Ahhh it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted! To be honest I have been working and living (it feels like, without cancer) all month that writing kept slipping my mind! It’s so nice to get on here and information-dump. While it will be a lot of catching up on your end, I hope this answers some of the questions I have been getting! Also, I’m writing all of this on my phone which I feel deserves a gold star.
I turned 27 on November 15th. I hadn’t realized up until the day before how hard holidays would be this year. Nick’s birthday was hard but I assumed it was difficult because I wasn’t able to spend it with him. The night before my birthday I came home from work and crumpled onto the floor in some weird mixture of panic attack and sob-fest. I was absolutely terrified and it came over me like a wave of “oh shit”. Was this my last birthday? It seemed that when I tried to explain to Nick why I was crying I couldn’t put into words how I was feeling. If you have ever had a panic attack before you know that when someone asks you “what’s wrong” sometimes the answer is “I don’t know”. It was like my body was two steps ahead of my brain and I just couldn’t keep up. It finally hit me that November 15th was when my big surgery was originally scheduled. My fight with cancer was supposed to have been over on this day and I was supposed to have begun healing and getting on with my life. Unfortunately because my tumor was unresponsive to my second chemo, everything had been pushed back almost a year. I told Nick that it felt like this would never be over. Sometimes it still feels this way. This was the one of two times I have cried since my last post. That’s pretty good. One cry a month is way more manageable than what was going on during the onset of chemopause.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been a holiday if I didn’t have a doctors appointment. So I ended up being in both Waco and Austin that day which means I got to see my family and spend time with friends. I was overwhelmed with how many people reached out to me via text and social media. I even had a stranger drop off beautiful sunflowers (my favorite) with a card and a gift people had contributed to for my birthday. It’s things like this that make you realize how amazing people are and how much good there is in the world when things feel pretty crummy. I tried to respond to everyone individually and I hope I didn’t miss anyone. I genuinely appreciated each and every message I received.
The day before Thanksgiving (I told you- holidays aren’t complete without an appointment of some sort) I met with my surgeon to discuss what my new plan would mean for surgery. She told me she thought I may need radiation and how she hated that for me. Radiation comes along with it’s own fun side effects (including the possibility of getting secondary cancer from radiation). She also told me it may effect the results of my surgery due to radiation sometimes causing issues with reconstruction and healing. She told me that one part of my surgery may not be able to happen. This particular part was very important to me cosmetically. I left her office and cried in my car. (Ok, I lied, I have cried 3 times since the last post). I was angry that this was continuing to get harder and harder. The doctor recommended that I speak with a radiation oncologist so I booked that appointment for a few weeks later.
The next day my Courtney & Mat flew in to spend Thanksgiving with my family. My Uncles had also come which meant THE WORLD. They were able to stay with us in Waco for a couple of days as well as spend time with us in Austin. Thanksgiving break was truly life giving and made me so appreciative of my dear friends and family. This was the first time I look back and cancer doesn’t stand out which is a very big deal.
Fast forward to December 2nd, my radiation oncology appointment. I was told I don’t need radiation! Per the doc, “right now the benefits don’t outweigh the toxicity”. While the chances are low there is a possibility that radiation can cause secondary cancer in 20-30 years. My mom immediately wondered if all of the radiation I was exposed to around 6 years old could have anything to do with my cancer now. Looking back my mom thinks I’ve had kidney stones since I was a toddler but I didn’t go through the tests until first grade and the years following were stuffed with tests and scans of every type. Without my cancer being genetic we always wonder what could have caused it. The question that haunts every person with cancer- “why me?”
What does no radiation mean? It means one surgery, no expanders, less chance of issues with healing, no burning of my fair skin, less time before this is all over! The current plan is this:
- December 29 and January 12 chemo
- January 13 meeting with my surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon
- January 19 my FINAL infusion chemo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Double mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction the first week of March (exact date TBD)
- 6 months of the oral chemo, Xeloda
I am thrilled (only time someone will be thrilled about surgery and chemo) about this plan! In the next few weeks I’ll have more info about what surgery and recovery will look like and I’ll share it with you then. Right now I know that I’ll be out for about 8-10 hours and I’ll be hospitalized for about 4 days.
December 6th was Wedge’s birthday. He was in Austin while we were in Waco due to chemo scheduling but that’s ok! Before I show you his birthday post I wanted to share something Nick and I learned from our vet that can help you or someone you know with cancer! While I was in Austin getting some lab work done, Nick was dropping off Wedge for his physical. The doctor told Nick “We know of your wife’s condition, because of this we will be giving Wedge the bordatella (kennel cough) injection instead of the nasal spray because the spray contains the live virus and she could get sick”. (This totally makes sense considering the nasal flu spray is live as well). So hours later Nick goes to pick Wedge up and we’re informed that- oops someone gave him the spray instead of the injection. Their response- “It’s been one of those days. Your wife may need to be quarantined from the dog for awhile”. YEEAAAH. Let me tell you, Nick is a fairly mild mannered dude. I received about 5 STRONGLY worded voice messages from my sweet boo after his interaction with this woman. Nick quickly called me and I had to call my doctor. Turns out people who are immunocompromised have gotten severe infections and pneumonia this way. Luckily I was told to just keep my face out of wedge’s face (which was HARD) and to wash my hands frequently. It was honestly scary and extremely frustrating. This is why (if you’re FB friends with Nick) he was asking for vet recommendations that day. Since then we haven’t had any issues with the vet but I noticed when I ran there on Wednesday that his name in the system is now “Wedge only bordatella injection Molnar” hahaha.
