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I’m better now than I was this morning.  Still tired — oh, my, so tired — but sitting up and reading again. 

This afternoon we go to the lactation consultant, who hopefully can help us perform miracles.  Little Bear isn’t exactly a bottle dude.  He’s 99.98% breastfed, with only the most limited of successes getting any bottles into him on the rare days that I’ve had to leave him with Daddy or Grandma.  But now things have changed.  We have to wean — now — and it’s not going to be fun.  The radioactive isotopes used in the tests (Gadolinium –  yum!) and the chemo are not good for little bears, so we’re starting bottles and pumped milk from the freezer, mixed with hypoallergenic nutragimen formula, this afternoon.

Tomorrow I go for a bone scan.  Then a cat scan, from my neck to my pelvis.  This will show if the cancer has spread.  I’ll also have a breast MRI, as soon as I can, but the technologist we talked to today says I have to have weaned for 3 weeks to get accurate results.  We’ll see. I’m going to sic my oncologist on him and see if there’s not something they can do to get a better reading earlier.  Monday will be an echocardiogram, to see if my heart is strong enough for treatment.  Then, mid-next week, the chemo.

I think the thing I’m most afraid of (besides the fact that my body is still week from the 7.5 months of bed rest, a difficult pregnancy, and not sleeping through the night while breastfeeding my baby) is of walking into the chemo room alone.  I won’t be literally alone — WhyDaddy will be there, and he is my wonderful, wonderful partner — but (just between you and me) I am afraid to see the room.  The chairs.  The IV drips.  The other patients who have been at this longer than I have, in various stages of the fight.  They all know each other, and I will be the new girl.

You see, the chemo room is one large room, with 10 or so recliners, each with its own IV drip.  There are curtains between the recliners, but I’m told that only the newbies use them.  After the first few visits, most prefer to keep them open and chat with each other.  That sounds great.  But I’m worried that seeing my future — in the persons next to me and across the way — will be hard for me.  Isn’t that selfish?  Yes, that is totally selfish and just plain wrong of me.  But honest.  Let’s face it.  I’m a young mom with two baby boys.  I belong in playgroup.  Not chemo. 

I’m only just now starting to process these thoughts and feelings, and I won’t like them all.  But I have to face them all, and either take them to heart or discard them, as they come.  As I told NYfriend in an email yesterday, I’m not ready to talk about them.  But I am ready to write about them.  I have to write about them.  Otherwise they will eat me alive.

Friends are already lining up to ask me what I need.  All I know I need right now is company.  I’ve asked playgroup friends to keep me company — not to leave us alone right now, or shy away to spare my feelings or give me time — I want and need to know that I’m not alone right now. 

So, what I’m saying is, thank you.  Thank you all for coming over and saying hi.  For your bright words of encouragement and your examples of other women who have fought and won.  I am taking them all to heart.  And I will be taking you all in my heart with me to chemo next week.

Thanks for your comments!  As I’m just beginning my fight against breast cancer, I am particularly sensitive right now and need positive comments and wishes of strength only right now.  No pity here!

60 Responses to More

  1. Without reading the comments on your other posts, I hope that others have pointed you towards ibcsupport.org. I know Pete found my blog right away. I was diagnosed with IBC on 5/29 and have my 2nd chemo tomorrow. I live in the metro DC area, so maybe we can swap notes.

    I’ll be happy to call you if you send me your number or an email where I can send you mine.

    hugs,
    Angela

  2. Amanda says:

    I put lotion on my daughter’s back each night, some days I jsut don’t want to leave her. I dab a little bit of the lotion on my wrist and hold it close throughout the day as I need to. Perhaps a little touchstone might make the room less ominous, a spiritual foot back at home…grasping at anything to offer comfort. As always, wishing you strength and light you courageous mama, you.

  3. Maggie Haslam says:

    I just heard the news today from Carmela and she directed me to your awesome blog site – We are all here with you on this. You are an incredibly accomplished woman so there is no reason why “breast cancer survivor” can’t be added to your resume (I will happily supply the sented, pink resume paper!)I hope to be in touch personally soon as the moms club is planning an all out chemo-crushing assult!
    You and your family are in my prayers.
    Maggie

  4. ella says:

    WhyMommy, I’ve only just read about your diagnosis. I’ve been a reader for a long time and I already think you rock, but honestly you ROCK! You are such a positive person and I know that will stand you in good stead in the days to come. And yes, you belong in playgroup and not in chemo and it’s not selfish to say so.

