Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm Done!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Current mood: Elated!

Well today was my last treatment. My emotions were all over the place today and still are as I write this.

Of course I'm thrilled that my treatment is over, but sad to have to say good-bye to my chemo nurse, Helen.

It has been a long journey with many highs and lows and even some low lows. But I survived! Wow, let me say that again, I survived!

As I got my final treatment today there was another woman in the room getting hers as well. We exchanged greetings and she visited with her husband and I did my usual, buried myself in my People magazine. A little later, another woman entered the room with a friend. She sat in the recliner next to me. We exchanged smiles and said hello. Her chemo nurse came over and explained everything to her. I knew by the conversation that it was her first treatment. As her chemo nurse started the IV, the woman began to cry. It brought tears to my eyes. I had been there, I knew how scary the first treatment can be. You could tell she was embarrassed. The other woman getting treatment reassured her that it was going be OK and to just let it out. I smiled and said the same thing to her. I even told her that I had cried the whole entire time, my first treatment.

My first treatment seems so long ago, June 25, 2007. What a day. First I had to have my port surgically implanted. That was fun. I had to be at the hospital for 6 am. After my surgery, they wheeled me down to the Cancer Center. I remember sitting in the waiting room, looking at all the sick people. Was I really one of them? When they called my name, I went into the treatment room. My Dad came with me to keep me company. I remember the nurse explaining everything to me. I could hear her words but nothing was registering, I was scared shitless. After she hooked everything up and had left I started flipping through some magazines. I was literally just flipping the pages. I had no idea what I was looking at, everything was cloudy from my tears. I cried the whole entire 2 hours that I was there. And that's not even the worst part. The worst part was that this little old lady sitting across from me getting her treatment stared at me the entire time. I couldn't believe it, I still to this day can't believe it. I'm not sure why she stared. Was it the fact that she had never seen a person scared and crying or was it the fact that I was younger? Whatever it was, I didn't appreciate it. When my treatment was over I remember making my next appointment in Avon, which is a satellite office. I was never returning to that hospital and cancer center ever again! I walked so fast out of there, my Dad could barely keep up. Across the street to the parking garage I headed.

When we got home, my Dad wanted to stay and make sure I was OK. My stomach was queasy so I ate some crackers. At the time I wasn't sure if I was hungry or if it was nausea. That is something I never really learned. The difference between hunger pains and nausea pain. I later learned that night, that is was nausea. It sucked! I couldn't even tell you the last time I threw up. YUK! Welcome to chemo.

My first 4 chemos were the hardest. The nausea was unbearable. I was on three different meds for it and still popped Ativan like it was going out of style. WOW! Looking back is scary.

Losing my hair was one of the hardest things. I really thought I was going to be OK with it until it happened. At first I could see my hair all around the house and on my pillows in the morning. But the worst was the day I was in the shower and washing my hair and seeing the water rise in the tub and not realizing at the time that it was my hair clogging the drain. I remember running my hand across the drain and scooping up what looked like a brillo pad of hair. I started crying, you know that cry where you can't catch your breath and you think you are going to hyperventilate, that was the cry. And of course facing the mirror as I got out of the shower was fun too. That moment is when it hit me. I had cancer.

Well here I am today, still here and with a new head of hair.

Today at the end of treatment as my IV pump beeped, I started to get a little teary eyed. As my chemo nurse headed toward me and started to take the IV out, she said the famous words she always says, "take a deep breath" as she pulls the needle out of my port. Today I told her, that was going to be the last time she was going to have to say that to me. We both laughed. She gave me a huge hug and I thanked her for making my day a little brighter on my days of chemo, when I usually was in a bad mood.

I'm glad to have this chapter in my life come to an end.

And I thank everyone for helping to support me through my Cancer Crapness Journey.

I love each and every one of you!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cancer takes a Beloved Man In Pinstripes...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Current mood: Sad

I learned yesterday after the Yankees game that Bobby Murcer lost his battle with cancer. Upon hearing this news, I started to cry. I love Bobby Murcer. I'm a little too young to remember him as a player but I do remember him as a tv broadcaster. He was one of my favorites. I loved his stories about his playing days and admired his knowledge of the game. He was fun and had an amazing smile. I'm going to miss that smile.

I've been watching the YES network and seeing all the players comment on the life of Bobby Murcer and how he touched them and the same things keep coming up. He was a genuine person who cared about you and always was positive and had a smile on his face.

Why does Cancer have to be so cruel? Why does it have to take such a great person? Just why?

From the Yes Network:
Former Yankee great Murcer dies at 62
NEW YORK — Bobby Murcer, a personable, popular five-time All-Star who went on to a successful broadcasting career with the New York Yankees, died Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 62.

After experiencing a general lack of energy, Murcer was diagnosed with a tumor on Christmas Eve 2006, undergoing surgery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Pathology reports later revealed the tumor to be malignant.

After being diagnosed, Murcer commented in an upbeat spirit, thanking fans for their prayers and warm wishes -- many of which were delivered in the form of letters and e-mails directly to his hospital bed.

"My heart remains true to Yankees fans," Murcer said on Jan. 24. "I've always believed you're the very best in baseball. It's your steadfast spirit that keeps me feeling so optimistic."

