Sunday, November 28, 2010

Read with caution:

The closing of an email to best pal:

This bitchy moment brought to you by:  Insomnia. We let you live YOUR life, only stupider and with less patience. 
And also by:
Chemo. Because you didn't already feel terrible enough when we your body was being taken over by cancer. 
With special consideration by:
Hemorrhoids.  Only we can make three straight days of explosive diarrhea even MORE fun. 


Yeah. Needless to say, this cycle has been a bit of a bummer. Thanksgiving morning I woke up having an anaphylactic reaction to God only knows what. This is the 3rd in the last year and a half now. So far my allergy testing has only shown that I'm allergic to something but, nothing they've tested me for. Swell. This reaction was a bit different than the rest because I'd been asleep in my own bed all night. So, since the Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea started during this 'event' I'm assuming it's related to that. It's not usual
For those side effects to be present this late(day # 9-12)in the cycle. Regardless of what's causing it my body is tired and I'm feeling truly beaten down for the first time since Starting treatment. I really feel like starting another cycle on Wednesday (just 3 days from now) is not possible. I'm exhausted and sick and in enough pain as it is. I'm about to bust out my biggest pair of white granny panties and wave 'em overhead for the world to see. This mama needs a break.

So, there you have it folks. The whiniest, most bitchy Thanksgiving blog ever. I promise to blog about my thankfulness when my attitude has improved. Perhaps after my Oncologist has given me his blessing to skip, or at least postpone this coming cycle.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Many Thanks to DragonLeaf Photography
It's been a month and a half since my last update.  I had intended to update at least a couple times a week.  My bad.  So, to catch you all up here's a list if what's happened in that time:

  • I do, in fact, have Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC).  An MSH2 deletion defect, to be exact.  
  • We are still sorting through pros and cons and feelings about having the boys tested.
  • The Lynch diagnosis lead to a whole new set of tests and screenings for the cancers I'm at highest risk for.  So far:
    • Complex Cystic Mass on (R) ovary.
    • Thickened endometrium
    • PET scan was negative for rapidly growing cells.
    • Complete Hysterectomy will be performed early 2011.
    • Abdomen/Stomach etc all look good.
  • Tests/Screening still to complete:
    • Upper GI with Small Intestine follow through.
    • Ophthalmologist to address possible pressure(?) issues. (Eye pain and wandering eye)
    • Dermatology-I'll get into that in my next post.  (*SIGH*)
  • So far my blood counts haven't dropped too low or been unable to recover back to normal within a two week period.
  • November 17th will be my 6th treatment.  That will put me halfway through my regimen.
So, today is day one of cycle five.  The neuropathy sets in immediately and gets a little worse with each treatment.  It's not pleasant but, it's still bearable.  I'm very hopeful that this will go away after treatment as it fades almost entirely by the end of a two week cycle.  I'm tired and have a pretty wicked headache and a small cold (no fever).  Other than that I'm feeling good.  

Next Wednesday morning I have the upper GI.  Hizzah.  I think I'm most nervous about the small intestine.  Hopefully it'll all look good.  It's already been decided that when I relapse or have to go back in for another resection they'll be performing a full collectomy and I'll have a colostomy for the rest of my life.  I'm trying to keep that in perspective and not dwell on it too much.  Most of the time I feel so I've been through too much to be only 32.  I MUST be older than that.  When I think about having a colostomy for the rest of my life, though, I feel very young.  Too young for this.  *sigh*  Brandon is too young...but, I can't go there right now...cause then I cry and that actually causes physical pain right

Overall the cycles have followed the same pattern.   The side effects are a little more pronounced and last a bit longer with each cycle but, the pattern is the same.  

Thank you for continuing to pray for, think about and love on my family.  If you're one of the lovely folk who have brought us a dinner (or three)...Thank you.  There really aren't any words that truly convey what a blessing it is to have that extra time with my family...and to not have to worry about the planning and prep etc when I'm not feeling well.  You have blessed our family in a very tangible way and we are thankful.  <3  Mrs Breanna N gets an especially huge thanks for organizing all of that.  Friend, I'm so glad you are a part of my life.  I admire your heart so much.  Thank you. <3

 If you're here for info and support, I'm sorry I haven't offered much.  I have found a couple of links I've found helpful.  I'll post a little later today with those.  You can also feel free to email me at:  CoastieFoxes at yahoo dot com.   

