Sunday, December 27, 2009


Christmas is over and was a pleasant as could be expected with cancer and dysfunctional family issues and an unexpected death in the extended family. The kids seemed to have a good Christmas and that is what I will focus on. I will not dwell on the death and the cancer and the dysfunctional family issues.

Prepping for chemo hibernation, or at least I should be prepping. Round 3 of chemo is tomorrow, I don't feel as good as I did going into round two so I imagine the hibernation will be worse. The house is trashed with the Christmas cyclone but I am not going to worry about it. As long as the freezer is full of stuff the kids can cook and there is milk and toilet paper, I can rest easy.

The Wooly Willy was a big hit, I bear a striking resemblance to Osama Bin Laden when my Wolly Willy is in the wrong hands.

Onto work and to the grocery store for the aforementioned milk and toilet paper.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


My smart ass Christmas present for my friends with a sense of humor.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Spent too much time in bed yesterday. But, after reviewing my last treatment notes, I realized that my white blood cell count was probably bottomed out and that is why I was so tired.

Carrot juice may raise WBC, but you have to use caution when handling raw veggies while on chemo. Sex may raise white blood cell counts, but you have to use caution or you may rot your partners equipment with your toxic mucous membranes. Or maybe the sex thing is just something boys made up. Green tea seems safe, no caution needed there. Not as much fun, but no Hazmat suit needed.

I have to get out of the house today, finish up the Christmas shopping with the girls. Luckily, it is warmer today, my head gets cold, my body temperature is low, I hate wearing coats, bitch, moan, whine.

My eyebrows are looking funky. I had held off doing any plucking, I didn't want to start chemo with thin eyebrows. I have no idea why, it is not like I could transplant strays into the spots I needed filling. I don't guess I could pluck a unibrow and glue them in to where I needed them.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Feel good today, already dreading chemo 8 days away. But, a sensible person would enjoy the next 8 days and not get bummed about it coming to an end, again.

Worked this weekend, me and my foob. Lovin' the foob, I should name it.

For the record, I am not brave, nor strong, nor I am handling this well. I am just showing up. I show up for test, treatments, appointments, I just keep showing up. That is all I know to do.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I got my foob today, that is my actual breast prothesis. No more pillow stuffed pockets or foam thingees that shift around. I also got one grandma bra to put my foob in. They are going to order some different ones for me to come back and try on.

I have to admit, I cried on the way home from the foob store. This just feels and looks sooo much better. It conforms to my bumpy chest wall, it stays in place, it is so comfortable.

I keep having crappy things happening and trying to convince myself that it doesn't matter. I don't need a boob, I don't need hair, I don't need all this stuff that I don't have. I have worked hard to convince myself that without feeling need, without feeling robbed, I will feel less pain.

Today, I got a little something back. It feels good. I won't feel guilty for being superficial. Thanks universe, I needed a break.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Kids had fun using stencils on my head.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Back in the land of the living!!

Digestive system is back on track, no mouth sores, so far. Got out of the house yesterday for some Christmas and grocery shopping. I was craving pinto beans and pancakes, never had that happen before. So I went to Cracker Barrel and had some pinto beans and pancakes!!

Today, the two year old is here so I have to be on my game, she is crazy! Tomorrow, I will have the 2 and the 3 year old. Chemo in general sucks, but at least it is a suckiness you can schedule around. Next round will be after Christmas, so I should be able to enjoy the holiday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Let's see, today is Thursday, correct? I had chemo on Monday, nothing new, Onc says we'll scan after the 4th treatment to see what my subpectoral lymph node is doing. I did ask him specifically where this lymph node is as I need to be doing scar tissue massage and I don't want to be massaging my cancer making it all cozy and feeling "at home". Luckily, it is still in the armpit area which makes me feel better that it has not migrated across my chest. So another PET scan in 6 weeks or so.

Then I will do 12 weekly infusions of some other posion depending on what study arm I am put in. I am a cancer guinea pig and will participate in a study to check a stage 4 drug to see if it protects the brains of stage 3s. I like my brain, so if I can protect it from cancer, that would be nice. Boobless, bald and brain tumored would really stink.

Tuesday was an OK day, felt alright and then Wednesday, like clockwork, the bottom feel out. The bottom of my energy level, that is. The bottom of MY bottom, that is another sad story all together. Sadly, my morning cardio routine now consists of straining for 1/2 an hour to push out little gravel poops. I am not happy.

Today is Thursday, I was worse than last post chemo Thursday. Luckily, my big sister came over and stayed with me to pick up my slack. I had the three year old I babysit here, she saw the bald head for the first time. She said "Nina, you have NO hairs on your head", she changed my hat and then she was cool with it.

My sister and kids put up the tree. I made a conscience effort to NOT do the "This might be my last Christmas tree so I must make good memories". I figured if I didn't make good memories, then it wouldn't be my last Christmas, see how that logic works?

