Quick update on my last few appointments. I had the pleasure of getting my port removed on July 23rd. I have been looking forward to that day for a long time. Everything went very well, until a few days ago, when I noticed infection settling in. I did return to the surgeon's office yesterday and was put on antibiotic. I hope it all clears up quickly. I will return on August 6th to get my stitches removed. I met with my oncologist on July 23rd as well. We talked a bit about the preventative measures we will take now that I am cancer free. I am to get either a mammogram or MRI scan every year. I will also have to be on the drug Tamoxifen for the next 5 years. This is an anti-hormone therapy that can help prevent the return of breast cancer. My cancer was estrogen positive, meaning that it was hormone driven. The Tamoxifen will help block the estrogen getting to my remaining breast. I am not to get pregnant while on this drug. Like most drugs, it is associated with certain side effects, such as hot flashes (which I have had all through chemo and despise them!) and in some cases, uterine cancer! I was a bit confused as to why I am being put on a drug to prevent my cancer from coming back, only to have a chance of it giving me a different one........ But the oncologist assured me that studies have shown that the number of women in which Tamoxifen prevented the breast cancer from coming back largely outweigh the amount of women who got uterine cancer. It is a small percentage and he knows this drug will be beneficial to me. I am grateful to have had such amazing specialists to guide me through this journey. They are so knowledgeable and have taken great care of me. Again and again, thank you for your support and many prayers. We have felt their power and strength and continue to feel it, as we look forward to moving on and remaining cancer free.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
WE HAVE FINALLY REACHED THE LONG-AWAITED END OF TREATMENTS!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot even begin to describe just how happy and free I feel. Monday, July 16th was my last chemotherapy treatment. I could not wipe the smile off my face as I walked in the cancer center and into the infusion room, knowing it was the last time I entered that room. I was finally reaching the finish line of what seemed like the longest journey ahead of me when I started. As I sat down tonight to update the blog, I began by reading all my previous entries. Looking back on the journey now, time seems to have gone by quite fast. But reading back, it seems like it started so long ago. I cannot believe Jaden was 7 weeks old when I got diagnosed. He is now a whopping 20 lbs, happy-as-can-be,7 month old, crawling all over the place. How time flies. I know I have not been very dilligent in keeping this blog updated this last round of chemotherapy. At the beginning of these last 12 weeks of weekly chemo, I must admit I was a bit frightened and intimidated by the number of treatments I had left. It seemed like an eternity to get through. But how your thoughts and prayers have helped! I was given the strength necessary to get through it. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the symptoms with the taxol were different than the symptoms with my first 4 treatments. I had a bit more energy with the taxol, although without fail, Thursdays of every week were the hardest days for me. I was a lot more tired and fatigued on Thursdays. That always seemed strange to me that it was the same day every week. While I was able to hold on to my eyebrows and eyelashes with my first round of chemotherapy, taxol succeded in thinning my eyebrows significantly and taking most of my eyelashes. Again, strangest thing to me, as my eyebrows and eyelashes were thinning, the hair on my head started to slowly peek through. I have a regrowth all over my head now. I was told that my hair will grow an average of one millimeter a day. We have a long road back to my shoulder-length hair, but I am ecstatic to begin this journey! The toughest symptom of this last round of chemo has to be nail dystrophy. I was told before I began chemo that there was a good possibility my nails could fall off. I was hoping to escape this particular side effect, but I did not. The flesh under my fingernails started to deteriorate, causing pain, odor and my nails to peel off. I had to cut them down bit by bit, to let my fingertips air out and heal. This was both a very painful and unpleasant task. Any pressure or anything touching my fingertips was extremely painful at first. Having my hands underwater has also been greatly uncomfortable. My fingertips have now started to heal and I am without the most part of every fingernail now. It is still a bit painful, but mostly, very unattractive and extremely impractical. How I miss the use of my fingernails!!! I am having to rely on others for the simplest tasks now. I hear it can take a very long time for the fingernails to grow back. I am hoping they will grow back as quickly as possible. My toenails have thankfully survived the chemo untouched. I am curious to see how quickly my