Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not much to update on but I am back up on my feet again and feeling pretty good! I have managed all week to do some form of exercise whether it be a home yoga practice, my home ball and strength training routine or heading to the gym to do some cardio. It is nothing compared to what I used to be able to do but it is something and it gets my body moving and my blood pumping again! I also managed to clean my house again on my own, this time even getting on my hands and knees to wash the floors! This is always very exciting because this is when I know my energy levels are back up, but..... I still need to take breaks and a nap in the afternoon.

All of this is in preparation for this week coming up, #5! This week, I have to get my blood work drawn for my genetic testing which needs to be done Mon/Tues/Wed in order to have it shipped to London in time to process it as it is not able to sit over a certain period of time. I also need to have it drawn as close to my chemo date as possible as I need to make sure my white blood cell counts are up because they stated it is from the white blood cells that they draw your DNA. Not saying they will not get any information if my count is done but there might not be enough information to extract for the testing so.... my count needs to be up. I also have to have blood work drawn for Dr. Alam prior to my appointment with her on Wednesday, Thursday is #5, and Friday my last Neulasta shot to keep my white blood cells up, YIPPEE!

It is such a great feeling to know that parts of this journey will soon be coming to a close!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

~sash

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 years ago today!

Well.... three years ago today is the day that my health started to change.

Today was the day that I ended up back in emerg after an ultrasound that showed something on my ovary and before I could completely grasp what was going on I was being prepped and on the operating table getting ready to have an ovarian cyst removed that was chocking my ovary. The surgeon removed the cyst that had drown to almost 9-10cm and had wrapped up and around my tube to my ovary, hence why I had no protrusion in my abdominal area. I later came to find out that the it was called a dermoid cyst which contains many different types of cells. They arise from a single cell that has the potential to become anything in the body. They are often filled with a greasy, thick fluid and may contain hair, cartilage and even well-formed teeth, sweat glands, thyroid tissue and muscle fibers may also be found. Mine had everything from skin, teeth, respiratory tissue, hair, and Wilm's tumor which is a kidney cancer that occurs in children. Red flag!!!! I was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer, immature teratoma grade I.

I guess this is where my journey actually began!

Back to the present moment... I am feeling pretty good, managed to go to the gym to do some walking yesterday, and plan on doing my home workout today. Building strength and power to get ready for #5!

Yesterday we went out dinner as it was my mom's b-day so happy birthday to my mom who is the greatest! She is a huge pillar in my life and an inspiration and of course someone I look up to!




Me and my Mommy!

http://www.brittonimages.com/


I also had the chance to get out and visit yesterday so I spent the afternoon with my goddaughter on her two week birthday as I hadn't seen her since the day after she was born due to how I was feeling from my treatments. So... here are some pics to enjoy!


Day after she was born - following my 4th treatment.


Her first Paparazzi picture - please not pictures at this moment!








Hallie and her Kuma Sasha! - I think she likes me :)



As well, here are some pictures from the weekend from my godson Blake's 2nd birthday!



100 balls of fun! I know Attila and Blake enjoyed it but not sure about my cousins Chris and Michele - just kidding!




And.... I couldn't leave out my other beautiful goddaughter Grace!



To all my godchildren, I love you with all my heart!


~sasha

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One month to go!

I can't believe that one month from today this phase of my life and journey will come to an end! It's crazy...... this part of my journey has gone by so fast, it feels like yesterday that I was preparing for my first treatment.

This past weekend, my pain finally started to subside and I was able to get out of the house to visit my cousins Chris and Michele for Blake's (my godson) 2nd birthday. Again, time goes by so fast and he is getting so big and turning into a little man! (some pics to come) It was great to get out and visit with family since I had been cooped up in the house for over a week.

Sunday brought with it lots of rest and no excitement.

Yesterday, was the first day that I started to feel better and managed to do some chores around the house without any help. Also, from not moving and being on the couch or in bed for the past week and a half a lot of tension has built up in my upper back/shoulders/neck region. So.... I decided to do a home yoga practice which I failed to realize that the DVD was an hour and a half, so to say the least I was just a little tired afterwards but also I felt great because I finally moved my body.

Today, I had my appointment to see if I qualify for genetic testing for the breast cancer gene BRCA 1 & 2 which I did qualify for and will have done next week and I shall receive my results in 4-6 months. It was very interesting learning more about these genes and their job in your body and about your genetic code. My DNA will be put through over 400 tests to determine if there is any hereditary mutation with my genes hence why it will take so long to get the results.

