Home Sweet Home

It’s hard to believe that 10 days have flown by so quickly.  Seems like I just left!  It was an incredible time, highlighted by Carly and her teammates winning the Bronze medal for the team event.  In the individual events, Carly just missed Bronze on the balance beam by .20  I am so proud of her.

I had 10 amazing days in Israel with family and friends.  I felt great, didn’t take 1 single pill while I was there!!  I had lots of energy to do everything I wanted to do.  I didn’t let anything bother me, and just enjoyed every moment.  

My cousin and my brother were in charge of posting pictures on Facebook, and they were having a contest to see who would get more likes!  It was pretty funny.  I didn’t have a smart phone with me, so I was relying on them!  so hopefully you were all able to see the pictures.  In case you are not connected with me on Facebook, here is the link to my personal page  https://www.facebook.com/randy.s.mellon and here is the link to my Think Pink Direct Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Think-Pink-Direct/197255126951618

I came home last night and Carly comes home tomorrow, and Richard and Hailey on Thursday.  Then the reality part begins.  Back at the hospital for blood work and meet with my Oncologist on Thursday, and chemo #5 on Friday.  I’m hoping without all the emotional stuff, and the surgery for the port all dealt with, that this round I will only have to deal with fatigue!  Now, as my grandmother would say, phew phew phew, and I am throwing salt over my shoulder, so as not to bring any bad thing!  You have to love old country traditions 🙂

As always….taking it a day at a time!

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Thank-you EVERYONE!!

A HUGE Thank-you to everyone!

You all believed that I would be going to Israel.  Your prayers, well wishes, positive vibes, along with all your posts, emails, and messages are what have kept me going through some of my most difficult times, especially over the past 2 weeks.

Tomorrow, I’m getting on that plane, feeling great and ready to go! I can hardly wait to be reunited with my family on Tuesday, when Richard and Hailey meet me at my cousins place.  Carly competes on Wed.  She is having the most amazing experience, I couldn’t be happier for her.

My friends and family have kept me busy over the time since Richard and Hailey left, and it’s been awesome.  I really am blessed to have you all in my life.

I’m feeling the love!

A better day

One of the things I promised myself when I started this blog was that I would keep it real, and try not to sugar coat anything.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Well, yesterday’s post was for sure the bad and the ugly part of all this.  I am normally “the glass is half full” person, and yesterday, the “glass was most definitely half empty”

Today is a new day, and I’m feeling like I can take on anything, the worst (well at least for now) is behind me.  I WILL be joining my family soon.

Thanks again for all you messages, they mean the world to me.

it’s hot out there, just came home from walking Ruby….need a shower….chat soon

Randy

Doxitaxol sucks

Well…this round of chemo has been really tough emotionally and physically.  I’ve just had the 1st of 3 rounds of Doxitaxol (and started my first of 18 Herceptins).  Everyone told me that it was harder, but I had no idea of what they meant.  I have been beyond zonked.  I’ve taken more naps than I think I took as a kid.  I’m good in the morning, but by about 3, I’m toast.  All I want to do is lie on the couch, or crawl into bed, and sleep.  It’s not just tired, it’s a physical thing, zero energy, zero drive, zero energy.  For those who know me well, you know that has to be hard!

My port is healing nicely and the bad reaction I had from the tape is finally settling down, it still looks like someone took a hot iron and burned my neck and chest.  But at least it isn’t burning or itching anymore.  I did find some crew neck shirts that cover it!  Never thought I would ever wear crew….I’m a v-neck kind a girl!

But because nothing seems to be easy about any of this, I basically threw my shoulder and rotator cuff out of whack. (probably from holding it in a protective way from what is going on on my chest!)  Not a good thing when I have to go sit on a plane for 12 hours!.  But on a good note, my friend Melanie Lopes, a chiropractor who I highly recommend, was able to give me some relief and I will see her again before I leave.

I took Richard and Hailey to the airport today.  Really difficult saying good bye.  This is all so unfair, it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.  I’m supposed to be going with them.  I know, I’m grateful, I will be joining them soon, but it’s not the same.  Cancer took that away from me, and as much as I try and be SO positive, it really flipping sucks, and it’s hard not to get mad and upset.

My friends have been so wonderful, lots of messages, emails etc, and everyone is keeping me busy over the next few days.  I need to book in time to pack 🙂  I’m very blessed to have so many people there for me.

Thanks everyone…you all mean so much to me!

