Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve

I am hoping for peace in the new year for me and for my family. Life is not easy but I am really in a strange place in my head. On one hand I now have a plan medically and I feel good about it on the other hand I am starting to realize that treatment is going to be rougher than I thought. I am having severe hot flashes like I am in memepause, my bones hurt really bad, my mouth is numb and I don't really taste anything from thrush. I am now paranoid about germs because if I get an infection of any kind it can land me in the hospital again which in itself scares the hell out of me because of all the germs there. I have a lot to look forward to though so I am trying to keep my mind on other things like poker which I play now mostly to just have fun which is a difficult task because of the misery that is my life right now. My goal is to get to the light at the end of the tunnel any way I can and make each day as positive an experience as I can. I want to get to the other side and start to live my wonderful life again. This new year means so much to me right now more than ever. Tonight is the 10 year anniversary of the night Tommy and I got engaged. Who would have thought ten years ago that our lives would have given us 2 wonderful kids and a home we love we are so lucky and blessed in life I can't really complain. I just want to be here to see the miracles of our lives for a long long time. I do feel for women now who are going through change of life I used to laugh and blow it off as if it was nothing but now I understand. My nights are filled with soaking wet sheets and blankets and my days are also going through periods of either freezing to death or sweating like a basketball player. Even my bald head gets sweaty its not that funny anymore so I am sorry for making fun of my mom all these years.

The decisions of my life!

Today I went to see the Radiologis/Oncologis and it was a consultation for radiation therapy. This was a difficult day for me I had this beautiful young doctor sitting across a desk from me and asking me to call him by his first name Boris with all my paperwork sitting in front of him. He was about as nice as they come but still I had to listen to him give me the truth no sugar coating just the truth which is very scary when your truth is cancer. We went over everything in fine detail such as the fact that I fall into the category of the grey zone which means that I could opt for either getting radiation or not getting radiation and both sides are equally acceptable. This only makes my decision harder as it turns out because I will decide my fate possibly and that is a heavy burden not just for me but for my children and the people who love me. The truth is they don't have enough studies completed with people who are in this grey zone like me so his job was to give me the most information as possibe and this information is not easy to listen to frankly. The fact that I am young and that the grade of my cancer is moderate to high (meaning the aggressiveness) goes for radiation therapy but the fact that my tumors were completely removed during my mastectomy and the margins were clean (meaning the doctor got it all out during surgery)goes against radiation since it does have risks of it own. The amount of information given to me today was like the first day of physics class just almost not processable. I am giving you all the condensed version but this decision is really difficult.Do you know what else is difficult is that the doctor was 41 and looked like a kid to me now that is scary people he is basically my age.I remember in elementary school when the teacher said one day you are the people who will be running the world one day and now I think back at how right this teacher was because this kid sitting next to me in class might as well be the man who is caring for me now. Its weird the things you think about when your life gets put in front of you on some papers with numbers and percentages on them. I listened to him tell me that I had about a 15%-20% chance all information on the table of the tumors coming back near the site of where my breasts once were. Now this does not mean spreading cancer or metastasis it means the original cancer coming back either on the chest wall or surrounding area around my breast. If the cancer were to return it makes my chances of survival one out of four or 25% fatal. If I do the radiation therapy than the chance of the cancer coming back to the breast area goes down to about 5%-8% so it significantly reduces the chance of the cancer returning to the original site which in turn gives me a better chance of survival. The drawbacks to radiation are increased risk of lyphadema which is swelling in the arm that never goes away as well as increased risk of other types of cancer developing due to exposure to radiation and also the breast itself might not look as good because of the healing process being severely reduced to the tissue being exposed. After about an hour of discussing in detail those and many more statistics and looking at my cancer individually I came to the decision to go with being safe rather than sorry because once I make this choice its done and I never want to say I wish I did this or that I want to use every tool in the arsenal to kill this cancer and never to question my choices as being the reason I may die. Just like my choice to have a double mastectomy as a precaution instead of a lumpectomy or just removing one breast I am making this decision with no regrets. I believe in God and I know he will take care of me either way but I also believe in medicine and I will use whatever I can to win this war. I am totally comfortable with my choices so far I have the best doctors in the world at the best cancer hospital in the world and I have more friends and family praying for me than I ever knew I had so lets keep fighting together and praying together and no regrets just going forward to victory!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I am starting to realize my life is never going to be the same again. Everything in my it is no longer going to even resemble life before the big C. I keep trying to trick my mind into pretending it is but its forever different. My sadness about this is really hard to deal with. Its not so much anger anymore just sadness and fear. As I lay in the hospital on Christmas day listening to the doctor order a brain scan for my sinus infection I got a glimpse of my future which is wanting to know but not wanting to know or having them test but not really wanting to have them test because it is to scary to think what if it comes back bad. Being positive only goes so far and then your left with the reality that cancer can come back and it can be anywhere and trying to put it out of your head only goes so far and then the panic sets in. I need reassuarance but the only one who can give it to me is God and its sometimes hard to hear God because its blind faith that allows you to hear him not your physical ears. I just want my mind to rest for a little while and I cant seem to do that lately. I think I need to find medication to help me because it cant be good for me physically or mentally to feel in a constant state of anxiety.I am finding that the drugs I have been on just don't seem to help as much anymore. Part of me feels like I should just be strong and get through it without these strong medications I am already taking and part of me feels like just freaking do what you need to to make it better. I don't think anyone is going to judge me at this moment so I am going to do what I have to. I just hope there is something out there that will help. There is not much I can do about my new reality except give it my best to appreciate the positive and pray that my strenght holds up both in my head and in my body.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making it Day by Day

This Chrismas was an interesting one to say the least. On Christmas eve my family and my mother went to my husband's ex wifes home for dinner and celebration. It is very interesting but we get along very well. My husband being the kind of father he is made it easier for us to have such a great relationship with them. My step son who is 18 years old is the most important thing in this whole situation so we made a deal a long time ago to put him first and now we are all thankful. My stepson is a really good human being and I attribute that to parents who knew what was important and that is to put all the garbage away and just be parents together and leave the kids out of the grownup stuff. Anyway we all had a great time and this was the second year we all spent christmas together without having to schlep Nicky (my stepson) all over the map in the middle of christmas. My children loved it they love their big brother and they just have so much fun being with all of us together I can't wait untill next year when we can do it again.