I just watched the Muppets sing with Andrea Bocelli, that was a good memory. Making memories and making goals.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Spent the last several days with prickly scalp that I have been using a lint roller on. Today, I had a friend shave it with shaving cream and a razor so now I am all smooth and prickle free. I did scarves to work, didn't want to scare the patients our seem disrepectful by walking around with my big, bad-ass, baldness.

Tomorrow, I do another round of chemo. I know why they want someone else to drive you. If I drive myself, I may pass it right by and play hooky. I don't want to go. I feel good, don't want to screw it up.

So I try to be responsible, get all the laundry done, stock the freezer, prepare for a few days hibernation.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Went shopping BALD! I asked the kids if they were OK with it, I would wear a hat if they wanted me to. But they were OK with it so off we went. There were a few stares and one poor employee saw us and crashed a pallet of DVD into something which caused a small avalanche of DVDs in the aisle.

I think about the boob and bald thing, and accomodating people's discomfort by covering up my reality. My theory at this point is, if my kids can deal with this reality, than so can you. I do wear a foob out of the house, I guess in my mind, boobless must be worse than bald. I find that interesting, both are obvious cancer flags. So why I wear a foob but not a hat, who knows, maybe I will conduct a poll on the cancer support board, Bald or Boobless.

My 10yo DD thinks my bald head is fun, she rubs it, lint rolls it, lotions it. She is an odd child. One nice thing, I have never been ticklish, armpits, feet...nothing. This has always dissapointed the kids, I can tickle them but they have never been able to tickle me. Well, I have a ticklish spot on my scalp, 10yo thinks that is a hoot. 12yo is not as affectionate with my bald head, she has no problem looking at it, but thinks all the rubbing stuff is a little creepy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Well, I did the shower and the pulling out clumps of hair, so I decided today was the day. But, of course, I had to do the mandatory mohawk pics!


Wake up, check the scalp, still have hair, lint roll the pillow and contemplate shaving my head. I think I am waiting for clumps to fall out, when I have a visible bald spot, then I will shave. That is my thought for this morning.

Someone posted on the breast cancer support board "Cancer has taken everything that made me a woman". Hmmm, what makes one a woman, surely it is not hair or boobs. It can't be ovaries or a uterus, I might lose those if my genetic test comes back positive. I guess it is the XX chromosome. But then I think about Chaz Bono (Cher's child) who has been in the news recently while undergoing gender reassignment. Chaz is XX (I assume) but does not consider himself to be a woman.

So again, we are back to that creating your own reality thing. Facts, truth and reality...even with the facts of XX chromosome, some people do not consider themselves female. Their truth is that they are male, despite the fact of being gentically female.

I guess it is just interesting to me how people view their femininity. Do I feel less of a woman since I have a uniboob and am about to be bald. Will I feel less of a woman if they remove my reproductive organs?

I guess I would have to examine my views on being a man. If I am not a woman, that would make me a man right? And since I am not on the couch, playing Xbox, farting and scratching and swilling beer, I am not a man. I jest...a little.

So my sense of femininity is intact.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Today is day 14 post chemo starting, which should be the day my hair starts really falling out. My DD ran her fingers through my hair last night and am alarming amount of hair came out. She was amazed that I didn't feel a thing. I have someone to shave my head on stand by. But I have a weird fascination with this process and don't want to shave it before it starts coming out.

Really, how many people get to experience this?? I do want it shaved in a mohawk first so I can take a picture and my 10yo DD wanted to shave hearts and stuff into it.

Thanksgiving was nice, my Mom's on Thursday and my other family (kinda ex inlaws) on Saturday. My sister really didn't show for Thanksgiving... a new low to our dysfunctional family ladder. Saturday was OK, seeing alot of people that I had not seen since diagnoses, so it was a little more emotionally charged.

Yesterday was bad emotionally for me, I had a unsolicited mental breakdown. I cried for a few hours for no obvious reason, well, no obvious reason other than cancer, chemo, holidays, family dysfunction....

Today, I see the oncologist to check my blood count, hope I am doing OK as there were alot of snotty kids running around this weekend and apparently there had been a pink eye break out.

So far, this whole cancer thing is very similar to finding out you are pregnant. It will be about a year of constant medical stuff, good days and bad days, weird cravings, and body changes. Hopefully, at the end of the year, I will have a new life, a cancer free life. But, just like with becoming a parent, nothing will ever be the same again.

I will always worry about cancer just like I worry about my kids. My body will be OK but it won't be the same. Being a parent, becoming pregnant was an irreversible action. Being diagnosed with the big C feels the same, everything changes a little or a lot, but everything changes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Not doing too shabby, just still dealing with alot of chest congestion which is not chemo related and a mouth sore which is chemo related. Just feeling old and tired, I feel like the old ladies my kids keep telling me I am!

