June 11, 2019

I felt it was a good time to do a short update post. Tomorrow June 12, 2019 I will be going in for brain surgery. It wasn’t what we had originally planned for this week. Mom and I were suppose to be on vacation in Florida. I guess this will be just as fun, right?! Ha Ha

Today was a rough day, I didn’t sleep well the night before and just felt off all day. The headaches have been getting bad again but no worries since Fred will be getting a permanent vacation tomorrow.

Today was my last workout until I am cleared back. I will miss my morning peloton digital classes and street parking WODs. I also have officially put my squat everyday on hold. I made it to 162 days. Not the 500 days I was aiming for but I will begin again and hit that goal. I did receive some exciting news that I will be receiving a survivor bike for my YSC 200 mile breast cancer ride in October. This will give me the motivation to get back to training when this is all over.

The plan for tomorrow is as follows. I will be heading into the hospital at 0630 to central registration to begin the stealth MRI. This will be the 3D image of my brain that he will use during surgery. Now we let’s see if I freak out in the MRI again. At 1000 is the actual time of surgery. The surgery itself should be about an hour. Then I will be staying the night in the ICU. On Thursday I will be having another brain scan and if everything checks out I will be going home that day. It’s really amazing to think you can have brain surgery and go home the next day. Modern medicine is fascinating.

I’m in a very good place with everything and I feel everything will go smoothly. I know I have a huge support system going in with me. Thank you for everyones support and love. I love you all!

Hell Week – September 2017

My first meeting with Dr. Simpson I had explained about some pain I was having when I was breathing. I also informed him how I had this pain before in fact it sent me to the hospital the Christmas eve prior. Since I was having a very similar pain and being diagnosed with cancer I believed these weren’t a coincidence. By telling him this it made him change the scan he requested. Instead of getting an MRI, I was now getting a full CT. To me it was just a scan I really had no idea why the change.

September 6, 2017 I arrived at Dekalb Imaging to get my CT scan followed by a heart echo. At the time of the CT I believed it was to tell if the cancers had spread to any other body parts. The heart echo was to determine if my heart was strong enough to handle my medications in my chemo cocktail.

September 7, 2017 I had surgery for my port placement. The port is basically a way to infuse the chemotherapy drugs, take blood or other medication without the multiple needle sticks. It reduces the risk for muscle and tissue damage. It made sense doing a port but at the same time I was very weirded out by it, and honestly, I still am. The surgery itself wasn’t bad at all. It felt like it took seconds to be honest, I’ve never had surgery before so perhaps this was just how things work. The surgeon left it accessed since I was going to be receiving chemo the next day. Yes, everything moved that fast. I still wasn’t sure how the port worked or what it would look like without this bandage on. All I could see was this big bandage on my chest. What I mean by accessed, which I understand now but didn’t then, they had the needle stick that attach to the tube that would be later connected to my IV drip. Obviously I’m not a medical professional so I don’t really know the fancy terms this is my way of describing it. I was told the cancer center would disconnect it after chemo.

So remember how Dr. Simpson changed his mind on the type of scan after I told him about the pain? Shortly after I got home from surgery I received a call from the hospital saying I needed this medication (Lovenox) and I had to start it tonight. Now, I had just had surgery my aunt had dropped me off and was on her way home. I am still out of it and I’m telling the lady on the phone I had no way to come pick this medication up. She was like, oh no someone will be bringing this medication to your house. First of all I didn’t even know that was a thing. She goes on how I have to inject this into my lower stomach every 12 hours and to begin tonight. Looking back I am sure she explained what the medication for and why I had to take it. What I would find out the next day was I had a blood clot in the vein going into my liver. These shots were blood thinners.

My original treatment plan consists of four chemo drugs infused every three weeks for a total of six treatments. In a previous post I discussed the drugs I would be getting and my hormone properties of each of my cancers so I will not go back into that.

September 8, 2017 this was the day I feel it truly began. The reality of cancer and how my life would never be the same. I was now a cancer patient.

