Tuesday, April 15, 2014

......Stand up eight times

Today I woke up and happy to report a smoother morning in the Nutter household.  I was very stiff and in a fair amount of pain today.  I also had a hard time sleeping last night maybe it was the pain, maybe it was the full moon, or the fact this was the first chemo I was not able to receive because of my counts or a combination of the three.  We had Amanda the Bella scheduled today come and hour early so I could get out the door and on my way. 

My Tante Joanne was nice enough to come back today and take be for the neulasta shot or as I like to call it the nasty neulasta.  I received zofran for nausea, benadryl for the hives and itching, dilaudid for the pain and than the shot.  That was the last one for this week now I need to lay low, rest and pray my counts build up over the week. 

I ran into a chemo buddy of mine Annie today it was great to see her she is another strong and beautiful spirit fighting a different battle than mine but she wears greats shoes too!

Sad to report today was a fun flats and make-up free day as I just was not feeling up to it.  I did wear jeans though so no yoga pants.  It was one step in the right direction.  The pain makes it hard for me to really move around a lot and want to get up and do this and the weather sure does not help. 

Yesterday I was having a bit of a Kristin pity party as I was upset about the set back.  You have to crawl before you can walk and you have to walk before you can run.  I decided it is time for me to put something positive to work towards in my future.  I registered myself for the 2014 Avon Breast Cancer Walk in NYC.  I will need your help to do this as I have to reach a donation goal of $1800 to walk.  

I did the math:
  • If 120 people donate $15 dollars each goal met
  • If 100 people donate $18 dollars each goal met
  • If 75 people donate $24 dollars each goal met
  • If 50 people donate $36 dollars each goal met
  • If 40 people donate $45 dollars goal met
So on and so forth.....

Please help me reach this goal!  I am walking for breast cancer, a cure, research, helping other women and for my girls!   Your amount will remain confidential so please donate whatever amount you can and feel comfortable with than share with others so they can donate and support the cause too!

If I raise:
  • $100 in 10 days I qualify for a T-shirt
  • $600 in 30 days I qualify for a water bottle
  • $1000 in 45 days I qualify for a hydration pack
  • $1800 in 60 days I qualify for a tote bag
Here is my donation page:  http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk/NewYork?px=7413439&pg=personal&fr_id=2366

Inspiration video on the walk: http://youtu.be/4U5Eh_xTx0A

I might not be able to run the NYC marathon this year but I have added this to my list of lifetime achievements.  Rasheq ran this for and donated his metal to me in 2013 (I take this metal and my other chemo support items in my chemo back EVERY TIME I GO).  I plan to run this in the future and earn my own metal to than share with someone else in need of inspiration.  So if you could help me change over from the crawling to the walking part I would be so very grateful!  Remember every little bit counts!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fall down 7 times....

Today started out with Bridget calling me 45 mins early on the monitor.  It went something like "Mommy Mommy come hear poop in the butt don't touch.  I opened her bedroom door to find she had diarrhea EVERYWHERE!  I quickly sprung into action striped her down started a bath, got the Lysol, shout, resolve, bleach and every other cleaning product I could grab.  I successful disinfected everything.  This is because I let her eat lasagna last night and she is lactose intolerant and well bad mommy choice.  I was looking for the easy way out at dinner last night with Ken at another hockey game and I paid for it in the long run.

Got Ken up with bad allergies this morning and needed to start z-pak and the baby woke at 7 (sleep training is going well knock wood so far). I got her dressed and fed. Than I got myself together including totally kiss ass chemo shoes!

Ken and Bridget left for school.  My mom and Tante Joanne came to take me to chemo and the baby nurse came for Harkin.  We went to the cancer center got great parking and off to labs I went.  When Dr. Graham came in I knew something was off and she said I did not qualify for chemo because of my white blood cell counts. 

Today's labs:
WBC 2.2
HGB 13.2
Platelet count 176
Abs Neutrophils 0.8

So this will push treatment back by one week and chemo 7 of 12 will be Monday, April 21.  I now also have to get the neulasta shot to boost my white blood cell counts or as most like to call it nasty neulasta.  I received it today and will need to get it again tomorrow.  The problem is I am allergic to the shot and I get hives and extreme bone pain.  I am on the pain patch, I need benadryl for the hives and I had to start a heavy duty antibiotic as I still have fluid in my ear and an ear infection :( All of this makes me very sleepy.

