Breast tissue issue

When they removed my breast tissue during the bilateral mastectomy, they tested the specimen and found that it was CANCER FREE. My heart sings just reading that out loud and despite daily thanks for this incredible blessing, I sometimes find myself still processing what just transpired over the past 9 months, thinking “did that just happen?”

But then there’s the Peripheral neuropathy (numbess) in my left toes; the fatigue; the faint but constant ringing in my ears; the unwelcomed facial fur that now lines my jaw (which is at least thankfully blonde); the low white blood count and immunity; and the saline filled Ta-Ta’s, all of which quickly remind me that the past 9 months did indeed happen.

When they removed my breast tissue during the bilateral mastectomy, they also found something unexpected: blood cells. Blood cells belong in bone marrow, not breast tissue. Apparently when bone marrow cells develop outside the medulla of the bone,  its called Extramedullary Hematopoiesis or EMH.

My breast surgeon obviously wants to get to the bottom of what caused this EMH in the breast tissue before I have my exchange surgery. She needs to be able to rule this out in case that this was the actual problem that caused all post surgery complications last time, rather than it being due to my low immunity.  Just a side note, the exchange surgery is when they take out my tissue expanders and replace them with permanent implants.

Due to the fact my breast surgeon who has performed 1000’s of surgeries/mastectomies hadn’t seen this before, she referred me to a specialist hematologist. He basically explained in a long winded and confusing way, that they weren’t 100% sure what caused the cell growth in my breast tissue. He basically put it down to 2 possible causes:

  1. Malignancy in the bone marrow – metastatic cancer growth forcing other blood cells to move to other parts of body ie) breast tissue
  2. Drug induced – possibly caused from Neupogen injections aka granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCFS) which stimulate blood cell growth

It’s amazing how flippantly he discussed option 1. I had imagined this possibility but hadn’t expected to hear it. My heart sank as I thought about my Grandad whose breast cancer metastasized to the bones, taking his life and also of my Uncle who died at 29 from Leukemia, which is a blood related cancer. Despite the fact Leukemia isn’t genetic nor is “metastatic” cancer, when you’re sitting in a Dr office hearing these possible causes, it’s hard not to think twice.

Luckily for me, the specialist thinks option 2 is the most likely suspect hence we’re not too concerned.

He gave me a print out of a specific Case Report: Extramedullary Hematopoiesis (EHM) in Breast after Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Carcinoma.

In this report it details 2 case studies of breast cancer patients who also had this EHM found in their mastectomy specimen post chemo, most notably after administration of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) which is what I’ve had dozens of times to help boost my white cell production to fight infection.

In order to be sure, they need to monitor my blood for next 12 months, ordering monthly blood tests. If there are any spikes or changes in the next 3 months, then I’ll have a bone marrow biopsy to really see what’s happening. But I don’t think this will eventuate as i’m also thinking it’s from the GCSF/Neupogen immune booster shots I had throughout chemo, and up until last week. Even two days ago my white blood cells were really low again. I finished chemo 3 months ago, but immune system is still fucked. But my oncologist has said no more Nuepogen booster shots – lets see how my body responds without the GCFS and hopefully it’ll slowly increase on it’s own.

I’m not investing any real concern as the medics team think it’s from the drugs I’ve been taking. But it would be nice to have it sorted with no more balls in the air, because despite best effort to control my mind, it can sometimes have a mind of its own.

So what now?

The exchange surgery is tentatively booked for early October, pending the next 2 monthly blood tests which my hematologist will review.

If all looks fine and my levels are A.O.K then surgery will proceed and I’ll have my permanent new tear drop implants & life can start to continue as normal with less Dr visits – only every 4 months for the next few years.

The alternative? If levels seem odd & EHM appears to still be an issue then hematologist will request a bone marrow biopsy to shed light on what’s going on. My surgery will be delayed as they need to be certain about what’s going on before they put me under the knife again.

