Saturday, 2 January 2016

Year End Review...A Couple Days Late;)

Another year is over. I planned to post this before 2016...but...I don't know life got in the way somehow...maybe efficiency should be my New Years Resolution?? Nah...the only resolution I have for 2016 is to be happy, live it up in any and every capacity possible, and enjoy my time with my loved ones. That's it...oh Lordy and good health!! HEALTH: please be on my side this year. I honestly can't believe that an entire year has passed...already!! Can we stop time for just a little while!! The past year had so many ups and some pretty crappy lows. However, I'd have to say the highs HUGELY outweighed the lows. Here's a little recap of this past year:

January 4th/2015: One of the best days, yet bittersweet, of my life! This was the day my nephew, my little "bubby" was born. I LOVE him to pieces!! He tries to escape from me at this point because he has been up and walking, more like sprinting, since he has been 9 months old. I have enjoyed watching him grow and being a part of his life. Can't wait to celebrate the big #1 Birthday!

End of January-February: Oh cancer you really, really messed with me during this time. I remember waking up and being unable to move due to excruciating pain that was either coming from my sternum, my shoulder, my back....I had no clue other than I was in a LOT of pain and felt pretty desperate for relief. This was the little while where I was taking Morphine hourly, Dex, Gabapentin, Advil...essentially this was the time of year as well where NOBODY wanted to be around me due to the "bitchiness" side effect. This was the time I really knew my family loved me because nobody killed me;). Trust me, during this time it would have been justified.

February: This month also gave me a wonderful opportunity to fly to Toronto and take part in a workshop offered by RETHINK breast cancer...a phenomenal organization in Canada geared towards education, support, and advocacy initiatives for young women under 45 affected by breast cancer. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other young women with similar circumstances and to finally meet the amazing Steph in person;). This was definitely a weekend "high" point to my year, and thank you to RETHINK for giving me the opportunity.

April: This was a month that had an epically crappy week intertwined into it. I mean ultimate crapness! I ended up getting sick. Initially, I assumed it was simply gastro that would last a day or two. Oh no...this was the WORST diarrhea/vomiting I have ever had. I mean ever! Dehydration when severe is no joke people!! I was dizzy, had the worst headache ever, and was getting confused at the height of it. I actually scared myself during this time because I couldn't physically even walk without help. This was a very low point this year. Never would I think, looking back at my ENTIRE year, that diarrhea would be my low point...crappy. Really crappy. Oh the puns could continue on and on, but I'll stop out of fear that many people have stopped reading right about now;). However, the peak was most certainly when my husband asked the lovely medics at his hall to come and give me fluids/antiemetics, etc.. These lovely medics were my godsend because I didn't need to leave my house, but I was finally able to get fluids in that stayed in me and essentially helped perk me back up. After a couple days I felt like I was starting to get back on the mend. This was definitely the lowest of lows in terms of how I felt this year.

March: Yup, another wonderful month!! This was the month my hubby and I went to Oahu and Maui for just under two weeks. I mean the flight there wasn't my "shining moment," but we did make it there and we had an absolutely wonderful time!! Oh the waterfalls...the ocean....the beautiful green landscape...GORGEOUS. We made some pretty wonderful memories, so obviously this was another "high" moment for me:). We won't delve into losing my bathing suit top and bottom due to the strong waves, but ya that was a "moment" for sure. FYI and fun tip: The ocean will always be stronger than you. Always;).

June: June was a mixture of highs and lows so I'd say it balanced out! I learnt that my cancer was no longer responding to my first line of treatment so it was time for me to move on. Plus, I learnt of a couple new brain mets that decided to take up residence in my noggin. Again. This was crappy news. I was sad, I was scared, and my stability bubble that lasted a good 16months was over. However, this was also the month my bestie and I went to Vegas to collectively celebrate our 30th birthdays!! I was sooo thankful I didn't need to start my new treatment including chemo until I got back from Vegas...this may seem like a tiny thing, but to me this allowed me to have one of my "high" points this year because I was able to feel great on our vacation.

July: Oh July...I started chemo again, Xeloda, along with a targeted therapy called Tykerb. Yup this month was dedicated to the shitter. Literally. Tykerb is essentially the liquid crap stimulator in terms of drugs and side effects. I also had nausea and vomiting and in general was worried that this would become my "new normal." However, after some adjustments with the dosage I was able to get on a dose that was tolerable. I could leave the close vicinity of a bathroom and that was lovely. I also turned 30 this month and had a wonderful day!! I didn't shit my pants either, sooooo I'd say it was a successful birthday!! Here's to another year of life:).

September: This month I went to Lake Las Vegas for my mom's birthday. We had a completely relaxing and beautiful time. By this point I completed 3 rounds of chemo and by the end of the first week in Vegas I felt like crap. The side effects became pretty unbearable and the flight back was the first time I felt as though I just wanted to be home. Lesson learned! When the side effects become severe from these drugs: STOP taking them. The side effects were most certainly NOT worth it. I got a dose reduction from my chemo plus an additional week off to recover... Yaaaay to chemocations:) (a vacay from chemo).

December: My scans came back looking amazing. This meant my current treatment was working sooooo well!! This was such wonderful news that our entire family was elated by all of this!! Sadly, it was also a reality check to the nature and reality of this disease when four fellow metsters passed away in a short time span. It seems as though, looking back, that every month had some good and some bad. Once you have cancer it's intertwined into every aspect of your life. I wish I could ignore it but it's impossible to. This is the reality of living with cancer and what the past year has entailed to make it to 2016:

The first 6 months I took Letrozole daily (Approx. 181 pills)
8 Herceptin Infusions
I have taken over 500 pills of Tykerb since July
I have taken over 670 Pills of chemo (Xeloda) since July
I have had about 7 Zometa infusions
I have had 4 PET scans
I have had 5 Brain MRIs
I have taken countless amounts of supportive meds to combat side effects like nausea and pain such as Zofran, antacids, pain meds, etc...
I have had 4  Zoladex injection...AKA the dagger needle in the abdomen that takes a nice chunk out of my stomach every 3months just to ensure my ovaries remain the chronological age of an 80 year old:)...menopause in your 30s is like a very cruel, bullshit joke!

For all these therapies, scans, and meds I am thankful. Thankful that these therapies exist and have kept me alive and relatively well so I could enjoy another birthday, watch my nieces and nephew grow one year older, and spend time with my family and all those I love. Every side effect or pain was worth it and I'm happy I live in a world, and a country, where this is available to me at essentially little to minimal cost financially.

Going into 2016 I am excited, ready, with just a tiny ounce of fear. Fear of what this stupid disease has in store, but I'm excited for new research, for new therapies...for HOPE to prevail into 2016; NOT fear. Honestly, there seems to be so many exciting new treatments that are on the horizon that it truly does catch my attention and makes me realize that there is ALWAYS hope...I'll choose to hang onto that tightly this year and refuse to let go! Happy New Year everyone...let's make this year the best yet!!


New Years Eve and day with my family...these are the moments and people who mean the world to me... My hubby, nieces, & mom. Happy for many more moments like this in 2016!