#MyLeftBoob #BreastCancer Battle: Mind Over #Cancer

w short hair

I’m gearing up for chemo #2 on Thursday after a week of ups and downs, physically and emotionally. The homeopathic nurse at the hospital told me there are 3 important things to focus on to get better: Mind, body and spirit.

Mind: Think good thoughts, stay positive, keep a good sense of humor

Body: Eat healthy, drink lots of water, avoid carbs, sugar and processed foods

Spirit: Do relaxing activities like yoga, meditation and anything to keep stress levels down

Last Thursday was my one week post-chemo follow-up. My oncologist said my white blood cell counts are low, which is normal, but everything else looked good. The side effects below are what a chemo patient can experience from the drugs I’m taking- Adriamycin & Cytoxan (A/C). For me the worst has been the metal taste, mouth sores and difficulty concentrating.

Adriamycin & Cytoxan side effects:

-Decrease of white & red blood cells
-Decrease in platelets
-Hair loss
-Mouth sores
-Nail changes
-Discolored urine
-Severe sunburn with sun exposure
-Decreased appetite
-Taste changes (metal taste)
-Changes in menstrual cycle
-Bladder irritation
-Nasal congestion
-Difficulty concentrating
-Problems with short-term memory
-Confusing dates and appointments
-Misplacing objects
-Fumbling for the right word or phrase

Then there’s nausea and digestive issues from the anti-nausea meds. I could be feeling good one minute and then BAM! I get hit with a wave of nausea and/or exhaustion.

Another big problem I’ve been experiencing is what they call “chemo brain.” According to MD Anderson Cancer Center, chemo brain is “difficulty in efficiently processing information, is a legitimate, diagnosable condition that may be caused by chemotherapy treatment, the cancer itself, or secondary medical conditions such as anemia.”

So please be patient with me if I ask you the same question twice, mixup a date, or forget if you already told me something. It’s just another terrible side effect I must deal with over the next few months or even two years.

When I went for my first treatment on 4/9, the nurse said they don’t call A/C “red devil” anymore but it still is pretty scary. The medication is red in color and is so toxic that they warn you to flush twice with the lid down and wash your hands for 45 seconds during and after infusion.

It can only be administered by hand into a vein by a specially trained Chemotherapy Nurse in a cap, gown and gloves by hand through an injection. My dosage was four huge tubes that look like 4 monster sized syringes. It’s shot directly into the port in my chest because it’s really tough on the veins in the arm.

After 3 more A/C treatments over the next 14 weeks, I will then get 4 doses of Taxol followed by 6 weeks of radiation (30 treatments).

My doctor said my hair will start falling out on day #19 or 20 after the first treatment which will be on 4/28 or 4/29. I’m getting a buzz cut this Thursday because my breast cancer sisters say it’s less traumatic when it falls out in 1/2 inch clumps instead of 4-5 inch clumps. Thankfully I have a very generous and talented sister who owns a hair salon (Salon Kamala in Bethel, CT) and I know she will make me look cool.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends, family and even complete strangers who have been delivering meals, contributing to my fundraising page so we can pay our hospital bills on time, leaving trinkets, books and cards in my mailbox, and constantly praying for me and lifting me up.

One thing I have not yet spoken much about is how much I have felt God’s presence throughout this fight through the kindness and blessings of so many. Here is a scripture that’s helped me get through some very scary experiences, 2 surgeries, 2 biopsies, a tooth extraction, 2 emergency room visits and my first chemo:

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry…. There is no room in love for fear.” ~1 John 4:17-18, The Message Bible

Thank you all for making my fight easier by blessing me with so much kindness.

Looking forward to:

***84 days until last chemo!

***85 days until family vacation!

~Wendy 🙂

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