Today, 10yo DD and I will do some Thanksgiving cooking, it is her first year to cook, she has really developed an interest in food prep. And yesterday, she asked me to teach her to sew, so we are having some good Mom and Me time. My 12yo DD is a little more into her "tweendom", I miss her, she stays to herself most of the time. I don't think her solitude is cancer related, I think it is just the age.

Checked in with the oncology nurses yesterday, white blood cell count low for a normal person but OK for a chemo patient, I will call if I run a fever or if I need a scrip for the mouth sore.

Yay, my 10yo niece just arrived to hand out with us today, that will make for a fun day for the kiddos.

Going to go enjoy my day!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Purty good weekend, if I do say so myself. Saturday night, my Mom and I saw Mannheim Steamroller. You know how when you are pregnant, you always look around for other pregnant people. As it was my first time in a crowd since chemo started, I found myself looking for other cancer patients. Ooops, that was almost admitting I am a cancer patient, gotta watch out for that. One of my patients asked me this weekend, "I heard you had been sick", I said, "Just a head cold, getting better". Not a healthy delusion... I get that I have cancer, I am completely comfortable discussing it with people who know, I just don't feel compelled to tell "new" people.

I guess next week, I will be bald and the jig will be up...

I have developed a sensitivity to motion sickness, it was the first time in a car since chemo, had to stop for saltines and a barf bag. But no pukey, crossing fingers. Even the video screen at the concert made me queasy, I just keep praying "Don't let me puke during the show". I was in the middle of the aisle and I knew there would be no way to make a quick exit. So I was prepared to blow chunks into my coat and then make a graceful exit. But, no pukey!

Woke up this morning, waxing philosophical. Played around in my head for awhile. Thought about living with and without fear. Man, I used to have alot of fear. Now, not so much. So I was feeling all cocky thinking about the freedom from fear. Decided to check my bank balance and it hit me as I hit 'submit', fear...guess I haven't evolved as much as I thought. But the balance was OK, back to living a fear free day!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


The "poopy fairy" woke me up this morning, what a welcome surprise! Gonna have to find something stronger than Colace to keep me moving.

Yesterday was good, didn't even have to take any meds for side effects, just for the chest cold. Food is starting to taste bad, not bad, just not there. I take a bite of something and it has no flavor at all, very odd experience.

I had ordered some scarves and a weighted foam "foob" and I received them in the mail yesterday. I like the scarves, I can do this. The "foob" was way too big and I did a lumpectomy at my desk, removing foam and stuffing trying to get it to a workable size. Today, I need to sew the case back together, not a case, but the lining stuff. It is weighted, so that should help my back and neck pain. It has a little pouch of beanie baby butt type stuff in it so give it some heft. My daughter took my "lumpectomy" stuffing and walked around with her bra stuffed, she's 12, boobs are great.

My "netherland" is tingling and not in a good way, hair is falling out. Too bad it is not bathing suit season. (I started to type in bikini season, but that delusion was too much for even me to handle!).

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Yesterday was a bad day, and I am nervous about labeling something as "bad" because my definition of "bad" is as fluid as everything else is my life right now. I am hoping that my definition of "bad" will hold and that today doesn't teach me a new word.

Other than feeling like I have been run over by a truck, I am also having some anxiety about the irreversibility of what has happened. Along with all kinds of cells dying off in my body, my denial seems to be dying, little denial cells shriveling up and sloughing off.

I am pissed off for my kids, this is a crappy childhood experience for them. I am worried about who they will be when this is over. Being a divorced mom, there is not another grown up to pick up my slack. I did call for back up from a friend yesterday, but the kids get tired of other adults in the house trying to "parent" them. They want to handle it, the want me to handle it, they want there to be nothing to handle.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This is the nurse injecting what they call "red devil" into the port in my chest. Good Times!

Yesterday was first chemo. The process wasn't bad at all. My port worked well, the stick didn't hurt, they hooked me up, gave me several bags of meds including the red devil which has to pushed in manually.

Of course, my insurance won't pay for the "cadillac" anti-nausea meds, so they sent me home with a scrip that is, crossing fingers, working. The nurse assured me that they did chemo for years using the protocol that me insurance will pay for and that I will be fine.

So I came home, a little hyper due to the steroids plus it being over. Feel asleep too early and ending up waking up every two hours. The chemo did seem to clear up my sinus congestion but the nausea meds cause nasal congestion! Oh well...

Made my first toxic poo today, thank goodness for prunes and colace which I took yesterday. I don't like constipation, it makes me grumpy. So I will continue to munch on prunes which I have never eaten before, but if all systems are go, prunes are my friend.

My daughter asked me if I decided which movies to take with me to chemo, I thought she asked which boobie to take to chemo! I had a hardy laugh about that and I could use all the laughs I can get. I ended up taking no movie and no boobie.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Today is the big day, first day of chemo. My days of denial are coming to an end. Up until now, I have considered myself a "surgical patient", as in, I had surgery, I am recouperating and I will be fine. After today, I won't be able to deny my cancer.

