Final Chemo… Postponed 

I had an extra pep in my step when leaving Kaiser yesterday after my blood draw. I was feeling good. Pumped to get this last chemo over and done. The phlebotomist commented on how my veins had obviously been poked too many times and I laughed. She wasn’t wrong. I told her that this would be my last blood draw for a while if all looked good since I was going to be having my final chemo. She cheered for me. I was feeling great. Even though last week I had told John I wanted to call my oncologist and have chemo postponed because I felt so terrible. I was finally feeling good again. But my blood didn’t feel the same way.  Turns out, my white blood cell counts AND platelets are the lowest they have ever been. This does explain why I have been bruising so easily lately and the lingering fatigue. So as of now, my final chemo will be next week as long as the blood draw shows tons of improvement. 

And when I say I’m feeling great, it’s all in context. I still have fatigue. My finger nails are turning black and my nail beds are super sore. Also, I’m beginning to feel the first signs of neuropathy in my big toes and second toes- an uncomfortable tingling sensation. But overall, I’m feeling great. And ready to kick some ass…. at a later date I guess. 

I have mixed feelings again about postponing chemo. Obviously I want to stay on track but I also don’t want to push my body too far. I am so ready for this all to be a thing of the past. Something I joke about later on. Like, “Hey, remember that one time I had cancer? That was crazy, huh?” I want to feel carefree and plan things for my future without any hesitation. I don’t want to be guarded anymore. I want to feel somewhat normal. If that’s possible. I’d like to believe that it is. 


He said it was a kitty 🐱

1 of 2 mastectomy camisoles that Kaiser covers 👍🏻

Last Saturday I had my mastectomy camisole fitting at Nordstrom. Not a super normal thing. Anyway…I totally appreciate the ladies who helped me out- extremely sweet, supportive and positive. (After my surgery, I’ll have another fitting for bras and prosthetics with them) Sterling-fantastic name, right?!- took me to this special dressing room area in the Home section. It seemed like a weird place to be. But once in there, I realized it’s probably where women go to try on special dresses like, maybe, wedding gowns. Or some other big ‘life moment’ garments. I only say this because there was this platform area and comfy chairs arranged all around where I imagine lots of smiles and happy tears happen . I strolled past the platform into a large changing room for my own big ‘life moment’.  

There were smiles in our room- but because that’s how I deal with uncomfortable situations. I make awkward jokes and laugh through the weirdness. No tears were shed thankfully. Although the appointment made it all start to feel so real. 

After my fitting, I took a quick walk around the mall because…no kids. I paid close attention to all of the outfits in the windows, wondering what will look good on my new body after surgery. Will anything look good? What will I feel like with a part of me physically missing? 

I need to prepare myself with all of the scenarios and then move on. Because I can’t control any of that. And I need to get back to living in the present, something that’s been difficult lately. So that’s what I will be working on this week. Patience, positivity, and the present. 

Mom Guilt 

Mom guilt. Its real and it’s turned a corner from the days of giving in and feeding Harlon, yet, another PB&J because it’s all he wanted. Or from bribing him with a piece of chocolate so we could leave the park without a complete meltdown. Or from sending him to the babysitters because I had a cold and needed a day to rest. Or, the doozy, from sending him to a babysitter everyday so I could go to work and feel like a functioning part of society. 

The guilt that fills me now is different. Not being able to complete daily tasks for my kids takes a toll. I literally rely on others, for days at a time, to feed, bathe, and care for the children I chose to bring into the world. I’m too exhausted to even put them to bed- even if that only means sitting in the room until they fall asleep. My need to be horizontal is too great. 

Yes, in a couple of days I’ll be back to my normal. But nothing can give me those days back. My kids feel the energy. They know something’s up. My hope is that they won’t remember all of this. Just that they’ll look back and laugh that mama was bald for a little bit. My real hope is that all of this doesn’t fuck them up too much in the future. And yes, I understand that these days are necessary in order for me to heal and be around in the future to see just how fucked up things get. (Hopefully not too bad 😳)But that doesn’t make it any easier for me right now. 

This isn’t a “feel sorry for me” post or me asking you to say anything to make me feel better. Time will make me feel better and hopefully we will all forget these shitty moments. I mean, I’ll forget. Chemo brain is also real. 😜

And as someone once told me “someday this will just be a story you tell.” ❤️

AC Aftermath 

Here we are, back at Kaiser for an oncology follow up and hydration for the AC aftermath. This is my big doin’s since I’ve been pretty much sleeping since chemo yesterday. The oncology appointment went well. I get to stop my blood thinner injections on March 10th. Yay!! Overall, I’m feeling ok. Suuuuuper tired and a little nauseous but ok. 

