On April 22, 2014 at 11:50 AM, I received the dreaded news. “You have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.”
After first asking what this meant in layman’s terms, the idea that I now had cancer, sank in. Stage III and aggressive on top of that. I felt angry. Here I was a healthy, happy and hardworking single mother of three (23,22 and 11) and a grandmother to a three year old. My second grandchild was due to be born any day in the middle of all this. (I was blessed with my granddaughter being born on April 13th. I was able to help deliver her and cut the umbilical cord! ) I had been through and done so much in my life but wow, I never imagined this. How would the rest of my life play out? How would this affect us? How would my children handle this? How would I work and take care of my family as I was so used to doing for so long? Sure I was aware of treatment but in the back of my mind was the inevitable growing fear and overwhelming uncertainty. I did my best to control them but unfortunately they eat you up. My life felt forever changed from this point forward. I had always heard things like in an “In an instant your life can change.” I felt like this was my instant.
On May 8, 2014 I had my exam by a Doctor at Moffitt in Tampa. I was told there is a 6 cm mass in my left breast and several other surrounding smaller masses. My lymph nodes are also infected.
What the heck is going to happen to me?
Over the next week I was back and forth to Moffitt in Tampa for a series of tests to make sure the cancer wasn’t elsewhere in my body.
On May 19, 2014 I got my port “installed” into my chest. It’s a weird thought but I’m so thankful I don’t have to get stuck every time the need to put something in or get something from me.
On May 27, 2014 I began Chemotherapy.
The Chemo they are using for my first 4 treatments is NASTY! They call it ‘Red Devil” and it gets pushed into my IV through big red syringes after my nurse suits up in a hazmat suit. It’s amazing that my body can even handle this stuff. Ugh.
On June 10, 2014 I buzzed my hair off. I’m glad I did this because a few days later it all fell out. I get lots of compliments on my chrome dome. People often stop me and ask who I shaved my head in honor of. They have a surprised look on their face when I tell them my situation. I’m glad they are surprised.
I don’t know how I’d get through this without my Faith, Family and Friends all coming together to keep me a strong as I can be. Sure I have down days but I’m in to win this fight against Breast Cancer. Nothing is going to stop me. Cancer picked the wrong girl to mess with. When I first was diagnosed my surgeon expressed the importance of me realizing I’m getting ready to run a “marathon of a fight” and keeping my head straight during this. He estimated the next two years of my life to be pretty rough. I'm giving it all I've got.
July 22, 2014 After an exam from my surgeon it is determined tht my mass is no longer detectable from exterior exam of breast.
THE CHEMO IS WORKING!!!! I HEART CHEMO!!!
As of August 13, 2014. I have two Chemotherapy treatments left then I get a 30 day breather before my mastectomy. (scheduled October 15, 2014) I know I said I heart chemo but I can't wait to be done with this phase. It's no fun at all. I am optimistic but there is no denying that cancer sucks.
I am able to work on the weeks in between my chemo since my treatment schedule is every two weeks. My job has been so wonderfully accommodating and understanding about all this.
I get a good laugh in when I try to say things and they come out all jumbled. Chemo Brain is legit and I can vouch for it! I mean, I think I’m saying the right thing but my chemo brain doesn’t always put it out into the universe that way. I reverse words and slur or totally lose my train of thought right in the middle of something. Fun times indeed!
Besides the chemo brain,my greatest symptoms as of now are really bad aches and pains in my joints and bones. From the top of my head to the soles of my feet, aches, jabs and jolts all the time. I’m also experiencing neuropathy in my hands and feet. They just don’t work like the used too and are very sore and stiff. They also look older to me. I have pretty bad headaches and my sleep patterns are all out of whack. With the amount of drugs I’m taking these days who knows what causes what. All I can do is power through it. I cannot WAIT to be done with all of this. I’m looking forward being a survivor and being able to be a part of a community of strength and perseverance. It’s amazing how many of us there are out there. It seems like everyone is affected by cancer in one way or another. I hope to be of help to others fighting the good fight some day.
Many people have asked what they can do to help and if they could donate to me. I have set up this page for that purpose.
I’m not usually one to ask for help but there is no hiding the fact that the cost of cancer is astronomical even with my insurance. It seems like several bills come in the mail every day. Not only are there deductibles, co-pays and whatever my insurance ends of not covering when all is said and done but there are all kinds of other costs involved. From loss of wages to fuel and travel costs to medicines to day-today quickly falling behind living expenses, it seems like the hole is getting pretty deep pretty fast.
Your donations will help cover any of these things.
I truly appreciate your willingness to help. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ll keep you posted on the goings on here so please check back or sign up for updates.
I am grateful of your support!
With Love and Faith- Kimberly Juiliano-Horton
Me with my 11 year old Courtney and my newest grandchild Averie.
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