Yesterday, I thought alot about reality, truth and facts. That we create a reality based on the info we have at the time. I finally read my PET scan results and the facts are a tad different than I thought. So I have to adjust my reality to accomodate the facts. I used to think that reality was black and white, but now I realize it is fluid, changing with what we know to be true.

Someone asked me if I was sick yesterday, I lied and said no, I didn't want to change her reality. But my truth is that I am not sick. I have cancer, I have a sinus crud going on, the sinus issue makes me feel more sick than the cancer does. The cancer is only affecting me due to the surgery.

So let me document my progress so I can recall that I am getting better. My chest is tight every morning, I have to make a conscience effort to stretch it out. My arm does not have the active range that it should but does have about 90% of its passive range. My incision is still oozing a little, surgeon says it is just protein and not a problem. I keep gauze over my incision to catch the ooze and I tape gauze over my port to minimize the rubbing of the bra.

I am still wearing sports bras. There is not enough weight in the cushie foob to hold it down. So I can start the day even, but the real boob starts to drop and the fake boob migrates up and I get lopsided. So sports bras keep everything smushed and in place. Not attractive, but not deformed looking.

I was looking for info on homemade breast forms. I came across a message board of cross dressers with many helpful hints on how to get a nice shape and tips on "jiggle-bility". Very informative and amusing. The foob fitters want me to wait until all the swelling is down before they fit me for mastectomy bras and prothesis. Bird seed was recommended by the cross dressing community for shape, weight and jiggle, but hold the sunflower seeds, they poke.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My thought for this morning "Do not muck up my reality, my truth with the facts".

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Yesterday, I met with the research nurse and signed up for being a breast cancer guinea pig. I did find out that due to my glowing lymph node, I am now a stage IIIc which is as close as being a stage IV as you can get. I would prefer if someone would just pluck this node out before it gets too comfortable. But maybe the node will act as a good marker to see if chemo is working.

Still having insurance issues, they won't pay for that $3K shot that keeps your white blood cell counts up. So, I may get a terrible infection that will result in a hospital stay which will cost more that the $3K. But I have to keep believing that everything is happening as it should and that it will all be OK. I don't kow what "OK" means, and I am working on letting go of that need to control "OK". My definition of OK meant raising my kids to adulthood, that really didn't seem like too much to ask.

Two of my neighbors have been robbed this week. I would like to post a note on the door "Dear Robbers, I am a single mom with cancer, I don't have any good stuff for you to take. If you have to break in, please don't let the cats run outside, losing the cats would devastate my children".

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yesterday was a good day, but my definition of good day has changed since my diagnoses. A good day is just a day where nothing bad happens.

The kids had a reaction to my news of not having a brain tumor. I guess I screwed up. I had not told them about the PET scan no they didn't know I was worried. Once I gave them the 'all clear', they got very bummed thinking of all the possibilities. I don't tell them things until I know the facts. I try not to worry them, so they still get the wind knocked out of them a little when they hear things about how bad this could have been.

Other than the lopsided chest and the short haircut, they don't see a drastic difference. I still don't "seem sick". Having my Mom and Sister around is weird for them, they miss their normalcy.

Still dealing with insurance issues. One of the meds I will need is like $3000 a shot! What is this stuff made of that could cost that much! Cancer is sure a money maker for the drug companies. Makes me wonder about conspiracy theories and such, but I won't waste my limited brain cells worried about that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Well, I don't have a brain tumor, this really is my personality!

Yeah, no mets, just a glowing lymph node which is no surprise.

Taking the kids out to celebrate!


Is it weird that I keep expecting my port to vibrate when I get a phone call?

Monday, November 9, 2009


Dealt with some depression this weekend, not having anything to do or anywhere to be is NOT good for me. But I did manage to pull out of it with a little pep talk from a friend.

Today, I went to a "Look Good, Feel Better" class, or a "how to not look like the walking dead while on chemo" class. Got some good tips and a bunch of free make-up. A little freaked out about eyebrows falling out. I can't imagine how you draw eyebrows on without them looking fake, or sliding down your face if your make-up runs. I am thinking I may just get bigger glasses, cover up the lack of eyebrows.

Also got a wig today from the ACS. The color is good, hopefully I can tweak the style. So I have the wig, some caps, still scarf shopping, I am just too cheap to pay $20 for a square of fabric.

Tomorrow I see the surgeon for follow up so he can check the port. Mastectomy scar still has one small spot that hasn't closed up. Then onto oncology to set up chemo schedule. I will get results of PET scan also, I could talk about the possibility of getting news that the cancer has spread...

But I won't.

Friday, November 6, 2009


For whatever reason, I was in a pretty good mood yesterday. I guess I just didn't realize how the anxiety of the port placement was getting to me. With the mastectomy and the hematoma surgery, I was ready for those, let's cut the bad stuff out. But with the port, I felt like I was volunteering for additional discomfort.

