The Boobie Blog HAS MOVED ~ https://teamhagy.wordpress.com/

REMINDER – this content will now ONLY be available on the NEW “Team Hagy” page: https://teamhagy.wordpress.com/ 

Updates regarding my cancer journey will no loner be posted here.  Thank you for all of your support.

JUNE 15, 2015

Hello lovely people! I’ve got a few things to cover so I’ll give you a moment while you grab a coffee, tea, wine, chocolate…whatever you’d like.

OK, ready? Perfect, let’s get started.

PART_1433548423020_0605151851Relay for Life last Friday was a smashing success. All told, the event raised over $100,000 for cancer services here locally, some of which I’ve actually benefited from like the “Look Good Feel Better” class and the wig I received from the Cancer Center shortly after starting chemo. It’s fantastic to know more people will benefit from these much needed services. Special thanks to all those who walked, next year I’ve vowed to create a big, huge, badass team so be prepared – I’m coming for you!!

I was also interviewed during the event for a local paper and despite the writer getting a few things wrong, it was pretty cool to get a shot of Team Hagy on the cover. It’s also made me wildly popular around town so you’re lucky I’ve even found time to write this; the paparazzi has been on my lawn all week. (Yes, I’m kidding…about the paparazzi part)

IMG_20150612_154820If you’d like to read the article in its entirety, please visit http://www.thenewsleaders.net/2015/06/11/after-beating-cancer-hagy-bravely-forges-on/

One week ago today I had surgery to remove my ovaries and fallopian tubes. It turned out to be a simple procedure actually – taking the surgeon just about 30 minutes to remove both 4 inch tubes and almond-sized ovaries through an incision under my belly button. I checked in last Monday at 9:45am and was home on the couch by 3:00pm. I was laid up for about 4 days, but I’m back in action now! Still sore when I sneeze or cough (it feels like I’ve done about three thousand sit ups…with nothing to show for it) but for the most part I’m back to normal. The only restriction is no running until the 22nd – BUZZ KILL!!!

A couple pieces of news – they did send off the tubes and ovaries for biopsy after the surgery (protocol, nothing was suspected) and everything came back negative. This is wonderful for our peace of mind. ALSO – I no longer need to get the Zolodex injections in my abdomen! YAY! Let me tell ya, surgery and 4 days of recovery was totally worth getting rid of that awful thing!

Here’s me before surgery (trust me, you don’t want to see the ‘after’…I was SUPER crabby…yikes)IMG_20150608_183214

I met with my Oncologist Friday before my tri-weekly Herceptin infusion and everything is on track. Until I decide to move forward with a total mastectomy, I’ll have alternating breast ultrasounds and mammograms every six months to closely monitor the girls. We’re thinking of MAYBE beginning the mastectomy/reconstruction process this time next year, but we’ve not decided anything for sure at this point.

One request before I go…a wonderful woman was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a total mastectomy a couple of weeks ago. PLEASE add her to your prayers as she is fighting this battle. While she is one tough cookie, everyone needs extra attention now and then. And SS if you are reading this – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There’s an entire army out there just waiting for you to call them to battle. Ask and you shall receive!

Until next time…

I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it. Demi Lovato

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MAY 27, 2015

It’s been a while!! (Anyone remember that song?) A few things to get you caught up on, so let’s get started shall we?

First things first – RADIATION HAS BEEN DOMINATED!!! I had my last radiation treatment on Monday, May 11, receiving a total of 33 treatments equaling 5940 cGy – centigray. You can geek out on radiation measurements here.

All in all, it went pretty well. I battled pretty severe fatigue the last 2 weeks of treatment, not actually realizing how severe it was until I was finished. Turns out, napping a few times a day is only normal for toddlers and those with hangovers.  My skin was very red and irritated (aka GROSS) but is healing just fine.  I have to say I did enjoy not wearing a bra much over the last few weeks…might need to move up that mastectomy surgery afterall.  I’m thrilled it’s done – just the inconvenience of getting back here every day by 3pm was tough.

Next up – I am participating in the Greater St. Cloud Relay for Life event on June 5 and I’d love to have you join me! The event kicks off at 5pm with Opening Ceremonies at 6pm. Please wear all the pink you can get your hands on! To learn more about the event itself – visit here

Help me reach my fundraising goal of $500 – please visit here

Finally, I’ve scheduled surgery to have my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed Monday, June 8. I met with my surgeon last week and I couldn’t be happier. The entire surgery will only take about 30-45 minutes and my recovery will only be about a week – SCORE! This is a BIG relief as I was under the impression I’d be down and out for 4-6 weeks.

It’s hard to believe this time last year I was blissfully unaware of the twists and turns my life would take. We’ve come a long way in just under a year and I am so thankful and blessed to have had all of you with me in one way or another.  Stay tuned for some pretty great pain killer updates after surgery in a few weeks.

Until next time..

There’s so much to appreciate about my life every single day, and I make a big point of taking time to smell the roses and noticing how lucky I am. I never want to take that for granted. ~Josie Maran
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MARCH 25, 2015

I have SO many thoughts from this week – but I know most of you are wondering about Radiation so I’ll start there.

I started my radiation therapy treatments on Monday. (That’s me on Monday below. Don’t I look thrilled?!) Radiation Day 1The entire appointment is less than 10 minutes. I scan my card to let the techs know I’ve arrived, I get escorted back, whip off my top (OK, I take it off and lay it over the chair…it’s not Spring Break back there) then it takes a couple minutes for them to position me (with arms above my head and the girls out for both techs to see).

The actual radiation time is very minimal, like seriously less than a minute for the machine to rotate around me – similar to an XRay – and then I’m up and dressed and outta there.

Two cool things – I get a super nice warm blanket during my visits AND I got 3 tiny dot tattoos so they can line me up accordingly. All in all – radiation is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Eventually I’ll have some skin changes and fatigue, but right now it’s all good in the hood.

I was curious though, how does radiation work? What is actually going into my body? So, I did a little searching and thought I’d share…

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells X-rays, gamma rays, and charged particles are types of radiation used for cancer treatment. HOWEVER, it’s important to note that I currently have NO CANCER in my body (HIP HIP HOORAY!) this was proven by a scan last week. In my case, radiation is just another level of protection to ensure we kill even the smallest, little cancer cell. (Kinda like if you’re on birth control and also wear a condom…double protection)

I’m getting radiation delivered by a machine outside the body. This is called external-beam radiation therapy. External-beam radiation therapy is most often delivered in the form of photon beams (either x-rays or gamma rays). A photon is the basic unit of light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It can be thought of as a bundle of energy. The amount of energy in a photon can vary. For example, the photons in gamma rays have the highest energy, followed by the photons in x-rays.

Patients usually receive external-beam radiation therapy in daily treatment sessions over the course of several weeks (I’ll be getting 33 total treatments, I’ve had 3…). My time of external-beam radiation therapy is called 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT). 3D-CRT uses very sophisticated computer software and advanced treatment machines to deliver radiation to very precisely shaped target areas.

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA – the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. Radiation therapy can either damage DNA directly or create charged particles (free radicals) within the cells that can in turn damage the DNA. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die. When the damaged cells die, they are broken down and eliminated by the body’s natural processes. Radiation can also kill normal cells, which leads to side effects such as skin changes and fatigue.

It’s important to note…external-beam radiation does not make a patient radioactive.

That brings me to my next thought – Mrs. Jolie-Pitt and her article in the NYT about ovarian and fallopian tube removal. I don’t personally care much for AJP. Quite frankly, I don’t like her at all. But what really gets my goat about her latest writing is this line: “The PET/CT scan looked clear, and the tumor test was negative. I was full of happiness, although the radioactive tracer meant I couldn’t hug my children.”  And yes, in my brain I say that line with a snooty little voice.

