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breast cancer

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday – Jan. 3, 2012

ThankfulThurs
Black-eyed peas are not my thing. Do you eat black-eyed peas each New Year? I realize they are a symbol of luck, but I really don't do superstitions. Okay, I might not open an umbrella in the house, or walk under a ladder, but it doesn't mean I believe in superstitions. Some of them are kind of fun to do like holding your breath over a bridge, or raising your feet when you drive over a railroad track. Fun, that is all they are for me.

The year of 2011, we ate black-eyed peas to play along with the world. That is the year I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The year of 2012, we skipped the black-eyed peas, and I beat breast cancer!

This year, 2013, I started the year cancer-free! I have finished all of my treatments and surgeries. I have to take Tamoxifen for another 4 years, but that's no step for a stepper. And my hair is growing!

Today, I am thankful for my cancer free life.

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.

Uncategorized

If I Were A Real Writer

If I were a real writer I think I could basically write a novel based on my own life.  I would change all the names to protect the innocent, of course, but I would lay it all out there for the world to read.  I honestly don't think anyone else would be interested in writing it for me, so it won't ever get written. 

Yesterday, I sat on the couch watching McD lounge in his recliner watching Alaska State Troopers.  I started thinking about how far we have come. You tell me, should I write a book or what?

As of today, McD and I have been married twenty years and one day. 

When we met at church in February of 1991, everyone there was all for us dating.  Then we got engaged in December, and people turned against it.  We weren't sure why, but oh well.  Some of the people completely against our marriage were family members.  Their opinions did not stop us.  We went to a church in a different town, spoke to the preacher, and set the date.  January 8, 1992.  Believe it or not, at that time I was not evening thinking about Elvis' birthday being the same day. I just happen to be a huge Elvis fan.

The day of my wedding I woke up with the flu.  Not just a few of the flu-like symptoms, the full fledge flu.  Some say that was an omen, but it didn't stop us.  I leaned on my dad as he walked me down the aisle, and when he passed my hand to McD I started leaning on him.  I've always leaned on my daddy, so how fitting was it to then lean on the love of my life at that point.  It was kind of symbolic, don't ya think?  Don't get me wrong, I still lean on my daddy and I am pretty durn sure that I always will.

We were married several years, and hit a rough patch.  At the time, in my mind, none of it was my fault.  Now, looking back, I know that it does take two to make everything work.  We separated, and almost got a divorce.  But we didn't.  We chose to work it out, and sixteen years later we are closer than ever.

We dealt with an ex-wife that did not like me, but honestly I didn't care for her much back then either. 
Just keeping it real here for ya.  We are completely fine these days.  In fact, I kind of like her.  🙂

My dad was electrocuted, and that was a major tragedy in our family, but he recovered and is doing well these days. 

I dropped dead in 1999.  They got me back, and I didn't think I could ever get closer to McD after that. 

Life flew by, and it was pretty normal – whatever normal means.  We had grandbabies, lights of our lives!  Weddings.  College graduation – mine. (Go O-State!) 

I quit my job in 2009, I think, and that was the first time I have ever been unemployed.  I started my job as ranch hand.  That is what McD calls it.  I basically fed the cows, and anything else he asked me to do around here.

Then, last year (2011) I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Just when I thought McD and I couldn't get any closer, we did.  He has been by my side every step of the way.  He is my rock.

That is just part of the story of our lives, minus some of the juicy details. 🙂

Thank you for standing by me through all of this, McD.  I couldn't have made it without ya!  Love you Babe!

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

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!

My Battle with Breast Cancer

Chemo Day Fun! Come Entertain Me – Puhl-ease!

Have you ever thought you'd read those words in the same title? Chemo and Fun? 

Well, as my Dad would say…that is a deep subject, believe it or not, when I go to chemo I have fun.  Now, if you know me then this will not surprise you because I try to have fun no matter where I am.  I really try not to be a fuddy-dud. 

And if you know me then you know that I kind of like music, but not just any music.  I like the good stuff.  I will admit that I like some of the newer stuff, but if you were to get into my pick-up the radio would be on the 60s, 70s, or 80s station (Sirius Rocks!).  Believe it or not, sometimes it is on the 50s station. 

I love hearing songs that take me back to a certain time or place, or that make me think of someone special in my life.

Today is my third chemo treatment.  WOOHOO!!!  I am half-way through!!  I love reading while I'm sitting there for hours on end, and something that I love to read are the comments that you leave.  So, let's make them interesting, shall we?

There's no contest, there's no prize, there's just good times…thinking of music that takes you back to a special time or place, or reminds you of a special person.  Tell me what that music is! 

Here's some of mine:

Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison – One day, McD in was in his Jeep and P3 and I were in my pick-up.  P3 and I were in the drive-thru at Hardee's and McD was parked off to the side waiting on us.  He kept signaling something with his fingers, like signing but not "real" signing.  We were looking at him like he was nuts, but then we figured out that he was trying to get us to turn to a specific radio station.  Pretty Woman was playing.  He pointed at me, and it made my day.  Yeah, he's a sweetie.  I'll never forget it.

Takin' Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive – At one time, this was my Dad's favorite song.  I still know all the words, and think of him every.single.time.it.comes.on.

Whip It by Devo – My cousin, Buddy, did a great dance to this.  In fact, this might be the song that he and his sister, my cousin Darla, were dancing to in the kitchen. He got all wild with it, and accidentally kicked her in the stomach.  It was kind of funny really, she wasn't hurt.  If you think that is bad, you should've seen my family playing Spoons.  Now that was exciting! 

Boy from New York City by Manhattan Transfer – Some of my high school peeps will remember this one, well the chicks that I took dance with anyway.  I can't believe after all these years, I still remember some of the moves to this dance.  Do any of you?

Edited to add this one, how could I forget it.  Julie, Do You Love Me by Bobby Sherman – My granny used to sing this to me when I was a little one.  Every time I hear it, I hear her singing it. 

Anything by Warrant – My first rock concert.  My first serious boyfriend, Randy M., drove us to Tulsa to see them. 

Anything and everything by KISS – Reminds me of my brother-from-a-different-mother, Darrin.  He's kinda, sorta, special to me.  When I was growing up I probably annoyed the crap outta him, hee hee.  I didn't like but one of his girlfriends, and I wasn't too quiet about it.  I had to listen to anything he listened to, and loved to pull pranks on him.  I even painted his toenails while he was sleeping one time.  I am still waiting on payback for that one.

There ya go.  McD is looking at me like I should be getting ready to go, and he is right…as usual.

Come on, lurkers DE-LURK, tell me about your music memories.

(Thanks Lady P, for putting this idea into my head last Thursday.  Oh!  And today, I am thankful for the little bit of rain we got last night & for McD making it home safely!!)

MWAH!!

Prayers, hugs, and ladybugs to all of ya!

My Battle with Breast Cancer, You Asked - Answers

Any Questions? – Cancer Edition

IMG_0021 Occasionally, I ask you, my readers, if you have any questions for me and today I am doing just that.  But, it is a cancer edition.

Do you read my posts but still have questions about my current condition?  Cancer?  Chemo? Mastectomy?

Now's your chance to ask.

Ask away, and I will answer these questions on Friday, July 29th.