On the bright side, screwing up my left arm has done wonders for my right arm. I am not even aware of right arm discomfort!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Actually woke up feeling slightly renewed. I shouldn't have to be cut open again for awhile. That aspect is done. I am ready to start chemo, hopefully next week.

The port hurts, kinda in the left shoulder and chest area, not real bad, but not pleasant. I am taking 1/2 a pain pill, I don't have to drive anywhere today and I don't want to be uncomfortable and grumpy. I am grateful my neck doesn't hurt, apparently my port is placed a little differently than what I had read about.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


PET scan done and port put in today, it has been a long day. I am hoping the port won't make me too sore on the left side since the right side is still not up to snuff.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Today I go for my echocardiogram and see the surgeon to see if my infection is cleared up enough for him to put the port in tomorrow.

Yesterday, I had a major haircut, from shoulder length to 2 inches long. I figured it would be easier to transition to bald if there was a rest stop on the way. Plus, I have always wondered what I would look like with short hair. I figured if I hated it, it would be gone in a few weeks anyway.

I am morphing into something else... oddly, I am becoming more comfortable with what I am becoming. The stress comes when I try to appear "normal" to make everyone else more comfortable.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I realized this morning how cancer has affected every aspect of my life: my finances, my house, my wardrobe, my kids, my car, my food, my medicine cabinet...
I was trying to think of an aspect of my life that does not have the cancer "stain" on it... I came up with one thing that has been untouched my cancer...

My socks, they are still the same with no adjustment needed. My socks have not been affected by cancer.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Well, yesterday I met the guy with the battle plan. Then found out he is NOT the guy since my insurance isn't accepted at that office. There is a ton of insurance bull crap and like I said from the beginning, I am afraid it is not the cancer that will kill me, but the insurance.

Anyway, this coming week, I will have a heart test, a PET scan (to check for cancer in other spots) and have the power port installed. Busy week coming up. I will meet my new oncologist the following Monday and perhaps start the chemo at that time.

So I guess I'll be bald in about three weeks.

What new stuff did I learn yesterday? That I will have radiation after chemo is over. I thought the mastectomy would mean no radiation. But, that is not the case. I will also have the genetic test and if I test positive, then I will have to make a decision about cutting off more parts to decrease chance of recurrence.

So, things we are hoping for:
1. No mets on PET scan, that is hasn't spread. If it has, the plan changes. If it has, I will be a stage IV, that is a different ball game.
2. Negative genetic test, not so much for me, but for my kids. The thought of having more stuff cut out or off sucks, but is do-able. I just don't want to think of my kids having to worry about this and being tested and having to think about cancer as young women.

My 12yo DD asked me if chemo could do anything worse than just make me feel sick. She wants to know if I am going to die but doesn't know how to ask me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Anxiety raising about tomorrow's appointment. I feel like I am just pacing around the house waiting, waiting for the plan, waiting for the next batch of crap to start, waiting...

Today, I tried a different camisole, with foam cups. It fits the real boob OK. I put the cushie foob in the other side and all is good for a little while. But during the day, cushie foob migrates up while actual boob migrates down. I need to weight it down.

The nursing home I work for had a fund raiser for me, gave me an envelope of money they had collected. In this envelope of bills was a baggie or quarters. Some little old lady gave me her baggie of quarters.

I put it in my cushie foob to weight it down. I think it is kinda cool cause that little baggie of quarters really means something to me. Now it is always with me. And I will always have money for a phone call!

I put on a fitted shirt over my new weighted down foob and my 10 yo DD was checking to see if I was lopsided. So I said "If I am at the store, no one will say 'OMG that woman has crazy boobs' ?" She replied "No mom, people will say 'That woman has no sense of style'". She hates the shirt! I got a second opinion from 12yo DD who said, "Looks like you've got your torpedo boobs back!".

10:30 Tomorrow, I meet the guy who is in charge of the battle plan.

I wonder if the oncologists at this place are competitive? Do they sit around the break room comparing remission rates? I hope my guy is competitive and that he wants me alive to keep his stats good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Incision still weeping a little, but it is slowing down. Antibiotics make me feel queasy but I imagine it is good training for chemo.

Basically, just frustrated with being sore and stiff and scared. Anxiety is increasing as Thursday approaches. I guess I am afraid that the oncologist will think I am more screwed that originally thought.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Didn't sleep well last night, maybe because I was a couch potato all day yesterday, maybe because I couldn't stop thinking.

Pondering the "realistic" vs "thinking positive". Do I think positive and assume I will be here for years and years. Do I assume I have plenty of time to give my kids a perfect Christmas, to clean out my filing cabinets, to buy a motorcycle... Or do I think more realistic and get my files in order so someone can find stuff after my demise.

Can I say I am "thinking positive" so I have an excuse to NOT clean my filing cabinets and closets??

I am worried about Christmas, money is going to be tighter than I had planned. I could use credit cards but if thinking positive works, that would screw up my get out of debt plan.