Born May 20, 1946, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Murcer played in the Major Leagues for 17 seasons, including making four All-Star appearances with the Yankees.
A lifetime .277 batter, Murcer hit 252 home runs and drove in 1,043 runs in 1,908 Major League games with the Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.

He was the only Yankee to play with both Mickey Mantle and Don Mattingly, and was arguably the franchise's most popular player of the era immediately following Mantle's retirement after the 1968 season.
Murcer was hailed as another Mantle when he emerged from the Yankees' system in the mid-1960s. Both players were signed out of Oklahoma as shortstops by the same scout, Tom Greenwade, prompting comparisons.

As history shows, Murcer could not match comparisons to the Hall of Famer's lofty credentials, but he assembled an admirable Major League career.

One of his best seasons came in 1971, when Murcer led the American League with a .427 on-base percentage and ranked second in the circuit with a career-high .331 batting average.

After struggling with adjustments to Shea Stadium, where the Yankees played in 1974 and 1975 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated, Murcer was traded to the Giants in 1975 for outfielder Bobby Bonds.

He would be dealt to the Cubs in 1977, only to return and finish his career with the Yankees from 1979 through 1983.
Perhaps Murcer's most memorable moment came on Aug. 6, 1979, in the wake of Yankees captain Thurman Munson's untimely death in a plane crash.

Munson and Murcer had been close friends. As the Yankees returned to New York from Munson's funeral service in Ohio, manager Billy Martin suggested that Murcer -- who had delivered a moving eulogy for the catcher -- sit out that evening's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Murcer disagreed, telling Martin that something was telling him to play, and that he did not feel tired. Dedicating his performance to Munson, Murcer drove in all of New York's runs in a 5-4 victory, slugging a three-run homer and a game-winning two-run single.

Murcer was also just the fourth Yankee to hit home runs in four consecutive at-bats, joining Lou Gehrig, Johnny Blanchard and Mantle.

For most of the last 24 years, Murcer had worked as a Yankees broadcaster, winning three Emmy awards for live sports coverage.

Murcer worked as a radio color analyst from 1983-85 before moving to television as a commentator in 1987, and also served as the Yankees' assistant general manager in 1986.

He helped the baseball family immensely through his efforts as chairman of the Baseball Assistance Team, which raises funds for former players who have fallen on hard times. Murcer was also the president of the Oklahoma City 89ers Minor League baseball club in the mid-1980s.

Murcer is survived by his wife, Kay, and two children, Tori and Todd.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Leaving the Doctor's Office doing cartwheels!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Current mood: Relieved

Well, today I had my 3 month follow up ultrasound. I have to admit I was scared shitless sitting in the waiting room first thing this morning. My appointment was at 8:30 and I was the first to arrive. Then came a woman and her husband. She looked like she was about to burst, she was pregnant. I thought to myself, here it comes, all the happy pregnant women and me, the scared shitless girl praying her cancer has not come back. I have come to hate that waiting room.

The results came back normal. The doctor did not see a "spot of interest" on this ultrasound. I asked what the spot could have been and where did it go? She said it was probably a cyst and it went away. I was confused. She explained that good cysts go away on their own and bad cysts stay and depending on what they do, they need to be taken care of.

Thank God my cyst was good!

I am getting one step closer to reclaiming my life. I have my herceptin treatement tomorrow and then I only have 2 more and then I am FREE! By the time my birthday roles around in September, I should be free of all my treatments and crap. Well, I still have to take tamoxifin for another 4 1/2 years, but that's a pill so we won't count that. It sure beats herceptin which I need every 3 weeks through an iv and it takes 90 minutes and takes me back to my chemo days...YUK!

One day at a time....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bald is Beautiful!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Current mood: Tickled Pink

The funniest thing happened to me yesterday at work. One of the team sports associates came up to me and said he saw me on tv. I'm thinking, What? It couldn't have been me. He told me I was bald and if it wasn't for my glasses he wouldn't have thought it was me. I laughed and said I did an interview for some students at South Windsor High back in October at a Breast Cancer Walk.

So I went on line and looked up Student News on the Fox 61 website and laughed when I found the clip.

It seems so long ago that I did that walk and look at me with NO HAIR. Too funny :)

Bald is Beautiful!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Women and Cancer Magazine Interview

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Current mood: Honored

I just wanted to share with everyone. I was interviewed by Women and Cancer Magazine a while ago. The article is called A Place Of Their Own...Adolescent And Young Adult Oncology.

My little blurb is on the last page. I feel so honored to be a part of this article.

I truly believe that your cancer experience is what you make it and reaching out for support is key. I found a fabulous organization called I'm too young for this or i2y. It is a group geared toward the young adult cancer survivor under the age of 40. I have met some great people and have come to love these people I now call my "cancer friends". Matthew Zachary is the founder of i2y and is a pioneer in helping to end the isolation that many young adult cancer survivor's like myself feel.

Check out the i2y website at http://www.i2y.com/

Here is the link for the article. http://downloads.i2y.com/womenandcancer.pdf

If you would like a copy of the magazine, you can find it at Barnes and Noble or you can go to http://www.womenandcancermag.com/