May 2, 2017. Tuesday. It was my last day of chemotherapy. Woke up, had to be there at 8 am. The few days prior, everyday Kim would say, “babe, you’re almost done” and do a little dance. I would say, “I knowwww, weirdddddd” and cringe a little. But why? It was WEIRD. What do you mean chemo is over? What do I do for the rest of my life. As I have stated before, when you get diagnosed with cancer and are told you are going to be doing chemotherapy, that is the rest of your life. I didn’t think I would see the end because it is all your mind is consumed with at the point. I remember meeting with the nurse and her just casually talking about nausea meds, the day of chemo, steroids, like it was nothing. Then you are in it and it becomes your regular routine; get up, work, chemo, work, work, work, weekend, work, chemo, so on and so forth. So what you’re saying is I won’t be doing chemo anymore, I almost had to accept it. It’s really hard to explain.
I got up, got ready, put my Rutgers hat on and we were on our way. Kim wanted to be there and I thought dad should be there as we started this journey together. Dad was meeting us. We got in the car and it was off we go. “Do you believe this babe?” … “nope” he said. It was exciting. Kim dropped me off and he was going to get the last of the chemo bagels, my usual, cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and jelly. Blood drawn, upstairs we go. Sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting, I requested to have Lalkha, the first nurse I got when we started and apparently she was busy so it took a while to get her. Kind of regret that but it was fine. Got in around 9:45 am. Got a nice corner suite (as you do when you go up and ask how much longer it will be). It was chilly, warm blankets please. Lalkah got the IV fluids going, pepcid and then the benadryl. I didn’t fall asleep or feel tired at all because of all the hype. Kim was sitting next to me counting down the milliliters left as they were pushed in. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP … done. I was done with chemo. Holy fucking shit. I thought I would be hysterically crying but there were no tears. I think if I wasn’t given the benadryl there would have been. I got disconnected, stood up, hugged Kim, hugged dad and we were out the door. Kim was off to work, dad drove me home and dropped me off and there it was. I was no longer a chemo patient.
I got home and was going to take a nap but I just wasn’t feeling that tired but I was feeling hungry. Not hungry, ravenous as if I had no control. I finished the rest of my bagel. Kim had an everything bagel with cream cheese and jelly which was a mistake that I ate ALL OF, and he also got crumb cake as a treat because I loooooove crumb cake. They each had a bite of that but then I finished that too. WTF. Was I celebrating? I have no fucking clue. I was about to get in bed when I get a call. “Are you home? I have flowers for 64 Market Street” … “uhhh yes” … “ok come down and get them”. I go downstairs, walk outside, walk down the stairs and see someone in their car, I thought he wanted me to go get them, weird but, I was on drugs ya know? He looks at me and goes, no, at the door! Ohhhh bahaha, I said. Then he said, come back, come back. Oh lord. “Are you married?” … “yes” (just ya know, to solidify I am not single), “you have babies?” … “no” … “you should”. Okay, thank you for the flowers sir. They were gorgeousssssss flowers, thank you Jessica!!! So beautiful, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I laid on the couch and about 15 minutes later someone knocks on the door. I am in my Rutgers cap and bald AF. I open the door, “fuck cancer… fuck cancer girl, fuck it” … LOLOLOL IN MY HEAD WTFFFFFFF. “Yes sir, I agree”, as I lift my cap. “I had it girl, bladder cancer, I beat it, you can too, fuck cancer”. LOL, it was funnyyyyyy. At first I thought, wtf, why is this guy saying this. Hillary, Melanie, Rebeka and Nicole ordered me edible arrangements and on the request it said, “when she opens the door, say fuck cancer” … LOL my friends are nutsos, hence we are friends. I then proceeded to eat every chocolate covered strawberry only leaving one for Kim, yolo.
I laid around most of the day. Kim made his daily phone call on his way home from work, “what do you want for dinner” he said. I wasn’t sure but I wanted something good and maybe a burger? We were gonna go somewhere like Five Guys or Smash Burger, ya know, a little more classy, LOL, but nope, we went to the McDonald’s that is connected to the Wal-Mart, LOOOOOOOOOL. We really know how to celebrate the end of chemo y’all. I got a double cheeseburger, fries and a coke, it was pretty magical. We are funny. Then went to wal-mart for some random stuff we needed. Nothing else I would have wanted to do that night.
May 3, 2017. Wednesday. Just a regular day. Woke up, went to work. I kind of felt it today. I went to work and hugged one of my coworkers, she was really happy for me. I texted Kim in the morning to see if he wanted to celebrate and go to dinner, a proper dinner. He said his coworker and gf wanted to take us out to dinner to celebrate. Heck yes guys! Got home, relaxed and then we were out of the house off to Roots Steakhouse to celebrate. Started with a glass of champagne and then a glass of pinot noir which I haven’t had in a reallyyyyy long time, it was delicious. We had fried lobster, ribs, salad then I got the cowgirl steak, we shared mashed potatoes, lobster mac n’ cheese and asparagus. Ended the night with butter cake and a mousse cake and an irish coffee, I was celebrating guys! A few minutes later they brought out cookies and ice cream with a candle and “Congrats” on it as Madeline told them we were celebrating when they asked her on the phone when she was making the reservation, soooo cute. Then 10 minutes later they brought out ANOTHER butter cake with a “Congrats on beating cancer” written on it. “We know you are probably full but someone in the back really wanted you to have this”. Someone must have beaten cancer themselves or their wife or something, it was really, really, really cute. Even though technically we aren’t sure how much cancer is left in me, potentially none, it was still pretty amazing. When we walked to leave out the back, I made sure to stop and say thanks, a little tipsy, Kim pushing me along of course. It was a good night. Thanks Madeline and CJ!!
