Extra! Extra! Read all about ’em! Today’s blog post is a bit all over the place because I have updates on several topics. Please read on if you’d like to know the latest on:
- How I’m feeling after my last treatment
- Ms. Vacaville @ American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Vacaville
- Sacramento Kings Dance Audition Prep
1. It’s been almost a week since my last treatment, which is currently a platinum-based chemotherapy (see Cancer 101 for basics, if you need a quick intro). I’m still kicking the side effects of the medications I take to cover the side affects of the treatment, but getting closer to feeling *normal* (or my version thereof). In the last few days I’ve:
- Successfully weaned myself from the anti-nausea meds, but still have the metallic taste in my mouth and general lack of sensitivity in taste caused by the interaction with my taste buds.
- Drunk liters of water a day to ease the impact on my kidneys for which this specific medication can be very hard. This was my deal with my doctor to avoid having to come back to the hospital two days after my treatment for extra IV fluids. Over three years into this cancer-thing, I’m still no fonder of needles and will do almost anything to avoid them. This sounded like a winning proposition to me!
- Taken lots of baths to help with hydration, general aches, and fatigue.
- Slept, *a lot*. Side effects of my treatment are cumulative, meaning they get worse the longer I am on the treatment. Therefore, I’m constantly learning how to best make myself feel well. Since I had issues with vomiting after the last treatment (and side affects are generally only expected to get worse), my doctor increased some of my anti-nausea medication dosages resulting in major drowsiness and days lost to the pillow.
- Given myself shots to keep my immune system up. Yes, I too once thought this would not be possible for me, but I have in fact learned to give myself shots (granted it’s a little tiny needle into fatty tissue – not that I have any of that ;)). My blood cell counts (an indicator used to monitor the strength of your immune system) are starting to push levels that will cause me to delay treatments if we can’t keep them up. Since my cancer is still growing, that’s not a good thing. It’s amazing what you can find the strength to do when you only have bad options.
The worst days are passed and I was able to get myself to the few activities I left on my calendar (See #2 & #3 on the agenda). While I know it is important to rest, I go stir crazy in the house for too many days. Also, it’s actually good for me to get some activity. This is why I still push myself to attend some events even when I’m not feeling great. And really, if I wait until I’m feeling amazing or treatment ends I will be waiting forever. I prefer to continue to do as much as I am able (with my doctors support).
I’d appreciate positive thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, or whatever you’re willing to offer. I’ve made substantial improvements in my physical health and stress management in the last couple months, so it’s a bit discouraging to not yet have good news regarding my cancer growth. Fingers crossed the next test results will show movement in the right direction!
2. Last Saturday, June 24th, 2017 was the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life in my hometown of Vacaville, California where I currently hold the Ms. Vacaville crown. In case you aren’t familiar with the Relay for Life event, it is a 24-hour relay to bring communities together to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society make a global impact on cancer.
I did not attend all 24 hours, but I was able to make the Opening Ceremony, where I had the opportunity to hear the former Mrs. Vacaville, Brenda Cobb-Packer, speak about her experience with Breast Cancer, and complete the Opening Lap featuring Cancer Survivors and Patients while wearing my Ms. Vacaville Sash and Crown. It was important to me to be there because I think one of the most compelling aspects of “My Cancer Story” is my overall health, young age, and very low cancer risk profile that did not save me from receiving a young Breast Cancer diagnosis. I know that I am not what people expect when they think of a Cancer Patient. I hope that by walking the Opening Survivor lap, in some small way I have helped demonstrate that Cancer affects everyone regardless of age, sex, socioeconomic status, color of skin, or religion and really is something we as humans need to get behind to fix.
3. If you’ve made it this far in the post, you’ve made it to the *all* positive part! Yay! As I shared on Good Day Sacramento, I’m planning to audition for the Sacramento Kings Dance Team in a few weeks. As promised, I wanted to keep you updated on my progress. I’ve attended a dance clinic put on by the Kings Dancers to help prepare candidates, as well as class at a private dance studio ran by a former Lady Lion teammate. To be honest, I’m feeling the years of cancer treatments and lack of focus on dance technique. I have my work cut out for me. Granted, I also know they are looking for more than just a perfect dancer. Honestly, the act of successfully trying out is a win to me after all I’ve been through. I plan to continue to work my butt off until the audition and give it what I’ve got. If I happen to make the team, that would be so much icing on the cake!