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.  
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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

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so grateful to have so many amazing people lifting us up and helping during this journey. I can’t express how thankful I am to work with such an outstanding group of people and to be surrounded by students and community members who have sent cards or made meals for us. We have a wonderful group of friends who check in on us and family who is helping to keep the kids on schedule and occupied. We are so very fortunate! 
I am feeling a lot better than I was over the weekend. I haven’t had much of an appetite since the chemo. I lost 4 pounds since I was last seen but they checked my blood count yesterday and it is looking really good. I talked to my oncologist and he said that he doesn’t think that next Wednesday will be as bad. It was just a lot to have done in a two day span. I am looking forward to going back to work on Monday and seeing everybody again. The partners club from Chugiak brought their Friendsgiving treats to me as a field trip and it was so great to see the students and hear their well wishes. The sophomore student government class made a super warm and amazing fleece blanket and sent it to me, for which I am so thankful for. It is my Dad’s birthday today also so we are going to celebrate his birthday and Thanksgiving with him and my family this year. I might even get to enjoy some of the delicious food! I’ve been drinking a lot of smoothies and easy foods on the stomach lately but I think I’ll try to branch out today while I’m feeling good. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Yesterday we ended up in the ER. I was having a hard time catching my breath and my heart was racing. I called my oncologist’s office and told them what I was feeling. They were concerned that I had blood clots in my lungs from the surgery. We spent about 5 hours in the ER where they ran some tests. I was cleared from any blood clots. It is just a bad side effect of the chemo. They gave me some medication to help make me feel a little better. Hopefully, I’ll be able to adjust to the chemo so I can get back to work and helping around the house. Dan has been great in helping me and making sure I’m eating and getting the things I need. Wednesday is my next follow up appointment. 

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Today was my first day of chemo therapy. After my last post the pain medication from the surgery wore off and oh boy, I could feel it. Today we’ve got the pain managed but I haven’t really slept well for the past two nights. I’d close my eyes but couldn’t really fall asleep. There is just a lot of things happening from the second surgery all at once. It was hard to tell which stinging or burning or pulling was the one causing the worst pain. Dr. Wright left the port access attached because I was going in today to have chemo so now that is out, it feels a little better. The staff was very nice where I got my chemo. My sister and Dan came along to see what it’s all about. They got to watch me be groggy really. Haha it wasn’t super exciting. The nurse gave me something to relax me which made me sleepy. I had weird dreams so I flinched with my arms up while dreaming I was catching someone and I woke myself up by talking. Quite the show I put on I suppose! I will not be able to drive myself to chemo therapy  appointments so I’ll need to find a ride to the ones that Dan won’t be home for but I’ve got time to work on that. I’m home now and I am tired still. I hoping that I’ll be able to get some rest without the port attachments on anymore.

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

All done with surgery number 2! It went much faster than the first one. As to be expected, it’s sore but not nearly as bad as the mastectomy. It does feel weird in my neck to turn left and right but I am grateful that I won’t have to do more IVs in my arm.  Dan is spending the day with me which is the highlight of my day. They moved my chemo day up to this Wednesday. That way if I have any issues, they’ll be able to figure it out before the long holiday weekend. Dan will take me to that one. The next one we plan on bringing the kids with us, so they can see what it is they do. That way, it’s not a scary mystery. Tanner has been writing me sweet get better notes when he has free time and Brooke has been drawing me pictures to put up around me. We are so grateful for the love and care everyone has given us, it has certainly made this time much easier. I’ve been reading notes students and staff have sent me and it’s been great! It’s helped me stay positive. It feels like every time I get used to a change it changes again. I’m ready to go back to work and to feel useful again. I picked up some thank you cards and plan on writing them out. If you have sent us a meal or a gift please know I am so thankful and it might take a while, but I will get my thank you notes out soon!

Journal entry by Ashley bailey

Today we met with my oncologist and went over the pathology report. He said that there were two types of cancer found and they scored high on the scale that determines whether chemo therapy would be necessary. I will have to do a year of chemo therapy. I will go in for another surgery to have the portacath put into place so that it will be easier to do treatments. That will only be about an hour long procedure and will be a lot less painful than my last surgery. It wasn’t a surprise because we talked about it at my last appointment with Dr. Wright and she let us know that it would be likely that was what the oncologist would say. I’ll be returning to work the first week of December, which is later than I was hoping but it’ll be okay. The first treatment will be November 25th. Overall, I’m feeling good and have been dressing myself and and moving my arms around a lot more and working on getting out on some short outings. The tape was removed from the stitches today and everything is looking good and healthy I’m also starting to gain feeling around the surgery area which is a good sign.

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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