Monday 4/21 I will resume with the Taxol chemo and receive 7 of 12.  I will than go for the shot on Tuesday 4/22 and Wednesday 4/23 to keep the white blood cell counts up.  I was really hoping it would not come to this as the shot really slows me down and the pain is hard to deal with.

I have hit a point of frustration.  I must have pushed it too hard these last few days.  Now I am suppose to rest and stay home and away from crowds and germs.  It figures as I have a packed week that I will most likely need to cancel...I am having a bit of a why me pity party coupled with it's not f***ing fair!  I HATE CANCER!!!!!

Here is to hoping my white blood cell counts improve and I am not laid up with too much pain.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Here we are...Sunday Night...or as I like to call it Chemo's eve!

Here we are...Sunday Night... or as I call it chemo's eve!  That is because I get my Taxol treatment every Monday now so I can be better by the weekend to spend time with the girls and Ken. 

Tomorrow my Tante Joanne and Mom are going to chemo with me.  This will be both of their first times taking me to chemo but unfortunately cancer has touched my Tante Joanne's life as her sister and brother in law both had cancer and even more tragic we lost them both to the disease.  It is not my goal to make everyone sad tonight but I did want to state is is not new to chemo.  Tomorrow is 7 out of 12 and the effects are definitely getting more cumulative.  I just hope the counts are good so I don't have to get the white blood cell count booster shot.

I have a pair of KILLER heels picked out for tomorrow :)  My pain has been managed very well with this patch.  I still think I have a lingering ear infection.  So I am almost anticipating more

My biggest accomplishment was surviving the weekend with out Ken.  It had it's moments for sure.  I received help from my Tante Janet, Sister Jen, Cousin Allison and my Mom and Stepdad throughout the weekend.  I also had Bella Bambini come in the evening so I could sleep for a few hours.  They started sleep training with Harkin and well she can sleep 7 hours straight through!  Amen!  Here is to hoping I do not screw this up tonight when I try it. 

The Duplo table was a huge success for Bridget along with the mini Tupperware cups and pitcher set from my Mom and Nick.  Bridget can play with stacking and pouring toys for hours.  Does not take much for Bridget to truly like something very simple as a toy.

That said I did learn when one cries they both cry so when Bridget had her upteen meltdown over some silly stupid thing, Harkin would join right in because generally she startled herself awake from a 20 minute nap (longest she takes for me during the day is 45 mins because of the gas).  Than it becomes like a contest who can be louder! There were a few moments I had to stop and take deep breaths.  Now this is with help and I am exhausted and feeling like a failure as a parent because I asked for help and it was still not enough at times.  All I wanted was to let Ken have a fun guys weekend.

The old Kristin would have conquered this with very little difficulty and asked for minimal to no help.  The old Kristin would not have let Bridget watch Frozen immediately followed by Beauty and the beast but when you have no energy and 3 cups of coffee is not cutting it you go for it.  She didn't die from it just not what I would have prefered.

I am happy to report Ken is home and I have agree to do this night feed in exchange with him getting up with her if she needs assistance getting back to sleep as part of the sleep training.... Wish us luck....

A moment of sister love

but mom I am so cute

walking around and bouncing out gas...

a little Nannie time

Ralph thinking this was bought exclusively for him...smh...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Banana bread... banana heels and making it count!

Yesterday I have to admit I was quite upset and sad at the news of Tara a fellow pregnant while with breast cancer mama passing away.  She made it through her pregnancy and had her baby only to have cancer come back.  I really was having a hard time understanding this and still am but  She had a saying "Make everyday count!"  I decided to get out of bed today put behind the sadness and pain and make today count!

Ken is at a hockey tournament for the weekend.  He needed a cancer free weekend and one that would let him be a guy.  He does soo much for me and the girls I wanted him to get away with the guys and have a chance to sleep in :)  Last night I had one of the Bella Nurses come late in the evening so I could catch a few hours of shut eye.  Harkin actually did a 7 hour stretch!  I think it is time for the sleep training to begin :)

I drove Bridget to school today and told her if she is good there will be a surprise for her when she gets home.  I bought her a duplo lego table from the mom’s group!  My mom recently got her some duplo sets so this should be a lot of fun for her.  Tomorrow is the first day I will be taking Bridget to her gym class.  Here is to hoping I have enough energy to keep up with her :)

Today I made it to the chiropractor to get cracked back into place.  I definitely needed the adjustment as my bones are all over the place lol.  I took a walk with Harkin and one of the Bella's this morning.  I cleaned the outside patio table and got my table cloth on it with my clips. I made banana muffins and order myself a pair of banana heels ;)  I would say I am making the most of today.

