Monday, June 29, 2009

Port... and I am not talking wine, unfortunately

Curious about this sexy picture of me... keep reading!

Well Friday my entourage and I went in at 5:30 am to O'Connor hospital for my port surgery. So early, we all were in a daze and I slept most the way there.

They prepped me for surgery and by 7:30 was completely out and ready for the port implant! For those who don't know what it looks like click here the disk is just under my skin and the catheter is in my vein. Like I said before this has been proven to be a much easier way to get the drug, and less painful. The surgery went smoothly and I woke up fine, although I get really wacky on anesthesia and usually spend my day sleeping, which I did.

Although when I first woke up I had a huge pain in my right eye, at first I though there was something in it, so the nurse started flushing my eye. Let me tell you, getting your eye flushed in bright hospital lights 2 mins out of waking up from surgery is no walk in the park! Apparently I just kept saying "My eye, my eye" and my entourage just thought I was "all drugged up!" yeesh well hours later it was still bothering me and it turns out I had a scratched cornea! The Dr suggested I wear a patch until it healed which helped a bunch! Of all things to have happen when I am in surgery I guess it could have been worse! LOL just wasn't expecting that. I am glad to be with out patch and seeing great today!

Tomorrow we finally get to harvest my eggs! This is also a surgery with anesthesia, once the eggs are out they add Manny's swimmers to them and make them babies, freeze 2 together and odd guys get frozen alone. So technically we will be parents to a bunch of frozen babies! I was told from a friend who has recently gone through breast cancer, that you will have so much help there is no way to thank everyone as much as you want, so instead you will need to learn to "pay it forward" So Manny and I decided that once all is said and done and we have the family we want we will donate those eggs to another couple who can't have a family of their own. But this will probably be years from now, but I am happy to know that we can possibly give this gift to someone else!

Anyway, Happy Monday! I am sure I will be blogging soon, since my first chemo is this Thursday.
Kelly Freitas

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ice, Ice baby!

Well the oncologist okay'd my fertility treatment! So we are full steam ahead with freezing babies since the last I wrote. I am currently taking nightly shots to make each egg strong- and watch out octo-mom because I have 14 fertile eggs! ha-ha! Manny, thankfully gives me these shots and I see the fertility Dr every 1-3 days or so to monitor how it's going. I can tell you (and so can Manny) that the shots make you VERY hormonal and give you a really cute belly! If everything stays on track we will have egg retrieval Monday or Tues. Then they take Manny's little swimmers and make embryo's, this is because there is a better survival rate with embryo's than with eggs alone. So we have named them, Ice Cube, Frozen Pees and Ice Ice Baby! ; ) It has been quite fun experience, and the Fertility Dr. and her team have been extremely generous to us. Unfortunately even in my circumstance fertility treatment and drugs are not covered by insurance, and everything is very expensive, so they have kindly donated a few of the shots needed to do this treatment. It has been a huge blessing. My parents have also lent a helping hand for this which is more than anyone can ask for from a grandparent. I think I will make onesie's for my babies that say "Sponsored by Carlos & Amelia Alvernaz" hee hee!
So the worry that my early menopause will get in the way of us building a family is no longer a worry! I am blessed with that!

Now for the Cancer, I have what is called "Triple Negative Breast Cancer" which means in the three tests they run I am negative, I have a slight register on one of the them (HER = .4) but not enough to put me on a chemo drug called herceptin, which would have meant 1 year of meds! So that is another blessing! I am also having a gene test done ("Brac" test) to see if I carry the gene that is passed down and causes cancer. My grandfather (mom's dad) had breast cancer the year before I was born (I may have been in my mom's womb) he had a mastectomy and it never re-occurred. But my oncologist says the rarity of male breast cancer usually means they have the BRCA2 gene, and I may also have this gene from my grandfather, and this would at least tell me how I got breast cancer. Otherwise I will never know. Also this will help my siblings or cousins that they may also have it and to be cautious.

Instead I start with 2 drugs together (A/C) I do this A/C treatment 4 times every 2 weeks, beginning July 2nd. Every time I go I must have my blood cells counted to make sure they are high enough to proceed. That is the constant battle with the first four treatments keeping my blood cells and platelets stable. I am told that the first 4 are the worst and it gets easier as I go. After that I then get one drug (T) every week for eight weeks. I was told today that this every week treatment of this drug helps lessen the side effects, and I like less side effects. ; )
If all works as it's supposed to my lump should shrink and this is when I will have surgery to remove it and the lymph nodes that are also cancerous. We are also hoping this will be a lumpectomy rather than the mastectomy. Right now it would be mastectomy since it is 6cm x 6cm in size. My surgeon and oncologist are both confident that it will become a lumpectomy, so therefore so am I.

The best way to administer the drugs into my body is through a port, it has proven to be less painful this way. The port is a metal disk type thing surgically implanted under my skin on the opposite side of the tumor, threaded with a catheter into a vein on the same side as my tumor. The nurses will then inject into the port and will have no leaking into my body. (if it leaks into my body it is very painful) My surgery for the port is this Friday at 7:30 am in San Jose and I have to be there at 5:30 am! yucky! You all may see a bump on the left hand side of my chest after, now you will know what it is.