Now, I don’t know what kind of tracer the all mighty and powerful AJP gets, but I’ve had two PET/CT scans and I don’t ever remember being told not to hug anyone afterwards. I don’t like how dramatic she’s made the testing sound. Genetic testing is a simple blood test. A PET/CT scan takes 20 minutes (plus about an hour prep where you get to relax in a dark quiet room…uh, yes please).

While I appreciate she’s making women aware of genetic testing and surgery options, she doesn’t need to scare the bejeezus out of everyone while she’s doing it. Why can’t the NYT publish a regular person’s story for crying out loud?!?! {points to self}

  1. Enough of that.  Blah.

Other than #RadiationDomination I don’t have much else to report. Still going in every 3 weeks for Herceptin treatments and once a month for the Zolodex shot to suppress my ovary function.

We’re planning a June or July surgery to remove my ovaries and fallopian tubes. Yes, it will immediately put me into menopause, but I’m pretty much already there from chemo and other meds.

My awesome, amazing, wonderful Oncologist is comfortable with me waiting to make a decision on mastectomy right now. He said I can wait a few years and we’ll just keep doing scans every 3-6 months to be sure nothing is out of the ordinary. I’ll likely go meet with some surgeons this summer, just to get a handle on how long the process will take. I’m also relying on a few women I know who’ve gone before me to shed some light on the surgery as a whole.

That was a long one (that’s what she said) so thanks for making it to the end.

OMG! I almost forgot! I have my first hair appointment since August coming up in April! SQUEEE!!! I’m so excited!! I’ve even started using my old shampoo again! It’s the little things…

OK, that’s really all I have.

Until next time…

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. ~Omar Khayyam

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MARCH 9, 2015

Pink BraFor those of you who didn’t enjoy every second of Human Biology like I did…I apologize in advance for the geeky nature of this post.

Over the last week we’ve had a couple more surprises, or at this point I should call them “expected unexpecteds”

Last Thursday I was able to meet with my Radiation Oncologist and get things moving on my radiation treatment schedule. Surprise #1 – work trip to Chicago cancelled as I cannot miss 3 days of treatment (Summer = very unhappy)

The next day Jeff and I returned to the Genetics Clinic for my follow up appointment. As you may remember, last month I was tested for a mutation on either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. For those of you who did love human bio, that would be a mutation on Chromosome 17 (BRCA1) or Chromosome 13 (BRCA2).  Surprise #2 – my results came back positive; there was a mutation found on Chromosome 13 meaning I’m BRCA2 positive. “A pathogenic mutation on c.9278delT” to be exact.

What does that all mean you ask? Well, allow me to elaborate. (If I had glasses, I’d slip them on now as I’m in full science mode!)

Pretend for a moment you are reading a page of a book. If you counted in 9,278 characters into a paragraph there would be a mistake (or mutation) on that very last character you count and that mistake alters the entire paragraph. One tiny mutation on Chromosome 13 gave me cancer.

MIND. BLOWN.

The fact that I know exactly why/how I got breast cancer is on one hand – extremely settling. On the other hand – I have decisions to make.

For someone WITHOUT a BRCA2 mutation the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 2% by age 50 and 8% by age 70. For someone special like me WITH a BRCA2 mutation – my risk was up to 50% by age 50 and up to 87% by age 70. So pretty much, I was getting cancer. The question was just when. (As you all know that question was answered back in June).

Here’s where things get dicey…

I already shared I had planned on getting my ovaries removed this summer. That is going to be a definite now, along with fallopian tubes as my risk for Ovarian cancer is 44%. That’s an easy decision as I’m not using them anyway – get ’em outta here.

However, I now also need to decide if a mastectomy is something I’m ready/willing to handle as well. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology (yes, my fake glasses are still on) my chance of cancer recurrence in my other breast is 15.5% within 5 years and 29% within 10 years. While those odds seem pretty low compared to what I’ve listed above, the stress of ‘what if’ is still there.

If I chose to go the mastectomy route, my chances of getting cancer again decrease significantly. BUT, that is a very intense surgery that can cause major complications for long periods of time. The alternative is to put off surgery for now and keep very vigilant with scans and exams every 3-6 months. Both options have stress. Both options have benefits. What’s right for me? Is surgery worth it RIGHT NOW? Can surgery wait? What’s my Oncologist think about all this? Those are the questions we’ll be asking next week when we sit down with my Doc and discuss next steps.

For now…I’ll continue with Herceptin treatments, Zolodex shots and radiation. We’ll continue to cross off one day at a time and thank GOD things aren’t worse…because they always could be.

Today at work I presented to a group of Kindergarteners. One girl in the class had dark, curly thick hair pulled into a ponytail. It reminded me of what my hair used to look like and I thought to myself “all this shit I’m going through now is helping doctors understand cancer a little better so maybe, just maybe, that little girl can keep all that hair.”

Until next time…

Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually it passes and the flow returns. It’s part of racing. ~Frank Shorter

Wanna put on your glasses and learn more about BRCA1 & 2? Check out http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/genetics/brca-fact-sheet

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FEBRUARY 10, 2015

It’s been quite a while since my last entry, and for that I apologize. A lot has happened since my last entry…so hang on!

First off – I’ve received two Herceptin infusions. The first dose is always the biggest and led to some “flu-like” symptoms that evening, mostly aches, pains, chills and a general feeling of crappiness. The symptoms were short lived however and I woke the following day feeling just fine. Besides the bruise on my hand from the IV, I really couldn’t tell I’d had any sort of treatment.

In addition to my year-long Herceptin treatments, I’ll also be receiving monthly injections of Zoladex – a hormone therapy to suppress my ovary function – something often done when HER2 is amplified. Initially, I didn’t think getting a shot once a month would be a big deal *insert eye roll here* well I was wrong. The first injection was done a couple weeks ago and I still have a bruise on my abdomen!! The needle is pretty large as it actually injects a tiny pill into my system (Why, Oh Why, can’t I just TAKE the pill?!) The injection is probably the most painful thing I’ve dealt with so far…well…besides the IV that I received last week…but that was my fault!

Herceptin 2Since my chemo port is removed, my Herceptin is given via IV. My Oncologist was very specific about telling me to HYDRATE for a couple days leading up to treatment so the IV would go in easier. The first treatment I followed orders and drank a TON of water. Buuuuuut…the second time around I sorta forgot I had treatment and only had coffee the day of – BIG MISTAKE!! The first try to get my IV into my hand didn’t go well at all *sad face* so, they had to put an IV into the underside of my arm – YEEEOUCH!!!

The good news is treatment #2 went off without a hitch and I had no side effects – YIPPEE!!!

I’ve also done Genetic Counseling and testing to see if I have a mutation in the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene.  This would mean an increased risk for my cancer to return and an increased risk for ovarian cancer (read more here).  Should the test come back that I DO have a mutation, we’ll be having conversations about breast and ovary removal.  While the chance that I have a mutation is only 20%, the chance that I decide to remove my ovaries is 100% – as soon as those puppies are gone, that monthly injection can end, and it was a recommendation from Mayo that I look to remove them in the future.  At this point, we’re looking at a July surgery date.

Besides all this crazy cancer stuff – I’ve also started a NEW JOB! I’m a Youth Market Director for the American Heart Association which means I spend my days on the road meeting with PE teachers, students and administrators about Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart. I’m crazy busy but loving every second of it – to say it’s my “dream job” would be very accurate. I’m so blessed to have been hired by this amazing organization that is changing lives every single day.

Also of note – my hair is growing like gangbusters! Nine weeks ago Jeff buzzed my head and this is me today. It’s growing back super thick…and super grey. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go see my lovely stylist in a couple months to put in a nice funky color for spring. Suggestions?Feb 7

I’m also thinking of getting a team together for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day in the Twin Cities. The event isn’t until August, so we’ve got time to think and plan, but if anyone is interested please comment below. I know NOTHING about how the event works so if you’ve ever done the 3-Day, please reach out as well. Here’s the site for more information: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2014/General?fr_id=1937&pg=entry

Until next time…
Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It’s how they handle it that makes people unique. ~Kevin Conroy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JANUARY 9, 2015

It appears as though I haven’t updated since the day my surgery was scheduled, I apologize for that!!  Surgery went amazingly well.  Sure, lots of pain and some swelling, but nothing horrible. I just had my post-surgery follow up today and the (very cute) surgeon’s PA said my incision sites look good and the bruising/swelling is normal with no sign of infection.