Tomorrow will be a better day, and will take me one day closer to going to Israel!

 

Carly’s on her way to Israel

It’s hard to believe that Carly is on her way to the Maccabiah games in Israel to represent Canada in Woman’s gymnastics.  I am SO proud of her.  She believed in herself, stayed true to her dream, and is on her way for a once in a lifetime experience.

Carly also believed in me, she believed that we could get the fundraising done so that she could go.  There was never a doubt in her mind.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, there was also no doubt in her mind that I would be able to come to Israel to see her compete.  She never wavered from her position that I would be there.  When she left today, she told me she loved me and to stay healthy!  It made me cry.  I’m so happy for her, yet, I wish she didn’t need to tell me to stay healthy, I wish I was as healthy as I was before February.  She shouldn’t have to worry about me, she should only have to go and have an amazing time.  It reminds me of how hard this is on everyone, not just me, but my girls, my husband, my family.  It’s the cruel reality of all this.

But, I am going to Israel on the 20th.  I can’t go when Richard and Hailey go on the 16th, as I still need a few more recovery days from my chemo to be in the safe zone.  I will miss opening ceremonies, but I’m grateful I will see Carly compete.  But it’s not exactly the summer we had planned way back in January.  But we make the best of it.  I promised Carly I would stay healthy, and that’s the plan!

I’m starting to feel better after chemo on Friday.  I’m still really tired and drained, and find it hard to concentrate on anything for a long time.  I also had a bad reaction to the tape that was used around my portocath, and have been back and forth to my Doctor for all kinds of creams to bring what looks like a localized burn under control.  This has thrown a little monkey wrench in what I need to take to Israel in terms of clothing.  Being someone who always wears v-necks, I would probably scare someone right now.  Plus this will make that area super sensitive to the sun.  For those of you who have been to Tel Aviv in the summer, well, it’s super hot and sunny.  So now I have to go get some clothes that cover me, but are not heavy so that I won’t swelter.  

For someone who never took anything more than Advil, I’m now a walking pharmacy of pills, and ointments.  I just hope they don’t stop me at customs!!  I need a backpack just for all my meds.  Seriously, this all sucks, but I will deal with it.   A day at a time, that’s what I keep telling myself, so I need to listen to my own advice.

Over the next few days, I have to help Hailey get packed.  Taking Richard and Hailey to the airport will be very emotional and difficult,  if everything was as its supposed to be, I would be leaving with them.  But I can’t.  I can’t go till the 20th.  It’s going to be very lonely for a few days without anyone home.  Just me and Ruby (my doggy).    OK…I know…one day at a time.

Back to work tomorrow, I need some normalcy!

Chemo #4 done!

It’s been a long week, I had the PortoCath put in on Tuesday. Thanks to my good friend Andy, I went to another hospital and he took very good care of me and made sure I was a comfortable as possiblem and was able to put in a PortoCath that was compatible with also getting the Catscan injections (since I have a few more of those to go as well). As you all know, it was a difficult decision, but it was the right one. I was in a little more pain than I thought I would be the next day, but it’s all good now.
On Thursday I went to get my blood work done, and unfortunatly I was still too swollen to access it, so one last blood in my arm.
I went home and iced like crazy, there was NO way I was having chemo in my arm on Friday!

So after icing all day Thursday, and armed with an icepack on Friday, Kathy picked me up an off to the hospital for what would turn out to be a very long day, but not a bad day. I had to meet with my Oncologist first and this took a look of the time, as they don’t get the drugs ready till you’ve met with the Dr. (I ususally do this on Thursday, but she was not available). This was an important visit, as I had lots of questions around starting the new chemo drugs, reactions, prevention things, and of course most importantly, everything I needed to know about getting everything in order for Israel!! So now I’m armed an ready with everything…more on that later.

By the time I go paged to go for chemo, I had an entire entourage of friends joining Kathy and myself, it was wonderful! Louise, Eric, Lori, Christina, Karen. I really am blessed with such an amazing support system. I should note that you’re really only allowed to take one person into chemo, but oh well…off we all went…one big party!

Manny, my usual nurse was on holidays, so I didn’t know what would be doing my procedure this time, But everyone at ChemoDay are so wonderful, I knew I was in goods hands. So now the big question…the Port. It was still difficult to get in, but we called in reinforcements and on the second try with a longer access needle (I was still swollen) they got it in!!! Needless to say, a huge sigh of relief, although my blood pressure was a little high! (big surprise!)