December 12th was our 6 months wedding anniversary. We only remembered because my Mema sent us a sweet text. We forgot so we’ll just pass this one over and I’ll say something sweet next month 🙂 In the meantime here’s a photo of us at our favorite post-chemo activity, Moviehouse & Eatery. Y’all. Leather reclining chairs mean I wear sweats and bring a blanket and lounge out like I’m on my couch. It’s the best.
December 16 I had my week-off appointment and labs. It was here we discovered that steroid weight gain has caught up with me. While it’s absolutely annoying to me and makes me self conscious, I am told there’s nothing I can do now, it’s normal, and my body will regulate when I’m off of chemo. To all of my other cancer ladies (and men!)- You may have lost your hair, your nails, your skin pigmentation, your zest for life, your ability to do things you once did, and now your waistline. I BELIEVE IN YOU. Others may say “what a small price to pay for your life” brush that shit off. Ask those people if you can slap on 30 lb and shave their heads and then ask them if they feel like complaining. Get it all out, boy or girl. Scream, cry, I don’t care how you do it but find that “it” and get it done. Time is the most frustrating part of cancer because while we yearn for it to pass we also know how precious each moment is. I’m hurting with you and I understand.
December 21. The 3rd cry of the month occurred this morning after I had allowed myself to go down the statistical rabbit hole and read an article where the writer referred to triple negative breast cancer as “death sentence breast cancer” Thanks, bro. Anyway, my girls, affectionately known as my squad, and I threw a Christmas party. Around 40 people came to my home and we laughed, danced, had a white elephant gift exchange, and drank until people trickled out and my heart was bursting. Cancer perk- your husband agreeing on this party you’ve been begging for. It was the BEST. I love hosting and I love my people.
This will be the last thing I post so that this blog doesn’t overwhelm. If you have already read my Facebook post on this issue (my dress) feel free to skip ahead.
It has come to my attention (because some people have made rude comments to me) that some people were not a fan of the dress I wore at the Christmas party I threw (with my friends). First, let me repeat myself. I THREW IT. I was a HOST. It was in MY house. If that’s not reason enough (also I’m an adult) to wear whatever the heck I want, I don’t know what is.
Second, I shouldn’t have to explain myself but I want to. I want you to know EXACTLY why I chose this dress because I want you to learn that before you open your mouth, you should consider the fact that you don’t know everything. Ready?
– I weigh more than I ever have in.my.life. I wanted a dress that covered up parts of my body and showcased others. I saw this dress, I fell it love, I bought it and wore the crap out of it.
– I was given curves and I’m not ashamed. One of these boobs is currently trying to kill me. In two months I will probably never get to wear a dress like this again without there being many scars. I chose this specific dress because it’s different than anything I had ever worn before and I didn’t know if I’d ever have another chance to feel comfortable in something like this again.
– I didn’t do this to impress my friends or my husband, I did it for me. I have been in low place lately because of the first two bullet points. I wanted to feel confident and pretty in a room full of other dressed up people because I wanted to- that’s it. I don’t care if it’s vain. Being a young cancer patient undergoing this upcoming surgery means I will (hopefully) spend the next 60+ years of my life with scars where other women don’t have scars, not only on my chest but across my stomach. Maybe I will look back at this picture when I’m by myself and remember how I used to look. That’s okay.
I blurred out the background of the photo because it’s reflects 4 girls getting ready in one room and there’s stuff ev-er-y-where. If my chest looks darker than my legs it’s because it is. [I made a rookie mistake and used self tanner a day before a party and messed up so I had to exfoliate my legs. Is this authentic enough?] I’m not embarrassed and I’m not ashamed. Quite the opposite actually. Why? Because I loved my dress and for the first time in public since I was 17- I DIDN’T HAVE TO WEAR A BRA. So to the people who think they have a right to comment on my life because I choose to be open in my blog- you don’t. I smile and I let you touch my wig and make comments about how flushed I look all the time. I draw the line at your commentary and weird backhanded compliments about my wardrobe.
So here’s me: living my best bra-less life.
That isn’t a call for compliments or anything. It’s just to bring awareness that just because someone makes a choice- show boob, get a tattoo, get preggo, wear a wig. Doesn’t give you the right to touch said place or make a negative comment to our faces about it. Just don’t.
This year has been crazy. Truly the best and worst year of my life. If I don’t have time to post before the new year, let me leave you with this. It’s how I’m going into the new year and how you should too.
Let’s do this people.