Tonight’s Hydration Homie- Mr. Filloon himself 💖

Since my diagnosis, I have seen the looks I get from people. Mostly pity looks but also shocked looks. And when I have the boys with me, the looks get more concerning. Yeah, I may be young. Yeah, I have two young kids. But I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this situation. I wish I had time to sit with each one of these people to explain that. And to answer any questions they may have, at least answer them to the best of my ability- from my experience. 

So, a reminder. I am an open book. I have never tried to sugarcoat any of this. I also don’t try to dramatize any of it. Ask me anything. Anything you may be curious about. Usually the first question I get is “did you find the lump on your own?” Yes, yes I did. Thankfully I did self breast exams often, as anyone should. So go for it, don’t be shy. 🤗

In case you ever wondered what the port looks like, here’s a fuzzy pic. They insert a needle in the middle of those 3 points.


AC # 3

I should have completed this post before the drugs kicked in but I didn’t. So I hope you can follow. If you are wondering what the drugs make me feel like… have you ever finished a bottle of wine to yourself? No? Oh, yeah, me neither 😜…. but I hear you feel a little giddy and dizzy. And sleeeeeeepy. That’s sorta how I feel.  

Chemo wasted

Today was my third AC. Like usual, we started with that damn Red Devil. I get queasy just thinking about it. It gives me a weird taste in the back of my throat so I tried mints as well as ice chips today while the nurse pushed it. Ehhh it helped. Then we moved on to the Cytoxan. That shit is a bitch! That’s where I begin to get a little loopy. But it’s also where my sinuses go fucking nuts. My nose starts to run and then suddenly it feels like I jumped into a pool without plugging my nose and the chlorine gave my face a little enema. That feeling lasts the whole hour and a half but starts to disappear once I’m back on just saline. I have been a little nasueated since I’ve been home but managing staying on top of my meds and fluids and the pot when I need it. 

Nap time. Because I literally can’t do anything else after this chemo.

I learned something a little fun today. When talking to a nurse about a wedding I’m in post surgery, we got on the subject of prosthetics. Apparently, Kaiser works with Nordstrom to supply prosthetics and bras and it’s covered under my Durable Medical Equipment coverage. I’m pretty pumped to have the option of a chest if I want it. The authorization is in the works but I will wait to get fitted until after surgery. 
Those are boob salt and pepper shakers back their. It’s ok, you can be jealous.

Another thing that pumped me up today. This big ass bottle of Kombucha that Krissy brought home today. I had no idea they made large bottles, it’s life changing💜 I also came home to one rad dude with a rad new haircut. Thank goodness Aunt Krissy took him because he was looking like a rag-a-muffin. (That’s what my mom used to call me when I didn’t want to comb my hair as a kid  😄)

I wanted to be rad too. Then he told me to take it off.

Counts Are Up 

Last Friday’s blood draw showed that my white blood cell counts weren’t up to where they needed to be so I had to continue with the Zarxio shots until last night. I went back for another draw today and holy crap, they were way up!! The doctor’s office called to say that chemo is definitely a go for this week. 👍🏻 During our conversation, I brought up my bone pain and how it got extremely worse the last few days. She reminded me that the shots stimulate bone marrow to make more white blood cells which creates pain. The higher the white blood cell count, the more pain. The average range is like 4×1000/mcL – 11×1000/mcL. Mine was 23.5x1000mcL this morning. 😳 Which explains why at Target today, I- for real- almost couldn’t get back up from grabbing something off of the bottom shelf because I thought my hip joints and lower spine were shattering. Not cool, man. 

This is how we roll to Kaiser

On Sunday, I saged the shit out of our house to get rid off all the bad juju I’ve been feeling around. It felt necessary, going into this week with my 3rd AC- which just the thought of, makes me queasy as hell. Harlon loved the sage burning, he kept saying “Mmmmmm smells goooood” Cute kid. He’s right, it does smell good and it makes me feel good. 

Feeling good- It’s funny, a handful of days before my next chemo is due and I finally get my energy and mental clarity back. Like I am free from the chemo confusion. Happiness and positivity are dominant again. I feel creative and ready to take on the world- ready to get shit done. I’m back to being a capable mother. I find myself organizing and purging. Heading to target and to the park. In this small window of time, I am wanting to make plans, plan trips, have living room dance parties, go to dinners, pop pink champagne, go shopping at the mall- and then go home as soon as I realize I don’t like the mall and do some online shopping. But you get it. My future feels so bright, this surge of energy makes me feel powerful and in control of my life again. I feel like superwoman. I also have this overwhelming sense of peace about everything. Things feel good. I want to feel this way after all of this crap is over. That’s a goal of mine. Among others. Those, I’ll share another day. 

