Thursday, July 3, 2014

It is this you-and-I together factor that gives you confidence to face the days to come!

It's Thursday after my treatment and I am feeling a lot better than the first treatment there are still a few bumps - but I am confident I can get over them.  I actually worked for a while yesterday - GOD is good!  Today I am home, a little dizzy and nauseated but I can do this!  I WILL TAKE BEING DIZZY ALL DAY OVER BEING SICK.  I read every day a book called Jesus Calling and Tuesday this week it has said transfer my burdens - I have had a much better few days!!! 

My doctors my decided to not give me the White Blood count booster shot called Nulasta (sp), due to my reaction last time....the rash was a sign, the  doctors were worried next time the reaction could be these last 2 AC treatments will be once every 3 weeks, so at least I will have alittle more normalcy until the next one (treatment date being July 22nd).  My system has a little more time to rebuild and the shots are not required with the 3 week chemo.   After these 2 last AC treatments I will start a every week Taxol chemo for 12 weeks.

I still am so very thankful for each of you and all your kind gestures, the gift cards, the money, the cards, the meals and most of all your prayers!  My family and I have been truly humbled by the ones who have gone out of their ways to help out!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! 

Love - Nikki 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

There will be bumps in the road!

Well I have to say - I did not expect what the first round of chemo had in store for me so here's goes......I got my port on Monday - Tuesday (June 17th) - first treatment I was all good until that evening DIZZINESS jumped on me!   On Wednesday I had to get a booster shot for my WBC  (initials for - white blood cells) this was at UNC.  On Thursday I wake up with some kind of horrible rash, if your friend with me on FB you saw it (my boss said IT LOOKED ANGRY - after Benadryl looked better) and she was right.  Spend most of my day at the UNC clinic to figure this one out.  Still no answer at 5 that day, left came home felt like POO!  ON Friday I got up took meds and got same rash again - off we went to meet a new team of doctors (Allergy/Immunology specialists) of course I had way to many different meds in my system they at that point had no clue what it could be either.  So we scheduled an apt for the next week (Thursday).  So Friday was pretty decent, I was still dizzy and a lot nauseated but I was taking lots of meds.  Saturday rolls around WE are AT A totally different place - I was in bed all day and not responding to people when spoke to - I felt very out of touch with the world.  Let me just say I was not expecting this type of comatose!   I slept all day Saturday and people came by, prayers with me,  but I have no memory of Saturday at all.  On Sunday - the morning time I felt ok, then about lunch time I crawled back upstairs and back in bed, to where I stayed between the bathroom floor and the bed, in bed is where I stayed all day and night.  With my husband doing great at what he was doing, I just really tried to sleep this funk off.  He calls the on call doctor and asked lots of questions, she calls me in yet another medicine and he sits me down and we chat, I sleep on and off the rest of the night.  On Monday I am having some severe issues that need to be addressed with the doctor so we call, she immediately tells me I should come in - we ask more questions and decide to stay home and try to fix the problem I am having.  I need to eat and hydrate to stay home.  Being is lots of pain we tried lots of things and some worked some not.  Tuesday was a better day - still have tummy problems and dizziness - I stayed put at home again.  We are now to Wednesday and I am feeling better or prolly the best yet.  I had calls and questions with the doctors and stayed home to recoop another day.   Today brought me a Chapel Hill appt for an allergy challenge ( which btw we don't know anything) stayed there for 3 hrs.,  no rash at all!! This afternoon I went to my yearly OBGYN and had a checkup and came home feeling pretty good.   So tomorrow will be going to work, I have got to get some normalcy back.  I didn't expect CHEMO to do this to me - NOT ME!!!  I have to dig down really deep and get my mind right for the 2nd round.  Just please know that I need your prayers and positive thoughts.  I have struggled the most with seeing Gracee sad (she has been here a lot) - my heart breaks for her to see this and I know this has to be my drive to be better.  I am praying for this right now! 

Again - I want to thank you all for everything- I have had a lot of people ask WHAT CAN WE DO- I am just gotta give ideas - dinners are great if you cook I love homecooking - if you don't gift certificates (Mcdonalds, Blue Ribbon, Zaxbys, Wendy's, Hibachi) are great too. - Christina has set up a calendar sign up for food and NEEDS.  I need those people to get my girls away from here on my BAD DAYS (which seem to be treatment week FRI-SUN) ( find a way to get me I will make it work).    Thank you all for everything!!!!  I will post again in the next few days!!!!     

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Woman with a Heart of Gold

Our friend Britta started this fundraiser to help Nikki out with whatever she needed during this process.  She is SO close to her goal to be able to give Nikki a check.  If you are able, big or small, to donate please help out.  Bills are already adding up, Nikki is wanting to purchase a wig soon, and parking/gas back and forth to the doctors is draining.  Thanks to those who have already donated and those that will!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How Can I Help???

