Tips & Tricks
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Nikki finally had her last chemo treatment this week. Usually her treatments were 2 weeks apart but because I had sinus surgery last week her doctors let her delay a week. She was surprised and disappointed that even though she had 3 weeks between treatments she was still experiencing lots of bone pain and alternating hot sweats and chills all the way through the 3 weeks. Previously her side effects would taper off just before her next treatment. Now even though she won't have any more chemo treatments she knows that the side effects will likely last a month or more and the dr said it will likely be 6 months before she feels back to normal. Of course she still has to have surgery and radiation yet so we still have a long way to go but we are relieved that this portion is done.
It's been interesting to see how different friends of hers have reacted to her difficulties. There has been an outpouring of support in so many ways from friends and neighbors some of which were just casual acquaintances. Nikki was so touched by how certain people rallied around her that she have them t-shirts and called them her "boob crew". She also gave one to Heidi since I have been such a support all along.
Well, as predicted by the oncologist her hair fell our right on schedule. I guess they know what they are talking about. Nikki has always felt really good about her beautiful hair so this was tough for her. We've all been really supportive and as it turns out she doesnt look half bad bald. Still, we went to a wig store to try a few. I was quite the supportive husband but I think the saleslady was kind of surprised at how much I knew about wigs. Of course any wigs she buys will inevitably be handed down to me when her hair grows back. She found a few she liked and bought one but still couldn't resist trying on an assortment of the ones in my closet.
Hopefully the worst is behind us. But we've said that several times already. Nikki had surgery to remove the tumor. It wasn't healing well so they had to do another surgery a few days later. She's doing better now. She'll have 4-6 weeks to recover before she starts radiation therapy.
I've joked with her that if I'm going to be taking care of her I'll need a good nurse outfit.
I again want to express how touched we've been by the kindness and support from both people we know and even strangers. It means a lot to us.
We were fortunate that our daughter's Covid passed without incident but the chemo treatments and kidney stones have kept us from relaxing too much.
To keep from going too stir crazy staying home we've made a point to get out when we can. A little shopping or walks.
One day we drove up to the mountains and just sat by a cool stream for a couple of hours.
Our health struggles continue and there are few times when either of us feel really good. Doctor visits and medical bills have now become the main activity, nearly the only activity around here. Still we are trying to find reasons to smile or laugh or feel good. Today Nikki presented me with silky, lacy sleep shorts that match the camisole top and pajama pants that she got for herself.
It's kind of a cute throughback to when we were newly weds and we shared a set of men's pajamas, of course she wore the top and I wore the bottom.
A Heavy Dose of Reality
I try to be very honest and keep things real on this site, show both the fun and challenges of this life as a crossdressing husband. We've been dealt with the most serious challenge so far. Nikki has been diagnosed with advanced metastatic breast cancer. We are in for some difficult times but we are determined to stay strong. Please send good vibes, prayers and virtual hugs.
I've added a yellow "Donate" button above for anyone that feels inclined to help in that way.
Give your loved ones a big hug! Life can change so fast.
We were supposed to get the results of her PET scan that shows just how far the cancer has spread yesterday (Friday) but no word so we are still held in suspense for a few days. I guess that's good news. I assume if it was bad news they would have contacted us right away. I hope.
Nikki is so wonderful. I've been by her side every possible moment and she said to me to be sure that I don't forget through all of this to have some "girl-time".
We've been trying to stay upbeat and find humor whenever possible. One interesting occurrence was when the hospital representative was describing wigs that some people chose when the chemo causes the hair to fall out and we were both like "Yeah we know all about that, move on..."
Good news! It seems the good vibes everyone has been sending have been starting to work. We got a call while out late yesterday from the "nurse navigator"...she's kind of your cruise director to whole experience. She said she forgot to call yesterday and tell us that the PET scan showed that there were no cancer masses past the 2 sites. So she'll still be in for about 7 months of chemo/surgery/radiation but the prognosis is much better than if it had spread beyond the lymph node. It feels weird to be celebrating a week or so before having to start chemotherapy but after a series of ever progressing bad news a win is a win!
We met with the oncologist today. He tried to be upbeat and positive but didn't sugarcoat it. The side effects of the chemo are not fun. There was a bit of good news. He wants her to start next week rather than in the next few days. We are both anxious to get this procedure underway but before this all came about we both had made plans for "girl time" this coming weekend. Nikki is going away for a couple of days with girlfriends and I am spending a day with my friend Lisa. So we both get one last chance to kick up our heels.
Well our first week course of chemo is over. I sat with her through the treatments which weren't as bad as I expected. I'm not sure what I expected but it was kind of interesting and she was not uncomfortable. Of course the after effects are the kicker. You hear people exclaim all the advances in cancer treatments. That's only partially of true, at least for breast cancer. The drugs they use are the same ones they used 30 years ago. The difference is the improvements attenuating the side effects. Nausea and immuno-suppression is better managed. Still, her white blood cells dropped more than expected. So I've chosen to not sleep next to her in order to avoid spreading germs to her. Where to sleep? The kids usually stay up too late for the couch, and our guest room is occupied by a daughter that moved home. So a logical option was to sleep in the closet. You can imagine the jokes that initiated.
Cancer and Kidneys and Covid, Oh My!!
The hits keep coming but we are doing our best to stay positive.
Nikki's treatments had taken on a pattern where she would feel cruddy for about 10 days then 4 days of feeling good before the next treatments starts the cruddiness again. So we thought we'd take advantage of the good days to get our of town and "breathe" for a bit. Unfortunately, Nikki had to deal with a kidney stone for about half of the time. Luckily the pain passed and we were able to enjoy some of our get-away.
Now things have taken another turn. One of our daughters has come down with Covid. So we are isolating her in the basement and keeping Nikki on the second store to try to make sure she doesn't catch it. I've been trying to take care of both since I've tested negative twice (I think I already got it previously) and trying to spend time keeping Nikki company during her quarantine. To pass time I've played with my girl stuff a couple of times even trying on Nikki's new wig.