Thursday, December 27, 2012

Week #2

Today was mom's second chemo. I got there a little late after an awful night of Sadie and Colin. I swear, they know when I am stressed and then stay up SCREAMING all night!

Anywho, Brian came with me because he was taking me on a date afterwards. We ended up going to Mongolian BBQ and then home, where I slept for four hours. The rest of the date will have to wait. I was so freaking exhausted.

Okay, so to the chemo. Mom's weight has maintained at 139 (yay!!). This is the first time in a month that she has not lost weight. Her blood counts were also good. Her pulse has been a little racy the last few times. After she gets the IV it typically goes down.

Our nurse Laura was again amazing. She did tell mom that it looks like we may need to get a port put in after this round. So maybe mid-January? I don't think that mom likes the idea, but the chemo is wrecking her veins. If it's hard now to get a vein, wait for another month. I think mom  is going to just have to suck it up.

Everything went smoothly today. Doc came around and told mom that she could use Colace for her constipation, but like the true stubborn woman she is, she said that she probably didn't need it and would just drink a lot of water. Whatever. Sometimes I feel like she likes to be uncomfortable or something.

I left the medical center right before the chemo started. It took almost 2 hours for them to get her all checked in, saline drip, pepcid, benedryl and her anti-nausea medication in. By the time the chemo was going to start I was starving! I spoke to my sister and mom is doing well.

I have to say that I am pleased with week two. It was nice to chat with mom for a couple hours. She was feeling okay and wasn't in a bitchy mood....bonus!

So, we'll go on to next week and then an appointment with the doctor on the 10th. I am anxious to see how her chest looks in two weeks. I am also anxious, nervous about seeing mom with no hair again. It's scary and sad. But, I will try to remain rooted in the moment where she does have her hair and is semi-happy. Thank god for a good day today!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


So Christmas is almost over. It was truly a wonderful day with my little ones and husband. We didn't have a huge Christmas this year, everything seemed just right.

I wrote the other day how I was a little worried about our Christmas Eve with mom and dad not being there. It was weird, but still nice. When I woke up at 6:30 this morning it hit me, duh, last Christmas might very well be the last Christmas Eve that I had with mom. That's why I was sad. This may not make sense to you, but it makes sense to me.

Anyways, mom and dad came over this morning and hung out for about 20 know, their usual. I swear, they can never just stay and chill! They got the kids some nice presents and we chatted for a bit. Then my dad got a text message from someone saying Merry Christmas. He didn't know the number and was texting them back, asking who it was. Mom lost her shit for some reason. She just kind of belittled him and was asking why he would even care. You could just see his face fall. She just verbally hit him out of nowhere and it got a little weird. It was so mundane, but she blew up. Then he got her coat on and wanted to leave.

I know she's not feeling well, I KNOW that. I just feel bad for dad. I mean, seriously, it was nothing to get upset over. Nothing. It was all just kind of strange and I wanted to cry a little, but I didn't. It's Christmas, my kids are in high heaven and I know that mom was just acting mean because she is tired, constipated, and to me, it looks like her hair is thinning in the back already :(

If I haven't said it in the last couple posts, breast cancer fucking sucks.

Now, I am off to watch a movie with my baby girl and settle in for a warm slumber. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Crap, forgot to update about chemo! (Warning, some BC pictures in this post)

So we started chemo on Thursday, December 20. We got to the doctor's at 10 and left around 1:45. Needless to say, it was a long and exhausting couple of hours.

Our nurse, Laura, was awesome. She went over the basic chemo procedures, basically as a refresher for us. Mom is getting taxsol....the kind that will for sure make her hair fall out. We are going to be going 3 weeks on, one week off for three months.

The scariest thing that happened was when mom had to show Dr. Greenfield her chest. Since she has been off all treatments for about two weeks, the cancer on her chest has spread rampantly. I had to take these pictures and send them to Dr. G. so that he could add them to her chart:

Sorry that these are graphic, but this is what motherfucking metastatic breast cancer looks like. Right here. Do you see any "pink?"

The good thing is that Dr. G. looked at her chest and said that the chemo is going to clear that up. He seemed pretty damn confident. Fingers crossed.

Anyways, seeing her chest shook me a little, but it was nice that my aunt and uncle came up to hang out with us. At first I was a little hesitant about them coming, but in the end, I am really happy that they were there.

They left around 12 and Brian came up around 1:30. It was nice to hang out with Brian and mom. We were talking about break ups and mom said something about how dad used to always ask her if she was on her period when she would yell at him. She said to Brian and I, "he would say that and that's when he would get a chicken sandwhich thrown at his head." That really made me laugh. Mom still has her wacky sense of humor!

So that's what happened the first chemo. She had some pains when they took her blood pressure, so we are going to address that this week. Till the next time....

Christmas 2012

Well, here we are. Christmas Eve. A time when my family (on my dad's side) gets together, plays Bingo, exchanges gifts for the kids and generally has a great time. But sadly, all of that isn't happening this year. Since mom is on her first week of chemo, she wants to stay home and not be around kiddos with germs :( And Colin has quite the runny nose, so I am trying not to blame her.

