Journal

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

Roger took me to complete my 5th treatment today.  My blood count was in the safe zone to continue with treatment.  Long day left a 9 and go home at 6. They have to give me per-medication and Benadryl in the IV first then I have to wait a half hour.  Then the chemo drugs start, Herceptin and Paclitaxel.  Herceotin will the drug I have to have for a year.  They push it very slow for 90 minutes to see how I reacted.  When well, so they will speed up the push time and work it down to 30 minute over time.  But, the Benadrly put me to sleep. I had to sleep over two hours and it makes me to tired to drive home. Dr. just keep tell me this is one of the hardest regimen of chemo they give. 5 down with 11 major treatment to go, resting on the couch tonight.  Thanks for all your prayers and support.
Valerie
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Journal entry by Valerie Witt

It has been a week and half since my last chemo treatment and it has been ruff.  They tell me the first four where the hardest and the next set of drugs will have less side effect.  I now have to watch how it effects my heart and the nephropathy (numbing in fingers and feet). So, today I had my second mug heart test and blood work.  I have no energy, all have been doing is sleeping allot.  My blood count was at 9.4 on my last chemo and has drop to 8.1 today.  They are sending me for a unit of blood in the morning.  Hope this give me a little more energy and allows me to start the second round of chemo on Tuesday for 12 weeks more.  Also. I have to do allot of laying down because I develop hemorrhoids, my body just have nothing left to fight bacteria. This is the roughest diet I have ever tried.  I have no appetite and food has no taste.  I have to use a belt to keep my pants up.  New clothes my be in the future. One thing I have found is that light and sound is really amplify.  I sometimes I have to sleep with my eyes covers and small sound are very loud.  The chemo nurse told me neutropenic (unable to fight infection), ask me to avoid germs, large crowds, sick people, waste hands, ect. So, I hope the unit of blood will be a start to helping.  Tiffany and the girls are on they way up to visit and help me.  She will taking me in the morning and Roger is going to watch the girls.  Wish him luck they are busy girls.  The topper of the week is that I got summons for jury duty.  Just one more letter to write and I hate to write. 

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

My third treatment was on July 3rd. and Devin & Emily where here to take me.  The two week have been with the same side effects.  The mouth sores are the worst.  They go down the throat and make it hard to swallow and eating has becomes challenging. I'm learning what to eat and not to eat so the sores are less.  Acidic foods and spicy food are to be avoided.  To keep me for being dehydrated I went two time for IV fluids.  That really help allot.  Daily naps have become a must, but sleeping at night is ruff.  You wake up with hot flashes and night sweats more side effects.  If I could get a good night sleep I think the naps could go. I'm still trying to work one day a week on Monday.  Right now with treatment being every two week this works, but after the 4th treatment on July 17 I will be starting treatment every week.  I will see how I feel.  I have to thank my family and friend for traveling to see us and celebrate with us Roger retirement party. We enjoyed having everyone to our lake house. 

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

This has been a ruff week.  My energy level has dropped greatly and the nausea has been very high.  I'm luck that I have not gotten sick, when it gets bad I hit the couch.  We went to church this morning and I had to sit down, so back to the couch for awhile today. My hair started coming out all over my pillows and in the shower.  This made me very upset, so I got my head shaved.  I still have little stubs, but you don't see it falling out all over your house.  Roger took me out to a movie last night couldn't wait to get home and take the scissors to the wig.  They feel very tight after hours of wearing it, so hats maybe come my head cover of choice. Tomorrow is my day to work, I pray I can make through with wig on.  My challenge is putting on a mask around the ears, with luck I will make it work.  I just don't want to explain my life to patients.
Good news is that our boy's and their wife's are coming this week and weekend.  They are both staying for two weeks. They been planning meals, planning on going to my 3rd treatment with me, put on their dad's party, and just be here for support.  We are so blessed to have them.
Our backyard is make a great face lift.  We are also completing our brick patio and fire pit.  Looking forward just sitting and enjoying the rest of the summer.   

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

Early morning trip to Dr. visit and labs all good.  This allow me to do my seconded treatment.  Treatment went well, but they are causing headaches.  Had to visit my unwanted friend the couch.  I have to thank my chemo buddies today Shelly and Denise. These girls make me laugh. The best medication I can get free! Was very happy to and stop for lunch at out high school friend Lois restaurant.  Thanks for lunch Lois.  Will keep on the nausea medication for the next three day and wait for my Neuvasta patch to go off in 27 hours. Hope the headaches go away with sleep and Tylenol. 

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

The first week was not to bad.  I had to use the medication for nausea and learned to make myself eat little snacks offend.  It is like morning sickness all day.  Saltine crackers are my new best friend, but I have held all my food down.  Today is Monday and I have to say smell and taste has already changed.  The metal taste is here, but this is the first day with no nausea medication.  I return to work today and tired tonight, plan to work once a week on Mondays.  The staff at the office is very helpful, caring, and funny.  It is so nice to get out of the house once a week.