In fact, surgery went so well that I was able to fly to Las Vegas with my husband for the last 5 days.  It was 70 degrees there. I wanna go back!!!

Bellagio

While we were away we got the pathology results from my surgery.  Overall – incredibly good news.  My original tumor was over 3cm and the piece remaining (and removed) was only 0.3cm indicating BIG TIME chemo success!!  {Happy Dance}

However, it seems as though my road to a cure is going to be extended a bit.  First a little history ~

When I began this whole process my biopsied tumor was tested for the HER2 protein.  When found positive, this generally means breast cancer is more aggressive.  About 20% of women with breast cancer have a positive HER2 protein.  Initially, my HER2 was “equivocal” – with a level of 5.6 (6.0 or above equals amplified or positive).  After surgery, my tumor was tested for HER2 levels again and it was raised to 6.8.  Now since you’re all good at numbers and math, clearly 6.8 is more than 6.0, meaning the HER2 protein is now considered amplified/positive.  I’m in the 20%…I knew I was special!

“So, what does that mean?!” You’re frantically asking.  Stop worrying.  While this next sentence sounds awful, I assure you it’s not that bad…

A positive HER2 result means I’ll continue treatment by receiving infusions of Herceptin every 3 weeks for a year.  This is NOT chemo, but considered more of an antibiotic as it specifically attacks the HER2 protein.

pink-boxing-glovesOn that note – there are also no real side effects to speak of.  Herceptin can be a little challenging on the heart however, so I’ll get regular echo-cardiograms.  (Bonus points to the first reader to comment and tell me what my very first echo-cardiogram joke was).

There is an outside chance I’ll also receive a very low level of a new chemo to go along with the Herceptin for the first few months.  My awesome oncologist is collaborating with his colleagues at the Mayo to get their opinion as some studies have shown additional chemo can be effective when given along with Herceptin.  However, since I was given such aggressive chemo to start this whole process – he doesn’t think additional chemo is necessary or even beneficial.

TO BE VERY CLEAR – this is NOT considered a setback.

I asked this question specifically.  This is simply another level of treatment, a continuation.  A chance for me to whoop some more ass and tell you all about it.  While it sucks and is disappointing that I have to go to the clinic every 3 weeks until this time next year…it’s nothing that rings any alarm bells.

I’ll have my first infusion of Herceptin a week from today – I love that my care team doesn’t fuck around and keeps moving forward as fast as I want.  I don’t need to get my chemo port replaced {fist bump} even if I have to get the low level of chemo.  I’ll update you all next week!!!!

Until next time,

The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.  ~Tommy Hilfiger

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DECEMBER 12, 2014

We’re checking one more thing off the list – surgery is scheduled!!!  I’ll be going in on December 23 for my lumpectomy AND chemo port removal {rejoice! rejoice!}

The surgery is outpatient with a rather quick recovery time according to my surgeon.  In addition to the lumpectomy, I will be having a sentinel node biopsy to ensure cancer has not spread to my lymphatic system (it hasn’t, I’m sure of it).  If you’d like to feel really scholarly and read up on sentinel node biopsy, you can do so here.  Thanks, Mayo Clinic!

Update on my health – after battling one hell of a cold following last chemo, I’m back to the land of the living.  I’m still trying to manage my hot flashes (and failing) and had Jeff buzz my hair again last night.  It was growing in very fine and white, and was actually starting to fall out again.  I figured “what they hell, buzz it”.  I’m happy to report I’m once again in love with my bald head.

Christmas has arrived at our house – tree is up and Herbie has even come over to give his “paw of approval”.

12071417471207141957

Also of note – thanks to Marla at Gannett, my writing is being featured in the STYLE magazine, scheduled to hit homes and businesses after Christmas.  I’m thrilled to be sharing my cancer journey with people all over central Minnesota and even more thrilled to say I got PAID for my writing!  WHAT?!  Amazing!  I’m going to score 12 copies to ship off to family and friends in Iowa, and there will be plenty of other copies available locally for all you lovely people.  If you live outside of the area and would like a copy – please let me know and I’ll see that I get you one.

That about does it!  Reporting live from Casa de Hagy, I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Until next time…

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
~Calvin Coolidge
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
November 25, 2014Thanks for your supportWell, here we are, Last Chemo Eve. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’m positively giddy…have been all day. Today started out with a Twitter Dance Party (don’t ask), a photo shoot for an article that I’ve written (which will be out in January), a stop by Rasmussen for cookies (thanks Kristine) and then a little shopping where I picked up my bell for tomorrow {now playing “Ring My Bell”} (Pssst…click on the name of the song so you can be in my brain!)I’m currently straightening up the house as the entire Iowa clan is on their way up to spend the night here, go out for a fun Last Chemo Eve dinner, and come see me ring the bell tomorrow afternoon. It’s absolutely NUTS to think that less than 24 hours from now I’ll be done with chemo. It’s even more nuts to think that when I got my diagnosis the sun was shining and it was in the 70’s. It’s 17 right now. How time really does fly…you don’t even have to be having fun anymore. It just does.Many have asked “why do you ring a bell at the end of chemo?” (Consequently, I just googled the same saying). The answer is…no one really knows. I can’t seem to find any ‘legend’ or ‘beginning’ to this tradition, all I know is that people do it. And I can’t wait to do it. It’s seen a sign of finishing chemo, a celebration of sorts. Perhaps it signifies the “bell lap” like in track – the last lap of a race. Or, perhaps it signifies the start of another round – like in boxing.  Truth be told, this is only the mid-point of my journey so the boxing analogy makes more sense to me. I still have a lumpectomy and radiation to complete, and while yes I’m extremely happy to be able to put chemo behind me, I know that I still have more hurdles to cross. Like what am I going to do with my hair when it gets to that really awkward grown out phase…when it’s longer than a pixie but not quite a cute bob? Now that is some serious stuff people.Speaking of serious, let me get there for a minute. The last five months have been a time of deep reflection and appreciation for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my family, my friends and about life in general. I’ve met some amazing cancer survivors and fighters and also been introduced to the memory of those who came before me. Those stories are the most humbling. Those are the stories that make me thank God every night that my journey has been relatively easy.

People have confided their diagnosis and prognosis with me and I think of them many times a day. I ache for those suffering and I rejoice with those who are battling with great success. I’m continuously reminded how amazingly lucky I have been so far. I’m deeply indebted to everyone who prayed for me from all over the world. THE WORLD! My name was on prayer chains from here to Manila to Australia to London to Australia. WOW. Talk about a small world.

Most especially, though, I thank YOU. YOU who read this blog. YOU who sent me a card. YOU who texted or called me. YOU who sent flowers or a gift card or money or food. YOU who prayed for me every single night. YOU who asked Jeff how I was doing and said to tell me hello. YOU who took the time to talk to me when I was at my worst. I thank every single one of you.

Now, back to the party (CLICK HERE) For those of you coming to see the bell ringing tomorrow, please watch Facebook for timing updates. I’ll also try to update this blog when I start chemo – that will give you just under 2 hours to get your shit sorted and make it to the Cancer Center.

When you arrive tomorrow, park in River parking, you’ll see “Cancer Center” listed on the sign at the front of the lot. Enter the lobby, nod and smile to everyone waiting for treatment or loved ones, and exit into the hallway. Jeff and I will be out there around 1:30, we’ll gather everyone, say a few words ring the bell and take loads of photos. Afterwards we may head somewhere for a bite to eat, it just depends how hard the Benadryl hits me…now THAT I’m going to miss…

Until tomorrow~

A morning whisper…

Life will throw things at you
That seem insurmountable,
But we’re built to ensure
You’ll never have to go it alone

Cameron Lincoln

**************************************************************************************************************

November 7, 2014

Final chemo day ~ November 26

ring the bell run like hell
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!