May 4, 2017. Thursday. Woke up, feeling…. ok, a taddddd dehydrated. Should I have drank that much two days out from chemo, nope, but yolo. I had an appointment for an EKG at 9 AM, WOOF. It was close at Morristown Memorial though so that was good. Got up, dressed, went over, got it done, went home and got back in bed. Ed and I had to be on the train by 3 pm for an appointment with the breast surgeon. Woof again. I was feeling pretty good at this point. We got on the train. I think maybe the adrenaline was there, nervous about the appointment. I basically already knew what she was going to say based on our conversation way back when, can’t believe we are at this point. Got into the city, walked there, steps, steps, steps. Got into the Breast Center where we started this journey, ripped my wig off and took a picture with Ed, lol. You can do that there, and anywhere you fucking want, but people are bald there all the time. My little hairs are growing in, light blonde whispy ones and the brown ones are coming through. Kim says I look like a grandpa, I do lol.
We went upstairs and were waiting for not even five minutes. It was a 5 pm appointment, her last of the day. Dr. Heerdt is my breast surgeon, she will be removing the tissues out of my breasts (I need to stop saying, taking my boobs off or chopping them off). Dad went to sit in the office, I went in the exam room. She walked in (literally one of the nicest humans I have ever met) “oh my, you look greatttt!!!!!” with a big smile on her face. Thank you, I feel good, I said. Took one look at my boobs, “oh wow, can you tell how different it looks??” … I said well, I am not sure, I know that one lymph node is gone but that was gone a while ago and I don’t feel anything new, so that’s good right? She said, “you don’t see it, the breast looks much better, much less pulling going on”. I think it was pulling up, or in, I am not sure, that is a sign of breast cancer FYI. She also said, “and you haven’t gained any weight!!” .. BAHAHHAHA. I mean, maybe 5 pounds I said, she said, no, I don’t see anything, STOP DOC STOP, YOU’RE MAKING ME BLUSH. Side note – she does research on women and breast cancer and how to help them not gain weight because most do apparently. It kind of made sense why she said that. Winning.
We went back into the office where dad was. We reviewed the plan. The plan from the beginning was potentially a lumpectomy however there was so much cancer in the breast (about 3 inches) that she did not necessarily think that was a good idea and recommended a modified radical single mastectomy. She repeated these options and says she is hesitant to do the lumpectomy due to the extent of the cancer and we immediately said, well, any hesitancy, then no, mastectomy it is, and she agreed. We talked about a double mastectomy months ago because 1. I have been told by people that they would if they went back and 2. I want to be aesthetically the same? I think I have said it before, I don’t want a saggy boob and a perky boob, awkward. So, at this point, I wasn’t 100% sure and I am not sure why. I thought maybe they could take my stomach fat and make it into one boob and then it will still look like the other one, I looked at pictures, it’s pretty amazing. Also, I mean, if I do want kids, and breast feeding and IDK. Fuck. She said I didn’t have to decide that day but we can pick a day. She said June is difficult because people will be going on vacation, WELL EXCUSE ME, JUST TRYING TO GET THIS CANCER OUT OF MY BODY GUYS. She said you do not want to go too many weeks before getting the process going not necessarily because it will start spreading again, but because you want to get the process underway so we can start radiation, oh, that.
Okay. She said June 7th…. okay, June 7th it is, June 7th, 2017, Wednesday, I will be removing my breasts, alrighty then. A nurse then came in and explained a few things, the procedure, the drains, the bra, holy shit. I am not really scared, I have to look at it as, they are cutting out the cancer, they aren’t cutting off my breasts. The drains just kind of gross me out and scare me for infection and stuff. You need to have drains I am told, because whenever you do some sort of major surgery or remove part of the body, fluid will accumulate there, so, gotta drain it out. Lord. Day by day y’all.
We were out of there and were meeting my friend Erin for dinner. We went to an Indian restaurant two blocks down the street. It was deeeeelicious. We caught a cab and took it to the train station. I was exhausted. The adrenaline was gone, the long walk was kicking in, I was done, done, done. Kim was at the club with the guys and asked if I wanted him to pick me up. “Well dad can drive me home, but if you want to?” … “I’m there”. He’s the cutest human in the world. We got there and Kim was waiting for us. Got in the car, told him a few things but at that point I was kind of spent and ready for beddy. ZZZZzzzZ.