As I arrived for my first treatment I had no idea what to expect and I was a mix of feelings. Part of me was anxious mostly cause I didn’t know what to expect and also I was just ready to begin.

The first treat was very long, it ended up being an 10-hour day from getting there and having them draw my blood, meeting with Kelli the PA and then going into the infusion room. My infusion center isn’t big maybe 15-20 chairs which are recliners. They have pillows and warm blankets available if you want them. Once they got the all clear on my bloodwork they start with a steroid bag which is about a 20 minute infusion, next up is the Benadryl bag which is also about 20 minutes followed by an anti-nausea bag also 20 minutes. These are precautionary to prevent any allergic reactions. The first infusion is so long because the chemo drugs are infused at a slower rate and then they wait a certain amount of time after to make sure there are no allergic reactions to it. What comes next is once the onsite pharmacy is done mixing your drugs they are brought out to the nurses’ station. Two nurses come over to the chair. One is holding the bin with all your chemo drugs in it and the other has my chart. The one holding the chart looks at my wristband while having me tell her my name and birthdate, then the other nurse reads each drug and the rate of infusion to the chart nurse who verifies each drug. Then the chemo drugs start. It wasn’t like I thought. The Benadryl made me sleepy so I may have napped a few times, the drugs themselves I didn’t notice much except one of them toward the end of the bag made me wicked hot. After they were all through they put my Neulasta that will disperse approximately 27 hours later. This was to help boost my white blood cells post chemo. Then I was on my way home.

I felt alright the next day in fact I went to lunch with one of my friends. That night was when the Neulasta shot was dispersed. I had to reach out to my neighbors to help me verify it was empty since I couldn’t see whether the line was on empty so I could remove it from my arm. It was that evening that I started feeling off. I went to bed and when I woke up Sunday morning I felt like I had the flu. I did manage to get up, let my dogs out and feed them. I moved from my bedroom to the couch and I just slept. I had never been so tired in my life. Some of what else I felt was very much like the flu, my body ached, I had a low grade fever, my throat was in so much pain and my hair hurt, yes hurt no other way to describe it. My dogs are the best they curled up next to me and my oldest would nudge me awake when they had to go outside. They were also great when I would get up to go to the bathroom, they would walk me there and then walk me back to the couch. I barely drank anything this day and did not eat anything. Sometime Sunday night into Monday morning my fever broke and that helped a lot. Now by no means was I functioning this day, however, I was able to respond to messages I received Sunday. I still was having problems with my throat and mouth developing sores throughout it. I did manage to force 40 ounces of water down that day. Now remember I was use to drinking at least a gallon of water a day so this was a big change for me. I also ate that day. I made myself a grilled cheese, something I had no eaten in forever. Actually through all of this I would begin to eat things I hadn’t eaten since I was a kid. Maybe it was a comfort thing or just easy to eat or I could actually taste it. I still slept most of Monday away. On Tuesday I would attempt to go to work but that was short lived and went home shortly after arriving. Tuesday’s feeling would be best described as being hungover without actually having a fun the night before. I was still having a lot of mouth/throat pain so I was barely eating and drinking. I lost 11 pounds that week. When I got to the doctors on Friday they prescribed me something for my mouth since I had developed something call thrush, which is quite painful and thankfully the only time I ever got it. I believe this was the reason I lost so much weight that week. When it cleared up I kept eating grilled cheese and mashed potatoes since that’s what I was craving. I put the weight back on. Two weeks after my treatment I finally got back to doing my cardio again, which consists of my spin bike. This treatment would be the longest I went before getting back into my cardio routine. I also would travel on one more work trip after this treatment before deciding I would not travel until chemo was finished in December 2017. Cancer was beginning its takeover of my life.

Where have I been?

It’s time for an update to let everyone know where I have been. I have actually been in the middle of a blog post for over a month now. It’s called Hell Week and I couldn’t quite figure out why I got to the point where I just seemed to be blocked. I believe it is because of Fred.

Let’s start from the beginning or at least what I feel is the beginning. Around December/January my headaches changed. They just felt different. If you guys remember there was a lot of stress going on around that time. There was a shutdown, I found myself furloughed and my tumor marker spiked. It’s not unreasonable to believe perhaps that’s why my headaches (which are a side effect of my chemo drug) were getting worse.