Lots of you are asking how you can help Nikki and her family during this time.  I have set up the Care Calendar and a lot of you signed up during the first surgery to help with the things that we knew she needed help with.  I will be working on updating that to cover the weeks of Chemo.  She will start chemo on June 17th.  Please just remember that she might not be up for visitors that first week as we don't know how she is going to feel.   I am also including some flyers here, that were given to her at the doctor, that give ideas on things that we can all do to "HELP" Nikki.



Thinking of the Future and Not the NOW!

It's been a few tough weeks for me with alot of ups and downs! the test I referred to in an earlier post oncotype   I learned on May the 13th that I would need to start Chemotherapy to lower my risk significantly of this cancer coming back.  Needless to say not the best thing I have heard in a while - I knew that this was a possibly but a girl can only hope  RIGHT?    I will start chemo on the June 17th - I will do 4 treatments of TC chemotherapy (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) every other week then I will have 12 weeks of Taxol this will be weekly.  So yes 20 weeks of chemo is what I will be facing!  So with all this being said and being down - my boss said a phrase to me last week while I was struggling - Nikki you have to think of the future not the now - this is where my title of this post came from, it is so very true - the future is what I will focus on.    I will do my very best to stay positive and fight this to the very end.  The appointments and the doctor visits are very frequent and sometimes its alot to keep up with but I am doing pretty well, not missed anything yet :) .    

I again want to thank you ALL for the well wishes, the cards, the texts, emails, the fundraisers and all your thoughts and PRAYERS!    All of these and my family is what keeps this girl going, I may hit a few bumps in the road, but I will just keep jumping them a move on!  God is great and I know I am a fighter!  I got THIS!!!  I will update soon!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On the mend!

Hello everyone!!!  So it's been 3 weeks yesterday since I had my second surgery and lots has here we go - Dr. Damitz was my surgeon this time, who went in to, take more margins from the area of the cancer spot,  reconstruct and reduce (this needed to be done before treatments started - if you ask why now) however this did not happen according to plans.  Once Dr. Damitz had me in surgery she realized that the lump Dr. Demore had taken out was a pretty good size and the empty cavity had filled completely with fluid.  So her plan at that point changed.   She took more margins to make sure all cancer was gone - she just did the reconstruction.  This surgery was a lot more intense and I was very worried about recovery period, but I wasn't sick after surgery, I stayed to night at the hospital and my recovery time started.   So I am on the mend and doing great!

Friday, May 2, 2014

News and second surgery update!

Hey everyone!!  I have some news to share, that I have waited to share until today - I wasn't really sure and didn't exactly know what to post - definitely alot of emotions these past 10 days.....I had 3 doctor appts last week, one of which was meeting my new medical oncologist Dr. Dees and her resident (loved them both).  I was very impressed by her, she was just what I needed to be the so called "captain of my ship".  I wasn't supposed to meet her until May 13th, but because I am SO inquisitive and had sooooo many questions, she saw me on Tuesday!  She answered alot of my questions and at this point we are still waiting on this test to return to UNC, she says with my numbers and everything she has read clinically, she DOES suggest chemotherapy (pretty bummed about this). But I will do what I have to do to have no chance of these EVER coming back - EVER!!!   There are alot of things to do before this starts and she will make the recommendation of which kind and how many treatments and all the specifics once we see this oncotype test and its results.  This test is fairly new and tells the doctors how much of a chance there is for the cancer to return anywhere in my body.  Tentatively chemo will start sometime around May 27th or first week of June. 

But first at hand is surgery on Monday - May 5th - I have to be at the ACC at 6:30am (thank goodness for early times).  My doctor will take more tissue out around where the lump was - she wants to have more pathology to make sure ALL margins are negative, then she will reconstruct and correct from the first surgery.  Surgery should take about 3-4hrs and I will stay overnight to make sure everything is going like it should. 

I once again want to THANK EVERYONE FOR EVERYTHING!  It is simply amazing the way people in my life have pulled together.   

Monday, April 21, 2014

Surgery Day Round 1

Pictures from Surgery 1



One step at a Time!!!!

I come to you guys today with lots of thank yous!!!  The last 10 days have been very trying for me personally, not being able to drive, not being able to care totally for my children, not being able to clean house (NOT REALLY(: ) with not being able to do all the things that I do there have been a lot of people here to help out.   Just when I was feeling down and out, there my friends and family are to pick me up.  The things that each person has done for me lately has really humbled me and made me realize how loved I am.  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE - I can't mention each of you because lord I don't want to leave anyone out, but I so appreciate each of you! 