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So, where's Ashton?

You know those times when you feel as though you're being attacked from all fronts?  Yeah, the past 48 hours 4 weeks 4 months 4 years (ok, so it's more like 6 years...but, who's really counting?!?) have blown hard.  Sorry.  Well, no, I'm not going to apologize.  This sucks and I won't apologize for saying so...

The Mister and I met with the cancer genetics doc at my Oncology practice yesterday.  Not only were they able to almost (we're waiting for one last DNA test to come back) conclusively confirm that I do, in fact, have Lynch Syndrome but, they also informed us that my sweet girl  most likely inherited the gene as well.  The most basic thing I gave my children is fatally flawed...and could have already killed one of them.  Not to worry though...the doctor says I shouldn't feel guilty.  uuuuummmmmmm, ok.  I'll go ahead and do long as you can prescribe cookies to cure cancer.  mmmmmmmmm-kay?  *grunt*  In even better boys each have an independent 50/50 chance of inheriting this messed up DNA as well.  EXCELLENT news.  Right?!?   I'ma go ahead and just say it now.  Watch out...Incoooooooming.  What. The. Fuck?  Yep.  There's my attitude right now.  Aint she a beaut?

In for real life I'm doing the same as I was before this bombshell was dropped.  I have two boys who need me to be stable for them.  They have been through HELL already and I absolutely refuse to contribute to their pain any more than I can help.  I will say right now that if you see me smiling, laughing, loving, living, hoping right has absolutely nothing to do with my strength or courage and absolutely everything to do with my undying love for my children (all three of them) and The Mister.  It is because of them that I am functioning.  PERIOD.  My love for them gives me no choice but to get up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  End of story.  Please don't tell me you couldn't do this, or tell me how strong I am.  I'm not.  I'm DONE.  I'm just a mom and wife who loves her family wildly.  That is all.

As if all of this isn't husband is lying in a hospital bed tonight.  He had surgery today to fuse   his L4 and L5 and a discectomy.  He should be coming home tomorrow.  I can't even begin to explain to you how terrible it was for me to see my rock lying in a hospital bed trying to be strong and unafraid for me.  I never, ever want to be there again...I will be if need be...but, I truly hope it never comes to that.

In other fun news I did find some studies that showed that Lynch related cancers are resistant to the EXACT (and specifically the main drug) regimen I just started.  Ugh.  So, I may be putting in a call tomorrow...not so sure I'll even be continuing that therapy.  I have some research and thinking to do.  I will not put myself through six months to a year of that for NOTHING.  No way, no how.

So...basically, I say all of that to say...Don't ask me how I'm doing right now.  Mmmmmm-kay?  Thanks.

PS.  We MIGHT talk straight about Lynch Syndrome at a later date.  For now, I'll just say that The Mister, who is super even keeled (no nautical pun intended) and deals only in reality and never borrows worry...looked like he might pass out or vomit...or both in the doctor's office when she was explaining what the next several years...and rest of my life are/could look like.  Super *ugh*.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Treatment Day 5 & 6 (9/12-9/13)

Sunday morning I woke up feeling a bit better.  I was still ridiculously tired and quite nauseated but, was doing thismuchbetter than I was Saturday.  So, there's always that.  The Mister and I slept in, got breakfast (I actually ate two medium size pancakes!!!) and then headed home.  The Mister drove the entire way again while I slept in the back seat.  I slept and slept and slept...then we picked the boys up.  I was still totally nauseated and tired...but, was feeling a little bit better than I was that morning.  Hizzah!  I even ate (and kept down) a bowl of cereal for dinner.  By the end of the night I was feeling pretty decent.  My biggest issue by bed time was that I couldn't sleep.  Ha ha.  I guess that's to be expected.  ;)  I did finally get to sleep and actually woke up on day 6 (Monday) feeling rested and only a teensy bit queasy when I opened the fridge and caught a whiff of leftovers.  *gag*  So far, though, no meds for side effects today.  I MAY even get some housework done.  Then again...I may just sit on my tush and milk it a bit.  :)

PS.  One great thing about having's like being pregnant.  No matter how you look people TELL you how "GREAT!" you look every time they see you.  So, all of a sudden I'm only expected to look "Great...(waitforit)...for having cancer."  *SWEET*  I'm gonna have the biggest darned ego of ever by the time I'm finished with treatment.  Yessssssss.

