Saturday, January 30, 2016

This is stupid.

You didn't think I'd be sunshine and rainbows ALL the time, did you??  I've had some bad days. (Cue: Daniel Powter)  Friday was my official first crap day.  Here I was all excited I had finished my first full week of treatment.  Yahoo!  And then Friday afternoon I got this chill I just couldn't shake.  Uh-oh.  No good, Batman. Turns out my body was trying to tell me I had me a little infection.  By the end of the day, I had crazy chills and body aches and a fever...and it was making me feel a little looney.  To the ER I went!

You know what's fun?  Sitting in the ER waiting room trying to figure out the correct way to write that you feel looney on your registration form....without looking...well...looney.  No worries.  I got through it.  Luckily I had other symptoms haha.

So a few blood tests, an x-ray, and a good ol' cup full later, they were able to tell me I had an infection. They gave me some antibiotics and sent me on my way.  Sounds too simple for an ER visit, right?  I may have simplified. It was an ER visit so there was a lot of waiting and it took 3 or 4 hours.  Also in that time I had to convince them I wasn't pregnant and that it was safe for me to have an x-ray.  It's a golf ball size tumor, folks, not a fetus....but thanks for being concerned.  Speaking of not being pregnant, one of  the nurses at Roswell today reminded me (again) that I shouldn't be having "relations" right now.  Yup. Thanks.  Got it. No need to keep reminding me.  I'm right on top of that, Rose.

So about that infection...I got a LOT of rest over the weekend and that helped a bit.  It really knocked me on my ass.  When I met with the first doctor this morning at Roswell, she said there was a possibility they'd hold off treatment today because of the infection.  What? No No. When my oncologist came in he asked me how I felt and I just said fine.  He said, "Really fine or are you just saying fine because you don't want us to hold up your treatment?". I mean, come on. You've known me for a month now, am I that easy to read?!?  Guess so. Haha

I'm having another issue.  It's called neuropathy.  It basically feels like my fingers and toes are falling asleep.  It's awesome, really, because who actually wants to be able to feel their toes 24 hours a day.  Way overrated, right?  I'm not a fan of this.  At all.  And it could get worse.  Cool.  Ugh.

So I ended up getting my treatment today.  And I'm seeing a pattern.  Pump Lesley full of chemicals and steroids....Lesley eats like a maniac.  My wonderful aunts made me brownies.  They're wonderful - (Both my aunts and the brownies). Those chocolate goodies won't live to see tomorrow.  Yum!

Shout out to my Aunt Jean for being my pilot/aide/entertainment today. #support #amazingfamily #redshoesupport

Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 1 - One Down!

You know when you're pregnant for the first time and you subscribe to all those web sites that tell you what size fruit your baby is and what is happening to your body that particular week?  (If no, then just pretend you know what I'm talking about - or go ask a pregnant friend) Some people like to read ahead and see what size their baby will be and what their symptoms might be in the coming weeks.  I never liked to do this.  Why?  If it told me that the 3rd Tuesday of my second trimester, my left earlobe would itch at 4pm, I'd wonder if it really itched or of I just had it in my head because these crazy baby people told me it may happen. I'd rather just see what happened to me. Everyone is different. Life is an adventure!

Today I started chemo and radiation.  You know how many times the word nausea was brought up?  I could be nauseous all day every day.  I could not be nauseous at all.  As I sit here and write this, I feel completely fine....except for the impending doom of nausea.  Will I have to stop writing because I'll feel sick in 5 minutes?  Will I be sick tonight?  Will I feel ok? Will I wake up feeling like crap?  The possibilities are endless....and none are definite. While I appreciate the warning, part of me just wants to be surprised.  I know that's not a thing. Side effects are a thing.  But which ones will happen and when?!?  Life is an adventure.

