I’m officially 6 weeks out from my last chemotherapy treatment this week. I had the most fun 6th chemo session (I call these my ‘bad chemo’)- I was able to get a private room with my sister and one of my closest friends, a Reiki Treatment, and a photographer! Cookie cake and all for a final party in my room!
For 1, 6th chemo was done! It was my worst. I had reflux that lasted for weeks (still comes and goes a little) but is finally what seems to be under control. I would have pain in my stomach that just ached for half a day, leaving me lying in agony on the couch and unable to move. I have never felt anything like it! A local naturopathic physician helped me start some probiotics and licorice that likely helped that along. I wanted to feel normal a week after my last chemo. I felt ‘done’- but I had to keep reminding myself that I had not completed a 3 week cycle of what had become my new normal for those 4-5 months.
Knowing my hair would finally not be suppressed any longer I started biotin 10,000mcg daily and bought a new hair/scalp wash called Nioxin. Hard to know if that is helping or if my hair is naturally coming back on its own. But this I am using daily at this point. Anything to get this going again. Oh and did I mention my nails are taking a beating? I have tried to keep them on as long as possible… but several can’t hold on. Luckily new growth is coming in and they are not painful…
The next step after getting through those after effects was training for the Asheville Half Marathon! This has been on my radar for a year now! For the 2nd year I have been an Asheville marathon Ambassador as well as an idaphe ambassador. I have enjoyed helping Daphne by volunteering in her office when I can , which ends up being a few times a month, moreso as we reached closer to the Marathon and Half.
Well, what better way to start off my running prep than with a Valentine’s 5k a week after Chemo #6! I decided to run this literally the night before and got the kids involved and everything.
It wasn’t my best training plan, but I ran 1-2 short runs and an 8m then a 9.5m training run in the few weeks leading up to the race. Luckily since I had run the half in December, I knew my legs had to remember a little about running…
The weekend prior to the big race our family bolted in to help stuff Goody Bags as we had missed the goody Bag stuffing party the week prior due to other engagements. Then leading into being involved in the expo, set up, then the race!
A lot of people think I’m crazy running a race after chemo (or even during chemo as I have). I tell you, it is mind over matter and trust me, I wasn’t running that fast. But fast enough to be done in time to work the awards station after the race…lol.
So the race started on a very cold morning. Low 30’s was the start. Luckily there were heaters set out in the pre-race area to bundle up next to. My Brother in Law was running with us too. His first half marathon! He helped me stay warm in preparation.
Weeks ago I had envisioned a cool cape I could wear on the back of my running clothes, so I created one! My idea was that if someone came up behind me, they would be motivated to pass me because who wants to run behind that poor girl who just went through chemo? Surely most people would want to pass me!
I started out strong. Keep a nice jog up, but knew that hill at mile 2 would kick my butt…. then again at mile 3.3… But as I was blessed to find that a friend found found around mile 1. She stuck with me the entire way! I warned her I may do some walking. She was ok with that. Maybe she was happy with that, maybe I held her back, I really don’t know which, but it was perfectly motivating for me! We actually did pretty darn good up until the last 3 miles, which in retrospect in this race is always the hardest to me because of the gravel. We alternated the walking and running much more those last few miles until we had to bust out the end 1/4 mile through the finish. I literally started to choke up and almost started crying as I got to the end and ran to the finish line. It ended with the best feeling of completion ever!
After the wonderful pictures we got at the end and running up to grab some snacks and drinks post race, I rushed over to the awards Gazebo to hand out awards with Conrad, Daphne, and Amy. After that was completed, we rushed to relieve my parents of my children so that we could relax the rest of the day.
The following morning was a moment to bundle up in snow bibs and volunteer for day 2! What a day! I love handing out awards to these amazing runners!
Next week- echocardiogram, regular Dr. apt, Surgery, then Herceptin. I’m getting to be a pro I feel at the Dr. appointment thing. I just keep coming back for more!
So surgery- the morning started at Hope where I had to have a wire placed (this was painful btw) and radioactive chemicals placed into my body to light up my lymph nodes for removal. One of our church ministers/pastors Adam met us there for a quick prayer and of course ‘race talk’. Ha. We are blessed to have these people in our lives.
Off to the hospital, 30 minutes later than expected, so the pre-op was rushing around to get me ready. I was ready. And of course I had a moment to brag to my surgeon before surgery that I got my half-marathon in before he got to me. I also made a strong mention to him that if at al possible I would love 1 incision and no drains. That was my goal.
My sister came in and did a pseudo dance for me while my IV was placed. That hurt as well. I don’t like getting stuck.
Anyhow, a little nervous going into this as I am being pumped with sedating medications the next thing I know I’m waking up and asking the nurse if I’m still in surgery. Of course not. I’m starving too. You know, sometimes you can skip breakfast no problem- but if you intentionally don’t eat because you can’t, then it makes you even hungrier! Those saltines and graham crackers in recovery were wonderful.
And the better news- 1 incision and no drains!
My Herceptin appointment was yesterday morning. On St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll have this every 3 weeks until the end of September. No side effects.
My arm is feeling well enough that I can get dressed with a little assistance at this point. Just being careful to not lift with that arm. My kids and husband are being wonderful with helping me achieve these goals. Except when a certain 8, almost 9 year old jumps on me.
Oh and because there has to be a funny story- at the hospital, Conrad lost my wedding band. Ok, so maybe its not a funny story. But the wonderful thing is that tiny little band was located in the recovery room the next day and they gave me a call as we were leaving Hope, so off to the Hospital to recollect we went!
The next step is radiation. Hoping to start this right after spring break as I would like to take a biking trip for a few days over break before this starts.
I will also be starting hormone therapy. I will be forced into menopause at my young age. Good thing I have no interest in more kids at this point 🙂 Love my boys.
Through this process, I’ve worried little. Understood God is in control and there to carry me through. Prayers and support have been wonderful! I thank all!