My doctor layed out my plan to cure Malignant Phyllodes Tumor cancer.

Katharyn BradyStarred Page By Katharyn Brady, 29th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

Although our doctors can prepare us for our experiences, nothing really prepares us for the twists and turns that result from our actual journey.

Preparing for my first cycle of chemomy first cycle of chemo

My doctor prepared me on what to expect with my 6 cycles of chemo.

  • A dual port will be surgically implanted in my body so the chemo therapy can be administered.
  • Each chemo cycle was 5 days in the hospital and two weeks, two days out of the hospital. (Prior to this admission, I had been a patient in the hospital twice. The day I was born and two months later to repair a hernia that was present at birth.)
  • I will lose my hair on my head within three weeks.

Creating a sense of control for myself.

Prior to starting chemo therapy, my hair was long, down to the middle of my back. My first thought was that I wanted to do something positive and feel some sense of control. I asked my friend Mark to accompany me to the hair salon for moral support and to help me pick a short style. He loves short hair on women and so I knew he would be my perfect wing man.

I chose Locks of Love as the non-profit to donate the hair that I cut off. They provide hair to children with illness that don’t have the means to buy hair for their condition.

Mark and I first met for coffee. It was a nice way to relax and start this step in my journey.

In the salon, we looked through pictures in the hair stylists magazines and settled on a pixie cut. My hair stylist put a rubber band on my hair and then cut, cut, cut. It was off. I was excited. I would be helping some child in need. It felt good.

My stylist continued cutting until she had completed the pixie cut.

The first chemo cycle begins.

Although I was a little nervous, I believed my first chemo cycle would go well.

Everyone at the hospital, the nurses and doctors were excellent. They made me as comfortable as possible. I won't lie, there were times I felt so horrible from the chemo, I questioned whether I made the right decision and whether I should of just let nature take its course. I became afraid I would never feel better because days of feeling bad were overwhelming. But, I got through it thanks to the staff and the various medications.

Eventually, the 5 days passed and I went home to complete my two weeks and two days of my cycle.

The twists and turns of the first chemo cycle.

Although my doctor had made it clear if at anytime I had a fever of 100.4 I would need to go to the emergency room of the hospital, I didn’t really expect this would be my experience. I was so wrong.

One night, after being home from the hospital for a couple of days, I didn’t feel well. I put the thermometer in my mouth and it read 100.4. My husband and I got in the car and headed to emergency.

I was not prepared for what happened next. I was admitted into the hospital. It was determined that I had some kind of infection and they were going to have to try to figure it out.

I was admitted into isolation. Everyone that came into my room had to wear a mask. One day turned into two days, two into three days and then four days. It was determined that my port had become infected and the only course of action was to remove it. The infection got into the catheter and it wouldn’t be possible to use antibiotics to resolve it.

Remember, the port was just put in a couple of weeks before this.

This was the final straw that caused me to grieve all that I had been through over the past several months; the misdiagnosis of the first lump back in May and the wrong medical team. Collectively, these two issues caused me to lose 10 months. I felt like I was having set back after set back.

I allowed myself to cry and get it all out. I was able to tell one of the medical students my story. It felt good and it was cleansing. He was so empathetic.

Once I released the grief, I was able to reflect on how I was being taken care of. So often, I have taken care of others. I was being nurtured and cared for by an awesome team of people. I needed to recognize this and experience it. I had a new attitude. I felt centered again.

The next morning, my medical team said the port would be removed and a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line would be implanted in my arm. I would only lose 5 days in my process due to the infection.

I was able to go home with the condition that I would self administer the antibiotic via IV, 3 times per day for the next 10 days.

A nurse came to my home with the supplies and taught me how to use the equipment. It was easy.

Being selfish is sometimes called for.

The experience with the infection was very intense. I learned that getting infections really suck and mean additional days in the hospital. I became hyper vigilant in that when I went outside of my home, I wore a surgical mask so as not to breath in germs. If someone wanted to visit me they couldn’t be sick and they couldn’t have been around someone who is or was recently sick.

Although we want to consider others and what is good for them, there are times we have to be selfish and only consider what is good for us. We might need to speak up and tell people “no”. Our lives may depend on it. We can be kind when we deliver the message, but we must deliver it.

Other articles by this author.

Katharyn's Journey with a rare form of cancer, Malignant Phyllodes Tumor.

Diagnosis: from benign to malignant.

Having cancer brought opportunity for healing and change.

Weigh the pros and cons of a decision and then commit.

Counting down to being cancer free . . . or was I?

Critical decision: Change the medical team.


Cancer, Cancer Diagnosis, Cancer Treatment

Meet the author

author avatar Katharyn Brady
I have survived cancer multiple times. It took 8 surgeries, 33 sessions of radiation and chemo therapy. My focus is on being healthy in mind, body and spirit and helping others do the same.

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author avatar C.D. Moore
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Many blessings and wishes for your recovery.

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author avatar Katharyn Brady
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you, C.D.

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author avatar Mariah
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Get well soon CD says..thank you for sharing this with us..x

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author avatar Katharyn Brady
1st May 2014 (#)

Thank you Mariah. Positive thoughts and prayers from others really helps in the recovering and healing process.

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