We have SO much to be thankful for this year…mostly that chemotherapy will be COMPLETE the day before Thanksgiving!!! {Happy Dance}

As has become tradition after the final chemo treatment, I will be ringing a bell to honor my accomplishment.  I’d love for you to be there with me!! 

Chemo that day starts at 11:20 and should wrap up just about 1:30/1:45.  If you’d like to come see me “Ring the Bell, then Run Like Hell” please come to the Cancer Center lobby (River Entrance) where I will Ring and Run right around 1:30 or so there in the hall.  For those of you on Facebook, please watch for timing updates that day as they can run ahead/behind, I will also post here.

If you cannot attend, don’t worry your pretty little brain.  I’ll be sure there are TONS of photos taken and even a video that I’ll be sure to share.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OCTOBER 28, 2014

Hey gang!!  It’s been a while but it’s true what they say “no news is good news”!  Here’s some rambling and information for you…

It’s been just over 4 months since I was diagnosed and I can honestly say time has flown by. It really does just seem like yesterday when I got the call telling me what I already felt in my heart. Though much has changed, much has also stayed the same. I still get up every day and work, they boys still come over as scheduled, Jeff still travels (albeit less than before) I still make dinners and clean the house and fold laundry. In the grand scheme of things…it’s all pretty much the same.

What has changed the most for me is the way I approach every day. I always considered myself a pretty positive person. Sure I had bad days and bad attitudes just like everyone else, but for the most part I always remembered “things could be worse” and that mantra kept me moving forward. I still use that mantra today. Things really could be worse. I’m incredibly fortunate and blessed to have handled chemo as well as I have. Short of a bad week when I caught a nasty virus, I’ve felt normal. Even my level of fatigue is not what I imagine (feared?) it would be.

The change in my attitude has been one of gratefulness. I spend more time simply taking time. I pay more attention to things. I observe vibrant fall colors a little longer. I’m quieter. I appreciate the sun more. I contemplate. I watch what I eat. I think…a lot…

I have really great days and I have really lousy ones too. The lousy ones aren’t often, but they do come and I deal with them as best I know how. I’m incredibly blessed to have an amazing husband by my side through it all. He knows exactly when I need a break and exactly when I need to get my ass of the couch…even though sometimes I don’t want to hear what he has to say, he’s normally right. (Someone tell him I wrote that because he isn’t likely to read something this long…HaHaHa!!)

This Thursday marks week 7 of Taxol and 11 chemo treatments overall. I’ll finish with chemo the week of Thanksgiving – a holiday has never seemed so far away. Like I said, I’m still tolerating chemo very well. I’ve had some muscle pain on day 2 after chemo but nothing severe. I get occasional sharp bone pain but again, nothing that is long lasting or requiring any sort of medication. Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing right into Thanksgiving.

Team HagyThe Making Strides Walk with Team Hagy was a GIANT success a few weeks back. THANK YOU to everyone who attended and donated to the event. I just looked at the website today and Team Hagy is 2nd in fundraising by $18!!! I did receive an email that donations are accepted through December 31 but I’m unsure if any donations now directly affect our team…I’m also not sure if the donations from the day of the walk have been entered.

Either way – we raised an amazing amount to support for the ACS…$3,649.00!!!!

Walk Day

Until next time ~ Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. Mattie Stepanek

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OCTOBER 6, 2014

I rarely watch TV during the day.  For one, I work from home and if the TV is on…I’m tempted to watch it.  For two, there’s crap on TV.

However, I’m not feeling well today so I’m here on the couch so I thought I’d watch a little Dr. Oz.  Low and behold the first segment of his show was about cutting cancer risk.  Hello!!!  I immediately opened a word document and started taking notes so I could share some information here for you.  Simple changes can make a HUGE difference…

Stomach Cancer

Do you…

  • Eat at a restaurant 2 more times week
  • Eat canned foods 3 more times week
  • Eat processed or packaged foods 3 more times week

Yes?  3 times the risk of developing stomach cancer – why?

  • Increase in salt intake which changes the lining of your stomach and makes your stomach more susceptible to infection

What can you do?

  • RINSE canned foods (lowers salt content by 40%)
  • Dilute broth with water (lowers sodium)
  • Go out to eat only once a week
  • Cut processed foods – such as luncheon meat and frozen meals
  • Use salt alternatives – such as garlic powder or other non-salt seasonings

Colon Cancer

Do you…

  • Eat dairy most days a week
  • Feel you get enough vitamin D and calcium

NO?  Then you have an increased risk of colon cancer

What can you do?

  • Get more vitamin D – 10 min of sunlight a day, take a supplement, eat more greens
  • Eat foods high in calcium
  • See a list of foods high in Vitamin D and Calcium here

 

Pancreatic Cancer

20,000 women die every year

Risk factors:

  • Have high blood sugar
  • Overweight

These lead to an increased risk due to high insulin/high blood sugar levels

Create a diet with a low-glycemic index that includes…

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Shrimp
  • Hummus
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet potatoes – bake, steam, or roast. Do not boil or fry – you will lose the nutrients

Learn more about Glycemic Index here

Update on my health –

Round 4I’ve now gone through 4 rounds of Taxol, so I’ve completed 8 rounds of chemo in total.  This puts me at the HALF WAY POINT in my entire chemo treatment plan – HOORAY!!!

After round 3 of Taxol, my doctor asked me to track my fevers for 5 days as he wanted to see if I was indeed fighting a virus, or if the fevers were a response to the chemo.  Low grade fevers are a side-effect of Taxol, but at times my fevers were up over 102 (not good).  After 5 full days of tracking I rarely had a time when my fever was below 100.  Needless to say, it was a really crappy 5 days.  On day 5, I was put on a Z-Pak of antibiotics that I finished yesterday.

I’m happy to report that while I did have some low grade fevers Saturday, for the most part, I’m feeling better.  I do think I was fighting a sinus infection as I’ve been dealing with massive sinus pressure and still coughing quite a bit.  I’ve been spending lots of time resting, eating lots of chicken soup (thanks Deb!), and drinking lots of water and Gatorade.  It’s pretty boring, but I am finally starting to feel a little more normal…and not like a character out of The Walking Dead.  Jeff has been super amazing taking care of me, I really don’t know what I’d do without him.

Moving forward I’ll continue with chemo once a week (generally on Thursday’s) finishing up the week of Thanksgiving.  After that, I’ll have about 3 weeks off, then surgery will be scheduled to remove what’s left of the lump (not much, not much at all) then radiation for about 6 weeks (and…breathe…)

Thanks to everyone who ordered “Team Hagy” t-shirts, I got the notice they shipped today!!  The Breast Cancer Walk is coming up October 18.  Those of you walking – please be sure to check the Event on Facebook for updates.  We’ll be meeting at 8:15am that morning in the Fieldhouse (downstairs) at St. Cloud State University.  There’s a short program at 8:30am and the walk begins at 9:00am.  The walk will go on rain, snow, sleet or shine…so please be prepared to attend no matter what!!

I’m also THRILLED to announce we have SMASHED our team fundraising goal!!!  THANK YOU to everyone who donated ~ a special thank you to my mom who worked her butt off and got over $600 in donations from her coworkers…amazing!!!

There is still time to register to walk and/or donate ~ you can do both here.

As always, THANK YOU for your support.  I still get emails, texts, calls, Facebook notes, tweets, IG posts almost every single day – I really cannot tell you how much that means to both Jeff and I.  We appreciate and love every single one of you.

Until next time ~ “There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them.  But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Now, where were we? Ah, yes, Taxol.

