I never thought I would be a blogger 

Dearest Liver,

When I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2005 everyone told me that I should make a blog. I was in a much different head space the first time around and didn’t see how it would help me. Then I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer 2 years ago and everything changed. I was struggling with a way to cope and decided to give this a try. It seemed like a good way to vent my thoughts and spare my family and friends from having to talk about my cancer all of the time. Continue reading I never thought I would be a blogger 

No more chemo for a bit!

Dearest Liver,

My latest scan showed that you are still responding to the chemo and shrinking, so after a few tears, a few meltdown emails, and some begging on my part Dr. Rugo gave me a bit of a break. My dad called it a “drug holiday” at first, which I have to admit sounds way more fun than just NOT taking drugs, but it was nice to let my body recover for a bit.

Now I have been switched over to a hormone therapy drug that consists of two HUGE shots in the butt. The shots are supposed to be monthly, but I have to get them every 2 weeks for the first 3 injections. Then they start being once a month. Tomorrow is my second shot, so I’ve made it through the first 2 weeks pretty much major side effect free. Continue reading No more chemo for a bit!

The woes of chronic illness

Dearest Liver,

Chronic illness is the thing that I struggle with the most in my current situation. It’s the thing that makes me feel alone and sad and tends to trigger most of my recent meltdowns. It’s also something no one will ever fully understand unless they have the misfortune of having it, so I thought I could try and explain it to you.

When I was first diagnosed with metastatic cancer, I felt lucky to have such an amazing support system of family and friends. It was really hard to process the idea of having incurable cancer. I was just about to turn 30 and the thought of being “that cancer girl” for the rest of my life horrified me. My friends made jokes with me and told me that I was stupid for thinking that no one would ever love me or want to be with me because I have cancer. They were a shoulder to cry on and would take me out drinking and dancing whenever I needed a break from reality. Continue reading The woes of chronic illness

Break

Dearest Liver,

I was given a small break from my chemo last week. Despite my two neupogen shots, my blood counts were too low for chemo. I also suspect that the addition of the neuropathy helped my case for a break. I have been feeling like I never fully bounce back lately as well. The exhaustion is overwhelming. Granted I probably don’t sleep enough hours, but having to be at work at 7:30 am doesn’t make it easy.

Instead of chemo I had my 3 cycle CT and found out that the tumor in you was a little smaller again! Not the 50% decrease that I had the last time, but still, smaller is smaller! Now I’m waiting to see what my doc wants to do next time. I’m being tested for a new study and there are some other options on the table. I have a feeling I’ll be back on chemo for a little bit next week, but at least I got a tiny break. Continue reading Break

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! But only when it comes to side effects.

Dearest Liver,

Why is it that if there is a tiny chance that someone, somewhere will get a side effect from a drug it’s going to end up being me? Not only do I have zombie jaw that is supposed to be an uncommon side effect from Xgeva, but now I seem to be developing neuropathy from my current chemos.

Me as a zombie Halloween, 2014.
Me as a zombie Halloween, 2014.

According to the interwebs, which everyone knows is true, 2% of cancer patients treated with Xgeva developed jaw necrosis. And according to my NP, who I love and trust, neuropathy is possible, but has a much lower chance with the drug I’m on than one of the taxanes, like the Taxol I had the first time around that did cause neuropathy. Continue reading Winner, winner, chicken dinner! But only when it comes to side effects.

Skele-gro or what my doctors call Neupogen

Dearest Liver,

You’ve probably noticed me complaining about my Neupogen shots (or Skele-gro as I like to think of it), but I don’t know if I’ve ever explained it. The chemotherapy treatments that I get have the known side effect of lowering white blood counts. White blood cells are what help fight off infections in your body, and neutrophils, a type of white blood cells, fight infection by destroying harmful bacteria in the body. When your neutrophils get too low, your chances of getting an infection become a lot higher. If they become too low you can even be at risk for an infection from eating fresh fruit or veggies or from even being around fresh cut flowers.

In order to try and avoid all of that mess and to make sure that my neutrophils are high enough for my next treatment, I get shots of Neupogen. Neupogen is used to stimulate the growth of bone marrow, the place where your white blood cells and neutrophils are made. This hurts like hell. Bones that I didn’t even know existed in me start to hurt. Hence my name for it: Skele-gro. Continue reading Skele-gro or what my doctors call Neupogen

Healing the unconventional way

Dearest Liver,

I have a few topics that I’ve been wanting to discuss with you, but today I read an article about an org called P.Ink (http://p-ink.org/) that inspired me to talk about my tattoos as a weird/unconventional mental healing method.

P.Ink helps breast cancer survivors find tattoo artists and encourages them to take back control of their scars and bodies. Most of the women in the article seemed to be tattooing over mastectomy scars or getting something creative tattooed instead of the “traditional” fake nipples. I really like the concept and mission of the org. Continue reading Healing the unconventional way