: "It's negative! No sign of metastatic cancer". GOOD NEWS!!!! Take care, Lori

As with other scan results, this does not mean my existing cancer is gone, only that it has not spread to my bones (A.K.A. metastasized) so my family has been jumping for joy ever since.  We are still working out different drug combinations with Dr. Pippas.  The Tamoxifen has made me very nauseated so we are switching to its "kissing cousin" Toremifene.  This one utilizes a different enzyme in my liver and therefore may not affect my metabolism as directly. *crosses fingers*

I spent some time in two different closets yesterday through my "Style Guru" role.  My first true client Kati is a fun one. She is a beautiful girl with two beautiful children that make my job all the more fun.  She is far from having a full closet but we made some of her existing pieces look new again through belts and jewelry. We are also planning to expand her collection in that arena.  Stacey needed some "spring wardrobe sprucing" so I took brightly colored tops and cardigans and mixed them in fresh new ways to give her some added cheer.  She will be escorting me to chemo today so we might have to squeeze in a brief shopping trip while we have access to more than two stores! Ha, unlike LaGrange.

I have received two very special visits recently from my sweet friend Phyllis Bruce. Her Sunday School class has given me a love offering on two separate occasions, and she always brings a home cooked meal and a warm hug to go along with it;  it means so much.  I would also like to acknowledge the local breast cancer support group Breast Friends For Life.  Those sweethearts paid a substantial amount towards my rent this month.  My heart is full to you who continue to reach out.  Your kindness and generosity mean the world to me.

Gotta run...I have to finish my chemo prep. 
Happy Mardi Gras!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Growth

Sitting down to type this latest blog post has been harder than having a tooth pulled.  It is one thing to have certain feelings but to express them in written form takes it to another level.

However, I was recently told I should celebrate my triumphs, as much as I focus on my trials (even more so actually).  So we will begin there...with new growth.  My hair is growing in! Rather rapidly in fact, along with my eyelashes and eyebrows.  I have received many compliments on the new "hairstyle" which always makes me giggle, but I take as sincere flattery either way.

Without a job to go to everyday, I have been pondering ways to use my natural talents to stay busy. With the urge of some of my close friends, I am offering my wardrobe coordination consulting skills to the general public.  I have created a logo and intro forms if anyone is interested.  It is officially called "a Byrd in your closet"...pun definitely and adorably intended ;-)

And now for the rain it cabin it it the old fashioned blues.  Whatever you call it the months of December and January were emotionally brutal. I started taking Tamoxifen in December and it has affected my hormones, and appetite and nausea, but I am fighting hard to keep my positive outlook.  To say this is the time for encouragement is an understatement.  It seems that in the midst of chemo you are too busy slaying the physical beast to realize the toll it is truly taking on your heart, mentality, life plan, stability, well-being, etc.  Only recently have I begun to actualize what I'm referring to as "the fight behind the fight." I have learned that I cannot control external circumstances and that has been a hard pill to swallow. I have also learned to accept more help.  As you are most likely aware, I am an independent gal.  I like nothing more than marching to the beat of my own drum most days. But lately, friends have popped in, drug me out of bed, and dusted me off to keep me in the loop of life.  They have intruded with the best intentions, and I graciously appreciate it. You know who you are :-)

As this post concludes, I ask for specific prayers, prayers that allow me to truly trust in God's plan for my life this year as I transition from my tumultuous twenties to what I hope will be my thriving thirties!