But that won’t happen, I can feel it in my waters.

 

Breasts or No Breasts – what will it be Doctor?

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote a blog post, and I assure you, during that time there’s been far more happening than I’ll be able to share in this one post. I wish I could say that I’ve been busy buying shares in Clindamycin or Kleenex, as in hindsight that would have been a smart idea.

It’s also been two weeks ago yesterday, that I received the dreaded phone call from my surgeon which left me with only a day to process two options before my final surgery which had been finalized for the Tuesday, instead of the Friday: I either walked away with tissue expanders or I left hospital breast-less.

It was a Monday. Surgery was booked for the next day. I spent that whole day crying and convulsing, feeling dumbstruck with disbelief. I was exhausted: emotionally drained and physically knackered. I had endured pain, discomfort and mental trauma (which I’m still feeling the weight of) so to then be faced with the real prospect of having my 5th surgery in 14 days to possibly wake with no result – just skin flaps as breasts, was heartbreaking. I was devastated. It would be temporary for 3-6 months, but at the time this didn’t matter – it was just such a disappointing and overwhelming possibility to process. I had only that day to prepare but I couldn’t stop crying, it was uncontrollable.

The deciding factor for surgery all came down to blood test results, which wouldn’t be in until an hour before surgery the next day. If my white blood count was high enough, then my surgeon would give my body one last chance and put the tissue expanders in with the hope that there would be no more fever or infection. I had a white blood cell booster injection to try and help make this happen. If the levels weren’t right, then the alternative was to walk away deflated, in more ways than one.

Just to clarify, Tissue expanders are temporary before being replaced with permanent breast implants after about 3-6 months. In a crude, quick explanation they are like deflated balloons that are filled with saline over time with the intention to stretch the skin to the desired size of the final implant. Because I originally had implants put in, and then taken out due to an unknown infection at the time, my skin shriveled in size. This may have been due to the V.A.C VeraFlo too. Hence the reason why I couldn’t just have implants put straight back in as they wouldn’t fit. Reconstruction after a mastectomy isn’t as linear as some may think.

How was I to process being breast-less after the awful and painful experience of the V.A.C VeraFlo Vac Therapy? Why did I need to be tested further, hadn’t been hooked up to those torture flush tubes been enough? Hadn’t I already been put through the mill with a cancer diagnosis and chemo for the past 7 months? Self pity was well and truly present.

Wasn’t Surgery & reconstruction supposed to be the easy, problem-free element to this cancer-conundrum? It was supposed be Surgery followed by 6 week recovery and then Life should be back on track right? But there I was possibly facing another 3-6months of being breast-less, which would then require another surgery to put the tissue expanders in to stretch the skin for at least 3-6 months, which would then make room for permanent implants which would require another surgery and 6 week recovery. I was looking at another 6-12 months of an ordeal that I was desperate to see the end of.

The tough part was the fact I wouldn’t be able to find out until just before surgery what my path would be, so trying to figure out how to evenly distribute my energy to prepare was difficult. I spoke to a psychologist that afternoon via a phone call consult which helped. I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively positive throughout this whole experience as it’s a lot easier than focusing on the shit reality of it all, but that Monday was hard. I was too scared to invest too much into the tissue expander option because if my blood results went against me then I feared that if that expectation wasn’t met then I’d be too low to bounce back. So I prepared for the worst. My cup of tea is normally half full, but this one time if was half empty. I felt vulnerable and had to protect myself after what seemed like a couple of disappointments already.

Despite knowing how much I cried on that Monday, I still think I out did myself on the Tuesday morning when my surgeon announced that we’d be going ahead with the tissue expanders. I get emotional now just thinking about it. I was shocked. She was quick to remind me that I’d be weeks away before being in the clear, but there was no way that could stop my tsunami of tears, feelings of relief and gratitude.

