I know I am long over due for an update with what is going on with me lately. I’ve been sending updates here and there on Instagram. Sometimes a quick social media update is much easier to share than writing a blog post. But here I am summarizing all that has been going on. If you’re new to this blog and/or have no idea what I’m talking about, I shared this post a few months ago about what I am going through.
Before I begin, I just want to send a big thank you to everyone that has been supporting me. I couldn’t be more grateful and blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support. Every prayer, positive energy, pick-me-up, and surprise gift mean the world to me. Thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart. It makes the fight so much easier. And a special thank you for all the cancer fighters and survivors who I’ve connected with. You all are amazing and brave individuals and have been a great source of inspiration.
|My hair is starting to grow back!! 🙂|
I just completed round one of treatments a few weeks ago. The first round consisted of 6 cycles of chemotherapy. For me, chemo had its highs and lows. The week or so after chemo is when I felt my worst. Even drinking water was such an effort! It tasted disgusting and it didn’t help that I was extremely nauseous. It helped to have visitors a few days after chemo. I put all my focus on enjoying the company and just having fun that I forgot I was feeling sick. Fortunately, as each day went by, I started to recover better and better. I was at my best the day before the next cycle. I had energy, food tasted great, and I could bare drinking water. Of course, it just sucked knowing that the following day I would have to go through the process of feeling like crap all over again.
The silver lining is, as much as I hated every bit of chemo, the treatments are working. The chemo regimen was harsh, but we’ve definitely seen positive outcomes. Even after the 1st cycle, my tumors had significantly shrunk. My oncologist would joke each time I saw her and ask if I even have tumors. Mid-way through the cycles, I had a MRI which confirmed my tumors had significantly shrunk and showed no signs of cancer spreading to the lymph nodes.
Last Friday, I had surgery. They removed 4 sentinel lymph nodes and ran a biopsy on those lymph nodes. This surgery would help my surgeons prepare for the bigger (major) surgery, determine if I can do immediate reconstruction, and also determine if radiation therapy is needed. The results of the biopsy also determine if my cancer has spread or not. Clinically, and based on test results (like the MRI), it had shown no signs of spreading. However, my doctors informed me that cancer cells can be so small that imaging tests may not be able to pick up on it. I just received the results of my sentinel lymph node biopsy from my surgeon the other day.
After having a discussion with my surgeon about the test results, I am so pleased to share that all 4 sentinel lymph nodes tested negative. This means each node contained no signs of cancer cells and my cancer is contained in the breast. This was such a HUGE relief! It is one less hurdle I would have to go through.
So now the big question, why am I going to be MIA? Well, this Friday I will be having a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The amount of time to heal and recover is extensive. I will be in the hospital for a few days and the first couple weeks post-surgery are crucial. I really have to put my focus on recovering. Therefore, the only thing my surgeon wants me to do is binge watch on Netflix. I’m the kind of person who likes to be constantly doing something, so I have a feeling I will struggle with this a bit. I get bored so easily! So if you guys have any suggestions on TV shows and movies, please do share!
|During the mastectomy, they will run a full pathology report of all the breast tissues they will remove. They will determine if there are any dead or alive cancer cells and how well my body responded to treatments. I hope the results of this test will be in my favor. To be honest, I don’t have the energy in me to do another round of chemo. It took a lot out of me and I am still adjusting to the changes chemo has done to my body and mind. I honestly think I am seeing the effects of “chemo brain”.|
I will not be creating new content on this blog until my doctor gives me the okay. Therefore, I will not be doing any photoshoots for the blog or starting any collaborations. If I do post later this month, it is because I have prepared and pre-published the post before surgery.