    I am wishing you strength with every fibre of my being and sending my love and best wishes across the ocean.

  5. The Goo says:

    Two words: CHEMO PLAYGROUP! You guys could all have naptime together! When you think about it, chemo really isn’t that different from infancy. You take a lot of naps, get cranky a lot, need a little extra loving, and you don’t have a lot of hair.

    In all seriousness, you sound like a survivor already; I can already picture in my mind your post celebrating your five and ten-year remission anniversaries (Just in time for your kids to be teenagers!!!). In my everyday nonbloggy life, I work with a lot of oncologists, and so much of healing is wrapped in a patient’s mental approach to her treatment. You’ve got a great approach; keep it up.

  6. Vanessa says:

    Hi — I’m visiting from SpaceMom’s blog and am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I wanted to let you know that I think you’ll find the staff and the patients in the chemo room to be pretty welcoming. My husband had a blood condition that required treatment by a hematologist, and he got his treatments in that room right alongside people who had cancer and were mostly old enough to be his grandparents. They were never anything but kind and friendly, even to newbies, and the staff knew everyone by name and dispensed cake and cookies regularly. Over the years he went there, there were lots and lots of recoveries to celebrate (like my MIL’s — an eight-year BC survivor this year) and yours will be one of those.

    *hugs* from a stranger …

  7. deb says:

    I had a terrible time weaning my youngest off the breast. What worked best was offering a bottle in the middle of the night when she was too tired to put up much of a fuss. They are stubborn little buggers, aren’t they?

  8. Stimey says:

    You’re right, I bet that first walk in will be scary. But you’re going to overcome that because you are WhyMommy and you are strong. And you are going to open your curtains and you are going to get through it. And you are going to come home to your beautiful kids and your amazing husband and your persistent friends who aren’t about to leave you alone to be scared by yourself.

    As for stubborn Little Bear, as long as you love him (and I know you do), he’ll get through. When Jack (who had only taken an occasional bottle as well–and didn’t really like it) was 6 months old I stopped making milk. And he hopped right on that bottle train faster than you could say “hungry.” One way or another, he’ll get fed.

    You and your family are going to make it. And I’m going to be right there cheering you on, as will so many of your friends.

    It’s okay to be scared. Just stay strong. And keep writing. And know that you are loved.

  9. Lisa Delaplace says:

    I’m a stranger who read about you on Mothering.com. I’m praying for you and I’m sending you strength that you can do this.
    I’m so sorry.
    Lisa

  10. Bon says:

    it struck me as i read this how all our lives, it matters not in what situation, it’s hard to be the new girl.

    change is hard. change laced with fear that much harder…so all these transitions now, of weaning and chemo, they’re going to challenge you and be hard enough for you. not necessarily having the strength and reserves left to want to also face the others at different places along their own journeys, Whymommy, that’s not selfish. that’s self-protection. you will not emerge from this journey the same person, in many ways, but you don’t have to do all the changing all at once. just focus on where you are…which you seem to be doing with great grace and indomitable will.

    i wish you could go to Playgroup tomorrow instead of for a scan. but i will hope for good news from the scan with all my heart.

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Mama. I’m here in great support, and actually, one of my co-workers at Swank Web Style, Heather George – was diagnosed with brain cancer a very short time ago. I’m telling you this only because she is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met, and if you are looking for uplifting messages – she has a ton of them. Her blog is especiallyheather.com. You will absolutely love her.

    I wish you all the best in this journey and my good thoughts and prayers will include you and your family.

    Much love,
    Karen

  12. fidget says:

    I have visited before but never commented, PBN sent me today and I wanted to come out of lurkdom to tell you that I am praying for you. I am online often and if you ever need an ear, please drop me a note. You have a great attitude to begin with, I want to be able to help you keep your spirits lifted up. A positive attitude gives you a head start on beating this.

  13. Damselfly says:

    You are one strong, tough cookie! Praying for you….

  14. mayberry says:

    WhyMommy–just wanted to say hi and send you all my best prayers, vibes, juju and what have you for the coming days. My mom is a 15-year breast cancer survivor. One day soon your boys will be as proud of you as I am of her.