I now understand the meaning of joy. This was the moment when I woke from surgery with my little deflated balloon boobs and only one cannula and one tube attached to me. I had breasts and I was free. I was no longer suffering the intense suction pressure from the V.A.C VeraFlo Therapy nor was I attached to its torture tubes. Sure, I had two surgical drains coming out from below my breasts but these were so easy in comparison – I just put them in a canvas bag and could carry them around over my shoulder.

I was able to walk to the bathroom by myself. Instead of sitting having a ‘bird bath’, I  could shower properly for the first time in 2 weeks. The drains are made from plastic and are easily dried with a towel. The water over my fast growing head of hair was bliss. My boobs were certainly not your typical looking breasts, but to me they were the most beautiful things.

I just thank my lucky stars, my angels and my body for making it happen.

I had my first saline fill on Friday, so they are even more beautiful and now actually look more like real breasts – the dents have been filled out with the saline and they are round and plump. My surgeon filled them in her clinic in a painless 5 minutes procedure which required a large syringe of saline and a magnet to line up the valve where the needle inserts.

What was supposed to be a 3-5 night stay in hospital for my nipple -sparing- bilateral mastectomy -direct- to -implant surgery, ended up turning into a 3 week stay.

I am home now, recovering slowly. I’m awake typing at 345am as its uncomfortable to sleep as I still can’t lay on my side or stomach. It’s been 4 weeks since my first surgery so 4 weeks sleeping on my back gets a bit old and bloody annoying after awhile. And it’s been 2 weeks since my last operation so I’m still sensitive and sore. IMG_0737

But I’m trying to wean myself off the drowsy pain killers which would consequently assist with sleep, but the lack of these drugs seem to be making it harder for my body to rest so maybe it’s too soon?

Funnily enough during the day I can’t get enough sleep. But come 3am, bang! I’m wide awake and uncomfortable. It’s probably my poor liver working over drive trying to filter out all the toxic crap from the antibiotics (which I’m on for 6 weeks) and heavy pain medication that’s still being pumped through my body. My body is fatigued, out of whack. I feel constantly hungover as if I’ve had a bender. It was the same during chemo treatment. Pretty shit I say as it’s the hangover without the party. No fun in that. 5 anesthetics in 14 days will do that to it too I guess. And combine that with the cumulative effects of 5 months of dense dose chemo and it’s no doubt I feel the way I do. The chemo certainly took a toll on my poor body and immune system which as it happens ended up being the underlying cause of all these post surgery complications.

But I withdraw from the painful memories of my surgeries and lay focus on the fact that I’m Cancer Free. I’m Cancer Free because of the Chemo. Yes, it also wrecked havoc on lots of healthy cells too but it achieved it’s purpose by ridding my body of the cancerous tumors that threatened my life.

And Yes, the chemo reduced my immune system compromising it against the smallest of bugs and infections which it would normally be able to fight off easily which ultimately caused the traumatic complications. But It cured me of Cancer.

Perhaps my medical team and I hadn’t envisioned this non linear surgery path, nor the total impact chemo would have on my young 31 year old immune system when recovering from surgery. But despite chemo creating the horrific hospital experience I endured, it cured me of cancer making it absolutely worth it. Despite feeling weak, that vulnerability and fear made me stronger. If experiencing that meant I’d be cancer free I’d do it over again in a heart beat.

 

 

Post surgery complications – removal of breast implants

This time last week I was waking up from the double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery that I had anticipated for about 6 months.

This time last week I felt centered, unnerved and confident and never would have though that I’d be in the position that I am right now: implant-less & devastated.

Within a week of my bilateral mastectomy, my implant reconstruction has had to be deconstructed, leaving me looking disfigured, and feeling absolutely shattered.

This time last week I had no concept of what excruciating pain was. What was considered a 10/10 is now a measly 4/10 on the pain scale.

This time last week, I thought that by today I’d be at home with my new breasts recovering, but instead I’m still in hospital high on oxycodone feeling as if my space- bag look -a- like concave boobs are about to implode. Its simply awful.

