Prepare for the worst

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They say “Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst”.

When having cancer, you’re not really sure what to expect, not really sure what complications you may face. When going through chemo, it’s the same thing. I’m always hoping for the best, but preparing myself for the worst. I can honestly say this had been the WORST most miserable few weeks of my life.

In my last blog I talked about the excruciating pain I was in. From then on, it only got worse. I figured it was just from my white blood cell shot, so I sucked it up and tried not to complain about the pain. In my weird head, I thought by calling the doctor, I’d be bothering him and he’d just tell me to take my pain pills. I’ve been so sick the past few weeks, I honestly didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed, let alone get in the car and drive an hour and a half to the doctor. I was cooped up in the house by myself every day, for about 2 weeks straight until justin gets home from work around 8pm. By the end of that 2 weeks, I didn’t care about how much pain I was in, I NEEDED to get out of the house. I had a bright idea. Let me put some makeup on, and get dressed in normal clothes, and go out with some friends (no drinking of course). My best friends and support took me out, hoping it would take my mind off the pain, and take my mind off of my shitty few weeks. I kept thinking to myself “how am I even standing right now?” The pain was unbearable, but I pushed through it, and had a great night. The picture I posted on this blog, the first one is of me being out this past weekend, and the second is of me getting ready for surgery. So much for pushing through that pain right? Landed me right in the hospital!

That night we got home, and I couldn’t have been more excited to be back in my cozy bed. It’s been tough sleeping. I have to sleep sitting up, and I can’t lay on my sides due to the pain and swelling. Justin and I have been together 9 years, and there hasn’t been a night that we don’t cuddle while we sleep. Everyone knows I’m like a leach, and love to snuggle. That is up until recently.. I sleep sitting up, so there’s no way to cuddle or be close. I sit there like a Moran, trying to sleep and trying to at least hold hands. That’s as much cuddling as it can get. Well that night, I said “you know what, screw it. Let me try n lay on my side so we can try to cuddle.” It hurt so bad, but i must have been so exhausted, I just fell asleep. Bad idea… I woke up to the worst pain of my life, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move.. It felt like an elephant was sitting on me, Crushing my lungs n chest. I look down, and there was blood and fluid everywhere. As I started to freak out, I slowly lifted up my shirt… Looking down, i freak out even more with tears flowing down my face. My incision from my double mastectomy broke open on my left breast from all the pressure, and everything was flowing out.

In a severe panic, and the look on Justin’s face, we both knew this was NOT good. So now, I have the infection on my right side from where the drains were, and I now have a split open breast on my left. I didn’t have a fever, but my body was so hot and sweaty, I had to change my clothes. Normally when that happens, it means you have an infection. Hysterical crying from the pain and blood, I pulled myself together and quickly texted my doctor and called the emergency line.. No answer from either. In a panic, justin and I quickly get ready and start our drive to Hackensack Hospital. That’s when the doctor called.. He had the nerve to tell us, to clean it, cover it and come in first thing Monday morning. Are you kidding me?! All that pain I was in, all the fluids coming out of me, and he wanted me to wait till Monday?! He just didn’t want to do the surgery on a weekend, on his day off. Whatever- what’s one more day, right? I’ve been in this much pain for weeks, my tough ass can stick it out.

Nervous as hell, not knowing what to expect, we arrive at the hospital at 9:00 Monday morning. My doctor wasn’t there, but his daughter is also a surgeon. She brings me in the room, takes a look at my breasts, and just stares with a look of “oh shit on her face.” That’s when I knew, there’s a big problem. She says to me “You need emergency surgery. You have 2 options. You can get admitted, wait for the next opening for the O.R. which won’t be till midnight, or we can schedule your surgery right now for 3:30″. My eyes start to fill up with water, as the tears slowly come down my face. “I don’t want another surgery. I’m over this already!” At that point and time, I was ready to say fuck it, walk out, and give up. But I had no choice. I need to get better, and this was the only option. 3:30 surgery it was. That gave me enough time to prepare myself for the worst.

Why the emergency surgery you ask? My infection where the drains were, never healed. Chemo makes everything harder to heal because my immune system is so down. The infection ended up traveling, making it’s way into my expanders in my breast, and getting severely infected. The plan of attack was to open me up, deflate my expander, clean out any possible infection, stitch up my newly open wound, an put ANOTHER drain in me to drain out all the fluids that made my breast swell up into a freaking cantaloupe. For some reason, she only wanted to operate on one side at a time. I’m guessing because I’m on chemo, and she didn’t want to have me opened up that long. So as of now, I only have one drain.

After we decided about surgery, I had to go get my blood work, and make sure my blood cell counts were ok. After the results came back, this was the FIRST time, my blood count was not good. Which means my infection was only getting worse. Since i have my port in my chest, I was so happy I didn’t have to get an IV, because I was able to get the anesthesia through my port. It was a quick easy process. He numbed my port, and just stuck the needle right through. Starting to tingle, and get slowly numb, I drift off into dream land. What felt like 2sec later I hear “ok Allie, you’re awake, don’t freak out.” In my head I’m like, “why the hell would I freak out? It’s over finally!” HA- I slowly open my eyes to see them still working on me, with a tube in the freaking doctors hand! I was awake while they were still working on me! Everyone’s worst fear and nightmare is being put to sleep, and waking up during surgery. Trying my hardest not to freak out, I feel myself slowly drifting back off into lala land. Thank The Lord for those straps on my legs and arms, because I would have fled that room like I was running from the cops! Finally, a little while later, I woke up in recovery. Still out of it, still in pain, but NOTHING like before. I look down, see my breasts deflated, and the drain coming out of my side. Anndddd we are now back to square one with reconstruction.