I kept complaining to my oncologist about how they felt different. It just didn’t seem the same. In June 2018, I did have a brain CT because of headaches and we decided it was side effects from radiation and my chemo drug. The scan didn’t show anything. I will talk about this later which is why I am mentioning it.

As I was saying I found myself complaining constantly. I thought I was just being over dramatic at one point. However, that was not the case. I am very happy I continued to complain. Throughout my journey I have learned you have to be your own advocate. That is why I do a lot of reading, research and I even learned how to read my own pathology reports. Finally in March my doctor said he believed my headaches were migraines from chemo and sent me to a neurologist. He told me he would be able to prescribe me something to help alleviate them. The beginning of April I met with Dr. Olson. I explained how I was having intense headaches and how they had changed, I also mentioned how my chemo brain was getting worse and what I believed was neuropathy from chemo had been more frequent where I was waking up completely numb in my arms and hands more so on the left. He believed me to have migraines as a side effect and decided to set me up for a nerve test to see if my neuropathy was carpel tunnel instead. He did decide to send me to get a brain MRI as well since this time I didn’t have the tissue expanders in anymore so I was able to get a MRI this time. He also informed me this was just checking a box and was not expecting anything to show up.

April 26, 2019 I went to chemo that morning and met with my doctor we discussed how I was having the brain MRI that afternoon and he told me it was going to be fine. I do have to admit I did freak out before the MRI. Apparently cancer treatment has made me claustrophobic who knew that could even happen. I had a feeling this would happen since I had a similar experience before my mastectomy. Cancer the gift that keeps on giving. I was doing fine until I heard the clicks. I told myself don’t open your eyes. So of course I opened my eyes and when I saw the cage over my head I was like nope take it off!! After a few moments I regrouped the nurse and the radiographer assured me it was alright and calmed me down. The nurse suggested placing a towel over my eyes. Apparently I am like a bird and it worked. This was not my shining moment but I assume they see this a lot.

April 29, 2019 I was driving to Jersey for a work trip like I always do listening to my favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder (check it out if you like true crime) and my phone rings. I see its my oncologist office and was like its probably a reminder for my next appointment and since I was driving I let it go to voicemail. For whatever reason I got a feeling I should listen to the voicemail. The message said the doctor needed to see me that afternoon. I was like what? They ended up calling again and I picked up. It was another scheduler that didn’t realize I had already been called. I told her I was on the road almost to New Jersey and there was no way for me to get there today. She was like I’m gonna email Kelli (Dr. Simpson’s PA) and Dr. Simpson and see if one of them can call me this afternoon instead. Already I was like this is weird. However, whenever I have chemo I get bloodwork done and some of it doesn’t come back till Monday so maybe it was that. I called my mom and she was like you can’t answer that phone call till you get to Jersey. Luckily the phone didn’t ring until I got to hotel and was settling in. However, it wasn’t the phone call I had expected. Once I was checked in to the hotel I was unloading the car and my phone rang with an Atlanta area code. I picked it up and it was someone from the neurologist’s office.

The neurologist office was much more up front and clear about what actually was going on. My brain MRI showed a small brain tumor in the right rear side of my brain and they were referring me to Dr. Gullick who is a neurosurgeon. She informed me their office was going to be calling me shortly to set up the appointment to discuss my options and what was next.

This was not how I expected my Monday to go. Dr. Gullick’s office was quick to call and I had an appointment for me on Tuesday May 7. I had to cut my Jersey trip short and return to Atlanta on May 3.

May 7, 2019 I found myself at a neurosurgeon’s office. Thankfully I was not alone and I brought my friend Amy with me. She was in charge of taking notes since my chemo brain is awful. I met Dr. Gullick and we went through that was happening. I had a headache at the time which was great because its so hard to describe exactly how the headache is when its not there. Our bodies are so great about making you forget how pain feels after the trauma is over. I was pointing to the worst part of pain and he was like right there? I was like yes this is where it hurts the most. He told me I was literally pointing to my tumor. Meet Fred. The image below is reversed so the small white mass is my tumor(Fred) and its located on the right rear of my head or in my occipital lobe. If you look at the dark shading around the mass that is the brain swelling.