For now, the treatment plan is to do targeted therapy which I actually started last Thursday. Basically, they will only use one of the drugs that was part of my chemo regimen. Even though this is taken intravenously through my port, it is not considered chemo because this drug is not attacking the entire body. Instead, it is attacking and only killing a specific receptor that has been feeding and causing my cancer to be so aggressive. I was able to tolerate this treatment. I guess anything is much better than chemo. So I pray and hope this is my treatment plan after the mastectomy.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update. I know it is very long, but I have been open about my diagnosis from the beginning and I wanted to continue to be open. Thanks again for all your support. I look forward to reconnecting with you all soon!
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Oh sweetie, you are a hero for so many! That smile warms my heart and I know you got this! Cancer will NOT win and the outcomes are so encouraging!!!! I am going to storm heaven right now with prayers that everything goes ok with surgery and healing time. As for binge watching, our favs lately have been Prison Break, Billions, Boardwalk Empire and Justified!!! Love and hugs and can't wait to see you back here in your sweet lil space and hear the positive news and see your beautiful face!!!
You are so kind and sweet Andrea! Thank you so much for your words for encouragement and your prayers. They mean a lot to me! And thank you for your suggestions! I am keeping a list so I will be constantly occupied haha!
You are such a beautiful girl. Inside, outside, every single bit of you! Your strength is so inspiring and literally makes me step back and look at my life and appreciate all the bad days I have. You are such a fighter and your body is proving that! I truly believe your spirit and love has caused your to come so far. You WILL continue to fight and to come out on top. I know you will! I eagerly await an update and to hear how you're progressing.
As for passing the time… (;
If you have Netflix: Stranger Things is fantastic. As well as Scandal!
Also, send your husband out to pick up some new movies! The new Batman Vs Superman was actually fantastic and I went into that movie thinking it would be terrible. I'm drawing a blank, but if I think of anything else, I will write more. (: <3
Thank you so much for the sweet words Kiki! The support I get from my blogging community (like you) is amazing and couldn't be more grateful! I wasn't so sure about Batman Vs Superman, but now I need to check it out! Thank you for the suggestions!
I'm so happy the results were negative in the nodes. I'll be praying for you this Friday. I'm sure you'll have tons of visitors but if you ever need another one I'd be happy to bring you coffee or whatever. 💙
Thank you so much Melissa!! Your prayers means a lot to me! I am always open to any visitors and coffee of course haha! Thank you for everything you've done. You have been an awesome source of inspiration!
You are such an inspiration! The fact that you continue to work so hard in so many areas of your life is amazing! You are beautiful inside and out and I am so grateful I have been able to connect with you through the digital world. I will be thinking about you and sending you love and positivity! We will miss you but look forward to having you back again, soon! xo Bryn
Thank you so much Bryn! You are a sweet person and I am so glad we connected. You are definitely talented and I can't wait to see more of your post. Thanks for all the love and positivity!
Rach, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are brave and beautiful inside and out. I have been so impressed by your courage and determination. Not to mention that you don't complain and have continued blogging. So impressed! I am so happy for your news that the cancer hasn't spread. I will be praying for your surgery and an easy recovery. You definitely need to Netflix and chill! Take care of yourself.
Straight A Style
Thank you so much Amy Ann! I am so glad we are friends and can't wait for your next visit in Chicago! Thank you so much for the prayers and support! This means a lot to me! I look forward to re-connecting when I'm all recovered!
Sending you so much love, light and positive energy love! Hope that your surgery will perform well and that you'll recover quickly! Just take your time and focus on life, taking care of yourself and do let yourself watch Netflix and just unplug! We'll be here when you're back, so do take time for yourself now! Lots of love, Xx
Aw thank you so much for all the positive energy!! Your support means the world to me! I can't wait to reconnect with you as soon as I am recovered!
You are such an inspiration, you just have so much positivity! I have been thinking of you and continue to prayer for your health and recovery!!!!!!! Sending all my love! Take care xoxo – Rachel
Thank you so much Rachel for your kind words and prayers!! You are too sweet! Good luck with all the wedding planning and can't wait to hear more when I am back to the blogging world!
