Just wanted to leave a quick update today – I completed my 7th paclitaxel/carboplatin infusion yesterday which is my 11th cycle of chemo overall. I can now officially count down on 1 hand the number of infusions I have left. My white counts continue to be iffy and were a bit low this week so two more GCSF injections it is! Fortunately, with reduction of the paclitaxel dose and adding milk thistle supplements, my liver counts are improving so I’m thankful for that!
Otherwise, all is well. Trying to get enough sleep and exercise to keep my immune system as strong as possible. I probably should write a whole post on sleep at some point here…stay tuned! Also, our governor finally announced that he’ll be lifting the transpacific travel quarantine beginning October 15, so that means my family can finally come down to visit without the hassle of having to quarantine for 2 weeks! Looking forward to seeing my mama ❤
Justin and I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix last week. I highly recommend it and would love to discuss it with anyone who has thoughts on the good and bad effects of social media on the people in our society. It’s an important ethical discussion and may make you realize why there is so much division in our nation right now. Let me know what you think!
For those of you still exercising at home, here’s a link to a beginner/intermediate Pilates class that I taught last week for my sister. Justin bought me the cute rainbow tapestry in the background so I was inspired to create a routine around rainbows! Enjoy!
Hope all is well and everyone is staying healthy! Please continue to wear a mask to protect your kupuna (elderly) and those with health conditions that put them at high risk. We’re not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet so please be considerate of those around you!
Happy Thursday, everyone! Chemo day has rolled around again, BUT today is another celebration! I am halfway through my paclitaxel/carboplatin treatments which means there are only SIX total chemos left for me. Six weeks seems so manageable after already having made it through 14 weeks and 10 treatments so far, and I am feeling some relief and lightness today that I haven’t felt for a while now.
The longer treatment goes on, the lower my energy levels go, so I’m really working hard to motivate myself to continue to cook healthy meals and exercise at least 3 days per week. I am still teaching Pilates on Zoom weekly on Wednesdays (reach out to me if you’d like to join us!), and I try to walk down to the closest lab to get my blood drawn every Tuesday.
My white count is still barely hanging in there after each treatment, so I continue to need 2 Zarxio injections to boost them back up again each week after chemo. I’ve been having them done in the oncology office, but I just found out I can do them myself at home which I am sooo stoked about…it’s the little things, my friends. Seeing as how I had to do many self-injections prior to my egg retrieval in June, this should be no sweat and will save me two trips each week. [P.S. more on that egg retrieval process coming soon!]
I’m still eating primarily vegan, but because my red blood cell counts have been low, I’ve started drinking some bone broth and eating a few eggs here and there to get more iron and collagen to build up my connective tissues and improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of my blood. We also like to cook in our cast iron pan which gives us a bit more iron as well. I personally don’t like to take iron supplements because I basically puke it back up, and ain’t nobody got time for that during IV chemo!
I am going to acupuncture weekly now, and I feel like this is my most successful tool during chemo. Each week my acupuncturist works on parasympathetic nervous system stimulation (rest and digest), liver support, lymphatic drainage, and peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Occasionally, I will leave chemo with tingling in my toes and once in my thumb and forefinger (yikes!), but each time I leave acupuncture it’s completely gone. How amazing is that?!
As I near the end of my chemotherapy, I’ll repeat my scans including ultrasound of both breasts and a breast MRI. I likely won’t repeat a CT scan or bone scan as there were no areas of concern prior to starting treatment. I will also consult with my breast surgeon and radiation oncologist after that to make a plan for the rest of my treatment. I definitely won’t be out of the woods completely with chemo out of the way, but I’m looking forward to the next steps.
Having triple negative breast cancer is a bigger burden in the breast cancer world. There are no targeted hormonal treatments that doctors can use for long-term management or prevention of recurrence like they can use hormone-receptor or HER2 positive cancers. This means that I need to treat my tumor as aggressively as possible now to achieve the gold star — “no evidence of disease” — so I have less chances of recurrence in the future.
I am an eternal optimist as always (especially knowing that my tumor has significantly reduced in size based on my own diligent breast-exams), but it’s hard some days not to be fearful of what the future could bring. Having cancer has been my greatest lesson in patience and living in the present. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with daily stresses, but it’s honestly just not worth it. None of us can know what each day might bring, so look for the good in everyone and everything. Ok…I’ll get off my soap box now!
In other news, Justin & I celebrated our 2nd anniversary last week with a nice homemade dinner and music on our lanai (that’s a patio for you mainland folks). We re-watched our wedding video (check it out below) and went through some old photos together. The last two years have really been so eventful and wonderful for both of us individually and as a couple and I’m looking forward to a longgggg life of adventures with my guy.
Side note: We should’ve been in Yosemite and Sonoma last week, but seeing the photos with all that smoke from the forest fires really drove down my FOMO (“fear of missing out” in case ya didn’t know!). Please say extra prayers for those firefighters and the people displaced from their homes all along the West coast.
Our COVID stay-at-home order also got extended for 2 additional weeks so….I’ll be home if you need me! I have loved receiving calls, texts/messages, cards and gifts from many of you – I truly feel so grateful and loved. I hope all of you are doing well and staying healthy!
On Monday, I had a chemo follow up which was just to check in on blood work and how I’ve been feeling overall since my first AC treatment. In reality, I’ve been feeling well and only had a few issues in the first 3 days after chemo with some nausea and fatigue which I expected and did manage pretty well. Hydration is key, my friends.
What I did not expect was that my white blood counts came back “critically low” because otherwise I’d been feeling almost back to normal. It sounds like my counts weren’t able to come back up after my udenyca shot last week as they should have, maybe because we chose to administer a lower dose. I’ve been advised to stay home so I don’t catch any bugs (or God forbid, COVID), and my oncologist put me on a short course of preventative antibiotics just in case.
A quick note on COVID – cases are rising everywhere as we ease up on social distancing guidelines. PLEASE, please, please wear your masks. It’s a quick selfless way to take care of your neighbor, friends, and families. My anxiety is sky high with my immune system running so low, so do it for me or for anyone else you know with a compromised immune system!
Since I’m home, I filmed a little Pilates video for those of you who are also at home and might need a quick workout! Bear with me – I’m still working on a few things too (like video editing….how do I remove the background noise?!). But I hope this gets you moving and connecting with your body today!
Hoping Justin & I can sneak out for a little drive around the island or walk later this afternoon. I’m scheduled for my next chemo on Thursday next week – please say a few prayers that my white counts have come up by then so there is no delay ❤