I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from my first dose of chemo. The theme seems to be anti-nausea, water, anti-nausea,water, steroids,water,bladder protector (too much water?),water, Kersplat-in, water, don’t forget your anti-nausea, water. Currently waiting for last bag of saline to finish, lounging and watching Antiques Roadshow uninterrupted. All in all, not so bad. Plus Dave in a toga.


P.S. I sent Sam to school in shorts and a t-shirt. Temp dropped to 49 this afternoon. Pre-chemo brain? Builds character, right? Cause he needs more….




I am (also) my Dad’s Daughter…



Feb 1974 2


Well, yes.   OBVIOUSLY.   Aside from the freckles and the propensity for plumpness….I like a plan.   When it comes to situations like the one that Meredith and I are in,  I want to know the next steps…and the steps after those.   First Chemo – ok fine.  Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Much?  That may have been Mom’s voice sneaking out.   Both of them come out of my mouth on a regular basis.

So first: Chemo.   I’m participating in a study looking at Neoadjuvant Cisplatin vs “AC” for women who carry the BRCA 1 gene.  I’m paraphrasing.   There are lots of big medical words, and I’ve looked most of them up….but I’m not going to try to spell them right now (see exceptions below).   By the virtual flip of a coin I am in the group that is taking Cisplatin (which in my head is like Ker-SPLAT -in).   This is part of the Moonshots program at MD Anderson which sounds very glamorous and exciting – but mostly they are going to take any leftover tissue and lots of blood and discover a cure for cancer.   I mean you know.  No biggie.     I’ve also learned that when they see the words “Triple Negative”  the researchers come out of the woodwork to sign you up for all sorts of studies.   Which mostly involves blood.   I say take it…I’ll make some more.   Just remember the little people when you discover the cure.

So Greetings and Salutations Cisplatin – next Monday we report for duty and get to work.


*Neoadjuvant  and Deleterious are exceptions to the not wanting to spell the big words rule only because I like to say them.

You start at the very beginning – it’s a very good place to start…


So what do you do when something that is going on is not a secret, but you don’t want to walk around saying it all the time? I’ve been rolling thoughts in my head for over month that rotate between Meredith, Dad, Mom, Brad, Bridget, Sam, Dad, Meredith, David, Me, Wine, Hedgehogs, Meredith, Sam…etc. Even now, I’m having trouble writing about this. I hear Mom in my head constantly – the secret to writing is to write. That’s it. So the secret to telling is to tell. Correct?

It would probably be awkward to walk around saying, “Hi, my sister and I both have the exact same type of cancer.” Double Boo.

So I’ll write it out. After Meredith was diagnosed in Feburary (sigh, still sucks). I decided to move up my yearly Well Woman exam from my normal June to immediately. The logic behind that was to get it out of the way so I could have as much free time as possible to make the trek up to Bethesda to help out at the Brelo household. I do my self exams faithfully and at the Dr. appointment, there was nothing to be felt. Off to the Mammogram a few days later. Call back. Eh – it happens – I have scar tissue from my reduction in 1994 (also not a secret). HOWEVER, I haven’t been called back in a long time – digital imaging has pretty much eliminated that need. But still, it could be nothing. Right? I mean Meredith JUST got diagnosed, that would be …ok..I’m not going to say it because I don’t want to jinx it. I watch them find the spot on the ultrasound and measure it out – my stomach turns. My brain knows it could be just a cyst or a fibriod, but with my family history…well, shit. Another phone call…we need you to come in for the biopsy. Biopsy (actually 2, they did a lymph node as well) – done – and there you go. Stage I – no lymph involvement. Turns out to be Triple Negative – just like my little sister.

So that’s it. The beginning of a new adventure. I’m now in the process of “what next” at MD Anderson. Meredith and I are already planning our trip to Disney World next year.

Meredith’s Brain Dump is here http://meredithhhb.wordpress.com