While purging and organizing today, I came across all of the cards I’ve received since my diagnosis. I have mentioned in the past that I’ve saved nearly every card ever given to me. These are no exception. I absolutely love getting cards and notes in the mail. And I love going back and reading them over again. This is the stack. Minus a few that Harlon took for himself because they were “kewl”. 

 John is going to cringe when he sees this. Sorry John. But he knows, I “hang onto things”.  (NOT A HOARDER) I’m notorious for leaving a pile of papers on the counter and saving ones I’ll go through later. That pile usually makes it to another pile somewhere out of sight. These were part of that ‘out of sight’ pile. And they make me so happy. 🤗 I like being happy. 

Happy 😊
So happy 😊

Fun pic of the day- in the Target parking lot. 
Like- at the same time? Or this is one thing? Like a shart?

Mastectomy Date 

My bilateral mastectomy has been scheduled for March 21st. With this date slowly approaching, I’m beginning to grieve the loss of my breasts. Now it’s real, no longer this ‘thing’ that’s going to happen sometime in the future. 

I find myself noticing how clothes fit me and wondering how it will change. When I put on a top, I admire how the fabric clings to my curves, how feminine I feel. Will I still feel this way when I’m completely flat? When my children rest their heads on my chest, I feel motherly and nurturing. I worry that I won’t feel as inviting to them. Or will they even notice? Anxiety has been filling my days since we scheduled. It’s the same anxiety I felt when we scheduled my induction date with Wyatt. I know it’s coming but I don’t know when I’ll feel ready. 

I’m typically a happy person, a people pleaser. I usually hate confrontation. It makes me super uncomfortable. But as of late, I feel myself wanting to picks fights. With people I know. With complete strangers. Anyone really. I guess I’m angry and I want people to know it. I feel like I am about to lose a big piece of me. I know, they are just breasts. But fuck. And because I am BRCA 1 positive, I will have a total hysterectomy including my ovaries and tubes later this year. Removing more of my body and sending me straight into menopause. Thankfully, I believe that my body is just a vessel for my soul. And the soul is the good shit. This belief makes it all a little easier (not the menopause part) but, again, fuck. 

Even if I do decide on reconstruction, I don’t have that option until late this year so I still need to get used to the fact that I will not have breasts. And even then, reconstructed breasts will not be my breasts. Because of this, I have decided to document my mom-boobs before they are no-boobs with some professional photos. 

Weird? Maybe. But it’s me and not you. So get over it. ( Ugghhhh, there I go again, trying to pick a fight) Looking back, I am so thankful for the couple of random breastfeeding pics John took of me and Harlon. And for the few that were taken the day of Wyatt’s newborn photo shoot. Even though in the moments I felt silly, I love them. My body has been amazing and I am proud of it and I don’t ever want to forget it. 

I’ve put a lot of thought into this decision. I questioned if I’d ever really want to look back at them. They aren’t the perky girls they once were. But damn it, whose are? So yes, I want this. Not to look back on and be sad but to remember our glory days and be proud. Or maybe I’ll put them in a drawer and forget about them and one day one of my kids will stumble upon them. That will be a fun conversation. 

At my surgery appointment last week, I also learned that my port will most likely be removed at the time of my mastectomy. At first this worried me. Like my safety net, my quick chemo fix option, would be gone. But that feeling has passed. I don’t want to put that energy out there. I will not need to have chemo anymore, therefore, I do not need a port. Right? 

Surgeon office selfie 🤳

Anyways, enough depressing shit. Did I tell you guys that we are going to The Total Package Tour in June?! What’s this you ask? Oh, it’s only….New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men 🙌🏻 Hells yeah. 

AC Follow Up 

Per my oncologist, Friday’s exam looked good. Turns out though, my white blood cell count was a bit low with my last blood draw but she didn’t want to hold chemo off another week. So this means lots of exhaustion is to be expected this time around. I also need to monitor my temperature in case of a fever or infection due to the low counts. I am still on the Zarxio shots to raise my white blood counts but now I also have to go in Wednesday and Friday for blood draws to make sure they are keeping the numbers up. Usually, I just take the shots and trust that it’s working. 