Yesterday I went to the OB for my 8 weeks post pardum check up and he advised I am healing and doing just fine from both surgeries.  I am scheduled to go back in June for my yearly pap.  If that comes back as normal I should only have to see him on a yearly basis.  I got my tubes done because I can no longer take birth control due to the hormones as I tested ER + and PR + when they biopsied my cancer.  This means my cancer is fed by estrogen and progesterone and I will take tamoxifen when I am done with taxol in May.  The period of time of how long I will have to take is not yet determined.  It is considered a hormone therapy.  Here is a link to learn more http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/hormone-therapy-breast

Chemo brain is still in effect!  I went to the store today specifically for ramien noodles (don't judge) its all my stomach can handle some days and I left the store with everything but the noodles!  All I can do is laugh at this point.  

Because I needed a little sunshine in my life these beauties will be joining my closet shortly :)  I am doing a little happy dance over these don't worry I got a really really good deal on them via www.shoedazzle.com :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reminder to Make Everyday Count

Today I am very sad because a beautiful mother of four in the cancer mamas group passed away very early this morning from Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).  She leaves behind a loving husband and four beautiful children.  She was pregnant with her fourth when she received the diagnosis.  While I did not know Tara personally she touched so many.  I continue to hear the stories about her faith, courage and conviction to fight her diagnosis and her beautiful courage to live life everyday to the fullest.  She had a saying "make everyday count!"

She is right it is up to us to Make Every Day Count!  We are all faced with choices everyday and how we decide to live is up to us.  Since my diagnosis I make every day count even more than before.  I spend as much time with Bridget and Harkin as possible.  I push through the pain and get out of bed.  I try and stay awake to watch a little tv with my husband.  I spend the time to get dressed and put on make-up and try not to sit in sweats or yoga pants everyday.  Sometimes I have those days but at least I am trying.  I smile at everyone I meet because you never know what they are going through and who is going to need it the most. 

Yesterday I realized while it was upsetting the dressing room experience AT LEAST I AM HERE to complain about it, be emotional about it and fix it!  I Thank God everyday I wake up!  I get to spend another day living my life, spending time with my beautiful girls, husband, family, relatives, friends, co-workers, and all the other people in my life.  I get another day to Make Everything Count!

This also brings me back to the story of my co-worker to show God why you are happy each and ever day to get a chance at tomorrow.  This is about making each day count because tomorrow is never promised and each day is a present one that must be treasured. 

Two other things come from Tara's passing for me: Fear I will get cancer again even though I do not have Triple Negative Breast Cancer and not be able to beat it.  The second is survivors guilt.  Why do some of us make it and other's do not?  I don't have the answer to this and I never will but it is a very real emotion I deal with and try not to dwell on.

For now I will end with a heavy heart, thoughts and prayers for Tara's family and passion for life and making every day count. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dressing room anxiety.....

Yesterday was a wonderful feel good experience today was not so much.

The morning started out okay with slight nausea and stomach issues due to antibiotics but manageable.  I spend time with Harkin and than Ken came back from errands and watched Harkin so I could go to lunch with some coworkers.  It was great again to get out and have some adult interaction and try to clear my chemo brain out to have an actual adult conversation :)

After lunch I became very very sleepy but had an errand I needed to run a trip to Old Navy during their sale for some new pants.  I should have know clothes shopping post-partum, during chemo, and post mastectomy was going to be a challenge....

Ken drove me so I could take my pain medication.  He and Harkin stayed in the car and drove a round a bit as she really needed a nap and was struggling because of gas pains most of the morning and early afternoon.  I proceeded on into Old Navy.  I went through several areas and types of jeans grabbing various sizes as different cuts do different things.

I got a dressing room and here is where things really went down hill.... I am one size larger than pre pregnancy.  I lost all of the tone I had built up post-partum with Bridget to the beginning of this last pregnancy with Harkin.  I have not worked out since October of 2013 before the mastectomy.   The florescent lights were so bright, there was mirrors everywhere which highlighted the scars, cuts, bruises, bones and every last insecurity I have in my new body.  The body I am not all acquainted with.  I kept thinking who is this person starring back at me?!?!