He told me the tumor was too small to be causing all the symptoms that most likely the brain swelling was making everything worse. All these months of me saying words are hard today (chemo brain) and the intense headaches was starting to make sense. I did ask about me having a brain CT in June 2018, a PET scan in August 2018 and just in February 2019 and how this had been missed. He assured for the brain CT if the tumor was there it would have been too small to show up on any scan. As for the two PET scans apparently it’s not routine for them to scan the brain during it. This was frustrating for me to hear since my left breast cancer the HER2 positive side is one of the ones that likes to jump to the brain.

He went into detail about the different options available to me. Due to the size the gamma knife is an option that would be able to get it all. However, when you radiate something it’s gone and I would not know what it is. I was also told it was highly unlikely that i developed a third primary tumor. For those that aren’t aware I was diagnosed with two different breast cancers which means I already had two primary tumors. Basically he was telling me this was most likely one of my breast cancers. The only way to know for sure is to actually remove it and test it which brings us to the surgical option. After going into a more detailed discussion I was told he was going to be in touch with Dr. Benton and Dr. Simpson and we would all be on the same page when I make my decision.

May 9, 2019 I met with Dr. Benton, my radiation oncologist. He is one of my favorite doctors. The kind that just goes the extra mile for his patients. I will say it was hard going back because as I filled out my paperwork for the appointment I looked up and saw the bell I rang when I finished all my radiation treatments in May of 2018. Which is the pic below.

Dr. Benton went into details about what the radiation would be like if the pathology came back malignant. If I am needing radiation it would be one, two or three treatments. Which compared to my previous 30 treatments for my chest that is nothing. Given its on my brain. He also told me if it is a brain metastasis its the best case scenario since it’s a single site and we will be able to get it with surgery and radiation. Then he asked me if I was on steroids yet. I was like no why would I be? He was like for the brain swelling and stepped out of the room came back with his prescription pad saying you start this tonight and take one every 8 hours. He couldn’t believe nobody had started me on them yet. After leaving there I was feeling much better about everything since a plan was coming together.

The steroids were key even with the crappy weight gain side effects from them they made my pain level decrease. I really didn’t realize how much pain I was truly in. I am one of those people with a high pain tolerance. I just knew I was taking a lot of ibuprofen.

May 10, 2019 I met with my oncologist Dr. Simpson the last puzzle piece. We were discussing that I wanted surgery and how the chemo I’m on doesn’t access the blood/brain barrier so although my body is under control something could have broken off when it was in my lymph nodes prior to radiation and beginning this chemo drug. The plan will be if it’s malignant to continue with the chemo drug I’m on and just monitor the brain to make sure nothing new pops up.

It took me a couple weeks to get back into Dr. Gullick’s office to go over the procedure, sign consent and actually get the surgery scheduled. He was under the impression I wanted to do the gamma knife which is where the confusion came from. I have decided on surgery because I feel I need to know exactly what the tumor is. In my mind it’s benign until they tell me otherwise.

The surgery itself is pretty straight forward. I will go in to the hospital they will do a certain MRI (maybe stealth I’m not sure but this word was used) of the brain that does a detail and fine cut 3D model of it. My tumor is small so the incision will be a small S like shape. The surgery itself should be about an hour. Once I am under they will put my head into a harness to stabilize it. I did ask if they wake me back up while they are in there (I’ve seen too many movies haha) they will keep me asleep they prefer it when they can because the slightest movement can change so much. After I will stay a night in the ICU and the next day they will do another brain scan to see how everything looks. If the scan is good and I am recovering with no complications I will be released home. It’s pretty amazing how you can go in for brain surgery and go home the next day.

