“mid cycle”

Round 3 is under my belt and I have 1 more round of chemo to go before I get some time off to just try to enjoy being pregnant. Then we all get to meet Baby K! This round hasn’t been too bad as far as the side effects go. I’m not sure if I have learned to manage them better or maybe I am just used to them. Nausea has never really been a problem. 1. They pump me full of meds and fluids the day of chemo to help prevent it and 2. the medicine I can choose from in my small pharmacy next to my bed works pretty well on the nausea when I do get any in the week after chemo. As far as the meds go, I am a bit more comfortable taking them. I still follow the less is more rule and avoid taking any medication if I can, but me and the baby are much more comfortable when I am properly medicated. The heartburn is well controlled now with my little white capsule that I take every night – thank you omeprazole- I can’t live with out you! I can feel the fatigue a bit more in this round. I tend to poop out in the afternoon and require a nap. But who knows if that is chemo or if it’s just part of growing a human. I’m sure it’s a bit of both. 

Right now I am in what we call “mid cycle”. It hasn’t been a big deal in my other cycles but it’s just another part after chemo I brace my self for as it does have the potential to be unpleasant and even land me a hospital stay. We all have red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that make up our blood. Simply put, the red cells help carry oxygen and nutrients, the white cells fight off infection and sickness and our platelets help clot the blood. The chemo kills the cancer cells but it also destroys other cells in my body too. Like the cells that line my stomach and intestine which in return is what causes nausea as a side effect. The chemo has done a number on my blood cells and right around now my blood level will be a bit lower than normal. The goal is to make sure they drop just a little, too much is not a good thing. Not having enough red cells can leave me tired, weak and possibly short of breath. I need enough red blood cells to help carry oxygen to my baby and the rest of my body. That’s kind of important, wink wink. If I don’t have enough platelets the potential is, I bleed easier. Most likely you will see more bruising or little red dots on my body that look like a rash. Since I have been pricking myself in my arms 4 times a day to get my blood sugar – the prick marks have bruised. I look more like an IV drug user verses a diabetic pregnant lady with cancer. And lastly if my white count drops my little white body ninjas that fight off infection are no longer able to create a ninja storm if needed. Thus, leaving my immune system in the toilet, making me highly susceptible to any sort of germs lurking about. 

So lucky me for the next few days gets to hunker down and play germaphobe! I try to be careful, Ya know with good hand washing, limit hugs and kisses from friends and obviously no food or drink sharing. I am doing my best eating red meat and lots of green veggies to help keep my blood levels higher and smoothies with lots of antioxidants to help fight infection. 

My favorite smoothie right now is: blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana with spinach or kale, 3 prunes with ice and milk or coconut milk. I am also liking vanilla protein powder with orange juice and mango or pineapple and avocado. Taste like a creamsicle. 

A lot of you say I am looking good or I don’t look sick. Your all so sweet for saying  that. I am just following the rules. I try my best to eat healthy, especially now with the gestational diabetes. I am resting when needed and also staying active. And I thank all of you for supporting me and encouraging me to do all of the above. I thank God everyday that I am lucky enough to have the support system and ability to take care of myself and my baby the way I do. I know my situation is far from ideal but it could be worse. A lot worse! So I will just keep trucking along down this road, one hurdle at a time, with a stop in baby town and then onto my final destination of cancer free town. Beep beep! 

This is from yesterday… Braintree, my home town celebrated its 375th Independence Day and 4th of July.  Our town had a big parade, carnival and awesome fireworks. I thought I would show my support in red, white and blue! 

twas the night before chemo 

Twas the night before chemo and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse

As I lay wide awake, thinking in fear,

That the end of feeling good will soon be near.

But side effects screw them, 
They won’t hurt the baby or me,

We are stronger than them, 

They won’t touch us you will see. 
Tomorrow is treatment three out of four,

I am more than halfway done before I can run out the Farber’s door.

Then a few weeks and the best part is to come😄
The bun in the oven- I hope I don’t pop before my timer is done.

My road is long and I am just at the beginning, 

But I can assure you, I will live and I am already winning!

As I lay here awake in this uneasy chemo spell I am under, 

I will find try to find peace in my heart and drift off into slumber.

Night Night. 

I’m pissed at organics! 

My mom is a two-time cancer survivor, my dad is a cancer survivor, and so is my brother. What the hell was in that water on Sampson Ave (the street I grew up on)? Now that I’m writing this, I see how darn lucky they all are to be alive. I’m not sure of the stats but I think its somewhere around three out of five people that will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime. I come from a family of 6 with 3 people already affected. I figured one more would get cancer. I just never thought it would be me. After all, I’ve spent the last 10 years doing everything in my power to avoid cancer.

Those who know me, know just how hard I have worked trying to be as healthy as possible. I’ve been on a personal health and wellness journey (go ahead and call it a form of crusade) for over a decade. I started educating myself years ago (when I began my nursing career) and discovered that I am a great nurse; I realized that in becoming a nurse, I would make a horrible patient. I saw my patients coming in and realized most of their diseases could’ve been prevented through diet and exercise. I took the advice that I was giving my patients and started doing the same. I ate fresh locally sourced organic foods as much as possible. I went as far as having a beautiful organic basket delivered weekly to my home, chalk full of garden fresh veggies and fruits. They had the best bananas I have ever eaten, and oh the delectable veggie dishes I made. I felt like sayin’ “Move over Giada! I could be the next food network star”. I only purchased organic meats. I don’t drink soda and totally avoid processed foods. I enrolled back in school for a year-long program to get my nutrition/health coaching certificate. Last year I launched “Wicked Healthy with Nurse Jodi” (my health coaching and consultation business) with the hopes of helping other people achieve their own health and wellness goals. I was on the road to great health and helping other people achieve wellness. At the time, I felt great about it. I went all in, I drank the organic kool-aide, I went to the earthy crunchy funny farm, I was vegucated. 