I feel like I have been psyching myself out, thinking that this is our last Christmas together. So the thought of her not being with us tonight kinda bums me out. Supposedly she and dad are going to come over tomorrow morning.....I hope so.

It's been a rough week emotionally. With the chemo, being called a bitch by my sister, crying my eyes out and trying to get ready for Christmas, I just want to crawl into a hole and sleep! Things are fine with my sister....I know that is how she is. All of us are under stress. It was just kind of a blow to get yelled at and then hung up on. If it's this bad after her first chemo, where are we going to be 3 months from now???

But, I digress. I am excited for Sadie and Colin's Christmas tomorrow. I am looking forward to a ski weekend over New Years. I'm just worried that every smile is tinged with fear. I'm afraid I'll get drunk and be a crying's certainly happened before. Drinking is nice because you get a minute of relief, but then inevitablly, a brother in law will ask about my mom. And then I'll break down. Maybe I can keep it together?? Pretty please?

So that's it for now. Mom's next chemo is on the 27th. So far, she's constipated, but I haven't heard of any hair loss yet. To be continued....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Lots has happened since that horrible day last Friday. There has been a lot of talk about the poor souls that were lost and also on tighter gun control measures. It's been so pervasive that I haven't spent so much time worrying about mom. I mean, I have, but maybe 25% less. That's good, right?!

Anywho, I started with a caregiver support group last night at The Gathering Place. It was awesome. I was probably the youngest there by 20 years, but the themes are universal. Here are some of my takeaways (that I'm not going to explain, just want to jog my memory when I read this later):

  • Scary karioke
  • Possibilities
  • Not living the calling hours/funerals TWICE. Do it's going to be bad enough
  • Love
  • Having humor
  • Planning......sometimes we need to take a step back and realize that if everything was planned how we wanted it to be, we wouldn't be living with cancer.
I am really looking forward to going back to the group after the New Year. I felt awesome after I left. Really hoping that this group can help to guide me through some potentially rough waters.

I also wanted to share this picture:

My beautiful family!
This is my family and I this past Saturday when we all baked cookies and put up the Christmas tree. This is my dad's FB post from later that day - "Thanks to my daughter Kasey for the great idea of letting the kids decorate cookies and the tree. It has lifted our spirits. Thanks to Jessie and Brian and Katie also.
I have never been more proud of my three daughters." It was a truly awesome day.

Colin and the tree!
Mom seemed a bit tired and not as interactive with the kids as she usually is, but I know that she loved every second of it. 

Kelsey, Sadie and Aubree
Aubree and Mom
We begin chemo tomorrow. I've scheduled myself and my sisters for each of her sessions through January. Please take a moment to pray for my mom. We all need her around...just a little longer. Love you mom!

Aunt Kasey with her nieces and nephew

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today, 27 people lost their lives in an elementary school in Connecticut. Once it sank in a little, I thought about mom. In February, there was a high school shooting in Chardon, OH. That was 3 days after we got mom's stage four diagnosis.

I remember being very distraught over my mom's diagnosis. As I was sitting in my office Monday, Feb. 27, a co-worker came in to tell me about the Chardon shooting. Chardon is merely 15 miles away from me. I was overcome with watching the news roll in and seeing the FB posts. It was that day that I knew I had to get on Zoloft. I was so grief-stricken.

And again, it happens. We get awful news for mom.....we are losing the battle and chemo is next and this senseless tragedy happens. I know that there is nothing in common with the two, but it is so eerie that this has happened twice.

My heart breaks, bleeds and cries for the parents who have lost their children. I am itching to get home and hug Sadie and Colin. I love them so much and it is so fucking scary that you can't keep your children safe ANYWHERE.

Hug those you love. Put petty arguements aside. Tell your husband you love him. HUG your mom. Snuggle with your little ones. Feed them ice cream for breakfast. I am going to be doing this all weekend and for as long as I humanly can.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 20

That is the day that my mom starts her IV chemo. 5 days before Christmas. Booooo.

I went to The Gathering Place to speak to a counselor about my situation. Of course I cried and of course the counselor just sat there with the big, sad, doe eyes. Her name is Betsy and she is fabulous. I really give her credit for working with the dying and their families every day. Honestly, she did give me some good tools and I am going to be going to a caregivers support group starting next Tuesday.

While I was there she showed me their wig salon. Mom is going to be so happy! The wigs are in style, come in a variety of colors and they have someone to help her pick one out. Plus she gets two FREE wigs! TGP is awesome.

I've cried lots and lots today. Some tears are falling now.....I honestly think that my eyes have sprang a leak. I'm exhausted and it is only 8:00 pm. I just wish everything were okay. But it's not, and as Betsy and I talked about today, this time in my life is going to be short-lived. It's going to be hell to get through, but it eventually has to end. What a sad, sad thought. Until later, my friends.

I want to kill breast cancer dead.

So this week in recap:

 Monday on my way home I called mom to see how she was doing. From the sound of it, she had just gotten up from a nap. I would soon find out that she was in a Vicoden haze because she had been in terrible pain all day. Because she had been coughing so much, her rib was giving her pains....remember, the rib that was already thin and that the doc said could break if she coughed too hard? Yeah, that one.