  15. Mrs. Chicky says:

    I am amazed and moved by your candor. I’m summoning all my good thoughts (the one’s I’m not saving for my grandmother, who is also, probably, going through cancer) for you. I have a lot of good thoughts to go around.

  16. tori says:

    I don’t have time to read through all the comments right now, but I just wanted to say that I had thyroid cancer two years ago. I have four small children, my youngest was being breastfed at the time of the diagnosis. I understand about having to wean. I understand how you must feel. I will be thinking of you, and praying (if that is something you believe in…otherwise I will be sending positive energy your way). If there is anything I can do, please let me know. I can’t wait until we can both be cancer survivors together!

  17. feener says:

    You and your family are so brave and I am sending good thoughts and vibes.

  18. I hung out in IV therapy rooms a lot when I was pregnant and always felt better after I left. Chemo and HG are two different worlds but I hope it turns out as a positive experience for you.

  19. jessica says:

    I’ll be praying for you.

  20. Gattina says:

    Don’t worry about breast feeding. There were times it was considered old fashioned and now it’s “modern” again. I never breast feeded my son and he became a very healthy, big boy (6.6ft)who does a lot of sports and if you see him you only can think what a healthy guy !

  21. Amy says:

    Every cloud has its silver lining and I hope that at least one of those shining, glinting lines of silver will be that you see all the people, wonderful, amazing people, coming out to stand by you in this, that YOU have attracted to you by being the wonderful, amazing person you are. I’ve spent time in the IV therapy unit(enetic bleeding disorder brings me there) and you’re about to meet some very amazing people and you will come out the other side of this with some stories to tell. I’ll be swinging cats and praying, too.

  22. I was referred here through PBN. I am wishing you much strength to fight this. You WILL beat it. You will. My best to you and your family.

  23. E :) says:

    You are clearly strong and you are going to do brilliantly. I have a close friend who got uterine cancer at 26 and is now fully recovered one year later. Her cancer was aggressive, but she BEAT IT with good doctors, strong meds, and a positive outlook. Good vibes your way!

  24. motherofbun says:

    I’ve lurked around your site from time to time and wanted to say “hi.” And Go out there and KICK some CANCER ass!

    Yeah!

    Sending lots of healing, energetic, healthy vibes your way.🙂

  25. fidget says:

    Also, I saw this and thought you might be interested. http://seedmagazine.com/writingcontest/
    first prize is 2500 buckaroos. It expired July 1st

  26. Cody says:

    I just read your blog for the first time and wanted to send you some good thoughts and postive vibes.

  27. Me too, I’m a first timer sending you lots of good wishes, company in that scary room, and patience for your little boys.

  28. kismet318 says:

    Hi.
    Prayers, good thoughts, positive images, all the knock knock jokes in my repitore.

    I am a supporter.

    ~K!

  29. lifewiththeothers says:

    There’s really no such thing as a “selfish thought” right now. It’s hard to think only of what “I” need, but you kind of have to at the moment. It’s scary to admit, but your needs and feelings are frontrunners in “important matters of the day”. (Ok, ok, besides that kids!)

    I totally get your fear of seeing the chemo room, IVs and all. But the other patients will be s strength to you, eagerly supportive. Remember, they don’t want to be alone either! And you’re definitely NOT alone!

  30. Nancy says:

    I have some experience with the open room at the oncologist’s office (I used to get my medical treatments at one a couple of years back). I was also intimidated at first, but I got to welcome that group of strong people. And you will notice that the group who get chemo along with you are very sensitive — they will give you space when you need to be alone, and bolster you when that’s what you need. It’s an amazing thing.

    Send me a note if you want more info on my experiences with this.

  31. Ana says:

    Hi Mamma, cancer may be tough but from reading your blog I’m convinced you’re tougher. May be a long ride but sounds like you’ve got great company & inspiration with your family. My nephew had a 3 yr fight with 2 cancers (bone cancer, & MDS, a kind of pre-leukemia), had some rough spots but now is VERY normal teenager (complete with the long hair & guitar playing, LOL!). I see no reason you can’t do it too. BE WELL!!!

  32. Jamie says:

    I came over from Nancy’s blog and I just want to say I am thinking of you and sending you nothing but positive thoughts my dear! Big big hugs to you and your family…it sounds like you have surrounded yourself with people who love you and who are rooting for you.

    Believe, stay strong and stay positive!

