Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Interesting times we are in. I went to work on Monday and did some odd jobs here and there around the school. We went through and made sure there was no rotting food in the lockers. I found a lot of food but also a lot of coffee mugs that had milk or creamer in them so I washed them out and put them back into the students lockers. I tried to make sure to give staff who had been traveling lots of space between us just to be on the safe side for myself. We planned on letting students come back to school starting Wednesday to get their belongings from their lockers but the district canceled that and sent everyone home on Wednesday morning. I was at treatment that morning and saw the email that everyone was asked to leave immediately. We have been asked to stay home until the 30th.

Treatment went well Wednesday and it was much faster than any of the treatments I have had the last 5 months. I was told not to leave the house if possible and if I have to leave I have to wear a face mask. They said not to have contact with students if I have to go back to work. So, I can’t let them touch my pens or papers or anything like that. I had already been doing that for the most part but I’ll just do it with a mask and gloves on if we return to work. I am recovering well from this treatment. The side effects are easier to manage. It does cause me to have some wicked dizzy spells but they pass quickly. Knowing it’s just a side effect makes it less alarming when it comes on. I am grateful to everyone who has reached out to make sure we have what we need and kept us in their thoughts while we, as a community go through these crazy times. We currently have what we need. 

I hope everyone is doing well and keeping their sanity while we are Practicing our social distancing. 

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Journal entry by Ashley bailey

This week's chemo went better than the last two doses of Pacitaxel. I felt some of the same symptoms but less severe. I took a two day medication prior to chemo and then an additional oral medication the morning of, to reduce the reaction and it worked better! This time I tried to sleep through the majority of it once they administered the Benadryl. I am just glad that I am done with that one and I can move on to the next stuff. I will go in to check my blood count this Wednesday to see how I'm doing without the Neulasta, hopefully that will be a thing of the past for sure also. I feel tired as usual, after this chemo. The post medication I take causes me to feel like I'm running all the time and my heart beats extra hard. When I'm sleeping I'll wake up and feel like I've been running really hard and it's hard to get back to sleep. Hopefully that will be gone the next couple days and I'll be able to sleep through the night again. I shouldn't need to take that post medication anymore since I'm done with the Pacitaxel chemo. The neuropathy in my hands and feet have intensified but it's only because the chemo accumulates in your system so like everything else it should start get better. 

Dan is home from work and we get to spend spring break together which is awesome. Brooke and Tanner are wrestling this season. Brooke has her first wrestling tournament this weekend and is super stoked about going. Tanner is going to be skiing so won't be in this tournament but will likely be in the next one. I spoke to my oncologist about extra steps I should be taking while at the tournaments with all the people and what not around. I am well prepared and glad that I won't miss out. I was talking to another parent about everything we have going on and they said, "oh you must be feeling really good if you're able to do all the stuff you're doing." I took it as a good thing because my goal all along this journey is to make things go as smoothly as possible for my kids and my family. I push myself to go to work and to complete my tasks because if I didn't have goals, it would be easy to fall into a pit of sadness and frustration. It's simply the best way I can get through it.  For those of you getting ready for spring break I hope you have a good one! The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Wednesday’s treatment went well. I had no issues from that treatment which is a huge relief. It was short too so afterwards I grabbed lunch and went to work. While there, my oncologist ordered a urinalysis because my kidneys were still hurting and because I ran a fever over the weekend. We were trying to figure out why that was happening. My blood work showed I had an elevated number of blood cells and that maybe why I was having so much pain, it showed also that my kidneys were okay. My urinalysis came back looking good, so I will discontinue the nuelasta which makes my body work harder to create the while blood cells to fight off infection. I am super happy about that, it was a helpful medication but I referred to it as the torture device. It would make a bunch of beeping and clicking noises but some time during those noises it would shoot a needle into your arm and stayed there for 27 hours before it started doing the same thing over to inject the medication again. The conclusion was that I wouldn’t take that medication anymore and it was the other medication I am taking to reduce the reactions I’m having with the chemo are causing the pain. This coming Wednesday will be the last one of the chemo that has been causing all the issues so, I just need to get through that. I will continue until February of next year now with the treatment that is every three weeks. If it is like the one I had this week, I can do that. It will be a lot easier than it has been.