Here is another issue.  I haven't had an appetite for months.  I normally like to eat.  Obviously.  It's one of my favorite hobbies. So this no appetite part sucks.  If the devil wore red Prada, I guess you could say I'm one battle with cancer away from my goal weight.  (Please find that funny.  It's funny.  I promise cancer wasn't in my original weight loss plan haha)  Aaaaanyway, today - on the last day I ever thought this would happen - my appetite mysteriously made a dramatic return.  And to celebrate, I ate enough to make up for my weeks of not eating.  Really.  I may be slightly embarrassed by the amount of food I consumed haha.  So here's the dilemma - if I get sick later....will it be because I had chemo today....or will it be because I stuffed my face like it was my last meal?  Smart move for Lesley? No, not really.  But I have stupid cancer and I get to do stupid things.  Life is an adventure. 

On another note, a shout out to a cool little dude named Ethan Franks.  His mommy was making us some meals for our freezer and he thought we needed some chocolate chip cookies.  Ethan is a super smart little boy :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Work Family

Sometimes I have days at work that make me feel like I'm starring in an After School Special.  Today was one of those days.

I was asked by my oncologist to be his guest on AM Buffalo.  They were doing a segment about Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and he needed a patient that was willing to talk about her diagnosis. Go on live tv and talk about your hoohoo? Who would do that? I said yes.

It made it easier to say yes because I knew what I was getting in to. I work at Channel 7.  I've seen live tapings of the show.  I know Linda is a fabulous host that makes you feel like you're chatting with a friend, not being interviewed on live tv.  She's been in my shoes.  I knew I was safe.

I think I was fine and excited about my decision to do this until I walked in the studio.  I didn't know my heart could beat so fast.  Besides having to be on live tv, I was wearing adult clothes so i was uncomfortable.  'Why are you telling us this?', you ask? I had surgery last Friday.  This was the first day since then that I wasn't wearing elastic waisted comfy pants AND I was wearing high heels.  Silly me thought I should look professional on tv.  It wasn't until my coworkers started trickling into the studio and each one asked me where my red shoes were that I regretted dressing like an adult.  They know.  They're amazing. That was all it took-I needed my red shoes.

This is where the After School Special portion of my day kicked in.  Picture little Susie sitting on the sidelines at her first basketball game. Her friends bring her these red shoes and then she magically plays the best game ever as her friends cheer her on.

In real life, my entire sales team came down to the studio before the interview.  They saw I didn't have my red shoes on, so someone ran up to my desk to get them - They know how much these silly shoes mean to me. Then they all stuck around to watch their little assistant talk about having cancer on live TV. Its not just at home, from family and friends, that I have support.  I have support from these crazy kids at work and I'm super grateful.

They care.  They're not coworkers.  They're friends. They're my work family.  I'm a lucky girl.

And when you're done watching, call and make a Dr. appointment.  It could save your life.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Moving On Up

In preparation for my treatment, some changes needed to be made to my "real estate".  Yesterday I had a little surgery done.  The doctors want to keep my ovaries healthy.  If anything happens to them it could send me in to early menopause.  Nobody wants that. In order to save them, they needed to be moved up and out of the radiation zone.  I can't exactly explain where they're living at the moment, but they're in there and I'm hoping they're enjoying their new neighborhood.

The bad news in all of this is I'm going to have to give up my dream of being a bikini model. Between the incision scars from this surgery, the incision scars from my gall bladder surgery, and the giant scar from my c-section, I have one heck of a distorted smiley face going on on my belly. It's quite ridiculous.  Like an eight-eyed smiling monster.

I've had a few visits to Roswell so far, but this was my first big procedure.  I came in contact with so many doctors and nurses before and after my surgery. It really takes a special person to do these jobs. The picture below was taken just before I left. This is my nurse from recovery. Her name is Maureen. She was fantastic - kind, gentle, friendly. Everyone was amazing. My Dr. had a great team that day and I am very grateful.  I'm sore, but on the mend.  Glad this is out of the way now....literally.