When we last spoke I’d just conquered my last round of the Red Devil and was anxious to move on to the “less challenging”, single drug, Taxol. Well. Taxol has been anything but “less challenging” in the two rounds I’ve completed.

Dani Jeff and ITaxol round 1 of 12 was taken on in cooperation with my dear friend, Dani, and Super Hubby. Taxol was described as a little more “reactive” initially so in addition to the chemo I’m given an IV dose of Benedryl and Prevacid. Not knowing how immediate the effect of Benedryl in an IV was going to be, I was rather surprised when it hit me like a ton of bricks and just about put me to sleep. It was quite the ride after not drinking since July!!  (Note to self and others – eat right before you start, it won’t be such a shock to your system!)

The nice thing about Taxol is the actual Chemo only takes about an hour to drip, which is less time than the two drug therapy. Including labs and the doctor visit, we’re usually at the clinic for just under four hours. Yes, still quite a long time, but better than it was.Homer and I

The day after Taxol I felt OK, the second day after Round 1 brought on some bone pain and joint aches – all normal with this chemo. With some Tylenol and rest they were kept under control. I felt so fine, in fact, that our four-day getaway to Atlanta was full of walking, eating and yes, even a couple of cocktails for me!  The Braves organization has supported me from my very first chemo treatment, so getting a photo with Homer was so totally awesome!!

Round 2, however, was a different story…

Mom and ITaxol Round 2 was conquered in cooperation with none other than the great and powerful Connie A. Petersen.  Mom arrived Thursday night and stayed through Sunday morning. She was full of fun too – we were laughing so hard waiting for chemo on Friday I think people thought we’d lost our minds.

Friday and Saturday went off without a hitch, Sunday and Monday however were different stories. When I woke up Sunday I had my normal second day aches and pains but they got worse as they day went on. By Sunday night I was running a fever of over 101, and had chills, aches, pains…not good. (That’s what happens when Mommy leaves…ha ha!!) I called in and spoke with one of the Oncologists who advised me to take Tylenol and check back in the morning. Super Hubby did NOT like this idea one bit (he wanted to take me straight to the ER) and I don’t think he slept much Sunday night.

Monday brought a fever of 100 but still lots of aches and pains along with chills throughout the day. I was able to talk to more of my care team at the clinic and they agreed I’d likely picked up a virus along the way. I was given the prescription of rest, fluids, Tylenol and to check back if my fever went up again, or in 24 hours (whichever came first). Thankfully, Super Hubby was able to work from home to take care of me again on Monday – he’s a very good nurse!!!

THANKFULLY, Tuesday morning brought relief! While still pretty tired, my fever had broken and the aches and pains subsided for the most part. That afternoon I even walked a mile (very slowly) in the gorgeous warm weather. I have noticed a decrease in appetite but I’m hoping that will pick up as we move forward.

As I sit here typing this Wednesday morning, I feel 100% better. I’m hoping and praying it was only a virus and I won’t be down and out for two days every week over the next 10 Taxol treatments.

Thanks to everyone who has ordered Team Hagy shirts – the order is going in this week!

There’s still time to sign up for the walk on October 18, as Super Hubby said “There’s a lot of people walking with us, like an army full” – and it’s SO AWESOME!!! To sign up for the walk, or donate to the cause, visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=62680&pg=team&team_id=1671559 (We’re over 80% to our goal!!!!)

Dani and I#NoOneFightsAlone

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUGUST 29, 2014

Round 4 That’s right kids, the “Red Devil” went down on Wednesday. Done. Gone. Finished. Adios. Goodbye. So long, farewell. I’m finished with the two-drug chemo combo!!! {Happy Dancing}

Round 4 went off without a hitch, per usual, and I’m still ‘hangin’ tough’. I spent yesterday on the couch feeling pretty tired – but that’s to be expected. Doc says my RBC and Hemoglobin are a tad low which is why I’ve been more tired these last two rounds. All I need to do is add in some more iron to my daily diet (hello, red meat) and it should take care of itself.

The next rounds of chemo will take place over 12 weeks starting September 11. I’ll go once a week for about 4 hours a time {blaaaahhh!!!} but the dosage is somewhat lower so I shouldn’t have to worry too much about my counts getting low.

This week I also attended a “Look Good, Feel Better” class at the American Cancer Society. It was a great two homakeUpur class in which we learned a lot about skin care…and walked away with an amazing bag of swag! I was also shocked out of my seat to see a former coworker walk in who was diagnosed in July. It’s a small, small world…

There’s some great events coming up in September & October ~ if you have time, I’d love to see you:

Saturday, September 13, 12:00pm ~ Summer’s Mani’s for Boobie’s Party hosted by Shantelle Kane at Caribou Coffee in Sartell. Shantelle will have her awesome Jamberrry Nails collections for all to see and she will be generously donating 20% of the proceeds that day to Team Hagy’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team! Check out Shantelle’s Jamberry Nails page

Saturday, September 13, 8pm ~ The Fabulous Armadillo’s will be performing at Bernicks Arena here in Sartell to benefit Sartell Youth Hockey. I won’t be in attendance (but I’m on the committee) so PLEASE come out and support our hockey association! Admission is only $10 in advance ($15 at the door) More information here

Saturday, October 18, 9am ~ Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at SCSU. If you’re walking that day, please meet at 8:15am so you can get your shirt. We’ll meet in Halenbeck Hall – downstairs in the Fieldhouse where there will be lots of fun and games going on before the walk kicks off.
TO REGISTER for the walk: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=62680&pg=teamlist Click “JOIN”
TO DONATE to our team: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=62680&pg=teamlist Click “DONATE”
TO SIGN UP FOR YOUR SHIRT: http://www.customink.com/signup/9dq5agy6  **DEADLINE TO SIGN UP IS September 22. Please get me your payment by that date as well – no money, no shirt!**  (If you want a shirt, but cannot attend the walk, please add $5 per shirt for shipping)

AS ALWAYS ~ Thanks to each of you who have shown your unwavering support to us in one way or another.  We’re continuously blessed to have you all in our lives…we appreciate you ALL!!!  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Until next time ~ You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

-Marcus Aurelius

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUGUST 18, 2014

Well, gang, we’re 3/4 of the way there! Only one more of these “wicked” 2-drug chemo treatments, then it’s off to the “easier” 1 drug/once a week regimen for 12 weeks…I’ll finish up the day before Thanksgiving…that’s A WHOLE LOT to be thankful for!

Bald HeadSince we last spoke there’s only been one BIG change…my hair is all gone!  I spoke of this in my last entry but I’m now happy (really, I am) to report that last weekend Jeff had the honor and privilege to take the clippers to my head Friday night and completely shave it Sunday afternoon.  I’m telling you – the relief is AMAZING.  As I said in my last entry, my scalp was SO dry and SO itchy that having it gone has really been a blessing.  I actually really like my bald head and it’s made showering SO easy!!  I do wear my wig when I go out, but in all honesty, I’d be much more comfortable running around with my “naked head” and I just might!!  {Insert evil laugh here}  And as my dear friend Amber reminded me…there’s so many Halloween costumes waiting for me: Sinead O’Conner, a giant baby, Dr. Evil, GI Jane, and my personal favorite, Britney Spears circa 2007!” (Well done, Amber, well done.  How am I ever going to choose just one?!)  And a special *THANK YOU* to Dad who also shaved HIS head!!  The proof is on Instagram!

Back to Round 3 – the always lovely Mindy accompanied me to Chemo last week as Jeff needed to be out of town for a funeral (but, of course, in super-hero fashion he arrived to spend the last 15 minutes with us…he’s the best!)  Everything went off without a hitch and Mindy was given “Chemo 101” during our three hour visit.  It’s so great to have someone to chat with while all that garbage is being pumped into your system…and for those of you who know Mindy, there’s not a more grounded, spiritual person to spend the time with.  I’m grateful she was able to leave work for the afternoon.  *kisses* Round 3

The biggest change this time has been the fatigue.  I’ve been pretty wiped out ever since Wednesday.  It has not, however, stopped me from getting out and running.  I logged 2 miles on Friday (YAY!) and promptly laid on the couch the rest of the night.  My appetite is still rockin’, not feeling nauseous, and no headaches to report (WHOOO HOOO!)