Side effects, they come a plenty and to warn most of you here is a list (click here) the most common is hair loss, which everyone should know. I should be very weak, and may also gain weight...translation I will be short, fat and bald! Manny is a lucky guy! ha-ha! But in reality I will work hard to keep the side effects, I can control, at bay. I will eat well, try and exercise often so my energy stays up. I am planning on starting yoga next week. I have already purchased a "cranial prosthesis" (aka a wig!) that I think looks pretty darn good. So if you see Manny walking around with some dark haired woman, not worry it's me!

I would like to end this with a BIG GIGANTOR thank you to everyone who has shown their kindness to my and my family. So many flowers and cards, prayers, books, retail therapy and generosity we have received! I am not sure I would be as nice if the roles were reversed, but I would like to think I would be. Again I would like to thank my entourage for accompanying me to every appointment, so much so that the Dr. offices are so confused to whom is actually being seen or shocked that we are all together. That also includes Adela for letting us use her van as our vehicle of choice these days, we will eventually figure out those darn automatic doors.

also might I add, that I am horrible with spelling and grammar, if you haven't already noticed!

Kelly Freitas

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Long day!

Well today has been such a long day! It started off this morning with a long awaited haircut (see pic)! YAY all that long hair is now short and sleek. My sister sat beside me as my hairstylist chopped my hair and we looked through fun pictures, while drinking Starbucks!

After the haircut, I needed to go straight to San Jose, for the first of many appointments and to-do's... the MRI. WOW is that noisy! They first ask you to get down to your skivvies, put on hospital gown (which looked great with my metallic heels) then they find a vein for an IV (apparently I have "tiny veins") then face down on a bed. The bed then rises and rolls into the MRI machine where tons of pictures are taken, and I had to stay completely still. After about 20 minutes of pictures they inject a liquid and take another set of pictures. Lots of beeping and clicking, they even give you ear plugs- It's loud!

Once I was done with that, it had been on my and Manny's (and of course Carla's, LOL) mind to be proactive about our future family plan. I had contacted my gyno about the situation and was questioning whether or not I should "freeze" some of my eggs, she agreed we should. She recommended a great place in San Jose, and after many phone calls with Carla and Manny, we were squeezed in at 2:00pm. Discussed some options, had and ultra sound and I am now on a nightly shot that will help with the egg harvesting. However, since we have yet to meet with an oncologist (that's Friday) we are not sure if I have the time needed to do this before chemo starts. I will have more answers on Friday. yay for future little Manny & Kelly's!

We then headed to O'Connor Hospital for my PET scan, which I had to fast for and by this point I was starving! Here they had to dip into that same vein for yet another IV, where this time they inject radioactive liquid and let it drip for about 1hour-1 1/2 hours, I have to sit quietly, with out moving for the most part- alone! Then finally you are off to be pictured again and this time you lay face up, no noise and get to wear your own clothes. With my arms above my head in another donut tube for 40 mins of photos, 7" at a time from head to knees. The lady who took the photos said it turned out fine. The photos are available for viewing right away to the Nuclear Manager, she then came in and gave us great news- it has NOT spread! Except for the one lymph nod under my armpit which my Dr had already assumed. This is GREAT news!
With smiles on our faces, Manny, my mom, Anthony (our personal driver this week!) headed up to radiology for a chest x-ray, and then ended with one more blood test! We then drove to Santana Row for a long awaited dinner- I ate every bite of my shrimp pasta. ; ) I am not sure what I would do with out my little entourage this week, they have been so helpful. I guess Manny also kept them entertained by telling our love story, which they say he should publish...we'll see!

Well I am off to bed, I will attempt going to work tomorrow. Friday I will have a follow up with the Fertility Dr, then meet with the Oncologist.

Until next time, thank you again for all your prayers it seems to be working- keep 'em coming!

SMILE, Kelly xoxo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Think positive!

Well I wish I was beginning this blog with something positive, because I like to live that way, thinking positive. Instead I am bearer of bad news, I now have breast cancer, it has brought about so many emotions for me and makes me feel like I am watching a movie- and this is not my life.

But reality bites and it is my life, so I will think positive, and I know that the stubborn Portugee in me won't let something like this win. Manny and I (with the help of family) are taking all the next steps that come with finding out you have a disease like this. Blood tests, MRI, Oncologists, 2nd opinions, and buying a lot of books, including a calendar to keep all my new appointments straight. I think anyone who knows me, knows that I hate doctors and now they will become my new best friend, the people who keep me healthy, guide me through the steps to become cancer free.

Details: well we don't know too many details just yet except that I have cancer, it is in my breast and will most likely begin medicine and treatment before surgery. Once this week is over I hope to have everything figured out... as much as I can anyway. I will keep this blog up-to-date as much as possible so everyone can read up on how everything is going.

On a brighter note, Manny and I will celebrate 1 month as a married couple tomorrow! I guess the vows "through sickness and health" really hold true here in our home. He really has been great today, and I know this is hard for him also, so while you are thinking of me please remember to help him to because he is an awesome man (and husband) that needs some support also.
Thanks for reading and keeping us in your prayers, it really means a lot to have so much support from all of you!

Kelly Freitas



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