Now I have a week and a half to relax, regenerate, and get some strength for my next treatment, speaking of relaxing I am off for a nap (eyes are slowly closing)!

~sasha

Friday, March 20, 2009

From Bad to Worse!

Let's start with Monday.... wasn't too bad, spent most of it on the couch watching TV and sleeping as the bone pain was still around 6/10, and my steroids ended yesterday. Monday night the Petro's came over for a visit and brought some yummy Cinnabons which hit the spot, thanks! Upon them leaving, I managed to make it up the stairs and to the couch where I apparently put my head down, and fell asleep for the night.

Tuesday and Wednesday just got worse and worse! To Dana who commented that it would be crippling bone pain, you were absolutely right but there has to be a better word than crippling to even give it justice as to how bad the pain was and stating a 10/10 doesn't cut it either. I looked like a 90 year old with arthritis through the whole body who wouldn't even been able to use a walker because I was so weak that I couldn't support myself or hold on because everything from my fingernails down to my toes and heels hurt. Having to watch my mom dress me and my husband practicly carry me to the washroom, puts a strain on your strength and optimism and eventually you break down! The pain just kept on increasing and nothing was helping except for not moving and the crying wasn't fixing anything either but it was a good release! Finally, we called the cancer clinic on Wednesday and asked for Tramacet which was suggested by Valentina and Dana which I thank you both for but unfortunately because I am allergic to codeine there is a contraindication that I am not allowed to take it! GREAT!!!! Anyways they did manage to give me more two more steroids and Tylenol which I finished yesterday! Though I can still feel some discomfort, it is way more tolerable and I walking around the house now!

This one has been a doozy, and I think this has been really the only time that the thoughts of just giving in had crossed my mind! And that maybe I am not strong enough to pull this off with fight? But then I think back and realize that there are only two more to go and yes it is going to suck big time but there are many others who have gone through this and worse. I am a fighter and I will conquer this!

Yesterday was a better day and I did a lot of thinking! First, I want to thank each and everyone of you who read this blog, whether we know each other or not, I thank you! I am so thankful and grateful for my husband and mom this week who have carried me, dressed me, and fed me! To the rest of my family and friends, I love you!

So, to everyone I have a favour to ask! Over these next couple of days, at one point I want you to stop what you are doing and be grateful for something. Whether it is looking into the sky on a sunny day, breathing in some fresh air, looking into your child's eye's, or waking up next to someone, stop close your eye's and say thank you! Next, do something good for yourself or another. Make healthier eating choices today, get out and go for a walk, put a smile on a strangers face, do something that will make you and others feel better.

I thanked God today that I was able to put on my own socks!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

OUCH!

Even though today was a beautiful day, I only saw it from afar off of my couch and through the window.

I am still so thankful that I have not had any nausea or vomitting throughout these treatments but let me tell you the bone pain is kicking in. I normally experience discomfort from my Neulasta shot but now with the new chemo drugs, and the main side effect being bone pain it amounts to a little more discomfort than my liking. But hey, I can say it is tolerable and about a 6/10, and feel and look like someone who has had arthritis for years, and it radiates from my lower back to my ankles. Praying and sending healing love to myself in hopes that the discomfort will start to decrease over these next couple of days. Along with the help of Atti's amazing massages!

Again, most of my past couple of days have been lying on the couch and taking hot baths. Not too bad I guess! Hoping I might be able to get out for a walk this week and get a little bit of exercise in.

Let's see how things go!

~sasha

Friday, March 13, 2009

The day after!

Not too much excitement going on today!

Managed to answer some e-mails and rested after lunch. I had to go to the clinic for my Neulasta shot which I only have one more scheduled. I am free now for three whole weeks except going to the clinic on the 24th for genetic testing. This is a nice sigh of relief! I also managed to get a couple groceries with my mom following my appointment today.

As for symptoms, I feel like I am still drugged up on Benedryl and I have a slight bit of bone discomfort coming on which is about a 2/10 so not too bad. Lets hope it stays at bay as my steroids will be finished this weekend and the Neulasta shot should be kicking in soon too! But for now just mostly fatigue which I can handle - more sleep no problems there!

That's it for now!

~sasha

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blessed and Beautiful Day!