NOW update from appointment TODAY......the cancer is NOT in my lymph nodes - GREAT NEWS!!!!  THIS IS AN ANSWER TO MANY PRAYERS!!! The surgeon ordered a test today called Oncotype (SP) this will determine whether I have chemo or not and also if I am at a higher risk for cancer to come back somewhere else (if high I will more than likely have chemo) - my medical oncologist (which I haven't met yet) will be the one who tells me these results in 10-14days.  We did find out today my cancer was a STAGE 2 and  one of the margins she tested was negative - BUT CLOSE (which means we take more tissue out to test) for IDC.  So when I have surgery on May the 5th, she (the surgeon) will take more tissue out in the general area and send that off for pathology too.  We want all that tissue to be NEGATIVE without a doubt.   So we have jumped a huge hurdle for me today! 

Again, I can't tell you how very thankful I am for the gracious thoughts and the acts of kindness - it has been so very amazing to know I am loved.  13 days and counting till surgery and learning more things about my treatment steps!!!   GOD IS GOOD!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day after my first surgery!!!

It's the day after my surgery and it's is going ok, I am in lots of pain - which means lots of pain meds which make me goofy!!!!   I didn't sleep great because I couldn't sleep on my side (neither one), so today I am resting.  

The surgeon took 3 lymph nodes and a mass the size of an acorn out during surgery yesterday the lymph nodes will be biopsied  - I will know those results when I go back on the 21st. I am praying that the nodes are clean.   Then I will see a Medical Oncologist to find out my treatment plans. 

I have to say a special thank you to Mark McKinney, he came to the hospital and prayed with me and everyone and I can tell you that made all the difference in the world.  Also thank you for spending the day with me, Britta, Kim, Christina, Karen, my mom and of course my hubby!!!  Thank you for all the prayers, calls, texts and card (I still get cards daily).  Thank you Kim Vaughn for spending the night with me, to make sure everything went smoothly.   My mom and sis are here today and I am relaxing.  I hope I didn't miss anyone - Love to you ALL!!!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Surgery #1 over!!!

Nikki is out of surgery!!!  The doc said everything went well and we can see her soon.  Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Today's the day!!!

Well the day is here, lots of emotions as I dropped the girls off this morning, everyone is dressing in their shirts today to support ME (SO GRATEFUL), it still doesn't seem real, it's almost like I may wake up from a dream.       However it's time to be strong and get ready to start this journey to kicking butt to Cancer!  My surgery starts at 12:15pm, I have to be there at 10:45am to prep - yes alittle bit later to what I thought.  Someone will update the blog later today, thank you again to everyone for your support and prayers!!!  I have an awesome support system and I know I will get through this!!!!   Love ya'll!!!!!  Getting ready to head to CHAPEL HILL!!!!  <3

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Genetic testing results are IN!!!

I must say that it's always great to hear good news!!!!  After a few rough and emotional days the last week, I finally get the call today I have been waiting for, from GENETICS.  The results for the genetic testing came back NEGATIVE - which means no mutations in my genes.  In other words this  means that I won't have to have the double mastectomy (the doctors referred to it as the Angelina surgery when we were there the first time).  It also means that Gracee and Madison are not at a high risk to have the same thing I have - and will not have to be tested, more than likely they will still be pre-screened at 40 (which is a LONG time).  What a relief!!!      

So we are on schedule with the plan - Wednesday afternoon they will inject blue dye (carolina blue - I hope) which helps the surgeon on Thursday to biopsy the nodes.  On Thursday morning bright and early (thinking 8am) - I will be the first surgery for Dr. Demore that day, which means I will have to be there prolly by 6:30am (yippeee).  I will have a lumpectomy to get this "unwelcomed thing" out of my right boob - we will have a biopsy of my lymph nodes as well and we will then be off to recover and get the first surgery over with!!!  8 days and counting I will be super excited to have it gone so we can move on to the next steps!!!!    Thank you lord for good news - you knew I needed it!!!  :) 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Let there be light...

Yesterday started out normal - work till 11am, then met Kimmy on the corner and we walked to the surgeon appointment where Christina and Casey (my hubby) joined us soon after.  We met with my Oncology surgeon first Dr. Demore, (by the way - love her) she told me the details of my MRI - which again shows only evidence that the cancer is contained to the mass on my right side, the MRI was only of my boobs, nothing else.  She explained what is next she explained that I will have a Sentinel Lymph node biopsy (which means they will run blue dye into the mass area, it should run towards the lymph nodes)  from what I understand this will show if there is any cancer in my lymph nodes.  This procedure will be done on April 9th late in the day.  I will return to UNC on April the 10th (at 6:30am) yipppeeeee for the lumpectomy, surgery and recovery will take approximately 4 hours all together.  At this time she will cut a incision under my arm and check out those lymph nodes - she will biopsy the nodes and we will wait to see if it has gone to my nodes.  I might have to edit this once my NOTE TAKERS read it :)  She will sew me up and I will head home.  I will be out of work for one week returning back on the 21st.    My next surgery which is reconstruction will be May 5th, by Dr. Dammits from UNC - she is awesome too!!!  Because of the location of the mass and how the surgery will be done, this is where the reconstruction comes into the journey!!   I met with the plastic surgeon yesterday afternoon and she spent a lot of time with me and explained a lot.  That surgery is a bit more intense and will require me being out of work for 2 wks - and get this no housework for 4 weeks.  WOWZEER ---I have to find jokes in all this to keep my spirits up!!!  :)  This is our plan for now and will be the plan unless genetics come back with something different.  So I guess I will be getting lots of rest between now and 2 wks from now.  I didn't realize until the last 2 Wednesdays how tiring staying a doctors visits could be.  Thanks you guys again for all the kind gestures, calls, texts, FB messages and cards.  You have truly made this girl feel loved!!!! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Light of my Presence