Tuesday 6 June – Surgery #1

Initially, my surgery last Tuesday had gone really well and my surgeon was pleased with the results. As soon as I woke from anesthetic I looked down and I kept asking the nurse “is this normal, is this normal”? as my boobs were bruised, rippled, and full of dents. They were lumpy and misshaped as a result of the muscles being out of whack and because of the tightly packed surgical drains whose tubes hung out the side of my body to drain the fluids from the wound site.

Despite months of mental preparation, the whole thing was really confronting and a very clear reminder that a double mastectomy is NOT A BOOB JOB. It sole purpose was to remove the whole breast tissue to prevent cancerous tumors returning, so I had to remind myself of that whenever I cursed in pain or grimaced in disgust at my temporary ripply breasts. They would even out and become less inflamed over time. My surgeon said, “Look at them in 3 months, that’s when they’ll be beautiful.”

Captain hindsight aye. And there I was thinking those breasts were unattractive, god help me now.

It felt like there were a tonne of bricks on my chest as the pressure is intense. I resembled a T-Rex with my elbows glued to my sides with restricted hand movement. The pain would quickly remind me if I was extending too far and the sharp dagger like sensation would bring me back to earth, horizontal on my bed. The pressure and tension was certainly worse than the pain.

Thursday – Day 2 Post Surgery

It was on the Thursday when the fevers began and the unusual blotchy pink rash on both boobs appeared. Delirious with fever and excruciating headaches, I spewed and fainted causing concern for my Doctor as she and other surgeons hadn’t seen this kind of reaction before. Post surgery infections don’t normally show up so soon after surgery which is why this seemed odd. I was closely monitored and tested for everything under the sun.

Each day my blood test results would report back clear with no indication of what was causing the spikes in temperature and the rash, causing further confusion surrounding the cause of my problem.

Friday – Day 3 Post Surgery – A game changer

My surgery pathology report came in: my 2 left breast sentinel lymph nodes and breast tissue were FREE OF CANCER!!

Since that day 8 months ago when I heard the dreadful words , “You have Invasive ductal carcinoma” all I wanted was to know if it had spread. Did I have cancer elsewhere in my body? Was it in the Lymph nodes? If it was there, had a rouge cell made its way past the gates of the sentinel node into the lymphatic system and made its merry way into other parts of my body?

Finally I had the answer.

There was NO sign that showed cancerous cells to be, or more importantly, to have been in any of the two main sentinel nodes of mine. That means the cancer was isolated in my breast, in the form of the two tumors and they were now gone. And so was the surrounding tissue. All the breast tissue from both sides was analyzed and showed NO signs of cancer.

Thank. You. Universe.

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I am Free of Cancer. Cancer Free. Free from Cancer.

With a rip roaring headache and increasing temperature again, the celebration was quite the anticlimax being shadowed by how dreadful I actually felt. It would hit me the next day when I really felt the relief and joy.

I slept for 5 glorious hours straight that night, not even waking during obs so I guess that was the best & most relevant celebration I could have asked for.

Sunday – Day 5 Post Surgery

My surgeon discussed my case with a few colleagues and suggested the unusual rash could be caused perhaps by a microscopic bug that could have been attached to my port-a-cath. The port-a-cath was inserted above my right breast as an access line used for chemo. It had been there for 8 months with no problems, but they think that as soon as the port was dislodged that perhaps the “bugs” then escaped and contaminated the breast cavity wound during the bilateral mastectomy, hence causing this slight infection and irritation of the skin.

This could be just a rare case of pure, shit luck.

The obvious thought was that I might be allergic to the implants themselves, but this is not the case due to the way the rash appeared high on the breast where the muscle is.

With no real improvement the call was made on Sunday morning: remove the implants + flush out infection.