As I said before, new drugs. So we started with Herceptin, because this is all new, they start them very slowly to make sure there is no adverse reaction. and there was none, yay! so 90 minutes later, my first of 18 Herceptins are done! Then we waited with saline for 30 minutes, and started Doxitaxol. This drug can cause allegic and adverse reactions, along with lots of other reactions laters such as loosing nails, mouth sores, finger and toe tenderness to name a few of the fun things. So again, they start it extremely slowly to make sure there is no allergy, and YAY, none! It’s a big victory. So for the next 90 minutes, I had my toes in ice bags along with my finger tips in ice. The idea is to constrict the chemo from flowing there in hopes of saving my nails. As many of you know, I have great nails, and take great pride in keeping them look great! but if I do lose them, I’ll deal with that later!

Do finally at 4:30, we were done. Thanks to Kathy for all her great friendship and patience. We actually had a really nice day together.

So now I wait, and see what the next few days bring for me, as it’s always the Monday-Thursday after that are the hardest. But this time I’m armed and ready!
-I gave myself the Neulasta shot yesterday, so I will start feeling the bone pain tomorrow. As Advil didn’t work last time, this time, I have Celebrex to get me through a few days.
-When I go to the lowest part of my week last time, Atavan didn’t work, so this time I’m armed with Ambien.
-just in case I get thrush or mouth sores, I’m armed with an antibiotic rince.
-and although Doxitaxol usually doesnt have nauseau issues, I’m armed with anti nauseau pills.
It’s crazy for someone who never took anything stronger than Advil….I look like I’m an addict!!

I have all the things I need to get my self ready for Israel. My Doctor gave me copies of all the results of tests, surgery, and all my blood work. I have a filled perscription of anti-biotics, just in case. Insurance is all paid for! and my friend Maria is coming to measure me for compression socks for the plane. Going to Israel to see Carly compete is truly what has kept me going, and I know what will take me through the next few difficult days ahead, which I know are coming.

I spent last week getting her ready with the things she needs, and she leaves on the 11th. Hailey and Richard on the 15th, and me on the 20th. More on that in an blog later.

So once again my friends….Thank-you for all your support, your messages, warm thoughts and prayers. I’m more than half way through chemo, and although I know I still have a long road ahead of me over the next year, this is probably the most difficult part. Oh I head a woman ring the bell!! That means she was finished her chemo! That will be me on August 23!

Hugs everyone!

Decision made-Happy Canada Day!

Thanks to everyone for all your most appreciated feedback on the PortoCath. I am having the procedure done tomorrow at Lakeridge Hospital. PMH was not able to fit me in before chemo on Friday, and my friend who will do the procedure, who ultimately helped me make the final decision, will be doing it for me.
I know it’s the right decision, and I should have done it months ago, but the reality of it is I wasn’t ready emotionally. Truthfully, I’m still not sure I am, but it has to be done.
With small veins, and thrombosis in one of them already, I just can’t take the chance of more issues. I still have 3 more chemos, and 18 Herceptins, plus a minimum of 21 more blood work needed. Plus any other tests that need injections! So it will be in for a minimum of a year, and probably up to 2 years.
I will learn to live with it.

Needless to say, it’s been an emotional week, and I’ve had a few “blue” moments. Who am I kidding..I’ve had a few rough emotional days. Trying to figure out things with work, taking some time for me, the procedure tomorrow, chemo on Friday, and Israel, all of us leaving a different times….well, it all gets a little overwhelming at times. It’s when I need to just let it happen, and then move on, and get back to one day at a time.

This is going to be a crazy week. Tomorrow the PortoCath and recovery. Thursday blood work, and Friday Chemo. Somewhere in all this, I also have to help Carly get ready to go to Israel.

As many of you know, Carly is representing Canada at the Maccabi games as a gymnast. The games are the third largest in the world and there will be over 300 going just from Canada! and all sports are represented. It’s very exciting.
Richard and Hailey will go on the 15th, and I will go with my brother Wayne on the 20th. Unfortunately, I will miss opening ceremonies, but travelling so close to chemo is not recommended. I’m just grateful that my Oncologist was able to move around my chemo schedule to accommodate my being there when she actually competes. Carly and I spent time talking about it all, and she also only wants me to be well to be there for the competition, and not take any risks. I will try and find out is there is a streaming link that I can watch the opening on. It’s supposed to be spectacular.

Happy Canada Day everyone!!