My surgery date is scheduled for June 12, 2019

I think this is why I haven’t been able to write my previous posts I think I knew I wanted to address this but I didn’t have all the information yet. I want everyone to know I am in a very good place. I believe we are set to walk certain paths in life although we may not always be able to see the reason why at the time. Perhaps here I may help someone who comes across this blog that finds them in a similar situation. You never know who is watching and looking toward your strengths. I have an amazing support system. I am truly blessed with how many of you love me and have reached out and supported me through all of this. I can not thank you enough. Your love and support has been absolutely humbling to me and I don’t even have words to express my gratitude.

YSC Summit – 2019

This past weekend I attended my first Young Survivor Coalition(YSC) Summit in Austin, TX. This organization is for young women facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Every year they hold a conference with speakers, breakout sessions that address the needs of young women with breast cancer and also for their co-survivors as well. If you are interested in learning more about the organization you can check out their page. http://www.youngsurvival.org

I had no idea what to expect. I also had no idea how much I needed this conference. I met so many amazing women and made friendships that are going to last a lifetime. It was the first time in about 19 months where I felt almost normal. I met women who understood what I currently am going through and I got an idea of what challenges I may face after active cancer treatment finishes.

One of the breakout sessions I went to was the fear of the unknown. It addressed recognizing anxiety and how to face it. There was also discussions about PTSD from a cancer diagnosis and the treatment that follows it. The amount of support and help available to us was nothing short of amazing. I can not wait until next year’s summit.

Now I find myself thrown back into reality. The reality of countless doctors appointments and of course chemo(where I am right now). This was a hard week back. I found myself crashing in the afternoons pretty hard. Yesterday and today were just what I call bad cancer days where nothing seems to be easy. Usually week 3 is my “good” week but I think with the excitement from the weekend my body was just exhausted.

One of the things to come out of the summit was me deciding to challenge myself and sign up for the YSC Tour De Pink. It’s a 200 mile, 3-day charity bike ride for breast cancer. I have committed to raising $3000 for the Young Survivor Coalition. YSC is a nonprofit organization committed to help young women, like myself, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In my battle with cancer I have been very grateful for this organization. Tour De Pink will be my way of giving back and getting involved. It will be one month after my last chemo infusion which is a big milestone for me. If you are able to donate please go check out my link I will post below. After making a donation send me your address I will send you a little thank you gift.

https://west.ysctourdepink.org/krissirae

Nothing quite goes to plan these days. I was suppose to finish this post on March 15 and its now April 1. I am hoping to be a little more consistent with my posts. Maybe that will go on my April list of goals. I will also being doing another post going into more detail about Tour De Pink.

Day 41

Overall the squats have been going well. I finished up day 41 today with front squats. I’m not trying to increase weight as rapidly as I did before mostly this is due to chemo. It already is a struggle doing these daily. I don’t want to burn myself out. I have hit my first goal of 135 yesterday on back squat. Next goal will be 150. I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

My Introduction to the Cancer World

As I write this post I am currently receiving chemo. The cancer care team goes beyond just the doctors. There are so many amazing people in this facility that make you forget what’s really going on, even if it’s only for a minute. We were just laughing so hard at something and I just want to thank them for always making sure I smile through this.

After receiving the call from Dr. Rashid about the lymph nodes everything started happening very quickly. On Friday August 25, 2017 I met Dr. Simpson, my oncologist. I never thought at the age of 36 I would have an oncologist or a cancer care team. My aunt came with me for this visit. I had so many questions written down because it was this time with all the information being thrown at me I was beginning to forget things. It was overwhelming to say the least.

Dr. Simpson began explaining my lab results and explained about having two separate cancers. Basically he told me it’s like lightning striking the same place twice. Not unheard of but not common. We discussed my treatment which included starting chemotherapy right away to stop the left breast cancer from growing and spreading more. I would be receiving 6 treatments of a 4 drug cocktail. The cocktail was Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta.

This entire process has taught me to see the positive in all situations. The positive I took away from this appointment was I was encouraged to stay active. Being active during treatment is actually beneficial to healing. I was excited to know I wouldn’t be restricted in the gym. However, I was aware I would not be training like I had been training for the past several years. At this time I was not aware how much lifting would be impacted.