I headed straight back in for my 2nd surgery to have my new breasts removed. The implants weren’t the only thing stripped of me that day, so was 6 months of emotional preparation, positive visualization for recovery and a whole lot of energy. When my Surgeon regretfully told me of what needed to be done, I was at my lowest & most vulnerable point so far. It’s like someone moved the finishing line after a marathon, adding on an impossible extra leg that at the time I couldn’t begin to fathom.

Yes I kept reminding myself of that beautiful fact and gift of being Cancer Free, but on that day, I couldn’t even see past that fact.

I was done. I had nothing left. I was in so much physical pain, exhausted and all cried out. I just couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe how I was going to face another 3 surgeries before I left hospital in a fortnight. I felt like I had already used up all the reserve fuel with the 2 week delay I had already faced with surgery having been postponed due to low platelets.

But I moved forward.

My surgeon removed the implants, replaced my surgical drains with tubes that are part of V.A.C VeraFlo Therapy.

V.A.C VeraFlo Therapy attached to the side of each breast

V.A.C Ulta is a Negative Pressure Wound system that continually cleans and flushes the wound site so the plan is to have this “flushing” therapy for the next 6 days to rid breasts of this infection.

There is a constant flow of solution being pumped into my breasts, if you can call them that. I can feel everything. Then every 3 hours, for 15mins the “flushing” happens on the left side and then the right, so 30 minutes of horrible pain. The first flush I experienced after the surgery was the most excruciating pain I have any experienced – it felt like boiling hot oil and needles being poured into my chest. I screamed and cried and wished my sisters and Seany hadn’t witnessed the agony I was in as it was clearly breaking their heart.

Endone & Morphine barely touched the sides. They quickly hooked me up to a PCA – Patient Controlled Analgesia which means I can control the pain with oxycodene. Because the flushes happen every 3 hours, it means I need to keep boosted up before this happens. It was significantly worse post surgery as the wound site was already extremely tender and raw still from the first operation only 5 days earlier. I’m getting serious thumb cramps from using it.

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At first, I would try and tell myself “you’re cancer free” over and over as a mantra, but it was no good. I just needed the past two days to cry, to acknowledge those enormous feelings of disappointment, disbelief and self pity. And to give my self permission to release it all as part of my emotional healing.

NOW

Today, I’m back and I’m feeling like myself again. I am surrendering to the process once again and moving forward.

I have my 3rd surgery tonight to make sure everything is peachy and the VAC VeroFloTherapy is doing it’s job. Then I’ll have another 3 days of flushing before the 4th Surgery that will take place on either Friday night or possibly Saturday morning.

The VAC VeroFlo therapy tubes will be removed and instead of being replaced with implants, my surgeon will need to put in tissue expanders. My skin has shriveled significantly since the implants were removed, and also due to the suction of the VAC VeroFlo Therapy. The implants I once had, will not actually fit in. She will pump up the expanders about 3/4 full and I will be in hospital for a remaining 5 days on antibiotics to monitor and prayer that there are no further issues.

The tissue expanders will stay in for 3-6 months, and I can get them filled up to the size I prefer over time. So that’s great. But I’m praying there is No rash and that this whole shitty curve ball was due to microscopic bugs that caused the infection. Because the alternative isn’t great.

My surgeon advised me that I need to be prepared that this might also all be simply due to a weak constitution from chemo.The low platelets and delayed first surgery was a clear sign of that, and this could well be another indicator of this.

She said there is a good possibility that perhaps my body just can’t handle reconstruction right now. If this is the case, then I’ll need to have no implants or expanders for at least 6 months. Just loose, skin flaps.

This is really hard for me for accept. Today I can rationalize that at least I have my life. And yes, I’m free from cancer. But fuck, it doesn’t take away how downright disturbing & emotionally gut wrenching this is. I just can’t see how I need to be tested any further. I was totally caught off guard with this current complication, so as much as I don’t like this possibility, I need to address it as much as it is my worst nightmare.