Other than that, not much has changed here at Casa de Hagy.

THANK YOU to everyone who has donated or joined “Team Hagy” for the walk on October 18.  If you haven’t yet donated, joined the team, or ordered a T-shirt, please do so!  We’re currently in 3rd place among teams in terms of fundraising…let’s get to #1!!!

To donate to Team Hagy: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=62680&pg=teamlist

To join Team Hagy: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=62680&pg=teamlist

To order your Team Hagy T-shirt: http://www.customink.com/signup/9dq5agy6  **Please sign up by September 22.  Shirts are $14/each, add $5 if you would like it shipped to you after the walk (if you are ordering, but cannot make it to the walk)  Please send cash or check directly to me before September 22 so I can order them in time for the walk.

A GIANT, HUGE, INCREDIBLE **THANK YOU** to each and every one of you who have shown your support in countless ways.  Changing your Facebook photo, wearing a bracelet, decorating your golf cart, wearing pink ties/shirts/socks, sending me cards, sending me gifts, joining me for lunch, making me food, getting me coffee/tea, making me laugh…you’ll never, ever know how much it means to Jeff and I.  We adore you.

Until next time ~ “Remember, when your wings are weak, your spirits done & you’ve flown as far as you can, you’re halfway there!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUGUST 7, 2014

Round 2As you all have probably heard, Chemo #2 was knocked on its ass in rather impressive form last Thursday.  My dear friend, Jodi, came up from the Twin Cities to keep Jeff and I company which led to lots of trips down memory lane and a few giggles too…just a few…OK, like A LOT of giggles.  It was awesome.

The greatest part about Round 2 is that I’m feeling even BETTER than I did after Round 1.  (I know, I’m like so totally amazing…I need a Superhero cape or something).  I’ve had virtually ZERO side effects from Round 2 – no headaches, no sleepless nights, NOTHING.  It’s such a blessing to feel this good, especially since we took off the very next day for Iowa to celebrate Mom’s wedding!!!  It was a great weekend and I managed to see every single piece of my family and some of my friends.  (There’s a whole slew of photos on Facebook and Instagram…go check ‘em out…then come back and read the rest of this entry).  

Mommy and Me

One major change since the weekend has been my hair.  When I was told the ‘falling out’ process would go fast – it was not a joke.  I had remarkable hair Friday and Saturday (Thank you God!) but starting Sunday it really took a turn and by Monday I was shedding like a Husky.  Thankfully I’d already made an appointment to get it chopped off into a cute pixie cut on Tuesday with my lovely and talented stylist, Sarah.  My dear gal pal Brittany accompanied me (and brought Caribou…she’s the friggin’ best I tell ya) and together we managed to handle the whole experience with giggles and smiles.

PixieThe cut turned out VERY cute and I really enjoyed it…for about 24 hours.  Wednesday even MORE hair fell out (DEAR GOD!) and today – Thursday – still more is falling.  The worst part about it is how ITCHY my scalp is…if you wanted me to admit something in a court of law- right now would be the time to do it.  Tape my hands down and ask me anything, I’ll tell you the God’s honest truth if you just LET. ME. ITCH. MY. HEAD.  PLEASE!!  (But, I digress.  No need for you to know the tactics that will get me to admit the transgressions of my 20’s).

It’s likely we’ll be taking the clippers to what’s left of my hair this weekend.  That should prove to be a tear-filled experience and I may have to try a glass of wine beforehand.  (For those of you not aware of my current drinking status it is NOT AT ALL.  It sounds so disgusting.  It’s the only thing that makes me feel like barfing all over this laptop…sorry for the visual).  I’ve shed a fair number of tears over the loss of my hair.  BUT, I keep coming back to a few things ~

First ~ it’s just hair and it will come back.

Second ~ I have an awesome wig.

Third ~ showers are going to be like the easiest thing in the world soon.

Fourth, ~ ALL the hair goes…which I’ve discussed before…so that’s kinda cool!

Fifth ~ I do love a scarf and just think of all the great ones I can purchase now “they are a necessity, honey!”

And finally ~ BALD IS BEAUTIFUL (at least I friggin’ hope it is).  It shows I’m a warrior, a fighter.  And, as my lovely friend, Paige reminded me yesterday – it means the chemo is working.  Yes, dear, it does.

My next two rounds of Chemo are going to be on Wednesday’s – August 13 & 27 to be exact if anyone would like to join us.  After that there will be a new PET Scan and we’ll schedule the rest of the treatments – one chemo drug once a week for 12 weeks (right now I’m getting 2 drugs each session).  I’m hoping we’ll only take the regular one week off in between and get right into the next 12 weeks.  I want to barrel through this and just be done.  Finished.  Complete.  The sooner the better.  “The faster we run the faster we’re done!!”

Welp, that’s about it gang.  I do have more pink bracelets if anyone wants one (or more).  Just message me your address and I’ll get them sent out.  In return, I ask you send a photo of you sporting the goods to me so I can put it in my scrapbook.    Thanks to all of those who’ve gotten them and sent me a pic – this scrapbook is going to be lengen (wait for it) dary!  *Kisses*

OH, one final note to my virtual friends from all over the world – A BIG, HUGE, GIANT ((HUG)) and thank you to you all.  You’ve made me smile when I didn’t think it was possible and brought me joy simply through typing words to me on Twitter, Kik and Facebook.  I’m continuously amazed by your support.  I love you dearly and appreciate you even more.

Until next time ~ “…not all great acts of courage are obvious to those looking in from the outside.” -Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 30, 2014

I haven’t updated the ‘ol blog in a while because quite frankly, there’s not much to report…which is actually really great news!  But let’s see…I’m sure I can think of a few things ~~

Since the last time we spoke – I’ve been doing my best to remain strong, healthy, positive and smiling (all of which I’ve been able to mange for the most part). Since Chemo Treatment #1 I’ve felt remarkably fine. No nausea. No aching. No extreme fatigue. The only real “side effect” has been headaches which have been taken care of my extra strength Tylenol. My appetite has been fantastic…I know this because I can’t stop eating and I’ve actually GAINED two pounds (Good Lord Almighty).

There’s been a few days when my tough exterior has slipped and I’ve allowed myself some tears and naps. I’m damn lucky that I can still get out and power walk…now is not the time for tears – now is the time for fighting!! *BOOM*POW* I usually feel much more centered after I walk it out.

Counts 7.25.14I had labs done last week and they came out as expected (they are to the left for your viewing pleasure…don’t ask me what any of them mean besides RBC and WBC – red & white blood cells…I don’t ask unless something is really wonky). Due to my lowered counts, though, I did wake up Sunday with a sore throat and stuffy nose. I did try to sneak into the baseball tournament and was promptly sent home by one of the baseball mom’s who used to be a Chemo Nurse (If you’re reading this, I still love you!!!) It was the right call – after some tears, and a lot of water, I watched movies and napped. I felt right as rain the next day.

Today has been a bit of a roller coaster however. Over the last few days I’ve noticed my scalp is a bit sore and my “hair hurts”. Ladies who wear their hair in ponytails will know exactly what I mean by this – it’s that odd feeling when you finally take the rubber band out and that kink in your hair actually ‘hurts’. Today is when I’ve noticed full strands of hair coming out very easily. Not giant chunks, not massive amounts, just 5-10 at a time that come out pretty easily if I run my fingers through my hair (like I do when I have the fan facing me and I’m prepping for my Victoria’s Secret photo shoots…probably have to stop that soon).