The following week I was in Jersey when Dr. Simpson called to give me the official biopsy results. My left breast and lymph nodes were grade 3 HER2 positive, ER negative and PR negative. The right breast was grade 2 ER positive, PR positive and HER2 negative. The right was not as advanced. The left was aggressive and more advanced. I wouldn’t learn more about the pathology until my surgery in February 2018 and that’s when I will discuss it in details.

The next appointment was Friday September 1, 2017; I didn’t take anyone with me because it was my chemotherapy education class I figured this wouldn’t be bad. I was wrong. This was the first appointment that made me break down. It consisted of reviewing each drug and the numerous side effects. It was basically the worst of the worst. I was now about to start poisoning my body I fought so hard to get healthy, hoping these drugs kill the cancer cells before it kills me. It was the most eye opening part of the cancer world. The one I had the hardest with was the damage is could do to my heart. Due to the risk on the heart I would be getting a heart echo every 3 months to monitor the heart health.

Overall I managed to keep it together until I got into my car. That is when I broke down. I guess I truly hadn’t let myself absorbed all the changes my life was about to take. I remember sending my mother a text saying “I don’t want to do this; it could kill me”.

This post took longer to finish than I expected initially. My next post on my journey will be “Hell Week” when everything officialy begins.

The Day Everything Changed

The following Tuesday August 22, 2017 I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Rashid to discuss the results. All the results were in except the lymph node biopsy. My aunt Judy was with me for support.

As we waited in the exam room Dr. Rashid came in and informed both breast biopsies came back malignant. Malignant means cancer for those that don’t know. She also told me they were different cancers, both breast cancer but different pathologies. Basically it meant I have 2 cancers. My oncologist would later go into detail of this. She gave us a moment and stepped out of the room.

I was in shock, I cried and I was very grateful Judy was with me. I remember her telling me I didn’t cry enough. I couldn’t, I had to figure out the plan and how to not have cancer. I had just turned 36 two months prior, I wasn’t ready to hear you, hey you have cancer. The truth is 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. Please check yourself, I found my tumor which led me to discover I had another cancer developing in my right breast. That mass I wouldn’t have felt until it was more advanced. I will get into the diagnosis in a later post.

Dr. Rashid came back into the room to see how I was. She assured me that I was going to beat this and thrive on the other side. She went into surgery options, explaining the next step was meeting with my oncologist, who she would refer me to. The first words I said was are you going to cut my pectoral muscle?. Its amazing what goes through your head when you’re told you have cancer. Well that was my first thought. I was straight forward about wanting a double mastectomy also known as a bi-lateral mastectomy. I am stating that because that is how I refer to it today so I don’t want any confusion. She also explained that depending on my oncologist, each proceed differently. Some say chemotherapy first and surgery second or surgery first and then chemotherapy. They will look at the pathology of the biopsy and explain which way they feel is best and why. Her explaining that to me I was prepared for the meeting with my oncologist.

I want to touch on something and I think this is a good place for it. This is more for anyone who finds themselves in my situation. There are several surgical options out there. Lumpectomy, single mastectomy and bi-lateral mastectomy. You decide what is best for you. You listen to your doctors they are there to help you decide. You may even have people in your life saying no this is best or don’t do that. What you decide is you ultimately your decision. I decided a bi-lateral mastectomy was best for me since I had 2 cancers one in each breast and I just wanted them gone. I literally felt betrayed by them, is the best way to describe it. It was a long 6 months with them before I had my surgery.

In case you weren’t paying attention above it was two days later I received the phone call about the lymph node biopsy. I remember because I was driving home from work when I got the call. I pulled over into this business parking lot probably less than a mile from work. Every time I see this parking lot I remember this call. It was Dr. Rashid and she told me the biopsy showed malignant cells were present in my lymph nodes. One of things I have told myself through all of this and I still say it to myself, it could always be worse. It helps me keep things in perspective.

The next post in this section will be meeting my oncologist, my diagnosis and expected treatment.

