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MUGA Scan & Rads

September 13, 2008 10 comments

Sometimes I am just amazed at all the new words and cancer lingo that I have picked up in this pink journey of mine. If you are not familiar with a MUGA (MUltiple Gated Acquisition) scan, it is a nuclear medicine test to evaluate the function of the heart ventricles. Specifically it is used to test my left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) rate of blood. This test is used to monitor my heart’s overall function while taking the cancer drug Herceptin. While Herceptin is an excellent drug to fight the HER2+ cancer cells, it can affect ones heart function and in some cases cause serious heart damage.

In May, I had a baseline MUGA scan done before I started Herceptin. My baseline score was 55. A normal score is between 50-80. My treatment plan has me scheduled to take Herceptin for a full year. So having a beginning score of only 55 made me very nervous. Many people’s scores are reduced as they continue on Herceptin and if you have too low of a score, you may have to stop Herceptin or cut back on your treatments. Because it is a wonder drug for breast cancer patients who are HER2 positive like me, I was really anxious to have my first MUGA done since I started Herceptin.

I am thrilled to share that my recent MUGA score was 61.9. I am so happy and relieved to know that my heart is functioning well and that my score was actually higher than the baseline one. So that means for now, I am tolerating the Herceptin well and it’s not causing any damage to my heart.

One other update to share is that my radiation or rads as we call it in the cancer lingo world, is going well. On Thursday, I will be halfway done with my treatments. My skin has just a mild pink look which is similar to a sunburn. I am using my gel cream twice daily and so far my skin is holding up.

Anyway that’s all the MUGA and rads news I have to share. Now I’m off to work on a new recycled tote bag project that I’m trying to get done. I’ll be back to share it soon, until then — Happy Green Crafting to all!

My Radiation Road

August 30, 2008 6 comments

Well, this week I’m officially on the radiation roadway. On Monday, I had my simulation where the radiology tech walks you through a sample treatment procedure and shows you all the machines. I also had my form made. It’s a big blue pillow that is filled with bead-like material which is similar to a bean bag chair. The pillow is big and starts about at my mid back and goes up passed my head. You lay down on it to shape your head and body into the pillow and put your arms up above your head just like you will do for each radiation treatment. The radiology technician then sucks the air out of the form, leaving it shaped firmly just to fit your body. The form is used for me to lay down upon now for each radiation treatment. The idea is that I will be in the exact same position each time and this form helps the techs place me precisely the same for each treatment. I had x-rays and a CT scan done for the doctor to do all the necessary calculations for my treatments.

I returned on Wednesday once all the calculations were completed.

My Next Step – Radiation

August 16, 2008 18 comments

Yesterday, I had my radiation consultation which is the next step in my breast cancer treatment. I was told at the beginning that radiation would be necessary for about 6-7 weeks following completion of my chemo. Unfortunately it’s every day, five days a week, and I live 80 miles round trip from the nearest Hospital that provides radiation. Oh, boy and gas is so cheap these days…

Anyway thankfully I’ll be done before the weather gets bad and the snow hits up here. So that’s at least one good thing. I’m trying to focus on the positives and keeping my spirits up. Of course the biggest positive of radiation is that it’s killing off any remaining cancer cells and hopefully putting a final end to my cancer ever returning.

3 Down and One to go

July 7, 2008 21 comments
Pink Ribbon

Yes, 3 treatments down and only one more to go. I’m so happy to say that I have only one more chemo treatment left for my BC. What an uplifting feeling it is to know that I’m nearly done with chemotherapy. I’m feeling still a little crummy after my last chemo on Thursday, July 3. But hey, you got to feel a bit lousy if we want to kill off this cancer, right? Anyway I’m doing okay and usually by about day 5-6, I feel pretty normal again so I’m hoping tomorrow the chemo fog will lift.

So for everyone that has been emailing me for an update — I’m still here. I’m feeling okay for now. I still have a very positive outlook. I reminded how lucky we all are that are facing this cancer beast. We have the greatest medicines to kill this stuff and the greatest force on Heaven and Earth — God!

So for all of us who are fighting this foe — take heart, hold onto your faith, carry your head high, we can and will win this battle!

Hats, Scarves, & Wigs

June 27, 2008 14 comments
Cap

It has been a month now that I have been without my hair. Yes, it was very traumatic losing my hair but I have moved on now. At first I thought I had to have a wig to wear to feel “normal.” But after the first week of wearing the free wig I received from a local hospital wig bank, I found it uncomfortable. It’s hot and itchy at times. Most people who don’t know me, think it is my own hair so it gave me time to adjust. In case you are in need of a wig due to cancer, you should check with your local hospitals or cancer treatment centers. They usually have free wigs and scarves that are donated to them. I have gotten some really cute scarves and do rags that people handmade or donated to these organizations for people just like us who need them. Here is one such site on the Internet who provides free hats to cancer patients. Heavenly Hats sent me a wonderful box full of brand new hats. The hats vary from knitted stocking caps to brimmed hats.
Anyway most days now I just wear a pretty scarf or my favorite tan baseball hat. Even at work, I wear a baseball cap as our small office all got matching baseball caps with our logo on them to wear. My two female co-workers wanted to have matching hats so when I had to start wearing one due to my hair loss, they wanted to wear a hat too in solidarity. I was so touched. So we’ve all been wearing our hats at work and not too many people have said anything.

