Done With Xeloda

Originally, this post was going to get into some deep shit. Peppered with some stupid humor. But I just can’t do it right now.

Remember that trip I went on to Vegas last summer? With all the Kick Ass Cancer Mamas? Well, one of them passed this morning and I’m still processing it all. I’m currently in a numb state. She wasn’t just some person from a Facebook group. She was a true friend, who was full of love and she radiated it. This hurts.

So this will just be a quick update because it’s about all I can muster.

My last dose of Xeloda was about a week and a half ago. The tingling in my feet and finger tips has started to subside but my skin is still extremely dry. And the dry skin leads to constant itching. The insides of my nostrils are so dry that they are cracking- like deep paper cuts all up in there and it burns. The spaces between my pinky toes and the soles of my feet are splitting, making me nervous in various yoga poses that they are going to rip right open- I’m just thankful that the inflammation has reduced greatly and standing pressure doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m dousing myself in Aquafor and coconut oil daily with a little relief.

I’m assuming that the Xeloda will take some time to cycle out of my body and things will eventually ease up.

My hair has started to lose its ‘chemo curl’- that’s a thing- and is more of a puff with some straight chunks these days. I’ve just entered a super awkward growing out stage and I don’t see it looking better anytime soon. So, that’s cool.

I see my oncologist this Friday and hope to have some more information on what lies ahead with the possible Aspirin regiment.

And as sweet James Taylor says- “shower the people you love with love” ❤️

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Final Xeloda Cycle

Last Wednesday, I started my last cycle of Xeloda. Before last week, I thought I could take on more cycles and had even asked my oncologist if I should. Short answer- she said no. Well, that doc knows what she’s doing. My mouth now feels speckled in sores and the bottoms of my feet are beginning to feel inflamed and painful. I’ve also had some queasy moments where I’m pretty the sure the X is to blame. So, I’m excited to be done with Xeloda this coming Wednesday- it’s really starting to drag me down.

I think I often give off this vibe of someone who has been able to put on a happy face and move along with life post diagnosis. I mean, I get it. I always have this damn smile on my face. But I think I’ve mentioned in the past- I smile when I’m happy, nervous, scared… Some days are easy, I feel strong and fearless. Other days, I want to crawl under my covers and hide from reality. C has proven to be a complete mind f*@$.

With that being said, I feel that there’s a need for me to put some information out there.  Because I often forget that I was thrown into all of this and had to learn what was up- real quick. And that it’s not true for everyone reading this.

While I fully intend on never dealing with this shit again, I also understand that reoccurrence and metastasis are real things that I need to be aware of.  I have several friends who have recently been diagnosed as stage 4 and it hurts my heart. Stage 4 means that the cancer has spread beyond its primary site.  Note- The common sites of metastasis are bone, liver, and lung.  People will often refer to this as “mets”.  Mets can occur no matter your original staging.  (For example, I was stage 3 at initial diagnosis.)

When/if someone has been declared “cancer free”, if their doctor even uses that term, or in remission- it’s not the end all, be all.  We still tend to live in fear and panic with any and every new ache, pain, cough, etc.  Fear that the jerk has returned, and if so- what’s next?

For example, last Saturday morning I went to Urgent Care for a back ache I had for 2 weeks.  Yes, a back ache- where most people would pop some Advil and continue on.  Not me, the pain had me believing that something was wrong.  The doctor truly believed it was a muscular issue but I think she could see the panic in my face and ordered X-rays. Thankfully, she emailed me later that morning that all looked fine and she wished me a good weekend. Yes, it would be a good one with that news.

I wish I could say that this was the first time I’ve freaked out and had xrays.  But I can’t. And I’m pretty sure it wont be the last time.

So I ask you all to be gentle with those who have been diagnosed, no matter the stage or where they are in the timeline of it all. There is sure to be some serious emotional and physical trauma to follow.  Also, remember- if someone doesn’t look “sick”, don’t assume that all is ok. Not all chemos make you lose your hair, brows, lashes, and color in your face. And you never know what’s hiding under their clothes.

A couple more tips-

Never expect someone to be “back to their old selves” once treatment is over.  We too, would love to go back to life the way it was before- but it’s not that easy.

Know that someone could have done everything “right” the first time around and still get a reoccurance or mets.  Do not blame them.

And I will always include this tip, don’t tell someone about a person you know who had C and died.  We understand that you are probably just trying to relate but that one doesn’t help.  Talk about awkward…

I guess a blanket tip could be this— Always be kind to one another because you never know what they have got going on.

On a lighter note- yoga is going pretty freaking great. I’m learning so much and find myself applying the knowledge to my everyday life. On a physical level, my practice is much stronger and the range of motion in my right shoulder is blowing my mind! I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to lift my right arm over my head again but heck yeah, I can. I thought for sure the mastectomy, lymph node removal, and radiation would have done me in- restricting me forever. But with lots of patience, stretching, foam rolling, and strengthening- things are really improving.

I will update after Xeloda is complete and when I have an idea of what- if anything- is next. ✌🏻

Xeloda- Cycle 7

This morning, I had a follow up appointment with my oncologist- to check in and see how I am handling the Xeloda. And honestly, I feel fine on it. I feel so fine that I asked my onc if I should continue on Xeloda for longer than originally planned and she reminded me it’s still a chemo and that I need to remember it’s still taking a toll on my body. I have gotten so used to my skin peeling and being super dry, it just feels normal. I no longer have the severe pain in my hands and feet so I guess I appreciate only having un-fricken-believably dry skin.

I’m currently in the middle of cycle 7 and will be done after the 8th cycle. What’s next? Yeah, I had the same question. Although, I ‘think’ I sounded a little less dramatic than what plays over in my head. Well, next- my oncologist is looking into a low dose aspirin trial. Studies are being conducted to see if low dose aspirin can help prevent metastasis and reoccurrence. The study calls for post menopausal women- me, who were diagnosed with stage 2 or 3 bc- also me. The only thing that could prevent me from participating in the trial is that since I did chemo first and then surgery, I went from stage 3 to stage 1 (because of the residual tumor cells found at surgery). I will have more information on this when I see her in February, towards the end of my final cycle of Xeloda.

Yoga teacher training has been amazing. Our group has this strong, rad energy and our teachers are so inspiring and knowledgeable, I’m proud of the education I’m receiving from such a fantastic studio. We are only about a month in but I can already tell, this group of gals will remain an important part of my life.

The only bummer about teacher training is not seeing John and the kids as much. Mom guilt is real and it’s a bitch. With work, training, additional asana classes, and studying… I feel like I’m missing out. The other night, Harlon told me that they went to Target without me. Man, I don’t even know if they actually went but it got to me. It’s only Target, I get that. But you understand me, yeh? But don’t you worry, I took the boys to Target today. Gotta stock up on those Uncrustables and Chicken Dino’s, obvi.

And this is my friend- Amanda. A fellow KACM. Who I actually got to squeeze in real life here in Orange County last weekend. I won’t lie though- on my way to meet her, part of me felt like I was on MTV’s Catfish and she was going to be some creeper from the inter webs. Thankfully, she’s just what I hoped for- a sassy and super witty buddy fo’ life.

Not much else to report- which isn’t always a bad thing. 🤗