On the physical "front", the weeping is slowing down, hopefully the antibioics are working. The sandpaper armpit feeling is slowly getting better. I still catch myself holding my arm funny. I have considered binding my left arm to force me to use the right arm more. When I try to raise my right arm, my chest just doesn't feel stable enough to hold it up. I asked the surgeon if anything bad happened to my pec, he said "No, I just ripped a boob off of it", or something to that effect. I like my surgeon. He tells it like it is.

Not looking forward to putting the port in, that will be three times I will have been put to sleep in less than six weeks. That can't be good for your brain cells.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Ended up going back to the doctor today, decided I didn't want to spend the weekend worrying about the weeping. He packed it with an antibiotic wick and gave me a prescription. So we are assuming there is an infection unless the culture says otherwise. I am glad I went in, I just really want to move past the surgery and onto the next phase.

Went by my work and visited. Surgeon says I can try to work next weekend if I feel up to it. He suggests I "use my common sense" which is not always a good idea for someone as hard headed as myself.

It was very touching seeing everyone at work. Someone commented how nice it is to see how many people really care about you.

It sucks to be in a situation where people feel compelled to tell you how much they care about you.

But I realized tonight, cancer has given me permission to believe in good and to have hope. I guess I had gotten a tad cynical, or more than a tad. And I truly believe in good, G-d and a have given myself permission to have hope.

This is just a middle chapter, a turning point, this is not the main plot point of my story.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


One month since D-Day (diagnoses day). Life has completely changed in that month and that is all I can say about that (insert Forrest Gump accent).

Left boob is happy, I am wearing one of the sports bras I bought last night. Right side is still weeping. I don't know how to refer to my right side, it is not a boob but it deserves a kinder name than "raw meat looking horror movie prop" side.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10-21-09 evening

Incision site is still weeping, but I guess that is better than having fluid collect under my skin.

Drove my car for the first time in 20 days! Took the kids to Walmart, picked up a few different type of bras, 2 sports bras, one no underwire bra and one camisole. I tried the cushie foob this morning with some of my pre-surgery tops, nothing works, I got frustrated and the kids saw me cry. So I just gave up, put back on the sleeping bra and the shirt that is 3 sizes too big. I guess I am glad it is fall and layering is in.

Did some good stretching, made some progress on shoulder flexion, was able to touch the pull-up bar. I was working on being able to do pull ups prior to diagnoses, so I now I have the new goal of being able to touch the bar.


My boob is weeping. I was making morning coffee and I started weeping, from my eyes, just a little morning moodiness. I felt a weird drop of wetness and checked the mirror and my boob was weeping too. Kinda sweet and poetic...

But, I must have popped a stitch and now may be leaking all over the place. That is not sweet or poetic.

Today was going to be "stop babying that arm and stand up straight" day. It was not going to be "keep 4 x 4s in your top so you don't leave a trail" day.

Oh well, the best laid plans.... however the saying goes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


On the physical front, the front being where my problem is (LOL), went back to surgeon and he removed the drain again today. For whatever reason, he says I cannot develop another hematoma. That if I swell up again it truly is a case of me growing a new boob which would be a medical mystery.

He is pleased with my armpit (pleased with his work, probably would prefer it clean shaven). He will see me again in two weeks to discuss port placement.

Port placement... that means chemo...this is getting real. I knew chemo was in the future but now the hour draws closer. I see oncologist next week to discuss the plan. Up until now, I have considered myself a "surgical patient", next week, I will become an "oncology patient".

I am still very detached from my cancer. My breast had cancer, so we chopped it off. My Lymph system has cancer so we will poison it. I, me, Melinda, don't feel like I have cancer.

I did read that mosquitos and fleas don't bite people having chemo, I wonder if I will be done with chemo by spring. Seems a shame to not take advantage of the insect repellant properties.

I am just a little burned out feeling today. For some reason, I was really dreading this drain removal. The drain itself was just real uncomfortable. The last two were just an irritation, this one was really bugging me.

But it is gone, so no more excuses. no slouching, no holding my arm like I have had a stroke, time to get up straight, rehab that shoulder and maybe even wear and outfit that fits. I have been wearing huge shirts to cover the drain bulge. I want to wear a regular bra and clothes that fit.

Speaking of regular bras, I came up with an idea. How about a bra with heaving bosom on one side and beer couzie on the other, should be every mans dream!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Yesterday was a pretty good day, or if it was bad, it wasn't bad enough to have left a lasting impression on me. Mom went home so I was by myself for a bit before the kids came home. Watched "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy". Not a bad little flick, but the post-surgical dressing change scene was frustrating. No drains, no bruising, no softball like stitches, just a prettied up Hollywood scar. I get that maybe you can't show that on Lifetime, at least do mirror scene where you know she is seeing something not pretty but you don't have to show the not prettiness.

Yesterday was my 20 year sober-versery. I've made my point, I may start hitting the hard stuff soon-joking, joking.

