Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blonde Wigs and Double Ds

My sister has reached the halfway point in here chemotherapy treatment. Last week she sent out this mid-term assessment. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.


I know it has been a while since I have sent an update on how I have been feeling and how the chemotherapy is going, so I thought it was time to send out another update... (it's a long one)

As of this afternoon, I am finished with the first chemo drug. I actually tolerated the chemo very well. I had one bad week, a week after my second chemo, which in my opinion really was a result of a side effect of a side effect.

I thought I was mentally prepared to relinquish my high school title of "Best Hair" but, on Sunday, June 17th my hair was combing out in big strands. I knew it had been thinning so I decided to hold off on the washing of my hair. Monday, I washed my hair and I had a lot of hair in my hands by the time I was done. Then I tried to comb while it was wet and it was a very depressing moment. I decided I had to get rid of it. Compliments of my friend and stylist of many years, we made it through the shaving of my head with only welled up eyes. Playing around with hats and wigs for the next few days and trying to avoid mirrors like the plague as well as dealing with the humidity, I developed a sinus headache and then caught a stomach virus bug for 36 hours. But by Sunday evening June 24th, I was feeling like my old self again (minus the boobs and hair, hee-hee).

I am actually quite comfortable now, in just wearing a engineer type baseball hat. And I have been so comfortable around the house not wearing anything on my head at home that I have been scaring the neighborhood kids a little. (running outside or answering the door with nothing on my head, not even realizing I am not wearing anything, I am working on the title of the scary lady that lives on the corner) However, I finally received my blonde wig that I have been waiting for and looks a lot like the short haircut, I got, compliments of my sister Dianna ( she didn't cut it) in May. I never would have thought, I could pull off a short sassy haircut but I loved it!!! Now it won't take me as long to grow my hair back ( I say that now...).

Also, due to the support, research and funding of organizations such as the Komen Foundation, scientists have been able to discover 2 known mutations (BRAC1 & BRCA2) and are working on 2 more that are genetically inherited that significantly increase a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer as well as a very slight increase for men to develop breast and certain other cancers.

At my second chemo treatment, I learned that I carry a mutation in the BRCA 1 gene. So, if there was any hesitation in my mind about my decision to do a bilateral mastectomy, after meeting with a Cancer Geneticist, I no longer have any regrets or uncertainty. (the bilateral mastectomy greatly reduces my risk for recurrence) I will also be removing my ovaries in the near future as it no longer serves a purpose for me and it will decrease my risk of ever developing ovarian cancer to about 4% and it also reduces my risk of recurrence of breast cancer.

Fortunately, I have responded extremely well to the anti nausea drugs I get in my IV during chemo and a drug I take the day of and 2 days after chemo. I still exercise 4-5 days a week (lighter workouts in the week after chemo) and since I don't experience any nausea I am able to eat everything I was able to before I started chemo. I don't know exactly what to expect with the next treatment of Taxol. I know what they tell me, but they also told me that women my age don't tend to do so well during chemo. This new drug doesn't really have the nausea side effects but can cause your bones and joints to ache and my doctor told me that people that don't get nausea with the drug I am now, tend to experience more aching on Taxol. I am going with, I will tolerate this drug just like I did the last one.

I know your prayers, love, cards and meals are what helped me through the first round, so of course it will help me through the next. I will be done with my chemo on September 6th. Just in time to enjoy all the fun of back to school, my youngest son's birthday, my sister in law's wedding showers and wedding in October, which we are all in, (I think I will borrow my mom's 500cc implants to fill out the dress) and the joyous holidays. And my Christmas Carol this year will be, "all I want for Christmas is some Double D's" j/k (I hope to schedule my reconstruction sometime in November, I am window shopping right now for the right size, hee-hee)

I am abundantly blessed to have each one of you in my life. You have all reminded me of the way God brings us love, compassion, generosity and kindness delivered by family and friends. Your words of encouragement and hope, keep me positive and renew my strength. From the depth of my heart and soul, I am forever grateful and thankful for the way each one of you in your own individual way have brightened my day and have helped me to find joy and inspiration during this speed bump. And the hubby tells me that I am a MAC truck.

Love and hugs,
Sven's Sister

PS: To all the ladies in the crowd, I know I am a day late but yesterday was the 11th and as your KARE 11 "Buddy", here is my reminder to do your self breast exam. Feel 'em up girls!!!


Nikki said...

I'm so glad that she's doing well. I know that has been an incredible strain on her and her family and you and yours.

I wish you all the best...and hope that she doesn't hurt in the next round.

I'll pray for you all.

Kevin Charnas said...

Sven, I'm so glad that she's doing well. She certainly sounds like she has the spirit of a MAC truck! Right on...

And to remember how lucky, how very lucky I am.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sven, I just came over because I heard about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis and wanted to make sure that you and your family are okay. (I know you live in St. Paul, but it's close enough to be a concern.)

I am so very happy to hear that your amazing sister is doing so well in both body and spirit. Her great strength will continue to sustain her and all of you. She is clearly indomitable, and I loved reading her letter.

I will continue to pray for her complete healing.

mabel said...

She is officially added to my cool chick list (don't scoff- that is HUGE!) and also my prayer list. What a great lady, and I do mean LADY.