May 5, 2017. Friday. Work, was still tired from drinking the other night and my stomach was being weird. I felt sooooooo bloated. Ew. Got home, Kim asked what we should do for dinner. I said, “pizza??”. Yes, we are still doing this weight loss challenge and I am doing okkkkk, not great, but today I was just so tired and just really wanted some pizza. Kim asked if we should order in, I said just stop on your way home to get it? It will take too long on a Friday. I asked him if he wanted to pick me up on the way and I could come, he said “I do like your company”, lol. I got a white and broccoli slice and a plain slice, they were good, but only made me feel more bloated. I had to get in bed. Kim said, “how about, I go take a shower then we watch a move in bed” …. YASSSSSSS. Kim usually doesn’t like to get in bed before 9 or 10 pm while honestly I could get in bed right after work, it’s a problem, I am working on it. Anyway, it was a dream come true. I don’t know if we even watched a movie I was ready for bed and tomorrow was my favorite day, Saturday. I love Saturdays. Night.
May 6, 2017. Saturday. Woke up, slept in a bit. Oh I actually had to get out of bad at the crack of dawn because my stomach, ummmmmm crazy things, I will leave it at that. Felt good though after all that bloat. Something was HAPPENING in there. I think my intestines are still acclimating. I then got up, made breakfast and got back in bed with a piece of crumb cake and coffee, yup that’s exactly what I did. We had Kim’s cousins wedding reception tonight. They got married at the Grand Canyon, beyondddddd gorgeous, with just close family and then were having a party/reception at a local bar/BBQ place. It was amazing. The food was sooooo good. Casually dressed, just good stuff going on. We went to Meg and Sam’s with Kim’s family first to celebrate my end of chemo with a little champagne. Then off to the party, a few more drinks, some dancing (first on the dance floor of course) then I shut down and it was time to go. That’s kind of how it happens. I get tired, I look at Kim, he knows EXACTLY what I am thinking and he of course is ready to go too, he had been drinking club soda for an hour, lol. Buh bye. ZzzzZZzzz.
May 7, 2017. Sunday. I don’t even know what I did all day. I am assuming nothing? Awkward.
May 8, 2017. Monday. Back to work, back to work. Same old, same old. Except … I went back to my office and saw I had two missed calls from the MSK NY number and one from my primary doctor’s office. No messages. I told Hillary and she said well maybe it’s not important. NO, NO… no call from MSK is “not important”. I thought about it for a little bit and then realized that maybe my genetic tests were in. I got in the car and called the senior genetic counselor I met with. “Hi, I have a few missed calls from MSK, was it you by any chance?” … “Oh, I think it was my colleague, they wanted to set up a meeting with you” … “oh ok, let’s do that” my heart sank a little bit because it reminded me of the call I got when I first got diagnosed, sigh. We kept trying to find a date that would work but it wasn’t working out until later and later and I said, “honestly, I have my surgery date set for June 7th, I need to know soon so I can really start thinking of my decision, would you tell me over the phone?”, I didn’t think she would. “I don’t really like to do that but if you want me to” … “You won’t believe it”, she said, “WHAT, I HAVE NO MUTATION” … “no, you’re BRCA2+ for a DIFFERENT gene than your mother” … “holy shit” I said, “yes, this is pretty crazy” the counselor said. How the fuck am I positive for a different gene than my mother, like I don’t really think that happens….. oye vey. I was relieved though. If I did not have a mutation then why did this happen? What would stop the rest of my body from becoming cancer then?
So here we are. I am 28 years old and I have a genetic mutation that predisposes me to get breast cancer at the risk of 45-85% and in my other breast, after already having cancer, at a risk of 10-20%, decision made, I am getting both breasts off. The only way I wouldn’t would be is if the risk of getting cancer in my other breast was 1% or less. I was relieved because I wouldn’t have to make the decision myself, it was made for me. BUT OH WAIT, I then remembered that now my risk for ovarian cancer is also elevated, kind of sad, well really sad of course but, I have time. My ovaries will now be taken out by 35 or earlier and if Kim and I decide before then we really don’t want children, then there ya go. The scariest part is we really don’t know. I am 28, at 32 I may have completely different views on it, as I did 4 years ago. What we do know is if we got pregnant tomorrow, it would be ok (I mean it would really suck right now, lol, but you get it). Don’t worry, had a pregnancy test AGAIN, not preggers.
Anyway, call mom, she is shocked. “Well maybe mine was wrong” she said, maybe? Now dad needs to get tested as it had to come from somewhere, or essentially it could have mutated on its own? I mean it has to start somewhere. To be continued.
May 9, 2017. Tuesday. Back for treatment I go. Chemo is over but herceptin sure ain’t. I had a 9:50 am appointment for blood then to see the doctor then for a half hour of herceptin and half hour of pertuzumab. Done by around 1 pm. I went by myself since I wouldn’t be getting any benadryl and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Kind of weird going alone but it was fine. I went down to hang with Mar after for a while. Kim was working a little late. I tried to wait for him to eat dinner but you can’t control this appetite. Whoops. Pretty uneventful day, not used to all this yet. Usually pretty eventful or something going on. Life after chemo is a transition. It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s the unknown.
Atleast I’ve got all these goons to help.