Now to Chrismas day. Not as enjoyable unfortunately. I woke up with my eyes blurred and stuck together with a bad sore throat and a headache that was debilitating. I did not know what to do my oncologist was unable to be reached and I was really scared because I had just go my first Chemo of Taxol (a new drug for me) on Wednesday. As the hours went on my head was in so much pain that as soon as I tried to eat I ran to the bathroom to throw up. I have never felt such pain in my head before so I told my husband to call 911. When the Ambulance came they strapped me in for a ride to the hospital and that is where I spent the rest of my Christmas. I got a cat scan of my sinuses and brain and the finally got in touch with my oncologist and spoke. I have a really bad sinus infection so they gave me IV antibiotics and sent me home with some more pain meds. Thank God I am feeling better today just really guilty that I ruined my families christmas day plans. I just wanted so bad to feel normal and stay home with my kids from now on and like a rug being pulled out from under me I am now realizing I can't do that. I can't let my kids be traumatized by my illness anymore like yesterday and I can't be left alone without anyone nearby to help me. I feel so bad for my kids the were so happy to hear I was going to stay home now and I just can't do it yet. It's so unfair I just want to scream why can't I just have a break why does it always have to be this hard other people go to work and are able to function almost normally and it makes me so mad that I just cant get one dam break and get through this one easily. Please pray for me and I will pray for myself for this to be all that I need to suffer and that the rest will be just normal nothing wonderful just normal. I am getting tired of fighting and I just want to keep my head in the game so I need support more than ever right now. I don't have any poker tournaments coming up right now which believe it or not they get my mind moving forward and give me something to look ahead at to keep me going so maybe thats why I am having some trouble with nothing to grasp for like they took the carrot away from the horse and now he doesn't know where to go or what to do. That is where I am at now I don't know where to go or what to do. I only know whatever comes my way I will do my absolute best and give all I have and pray God leads me down the right path.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Chrismas and Happy Holidays

I wanted to say to everyone who has read my blog or who just cares about me and my struggle thank you you are my gift and I appreciate you. This year will end up being a very strange year for me. On one hand its the best time in my life ever due to my poker escaapades and the attention it has drawn to my fight against breast cancer but on the other hand I have things that are so scary I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. I have never been so affraid nor so excited about my life before. I have a lot to be thankfull for this season and I don't ever want to forget that. It really doesn't matter how much time I have left although obviously I'm hoping for lots of years but what matters most is the quality of mine and my families life. This lesson is a tough one because I am constantly catching myself saying why me in my head or being jealous of my sister for being watched so closely now and wondering what if. I will do my best to put that behind me and move forward one step at a time. I hope that this faith that I have and then don't have depending on the moment learns to stick around a little longer each day and may god give me the strenght to keep fighting. Anyway this is a time for family, friends, love and laughter and that is one thing cancer can't take away so lets all make sure we laugh once a day at least, love as much as possible and spend quality time with our families the kind of time that makes memories for you and them that will live on forever. God bless my friends and family and of course Santa!

Happy Holidays
Nicole Rowe

Sunday, December 20, 2009

O.K Guys I got some splainin to do here. LOL I am sorry I haven't had the time to write in a couple of weeks but here is the deal. First I went to Los Angeles to be in the audience for the taping of the Million Dollar Challenge which was the time of my life. I got to meet some of my idols from the pokerworld who were just about as nice as could possibly be. I also got to watch an amazing thing happen which was a great family that we met out there and became really frienly with won a million dollars on the show right in front of our eyes. These people were from NY and we had no idea the first half of the day that they were going to be on the show at all. They didn't know it either the guy Mike was a fourth alternate to be a contestant and all three people before him had to lose thier match for him to be on the show at all. Well all three people before him lost their matches and he got on the show. Anyway it couldn't have happened to nicer people. He is a retired police sargeant who was in the World Trade Center 2 minutes after the planes hit on 9/11 and he was just like a hero would be as nice and humble as they come. After I got home from LA I decided I wanted to be on the show so I entered an online tournament with 10,000 people at pokerstars and I won the thing amazingly enough. This tournament gives you the opportunity to make an audition video to be on the show so my friend Maria, Myself and my sister Liz had 10 days to make this 2 minute video and upload it to you tube to get myself on the show. Then I have this really great man who is teaching and training me to be a better poker player also backed me in a 1600 dollar deep stack tournament in Atlantic City for 3 days so I was away for a while and last but not least my computer broke and I couldn't get online to Blog for a while but thank god for Dad again the hero coming through with giving me his brand new toshiba laptop to use until either I fix mine or get a new one. As you can see I have been living my life to the fullest and I don't plan to slow down cancer or no cancer chemo or no chemo I will enjoy every dam minute I've got. I missed blogging though and just to update I have a new chemotherapy starting on Wednesday call Taxol and I have been told it is not as bad as the last chemo I was taking so I think I am through with the rough stuff and the rest should be a walk in the park...