  33. Jamie says:

    I don’t want to bombard you with comments, but there is an amazingly spiritual blogging mom, Heather, who had a brain tumor and she is doing awesome…check out her photo with this post (it rocks!)

    http://www.especiallyheather.com/2007/06/25/1530/

  34. Susan K says:

    I’ve emailed you too, but in case you don’t see that… you may need to wean, but you may NOT need to give up on mother’s milk for little bear, who you told me has allergies. There are women out there with extra (oh, I am so envious of them, two babies and I barely had enough with each). Find them. They will share!

  35. Aliki says:

    Still thinking of you and admiring you for your strength and courage–it’s okay to be afraid and nervous, without fear you can’t call on courage.

  36. jen says:

    let’s have a party in that chemo room. paint it bright lemony yellow and put candy in the drips. let’s show it that it has nothing on you, that you will bring this color everywhere you go.

  37. coolbeans says:

    Stopping by to say good morning.

  38. MammaLoves says:

    I know what you mean by worrying that you’ll feel alone. Know in your heart you won’t be. We will all be walking in there with you. Each of us standing tall to support you should you need it. We will be there. Just know we are.

  39. Jennie says:

    I just found your site today- just wanted to say you and your family will be in my prayers.

    My grandmother had BC very young- and survived to die of old age at ~80-

    You are definitely a survivor!

  40. PunditMom says:

    I’ve been out of town and just learned the news. My thoughts are with you. You’re not alone — as you can see from the comments, there is a great and supportive community out here for you!

  41. Mrs. Chicken says:

    I agree with Amanda: bring a talisman with you.

    Take US with you in your pocket – Team Whymommy.

    Chemo nurses are almost universally wonderful.

  42. maggie says:

    Good luck with the weaning – that sounds really hard, for you and for the little one. And good luck with the chemo.

  43. Team Whymommy. I like it, Mrs. Chicken.

    Am thinking of you nonstop. And am hoping my thoughts, along with so many others’, are persuading those uninvited cells to leave. Forthwith.

    Hugs.

  44. Eva says:

    My mom is a chemo nurse. The kids and I hang out in the infusion room occasionally (although not when there are other people in there). The nurses go out of their way to make people feel comfortable there.

    Three years ago, my mom got cancer and got to experience the other side of the IV. She’s fine now, and I think the experience made her a more understanding comforter for her patients.

    You’ll do great.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Help Whymommy Kick Some Cancer A**

    Whymommy is 34 and she has two kids under three – one is just five months old. She was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. Can you go visit her and lend her your support – but please, no pity.

  46. mamatulip says:

    Mrs. Chicken’s got it nailed…take us with you to the chemo room. I’ll fit nicely in your pocket.

    Sending you and your family continued strength and positive vibes.

  47. Susan K says:

    Whymommy,

    We’re heading off for a week and I won’t be checking in. I look forward to a good report on my return!! Thoughts are with you and your boys. Think strong, be strong. Veni, vedi, veci (sp?)

  48. katy says:

    I have read your site for awhile but never commented but I am commenting now to tell you good luck. I have a feeling you will do great because you have such a great attitude. You have two wonderful kids to keep your spirits up and to give you a smile when you need one.

  49. You and I are sisters in so many ways.. but in such different circumstances. You feel that dread of going into the chemo room, and I’ve felt it walking into the NICU to see my premature twin babies who had such a dire future. I know how that feels, and I know how tough it is to find beauty and peace and strength in a place like this.

    But it’s there. It will find you, I promise. You’ll get your sea legs quicker than you think.

    You wrote, “I’m not ready to talk about them. But I am ready to write about them. I have to write about them. Otherwise they will eat me alive.”

    I’m so, so with you on this. And I’m so glad you ARE writing, and so beautifully. I hope it brings you all the strength and more restful sleep and release it’s brought me.

    love love and more love, strength, peace to you sweet mama.

    PS.. I second the chemo playgroup idea.🙂

  50. Sherri says:

    I can relate to many aspects of your story, particularly the emotional ones. I’m 48 & a 6 year breast cancer survivor. My daughter was 4 when I was diagnosed. My family & lots of humor got me thru the rough times. Try to imagine you are entering into a tunnel. Sometimes that tunnel will seem very dark, but just keep looking toward the tiny pinpoint of light at the end. Soon that tiny light will grow bigger & eventually you’ll break thru the other end of the tunnel…stronger & more resolute than you thought you ever could be. I had 14 surgeries in 4 years. But I got thru them, and you can too. Just keep your eyes on that tiny light……..!

