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My Battle with Breast Cancer

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This morning, as I write this, I am trying to keep busy so I won't think about how thirsty and hungry I am.  My surgery is at noon today, and I am not supposed to have anything to eat or drink before hand.  In fact, I couldn't even get a drink in the middle of the night.  That midnight cut off is rough. Scroll down and read yesterday's post to get more of an idea of what is going on in my life today, if you missed it.

Yesterday, I asked my Facebook friends what kind of entertainment we should have today.  I think the Story Time theme won.  So today's post will all be in the comment section.  I am going to start the story with a few words, and let you guys keep the story going.  Hopefully there will be more than just one or two of you play along.  I know I really don't need to say this, but I am going to anyway.  Please keep it clean.  Our grandkids see this, and they are old enough to read. 🙂

On to the comment section…

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Surgery, Mastectomy, & Expanders – Oh My

Tomorrow, I will be going in for my next surgery. 

I have been very open with my battle with breast cancer, and I don't want you to think I have been holding back.  Truth be told, things have just slowed down.  It seems like when I was first diagnosed things happened so quickly, now that I am finished with chemo everything has slowed to a tolerable pace.

Tomorrow, I will be having a right mastectomy and begin the reconstruction process.  The reconstruction process seems to be a long one, and involves a few surgeries.  But, it is all going to be worth it. 

When I had my left mastectomy, I thought my breast surgeon put a tissue expander in at that time but I was wrong.  Actually, he had left extra skin for the reconstruction process. 

Here is what an expander looks like.

Breast tissue expanders
The round grey looking area is where they will insert the needle to add more saline.  The object of all of this is to slowly stretch the muscle.  The muscle? You say. 🙂

This is how it is done.

expanders-muscle

As you can see in the photo above, the expanders go under the muscle. 

When I asked my plastic surgeon how big my oobiebays would be after surgery he said, "You will look like an eleven-year-old again."  We all got a laugh out of that. 

I have to deal with the drains again, but they will only be in a week or so.  Then after a few weeks, I will go in to have saline added to my expanders.  When the expanders get to the size we are wanting, then I will go in for surgery to have the implants put in. 

At this time, I don't know how long this process will take, but I am on the road to a full recovery!

Tomorrow I am posting a game of some sort.  There will be people in the waiting room needing entertainment, the surgery lasts for 3 hours, and I will need entertainment after my visitors leave.  So, be sure to come by and play along.

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Funny OobieBay Story

A while back I shared with you what I use as my left oobiebay.  It just happened to come with my post-surgery camisole and I just keep using it. 

That is about all of the background info you need for this little story.  Feel free to laugh, I guarantee that you are laughing with me and not at me on this one.

It wasn't just a regular Sunday morning, it was the Sunday that I knew I wouldn't have to miss church anymore because of the side effects of chemo.  It was the Sunday that I had been looking forward to since June 26th.  That was the first Sunday I missed church because of the side effects. 

As soon as I walked in the door of the church building I was welcomed with hugs and handshakes.  I made my way into the auditorium, and there again I received many hugs and handshakes.  After our communion, we send all of the little ones to children's church, and have a brief minute or two of fellowship which was full of hugs.  It made me feel great!

After the services, as we were headed to the door (more hugs & handshakes), a nice lady stopped me to tell me about a ribbon cutting she had been to at a cancer resource center here.  She proceeded to tell me that they have wigs, bras, head scarves, bras, stocking caps, bras, mastectomy bras, and all kinds of stuff.  I thought it was odd that she mentioned bras at least four times, but thought maybe she was just trying to remember everything.  I didn't give it a second thought.

McD and I finally made it out the door, and were headed to the pick-up when it hit me.

You see, that morning I put on a camisole instead of the sports bra I usually wear.  I remembered thinking, "I sure hope that oobiebay poof stays in place."  It turns out that I didn't need to worry about the poof moving, it was my real oobiebay that started drooping.  I am sure it was from raising my arms for all those hugs.  So the poof stayed put and looked nice and perky, but the real one went south – I was so lop-sided you couldn't miss it!

That is why she kept mentioning the bras, I just know it!

I think I will always wear the bra from here on out!!

Faith, My Battle with Breast Cancer, Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday – My LAST Chemo Treatment

I'm getting ready to walk out the door, be chauffered into town, and receive my last chemo treatment. 

I AM SO THANKFUL!!

Last night I laid in bed trying to figure out what kind of Chemo Treatment Fun we could have today, but I just kept coming back to the fact that I've made it to my last treatment.  Sure, I love hearing funny stories about the first car you drove or owned, jokes, and other silly things like that. 