body can recover from all the toxins that infiltrated it the past 5 months. I am so glad it is all behind me. Another long-awaited appointment is coming this Monday. I will finally have the pleasure of getting my port removed. I had a port surgically put at the base of my collar bone (on my right side) for chemotherapy administration purposes. It will be removed in the surgeon's office on Monday July 23rd with local anesthesia. I will be glad to see it go! I have grown accustomed to it over the last months, but it can still be quite bothersome at times. I will also meet with my oncologist this coming Monday for a follow-up visit. I anticipate more information on what is now in store for me. I will post this information once I receive it. So many feelings of gratitude rush through me as I look back at the last 6 months. I am so thankful for the outpouring of love and support. Reading back through my blog brought with it an array of different emotions. Brougt back less pleasant memories I had somewhat put aside, along with fond memories of loving gestures and expressions of love from so many different people. We are so blessed to have the support group we have. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. I truly cannot adequately express the gratitude we feel. Thank you for making us stronger through this journey. I know it will never truly be over. That is the reality for our family. I know there is always a possibilty of it coming back. But most importantly, I know this is all in God's hands and that He works miracles. I know I have a strong foundation to hold me up and carry me through, in all of you, through your love, thoughts and prayers. We love you dearly, we thank you deeply. Further updates will come as I meet with my oncologist. :-)
Thursday, May 17, 2012
3 down, 9 to go! It feels so good to be able to say I have less than 10 treatments left. Getting Taxol through chemo every Monday hasn’t been as bad as I was anticipating. The symptoms this chemo brings are a bit milder than the last chemo I was getting. On the plus side, my appetite has returned and I am not as exhausted as the first chemo. I experienced a metallic taste in my mouth for a bit, but it has left and not come back for quite some time now. So I hope it stays well away. I am loving being able to enjoy food again. On the down side, I seem to be experiencing a bit of what they call “chemo brain” with this chemo. I seem to be a bit more forgetful and have been a bit confused regarding dates of events, etc. Poor
has been the one to really feel the consequences of this forgetfulness and
confusion, as she has had specific things to bring to school on specific dates. Let’s just say some things didn’t make it to
school, while the ones that did made it there on the wrong days... Thank
goodness for me, she is very forgiving and understanding. This chemo is also
different from the last, as I seem to feel its tiring effects toward the end of
the week as opposed to the beginning. Oddly
enough, I feel pretty good right after chemo as well as the few days following.
It is usually around Thursday that I
start feeling pretty tired. But again,
not as exhausted as I experienced with the first 2 drugs, so I am very happy
about that. I do not have to get the Neulasta shot (shot to boost my white
blood cell count) with this particular chemo, which I am ecstatic about. One less prick and poke J.
I will be meeting with my oncologist this coming Monday for the first time
since I have started Taxol. I am hoping he will be as pleased with the way
things are going as he has been so far. I
feel so fortunate to have had a milder case of physical symptoms than most
people while going through chemo. I will
admit it has not been as hard on me physically as it has been on me mentally
and emotionally. I can deal with being tired, nauseous, pain in my fingertips,
stomach problems, and even hair loss. I know this too shall pass. It has been much harder to deal with slowing
down, not being able to do all I used to do, feeling like I can’t take care of
my family like I used to, having to rely on others a lot more. I at times have felt without purpose. Or standing still, not able to go forward, like
our life has been put on pause for a while.
I try to keep these thoughts at bay. The few times they have infiltrated
my mind, I find much strength in the scriptures and kneeling in prayer, finding
comfort through my Savior and Heavenly Father.
Strength also comes in the embrace of my loving husband, family, and in
the number of thoughts and prayers of loved ones. I have become grateful for
this opportunity to grow, to become stronger than before. I have realized that I would be in much more
of a standstill if I did not have any adversity in my life. I am learning so much about myself and my
relationships. I am so grateful for a
loving Father in Heaven, who provides me with the tools I need to make it
through difficult times. For all the tougher times in my life, I am
thankful. For it has brought with them a
deeper and more personal relationship with my Father in Heaven, an increased
understanding of who I am and who I can become.