And on a more serious genuine note, the lyrics to this song are amongst my faves.  Not a fan of the song itself.  It'll do...until someone amazing covers it...*wink*  The lyrics do speak my heart though.

Treatment Day 3 and 4 (9/10-9/11)

Day 3
Today started out much the same as yesterday. I was a bit more tired. Had a really hard time getting out of bed and getting the boys to the bus but, I managed. I had an appointment to have my pump disconnected and port de-accessed at 11:45 am. I felt relatively well until I was on my way home from that appointment (around 12:30). My biggest issue at this point was fatigue. There was nothing I could do to stay awake. I got home and crashed out on the couch. Luckily The Mister was able to get off early, as anticipated, and get the boys off the bus because I was dead to the world. I slept from about 12:45 Friday until The Mister woke me at about 6:30 am Saturday...

Day 4
and I cried at the thought of having to get out of bed. The happy thing is that he's amazing and brought me Compazine and water in bed. Then he brought me Imodium and water in bed.  Then I spent the next lifetime in the bathroom trying to keep both drugs myself the Compazine. Threw some clothes and cosmetics in a bag (with help from The Mister because I was WAY too whiney and nauseated and tired to do it on my own like a big girl) and we loaded the Puppy, the Boys, my whiney self and The Mister up in the Yetti and headed out.  We dropped The Boys and The Puppy off with Taminda (aka my favorite biological sister) and Uncle B. and hit 84 East headed for The Gorge.  We bought tickets for Brad Paisley's H2O tour with Darrius Rucker (aka Hootie) at the beginning of the summer.  I really, really, really didn't feel up to this but, I really, really, really needed to hug my BFF who was meeting us there with her man.  I slept the ENTIRE way there.  I mean, like EVERY SINGLE SECOND...except the few where I woke up long enough to take compazine and try to fall back to sleep before I puked.  The Mister and Bev (my beloved Garmin) got us there in record time.  We checked in to our hotel and got changed and I got to hug the bestie and we were off.  A couple more doses of compazine, a 7 up, some animal crackers, another 7up, and a soft pretzel and I was golden.  Of course, the food just mentioned was THE ONLY food I'd eaten in 48 hours...but, y'know.

The concert was great.  Fortunately for all the other attendees they were there to see the musicians, not me.  Although, I do worry that The Mister spent most of the concert lovingly watching over me...wanting to protect and spare me any discomfort...OR...just really hoping he wouldn't have to convince Security and/or Grant County Deputies that I really hadn't had a sip to drink while I was hurling ALL over the darned place (which wouldn't be the first time...but the first time I'd have done it sober *wink*althoughI'mPrettySureI'dDenyItPublicly*).  So...he was worried about one or the other.  I guess only HE really knows.  *GiggleSnort*

I would like to publicly thank Mr Rucker (aka Hootie) for reducing me to a puddle of mush while he performed his hit It Won't Be Like This For Long. Thank you Mr Rucker.  No, really...I totally came to the concert for THAT.  Urgh. That's a whole different blog post. Ok,movingon...


Treatment Day 2

I woke up feeling a bit wonky. Mostly just yuck or fluish but, without the fever and the nausea. The headache was still hanging on for dear life. I took a vicodin and while it's not gone it's tolerable now. If it gets worse I'll bump up to 2. I got the boys on the bus at 7:15 this am and by the time I got back in the door I thought I was gonna lose it all over the entryway floor. Thankfully I was able to hold back. I took a compazine (nausea med) with some room temp water and sat still on the couch and it has passed. The compazine made me a bit drowsy for about an hour but, I managed to stay awake. The day passed more or less in this same fashion. I was able to get the boys to the docs office for well child checks and shots and get dinner made. Overall, the day was better than I expected.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9-8-2010 Treatment Day 1 FOLFOX6

