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May
1
2019

Care Package Ideas

No gifts or care packages are required, but I have been asked for some care package ideas.  Because I am incredibly sensitive to smells, please only unscented products unless specified. 
Beauty Related & Toiletries (unscented - most scents make me nauseous)
  • "Tums" or other brand of chewable antacid in assorted fruit flavor
  • Soft adult manual toothbrush
  • Natural or organic unscented hand soap (like Method - not sure if natural is the right word)
  • Unscented hand lotion
  • Lip Balm
  • Unscented wet wipes
  • Unscented hand sanitizer (travel size)
  • Nexcare "painless" bandaids

Gift Cards
  • Chick-fil-a (Their milkshakes are the only thing I crave & buy outside the home)
  • Taco Bell or Carl's Junior for Brian & Alex to go out for dinner
  • Grub Hub, Door Dash, Post Mates
Cookbooks & Books
A favorite book of yours - physical or kindle
"What to Eat During Cancer Treatment: 100 Great-Tasting, Family-Friendly Recipes to Help You Cope" by Jeanne Besser, Kristina Ratley, and Sheri Knecht
"The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Second Edition: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery" by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson
  • We have a kindle featherlight & I read it on my phone and tablet
  • I would prefer cookbooks in print
  • I have no problem with used books - please feel free to get a used book, they are usually cheaper

No Thank You's

No plants or flowers (they actually carry a lot of germs & I can't defend against them)
Candles (I love them but can't handle any smells right now)
Fragrant beauty products

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April
26
2019

Basics of My Diagnosis - Here's What My Ninja Cells are Fighting

Timeline of Events From Symptoms to Diagnosis to Treatment Plan

February - Pain started on my right side under my arm with lifting or pulling, redness and pain within the right breast began shortly after. 

Friday, March 1 - As soon OBGYN saw me, she immediately said I needed to get a diagnostic ultrasound and mammogram, and was concerned it was cancer. They found a large lump in the right breast, and my right lymph node was basically a big "lump," definitely not looking like it should. Biopsies were scheduled as soon as possible.

 Wednesday, March 6 - Biopsies of the one lump in my right breast and of my right lymph node. 

 Thursday, March 7 - Not surprisingly, they had us come in for the results. We were as prepared as we could be that it was cancer. The symptoms and the mammogram & ultrasound films seemed to indicate it was cancer to both me and Brian. We received the diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer and cancer in the right lymph node. 
 

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), is the most common type of breast cancer. About 80% of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas. Invasive means that the cancer has “invaded” or spread to the surrounding breast tissues. Ductal means that the cancer began in the milk ducts, which are the “pipes” that carry milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. Carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues that cover internal organs — such as breast tissue.  

However, we met with the surgeon soon after and she had received additional pathology from the biopsies which gave us the type of cancer - I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It was also triple negative which meant that hormone therapy would not work on this cancer (the cancer does not have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone). 

 

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare type of breast cancer. It represents about 1% to 5% of all breast cancer cases in the U.S. It is very fast-growing (aggressive) and can be hard to detect. When it is detected, treatment starts right away. 

 

Inflammatory breast cancer usually starts with the reddening and swelling of the breast instead of a distinct lump. IBC tends to grow and spread quickly, with symptoms worsening within days or even hours.  

My cancer is Stage IIIB which means the cancer has spread to tissues near the breast, such as the skin; chest wall, including the ribs and muscles in the chest. My cancer has spread to lymph nodes within the breast and the right lymphnode under the arm.

The following weeks included doctor visits, treatment discussions, and more tests, including a CT Scan and Bone Scan to see if it had spread beyond the 1 right lymphnode. Praise God it had not moved beyond the 1 right lymphnode. That was the best news!

With my Oncologist and Surgeon working together, we developed a plan of attack to kick the asses of the cancer cells. My prognosis is excellent at 95% to cure and a low 10% chance of recurrence.  I'll be cancer free by the end of November!

How The Ninjas Will Kick Cancer's Ass:

Chemo every 2 weeks for 2 months

Chemo (different drugs) every week for 12 weeks

1 month recovery

Double masectomy and lymphnode removal

4-6 weeks recovery

Daily targeted local radiation therapy for 6 weeks 

= cancer kicked to the curb, I'm cancer free, and I'm going to Disneyland!

April
26
2019

Chemo #2 Thursday, April 4, 2019

Chemo #2 went well on Thursday, and the side effects have been much less and better managed than session 1. 

There was a challenge encountered, because  it took about 50 minutes to get an IV in.  I was very thankful that the last try worked since I didn't want to be rescheduled. As was expected, I'll be getting a port (see below) to make chemo infusions smoother, easier and kinder to my arms. 

POST CHEMO #2 SIDE EFFECTS

This round has been a piece of cake compared to session 1. Many patients, including me, have a severe migraine headache after the first treatment. Last session, I was more miserable, nauseous, and bored for the first several days compared to this time. 

I've still had a headache, but it's a 2 instead of an 8 and is managed by excedrin. The nausea has been less (that migraine made everything much worse) and well managed with the anti nausea med. I've been able to watch TV, listen to music, and hang out more with the family. I'm eating a bit better since the nausea is better, and I know what things I'll want &  be able to eat. We stocked up and were better prepared for this session.  

Writing this, it's 6 am on day 4 and I'm hungry, not nauseous and have only a level 1 headache.  That's pretty fabulous!

Shout out to my incredible hubby who has taken great care of me, makes awesome mashed potatoes, knows how much ice I want in my big tumbler of water, makes sure I stay on time w/ meds, gives me lots of hugs and kisses, makes me laugh, tells me I'm beautiful, and keeps the kids quietish when I'm sleeping, and minimizes the # of times Alex bursts in to tell me some random fact or exciting thing that happened in a game.  He has been amazing and is a huge reason I'm doing pretty darn well all things considered. 

 

PORT - PROCEDURE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 9:30 am

Very basically, a port is a direct line to a vein or artery that is surgically placed. It gives doctors an easy peasy already there IV line. It is temporary and will be removed after my treatments ends. This is very common for chemo patients because of the frequency of treatments/infusions. It's an hour or so out patient procedure (I will be knocked out). It can also be used for blood draws which I get weekly to check my numbers. My arms and veins will greatly appreciate it. It will likely be placed on my left side, on the chest, above the breast. It shouldn't hinder my activity and I can shower with it with no problem.