I quickly moved through trying everything on.  I was shaking and sweating by the time I got out of the dressing room because I was still overwhelmed with the image of myself.  I handed the sales associate the pile that did not fit and ran up to the counter to buy the items I had in my hands.  Knowing full well if I put anything down or stopped I might not buy these pants I really need to get me through the next few months so I am not wearing just leggings or yoga pants everyday or worse yet have a breakdown in the middle of the store. 

The cashier took what felt like an agonizing time to ring me up and wanted to explain the sales and savings in every item purchased.  I wanted this to be over! I wanted to run out of the store!  I wanted to jump out of my own skin!

I realized since the mastectomy I have not really had to get dressed up for work or anything.  I would push myself to dress up once a week for chemo.  Sounds silly but it makes all the difference in my attitude when receiving chemo.  I also realized I have not been in a dressing room since all the changes with my body and it was overwhelming to say the lease.

When I got in the car Ken asked me in a cheery fashion I see the shopping trip was a success nodding towwards the bag I was stuffing in the trunk.  I got in the car and proceeded to mumble and rapidly spit out how terrible I felt and the anxiety the whole thing caused me.  He was so kind in reminding me I will get back to where I want to be.  The logical part of me knows he is right but the childish insecure part of me wants to hide under the covers and never come out! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Harkin Thea is 2 months old and I got Spoiled Pink today :)

Today Harkin is already eight weeks old!  How can this be?  She is my miracle baby that is growing leaps and bounds.  Check out our new stroller to the right.  This is a maiden voyage and Bridget was SUPER excited!

Harkin is a very calm baby even with all of her stomach and gas problems. She continues to struggle with gas and we have introduced probiotics and today we had to give her prune juice as per the pediatrician since she had not gone to the bathroom since Saturday (I know over share) and poor baby!  My life revolves around gripe water, probiotics, gas drops, tummy exercises, burping, jiggling, swaddling and pacifying a baby that is in pain with gas when  I am not dealing with chemo issues myself.  This is where Bella Bambini is a must as I could not survive everyday with all I am trying to deal with.

This morning I was able to do another nice normal adult activity and I grabbed coffee with my neighbor a fellow mom.  It was great to talk to a someone that was not a baby or a toddler and to not think about cancer because it wasn't about cancer it was about two mom's talking.  Thanks Lauren!  I needed that!

This afternoon I went to an event called Spoil Me Pink http://spoilmepink.org/
I was referred by another fellow cancer survivor that I met at John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack.  She said it was such a positive experience I had to see what it is all about.  I contacted the organization after viewing their website and I asked about up coming dates.  I was able to work out 2:00 pm today and Ken dropped me off as I am still feeling a bit off from all my medication changes (see yesterday's blog for details on this).

This is me chatting with Tara before I had my make-up done
I went today with an open mind and met four lovely ladies running this amazing operation: Tara Pearl, who is an acclaimed Baker & 2 Time Breast Cancer Survivor Advocate, Jennifer the Accessory Guru, Jennifer Tannenbaum, Renowned Stylist and Khuraira Musa, Celebrity Make Up Artist.  I got to spend time with each of them and chat about their specialities and share my story of being diagnosed while pregnant.  I even shared I wear chemo shoes (typically a heel with flair or piazza each week to keep my appointments interesting).  I got to pick out and keep the scarf shown in my after picture.  Tara's tasty treats were amazing!  Just the treat the doctor ordered :)

Here are my after pictures once I was styled and made up:


Before leaving I received my Spoil Me Pink SWAG bag with goodies :)

If you know someone who is newly diagnosed breast cancer survivor in the tristate area or even if they are willing to travel here you should refer/nominate them to receive this special day!   

Here is their contact information:  I PROMISE IT IS WORTH IT :)

phone 201-256-3771

Closing notes:
I would like to thank everyone with their continued support of myself and my family and all we are going through.  I would also like to extend an apology to a certain someone for over sharing information that was not mine to share. I will leave it at that.  I learned the hard way not everyone is as open and quick to share information as I am which is perfectly OK and I need to respect this.  I am sorry.