The doctor explained to me, this is only a 50/50 chance that this will work. So we are not positive if the infection is gone, and not sure if the expanders will be able to be saved. For now, I’ll be monitored and make sure the infection doesn’t continue to spread through my body. If so, I’ll need ANOTHER surgery, and have the expanders completely removed, wait till I’m fully healed, and then try the process again. The doctor also told me, there was only a 3-5% chance that this could happen to someone, with the expanders getting so infected like this. And of course, the luck of the lil jew.. It happens to me.

So, moral of the story is.. I can not always be so tough and brave.. If something is bothering me, and doesn’t feel and look right.. It’s ok to complain, and it’s ok to call the doctor. After all, I do have cancer, and I am on chemo. This could probably have been all prevented if I wasn’t such a strong little bitch. But shit happens, and all that matters now is that I try and continue to heel and get better.

Everyone that had me in their thoughts and prayers through all of this.. Thank you so much, it’s so much appreciated. And thank you so much for everyone that reached out to me via text, Facebook, or email to make sure everything ok. Those of you who didn’t, I now know who truly cares. All I ask is for you to continue to pray for my health and recovery ❤️

Stay Strong

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Stay positive. Stay fighting. Stay brave. Stay ambitious. Stay focused. Stay strong. …Mentality is everything.

Easier said than done. It’s easy reading these quotes, easy acting like I’m ok, easy to say I’m strong.. I am strong, but I’m tired. And you know what the worst part about being “strong” is? No one asks if you’re ok..

This last round of chemo.. Oh my god is all I can say.. I’ve never in my life experienced pain like this before. It feels like I had my double mastectomy all over again, but 10x worse. I’m back to not being able to getting out of bed by myself, it hurts to walk, talk, cough. It even hurts to lay down. I’m so drugged up, I feel like I’m on Pluto.

A week before I got chemo, I had to go to the doctor AGAIN because of my infection where my drain was placed. The chemo makes the infection harder to heal, which makes it keep coming back. While I was visiting the doctor, he decided to fill my expanders in my breasts also. Usually we wait a month in between each fill, this time it was only 2 weeks. The expanders are 2 little pockets in each breast with ports in them.. He sticks a needle in each one, and pumps them both up with 50cc of saline solution to stretch the skin. I don’t feel a thing, because I no longer have feeling in my breasts.. BUT I do feel the pressure, and I do feel them expanding. I look down, and holy shit! My boobs are looking semi normal!!

The day after chemo, I always have to go back to the doctor for a shot. It’s called Neulasta. It’s a shot to boost my white blood cells, to help fight off infection since my immune system is so down. One major side effect of the medicine is bone pain. I get horrible pains into legs where it hurts to walk, and excruciating pains in my sternum. Which is why my chest hurts so bad now. Imagine getting your breasts filled a few days before chemo, having all that pressure and pain, then the sternum pain on top of it. It’s honestly a feeling I can’t describe because it hurts so bad.

Lately people have been asking me why I’ve been down, or sad lately.. It’s ok to be vulnerable once in a while.. It’s been OVER a year. I found the lump in my breast in February, they monitored it for months, and had my first surgery in October. It’s A LOT to handle. Some days I’ll just sit here and cry, and think about all that I have gone through already.. I look back at my double mastectomy and say to my self “holy shit, I can not believe I did that, or got through that”. Although now, I feel like I’m reliving that with the pain I’m experiencing. Do I want to give up sometimes? Do I think about giving up? Absolutely. But I can’t, and I won’t.

Why else am I sad?? My last doctors appt my doctor discussed removing my ovaries again. When carrying the gene (which I do) you have up to an 80% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Being 28 years old, that’s one hell of a chance! This may be one of the hardest decisions I will ever have to make. It’s not fair that I should be having to make these decisions at such a young age. Ovaries out, means no kids.. We had a chance to freeze my eggs before chemo, but it was just too much with my surgeries, and it wouldn’t have worked out. Now being on chemo, my eggs are probably damaged. The medicine I’ll be on is at least 5 years, and I’m not allowed to get pregnant on it. Sooooo, that’s a very long time to stress over of the cancer is going to come back and attack my ovaries. Sometimes I think to myself that it’s ok if I don’t have a child of my own.. But then I see cute pregnant girls, and families with their kids.. And then I look at the relationship I have with my parents.. I want that, I look up to them and have a special bond with them. It’s just a hard stressful decision that I’ll really never know what the right choice may be..

When I sit here and cry, or want to give up.. I read my texts, and emails. I get so many positive messages from friends, loved ones, and people I don’t even know.. It brightens my day a little and makes my heart smile. There are some people that chose to walk out of my life, and not be here for me when I needed them the most.. And then there’s people that stuck by my side no matter what, holding my hand through this shit journey. I will forever be grateful for those of you in my life who chose to stand by me no matter what the situation may be. It’s nice to know that there are still some good, loyal people in this world.