Breast Cancer Update – January 8, 2017

I have two more chemotherapy treatments to finish this part of my breast cancer treatment.

The first round of chemotherapy was with Doxirubicin, otherwise known as the “Red Devil”.

Doxorubicin - Red Devil

Doxorubicin – Red Devil

I am now midway through the next chemotherapy phase, known as Paclitaxel or “Taxel” for short.  This chemo has its own bag of nasty tricks.  The “additives”, I’ve been told, cause many immediate side effects that have to be monitored by the RN administering this drug.  Hives, red rash, trouble breathing, and unsafe effects on the bone marrow to name just a few.

The RN monitors me for 15 minutes as this chemo is administered.  I have to let the nurse know if I feel like passing out, have chest pain, a fast heartbeat, she watches for signs of flushing (face turning red), a slow heartbeat, a bad headache, any belly pain, upset stomach or needing to throw up, and a few other things that would require immediate intervention.

There is a bell placed next to me on an arm rest table.  The kind of bell one sees at a hotel front desk.  I am instructed to begin dinging that bell when I begin to have any of the side effects associated with this wonderful chemo.

To counteract these side effects I am given a dose of Benedril through my Chemo Port.  That stuff knocks me out within a mere minute or two.  I couldn’t ring that bell if my life depended on it.  That is why the RN hovers for 15 minutes over me.

Chemo day is about six hours long in the chair.  About three of those hours is spent in La La Land.

At the start of my chemo treatments my breast was swollen and purple.  The whole things was hard as a rock.

My left breast

My left breast

Now the breast has pretty much gone back down to normal.  The purple is gone and the tumor has shrunk quite noticeably.

My breast after chemo therapy

My breast after chemo therapy

With both the Doxirubicin and the Paclitaxel I have to have a dose of Neulasta 27 hours after the chemo.  This little device is placed on my stomach and remains there until the drug has been administered.  There is a green flashing light as the little machine counts down the minutes to deliver the dosage.  In the dark of night that light is quite bright!



This photo was taken long ago….when I still had hair.  When it is time for the drug to be  given the machine makes a tone of four beeps.  It takes a few minutes before it is finished and another set of tones go off to let me know it is done.  That little bugger has a needle that plunges into me shortly after it is placed on my body.

When the time is up and the drug is finished I get to take it off.

The needle of the Neulasta machine

The needle of the Neulasta machine

I had been told I would experience “bone pain” from both the chemo and the Neulasta.  Nobody told me there is a “Voodoo Doll” someone is in control of.

Voodoo Doll for my bone and body pain

Voodoo Doll for my bone and body pain

Throughout the days and nights I get sharp, piercing,  pains which last 8 to 10 seconds.  Below my ear (right or left) at the jaw.  In a hip joint (right or left).  Deep in the collar bone (right or left), any one of my ten fingers will get a pain so intense that gets worse when I shake it.  An ankle (right or left) will be shot with pain.

This is an all day, everyday, thing.  There is no rhyme or reason for the sharp pain.  Nothing that can be counted on, like a localized ache or pain.

Then there is the most irritating one of all.  During the night I will get a Charlie Horse in the middle of my back.  A circle of muscular spasms that hinder my breathing.  This bonus lasts up to six hours and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  If you have ever had one of those really good stretches.  You know the one with your whole body involved in the stretch.  It feels so good….until you get a muscle spasm.  Well just think of that discomfort lasting for six  hours.

I don’t get much sleep due to these aches, pains, and spasms.  I tried to not be such a pain in the butt during the Christmas and New Year festivities but I could not help myself being grumpy, testy, and wanting to find a hole and crawl in.

I have not been on Facebook during this time.  Each time I make an attempt to catch up with all of my friends and family I get overwhelmed by the whole flaming mess of this thing.

I’m trying to work up the energy to make the next video in my series of “Envelope Mini Album – Kathy Orta Style”.  The last video I really SCREWED UP big time in one of the steps I did.  I have to get that corrected and show the fix…..or what to do instead of what I said to do.  Good grief.

It has taken me well over a week to make the three signatures.

Three signatures for the Envelope Mini

Three signatures for the Envelope Mini

The spine pieces made to join these signatures together.

The four spine pieces

The four spine pieces

I’m not sure when I will get this ready and  uploaded to my YouTube channel.  Today I have some energy to spend in explaining my long absence from all of my friends and family.  Please be patient with me.

I have my next to last chemo treatment Monday – January 9, 2017.  My last treatment will be on or around January 23, 2017.  On January 24 I will have a consultation with my Surgeon to set a date for my Mastectomy.  So please don’t count on me to be an active player in Social Media for at least another several weeks.