My first chemo infusion went well. My pre-meds made me really tired so I slept through the better part of the 5.5 hours. No complaints there. It did take a bit longer than I was told to expect. This created a bit of a schedule issue with getting the boys from the bus. The mister was actually in pre-op appointments and an MRI so...he couldn't really help. Everything worked out that's good. Side effect wise I was mostly just tired. When I woke up from my nap I had quite a headache. My stomach was a bit upset but, not really nausea. I think it was more intestine related than anything else. I did also have an odd sensation of feeling hot and cold and sweaty and clammy all at once. It was really odd. If you've ever seen the movie Walk Hard there's a scene where Dewey is in drug detox and the doctor says "he needs more blankets AND less blankets!" (Ok it was way funnier in context in the movie...but, that's more or less how I felt. Ok, I HAD To share it:

Another odd side effect I experienced is sensitivity to cold. I was warned about it and that it will get worse with each treatment...but, scoffed at it. Now, I get it. If I try to touch or eat or drink anything cold it results in pain. Sharp, stabbing, ridiculous pain that feels like rally cold fire or frozen pins and needles stabbing me over and over. It's dee-lightful, let me tell you. Supposedly it'll only last a few days after each treatment. Thank goodness. While it does last, though, I have to be super careful about exposing myself to anything cold. Hizzah. It could be worse. It could be worse.

I came home from treatment with a pump. It fits nicely in the pocket of a hoodie, or has it's own little strappy deal you can use to carry it around. So far I prefer the pocket method. It is infusing a chemo drug called 5FU into my port (I'll give more details on that later, as well) over a 48 hour period. I'm thankful for this technology and my ability to be home during this infusion.


My name is Angela. I usually go by Mama or Mama Fox. For some reason Chemo Mom just rolled off my tongue easier than Chemo Mama. Meh.

I am 32 years old and was recently diagnosed with stage 3/4 colon and small bowel cancer with mets to the lymphatic system. I am young for this type of cancer in a typical setting but, I have a very strong family history of this type of cancer at about this age. I was told on Tuesday that I do meet the diagnostic criteria for Lynch Syndrome. This explains my 'young age' for this type of cancer.

I have an amazing husband who I'll refer to as The Mister. He is serving our country on active duty AND taking care of myself and our two sons. I told you he's amazing. The Mister has also been dealing with some chronic back pain that we are hoping will be healing and alleviated soon. He is having surgery next week, on the 15th. He has to have two lumbar fused (L4 and L5) to treat Spinal Stenosis and congenital Spondylolisthesis. Both issues can cause chronic debilitating pain that his job only adds to. We are really hoping this surgery is a success and he can find some relief soon.

We have two boys, Big brother is 8 and in 3rd grade. Little brother is 6 and in 1st grade. We also have an angel girl in heaven. She would have been 10 at the end of this month. There's a little more detail down at the bottom of this post. All three of my children have brought so much love and joy to my life. They have all taught me so much...different lessons from each of them. I am so thankful for them.

For those that are just joining this battle with me here is a run down of my diagnosis. I'll get in to some of the symptoms and complications that lead to the diagnosis in a later post.

July 2nd-'positive' colonoscopy.

August 3rd-Orthrascopic transverse colon tumor resection turned into a surprise tumor found in the small intestine and an 'open' surgery for more exploration and removal of two sections of colon.

August 9th-Discharged from the hospital.

September 8th- Started FOLFOX 6. Chemotherapy for colon cancer and mets.

I feel that before I close today I should also mention that this is not my first experience with cancer and it's treatment. My daughter, Hadley, was diagnosed at age 3 1/2 with a brain tumor. She fought it for 4 1/2 years. Her earthly body finally failed her on 12/12/08. She was 8 years old. So, for those of you came here 'hoping' to find a mom blogging about her journey as a mom a of a chemo kid. I imagine there will be some of that as well. <3

Thank you for stopping by. This blog is really more of a place for me to journal my side effects and major events for future reference...but, I decided to make it public to help keep my friends and family up to date and also in the off chance that it could help someone in a similar situation as mine or one who is making treatment choices and would like a been there done that account of side effects and effectiveness of treatment. Whatever your reason for being here I hope you find your needs met.

Have a great day!