Poked, Prodded and Pumped

Sorry I've been a little boring on the blog lately. Boring is good...is what I thought. So I was enjoying it and also just trying to get back into the normalcy of life, work, hanging out, lifting my arms and growing my boobs back to size. Had a few bridal meetings to get some design jobs going. Feeling good.

But careful what you wish for, I received my awaited Oncotype dx tumor score the day before Thanksgiving. Right after a big boob pump up (he put 100 ccs in each side which basically put me back to like the week of surgery...it hurt...bad...but at least only for a few days). Let me also preface that a few weeks before this, I had ran into a neighbor back in Hopewell (where I grew up and where my parents still live). I used to go over and have snacks with her and pick peanuts in her backyard when I was a wee little one (before I even had boobs or the thought of getting them). She had a very similar cancer to mine, everything very similar (stage, grade, tumor size, etc.) Her Oncotype Score was 25 in the medium/intermediate level (but a little bit higher in that level). They gave her the option of chemo to reduce the reoccurrence. She is in her 70s and figured, hey I'll take my chances, she figured chemo would do more harm to her than not. IN THAT MOMENT, I said to myself, if my score is over 25, I'll do chemo, no questions asked. 

Ten days later, my doc called up....its 26. 

Of course it is. 

Universe has been directing me this whole time.

He couldn't tell me too much other than it being intermediate and more on the higher level of intermediate. And I told him how I had a gut feeling it was going to be around there. We have joked that everything about this cancer is medium, so of course that score is going to be medium. So I knew what they would be recommending and what was ahead of me.


Heather (my business partner) and I joked how my cancer is medium and I've now described my whole cancer like a Pantone Warm Gray 6 - like a medium charcoal. Which is my favorite color (technically Pantone Warm Gray 11), go figure right. And she joked that I hope this doesn't make you not like gray anymore! Just means it was meant to be I guess! Hell Medium & Light Charcoal is better than High & Black!!! 

Okay, back to chemo. 

A week later (because Thanksgiving pushed back doc appointments), I finally met with my medical oncologist. (whom I already love). She really didn't even give me like an option for chemo, just straight up recommended it, considering my age, family history and tumor score. Basically I'm a little over 20% of a reoccurrence rate if I don't do chemo (and just do a hormone blocker for 10 years - Tamoxafin). With chemo, it brings down my reoccurrence rate to 10%. I like those odds. 

Chemo treatment will be through an IV (no port).
4 treatments - once every 3 weeks - so for a total of 12 weeks total of chemo chillin through me.
I will loose my hair, but they don't think I should loose my eyebrows and eyelashes.
I will start loosing it around my 2nd treatment (so 3 weeks)
They administer 2 drugs - Taxotere and Cytoxin.
I'll be nauseous, sore, tired and possibly tingling in my fingers and toes. (I've already picked up 4 anti-nausea drugs from the pharmacy for this)
My worst days will probably be 3-5 days after each treatment then the following week will be my "low white blood count week" where I'll just try and hibernate from the world so I won't get a cold/flu. My docs seem to be worried that I own a retail store during the highest flu/cold season. So I'll be mostly working from home. AKA don't NOT shop in RPS because the fear of getting me sick...if anything SHOP MORE...gotta pay for these eggs, new boobs and this fresh new bald haircut ;) haha

Overall because of my score and it is preventative, we are hoping that my dosage and treatment shouldn't be too intense to cause other insanely major issues, because I'm overall healthy (except the breast cancer). (Yes nurse, I haven't heard that before.)

The second drug they give me, Cytoxin is pretty harmful to ovaries and fertility. So they pretty much set me up with a Reproductive Doctor right after this appointment. So my mom and I go in there to see my options. She goes over my options of basically putting my ovaries into medical menopause during this. Which basically gives me an 80% chance that it won't completely destroy my ovaries and eggs. And another option would be to freeze eggs, but this procedure takes time and honestly I wasn't sure if my Medical Oncologist would be up for it. So the Reproductive Doctor took me to check out my ovaries to see what I got. And in all honesty, if I looked pretty infertile and nothing looked good in there, we would have skipped this part and just started the damn chemo. That was what was in my head while I was prodded down there. She usually checks for like 8-10 eggs on each ovary. She counted 13-14 on each side. The nurse in the back let out an excited sigh. My doc was like, yeahhh she doesn't have a good poker face, it looks really good in here and you have a lot to work with. So your telling me I look pretty fertile and those eggs look pretty damn good, so I should probably save them. She got the okay from my Medical Oncologist to proceed. And obviously insurance doesn't cover this part. BUT I got a grant from Livestrong Fertility Program that helps out with pretty much half of the costs of all of this. Your know perks of cancer. 

So from 8 am to 3 pm my mom and I were at Martha Jefferson hopping around from doc to nurse going over my future next 3 months (chemo) and then my 5-10 year plan (babies). Remind you that I'm single and 30. Oh and my Medical Oncologist basically told me she won't let me get pregnant for 5 years anyways.

But let me tell you, I think Momma Antol was pretty excited...it is her first big step toward grand-babies that she has had between my sister and I. To quote Big K (Momma Antol) "Hell, I'll put a downpayment on some grand-babies." While my dad on the phone says "Well, who the hell is going to fertilize them?" We have at least 5 years dad. Chill out. 

That was all on December 3rd. I wanted a drink so bad after that, but the docs told me no alcohol during my "stimulation" period of growing the eggs. AND honestly I was more worried about Momma Antol - SHE was not going to allow me to mess up her grand-babies. 

But bam! I did feel better because at least now I have a plan and it looks like a good one. Chemo will bring my reoccurrence down and save my mental state in life so hopefully I know now I would have done everything to not have Clawrilla or her cousins return in the future. *knock on wood* I will have healthy 30 year old eggs chillin' in the freezer for whenever I want them...even if my ovaries fail, I can still grow one of them suckers inside me 5-15 years down the road.  (Expecting I find a willing and suitable or at a reasonable priced donor). I get to play with wigs, hats, scarves and fun pixie cuts for a year or so. And I'll have healthy perky boobs for life. 

So for the past week, I have been shooting myself up everyday to stimulate egg growth. And then going in to get prodded to check out my egg growth pretty much close to a daily basis and also drawing blood each time too. The blood work is basically watching my hormone levels to make sure they stay low. (aka I got holes and bruises in my arms and stomach and look like a straight up junkie) I'm also on a hormone blocker during this to keep my hormones low since my cancer feeds off of hormones.

Oh and I also got another boob pump up last Thursday. He was going to do another big injection this time, but we figured since there is no rush now we stayed lower and will spread out my last few. I now won't have my implant surgery until after chemo. 

Retrieval of eggs is tomorrow, the 15th...wonder if that means I should celebrate that date each year?? I know we don't have a card for that...but if we did it would probably go something like... "Happy egg retrieval day! May your eggs stay healthy and frozen so your genes won't go extinct." 

So yeah, the past 2 weeks have just been lots of poking, prodding and pumping! 

Chemo starts Monday, December 21st. So by my calculations on when I'll feel the worst, I'll be face down in a toilet on Christmas Day. Thanks Santa. 

And all this behind me by summertime. Exotic beach trip is soo what I'm looking forward to...whose with me?! 

Dani and my bigger girls, bloated eggs and pretty long hair.