Sunday, October 25, 2015

week 39

Written at week 39, posted post baby

This past week has been pretty crazy.

Happenings so far:
  • I am now ~3cm dilated
  • the OB says my cervix ripened (.. why do they use such terms...) 
  • got diagnosed with breast cancer so this spawn is getting induced and evicted Tuesday October 20th so mommy can start treatment ASAP
As both a pro and con... everything is happening so fast that I'm not really quite able to process everything. So let's just get it all written out and I can process it later when I'm not feeling as overwhelmed.

Cancer diagnosis
  • Found a lump in my left breast early Oct. It was fairly small and I could only feel it when lying down on my right side
  • Told my OB the following checkup (the week after)
  • She scheduled me for an ultrasound (mammograms are not allowed for pregnant women given the radiation)
  • Got the ultrasound scheduled for the following week. While ultrasounds are not as good as mammograms at catching small calcifications, they are pretty good at determining whether a mass is a solid mass or fluid filled (cyst) and also getting a look at the shape and size
  • [Tuesday] Radiologist found the 1.3cm mass, really did not like the look of the mass nor the look of the slightly swollen sentinel lymph node, and straight up told us that it was probably cancer. Scheduled me for a core needle biopsy for the next day. Have to give the radiologist props cause the front desk wasn't able to fit me in until the following week (which would be this coming week) but she kept following up until they got me in the next day. We preemptively scheduled an induction for October 20th with our OB just in case. Baby will be exactly 39 weeks on that day and therefore considered full term
  • [Wednesday] Core needle biopsy 
  • [Thursday] Radiologist called with preliminary results which were showing that both the mass and lymph node were testing positive for cancer. Onward with induction plan! 
  • [Friday] Got pathology report - no idea what stage the cancer is at yet. We know it's at least a stage 2 given that my lymph node is basically all cancer now (:( goodbye lymph node I never knew I had :(). It's also an estrogen fueled cancer which means that while I've probably had it for a while, the pregnancy flooded my system with estrogen which basically poured gasoline on the fire. In good news, it looks like it responds well to treatment and I'm pretty lucky to have caught it now given that most people don't catch lumps (because all boobs get lumpy) during pregnancy anyways.
  • [Friday] Went to visit OB to get final pap smear before induction. She scheduled me for an appt with a surgical oncologist for that afternoon so we went in for a consultation. Thank god for medical teams who are proactive because if left up to me, who knows when I'd snap out of this enough to get stuff started
  • [Friday] Met with surgical oncologist at El Camino Hospital. She was super nice and explained current plan. Right now the plan is to:
    • Next Tuesday - get baby induced for delivery
    • Friday - have an entire fun filled day of every screen/test possible (PET scan, MRI, mammogram)
    • Get treatment plan and cancer staging based on results
    • Start chemo in 1-2 weeks
    • Chemo for 3-4 months (or whatever the treatment plan ends up being)
    • Surgery discussions after chemo
Cancer so far - things I've learned

  • Biopsies fucking hurt like HELL. Google AND THE RADIOLOGIST both lied. I got a core needle biopsy which is worse than a fine needle aspiration (core is bigger needle) but much less invasive than a surgical biopsy. First they have you lie down in the hospital gown with whatever side breast/shoulder exposed. Then they use the ultrasound and pen to mark up the spot they'll be injecting the needle. Then they clean you up with that orange antiseptic stuff and use towels to block out everything but the area they will be working in. After that they inject you with a few shots of local anesthesia per site (I had two sites - the mass and the sentinel lymph node). After that they use the ultrasound to guide in a spring loaded needle to the biopsy site, take a picture on the ultrasound right before they use the spring to snip off a piece of tissue for sampling. You get to watch the ultrasound and feel the recoil of the spring in addition to hearing the snapping sound. They took 5 samples from the mass and 3 from the lymph node
  • Supposedly I would feel "a little pinch" when they inject the local anesthesia and then I should only feel pressure after. Well they failed to mention that the local anesthesia is NOTHING like "a little pinch" and that you can still feel each sample slightly even after. While the first couple shots were OK, on the third one I was sobbing and shaking like a wuss. 
  • It's almost A WEEK since the biopsy and I'm still getting random stabbing pains from the biopsy location on my boob D:

Baby news!

So, induction - not ideal but at the same time we're so excited to finally meet baby spawn! Initially I was planning on attempting to go the natural birth route - or at least going as far down that path until I wussed out and couldn't take the pain anymore - for a few reasons:
  • I hate needles and the epidural needle seems to be the king of all needles
  • I've heard of epidural migraines and also back pain that can potentially persist through the rest of your life and that sounded not worth
  • recovery time is usually much faster after natural birth than with an epidural
  • epidurals tend to slow labor down
  • people give birth naturally all the time!... right?....:(
However, given the change in circumstances I'm 100% going to go for an epidural now for the following reasons:
  • Getting induced means I'll be getting hooked up to an IV of Pitocin which is a drug that stimulates contractions. Supposedly Pitocin contractions are far worse than natural contractions as they come much faster and your body doesn't produce the natural endorphins it would normally produce when you naturally go into labor
  • Still recovering from a cold (I really hit the trifecta of diseases this time around with cold, imminent labor, and cancer) and I will do anything to avoid a C-section right now with everything else coming up. I'd rather have the drugs so I can save up my energy for pushing and minimize the chances of going down that route. 
  • Baby spawn is measuring at a good size of under 7 lbs :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

week 38

Hello there spawn,

It is now week 38 and you are starting to overstay your welcome.

I was told that the last month would be the most uncomfortable. Secretly I thought to myself, HOW BAD CAN IT BE?! I get to sit at home and do ALL the things I've always wanted to do. Now that I'll be on maternity leave, it'll be like vacation. Turns out, waiting around for the baby occupies about 80% of your time and the other 20% is just you mustering up enough strength to waddle from one room to another. I can literally do one activity a day before giving up on life. And usually that is only because my mom hauled me out to the supermarket.

During this last month, EVERYTHING hurts. My finger joints hurt whenever I bend them. The belly is really heavy and the 6ish lb bowling ball resting in my pelvis makes me feel and move around like I'm 60. I can't shift weight onto one leg without shooting pains going up my back. And every now and then the spawn likes to suddenly remind me that she possesses a knee or elbow and will abruptly stick it in my side causing me to double over and have to stand around massaging back the awkward lump until she's satisfied I've noticed her appendages. Pretty much every position is super uncomfortable - I found out when I literally wanted to die at the movie theater watching The Martian and the poor people sitting around me had to deal with my constant fidgeting.

My one saving grace was when one day, out of sheer desperation, I stole my sister's exercise ball out from her room. OMG, that thing has been a lifesaver and my only regret is that I didn't steal the ugly space-eating thing out of her room earlier. I pretty much just roll around on this now and it's been amazing for letting me stretch out my legs/pelvis without killing me not to mention it's the only thing that is comfortable to sit on (oh, you don't believe me, but you will).