I am so thankful for these past two days as there have been so many blessings! Yesterday Atti received in the mail his date to write his canadian citizenship test at the end of the month and Valentina and John brought baby Hallie into the world. Today was my fourth treatment, I am over the hill with two to go, Jeff had his last treatment today YEAH!, and I had the chance to meet little Hallie for the first time following my treatment and was blessed and honoured to be asked to be her kuma (godmother). Today was an amazing day!

Now about my treatment.....

Last night I didn't sleep as I messed up my steroid medications and had to take three tabs instead of two at nighttime - side effects insomnia! My treatment went well today, I slept through most of it as they give you a bag of Benedryl for any allergic reactions you might have from the drugs. So, if anyone wants to know what I am feeling like go take a half a box of Benedryl and then give me a call! Just kidding but this is how I am feeling and I slept 3/4 of the day away. Tomorrow I go for my Neulasta shot to boost my white blood cell count up and then nothing for three whole weeks!

Thank you God for all my blessings today!

~sasha

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Day Before

I had my follow up appointment with Dr. Alam today and things went well. She informed me of the the side effects of the new drug Docetaxal which are not commonly nause and vomitting (a great thing), but bone pain. This is a side effect I experienced my first treatment and now following each treatment due to my Neulasta shot (for white blood cells). So.... I have experienced this bone pain before and am thankful that I have been able to tolerate the pain through meditation and healing touch treatments and great massages from my husband. They have also increased my steroids to help with the pain which has also been helping me gain weight :) Oh well, atleast my appetite is good and it is helping me keep some energy levels. The other good news I found out was that I am able to use hottubs which hopefully will relieve some of the pain so to the Petro's you better watch out! LOL

Some other news, since my white blood cell count is staying above levels I no longer have to have blood work drawn every week, just the day prior to treatments. Overall, this is great because this means less pokes and less trips to the clinic.

I also asked Dr. Alam today about returning to swimming to help with my right arm which she stated was fine and that I don't have to worry about my port and the chlorine. I managed to make it to the gym today and walked for 50mins, mind you my legs are feeling it from yesterday's workout but again it is great to feel decent enough to exercise and move my body.

This has been a great week, lets keep it that way!

~sasha

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fourth and coming

Yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my surgeon that I guess went well. My appointment was literally 5-10mins, I think it took me longer to get undressed and dressed than what my actual appointment. Not much new information, she examined me, asked how I was doing, if I had noticed any other lumps, and where I was in my treatments. That was it, see ya in a year! The rest of my day was filled with lots of laughter with my best girl Valentina, it's always nice and healthy to fill yourself with great belly laughter.

Today was a great day, I have been sleeping better and today managed to sleep in till 10:00 (ouch)! I guess my body needed it! Once awake I did a couple household things and got ready to head off to the gym. I have been trying to do a little bit of exercise each day and have been successful most days but today was a real good exercise day. I managed to walk for 35mins, kicked the heavy bag which I have not done in years. It was a great visualization exercise because I just kept looking at the Everlast logo thinking that it said Cancer instead! It felt great to kick the crap out of it. Then I walked for another 10mins and took a sauna. I might pay for it tomorrow but it felt amazing to get my heart pumping again.

Tonight I went to the Wonder Broads meeting which is the breast cancer survivor boat race team which my mom and I want to become part of. My mom will be able to take part this year if she wants but as for myself I will have to wait till next year due to my treatments and following surgery. I am looking forward to being part of this and getting more information as the meetings progress and becoming a great supporter for this cause.

Sorry, I am off now to walk Project Runway Canada as they are designing dresses for breast cancer survivors made out of post it notes and then auctioned off to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation!

Tomorrow off to the clinic for a follow up, with my 4th treatment on Thursday.
~me

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Burn baby burn!!!

Well I am getting ready to head into a long week filled with doctor's appointments and my 4th treatment! By the end of this week I will have made it up and over the hump and heading in for a home run.

Now that this part of my treatments are done, lets just refresh what it is that these chemo drugs were supposed to do. Cyclophosphamide - given through IV was the one that turned my urine red is used in primary therapy and metastatic disease. 5-Fluorouracil - given through IV and is also used in primary and metastatic disease and its actions are to prevent DNA and RNA synthesis. Lastly, Epirubicin - given through IV and is also used in primary therapy and metastatic disease and its actions are to inhibit DNA synthesis.