You are so beautiful inside and out, so strong, and such an inspiration to me. I am so glad that your outcomes have been pointing to the positive. Good luck on your surgery, you are constantly in my prayers and I wish you all the best! Recover well and stay courageous. <3
TV recommendations: Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are my favorites for a good laugh- they are absolutely hilarious! And Grey's Anatomy is addictive.
Lots of love
Julia // Little Miss Haute Couture
Thank you so much Julia! You're kind and sweet words mean a lot to me! Thank you for your positive vibes and prayers! Also, thanks for sharing your recommendations. I've actually started getting addicted to Grey's Anatomy ever since I was diagnosed haha. Now I need season 11 and 12 haha!! I look forward to re-connecting soon!
Dear Rachel, this post truly touched my heart. YOU are such an inspiration to me, and I'm glad you shared your story with us! Chemo is indeed hard but I'm to relived to hear that it worked for you! Sending you much love, and I will be praying for you that your surgery goes well! Please, do rest, and as far as movie goes…I don't really watch much TV but there are a few shows I do enjoy, like, Homeland, etc. Dunno if you like but I thought I give at least one recommendation! Anyhow, SENDING YOU A BIG HUG and please, let's get together when you're feeling better!
Thank you so much Vanessa! You've been such an awesome friend throughout and I am so grateful we met through this thing called blogging. Thank you so much for all your prayers and positive vibes! Haha I don't watch much TV either (Hence, why I ask), but I did heard great things about Homeland. I'll add that to my list! I can't wait until we get together!
Sending prayers your way!
Thank you Frannie for your prayers! This means a lot!
That's awesome news, Rach. Hoping this surgery goes well and that you'll be back on your feet in no time. In the meantime, watch Stranger Things on Netflix. You'll love it and it will keep you entertained during this down time.
Thank you so much Cheryl I hope so too and can't wait for the day to share all the great news! Oo I've never heard of it and I will definitely check it out! Thank you!
I will be praying for you Rachel! I went through this with my mom. She had a double mastectomy and reconstruction as well. She recovered faster than she expected. But that women is a busy body. She had triple negative breast cancer. They took tissue from other areas of her body and reconstructed her breast. She said if she could go back in time, she would have just did the implants, and changed them out every 5 years. Probably because of having to heal from the areas they took tissue from. Anyway, I will be praying for you every night in my prayers and I am so happy that they found no more cancer cells. You're beautiful and strong babe! Love ya!
Thank you so much Lesley! I remember you mentioned about your mother and so so sorry for what she had to go through. That is reassuring that she recovered much faster than expected. She's a fighter! Unfortunately, I was not candidate for the tissue reconstruction, and will be getting implants. I will let you know what I think of them. Thank you for your prayers! You are the best!
So proud of you for sharing this! I am always thinking of you, and sending you love. I know you're so strong, and will continue to get through this. I'm so happy you have such a wonderful support system, and fantastic husband. (Hi Tre!) You look beautiful, and I can't wait to bring you some goodies and cheer you up soon. <3
You have been incredible Ashley. Thank you so much for everything! You are so sweet! Girl, you don't need to send me anything. You've done enough! 🙂
Sending much love and encouragement your way!
Thank you so much Melissa!! You are the best!
You are such an inspiration and a hero in my eyes, your positive outlook towards life helps remind me of what is important in life. My thoughts and prayers are always with you and wish you a speedy and healthy recovery. Take care. You are so strong and that is just absolutely admirable.
Aw thank you girl for your kind words! You are too nice! Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers – they will definitely come in hand! So glad to I got to know you!
You're a gorgeous brave soul! So courageous of you to share this tough part of your life with us! I'll be sending you lots of positive energy and sunshine throughout this time. I'm sure you will only grow stronger and more beautiful (body and soul) after this is all over! Stay strong gorgeous!
Thank you so much Tamara! Especially for your kind words and positive thoughts. This definitely helps give me the motivation to continue to have strength!