This last round of Cisplatin was tough!  Feel like I’ve had the flu for 5 days.  Not sure if it’s the cumulative effects of chemo or the Neulasta shot I had last Saturday.  Regardless, happy to be functioning again today.

And especially happy to share our kids’ delight as they released butterflies in our backyard this afternoon.
It was really quite magical.  Thank you, Aunt Carla.

Butterfly Release  Butterfly Release #3 Butterfly Release #2 Butterfly Release





Butterfly Whisperer

Day 3 after Chemo #4

The nausea is worse this time.  Perhaps it was my pre-infusion feast Thursday.

Thank goodness for the friendly visitors (below) to my bedroom, where I’ve spent much of the past 3 days, and for Joey’s sister, “Aunt Carla,” who was here helping us this week.  Also, for the continued loving support from all of you – it lifts our spirits and has helped us arrive at “HALFWAY DONE WITH CHEMO!”

Looking forward to an upswing today.  And no more Cisplatin!
Hubby & DaughterUpside down SonSmoke, The Smart OneStatic, The Pretty One


Another day at the cancer circus.

Dropped the kids off at “Robot Camp” this morning and headed down to Emory for Chemo Day 4 (last day of Cisplatin).  We did labs, met with Dr. O’Regan who did a physical exam and said everything was great, then we headed downstairs to the infusion center.  While we were still in line, one of the clinical trial coordinators came down to tell us that Nicole’s white blood cell number was 990 and it had to be 1,000 in order to do the chemo.

1st Coca Cola in 20 yearsWe were shocked – the Neulasta shot Nicole took the day after the last chemo was “guaranteed” to keep the white blood cell count up.  So much for that!  They did say we could try again in an hour or so.  So, we checked with the folks who draw the blood to get their inside secrets and they said to drink a Coke and climb the stairs 4-5 times right before she did the labwork again.  So, off to lunch we went!  Nicole enjoyed half an omelet and some pancakes, plus a few cups of coffee, then we grabbed a giant Coke to go (her first in many years!) and hit the stairs.  Five reps of 5 flights later, she did the bloodwork and came in around 2,400 (up from 990!).

Trying for a blood cell count spikeSo, count us as true believers in the Coke and Stairwell combo.  About six hours later, we were done with chemo and heading home.  Bye bye Cisplatin and all your nasty side effects.  In three weeks, we will start on Taxol.   A fellow clinical trial participant and a great infusion center nurse tell us Taxol will be much easier (aside from the likely hair loss) than Cisplatin, but we’ll see…

4 down, 4 to go.


Early Onset and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Study

I’m participating in a long-term breast cancer gene study being conducted by the King Laboratory at the University of Washington.  I only have to provide blood - a collection kit arrived via Fed Ex last week.

And since having blood withdrawn is a common occurrence for me these days, why wouldn’t I?  I’ll take the kit with me the next time I go to the lab at Emory’s infusion center.

Criteria for the study follows:

  • Individuals with invasive breast cancer diagnosed at age 40 or younger, regardless of family history, OR triple negative invasive breast cancer diagnosed at any age, regardless of family history,
  • Prior commercial testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, regardless of results of that testing

I was diagnosed at 41, but I’m triple negative and I’ve been tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.  Those test results were negative, but that could be because the commercial tests don’t account for all of the changes that can cause cancer.  Or there could be a different gene involved – apparently, there are over 20 other known “breast cancer genes.”  It’s also possible that my cancer has nothing to do with genetics.

But knowledge is power.  So, Smart-People-Working-To-Find-More-Effective-Treatment-For-Cancer, you are welcome to my blood.  Test away.  And, thank you.

Everybody else, if you’re interested, click below for a PDF file of a summary of the study.  It’s posted here with permission.  And, certainly, pass it on if you know someone else who qualifies.


The Week After Chemo #3

This was the first week after chemo that I’ve been on my own with the kids, who are now well into summer break.