These chemo drugs all had many common side effects (too many to name), most common ones being nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, hair loss, etc. The side effects I experienced from these drugs were the obvious, fatigue, weakness, decreased white blood cell count (reason why I am taking the Neulasta shot every cycle) and hair loss; my eyebrows and lashes have only thinned and I still have to shave my legs once every week or week and half, and I have this new peach fuzz growing on my head now to. Some other side effects were easy bruising, darkened nail beds, heartburn, red spots on my face (gone), sore throat (gone), and constipation. I am so thankful that throughout all of this I did not have any nausea or vomiting and my appetite was still very well present :)

All in all when I look back at these past few months I must say that yes there were some struggles with feeling crappy and blah, but it was not that bad. I am so thankful and grateful for how these three treatments have gone that I only pray that the following three are the same. So...... I am saying so long to these past three drugs who have been my friends, I hope you did what you came out to do but it is time to say farwell and bring on the new guy so that I can kick his ass too!

Hope you enjoy the pics!









BURN BABY BURN!

~sasha

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Exercise, exercise, exercise

This week has been going very well and has been filled with energy until I overdue it and then need a nap:) My goal this week was to start doing some sort of exercise everyday for ~ 20mins.

Well, Monday I all ready fell off the bandwagon and didn't do any exercising but I did vacuum the whole house and finish my cleaning.

Tuesday, was a great day in general and we had company over for afternoon tea which was filled with lots of love, laughs, and great conversation. Later that night after a nap I began my home exercise routine consisting of hand weight exercises and ball exercises. Since I have not really moved in a physical way for the past three months except for a couple of yoga sessions my body was feeling it and I was shaking like a leaf. It is amazing at how fast you loose your strength and ability to perform certain activities. The one thing though is that it felt amazing to move my body again, and I am still feeling the walking lunges and squats today!

Wednesday, I had planned to do a few things around the house and some errands but I didn't manage to do anything except for leaving the house at 7:00 pm for our fashion show meeting. To say the least everything I wanted to get done ..... I didn't, my body was telling me to just sit and relax but I did manage to ride our bike at home for 15mins!

Today, was a pamper me day! I figured since I have made it to the half way point that I am going to treat myself and celebrate.... so, I went out for breakfast with my friend Amy and then we proceeded to go to the spa to have a facial. Let me tell you, it is exactly what I needed to just relax and feel good! The pampering doesn't stop here as I am going for a 30min massage tomorrow to help start break up some of this scare tissue building under my arms and the decrease the stiffness in my neck and chest, along with having some healing touch. I truly believe that all of these "alternative" forms of treatment are complimentary to ones recovery! As for exercise today, I managed to walk on the treadmill for 30mins.

I know the exercising does not sound like a lot but when you haven't moved in ages, one it is hard to get started again but once you do even doing 20 mins a day can be exhausting but so beneficial at the same time. I am proud of myself for my accomplishments this week, hopefully it will help to build up a little strength to get me ready for next weeks treatment.

P.S. Congrats Jeff! (in remission) YAAA HOOO!

~sasha

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Feeeeelllllll Good!

Well.... after feeling pretty crummy for 8 days, Friday morning I decided that would be the end of it! I remembered back to all the days when I used to drink weird concoctions and cleansing/detox drinks and I referred back to what exactly they did for me physically/emotionally & spiritually. One of them was a flush and at this point of feeling like crap literally I was going to try anything (the store bought things were not working either). So..... first thing Friday morning I drank my special drink and within an hour I was singing Alleluia! I ended up juicing for most of the remainder of the day to give my body and digestive system a break.

We also had dinner planned with friends that evening which was amazing, great friends, great food, great laughs ~ what more could you ask for?

Saturday came around and I decided I was going to try to flush my system one more time, which I was successful at! Part of me is kicking myself in the ass for not thinking of doing this sooner! I juiced most of the day, ate raw fruits and veggies and then had dinner.

Not sure that because I flushed my system and cleared everything out I was feeling sooooo much better but man my energy levels were the highest they had been in a long time. High enough to be able to for the first time since the treatments started, completely clean the upstairs part of our house, dusting, bedding, laundry, wash the kitchen and bathroom down from top to bottom, you name it. It felt so good to be able to do this on my own and not get tired, except for when 6:00 p.m. rolled around and I ended on the couch for the rest of the night. I even cooked a "real meal" for the first time since starting my treatments!

I am so thankful and grateful for the energy I had this weekend and can only pray that it continues for the next two weeks till my next.

I hope everyone else had an amazing weekend!

~sasha