C h e c k l i s t

Check to the end...

          ☑ Chemotherapy
          ☑ Surgery
          ☑ Radiation
          Maintenance Therapy
                     ☑  Herceptin
                     ☐  Anti-Hormonal Treatment

January 31, 2010

Snowed in and stayed in with my loves...

 January 31, 2010

We got snowed in this weekend! Loved it. I was recovering from the surgery and so was the perfect time for a snow storm (storm, only by North Carolina standards :)). The post surgery recovery has not been bad and has not bothered me at the site of incision at all, other than a couple of times Sahy accidentally bumped his head on my chest.
Zarina and Zyra spent the weekend with us as Vik was in Boston. It was so nice to have them here so close. Sasha begged for food all weekend long and stole food off our plates, counter tops, and polished off the cheerios from the high chair! Vikram came back tonight and I requested him to make his yummy shrimp curry for one last time before the metallic taste sets in my mouth for the next few months because of the chemo. It was delish and in fact I have had yummies all weekend long, thanks to Dinar, Pragya, and Juliana :) Thanks guys for the delicious food! And thanks Sheetal for a new batch of yummies! So long taste! I will see you in 6 months! May be my mom can make her famous mutton biryani when I get my taste buds back!

 
Check out the pic of my loves sporting scarves to support me:) My little Diva of a niece can't get enough of her Atti's scarves and sunglasses :) & look at Sahy being her little lamb. Speaking of Sahy, he is 10 months old today! I can't wait to celebrate his first birthday in two months! I have so many ideas for the party, already! :)

Live.Love.Laugh.




January 28, 2010

Moving along at a fast pace...

 January 28, 2010

I feel everything is happening so soon! It is good in a way.

Tomorrow is my port placement surgery. It is the first surgery of my life! I would have never thought it would be at age 32 and for this reason. I would have thought may be a C-section during my second pregnancy could have been my first surgery, or getting my tonsils removed, but you can never predict your life or plan too much! So much for a hypochondriac, fitness nut, vitamin C popping, oatmeal, broccoli, and tofu eating, non-smoker gal! See I am still not snapping out of the "why me" phase. One day, I will.

Monday is the first chemo. My oncologist asked me if I was scared of chemo. I wondered what kind of question is that. I replied "no because I have never done it before". I have heard stories about side effects, fatigue, etc., but who knows how I will feel. You hear horror stories about giving birth and then it did not turn out half as bad as people had described it to me. & please all the wimps who complain about root canals!! It was not bad at all!

Then my oncologist asked me if I was mentally prepared for the hair loss and to take things in my hand and not wait for clumps to fall off ( I know sounds gross). By taking things in my hand, I think he meant was just go in for a buzz cut or even shave my head. It is suppose to all come off on the second day after the second chemo. I am not sure how I am going to handle that, but I guess I will just wear a dark lipstick and smokey eyes and a big smile. That should compensate for the hair all gone. BTW, my sweet husband thought that the hair loss was permanent :). & very gently he kept suggesting that I should re-consider the idea of getting a wig (I have decided against it since my last post on this topic). So while talking to him a little more about it, I realized that he did not know that the hair will grow back after the chemo ends. Love him a lot! He was such a "long hair on my girl" kind of guy and he has been the sweetest person to help me through this.

& before all the action begins, I have scheduled a massage appointment for me today. Yes, the very first massage of my life, believe it or not. A deep tissue one. Looking forward to it.

Let it all begin.

Ciao! Bela.

Live.Laugh.Love.

January 25, 2010

I have a bar code...

So I am a "product" at this hospital with a bar code. When I register for scans and tests, they give me a bracelet with a bar code and a label sheet with labels with bar codes that has all my information! So cool that I have my own bar code :)
On the medical update side, all the tests are complete now and we have results of all but 2 tests. The PET scan, brain MRI, MRI of the torso, CT scan, and full body bone scan have come back negative for metastasis. Yay!! This is a huge relief. The staging of the cancer is complete.
As if this BC diagnosis was not enough, that I have been dealing with a horrible tooth ache! So this week I will be getting a root canal done. My doctors think it is better to take care of it before chemo starts. Talking of chemo, I saw the chemo suite and it has all these reclining chairs and a mini fridge and looks like a place where I could probably get a nice pedicure or a massage! I am planning on catching up on reading and sketching during the 2-3 hours of chemo, but the nurse says that most patients prefer to just doze off. So lets see what I will end up doing. On this Friday or next Monday the port will be put in for chemo. It is a small surgical procedure. Chemo will start the day my surgeon places the port. More on port: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_(medical)
I will write in more detail about the Tx regimen etc. in the next few days. I thought I would drop in a line and let everyone know that the staging is complete and it is Stage II A cancer.  We know what we are dealing with now and weirdly enough I am eager to start the Tx. Sooner it begins, sooner it will end, even though it is a long road to recovery. Bring it on!

January 22, 2010

Resources...