In 2005, my hubby left and the divorce crap started. It was a very bad time and it seemed to drag on forever. Now that that period of my life is over, I really can say that I like who I am now better. It was one of those "character building" experiences that I did come out richer for. Perhaps cancer will be the same.

I guess there are only three ways out of this cancer mess:

I will try for better.

Post-op appointment tomorrow, checking the drains. I am afraid that lizard boob is returning but I am chalking that up to paranoia.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Yesterday was OK, I did take 1/2 a pain pill every 4-5 hours, just thought I might try following doctor's instructions and see how that goes. Got the bandages off which was a long and complicated procedure but it got done. Took a shower, digestive system getting back on track, had some visitors and a mini-fight with my sister (but not going to waste time on that).

Little bit of redness at the re-incision site and around the drain and armpit is swelling again. I am ready to move on to the next challenge as this one is getting boring. But I know to be careful what I wish for as the surgical challenge may be a piece of cake compared to the onology challenge.

The mastectomy site is actually looking like a mastectomy site, flat, deflated but I have stretch marks that I developed from the hematoma and that would tick me off if I thought about it for awhile. You chopped off my darn boob and I still have stretch marks, what kind of deal is that. My hope is that since I had the hematoma and the stetching, I may have a little extra "play" in there for future tissue expanders and implants (trying to look on the bright side).

Being scared is worse that pain for me and the redness makes me scared. But it didn't get bigger overnight, so I will try not to worry about it. I do think I should schedule any future procedures for early in the week. Being acute post-op on the weekends unsettles my nerves, knowing getting to my doctor would be so much more involved during non-office hours.

Friday, October 16, 2009


My amazing lizard like regenerating boob was removed yesterday, actually it was just a large hematoma, old blood that wasn't reabsorbing, but I had a decent C or B cup thing on my chest.

They let come home after the procedure so that was good. I slept through the night without feeling like I had a brick on my chest. This morning, I just have the drain and all the darn bandages. I hate, hate, hate tape.

So it feels similar to the post mastectomy without all the armpit pain. So I am going to think positive that my arm is in better shape and I can keep going with it and the chest stretches will follow shortly behind.

I am NOT going to worry that pushing the oncologist back two weeks will result in my untimely demise. Frankly, there is no advantage to worrying about that as there is nothing I can do about it. The oncologist won't start any treatment until I am healed from mastectomy and I have had this speedbump and it will all work out in the end.

Did I mention that my 10yo DD told me she doesn't like the term "Breast Cancer Survivor". She said that she doesn't want to think about the alternative and can not imagine that some people die from this when I seem pretty OK.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I will check in again to the hospital tomorrow to have my new boob removed.Actually, they will just remove the hematoma or seroma or whatever "oma" I am growing and install another drain.

I will try my best not to complain about the drain this time, better out than in, right?

I could get frustrated thinking I have wasted the past two weeks letting the cancer spread as I will have to put off the oncologist until the 29th.

Or I could be amused by my bodies determination to have two boobs. I could be a circus act.

The doctor said it did look very painful and told me to stop trying to be tough and take the darn painkillers tonight.


I am feeling rather reptilian today, apparently I have the ability to regenerate a new boob where the old one was removed, like a lizard who has his tail cut off.

Doctor's appt this afternoon, please remove my new appendage.

The above picture, demonstrates my issue. The stripey stuff in the front in the sleeping bra thingy I am still wearing. The protrusion on the left is my actual boob which wants to be in an actual bra. The protusion on the right is swelling from the mastectomy, there isn't supposed to be anything there! They cut everything off and that small amount of skin left has filled up with fluid that extends under my armpit.

I am not a happy camper.


I am still havig significant pain, it wakes me up in the night. I just can't get the swelling to stop. I don't care about chemo, hair loss, puking, getting back to work... I just want this swelling to go down. If I could put the drains back in myself, I would, and I hated those damn drains.

My 12yo wanted to talk about the baldness that may be in my future. I have told them "If you hear Mommy talk about something that concerns you, please come ask me, don't assume something and worry, ask me for the info."

Apparently, I made a flip remark about a pretty scraf and said something about how that may be good for my bald period. 12yo DD heard that and we talked about what chemo may entail. So they wanted to do one of those virtual make-overs on the computer to see what I would look like bald. I wasn't ready for all that last night, maybe today. I don't know whether that would be a healing activity or just a scary one for them.

Man, I wish someone could just stick a pin in me a release all this fluid.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Back from getting the bluck sucked out. It is always great when the guy holding a needle in you boob says "Paydirt"!


Realized I was all talk and no action.

I have been acting all big and ballsy "Let's get over this surgery and start that cancer kicking chemo".

They called with first oncology appt on this Thursday, I teared up, I don't want to go, I am a big baby.


Still morning and getting grumpy. The boob they cut off is now bigger than the one that is still there. Appointment at 2PM so hopefully they will pull some of this fluid off.

