Nothing I have been doing lately happens in a slow manner. All within the last month I have been diagnosed with breast cancer (I found the lump myself), finished my thesis, graduated from USC with an award, moved back to SF, had surgery, left for the south of France to prepare for my wedding, celebrated my bachelorette party in Paris with my closest friends, had an amazingly beautiful French wedding with 40 of my closest friends and family from America and 70 from France, fought to get home to the U.S. because United cancelled my flight at a time where all flights to the U.S. were overbooked and of course there were numerous terrorist threats all over Europe and finally, less than 24hours after returning from Europe I began my chemo treatment.
Lying in the bed at the Kempisky Airport Hotel in Munich, Germany, I remember thinking how lucky I was to be married to such a wonderful person. Someone who was going to help me get through this little rough spot in my life that was about to begin, or should I say was about to end because I was about to be cured. I was also feeling so luck to feel so healthy, so lucky to have had all my most special friends and family members come to France to my wedding and so lucky to be eating salami (my favorite food) from the salami market in Germany. I was trying really hard not to think about or anticipate my first chemo treatment which I was fighting so hard to get back to the states which was supposed to begin that very next day. The doctors at UCSF were so nice to let me wait an extra week to start the chemo so that I could enjoy my honeymoon in France. Maybe my good fortune comes from the fact that I found my cancer early and on my age at the young age of 25 (I will be sure to go into more detail about how I found this at some point).
I finally arrived back in SF late Monday afternoon and by early Tuesday morning I went to UCSF with my husband, Frederic, my good friend, Elizabeth and my mom, Ronnie. I decided I wanted to dress “cute” for the occasion, after all it was my first chemo. Considering everything that I have been anticipating or trying not to anticipate I thought I might as well approach the situation looking good and feeling like a newly married women. I guess what I was really thinking was that if I looked good that would ensure that I would likely feel good, regardless of what poison I was injecting into my body.
When I arrived at UCSF I first got my blood test and then met with the nurse to go over any questions I might have. Following, I had a port surgically inserted into my chest so that I wouldn’t have to worry about injecting needles into my arms. 7 months ago, under my left arm I had 3 lymph nodes removed when I had surgery for Melanoma on my back. On my right arm I recently (May 17, 2005) had 21 lymph nodes removed for the 4cm lump (infiltrating ductile carcinoma and DCIS) that was found on my right breast. Luckily the cancer had only spread microspicaly to one lymph node.
After the port was inserted, we went to an amazing lunch at the King of Falafel (however, I am not sure when I will be eating it next since the taste isn’t exactly appealing to me since it was the last meal I had before the chemo). Fred, Elizabeth, my mom and I all walked back the Mt Zion, UCSF and went to the 5th floor where I was to begin my chemo. The nurses were extremely nice and after checking in I was seated in a very comfortable armchair with a TV near me. Fred, Elizabeth and my mom all sat with me too. First, my nurse connected my IV to my port and within two hours I had received saline, steroids and AC (my chemo). Throughout the whole process I felt pretty relaxed.
When everything was finished we all got in the car and went to Nordstrom to go shoe shopping. I was determined to find black pumps to go with my future outfit of jeans, blazer and one of my many awesome new scarves. When I finally got home around 6pm I laid down and fell asleep for the night. I don’t know if it was the chemo or the jetlag but I slept very well. This morning I woke up and ate a light breakfast of toast and applesauce. Clearly, I can already notice a taste change. I don’t feel nauseous but I do think that what I am choosing to eat will prevent nausea. To be honest the only side effect that I currently feel is a runny nose which was to be expected from the Cytoxane (sp?).
I am about to leave the house now to get my hair cut in order to donate it to Locks of Love (an organization for kids with chronic hair loss). I have had long hair my entire life and I love it. I am ready to cut it though, there hair will grow back and the cure is worth it. Besides, I am getting excited about all of my new scarves.
However, before I go I just wanted to write down a few thoughts and sayings that I have been living by for the last month or so:
Rules for Carrie to live by:
-don’t anticipate anything
-I am not sick, so I shouldn’t think like a sick person
-This is just a bump in the road
-The reason there are so many breast cancer events is because there are so many breast cancer SURVIVORS!
-I am a breast cancer survivor
-This does not suck
-It does not suck to be me
-Live in the moment
-There is a reason for everything
-How can I learn from this?
I like my life and I am going to continue enjoying it.