Since my diagnosis, I won’t lie, I’ve felt like a completely perplexed failure. It feels like an episode of, “Not so Wicked Healthy with Nurse Jodi”. Four unexplained miscarriages with a side of breast cancer. WTF man?! While my family members have battled other forms of cancer, there is no family history at all of breast cancer. And now, this week, to top things off, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I completely lost my entire shirt when I decided to go all in on the organic train to healthy hippy town. And now, I’m totally pissed at you Organics! You were supposed to be my extra insurance to prevent cancer and keep me healthy. I feel like I wasted my time. These mounting health issues feel like an order from the McDonalds drive-thru; “I’ll take 4 miscarriages with a side of breast cancer, topped with some diabetes (just a sprinkle)”. Seriously though, I’ve often spent time wondering where the heck this all came from. Could it have been the Dino nuggets I ate as a kid? Was it in the water? The air? The materials we use to build our homes? Maybe the mattress I am sleeping on?  My deoderant, perhaps?
I would like to say that “going organic” (being health and wellness driven) was all worth my while but, I am just not sure; it has got to have some benefit, right?!  During my decade of “being organic” I once spent more than three full weeks drinking fresh, organic pressed juiced to completely cleanse my body pipes. I was hard core… I mean the ONLY thing that entered my mouth for 24 days was fresh juiced veggies and fruit or smoothies that was made up of veggies and fruit. It was suppose to rid my body of any toxins. Yeah right…or so I thought! 
I’m not really sure where I went wrong or (more importantly) if I went wrong at all! As ripped off as I feel from organics, I have no proof that food was the cause. Who knows, maybe my Organics were what saved me from being diagnosed at stage 4 and terminal.  Being pregnant and starting this new chapter of my life there is so, so much to live for. I knew this chapter was bound to be fraught with tough choices, indecision, and worry. Under the circumstances things have felt ______. I know that I am my own harshest critic, and while I know I can’t place blame on myself for these health issues, I suppose I’ve looked just one layer beyond myself to find somewhere to point the finger. Exasperation has just brought itself to a whole new level for me. I was completely convinced that I was doing everything right to be well and healthy, inside and out. Coupling exasperation with frustration, I find myself wanting to vent it all out. All those questions that pop into mind when someone finds out they’re sick. Where did it come from, where will it go? How could I have prevented this? Could I have prevented it? Are the fates just blowing in the wind or is there a bigger plan? I choose to have faith that God is in control, that there is a direction and trajectory that has been set in place for my life, my husbands and the life of our child(ren). I went into the Organic lifestyle believing, in some ways that it would solve a lot of problems, that it was my insurance policy to betterment all around. If there was a claims department in the Organic insurance agency, I’d be calling for a fraud investigation. 
Truly though, I know that Organics are not to blame, they have probably been a savior to me in many ways. Cancer is the only thing I really can point blame at. As folks toss around the old adages such as “life isn’t fair” etc, I find it brings me to a more mindful state. Life is what it is, and what’s going to happen will happen. The sense of control that society (or corporations) try to make us feel like we have, is bogus. We all live in toxic environments, and there is little to no control over what we can do to cleanse ourselves from the dangers. Danger is inherent in life, and things will happen and continue to happen whether we want them to or not, as long as we live. The point is that we don’t give up, we choose to keep on living. While I am still pissed at organics, everyday I am less and less mad. I know that organics is my friend and am still living, clean & organically—letting life unfold as it will, trusting that my salvation is with God and my willingness to keep trying to do what I know is right for my health and well-being. These are the things, along with love that will carry my family and I through it all.

  This is me with one of my chickens that got attacked by a fox. She had over 20 wounds and we nursed her back to complete health. Unfortunately I had to give all my chickens away during chemo. But I will get more once I am better.  

Meet Baby Killeffer

Here is baby Killeffer! Weighing in at a whopping 2lbs 2oz at 26 weeks. 

  So far the doctors are very pleased with how the baby is growing. A possible side effect of the chemo is having a small baby… BUT, my husband was a 10lb baby, his brother was a 11lb baby and Bekah was 8lb baby! And did you know the husband determines how big the baby will be?!?!! With that being said my petite size mamma part will do just fine with a small 7lb baby. I do not wish any negative chemo effect on my baby… But, just sayin’ I wouldn’t mind the chemo helping me out in this situation and 7lb baby is more appealing than a 9lb baby,  OUCH!  

A bonus for having a “high risk” pregnancy is the amount of ultrasounds you get. I think today was like #7 or #8, But I have totally lost count.  It’s been amazing to watch our little baby grow from an un-recognizable ball of cells that looked like the moon on the ultrasound, into a worm with a tail. Then a cute little gummy bear, onto mini Mr potatoe head with stick size arms and legs and now a recognizable human that was pulling on its feet and sucking it’s thumb today. 

Next ultrasound is in two weeks.  We think the ultrasound doctor,  a.k.a. Dr. Big Mouth, may have slipped on what kind of baby we were having but she did have a good recovery that left us puzzled. And even if we did know, which we don’t… We wouldn’t tell you. 

We can’t wait for you all to meet Baby Killeffer in Sept.