The good news is I’m done chemo. Chemo was like a hard punch, just as you recover you get punched again. And this cycle continued for 16 rounds with a five week “break” in the middle to have a baby.
My first three rounds were three weeks apart and were the “tougher” meds (A/C also known as the red devil). The second half of chemo was weekly and while the “easier” half, the weekly treatments were exhausting.
Fatigue and exhaustion was the biggest side effect of chemo. I’d have limited energy and need at least one nap a day. The other biggest side effect (aside from hair loss) was nausea. Since I had nausea from the start of my pregnancy, I’ve basically been dealing with nausea on and off for a year. Fun stuff.
With the chemo it’s just as my energy would come back I’d have chemo again and start the whole lack of energy and exhaustion process. I’m still waiting for the energy to come back which I know is a gradual process. Turns out 16 rounds of chemo is pretty exhausting and you don’t just bounce right back after the last treatment is over.
But now comes the big blow: the bilateral mastectomy. Rather than smaller, weekly blows, this is one big blow with a long recovery. But then it’s over. I’m also having reconstruction done so it’s roughly a two month recovery. I’m dreading it but then that’s it. I know it will hurt a lot early on but I’ll gradually feel better and slowly be able to do more and more. And this big blow will hopefully mark the end of this cancer. It’s been a long, tough journey and I can’t wait to be done.
The wait has been the hardest part. I’ve been trying to take this whole treatment and cancer week by week and was focused on getting through the chemo. But once that was over, I’ve had three weeks to ruminate and worry about the surgery. And that’s been hard.
The three weeks have given me time to overthink what lies ahead, look up way too much and get input from family that while I’m sure is done out of concern, just adds to my already high anxiety.
Yes there are risks with reconstruction but it’s what I want. I’ve decided that awhile ago. I’m sure it won’t feel natural and may be uncomfortable. But again, it’s what I want. Yes I’ll be on strong pain meds and yes I’ve been on some before. Thankfully (just kidding) I have terrible teeth and had some extractions and root canals and needed pain meds. And yes I’ve been put under before. I was knocked out when I had a D and C following a miscarriage. So I’ll be all right. It won’t be easy, but I’ll get through, just like I got through the chemo.
There’s also nerves because I’ve never had major surgery before. It wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve had any surgery. I had surgery in November to get my port put in for the chemo. I had to take it easy for a few days and couldn’t sleep on the side of the port for a bit. I won’t be able to sleep on either side for a bit following this surgery but I’ve had some practice. I also couldn’t pick up Alice right after the port placement and after my amniocentesis this fall. So again I had some practice in the past year of not being able to lift the kids and having to take it easy, not that it quite compares to a mastectomy,but some practice.
I also had a d and c in March of 2019. That was a quick recovery. I was maybe a little sore for a day or two. I had the procedure the week of all the NCAA conference basketball tournaments leading up to selection Sunday so it was a good time for a big college basketball fan like me to lay around and watch games all day and mentally took my mind a little off the loss of our baby.
Despite being told to take it easy for a few days I do remember having to stop in to the pool two days after the procedure to check on some blood in the pool incident that happened with kids swim to make sure it was all cleaned up and ready for rec swim that afternoon. I put in lane lines which was a bit much and I was a little sore after because I don’t take it easy and work too hard. I will take it easy this time around and I stopped caring about work after I went out on leave. I learned my lesson.
There is also nerves because it’s surgery and I never had anything major before. All my years of playing sports K-college and I never broke a bone or tore a knee or anything. I only dealt with stress fractures in my legs in college (which I’m sure were due to my eating disorder at the time) and that’s it. I went on to break my elbow when my shoelace got caught in a grate at the bottom of an escalator, again break my elbow when I fell running in the snow (incredibly stupid on my part) and broke my hand when I fell and smacked my hand on rocks at the bottom of a hill while coaching xc. And they took time and I healed just like I will with this “injury” and surgery.
So it’s hard waiting for this final blow that I know will hurt, know will be limiting and know will be a long recovery. But it will also mark the end of sorts of this difficult journey. And I can’t wait to be done. I’ve been through a lot and wish I didn’t have to go through a mastectomy but it’s what is best for me to reduce my risk and hopefully never have to worry about this cancer again.
I’ve been through a lot and while nervous I can handle this final blow. Years of sports training have made me tough as have my life experiences so I can get through this surgery. It’s time to continue to kick this cancer’s ass.
#bilateralmastectomy #chemo #pregnantwithcancer #onetoughmother