Thank you all for your patience and your concern for me.  I appreciate each and every one of you very  much.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paige
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 13:15:38

    Hi Leslie!
    Just wanted to thank you for the update. I think of you daily sweetie and have you in my thoughts and prayers morning and night and in between! The chemo and side effects sound tough, but you are tougher! You can do this dear friend! Love and hugs, Paige


  2. Marianne Grimbly
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 13:34:32

    Leslie it is good to hear from you and I am truly sorry for all of the BS you are going through. Really. I hate the pain that you describe even without knowing it personally. Please don’t worry about things like maintaining your YouTube videos. You owe us nothing but you owe yourself the time to heal without stressing over disappointing any us. We know that you are sick right now and that you need our prayers and patience. We are not going anywhere and will be here whenever you are feeling well enough to return. I think it’s fair to say that we care about you and love you even though so many of us have never met you in person. Get well my friend without the stress of worrying about us!


  3. cherylogilvy
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 17:50:30

    You just concentrate on getting better. Bit hard with all the drugs they give you. But 2017 will be a good yr for you. Big hugs from downunder.


  4. pearl
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 20:32:42

    My dearest friend. it is good of you to give us an update. you are going through hell and each one of us knows that, whether we have experienced it or not. we all love you and your progress seems to be going well so that must give you hope to carry on. you will soon have your mastectomy and then you can start building up your strength again. WHO NEEDS THEM BIG BOOBIES AT OUR AGE ANYWAY. lol. hope you had a giggle. hope they are taking both so you don’t have to go through this again. you are in my thoughts every day Leslie and your darling Joe. i know you will be back with us showing us how to do incredible things. sending you all my love and hugs. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx from your bionic friend.


  5. Janice R
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 21:11:17

    Leslie…it’s good to share your experiences with others. Some of us can relate (i had chemo & mastectomy 19 years ago at 40 – now I’m battling metastatic breast cancer in my bones), and others can’t but we’re all praying for you. I took my stamping to the hospital during surgery time and Stamped while recuperating! Took my mind off other things. Keep positive!!!


  6. Jesska
    Jan 09, 2017 @ 01:48:43

    Ugh! That sounds horrific! 😦 I’m sending you loads of good thoughts (but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t send me any pain in return ;)) and agree with Marianne – ignore the videos etc, unless making them makes you happy and takes your mind off everything else 🙂
    Thank you for letting us know how you are and what’s going on – I wonder about you. Hope the rest of your treatment goes to plan and you can focus on recovery after the op.


  7. Donna Marie
    Jan 10, 2017 @ 01:56:39

    Have followed you for a while now, just get better so we can all enjoy your videos and your smiling face.


  8. Gayle Enouen
    Jan 12, 2017 @ 00:27:43

    Hi Leslie, thanks for the update. So sorry you are having such a rough time with your treatment. I can’t even imagine. What wonderful news that the tumor is shrinking. That is very hopeful. I continue to pray for you and Joe. Through all the trials I had taking care of my husband I found that God’s grace was sufficient. I pray that for you as well.


  9. Jack Flacco
    Jan 16, 2017 @ 11:47:46

    You’re almost done, Leslie. Hang in there. Wishing you the best with your health.


  10. Brandy
    Jan 16, 2017 @ 22:56:39

    Hi, I am just checking to see if you are okay. Lefty.


  11. Mary Hill
    Jan 17, 2017 @ 21:16:57

    Hi Leslie,I was looking for cheap storage ideas and came across your ink storage holder.What a cool idea I decided to read what all I needed and get measurements and after reading I read about your journey with breast cancer treats.My prayers are for all the best for you and you Beat Cancers Butt!!! I know treatments for cancer are horrible but hang in there your friends and family wont mind your moods all they care about is you pull through and you will 🙂 Wishing you all the best the with the rest of your journey Take care I’m looking forward to seeing more videos of yours when your back up and running 😉 God Bless


  12. Wease DeHaven Rainey
    Jan 29, 2017 @ 00:11:06

    I have been looking for you everywhere…..thought you could hide hunh??? Lol.
    I’m so sorry you’re going through so much pain and worrying about us. Please don’t. We will wait as long as you need us to. Your health AND well being are what matter. It is January 29th, and hope some of the side effects are lessening.
    Good thoughts, and one good belly laugh will make all the bad thoughts go . Love you


    • Message In A Fold
      Feb 22, 2017 @ 09:39:35

      Wease, looks like you found me 😀 LOL I love you and your wonderful way with words. Wrapped me in a giant hug and I love it. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your comment left so long ago – January 29th! Good grief.
      Love you – Leslie


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