And if you have something funny to share, please do!  I always enjoy reading them, laughing at them, and making other people in the treatment room wonder what kind of drugs I'm really getting.  McD likes reading them too!!  Really, it is part of our entertainment as we kill four hours there.

But.  Today is another Thankful Thursday.

Today I am SO thankful for my doctors, nurses, pretty ladies in the office (Lady P who keeps me honest on my Thankful Thursdays every Thursday), and my new friend Shirley. 

I am thankful for all my friends and family who have supported me throughout this whole ordeal, and who I know will continue to do so through my next few surgeries.  Thank you!!

For Wes & Jane, and Cyndi who found me at the rodeo to hug my neck and let me know I was loved! 

For all the cards of encouragement I have received in the mail. 

For my wonderful husband who treats me like a queen no matter what!!  I couldn't do any of this without you, McD!

And lastly, I am SO thankful for the rain we got last night!

So what are you thankful for? 

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Hello? Anybody Out There?

Okay, I've been away from the blog for a while.  I don't really have a good excuse.  I could make something up, but I just don't want to.  I'm not that creative anyway.

Sure, part of the time I had an excuse.  Chemo knocked me on my butt fast this time, and I didn't recover as fast as I think I should.  Maybe my body is just tired.  It could've been because I had just returned from Rhode Island, and I was just tired. 

Who knows.

All I know is that I've missed you guys!

I don't really have anything important to say. 

I am doing well. (Now.)

I only have one more chemo treatment!!  YEAH!!

It seems some of the side effects are just now starting which is kind of surprising me.  My eyes started watering all the time.  At first I thought it was my allergies, so I took allergy medicine and it didn't help.  When I finally saw my doctor, he told me that it could be a side effect of the chemo.  Great!  I look like I am crying all. the. time.  The skin under my eyes is red and almost raw from me wiping the tears away all the time.  Nice. 

We have decided that we will not be doing Christmas photos this year.  At first I thought it would be a fun photo to have.  You know, since McD and I are both bald and all.  But, I have gained a lot of weight, I look like I am crying all the time, and redness under my eyes.  I really don't want my photo taken right now.  Can you blame me?

Oh, and to make everything even better…I think I am getting ready to lose my fingernails. 

Yep.  You read that right.

I feel like someone shoved something up under all of my fingernails and then just left it there.  I am pretty used to it now, but when I have to apply pressure to anything I certainly feel it.

The other night I described what it felt like to McD, and he looked at me kind of funny.  Then he asked me if I've ever had anything shoved under my fingernails.  And I have.  One day we were working outside and I got a splinter way up under my fingernail.  I worked for a doctor at the time, and he met me at the office to remove the splinter.  He had to ram some tweezer like things up under my nail to get the splinter out.  It hurt like h e double hockey sticks, but…I didn't cry.  :) 

So yes, McD, I do know what it feels like to have something shoved up under my fingernail.  🙂

That is kind of my update, and my apology to leaving everyone hanging lately.

I'll try to be better.

 

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Chemo Day Fun! – What Would You Bring Back?

So, this morning I will be sitting in the chemo chair again.  This time it is different though.  They are going to do the same ol' thing, of course, but it is the next to the last chemo treatment for me.

YIPPEE!!

The other day, which could have been a month ago, I saw a commercial for a new television show that will be starting soon.  I say a "new" television show, but it isn't really.  It is a re-make.

Charlie's Angels (Photo was borrowed from IMDb)

This is the real Charlie's Angels. 

This is the show I think of when anyone says "Hello, Charlie."

This is the show that we all try to imitate their infamous pose.

I'm not really sure how I feel about them doing a re-make of it.  I am not to big on changing some of my favorite shows.  Like when they did the re-make of Hawaii Five-0.  McD wanted to watch it, and we did.  Then it became a show that I recorded for him to watch without me.  It just wasn't Hawaii Five-0 to me.  Neither of us watch it anymore.  He said he tried, and tried, but it was just too hokey for him. 

Today for my Chemo Day Entertainment brought to me only by YOU, my friends and family, I would like to know what television shows you would like brought back.

Should they bring back…

Magnum P.I. (Picture borrowed from IMDb)

I think it would be a fun one to bring back, as long as it isn't hokey.  I mean, Magnum's son could be the P.I., or better yet…his daughter.  But Tom Selleck would HAVE to be a part of that show.

Maybe Silver Spoons for the kids.  And again, Ricky Schroder could be the father in the show.  Oh, oh, wait!  The Facts of Life!  I will seriously be singing the them song to that show for the rest of the day. 