The road to recovery has been a dramatic detour for me so far, one that I’ll hopefully consider as a scenic route one day, once these 20 tubes and chords are removed from my body, and my beautiful breasts are returned to where they need to be.

 

 

 

Horray for hair & hemoglobin !

You can’t turn back time (okay maybe last night was an exception because of daylight savings), but you can certainly turn your back on a shit time and replace it with a better one. This for me meant topping up my red blood count with a couple of bags of O+ to forget a really fatigue filled week. However, my hemoglobin increase isn’t the only thing boosting my energy vibe and confidence…

I have HAIR! And I’m not talking about the blonde fledgling fluff on my scalp that I’ve been sporting for the past 4 months. This hair is brown, long and real. Yeah it’s a wig, but the hair is real! I look like me. I feel like me!!

As I type this blog whilst sitting in hospital on a Sunday getting a blood transfusion, I feel bloody good thinking about how much better the end of the week has been.

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I picked up my handmade real hair wig on Thursday which had been 4 months in the making. At the time I was utterly exhausted and knocked about by the bitch that is fatigue so felt like it was just another routine appointment, but by the time I walked (strutted) out of Kylie Clarke Wig Maker Studio with my new do on, I felt like a new vitalized version of my old self. I couldn’t stop smiling, or looking in the mirror for that matter. I feel so vain as I can’t stop tossing it around, running my fingers through it, and thinking just how real (and good) it looks.

It looks real because it is real! The beautiful quality hair once belonged to 3 beautiful girls. 2 of them are strangers with whom I am determined to hunt down and kiss the feet of, and the other 1 is my Step Mum, or Other Mother as she likes to be referred as. Peta so kindly cut her amazing hair and offered it to me as gift, one that I’ll forever be grateful for. Having already shaved her head for the Worlds Greatest Shave numerous times in the past, this time she had someone to give it to and I’m so lucky it was me.

I’ve learned to be careful what I wish for because there were many times that my adolescent self had said to her “I wish I had your hair”… as I crudely attempted to tame my own locks either by iron or curling tong. How funny it is to now to be proudly parading around with her Pantene perfect mane.

These 3 people aren’t the only ones that I owe my great love and appreciation to, but also over 300 other generous and warm- hearted donators of a different kind.

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Getting a real hair wig had not crossed my mind as an option to be honest, mainly because of the cost (range between $3- $5 K +) and because I was too busy thinking about getting the cancer out of my body that my appearance wasn’t really a priority to start with. The Gofundme Page that my gorgeous friend Jaala created along with my girlfriends was such a shock to discover.  With the intention to raise a small amount of funds to help put towards my wig, it surprisingly turned into something much greater than expected, and once I found out about it, I was literally floored. The simple act of kindness by so many people who donated is the reason I sit here today with my fresh lush locks and new sense of confidence during a pretty shitty time in my life. And for that, I’m forever thankful! The only tears I’ve cried surrounding my baldness  are those tears of happiness that the wig has given me over the past two days.

I LOVE my wig. I can style it, blow dry it, curl it, wash it (not when its on my head), and more importantly pretend that I’m not the breast cancer patient that headscarves often remind me that I am. I can be normal (or appear so at least). It’s so refreshing to be able to get dressed in the morning and choose an outfit I want to wear rather than deciding on something that I need to wear because it suits my headscarf. Sounds ridiculous but its true.

Receiving my new wig has made me realize just how much I have in fact missed my own head of hair. I have become so accustomed to seeing my white egg head that my old self seemed like a distant memory. And that’s okay because deep down I know I’m not the woman that I was a few months ago, even if I now look like her again. I like to think of this whole experience as a Caterpillar metamorphosis – whereby self transformation and change will lead to a better version of myself, and yep, will eventually lead to new fresher hair too.

The joy and warmth this wig has brought me is indescribable.