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

This week my friend Michele drove me to chemo. It was nice to catch up with her and have someone to chat with during treatment. They changed up my pre meds in hopes that I wouldn’t have another reaction. I took an oral medication for two days prior then they changed what they injected prior to the chemo. I was about 10 minutes into chemo before I started having another reaction. I was talking and it was hard to think about what I was saying and I could feel my face getting flush. I was hoping it was just the medication that makes me tired kicking in but, it was clear, that was not what it was. Michele alerted my nurse Shelby and they were ready to counter the reaction. This time it hurt really bad in my kidneys which wasn’t something I felt last time. I still felt foggy and had the tightness in my chest. They challenged the chemo and started it again. Luckily, we weren’t there as long as last time and I was able to get through it. I felt exhausted afterward and slept for the rest of the day. I feel pretty tired still but I only have one more round of this chemo then I’ll be done with that stuff. I have treatment again next week but it’s not the chemo I had this week. 

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

It’s been a while since I’ve updated. It’s been busy. I had my first round of the new chemo with out complication. The side effects were less intense and easier to manage the first time around. I felt numbness in my fingers and feet which felt more like when you’ve slept awkwardly and your circulation is coming back. That sensation would come and go. I still had nausea but it didn’t make my stomach feel like it was being twisted out of my body. It was just more cramping here and there. I had drill that same weekend so I was exhausted after working two weeks straight. We took the kids to Alyeska to relax the following weekend. I even got in the pool with the kids. I couldn’t swim because my muscles need to figure out how to do it again, it just didn’t feel great. I bobbed around for a bit until it got a little too crowded. The kids were just excited I was able to be in the water with them. 

The second round of the new chemo my friend and boss, Megan came to see what the process was all about. She met my nurse along with my oncologist and got to watch them weigh me and take my blood and then start the pre meds before she needed to get back. It ended up being a good thing both she and Dan had gone for a little bit because I started having a reaction about 15 minutes into the 3 hour chemo. I felt bad because my nurse had just gone to the bathroom but I couldn’t breath and it felt like I had a cage around my chest but my heart was trying to get out at the same time. My vision was getting dark and all I could say was, “um!” It was hard to catch my breath and I felt like I was going to pass out. They stopped the chemo and started injecting a drug to counter the reaction and put me on oxygen. I was mad at my body for having that reaction because I’d like to just get through it. I was glad that no one else was there to see it. Once my body was back on track they did something called “challenging” the chemo and started it again but just very small doses very slowly at a time until it could be built back up to where I had started. Dan came back as soon as he heard that I was having issues so he sat with me the rest of the time. We ended up being there until 6:30. I got there at 9:30am so it was a long day. I still feel tired and have tightness in my chest but I was assured it will get better. I have a new premedication to take before my next chemo to prevent the same reaction. If I still feel cruddy on Monday I might take the day to sleep. 

my next chemo will be the 19th so fingers crossed no more craziness and it will all be behind me. 

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Christmas break was really good for the kids. Dan had a lot of it off so they were able to go snow machining and ice fishing. Tanner slept over at a friends house for the first time which was very exciting for him. They were pretty excited that they got their major Christmas wishes. They both got to do some sledding and played in the snow and lots of time with friends. My parents had us over for dinner and I was able to snack of some of the food they made. 

Yesterday was the last round of the really though chemo that I have been on. I am so happy to be done with that stuff. My oncologist was telling me that it is some of the toughest stuff you could be on so I made it through it! The next chemo therapies should be easier according to my oncologist. The next one has similar side effects but they are just less severe, then I will also be on another one that specifically targets the HER2+ cancer they found in the second location. That one will only be needed every 3 weeks and the side effects of that one of even less severe than the others. When I am just on that treatment my hair might even start to grow back so towards the end of the school year I should be feeling so much better than I have been.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. 

I feel about the same today as what I've been feeling like after treatment. I still had the reaction that causes the burning sensation so the benadryl has made me a little more tired than I'm used to but not so much that I couldn't work. I still have the nausea and the stomach ache and all the other fun stuff from the chemo but I just feel grateful that it's only going to get easier.  I will go in on the 20th to have my heart checked then I'll know the date of my next infusion.  

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Third round done. I have been dreading this one only because I know how I will feel on Christmas Day and it’s a bummer but I keep telling myself that I just need to get through it and next year I’ll be back on track. On the bright side I have one more round of these two chemos then I’ll switch to the chemo that isn’t as aggressive. These two I’m on really takes it out of me. I have been losing between 5-6 pounds for the first week after the infusion because of nausea and the bad taste in my mouth. I’ve also been working and doing my best to stay active but my muscle mass has gone down a lot. I can’t see the muscles around my stomach anymore or in my legs like they were before. I have been able to gain back some of the weight when my
appetite picks up before I go back in for more chemo. My oncologist changed up the medication to help with the nausea so I’m hoping that will help. 
The second chemo they give me burns my eyes and my nose when it’s given to me so I have to have a strong Benadryl dose to help fight that during the treatment. Today I had to have two doses because it was rough, my eyes kept watering because it was burning and it looked like I was crying but I wasn’t. If you checked in with me and I didn’t respond it’s because of that I promise I’m not ignoring you! I was super wiped out today. 
Brooke came along to check it out but Tanner said he’d prefer not to see any of it so he hung out with Grandad Sean for the day. Brooke thought it was interesting but got bored pretty fast. She at least knows where I’m going and what they’re doing. 