I could go on and on.  There were a lot of shows I liked, but not all of them could be brought back.  Like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Bonanza, The Lone Ranger, M*A*S*H, Little House on the Prairie, and the list goes on and on. 🙂

Tell me, what shows would you like to see again.

 

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Chemo Day Fun! First Cars?

ACR_0934 This was my dad's first car.  I don't recall what year it was, but it is a Corvair.  It looked much better when he was driving it, but it backfired all the time.  My mom used to tell us stories about when they were dating.  She said that she always knew when dad turned onto their street.  I am sure he would gun it, and then it would backfire.  I'd be giggling everytime, but I'm weird like that.

My first car was a 1985 Chevy Chevette, but my friend Gin and I called it the "vette."  It was red, and drove about like the Flintstones car.

McD's first car was a Chevy Vega.  I won't even tell you the choices he had to choose from, and he STILL chose the Vega.  Granted, he said his dad talked him into it.  He said it was green.  I will see if I can find a picture of it.  🙂

What was your first car? 

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Cancer/Chemo – Probably To Much Information

I have to say that there are things in this post that I really never thought I would talk about, but since I am trying to keep all of this as real as possible I thought I better.

The side effects of chemo are can be a little different for each person, I realize this but some of them are pretty much the same.  So, I know there are a few ladies out there getting ready to have some of these side effects and if I can warn you about them then you might be a little more prepared.

You've probably been told about the metallic taste in your mouth, and how your taste buds seem to work against you.  Well, believe it or not, half the time I still use my silverware, but I do keep plastic ware handy.  Another thing to keep handy is straws.  I have found that when my taste buds are at their worst even water tastes funny sometimes, so I use a straw and it isn't nearly as bad.

The worst part the metallic taste for me is that my taste buds aren't letting me eat some of my favorite foods like cheese and tomatoes.  Sometimes I can't even drink tea, and that my friends is heartbreaking.  It is hot, hot, hot here, and a nice tall glass of sweet tea is usually a welcomed treat.  Not so much during chemo.  So sad, but it will be over soon.

Another side effect, for me anyway, is weight gain.  It is because I am eating more than usual, and I know this.  But the steroids they give me makes me want to eat, and since the salty stuff tastes horrible then I eat the sweet stuff.  I'm gonna need a new wardrobe before long.

ACR_2971tmi
This is my left oobiebay when I choose to wear it.  Right before I had my mastectomy, I fretted about looking lopsided.  After everything was said and done, I rarely use this.  I do sometimes if the shirt I am wearing just doesn't look right without it, but a lot of the times I and the One-oobba Wonder. 

Let's talk about hairloss.  My arm pit hair was the first to go.  I can't remember the last time I shaved my pits, and I love it!  They are smoother now than they have ever been.  Well, they were smooth like this before I grew pit hair, but you know what I mean.  So far, I haven't lost all of my hair.  I still have my eyebrows (yea) and some of my eyelashes, but everywhere else it is disappearing.  Legs are still kind of prickly, but believe it or not I don't even mind anymore.  I walk around in my capris and shorts with my prickly hairy legs, and I don't care.

It is so funny how cancer and chemo change a person's mindset, or my mindset anyway.  Used to, I would never wear pants or shorts that showed my legs if I hadn't shaved.

Did I mention that this post might be too much information (TMI)?

I am experiencing menopausal symptoms these days.  That is interesting.  With me just being forty, my doctor smiled at my yesterday and told me that I would more than likely start having my regular cycles again when this is all over.  So you know what that means?  I get to do menopause twice!  Yippee!!  At least I will know what to expect the second time around, right? 

There's always a silver lining.  Or is there?  Usually I say there is ALWAYS a silver lining, but I am failing to see the silver lining in this next one.

No one told me I'd possibly or probably get hemorrhoids.  I talked to McD about them, but I couldn't bring myself to tell my doctor.  After telling McD about them in detail, I told him not to tell the doctor.  I told him that I really didn't want the doctor to you know, look at them.  Or feel for them.  Oh goodness.  I am going through enough without that having to happen too!  So, when the doctor asked about my BMs and if they were regular, soft, dark in color, or having diarrhea I just said they were fine.  They ARE fine, it's just wear it comes out that might or might be a little tender at times.

UPDATED to add that I told the nurse about my roids today.  Mine are internal, and they were kind of surprised that I even had them.  I am just supposed to let them know if they get worse.  And she said he wouldn't have looked at them anyway. 🙂

Too much information?  I warned ya! 

I think I will post about some of our vacation after this one. HA!