Friday, January 8, 2016

And The Adventures Begin

On December 16th, I went to my annual checkup "down there". Like most women, I find these appointments annoying. I mean...they're kind of a hassle, they're intrusive, they're just not fun.

It was a good thing I went to my annoying appointment because 8 days later, on Christmas Eve, I was told I had cancer.  Excuse me? Me? No. This was not on my Christmas list. I'm 33. I'm fairly healthy. I ran a half marathon 3 months ago, for the love of pete. But, yes, it's true.

Now that we have the biopsy and scan results, I know I have Stage 1 Cervical Cancer. There is a golf ball size mass inhabiting my cervix.  His name is Roid, by the way. Roid is a jerk. We're not friends. Due to the size of Roid, surgical removal is not an option so I will be starting Chemotherapy and Radiation treatments in the next few weeks.

This is not the kind of adventure I envisioned for 2016, but you know what?  Bring it on, Roid. You're going down. You don't know who you're messing with.

I invite you to join me on my adventure. There's no worrying though....we got this.

I'm at Roswell today for my "quick and easy" surgery. 

Here we go.

Friday, January 1, 2016

There's a big adventure in the works...

I have cancer.

I thought long and hard about how I'd start this post.  There it is.  Three words.  I used to have this blog for silly everyday thoughts, but stopped writing a few years ago.  I'm back.  I have a story to tell.

Here it goes....In a routine check up, my gyn/ob found what she thought was a fibroid on either my cervix or uterus.  At the time that she found it, she wasn't sure where it was originating because it was so large.  She decided to do a D & C to remove it.  Turns out, when she got in there, things weren't going to go as planned.  It didn't look right and it was even larger than she had anticipated.  She ended up leaving it where it was and doing a biopsy instead.

You know what takes long?  Biopsy results....around Christmas time.  Three days after the surgery/biopsy, I went to the emergency room because I was having some heavy bleeding.  Four days after the surgery/biopsy, I was admitted to the hospital.  I lost so much blood that I passed out....twice.  Four blood transfusions later, it was Christmas Eve morning and I was sitting in a hospital bed.  That sucks.

My doctor that did the surgery/biopsy came in to my room bright and early to let me know I was being discharged.  Yahoo!  But there was bad news, too.  The preliminary results from the biopsy came back and the cells were abnormal...cancer.  That was the first mention of the C-word.  Here it is Christmas Eve and my Dr. is sitting on the edge of my bed, wearing an obnoxious Santa Christmas sweater (it was fantastic), telling me she's made me an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist at Roswell.  Merry Friggin Christmas.

This definitely wasn't my most favorite Christmas ever.  Let's be honest, Santa was kind of a dick this year.  Luckily, I have the cutest kids ever (ages 1 & 5) and the magic was not lost.  If anything makes your heart smile, it's watching your kids come downstairs on Christmas morning.

Three days after Christmas I made my first trip to Roswell and had my first visit with my oncologist.  I had an oncologist.  This is real.  Unfortunately, because of the holiday season, they STILL didn't have my biopsy results.  The Dr. did an exam and then we had a chat.  He's assuming it's cervical cancer.  We set up a hypothetical plan around his hypothetical diagnosis - we'll do radiation with a hint of chemotherapy to shrink the mass.  First, we'll start with a "quick and easy" surgery.  They need to move my ovaries up and out of the radiation zone.  They want to keep those safe and un-radiated.  I'm not sure why, but I wasn't scared.  That's weird.  The Dr. was optimistic, so I was, too.

Next week, I'll get a PET scan that will check me out from head to toe (well, technically not toe, more like mid-thigh) and that will tell them whether the cancer is anywhere else in my body.  They assure me those results will come a lot faster than the biopsy results.  They better.  I'm an impatient person.  I'm not a good wait-er.

So there it is.  My 2016 will be full of adventures.  I'm Lesley Maloney and I have cancer.