This has led to some tears, mostly because there was a tiny part of me that thought I wouldn’t lose my hair – and there’s still a chance I don’t lose it all. But, if I do, that’s OK. I have a FANTASTIC wig (that’s it there…yep, that’s a wig!) wigand I’ve always been a lover of scarves, hats and bandanas (thanks Dad!) so I’ll deal with it when the time comes. {whispers to the ladies – the really great part is ALL the hair goes…everywhere…even there. Yep. Kinda cool!}

“Nothing prepares” you to lose your hair.  The nurses have told me time and again it would happen, but until it does, it just doesn’t seem real.  (And yes, I know it’s “Nothing compares”…it’s a play on words people!!)  {Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge}

SAVE THE DATE ~ October 18th ~ 9am ~ St. Cloud State University ~ Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk!  JOIN MY TEAM and/or DONATE here: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/TeamHagy  I’ve set our team fundraising goal at $2,200 and my individual goal at $220 (see what I did there??? *22* baby!)  Every little bit helps!!

Welp, that’s all for now!  Stay tuned for updates as we report for ROUND 2 *BOOM*POW* in our fight against breast cancer tomorrow!!

THANK YOU for all your support ~ it means more to us than you can ever possibly know!!!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 18, 2014

Round 1 completed!!

Round 1We started our first Chemo process Thursday about 1:15 with a visit with my Oncologist. He commented that my labs were all within normal levels, my echo was “great” and the only highlight on my PET was my tumor – great news all around. Following our appointment with him, we were shown the way to the Chemo waiting area, then back to our own room for the duration of the infusion.

We met three really great nurses during our 3 hour adventure in Chemo Treatment #1, including a fantastic nursing intern (not a Rasmussen student, but she’s forgiven). The treatment started with three “pre-meds” – all anti-nausea medications. We paused then for about 30 minutes, then my nurse Carol returned gowned up with two GIANT syringes of the “Red Devil” (Doxorubicin, trade name Adriamycin) which she pushes into my IV over the course of about 15 minutes (Photo on right for your viewing pleasure ——–>>) Red Devil - good

Following that, they hang a bag of clear chemo- (Cyclophosphamide, trade name Cytoxan) that takes about an hour to run through. After that – I get heparin pushed through my IV, a shot of “blood cell builder” so to speak to keep my counts up, a little more saline to flush everything clean, the nurse removes the port needle and I’m free!!! YIPPEE!!! During the entire time, the only small pains were from the shot of blood cell builder and a little pinch when she took the needle out of my port.

During our 4 hours at the clinic, we got LOTS more information about my medications and chemo, took lots of notes, asked tons of questions, met with the Oncologist nurse that we both love, laughed, watched TV, took pictures and tried not to cause too much nonsense.

I’m still feeling great ~ hopefully that keeps up!! {crosses fingers} THANK YOU so much for all of your messages, texts, emails, tweets, IG and Facebooks pics, cards, thoughts, prayers…WHEW! It’s so awesome. Really. We love it!! A really awesome part so far – a Tweet and follow from the Atlanta Braves!!! I tweeted a picture to them of me sporting my pink Braves jersey and they responded with “We’re with you!” HOW AWESOME!!! (Proof below…)

Braves follow

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 17, 2014

Well, the day has arrived ~ today is “Round 1” in the fight against my cancer!! *BOOM* *POW*

Here’s an update from the last couple of days:

As you may have seen, the PET scan came back “clean” meaning there is no sign of “hot spots” – or areas in which cancer may have spread to other parts of my body. While my intuition was telling me this would be the case, it sure was great to get confirmation.

Monday evening Jeff and I had dinner with a breast cancer survivor and her husband. It was an amazing chance to ask all the crazy questions we both had and I got some great tips for how to handle chemo and everything that follows. It was so nice to hear (and see) that eventually, life WILL get back to normal!

On Tuesday I had an Echocardiogram to ensure my heart is healthy enough for CHEMO {giggles}. The Tech said I was the fourth breast cancer patient in that day alone. WOW. **Ladies – when was the last time you touched your boobies?? When was the last time some hot hunk touched your boobies??** The Echo was very easy – I got to relax on a table on my left side while they monitored my heart rate and the tech used an ultrasound wand to get some cool pics of my heart. A few times I even got to hear my heart beat through the machine – that was super awesome!! My doc will cover any “findings” from my Echo today – but since we haven’t heard from him it’s safe to say we’re in the clear there too.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I had my Chemo Port implanted into my chest. This was a fairly easy procedure. Jeff and I arrived at the hospital at 7:45am for pre-op…labs, IV…and at 9:15 I was wheeled into surgery. I was given a pretty amazing injection into my IV that made me very sleepy (could’ve used it last night!). I was semi-awake during the procedure but after all the numbing medication was injected directly into my skin and the IV meds settled in…I don’t remember much more than some pressure and talking. I thought I was in surgery for 20 minutes, turns out I was in there an hour so I clearly don’t remember much!!

I was not, however, prepared to be in as much pain as I was when I got home and throughout last night. WOWZA. The implant is on my right side, under the skin, and is sewn into my chest muscle just above my boob. It feels similar to a very bad pulled muscle – OUCH!! I can’t lift anything over 10 lbs for two weeks (ooooo…sorry laundry! Sorry dishes!) and I’m thinking it’s going to be challenging to find shirts to wear for the next few days. But, I’m feeling better today, better enough to type this, but I didn’t get much sleep last night.

Also last night – the boys wore pink hats to their baseball game as a show of support (photo below) I’m blown away by the amount of support we’ve been receiving. It’s absolutely amazing!!

In a handful of hours we’re off to meet with the Oncologist then get hooked up for my first round of Chemo. Watch the blog for updates tomorrow and if you’re a follower on Instagram – you’ll see lots of photo updates there!!!

The boys in pink…

Pink Hats

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 10, 2014

I seem to get asked the same set of questions by each person I talk with, many of them revolve around my treatment and care plan (the answers to which can be found on this blog) and the others relate to how Jeff, the kids and I are doing.  Many have also asked for my home address so they can send extravagant gifts – don’t worry, I’ll private message each of you.

Here’s the long and the short of how we’re all coping as a family (hint – REALLY WELL!)

Jeff has been the ultimate cheerleader from day one.  He even took a few word slings I threw his way before we even got the diagnosis (sorry honey!!!)  =}  He is doing his best to keep up with my mood swings (which really isn’t much different than real life!) and he has put everything else in his life on the back burner to be at every single appointment I’ve had…yes, ladies, you may *swoon* over my hubby now!!

The boys have been completely themselves, and by that I mean staying true to their personalities.  MD is asking lots of questions (good, smart questions) and plans to go meet my Oncologist on Thursday when I go for my first Chemo treatment.  Chop is making light of the situation as only he can.  For instance, the other day he said “If we win the state tournament I’m shaving my head” and I replied with “I will too.”  We laughed and laughed…no one else really thought it was that funny.  He’s keeping up with my jokes like a champ…that kid needs his own show (Disney Channel ~ are you reading this?!)

As for me – I’m honestly doing really well.  Now that the initial fear, shock, anxiety and terror have worn out their welcome, I’m adjusting rather well.  I have amazing “in-person” friends (pictured below) along with all of my virtual ones on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Just the fact that people I have never even met face to face are messaging me daily is like THE COOLEST thing in the world.  I’m on prayer chains from San Diego to Wyoming to Iowa to Georgia to NYC and even in Australia, Milan and Japan.  Prestige Worldwide!   Plus, I treated myself to a nice little hair cut and color today – might as well enjoy the time I have left with it!!  =}

So, that’s that.  Chemo 101 tomorrow followed by a PET Scan.  Then off until Tuesday when the real business begins with an Echo to ensure my heart is healthy enough for sex …er… I mean Chemo.

Until next time…

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

The Pink Patrol:

photo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 9, 2014 ~ I Believe We’ll Be OK!