Mom said that she called dad home to take her to the ER, but instead of taking her to the hospital, they just decided to have her take some pain meds and then call her oncologist and my cousin. I was flaming mad. This is how it always works with mom.....brush everything off until the last fucking minute when she is in so much pain that she can't even breathe.

Also in that conversation I found out that mom's new drug had NEVER BEEN ORDERED from CVS. It was basically just sitting in their computer doing nothing. Could we have known about this earlier? Yes. But instead, my mom doesn't want to "bug" anyone and we don't find out about this mistake until a week later. Classic mom.

Honestly, I just wanted to give up. If she and my dad aren't going to take any help and be pains in my ass, why am I worrying so much? Oh yeah, because it's the woman who gave me life.

Fast forward to Wednesday when my sister tells me that mom has a ton more spots and nodules on  her chest than she did just a mere week ago. It's obvious that we are losing control of this motherfucker. Mom called me this morning and told me that she and the doc spoke and that we are going to forego the oral chemo and go straight to IV chemo. The last stop on this journey. We are out of options.

Mom will now begin chemo once a week for three months. 2.5 hours at a time. Now, I am not sure of the cocktail mix that she is going to get with this, but I fully expect hair loss, vomitting, diarrhea and other debilitating side effects.

After I got off the phone with mom, I lost it in my office. My friend Julie came in and helped as best as she could. We are losing mom. How terrible. Our last Christmas. I really hope those words aren't true. I was up from about 1-3 this morning on and off crying. Mourning. Wondering if I am going to give a eulogy. Wondering who will come to her funeral. Wondering if Colin will remember her....she's been sick his whole life.

Today I am going for counseling at The Gathering Place. I need it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Obituaries and fun stuff like that

In the past two days, I have had FB friends post about losing their dads. My heart breaks for them because I fear that we are not that far away from it. In one of the obituaries it said, "Tom's sons were his pride and his grandson was his joy." If there was anything ever more true about my mom, it is that statement. My mom is constantly bragging about one of us girls. I swear, she brags about us TO EACH OTHER!

I have grown up always knowing that my mom thinks I am awesome. As have my sisters. And you know that mom thinks her grandkids are the shit.

So as I was driving in this morning I was thinking of crafting her obituary. Is that bad? I don't feel like she is going to pass away soon, but truth be told, it can't be that far away....can it? Will this new drug work? Nothing else has, so it's hard to think that we are really going to get a miracle here.

I talked to mom on Wednesday and she sounded the best she has in a month. She sounded so good that she just kept talking and talking and talking. It's what she does best :) I am hoping to pop over this weekend to see her for a bit.

I do have to take a moment and say a little prayer for my friend Carrie who lost her baby this week. On Wednesday I was blessed to go to the funeral for little Noah Matthew who was born at 24 weeks. It has definitly been a week of lows. I pray that my grandma can guide little Noah into heaven and that she's also keeping an eye on mom.

On Monday after mom's horrific doc appointment, all I really wanted to do was to pray. I am not uber religious, but for a while now I have been feeling like I need "more." Brian was brought up Catholic, so he is kind of over it. Sadie does go to a catholic preschool and we have discussed starting to go to church for her. I think I need to go to church for me. I am hoping that I can muster the courage to go. I don't know much, but have a want to learn.

Is it hokey to want to go to church now that I am in need?? It feels kind of dirty. But anywho, I have to run and prepare for a work potluck. Until the next time...

Monday, December 3, 2012

I am so over this.

For real. I am so over this motherfucking cancer. This beast that is destroying my mom's life and our family. My mom deserves better than this.

At her oncology appointment today we heard that the Xeloda isn't working. She's been on it, what, 8 weeks? Of the three lesions that are on her chest, two of them have gone down a bit and the one on her breast bone is really nasty. I thought at first that everything was ok. Then Dr. G. looked and found that there are three smaller lesions. I couldn't fucking believe it. He said that the cancer is progressing through the Xeloda. The cancer is literaly coming through her goddamn skin. WTF?!

She now has to stop her oral chemo and we need to hope and pray that her insurance will cover Afinitor. This drug was FDA approved in February 2012 for renal cancer patients. When you couple that drug with another one, it has been proven to work in BC patients. BUT, since the drug is so new, Dr. G is afraid that mom's insurance won't cover it. If they don't, then we have to go to IV chemo once a week. Which will result in a surgery to put a port in mom.

The doc also said that since she has a thinning of some of the ribs, that if she coughs too much it might break her rib. And then what?! Pain management. Are you fucking kidding me?

He is speculating that the pneumonia that mom has may be linked to her cancer. Maybe a tumor down her throat. Again, WTF? My poor mom. What has she ever done to anyone? Seriously, what? Grounded me too often in high school???? I am so over this, but have to keep soldiering on for mom. Can you imagine being the one to recieve all of this news. I am fucking over it. More Zoloft please.

Just read this article. Is it saying that this is buying my mom 5 months?? can't handle.....