We are looking forward to Christmas. I was good this year and thought ahead and got all the gifting done early and wrapping done. I spaced stockings but I got that knocked out this week too so, no last minute rushing around. We plan on sticking to our morning tradition of having Dan’s mom, brother and Mike over for Christmas breakfast Then dinner at my parents. I got everything prepared and we will cook it tomorrow and Dan will heat it in the morning. It’s not as good as fresh made but we are working with what we’ve got. 

We hope you all all have a wonderful holiday! For everyone who has taken a moment to check in and give us well wishes we sure do appreciate it.

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Third time is the charm! My numbers looked good and they’ve started the chemo. It’s a funny thing to be happy about but hopefully it’ll put me back on track and won’t have this issue again. I will have a patch that will be placed that will give me an injection of medication that will keep my white blood cell count where it needs to be in the future. 

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Wellll, my numbers were too low again so I have some supplements to take to help bring up the white blood cell count. I will have to go back in Tuesday to give it another go. My hair has started falling at largely noticeable amounts. I can see my scalp in some places so Friday at the assembly some lucky students get to choose which staff member goes under the clippers. Of course it’s all volunteer. Some staff have decided to shave their heads along with me so that will be a fun way of saying goodbye to what is still hangin on. I’m ready for it. I’m getting irritated because it keeps getting into my eyes  so I’m having to pick it out. I’ve got a couple nice beanies some friends and family have sent so I’ll be able to rock those to keep me warm. So, fingers crossed Tuesday will be the day and I won’t have to drag the chemo treatments out.

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

I had a great first week back to work. A lot of students didn’t recognize me at first because of the change in my hair. I got a lot of welcome backs and the majority of students said they thought my new hair looked great! One said they thought I looked even better than before...haha 

My energy level is lower than it used to be and when I get off of work I’m pretty tired but I‘m still feeling good and not pushing it too hard. I have had a really good appetite and have been gaining weight back that I’ve lost. I went in Wednesday for my chemo appointment but my white blood cell count was too low so they rescheduled it to be done on Friday. The stitches from my port surgery are  looking healthy and healing well. Dan blew my mind when he told me that chemo lasted for 5 hours. I thought it only lasted an hour and a half last time so that goes to show how with it I am on chemo days but I should be good to go come Saturday. I will follow up next week. 

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Hey everyone, 

     Thank you for taking a moment to stop in and check the page out. I was diagnosed on 9/20/19 with invasive ductal carcinoma which is a form of breast cancer. I had biopsies on two areas which both came back as cancer. Based on the images from the ultra sound and mammogram it looks to be two separate tumors but my doctor is concerned that it could still be connected. If it is connected, the surgeon would like to do chemo first then do a double mastectomy then follow up with more chemo. If they are not connected by any cancerous tissue they would proceed with the surgery then chemo for approx 4-5 months. Another factor we are waiting on, is if the cancer is something that is genetically passed down or if it was just something formed from something else. There is some family history that is missing so we aren't sure which it could be. I had the genetic testing done on the 1st of October. If it is genetic, I will need to also have a hysterectomy and my ovaries removed because the cancer would likely affect those areas of my body as well. I have an MRI on Monday October 14th so they can make sure it hasn't gone past my chest wall and moved into other areas of my body. The following day I will meet with the surgeon to go over all these results and make a plan to move forward.

For those of you who have reached out, I'd like you to know I am very grateful for all your support and great information. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

For those of you who have asked what I need or would like, because of the chemo I will likely loose my hair so some nice beanie hats would be nice. You could go on REI's website and just click on their beanies and you can't go wrong. I do like the ones without the balls on them the best. Nothing expensive either.  Zip up sweaters are another thing I will probably need, again nothing expensive. 

Also to those who have offered to do a meal train, we are very grateful for the offer and once we know the dates we can make a plan. Our daughter Brooke does have a peanut and tree nut allergy so unfortunately anything that contains these can't be in our home. 

Don't feel like you need to provide anything for us, if you just want to check in a say hey, I am grateful for that also.

Again, I am so grateful for all of you and I know this will be something I will get through. I know I am planning on getting through it with humor, hard work, and of course with the help of my husband and two kiddos.
Ashley’s Story

Site created on October 8, 2019

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