Thursday, April 19, 2012

Race for the Cure - and a Delayed Race to my Cure

In my chemo chair, laptop out,
brother there ready to support,
before we knew it wasn't
happening today
Argh! Today I went to Presby with my two favorite guys (Ben and Ryan, my brother), all ready for round 2 of Taxol – which would be round 6 overall, with 10 more to go. The nurse poked her big hook needle through my port and drew my blood as usual, then took it to the lab so we could make sure my counts were good and we could get the meds started. However – today my labs didn’t come back as expected. I could tell by the nurse’s face that she was going to have bad news before she even said anything. A normal white blood cell count is between 4.8 and 10.8. Last week mine was 5 (already on the low end)….but today it was 1. (Yes, one!) So, the doctor denied me my weekly round of fun. Boo!!! To me, this just means that instead of finishing chemo at the end of June, it will be at least July, and if I had known this, I could have found something much more fun to do during Stella’s Mother’s Day Out day today! Just being honest! It was kind of like putting on your workout clothes, finding a babysitter, driving to the gym, getting geared up to work out, only to find out that all the machines are taken and you have to go home without accomplishing anything. Getting there is more than half the battle!

Ben at chemo today
Not to mention that with my white blood cell count this low, I’m at risk for getting infection – so I’m supposed to avoid crowds, germs, and sick people. They put me on antibiotics as a preventative, gave me a Neupogen shot to boost my WBC count (which I will get every week now), and sent me on my way. So, I’ll go back next week (Thursday or Friday, I’m still waiting to hear from the scheduler) to continue my fight. I guess the silver lining is that I won’t have my chemo hangover on my birthday tomorrow – but I still would have rather had one more treatment under my belt!

Parkeys before the race
In other news (much more fun!) – last Saturday was Race for the Cure! I can’t even begin to say how much fun we had and how supportive everyone was. Thank you to EVERYONE who participated in the race, helped organize our team and team shirts, and donated to Susan G. Komen. We had 25 people on Team Alli, and raised $6,760.00 for Susan G. Komen!!! Yes, that deserves three exclamation points – probably more!!! I know it was a big effort for everyone involved – getting up early, driving to Fort Worth, and contributing financially. A bunch of us went to lunch at Uncle Julio’s afterwards and it was the perfect end to a great day. Thanks again to each one of you – it means more to me than you know!


Some of my oldest (as in longest) and favorite friends!
Tiffany, Blaire, Marlo, Sarah,
Meredith, Kim, Alli, Anna, Ashley

Ben and Stella waiting to start the race
(nice shirts!)

Team Alli

Action shot during the race:
Anna, Meredith, Tiffany, Blaire, Alli, Ben, & Stella

Action shot during the race: Martin, Mom, Ben, & Stella
Ben, Stella, Luke, Angele, and Ryan at the finish line

Stella and Marlo at the finish line
Finish line: Ryan, Meredith, Kim, Sarah, Marlo, Tiffany, Blaire,
Anna, Stella, Ashley, and Alli

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

N-Ice to Meet You, Taxol

Today I went back for more chemo fun. I normally go on Thursdays but I moved this one to Wednesday so that I could have an extra day to recover before Race for the Cure this Saturday – yay! Thank you Andrea for taking me today – it was great catching up and having several hours of quality girl time, even though we were stuck in the Infusion Room! (And thanks for thinking of the creative title for this post - I told you I wanted to give you credit!) I am so glad to have the red devil and all its side effects behind me. Ugh! It literally makes me nauseous to think about it. I know I am in for a whole new round of side effects, but from what I’m told, they should be easier to tolerate. This new drug, Taxol, that I’ll be getting for the next 12 weeks, has some fun side effects: your fingernails and toenails can turn dark, lift, or come off. It’s not likely – but can happen. Or you can get neuropathy – pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet – so they have you do cryotherapy to prevent it. That’s just a fancy way of saying I have to sit with my fingers and toes in ice! It’s supposed to prevent these side effects – but not totally proven. I’m always cold, but I thought it was worth it to keep my nails! A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do – especially when she’s already lost her hair! Last and definitely least exciting, this drug can cause me to lose my eyebrows and eyelashes. Boo! I’m just trying to remind myself that if I lose anything else, it means the chemo is working and it’s killing the bad cells too! Bam! So, this means I have 5 chemo sessions down, 11 to go. They will start going by faster now since they are weekly – no more free Thursdays for me!

I’ve had two nice women come up to me this past week and introduce themselves, and ask if I was a survivor too. The camaraderie in breast cancer survivors is amazing! One woman came up to a group of us at our monthly girls dinner at Nicola’s, and another one at Breadwinner’s when Ben and I were having breakfast. I thought it was so nice – I want to remember how sweet they were so I can pay it forward when I am down the road a bit and see other survivors! I’m also really looking forward to the Susan G. Komen race on Saturday – thank you all for your support! My goal is seriously to try not to cry all day. We’ll see if I can do it!