Sunday, February 28, 2016

First: Rant. Second: Fun!

First:  Rant.  

As I approach my fifth (and second to last!) round of heavy chemo, I'm anxious.  Nervous.  Scared. This fourth round was tough; a lot tougher than I expected.  I knew that as my toxicity levels increase, my symptoms will increase; but I did not expect it to be THAT much worse than my third cycle.  In the scheme of things, it was not that awful; but what scares me is knowing that I have two more doses of that heavy stuff.  And that each one will most likely be worse.  I know I can handle it, I know I will get through it, but it is the going through it that scares me so much.  

I've also started feeling frustrated with it all.  Mostly the constant nausea (and occasional vomiting), mouth pain and sores (this time my throat got mega irritated also), ever-increasing fatigue (the intermittent insomnia helps, hah), body aches and pains, skin discolorations and rashes and splitting, nosebleeds (which thankfully are not painful, just more of a nuisance), and lately my fingernail tenderness has been really making me frustrated.  My nails are often just straight up painful...if I bump my nail or even just the finger, even the slightest bit, it sends shock-like pain through my entire hand.  I can't scratch an itch (which is probably a good thing, because I would probably shred my delicate skin lol!), open containers, and even writing and typing sometimes bother them.  If I do try to scratch my skin or use my nails, it feels as though they are lifting off of the nail bed...literally like they are about to pop right off!  Creepy!!!  And while I do think it is kind of cool how there are what I call "chemo-cycle lines" in my nails (like tree rings!), my pinky nails have started darkening.  For some reason, losing my nails freaks me out more than losing my hair or any of the other gross or annoying things.  I don't know why, maybe because I've never seen anyone who has lost a nail, but it's got to look creepy and just...WRONG!  LOL like what the heck does a freshly-uncovered nail bed look like?!  I could Google it, but I won't...I SHOULD remember from grad school, but my (and yes, this is my favorite excuse!) chemo brain isn't letting me recall many things! ;)  

Aside from the physical junk, I just feel so off...I just don't feel like myself.  I feel like I am disconnected from myself, like I'm just not me.  I'm so thankful my family, friends, and coworkers all still put up with me, because I feel like I'm a really crappy version of myself lately!  I know everyone is understanding, and hopefully none of them perceive me that way, but ugh I just want to feel like myself again!  I am so thankful that I will feel like myself relatively soon, and that I only have a few more weeks of this stuff.  

Second: FUN! :D 

But in the midst of all this crap, I've been fortunate to have had a lot of good times over the past few weeks!!!  I've gone out to lunch with friends and have done some shopping which is always fun, and gets me up and moving!  I've also got some cute new clothes to wear this spring and summer, and every girl loves having new clothes to look forward to wearing! :)  While part of me feels guilty that material things such as new clothes excite me, another part of me knows that I need to do everything I can right now (within reason, of course) to give myself all the motivation and excitement about the future that I can get!  

Last week I found out that I was chosen to be a Portrait of Hope for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program, which I'm super excited about!!!  Basically I get to share my story and talk about various things with the media and at Making Strides events and what not. I will find out more in the next few weeks, but I am so excited to share my story on a larger platform, and hopefully encourage and inspire many more people!  When Claire McCaskill announced her diagnosis last Monday, I was able to talk to Fox 4 about my story, and I had a BLAST talking with Abby Eden!  She is an absolute DOLL!  Click HERE for the link for the article and news clip if you want to see it!   

I also got to go talk to the Olathe East girl's basketball team, who raised enough money for more Healing Chairs!!!  They are an AWESOME group of girls, and I was so blessed meeting them!  

Surrounded by amazing women!!!

Talking to the girls, and my Italian blood is coming out!!!  LOL!  

Yesterday my mom hosted a little craft party, and some family and friends came over and we had a BLAST!!!  Oh my, so much food and fun and craftiness, I slept soooo good last night lol!!!  We made these super cute Easter wreaths (ok, well, I'm STILL working on mine...haha), and it was so nice to hang out and talk and laugh with everyone!!!  

 Work in progress!  

This little blue one still cracks me up, LOL!!!   

I also got to see Newsies Thursday night, which I HIGHLY recommend, it's awesome!!!  And thanks again Ashlea for taking me!!!  :D  So all in all, life is good...I'm so thankful to be alive, and enjoying this beautiful life that God has given me (and this beautiful weather as well!).  Thanks again for all your prayers, love, and's still what's keeping me going!!!  


  1. Natalie, Love your blog - I know how your feeling even though I the outside you seem normal - well as normal as anyone in our family can feel - lmao!! I hope I wasn't too obnoxious for you and your friends yesterday. I enjoyed being with you and laughing so much!! It was great therapy for us all. XOXO Glenda the good witch :)

    1. LOL no way lady, we had a BLAST!!! And we love you just the way you are, obnoxious or not!!! ;) lol you crack me up, it was good to see you...and thanks for reading!!! Hope to see ya again soon <3

  2. Natalie, I LOVE LOVE you and your blog. It's just so you and you write totally from the heart. I will share with others, and know that they will be encouraged and uplifted by your positivity and strength. So glad the chemo is almost done! And even though you don't "feel like yourself", We love you anyway you are! xoxox

    1. Thank you so much!!! I just love you to pieces lady!!!