One thing is for sure, I have mourned the loss of my eyelashes which has consequently affected my confidence more than my hair loss has. But alas(h)! I’ve found a solution that I wish I had of come across earlier as these little beauties can be reused 25 times and instantly reignited my femininity fire:

Just like a caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon of silk before it morphs into a a butterfly, I’ll use my new gorgeous wig and Artemes lashes as a protective layer whilst I continue with chemo and await the time my own wings (or hair) begin to flourish again.

Low Bloody blood count

You know that feeling, the Sunday Night Fear? It descends upon sunset when the carefree weekend is coming to a close and the gloom and reality of what the working week entails begins to present it’s ugly head in the form of Monday morning? Throw in a few drinks over the weekend and that ‘fear’ escalates to the next level. Well despite not having worked for half a year since being diagnosed or participated in any wild drinking sessions for aaaaages, that dreadful feeling still lurks within me as Monday is my chemo day and with that brings a long day in the chair and a sometimes unpredictable week ahead.

For those of you that are unaware of the process, all cancer patients must have a complete blood count test taken day before each chemo treatment. This is to ensure that the immune system and body is strong enough to handle another dose. Chemotherapy drugs can stop your bone marrow producing enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, so having this blood count determines whether it is safe enough to proceed with treatment.

With this in mind, yesterday was the first set of alarm bells that went off for my blood count results that came through from my Sunday morning test that I have each week. My liver function results were through the roof and my neutrophils (white blood cells that are first responders to infection that can gobble up bacteria, fungi, and germs) were really low and well below the acceptable level to proceed with chemo. The chemo nurse told us to go home and come back in a week as my body and immune system is too weak to handle another hit. To be honest, I’d been waiting for this moment to happen as it’s quite common for these kind of set backs to take place during chemo treatment, which is no surprise considering how knocked about and vulnerable chemo makes you.

I’ve suffered from a running nose, a razor blade sore throat and mouth ulcers all weekend so yep, it was pretty obvious that my poor immune system was stuck on struggle street with a flat.

I had an ultrasound about 2 weeks ago as my liver function was high, but the results had plateaued out again so my oncologist wasn’t concerned saying that the mild fatty infiltration was common for someone being pumped with this amount of chemo. So yesterday when I saw that my high liver function had nearly doubled from last week, I was quite worried as there’s no way I want to jeopardise my liver for a round of chemo. I can happily wait another week if need be.

Even though I was concern about my liver and that I had been told to head home to resume treatment next week, I had the nurse and registrar contact my oncologist as per her request in the instance of treatment being stopped.

After hours waiting for her to finish a seminar and review my case, I was told to have another blood test to see if perhaps my bloods have improved within 24 hrs. I wasn’t hopeful as my body felt pretty run down. Hours later results showed that the levels were the same as yesterday. Despite this, my oncologist advised that I proceed with chemo anyway. Tough bitch, I tell you! She wasn’t concerned with the high liver function, but more so with the low white blood cells.  In order to proceed with chemo, it means that for the next four days post treatment I’ll need to give myself daily injections of Filgrastim which will stimulate my immune system by boosting the production of neutrophils (white blood cells) and also increase my chance of keeping on track with Monday chemo sessions.

I’m pretty lucky considering this is my 16th week of chemo and my body has kept strong enough up until now as some poor patients have a terrible time keeping on track with treatments, needing longer breaks between sessions in order to recuperate. Perhaps I’ve made it up to here so far without any real obstacles a result of my two acupuncture sessions each week where we work on stimulating neutrophils, and also from consuming nutrient dense foods and supplements in an attempt to keep as healthy as possible? Either way, I’m running with it as it at least makes me feel like I’m contributing and controlling the situation in some way.

With only 4 weeks to go, the light at the end of the tunnel is shining bloody bright and the Sunday Night Fear will soon be a thing of the past (I guess until I start working again). With the chemo finish line so close, I’m now feeling excited for Monday sessions and if it means 4 daily injections every week for the next month, then so be it.