Waiting for my biweekly boob check

Other than the additional shots, I don’t have too much to report. Thank goodness!! I went in for hydration on Friday evening which was planned. I’ve also been staying on top of my nausea meds and fluid intake much better than last time. I’m definitely tired and I feeldizzy at times but not like the last round. Honestly, if it had been as bad as last time, well, I don’t know. It would have been really bad. I’m not in the clear yet. Mouth sores showed up later in the week last time so that’s still a possibility. But generally speaking, I’m feeling pretty OK. I’ve been hesitant to even post this because I didn’t want to jinx myself. Even my month long cold is nearly gone. And my croup kid is feeling better too.  

Val and I at the Hydration Station. AKA at the infusion center getting fluids into my port.

Val has been a huge help here with the kiddos, allowing me to rest up.  We’re even hoping to get a Target trip in and an aquarium visit in this week as long as I stay feeling fine. 

Our first Onesie Sunday was a success

Spider-Gran and Spider-Man

Tuesday, I have another appointment with my surgeon now that I am half way through the final chunk of chemo. I don’t know if we will decide on a date or what will be discussed but, of course, I’ll let you all know. 

And if you have been curious as to what 26 eyebrow hairs look like. Here you go. 

26 eyebrow hairs. 26

And this guy, just because

Second Cycle of AC- ✅

Seems like it’s been forever since I’ve settled into this chair. It feels like my first treatment all over again. I’m anxious and nervous but ready to get it over with, because after today, I’ll be half way done with AC-the Beast! I asked for some extra hydration today to maybe help with the side effects. I’ll be back tomorrow evening for another hydration visit. 

I know I have bigger things to worry about than my looks but sometimes it’s an additional bummer. Losing the hair on my head has been tolerable. Most of the time I forget that I have no hair until I feel a breeze or a child looks at me funny. Even the patchy eyelashes, I have gotten used to. Losing my eyebrows, though, is proving to be more difficult for me. Starting AC really freaked them out. They had been super thin for a while but in the last few days, they have decided to just peace out. There were 41 hairs remaining yesterday morning. Yes, I counted. Today I have 34. No shape left to follow. I have to rely on my memory as to what they should sorta look like. I am literally painting them on now, hoping that I don’t end up on one of those funny emails with the cholas who draw them on with sharpies. You’ve seen those, right? Jokes aside, I’m pretty self conscious about it. I mean, it’s clear that they are painted/drawn on. But I don’t think there’s anyway around it. Apparently yesterday I was going for the slightly surprised look. 

Taken yesterday. Harlon has Croup=mama has to wear a mask

Croup life

Sometimes this is all so surreal. Even with my family history, I never actually thought it would happen to me. I never imagined that I’d lose all my hair, have a port placed in my body, or often fear my future. At the beginning, I had little fear. I’ve been riding on everyone’s positivity for so long. But lately, I feel the fear slipping in here and there and it needs to stop. 
Nighttime is the shittiest and I feel really vulnerable. My mind races from one terrible thought to the next. I often wonder if there will ever be a time when the Big C doesn’t rule my world and thoughts. Then I wonder what my new normal will be? Because I know damn well I won’t be going back to who I was, physically or mentally.   

I recently got several beautiful mantras, great tips, and meditation suggestions from some of my Kick Ass mamas. I did a mix of them last night and things went pretty well. 
My favorite trick that was shared with me- “Right when that negative thought comes into your mind. Press pause, visualize godizilla’s gigantic foot coming down and smashing that thought. The thought is dead and gone. Works every time!”😂 

How funny is that? But, damn, it works! I also started a Gratitude Journal last night at the recommendation of my acupuncturist. It is supposed to be the very last thing I do before my head hits the pillow so that my mind is focused on the good while I recharge for the next day. It felt silly. But I guess it’s not as silly as me writing about my life for all to read here… 😜

Fun fact- About 30 seconds after putting on my “Mom Life Is The Good Life” shirt, Wyatt did a huge burp and spit up all over my left shoulder but I was running late so I couldn’t change. Quick swipe of a rag… 😬
Oh and for everyone attending the Women’s March this weekend, this ones for you…❤️

Kick Ass Mamas 

So, here’s something fun. A gal in my Kick Ass Cancer Mama group created a video featuring several of us. I love it because I was able to see my fellow survivor sisters in action with their little’s. But I also love it because it shows how we are not alone in this battle. This tiny sampling shows that there are just too many women diagnosed with cancer while pregnant. The video is about 10 minutes long but- oh, so worth it! Wyatt and I make an appearance around the 2:15 mark. I know several of you have shown interest in these ladies so I wanted to share.

This past weekend, we got to see the comedian Tig Notaro. Ahhhhhh-mazing! We had great seats and it was a fantastic show. A massive thank you to my friend Kai and her family for gifting us the tickets and getting mama out of the house for a night! I guess chemo getting pushed back turned out to be a good thing since I was able to go out and not be super sick.

