Update and a Port

I’ve been updating every day on my private Facebook page but not so much here. To quickly catch up…

My summer son Joe left but we still text, so we are ok. Quinn is sleeping in his bed now, and calls it “Joe’s bed”.

My veins are shot. It took four sticks to get chemo in last week. My vein whisperer Jean said it may be time for a port. We also discovered I taught her granddaughter seven years ago, and we also know several other people.

Six degrees separate us all.

I started my Donnie Yance protocol and man, it’s intense. Some weeks I’m swallowing seventy supplements, others only fifty. I’m drinking teas and apple cider vinegar mixtures and eating olives and sauerkraut and taking detox baths every night and meditating and vagal tone breathing and…

It’s a lot, but I’ve got my friends helping me. IV got it down to a system, and will work it out when school starts.

If you look at me, i look really good. Weekends are hard, but by Sunday afternoon?

I’m rallying.

That’s it, that’s all you’ve missed.

Here’s today’s Facebook update…

“So Keri, what’s it like to get a port and hear an update and get chemo all in one day?”

Exhausting and full of tears, hugs, handholding and blessings.

Getting a port for me was a big deal. There are some complications with me I haven’t shared. I’ll share one now.

Pain medication and anesthesia don’t reeeeeeaallly work on me. So all of the helpful advice of, “You won’t feel a thing”, or “you’ll be asleep in twilight and won’t remember…”

Not so with me.

They took me in right away and my nurse Emily got “T”, their unit’s vein whisperer. Even with me telling them about warm compresses and blood pressure cuffs and tight tourniquettes, and me jumping up and down in my hospital gown and keeping my arms down low and water bombing… it still took two sticks and ended in my hand. I cried in relief when it was over, and T said she almost did too.

Rob held my hand and kissed me goodbye as I rolled away to the procedure room. I had a kind, funny, and compassionate team. I told them how lidocaine doesn’t work well and I need a lot, and they were generous. They had to give me three doses of the anesthesia and I was still wide awake for it all. I ended up with two doctors placing it, and felt the tube being snaked through my chest, along with pressure and pushing and pulling. I cried at one point and asked for someone to hold my hand. The nurse came right over, and I did my vagal tone breathing and made a game of lowering my blood pressure. I kept it around 136/86 the whole time. The time it ended?


When it was over, I went to recovery and rob came. They saw I was totally alert and doing well, and I was able to leave at 12.

I hugged my nurse Emily goodbye and we walked to the cafeteria. We got some lunch and I felt a little self conscious as we left the port “accessed”, which meant I had a tube coming out of my chest. Talk about surreal. I ran into Kim, one of my special nurses who walked me through my first biopsy and is my friends sister in law and we hugged.

We finished lunch and walked to the cancer center. I got all of my oils and breads from the car and cooler of peas and luggage bag and cooler of water. I made zucchini blueberry bread with lemon glaze, and a zucchini chocolate chip bread. I wanted to hand it all out as a thank you.

Rob carried it all and didn’t complain.

My special nurse Heather ran out and we hugged. Have I said how much I love nurses? I’ve got the best.

I started handing out all of the essential oil roller bottles to the receptionist and nurses. I gave out lavender, lemon, peppermint and frankincense and everyone got to choose. It felt great.

In the waiting room, an older woman saw I had a port and proceeded to tell me how she could spot a wig a mile away and how horrible her port was and how one time she accidentally ripped out the IV attached and ended up infected with blood everywhere. I say in shock for a second, then said, “That’s really not the story I’m looking to hear today…”

It was like when I was first diagnosed and everyone would say…”Oh, my ____ has breast cancer. She died after two years…”

Not my story.

We each have our own, thank you.

My appointment went well. Hermina gave me lots of hugs and tips on port care. She also told me there are several patients now who go to them and tell them all about how they follow me on my blog, Facebook, Instagram, and how much hope and energy and information I share. It was nice to hear.

Dr Stopeck came in and wore a mask because she has a cold. I said…”Oh! I have an oil for that!” And gave her a few bottles. She was so happy I got a port and said everyone should have an Port as it makes everything easier. I said she sounded like a true oncologist with a bit of Oprah thrown in… “YOU get a port! YOU get a port…” and we laughed and laughed.

She said my lymph nodes were harder to find and definitely smaller. My breast tumors did not feel much smaller, but she agreed they felt more bumpy, or “nodular”. She said it could be the tumor starting to dissolve from the outside in, and that blood flow with chemo won’t get to the inside until the outside dissolved. My tumor markers went from something like fifty five to thirty nine, which is good. My white blood cell count dropped to lower 4 range, but it’s still good.

Based on how well I am tolerating it, chemo is changing. More aggressive , I think. I’ll be getting more carboplatin with the taxol week one, only taxol week two, and two weeks off. Side effect is more nausea and vomiting, but research is showing higher dose of Carbo is more effective. I also lessen risk of a reaction with less frequent doses of Carbo. We discussed how Donnie Yance said the ringing in the ears and temporary hearing issues I get is from the copper on the Carbo and that’s why we have to detox quickly the kidneys, as the kidneys are the gateway to the ears. My doctor seems more comfortable with me adding Donnie and I’m glad. He is looking for excellent oncologists to recommend to his patients and mine is one of the best.

We went upstairs for chemo and had to go in quickly because my port was bleeding. I ended up in a private room with a new nurse, Ronnie, who was so kind. We cleaned up the port and I was amazed when we accessed the tubing. We both wore masks and it was the craziest thing to see a tube with blood coming from my chest.

While I waited for my labs to give me the “all clear” for chemo, I went around and handed out my oil roller bottles. I sat with my friends mom who was in the room next to me and showed her my port. We talked about a lot, I gave her the zucchini blueberry bread with lemon glaze and the zucchini chocolate chip bread, along with one of each oil. Hermina stopped up for more hugs and Rob had already sliced up bread for her and my doctor.

My new labs were good and we started the anti nausea drugs then chemo. Rob did the whole peas and blueberries and socks and ice chips, along with the special tea that Donnie said to sip during chemo.

My vein whisperer Jean came over and told me her granddaughter who I taught was telling her how I used to read Junie B Jones and she loves reading because of me. It felt good to hear.

Chemo ended, I gave the recipe to Jean to share, and we left. It was a nine hour day.

We got home and my dad brought the kids home. My brother rob and sister in law Krista took Morgan and quinn to see movies and some other adventures and my kids loved it. Maddie chaperoned her camp kids at splish splash and was tired. They asked me all about the port, my day, and saw pictures. They all gave me “side hugs” last night and extra kisses.

I told them I’m like Iron Man now..

But call me Iron Mom

I took my Chinese herbs and my evening pills and then went gingerly into a detox bath.

My day was done.

Thank you everyone who texted and sent messages. Even my Tomcat Joe sent me a message at 8 am. We miss him, and I joked how I almost used the hot sauce we bought him.

Today I’ll be in contact with Donnie’s people about the new chemo plan. De Snuffleuffugus emailed me last night his concerns about the toxicity of Carbo and to let him know immediately if neuropathy sets in, and he will change the formula.

I love him. I even wrote to him I love him.

I’m feeling more confident that my team is strong with Dr Stopeck, Dr Snuffleuffugus and Donnie.

I’ve been up in some pain from the port, and will probably hop in the detox bath in a minute, and begin the pill regime. I’m in week two, so only about 53 pills in a day for the next two week.

Easy peasy.

May today bring more cancer breaking away, more healing everywhere, and peace.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



3 thoughts on “Update and a Port

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