Oof – the chemo brain is real. I’m just walking around in a perpetual brain fog. I used to be sharp; a bitch with a long ass memory. Nowadays, I can’t remember if I did something five minutes ago. Today I forgot that my child was in the house until he said good morning to me. I was legit startled. I didn’t set an alarm to wake him up for school, but luckily D did it for me. I took Trazadone and Tylenol PM last night, and finally got some good sleep. Fuck I needed it. I feel like a human instead of a zombie today.
Talked to my psychiatrist this morning. She is fucking amazeballs. She’s got a drug for everything and isn’t afraid to use that prescription pad. I have learned just how important palliative care is when living with MBC, so I am forever grateful to her. I will be starting gabapentin tonight, which should help with pain, anxiety, and sleep, but most importantly, it is supposed to be a miracle worker for hot flashes/night sweats. I am super excited. I wake up several times a night drenched in sweat. It is no bueno.
She even mentioned going on a low dose of Ritalin in the future to help with my brain fog/concentration issues. We aren’t there yet, but it’s good to know it’s available if/when I need it.
I also started a super low dose estrogen suppository this week, which will help plump up my vag tissue. I have some atrophy from all the years of estrogen suppression, and sex has gotten a bit painful. Y’all know this bitch loves to fuck, so I told my doc we had to fix it. I am not afraid to talk to my doctors about sex, and I write candidly about these things here because this blog has become a resource for women living with breast cancer. The drug I’m using is called Imvexxy, and I can honestly already tell a slight difference after just one dose. I know a lot of women with ER/PR+ breast cancer (like mine) are reluctant to try low dose estrogen, but the studies show that it is safe, and doesn’t enter the bloodstream, when used vaginally. It really does make a HUGE difference, too.
I have a consultation in a couple of weeks with my plastic surgeon regarding Geneveve, which is a procedure that restores collagen in the vagina. We will have to pay out of pocket for it, as it is considered an elective procedure (don’t get me started on this bullshit), but it will be well worth it considering the reviews I have read. I feel lucky that it is something we can afford to do, and I am hopeful that I will have good results.
So yeah – I’m fighting the disease itself but also the side effects of the treatments. I don’t know how much time I have left, but I intend to squeeze out every last ounce of enjoyment I can. What is the point of fighting to live as long as possible if we are miserable the entire time?
I wanted to write a big post about MBC, but the reality is that I’m too fucking exhausted, and I can either write the post or take a quick nap before my next consultation. I choose the nap. lol.
I’ll leave you with this:
Every month is breast cancer awareness month when you have MBC.
It’s breast cancer awareness month. Everything is going to sport a pink ribbon. Everyone will talk about saving the tatas, and fighting like a girl, etc. But nobody talks about metastatic breast cancer. Why? Simply put: mbc makes people uncomfortable. Because there’s no cure, approximately 40,000 women (and men) die from mbc each year. My goal, not only this month, but every day for as long as I have, is to teach you about mbc. Those of us thriving with mbc are tired of being breast cancer awareness month’s dirty little secret.
Breast cancer awareness.
Women need to be performing their self breast exams EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Feel your breasts but also really look at them. I first noticed something was off when I saw my nipple inverting as I just happened to be changing my shirt in front of a mirror. I started feeling my breast and noticed small ridges deep in the tissue. It is often said a tumor will feel like a pea or a marble, but that isn’t always the case! If it seems weird, get that shit checked out!
You are not too young to have breast cancer. Don’t buy into that shit. I was diagnosed at the age of 33 and I had clearly had cancer for several years prior (due to the advanced nature of the cancer). I have several friends who were diagnosed in their twenties! Cancer doesn’t care how old you are.
If you feel something weird, get it checked out. Don’t let doctors tell you “you’re too young…” Speak up! Fight to be heard. Insist upon a mammogram. I know it isn’t always easy to stand up to authority figures, especially experts, but nobody is a bigger expert regarding your body than you are. Remember…you’re the one who lives with the consequences if the medical professionals are wrong. The NP at Planned Parenthood told me there was no way I had breast cancer, as did my primary care physician, but I insisted on getting that mammogram. And it saved my life.
Don’t know how to perform a self breast exam? Go here.
Have questions? Hit me up.
Looking to donate funds to finding a cure? Please consider skipping Komen and donating to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 91% of donations go to research and awareness as follows: 88% to research and 3% to awareness.
I’ve been told I come on a bit too strongly about this issue, and that is makes some people uncomfortable. If that discomfort saves your life, I’m very good with that.
It makes me so happy to get messages from fellow breast cancer survivors telling me that my blog has inspired them and/or helped them get through such a difficult time. I invite anyone who has any questions about breast cancer and/or simply needs to vent to please message me.
Today I got a hug from a colleague and fellow breast cancer survivor during court. She said her daughter saw my pic online and called to ask if that is what she went through during her radiation treatment. When she said yes, the daughter cried and apologized for not being more aware of what her mother had experienced. My colleague, as she was hugging me, started to cry, and said, “Thank you so much, Jenn. They finally have an idea of what we go through. You are so brave.”
I almost lost my shit.
This alone has made the entire experience worthwhile.
I deleted that ask/message from that girl telling me she didn’t want to see my breast cancer pic and that I was being a bitch about the entire thing. The overwhelming response to that picture has been positive. Even though she needs to learn that her words have consequences, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving that exchange up. Yes, she pissed me off, but she’s scared. I know how that feels. We do stupid things when we get scared.
I’ve had at least one hundred messages today from people telling me that I have changed the way they look at breast cancer and cancer awareness in general. Holy shit, you guys. I never ever expected this response.