And it begins...
Well, it’s now been a week today since my first chemo treatment. Chemotherapy was intense. I’ve decided to trial what they call “cold cap therapy”, which is basically a method of human torture I think ? They basically drench your head in water and attach what’s like a swim cap to your head. It then blows icy cold air all over your head and after a few hours looks and feels like a head full of ice crystals. It’s bizarre but they keep you cozy with electric blankets. The nurses are utterly AMAZING. I have no words for just how remarkable a job they really do. They set me up with a cannula and got really quite excited over my nice juicy veins, three enormous bags of ominous looking poisonous fluid and a tablet before they start, to prevent nausea plus more anti-emetics in the IV.... and so it begins. The first bag is bright red, kinda fools you into thinking they’re really just giving you a big bag of red cordial!
Thankfully whilst all the drugs are being drip fed through, you don’t feel much other than the icy brain freeze from the cold cap.
At one point I’m busting for a wee so they allow me a pee break! Whilst I’m in the bathroom the nurses hear me scream and they yell back, ‘ohh yeah, don’t be alarmed if your pee is fluorescent red’... thanks for the heads up I said!! Sorry if that’s too much information but I’d like my blogs to be all about the ugly and the not so ugly faces of cancer.
After about 4 hours, it’s done! And I’m sent home with the best pharmaceutical show bag ever! Ativan, maxolon, zofran, somac, valium, dexamethasone, ondansetron wafers you name it, I’ve got it. So, that afternoon probably a few hours afterwards I start to fade. I feel woozy, light headed and then wham, wow. I literally feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, no... make that a freight train. I keep up all my meds and take them religiously every 4 hours or sooner if needed and crash........ the best medicine has been sleep.
The next morning I’m not feeling all that bad and I start to convince myself that I’m going to breeze through this. Until I go back in for my immunity booster injection... the nurse says I might feel like I’ve been hit with a bad case of flu over the next 48 hours. She was not wrong. I progressively deteriorated, I felt so sick, my body starts to ache, my skin hurts, hell even my eyeballs hurt. What was harder to deal with was all the hormonal/emotional changes. I could be sitting watching TV or mid conversation and suddenly I’m sobbing and crying my absolute eyes out - why? I couldn’t tell you! All very normal I’m told.
On the 5th or 6th day post chemo, I’m not feeling too bad. Maybe popping one or two anti nausea pills a day but the fatigue is intense. I’ve never ever, ever experienced tiredness like this & so I snooze, sleep & rest whenever I can.
I know my little girl doesn’t understand what’s going on, but the little comments she makes here and there break my heart sometimes. She came home from daycare one day last week and said ‘is Mummy still sleeping’? She’s been such a sweetheart, her laughter, cuddles and pure unconditional love are proving to be some of the best medicine yet.
So, last week I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Wow. What a shock. Certainly not what you expect to hear around your 38th birthday...
Triple negative breast cancer is a rarer type of breast cancer generally occurring more often in young women.
Yesterday was a big, big day. Started off with an MRI to ascertain the extent of the cancer and whether it had spread to the lymph... once that was done it was over to the oncologist. My oncologist is a professor and is absolutely amazing, albeit he does look about 12! He has assured me the cancer I have is treatable and his aim is to cure me, not just treat me but cure me completely. It’s likely I’m going to lose my hair (crap!), be pretty god damn tired, feel a bit yucky and generally crap! I’m preparing myself for the worst so anything better than that is a bonus really.
After my oncologist appointment I saw yet another professor who specialises in breast surgery and I’ve been reassured he is one of the best specialists in the country... he too agrees that chemo is the best first line of treatment followed by surgery and then radiotherapy.
Thursday will also be a big day with a visit to a geneticist to establish whether I am carrying the BRCA1 gene (a gene mutation) and will also then establish a treatment plan and whether more surgery is required down the track.
It’s all super scary and overwhelming but I know I’ll get through it with the love and support of my beautiful family and gorgeous friends. Those who know so far have been amazingly loving and supportive and I have no doubt it’s going to be a long & tough journey, but there’s only one way through and that’s through.
That said, I’ve decided I would love to try and raise $3K towards breast cancer research to help find a better way to cure this awful disease. If you would like to donate, please visit: https://fundraise.nbcf.org.au/fundraisers/michelleakayan
Thanks everyone and I will keep you all posted with my progress ??
Until then... much love,
Australia, get ready, I’m going pink.
From 18 – 24 June, the National Breast Cancer Foundation is challenging the men and women of Australia to GO PINK in support of the thousands of mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, daughters and sons that have been – or will be – affected by breast cancer.
I’ve joined the team because breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. It’s a disease we cannot ignore. But together, we can change the outcomes.
While “Going Pink” this June, I’m raising money for life-changing research. Please donate to my page, you’ll be helping us step closer to our ultimate goal: zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030.
YOU can make a difference. Let me know if you want to GO PINK with me!
Thank you to my Sponsors
I thoroughly endorse your initiative as I lost my sister in law to breast cancer.
All our thoughts are with you through this journey. Keeping positive as you've always been is key to fighting this... xoxo
Krystal and I are sending you a lot of strength and love for the tough journey ahead. F U CANCER!
Chris And Frank
We will be thinking of you as you start your journey . ❤️
Don't forget to stay strong
Chris & Kate Blows
Sending all out loving thoughts to you and your amazing family. You are so strong, Mich xx
Noela Akayan And Berj Akayan
Thinking of u Hun, be strong u will get through this
Carmel And Greg Brien
Such a great cause!
Will be with you all the way through xox
Big hugs!! Love the positive attitude. Keep brave and strong xx 💪🏻🙌🏼
Roz And Michael Akayan
We are thinking of you and sending you all our positive thoughts. xx
Hi Michelle, wishing you all the love and support you need for this journey. Lots of love, Liz
One step at a time Michelle! Stay strong & positive & accept all the help on offer. Best wishes for a smooth journey & positive outcome.
I wish you all the best, Michelle - you will beat this!
Leo And Di Doherty
Our thoughts and prayers are with you on this journey
you’ve got this girl, stay strong and positive and keep cancers arse!
Stay strong beautiful girl!, You’ve got this 💗
Go girl !