  51. Patty P says:

    You are in my prayers.. and I am so encouraged to hear how your attitude is strong and proactive.. and so much support around. you.. I do have an excellent CD on Natural Solutions of Cancer.. by Dr. Sandra Bevacqua. If you would like to hear a quick bio on her.. She has a presentation on Blood Sugar issues.. on http://www.theglobalsuccessteam.net.. you will need to enter the site.. click on Product info.. and scroll down to #23 and you can listen to hear her background.. and research.. background.. You can also hear her speak if you click on the Health issues.. on the left.. and you will see other topics.. If you contact me.. I will make a copy of her CD and send it to you..

  52. Linda Lawrence says:

    Hi, Sam! I finally figured out how to get on Toddlerplanet. I am not sure whatI was doing wrong. Uncle Bill and I just want you to know we are thinking of you, Widget, and Little Bear.
    Love ya,
    Aunt Linda

  53. Ally says:

    We are here, right with you in that room, in spirit if not in body.

  54. Whymommy, you are so, SO not alone. I promise you, we are ALL thinking about you. At LEAST one of us is thinking about you every single second, so just keep that in the forefront of your mind, no matter WHAT. With all of us behind you, you’re going to knock this cancer right on its ass!!!

    I have helped several of my friends to get their infants to take a bottle. You want to know a neat trick? You have to be standing up for this, first of all. Then hold the nipple of the bottle to their little lips, and then do a little “twirl”: actually spin yourself around in a gentle circle. Not too fast, but not too slowly either. This will surprise the hungry little mite, who will almost ALWAYS open his or her mouth, then quick, pop that bottle in there! My friend Andrea, who lived next door, used to phone me up to come and do this for her second daughter, who was a little PILL about weaning!! But, a couple of pirouettes later, voila!!

    Slow and steady, Whymommy, slow and steady!! We’re all right here with you….

  55. Adrienne says:

    You are not the only one to feel out of place in the chemo room. I had Hodgkin’s Disease when I was 21 and had 12 rounds of chemo and 20 rounds of radiation. I was the only person under 60 in the doctor’s office and I felt so out of place. All of my friends were off at college and I was at home fighting for my life. I lost all my hair and spent too much of my time throwing up…and then it was over. My hair started growing back, I went away to school, fell in love, and got married. It has been 5 1/2 years now since I finished treatment and it is already a very distant memory.
    It won’t last forever, I promise. I know it feels like it when you are in the middle of it, but now when I look back it seems like just a blink and it was over.

  56. Susan says:

    I wanted to share two things with you. 1) My mother-in-law is a 16 year breast cancer survivor. 2) My dad went through chemo last year and I always went with him. We made so many friends there and I still visit the nurses, they became like our second family. You will have the opportunity to meet so many remarkable people. Cancer will change your life – only you decide whether it’s for the best. I’ll be thinking of you.

  57. Cari says:

    I don’t know you (I came across your blog through sk*rt) but I am in awe of your strength. My sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and mother of 4 young children. I remember how scary that was for her to go through but she’s a fighter and kicked some cancer a** just as you will! Remember the many friends and family (and in my case, strangers) who are pulling for you and are behind you. Keep on fighting!!!

  58. Michelle Ovens says:

    Hi, I am a Naturopath in Berry, NSW, Australia. I hope you wont think I am out of line by offering my clinical experience but I thought that maybe you might want to have a look at this. I have had heaps of success with my female patients using both chemo/radiation and an isotherapy product called SANUM in particular Mucokehl and Notakehl. You can safely use these with chemo and they will help all forms of cancer by promoting micro circulation and somehow targeting cancer cells and starving them of nutrients. There is a huge 98% difference between the length of time on chemo and remission times for the patients who use these products (and a couple other Sanum products) than the patients who don’t. I am a mother of a 19 month old toddler who is still breastfed (with NO signs of wanting to give up – he loves his milkies!). However I can help, please let me know. May the Universe bless you!
    Yours truly,
    Michelle Ovens
    Natural Health Management
    Australia

  59. Mama Zen says:

    Just sending love and good wishes!

  60. Barbara says:

    sending out a tehillim (prayer) request to all my Jewish mom friends for you. Hugs

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