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

A long day as we left the house at 9:45 and returned at 5:00.  Started with seeing the Doctor to check my heart test and blood work.  Good news all the readings were good and ready to start my first treatment. Roger and I had about 45 minutes before chemo so we went for a quick lunch.  They told me to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and come to chemo with something in my stomach.  Well I failed the first day and forgot to put on the numbing cream on my port.  Had it in my purse and was to apply it after my Doctor appointment.  They are feeding me so many steps Roger and I are both messing up already.  So, we took the next step to apply ice to the the skin on top of the port to freeze it before inserting the IV in to the port. I was given four different drugs today.  The first 2 where for nausea and a steroid to help keep my energy up.  They told me they want my quality of life not to change.  I sure hope I can sleep tonight, you all know the couch is not my best friend.  The next two drugs where the chemo drugs one at a time and have to flush the line between. These chemo drugs must be crazy strong, two nurse had to put on chemo protection gowns, mask, and double gloves before they could unwrap and check chemo drugs.  Then ask me who I was again, I said, "Who would volunteer for this."  Both drugs went well, just a little sleepy and had to use the bathroom IV caused alot of fluids.  Before the drug was done they place a Neulasta patch on my back upper right arm.  I feel like I have a tracker on.  It is a box about the size of a fitbit and has a timer with a flashing light.  When the nurse started the time a little needle became inserted in to my tissue and in 27 hours it will beep then begin to administer the medication for 45 minutes.  When the time is up the gauge will show empty and patch can be removed. The patch is to help the bone marrow form new baby cells and keep my immune system up. There is an add on TV about Neulasta if you get chance watch it.  I was told to start the nausea medications for next three days and take a antihistamine to help the patch.  No nausea yet, went for a slow walk tonight (was told to move to digest my food), and now on the couch enjoying a show on TV.

Journal entry by Valerie Witt

Completed my heart test and my chemo teach on Friday.  Was told by the nurse that I will have the heart test every 3 to 6, as the Dr. feel is needed.  I will have to have my blood draw every time before the chemo treatment and see the Dr. before they let me have my chemo treatment.  If my blood count goes to low they could adjusts or not allow me to have treatment.  Then they told me they would sent me for a blood transfusion to bring up my count. They went over all the side effects in detail and ask me to report any little effect to them immediately.  This allow me not to get so sick that my treatment be delayed.  I warned them I have a very high pain tolerance. The nurse looked at Roger, said he could call them too and to put her number is speed dial. I guess I'm blessed I have someone looking out for me. I was give three prescription to get filled two for the nausea and a cream to numb the skin around the port before chemo.  I did find out the the patch is covered by my insurance, so I will not have to drive back to Petoskey Hospital to get a shot the day after chemo.  My first chem is planned for Tuesday June 5th.  Roger is planning on going with me.  Told me the first day will be the longest, because they have to push the drug slow to see how my body handles them and I should always bring some one with me to drive me home.  The drugs could make me tired and I probably not drive myself.
 
Valerie’s Story

Site created on May 30, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
I was encouraged by my family to join this site to allow everyone to follow my journey as I go through my battle with breast cancer.  I was diagnosed in March with invasive ductal carcinoma.  I'm negative to estrogen and progesterone receptor and positive to HER2/Neu. 
I was tested for all the genetics for breast cancer and all the test came back negative.
 I have competed two surgeries in April.  First surgery was a lumpectomy of the left breast and one lymph node was removed.  That lymph node was positive to cancer and the lumpectomy didn't have clean margins.  The second surgery  was successful to get the clean margins and two more lymph nodes where remove and they where negative.
My treatment had been set to start June 5th with two drugs being give every 2 weeks for 4 treatments, two new drugs will be give every week for 12 weeks, then 4 to 6 weeks for radiation Monday thru Friday,  at last one drug in give every three weeks to complete out a year.  Before, I can start any for the treatments I will be having a muc-a scan (some heart test to measure the heart).  The chemo drugs have side effects and the first drugs can effect the heart.  I will be having many different test as this journey continues.  The scan is schedule for June 1st and then I go for a chemo teach the same day.
Roger is planning on going with me on the first day.  They told me so far, the day would be long because they have to push the drugs slow and one at a time to see how my body will respond.  I do have to have a blood draw everyday before each treatment to check my blood count and see if they can give me the treatment.  The day after the treatment I have to return for a shot for nausea.  They tell me I may qualify for the patches, hope so, it will save me a 35 mile trip one way.  
My treatments will be give at the Karmanos center in Petoskey.  Thank you all for your calls, cards, visits, and kind words.

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