When we first found out about Bela's cancer diagnosis, I hardly knew any details regarding diagnosis and treatment options. All I knew was that the mammogram would tell us if there is a tumor, the biopsy would tell us whether it is cancerous, and the treatment options would include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
Since then we have been bombarded with a lot of information from the doctors (who, to their credit were trying to educate us as best as they could). Now that we have had some time to process all the information and how it all ties together, I wanted to put together some information regarding diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
The best resource I have found so far is the Komen website, which details the diagnostic, treatment and post-treatment care options currently in practice.

Diagnosis:
This includes detection, staging and tumor characteristics. Diagnosis in simple terms is the result from the pathology report from the biopsy. If the biopsy cells demonstrate 'carcinoma', we have a positive cancer diagnosis. One additional procedure done during the biopsy may include aspirations of the lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. More about it here.
The next steps include staging and determining the tumor characteristics. Staging is determining what stage the cancer has progressed to (I - IV), which is determined usually by three factors - tumor size, lymph node status, and metastasis.
Some of the other tumor characteristics to be determined are -
  • Estrogen receptor-positive and Progesterone receptor-positive status.
  • HER2 status
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation status
More on treatment options after our meeting with the oncologist...

January 16, 2010

Why me?


I am going to try my best to not post self-pity blogs, but I am entitled to a few...At least I think so. I have asked this question repeatedly "why me?",  "why now?",  "why?",  "why?" , "WHY?".
I was settling into the rhythm of things after having a baby. It was a hard transition going back to work and keeping Sahil in daycare, but I was getting more and more comfortable with each passing week. And I thought I had my "focus" back. I had set goals for 2010 career wise and personally. And then everything changed last Tuesday. It is never a good time to have cancer, but especially now when my baby was still being breastfed and is not even a year old. God giveth, God taketh away.
I also asked myself "did I do something wrong?". I asked the doctor "Is it because I ate too much soy?". Soy has estrogen and hence the question. "Is it because my estrogen levels spiked during pregnancy and child birth and while lactating?" . The Dr. said I was going through the "why me?" phase. I am young, healthy (questionable with the diagnosis), at a healthy weight, fitness and health nut when it comes to eating and moving my body, don't have a family history of breast cancer, not Caucasian (high risk group), not jewish of east European origin (another risk group)...Then why me?? Dr. said the only reason he can think of in my case is that I am a woman and have breasts. That is by far the biggest risk factor for breast cancer.Oh well! Women and men (often more than women) obsess so much over breasts (aka  rack, jugs, knockers, hooters, what else are they called??) and then they turn out to be so vicious and potentially life threatening. Beats me.

On the medical update side, I got my MRI done yesterday. The nurse and the technician were not the nicest people. They told me I did not have good veins for the big needle for contrast, and I apologized at least 5 times. And then while I was in the "open bore" MRI machine with head phones on my ears, eyes closed, and saying "sukhakarta dukhaharta" (a prayer to Ganesh) for the 10th time, I thought to myself why I should be apologizing for my bad veins? Is it really my fault that they are buried under the skin? If they are caregivers then shouldn't they be more caring?. But I guess I was just a number there, may be their 3rd of 20 patients of the day for an MRI.

A few more tests at my oncologist followed. I am liking this guy, very approachable, very warm and comforting and above all gives me hope. Tells me it is curable. That is what I want to hear.

Yesterday afternoon was spent taking care of HR paperwork. Everyone at work is so supportive. They make me feel that I count. That they care about my recovery and rest and want me to feel assured and safe taking time off and concentrating on getting better. In these economic times, this is very heartening.

& yes I got a new pixie haircut! Me and my boys have similar length hair now. Next week, I will be trying some wigs to see what works for me. I would have just gone with a scarf but then we want it to be as normal as possible for Sahil. He has to stop pulling my hair though. We will work on that next.






January 13, 2010

Hello everyone.

 After much probing and testing and poking and pricking, we have been told that I have breast cancer in my right breast. My world has changed. It is still very new and both Dinar and I are processing all the words and information that we have gotten from the breast surgeon and the oncologist, and believe me some of the words make my head spin.

This blog is to stay in touch with family and friends and to let them know how we are coping with my diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. We are going to need a lot of support from all our loved ones. Your best wishes, prayers, positive energy, and love is going to help us get through this very challenging phase in our lives. We know many of you would want to talk to us to find out more about how we are doing and sometimes we may just be too caught up with rounds of treatment, work, and life in general and that is why we thought that this is a good way to keep you all in the loop. Please feel free to leave comments and we will try our best to respond to them as soon as possible.

Sahil, our 9 month old energizer bunny has a new found freedom of mobility. Yes he is crawling and taking steps (holding our fingers) and babbling and just being plain cute. He will be featured in this blog often. We will  give you regular updates on what antics he has been upto!

And yes I am going to kick cancer's puny little butt with your love and support. So I raise my glass to that!