Before Tig’s show

Another bonus of chemo getting pushed is that I’m pretty sure I will be able to attend the Young Survivor Coalition Summit in March. My surgery was supposed to be right around that time, but I’m thinking now it will be the week after the summit. I am super excited to go and I’ll even get to meet some of the other cancer mamas in person! 

As my next AC approaches, I keep thinking about how it reminds me of swimming in the ocean. For the record, I’m not really a fan of swimming in the ocean. It’s cold. And weird stuff touches your feet. Anyways- You’re floating around and then suddenly a big ass wave is heading your way. You duck under and hope for the best. The wave crushes you into the ocean floor. Pulls your bottoms right down to your knees and now you have sand up your crack. Then in an instant, your upside down, seaweed tangled around your body. You’re not sure if you can make it up before you desperately need that next breath. You’re flipping and spinning underwater as the wave wooshes you towards the shore. Suddenly you realize you’ve made it out. Gasping for air, you notice your boob is completely out of your top and you’re mooning the entire world with your bare ass. But fuck it, all you care about is that you can breathe again.

The last wave was super rough but I made it out ok. I’ve pulled up my bottoms and put my boobs back. And maybe the next wave will be more mellow. 

Stay tuned. 

No Chemo This Week 

I have mixed feelings- this week’s chemo has been cancelled due to my never ending cold- I started getting sick the day before Christmas Eve. I went to urgent care last night with a terribly painful sore throat and cough, it felt like the beginning of strep. The Dr. didn’t see any redness or swelling which is cool, but makes no sense. And my lungs were clear, also cool. So I was thinking maybe it could be a mouth sore that made it to my throat from the last chemo. 
Well, I’m guessing my oncologist saw the report from last night because I got a call from the infusion center this morning- doc has decided to push this week’s chemo back in hopes that A: I get better. And B: My counts don’t get too low, increasing my risk to the nasty virus going around right now. Here’s the mixed part- I want the chemotherapy to be over with sooner than later but I am so nervous to do it again because last time was so crappy. But, perhaps, AC wasn’t actually that bad and my cold was just adding to the shittiness? I can only hope. 

I felt so helpless and defeated with my last round of chemo. So today, I decided to take some control back in my life. I went and got my medical marijuana card so I could be better prepared for all of the pain and nausea. 

Today was an adventure. 
The doctor’s office was so laid back, the bearded man who checked me in was so… mellow, man…. and the doctor herself, was way stoned. Her office smelled like pepperoncinis. Therefore, I smelled like pepperoncinis. The whole process only took about a half hour from check in to out the door. And then off to the dispensary I went. 

The dispensary was difficult to find. As I thought I must be close, I saw an old, frail man exit an inconspicuous side door with a small brown bag so I figured I’d made it. I walked into a super nice lobby and was greeted by a man behind, what I assume was, bulletproof glass. Super sweet guy- takes my info and starts talking about new client deals. Says blah blah flower blah blah… I smile because I have no fucking clue what he was talking about but I like flowers. He asks if I’m interested in that deal… Ummmm what? Turns out flower means weed in this case. He gets a good laugh because I don’t know the lingo. I get a good hot flash.

Finally it’s my turn to be buzzed back through the locked door to see the ‘bud tender’ ha! Get it?! Budtender/ bartender. I laughed really hard when they told me this. Anyway, I walked into the back room and was greeted by two guys. They asked how they could help me. I shrugged my shoulders and said “uhhhhhhhhh no clue guys” I got a tour of my options. Holy crap, there’s a lot of pot. Oils, lotions, sprays, tinctures, edibles, drinks and so on. The budtenders were super helpful, I’m pretty confident we were able to set me up with some good stuff for next week. 
While I was finishing up, a sweet lady walked in. She overheard me talking about my needs and chimed in to be sure I was getting the right stuff. She looked at my bald head and then told me she’s been there, twice. (I love hearing and seeing the positive outcomes) Gave me a wink and told me I’ve got this, then gave me one of these 💪🏻. I left there feeling empowered. And smelling like pot mixed with pepperoncinis. 

Last thing- I know I don’t always respond to emails, calls, texts, and messages but I want everyone to know how grateful I am for them. They tend to come through right when they are needed most, always with the perfect words for the moment. You guys help me so much, I don’t know if you’ll never truly know your power. You keep me focused and remind me of the good throughout all of the bad. I am thankful to have you all and your perfect words.  I 💖 Team Filloon.