First of many new doctors

August 17, 2017 I found myself sitting in the waiting room of my breast surgeon’s office. I never thought I would ever have a breast surgeon let alone knew why one would need one.

This appointment I made prior to my mammogram because that was my OBGYN office’s instructions. I really had no idea what this appointment was going to be like. Was there going to be a biopsy? Was it a meet and greet? Do we discuss the mammogram? I really didn’t know what to expect. However, I did not come to this appointment alone. Thankfully, I had my aunt Judy with me.

It began with me meeting Dr. Rashid, who is an amazing human being. She is one of my favorite doctors. This appointment turned to an all day event. She had already received my mammogram results and then did physical exam. She determined I needed a biopsy right away. If she couldn’t get me in the hospital that day for both biopsies, she would perform the one on the left breast in the office.

The mammogram and ultrasound results showed the mass in the left breast and under the left arm would require an ultrasound guided needle biopsy. The right breast would need a mammogram guided biopsy or stereotactic. Now prior to this appointment I had been researching as much information as possible about biopsies and what to expect.

She was able to get me in the hospital to have both procedures done that afternoon. This made me happy because I really wanted answers at this point.

The first procedure was the left breast. They injected some local anesthesia (I was awake but my breast and underarm was numb) They got several good samples from both the mass in the breast and the effect lymph nodes.

The second procedure was why they needed the hospital. I’m going to describe this from someone who has no medical background. I go into this room, mind you I’m already not feeling great from the previous procedure. I’m greeted by the technician thats going to be doing the procedure along with Dr. Rashid. She was another amazing person, she stayed late to perform this procedure. I found this out later when it was all done her daughter was having surgery and she stayed to make sure I got this biopsy done that day. I have met some remarkable people along this journey.

Now back to the procedure itself. In this room was a table with a hole in it. I was instructed to get on the table and the right breast went through the hole. I am not making this up, this is an actual procedure. This was a lot harder than the previous one because once she found the spots using the mammogram machine that was under the table I couldn’t move. Of course it wasn’t a comfortable position that they wanted me to hold for what seemed like forever (I’m being slightly dramatic). She made marks on my skin of areas for Dr.Rashid. After she was set up with the images, Dr. Rashid came in, I was given more local anesthesia and the procedure was done.I want to say while she was doing the biopsy they did take images as we went along but its hard to say because I didn’t have a good view.

On the drive home my aunt asked if I needed her to come to the follow up appointment on Tuesday. I remember being out of it and saying no I should be ok unless they tell me I have cancer then maybe not. She informed me she was coming with. Judy, thank you so much for doing that.


January 14, 2019

Today was an emotional day for me. Day 24 of the government shutdown. I don’t know when I will get my next paycheck. I’m one of the 800,000 federal employees that are dealing with this stress. This isn’t political post and I don’t care to engage in any discussions.

Today I opened my email and saw my blood work they took prior to chemo last Friday was ready to be viewed. The full blood work is always in by Monday so nothing new there. However, my tumor marker was run this time and it had increased since it was last drawn on November 30. I have a lot of emotions in my head right now. I am not interested in discussing any at this time.

By sharing this day with you I don’t ask for much. I ask only that you think before you say federal employees deserve this, know this is my personal battle, there are 799,999 other employees that have their own personal battles. So be kind to others and use your words wisely for you never know the battles others are truly facing.


January 3, 2019

This month will be about relearning my body or perhaps I should say learning my new normal. Chemo effects how the muscles recover and I have to learn how quickly they can recover.

I will be using the first couple weeks to discover how many days a week I can do a gym session, how hard I can train and that will determine my training split. On days I can’t do a gym lift my plan will be for an active recovery. Active recoveries will vary but I will always make sure they include squats.

I took an active recovery today. It started with a recovery ride using the peloton app. Then for daily squats today, I did front squats. I kept it simple 3×10 bar only. Now I am guessing I haven’t done front squats in over a year. I will need to start adding those in more if I expect them to improve. I finished with some GHD back extensions(no added weight) and GHD sit ups(no added weight).

I hope everyone worked toward their goals today. Have a fantastic evening. Until next time my friends.