Several people have been emailing and posting questions, asking how I’m feeling. I’m happy to report that I am feeling fine these days. I am just gearing up for next week’s chemo. On July 3, I will have my 3rd treatment and then on July 24, I will have my final one. What a wonderful feeling it will be when I complete chemo!

So this is my latest update. I do wear my wig on special occasions when a baseball cap isn’t appropriate. But mainly I love wearing my comfortable cap. So until this pink journey is over, my non-hair style will be hats, scarves and a wig when necessary.

Time For The Big Haircut

May 25, 2008 36 comments
Scissors


The time has come for the big haircut. This isn’t just a trim to get me by. Last Thursday, which was day 14 after my first chemo treatment, my hair began to fall out. My hair has been shoulder length for years. On Thursday, those long strands began to just fall out. Of course I had to keep checking and each time I pulled on a few strands, my hair came right out. I could only laugh to prevent myself from crying. I’ve known this day was coming. In fact, the doctor was right on target with his prediction of when my hair might begin to fall out.

Thursday night, my falling hair took a more serious move and I had to call my dear neighbor friend Joanne to help me. After some tears, a good heart-to-heart talk with my friend and a glass of wine, I got my nerves and my emotions in check. Yes its only hair and no I’m not just my hair. I’ve heard it said, if the chemo is doing this to ones hair, what can it be doing to those nasty cancer cells. So Joanne trimmed my hair short on the back and sides to get me through a few more days as she just didn’t have the heart to shave it all off. It looked quite cute and gave me a few days to adjust to short hair. But I knew what was coming and it was just three days away.

Sunday arrived and my hair is really not wanting to enjoy the holiday weekend with me. I know the time has come and it needs to be today. So on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, with a sweet breeze blowing off the creek onto our porch, my husband and I took the next step in our pink journey and shaved my head. Yes my head’s not too pretty looking now but feels so much better. I donned a bandanna scarf and with my head held high, I continue on down the roadway of my pink journey.

I Have Survived Round One

May 12, 2008 21 comments
Pink Ribbon


What a difference 5 days makes. Today is day 5 after my first chemo treatment on May 8. I actually feel pretty normal today. The first few days were pretty shaky and I felt very weak. I did take all my pre-meds for nausea and post-meds too. I thank God that I didn’t get sick to the point of throwing up. Not to say I didn’t have waves of nausea. They say that they have come so far now that you don’t have to be sick all the time during chemo treatments and I believe it now. Sure you’re pretty much down for 3-4 days but for me I have survived round one of chemo fairly well.

I haven’t lost my hair yet but I know that day will come soon. Probably next week but at least I’m feeling good now and passed the worse of round one. My husband and youngest son who is still at home have been wonderful. They have been getting dinner ready, cleaning, vacuuming, and otherwise waiting on me as needed. Tonight I have dinner made so that will be a nice treat for them. I plan to return to work tomorrow also. I know everyone is happy to see me feeling better too. It has been very stressful on my family to see me struggling with this BC. It is just such a relief to have one round behind me and now I can get back to doing the thing I truly love — making recycled bags!

Next Leg of My Journey

May 7, 2008 16 comments
Pink Ribbon


I start the next leg of my pink journey tomorrow. For anyone not familiar with my pink journey, you can read all the posts here. Early in the morning, I am having a port put into my upper right arm. From there I go to my first chemo treatment. My treatment plan is chemo 4 cycles — 3 weeks apart with Taxotere, Cytoxan, and Herceptin for 1 year. The Herceptin is because I am HER2 positive. I have some pre-meds for anxiety and nausea so I guess the Lord willing, I’m ready to go to battle against this foe. I would appreciate prayers for courage and strength as I begin this next leg in my journey. Thanks everyone in advance for your support and prayers,

Cindy

The Results Are Back!

April 19, 2008 21 comments
Pink Ribbon


Doctor called last night after finally receiving the pathology reports following my surgery on Tuesday. The wait was almost unbearable but the news is wonderful. The lymph nodes are negative for cancer and so were the margins taken around the tumor. Hallelujah!

I’m sore from the incisions of surgery but this news has lifted my spirits and I’m feeling so much better now. Thank you again to everyone for your powerful prayers and good thoughts for my recovery.


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About Me

Hello, Iā€™m Cindy or aka RecycleCindy. Welcome to my blog site that is dedicated to recycling and crafting. I love to crochet and create crafts and other useful things from recycled materials. I share many free tutorials and patterns for creating recycled projects as well as other handmade items.


Here is a direct link to all my free patterns available here on My Recycled Bags.


Thank you for stopping by to visit and for your interest in My Recycled Bags!