Special thanks to my real-life and Facebook friend, Dwayne, for posting this video on my page. Because, even though I may not feel like it sometimes – life really IS great and I really “can’t complain about much these days”!!  (And let’s not forget how much I love an ice cold beer…which I think is the real reason he sent this to me!! *wink*)

THANKS to you Dwayne for the reminder!!! {HUGS}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 8, 2014

F CancerLet me preface this post by saying – please don’t call tonight. I’m fine with texts and emails but I really don’t feel like talking today…and I’ll probably be a few shots of tequila in by 6:00…

We received a TON of information this morning and I’ll break it down for you here. If you’d like more details – hit me up and I’ll happily share…

First things first ~ I am having a PET Scan on July 11. This is merely a precaution so my Oncologist (who’s awesome) can be assured the cancer has not spread anywhere else. He’s confident it has not because he cannot feel anything when he checks the lymph nodes on the left side, but this is just to be sure.

July 16th I will go to the Hospital to have a port inserted into my chest – as I WILL be doing Chemo before my surgery.  While Chemo is not on my list of “Things to do Before I Turn 40″ – it is what it is.  My Oncologist recommends it because I’m young and with this treatment the tumor will essentially dissolve prior to surgery leaving minimal scaring and will require a less invasive surgery. This also gives me with a 90% chance the cancer will not return – ANYWHERE – in my body. However – the real shitty news – I’ll likely lose my hair which totally sucks donkey balls. BUT, I’ll deal with it…and it will all come back eventually (and I guess I’ll get to try out that Pixie Cut I’ve always wanted…)

July 17th I will have my first Chemo treatment. I will go every/other Thursday for 4 sessions and will be receiving 2 drugs – Doxorubicin & Cyclophosphamide. Each session takes about 3 hours (So…authors…I’m ready for any and all ARC’s you want to send my way!!!)

After those first 4 sessions are done, I will go once a week for 12 weeks to get another Chemo drug (that I don’t have the name of yet).

So, things are rolling right along. We both loved the Oncologist and his nurse today so we know we’re in good hands, this is just a whole lot of news to process.

Again ~ thank you for your well wishes, prayers, good juju/mojo, virtual hugs and everything in between.  YOU RULE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 7, 2014

Iowa Strong

I just received a call from Juli, my Care Coordinator (who is immensely awesome by the way).  The additional HER2 testing came back at a +2 again which means the tumor is not amplified.  Now, however, I have a decision to make ~ because my tumor is a Grade 3 (quick growing) it is very responsive to Chemo.  I can chose to do Chemo before surgery – which will make the lumpectomy quicker and easier (and hopefully leave my boob looking fantabulous!) OR, I can choose to wait and see if Chemo is needed following the surgery.

Thankfully, I’ll get to meet with a wonderful Oncologist tomorrow who will be able to walk me through both options.  My biggest question is this ~ if I choose to go straight to surgery does that mean I bypass Chemo altogether?

Another consideration – If I do Chemo now, my surgery will leave less scaring/tissue removal – which is clearly a good thing.  But, let’s be honest…Playboy ain’t knockin down the door so I’m not super concerned with how it looks (just get the damn lump outta there!!!)

Thus concludes the latest update on my lovely left breast.  Thanks for all your kind words, thoughts, juju, mojo and especially prayers ~ I’m feeling all the warm fuzzies (although that could be the humidity around here lately also).

Love you!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JULY 3, 2014

As you all well know, this blog is primarily a venue for my reviews of romance novels.  Well, for a little while here, we’re going to take a small detour and talk about my boobs.  Yes, I know, it’s a little strange.  And perhaps a little awkward (for you), but remember – just because I write it doesn’t mean you have to read it. 

And so it begins…

CancerCanSuckIt

As humans (and especially as women) we all have a love/hate relationship with our bodies. There are some parts we adore…and other parts we absolutely hate. One part of my body that comes to mind when I think of this is my boobies. I’ve hated them, I’ve loved them, I’ve talked shit about them, I’ve used them to my advantage and I’ve fought constantly to find bras and shirts that fit them just so.

But, sometimes, life throws you a curveball and you start to see things differently. That’s what happened to me on June 26 at 4:30pm.

Some reference for you…

At the beginning of June my husband found a lump in my left breast. (Yes, men, go forth and feel boobies!!)

I freaked.

I’d never felt anything like it on my body and I my intuition told me it wasn’t good. I called and got an appointment with my OBGYN who then referred me to the Breast Center to have an ultrasound. Immediately following the ultrasound, the doctor at the Center ordered a ‘baseline mammogram’. Again…my intuition was telling me something was not right.

The doctor came in and told me there was indeed a mass and scheduled a biopsy for a few days later. I returned to the Breast Center on a Monday, husband in toe, and made it through the biopsy pretty easily. If you’ve never had a biopsy – it really does go quickly and the pain is very minimal. However, it feels pretty invasive. Take someone along – having a friendly face waiting for me was key to keeping my spirits up.

Then, I waited. And waited. And waited until finally I received a call on Thursday, June 26 at 4:30pm. The lab confirmed what I really knew in my heart all along, I had cancer. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma to be exact, and the woman I spoke with took me through the basics. My tumor is both estrogen and progesterone positive – which is good. This means the cancer cells are actually behaving like regular breast cells and can be further treated with estrogen blocking medication.

The next step was to meet with a surgeon, which I did on July 1. The hubby and I were able to ask a million questions and receive a million and a half answers. Best of all – I was told time and again that I’m young (34), healthy, thin (awwww, thanks Doc!), this type of breast cancer is common, and I have no family history of breast cancer – again, all good things.

LADIES – DID YOU SEE THAT? I HAVE NO FAMILY HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER. But, here I am, writing about my breast cancer. CHECK YOUR BOOBIES. CHECK THEM OFTEN. Then, have some hottie check them too. Hey, it’s a life-saving gesture!!

The way things stand right now I’ll have a lumpectomy along with a Sentinel node biopsy to ensure the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes. However, we’re currently awaiting additional testing from my biopsy regarding HER2/neu gene, which indicates the aggressiveness of the tumor. The initial testing has shown I’m at a +2 (results can range from 0 to +4).  So, of course, I’m right in the middle of the road.  The reason we are waiting on surgery is to get those additional answers from pathology regarding HER2 and then decide if they want to start Chemo first to shrink the tumor prior to surgery.

The reason to start Chemo before is to essentially dissolve the tumor all together and make surgery less invasive.  This is the kind of treatment plan that has been started within the last 3 years and the results have been FANTASTIC.  While having Chemo is about the last thing I want to do right now…it seems like it’s going to happen.  Even if they decide not to do Chemo before, chances are pretty good I’ll do some afterwards considering I’m so young and have lots of breast tissue (yes, please laugh, that’s funny!!!!!)

I was given the choice to have a mastectomy (the removal of my left breast completely) instead of a lumpectomy/radiation. Truthfully, the mastectomy option never appealed to me. I have no desire to remove my entire lovely left friend just because some asshole cancer tumor decided to move in for a while. I’ve been reassured the survival rate is EXACTLY the same whether I do a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

I would like to note – the decision for mastectomy or lumpectomy is extremely personal and based entirely on the feeling of each individual woman.

A mastectomy is something I may choose to do one day if this cancer returns (HA HA HA, good luck with that you cancer jerkface) but for ME, for right NOW, I’m choosing the lumpectomy/radiation path.

And that, my friends, is where life stands today. I’ll do my best to update you as I progress on this journey as I feel it’s both therapeutic for me to write about it, and I think it’s a good resource for others. FEEL FREE to comment and share your story below – but if you’re an asshole I’ll totally delete and block you. POSITIVE VIBES ONLY!!!   =}

3 thoughts on “The Boobie Blog HAS MOVED ~ https://teamhagy.wordpress.com/

  1. Summer, that so very sucks to hear!! Nothing ever seems to be the right or best thing to say so….with that being said, kick its ass which i have no doubt you will because your an ass kicking kind a girl!!!!

So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s