The results are in from my MRI on Friday..I spoke with the nurse coordinator on the phone and Dr. Demore says no cancer is in my left side....the mass that is in my right one is 1.9cm in size (a bit larger than a pea) she didn't see anything that gave her any evidence that it had spread in that right side boob at all.  She seems to think it is contained to that pea size mass.  It was great hearing that and now we move forward to meet with the surgeon tomorrow to get more of "A GAME PLAN" together.   Thank you again for all the calls, texts, FB messages and emails.  My cup runneth over. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

God brought me to this I know he will bring me through it!!!

So for those that know me, know I love UNC - so we go to the starts out at 1:30 (I was on time) :)   I got my long list of appts and off I go.   I met with the genetics team - the reason for this is that when you are diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, they want to test you and make sure its not in your genetics....super nice lady she reminded me alot of my hubbys dad, she had a very thick accent and you had to listen to her to understand her.  So she explained what they would do and I was good with her piece of the puzzle.  The Genetics lady is the one who told me what kind of cancer I had which is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma  - this is all we knew at this point.  So we have to have blood drawn today!    So next we see the radiation oncologist (who we liked) her name was Dr. Jayne, she actually is the one that sat down and explained to us the details of the cancer.  So then we see the surgeon - Dr. Nancy Demore - she examines me and explains to me a few things, at this point I have surgery on April the 10th for a lumpectomy and reconstruction.  Once the surgery is done and the pathology report comes back we will know then what my treatment will be.  We had genetic testing done on this day and if that comes back positive with certain genetics, my treatment and surgery will be totally different.  So for now we know what the cancer is and we know tentatively what my treatment will be.   

The journey begins....

So on Monday the 17th, I returned a call to the doctor that had spoke to me on Friday and asked a few questions and wanted to know what was next.....when she called me back she told me she had turned my stuff in and I would be seen that same week by a team of doctors at UNC.  Later that afternoon I get a call to be at UNC on Wednesday - March 19th and she told me to bring more than one person because the appt would be overwhelming and I would need another set of ears.  With all that being said I gather my hubby, and 2 great friends and we went to UNC on the 19th to meet with the team of doctors!!! 

First hearing the results

So throughout the week I had some kind of crazy reaction (had to be to the lidocaine) they used during my procedure, I know odd - sometimes for me nothing is easy, so I dealt with my lips being burnt,swollen and chapped painfully all week.  I finally called my OBGYN and she called me in some steroids to help my pain.   So Friday March the 14th comes around, I had not heard anything.  At this point I was getting relief from my lips, so I started to call for the results.  After 3 phone calls that day I finally got a phone call back at 4:55 that Friday afternoon.  I will never forget the phone call itself.  When she said I had BREAST CANCER, it seemed as all the words after were jumbled.  There wasn't any information given to me at that point.  I went into the weekend in a really confused state of mind.  I had no idea what would happen next.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

The beginning of this Journey

So it all begins.....I first noticed a small lump on the day of Feb 23rd during a self exam - which might I add I rarely ever did.  I was out of town that weekend with some 31 girls and I just thought it was my imagination.  I got home that afternoon and told my hubby about it and of course he was (just like any other guy) very willing to check it out.  It seemed to be very small in size, but we both knew it was something to address.  On Monday I called Burlington imaging to get this appt going, I had never had a mammo so off I go to the appt on Friday Feb the 28th.  It was an experience - because I had found a lump they decided to do an ultrasound that day also.  We were told that day that I would need a biopsy - she felt 95% sure that it was benign but we still needed to check it out.  So I got names and who I needed to call and got the biopsy scheduled right away.     It was scheduled for March the 10th. On March the 10th I went for the procedure in Hillsborough at the new UNC facility.  I, at that time met with Susan Mckinney (Oncology Nurse Practitioner), then I moved upstairs to where the procedure would take place.  It didn't take very long and we were on our way back to Mebane - with no power (this was from the ice storm of 2014).  There would be results in the next 24-48 hours....... so we wait!!!!