Thank you again for lifting me up through this journey. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for each
of you. Halle
Friday, April 20, 2012
It has been too long since I last updated the blog. We have gone through two more treatments since my last blog update. Both treatments brought with them the usual symptoms of fatigue and nausea, but this time accompanied with the wonderful symptoms that come with allergy season. It has helped tremendously to have Jason’s mother keep the children for a couple of days when I go in for chemo. The rest I get those first few days after treatment is crucial to how I feel the rest of the week. Jason and my parents have been a huge help here as well in helping take care of the children and allowing me to get the rest I need. I am so blessed with an incredible support group. This last treatment, which was this past Monday, marked the end of my first “round” of chemo. I was to get 2 drugs for 4 treatments, every other week. Monday was the last of those 4. I will begin a new drug (Taxol) on April 30th and will be receiving chemo weekly for 12 weeks. This should then mark the end of my treatments. I must admit I will sorely miss my weeks off in between treatments. It has been quite nice to get a week where I would feel as close to normal as possible. But the sooner we can get treatments over with, the better! So I am ready to tackle this new schedule. I will meet with my oncologist on Monday to further discuss this next round of treatments. With every appointment I have had with him, he has been well pleased with how I have handled treatments so far. I am maintaining my weight and my white blood cell count has been good and steady. I still get a Neulasta shot the day after each treatment to boost my white blood cell count. He hasn’t had to give me any additional shots as my levels have been satisfactory. This is very good. I am hoping to be able to keep this up for the next 12 weeks. This past month brought with it bittersweet moments. Bitter being the reach of a new milestone. I turned 30 on March 28th!!! I can hardly believe it. I was always a bit afraid of this number, but turns out I feel just the same as I did when I was 29. So not such a big deal after all. The sweetness of this moment was the surprise arrival of my older sister Melanie, who lives in
She surprised me the night of my birthday, and surprise me she did! I frightened my son as I screamed so loud
when I saw her walk through the threshold. Jason said Jaden almost leaped out
of his arms he was so startled by my reaction.
I consider my siblings (my own and my husband’s) my best friends and
being able to celebrate with her was the best present I could’ve ever asked
for. I am so grateful to her husband for
holding down the fort back home so she could come. As if that wasn’t surprise enough, a few days
after my sister left, my brother Etienne and his wife Melany came in from Montreal, Canada as well for yet
another surprise visit. It was so
incredible to be able to spend time with such loved ones so unexpectedly. A
sweet reunion it was. Turning 30 ended up not being so bad after all! Montreal
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
We have gone through another round of Chemo, and Audree is still as strong as ever. It is tough on her body, and the thought of losing her hair is tough on her, but she is holding strong. The week that she has chemo is tough and takes her a few days to recover. On facebook my brother created a group called Team Audree. And a lot of people have posted their support by shaving their heads for her. All these little things have made this experience a lot easier, and has brought smiles to our faces. Audree keeps being super mom and spouse. From talking to her you would not be able to tell that she is going through cancer treatment. I know this because of all the prayers we have received on her behalf. Their may be a lot of different religions involved, but as a christian community it is amazing to see everyone come together to pray for one person. Throughout this process I am continually reminded of the parable in the scriptures that talks about the lost sheep, and how the shepherd (Jesus Christ) will not leave even one behind, that the worth of all souls are great.
Monday, March 5, 2012
First I have to say, that everyone has been awesome, and we love all the support we are getting from everyone. We have received lots of cards, flowers, gifts, and even have lots of people shaving their heads in support of Audree. We have truly been blessed, and all the love and support has made this such an easier thing to deal with. Today was Audree's first Chemo session, and so far so good. It took almost 3.5 hours for the treatment from setup to finish. I was not able to sit with her, but when I picked her up she said she felt fine. I contribute that to how in shape and fit she is. She has always eaten right and worked out each day. So I guess that stuff is good for you. I am trying to follow her lead. She has been amazing through this whole thing and has been able to laugh and enjoy this process even though it is very unpleasant. Staying positive is key and she is awesome at it. I could not have received a better eternal partner than her, she really makes everyone around her better. The plan is Chemo every other Monday for 2 months (4 treatments for all you English majors). After that she will have treatment once a week for 12 weeks. This is the plan the doctor put us on, and he said this could change in that it would be decreased or increased depending on the results. The best way to look at it is 2 different treatments because she is being injected with different medications. One is 4 treatments the other is 12 treatments. We do not expect all the treatments to be as smooth as this one. They said the first treatment is given at a slower pace to allow your body to get use to it, but we are praying for all of them to be as smooth as the first. I hope they go that way for the sake of our kids because I cannot take care of our kids the way she can. She is an amazing mother and wife, and I do not want to see her suffer. Thanks for the support!!!