In the shower, I am tired of sticky boob, I want the tape residue off, I just keep finding balls of it.

I am tired of not being able to wear a bra, my left boob deserves a little respect.

I am tired of being acute post-op feeling. I wanted to be working on range of motion, increasing function and being able to wear my little poufie foob.

And I am not vain, I am not stunningly beautiful and have never really cared about fashion. I would just like to look less gray and get my damn left boob some support!


On the physical front, arm feeling better but still swelling. I called docto on a Sunday (GASP, so you know I was hurting) and I will go in this morning to see if they need to draw some crud out.

On the mental front, interesting night last night. There are a couple of people that I have severed relationships with PRE cancer. I decided they weren't the kind of people I wanted in my life and this was before all this cancer crap started.

So I have this "Twilight Zone" moment when they are BOTH in my house at the SAME time. And they are chatting all chummy like (and these are two people who haven't said a nice thing about each other in years!)

Now, maybe I am wrong, but MY CANCER does not give you a "get out of a$$hole jail" free card. Just because I may be sick does not mean all the crappy stuff you have been doing to me doesn't matter.

I had to go outside and "phone a friend". I feel as long as I am paying my mortgage, I still get to be the boss of my house, why the heck did they think that would be OK. Disclaimer: one is my sister and I know my Mom hates that we have become distant so she sorta set that one up. I can't be mad at my Mom, I know where her heart is.

Maybe my diagnoses made people think I would forgive and forget. Frankly, I have forgiven and moved on and don't want jerks in my life. Perhaps my diagnoses should prompt people to ask for forgiveness or at least admit they scewed up. But the theory seems to be "She's dying so all that mean stuff I did, doesn't matter anymore".

Yeah, it matters.

To show what a big deal this was, it really upset my 10yo DD, when she saw these two people in my house being all chummy, she was really convinced that I must be dying.

So to my sister and my ex-husband: I love you both, I have forgiven you, but you both are still acting like people that I don't want around me. So go forth and prosper, but don't hang around my house. Only nice people who truly give a crap get to see me right now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Still watching the swelling, it is not warm, just on the big side and uncomfortable. Can't put my right arm all the way down next to my body. My shoulder is hanging internally rotated which is just going to cause increased need for stretching.

Got out of the house last night, friend took me out for dinner.

I don't remember what I used to chat about "pre-cancer". I did not want to talk about cancer all night and had difficulty keeping up my end of the conversation. I should make an effort to keep up with current events. Or bring flash cards with coversation starters on them!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Still in a fair amount of pain this morning. My sister-in-law is an RN and will come over in a bit to see if I am swelling weird from the drains being gone.

Had a crappy emotional thing happen yesterday. My daughter showed me something that was starting to wear out and I thought "I won't be around in a few months so I don't have to worry about replacing that". Hmmm, not a good thought process.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Today has been my worse pain day, so far. I think that after getting the drains out, I thought I would be all big and bad and do a good exercise routine. Then, I did alot of chopping of food, trying to cook today.

Plus, I put on a real bra and tried my cushie foob. I am wearing an ugly shirt, busy print to distract the eyes from the foob situation.

I don't want to take a pain pill, being all tough and all, so I will wimper quietly. I realize how stupid that sounds. Rambo doesn't wimper. So, perhaps I will take a warm bath, take off my stupid bra and pop the pills that everyone else who has boobs cut off needs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

10-8-09 Evening

After being essentially discharged by my surgeon and awaiting oncology consult to start chemo, I decided it was time to talk to my children about phase 2.

Last week, during a "pissed about cancer" day, I went to the batting cage, hit 44 out of 45 balls (I was impressed with myself).

So tonight, I use that as my example. That the surgery got the 44 "cancer balls" but we have to get that 1 ball that slipped by the surgery. So I will do the chemo to make sure no pesky cancer cells are lurking around.

Now, you have to know my 10yo DD, she is the coolest kid ever. In her cutest smarta$$ self, she said "So Mom still has cancer because she stinks at baseball".

My kids are great. Since I am drainless, I wore my usual pajama's without the large shirt covering the drain hump. It was the first time they had "really" seen the flat side of my chest. It was a moment...don't know how to describe it, but it was real.

I tried the cushie "foob" today, but it just looked silly with the shelf bra camisole thing I was wearing over the sleep bra I still wear.

I was wearing underwire bras before surgery, but since I am scared of lymphadema, I will pull out my granny looking soft sided bras. Maybe without the drains, it will be comfortable enough.

Oh, and I got my first hug on the no boob side today. There was a millisecond where I had to decide whether to twist pre-hug, but I let it go and no one recoiled in horror.

So another check mark on my post-mastectomy "to do" list.

10-8-09 Morning

Surgeon pulled the drains out today! It hurt like a #%&*@ but they are gone!

I am a stage IIIa, which is better than a IV. But not as good as a II. BUT still not a IV.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My "grenade" belt

10-7-09 Morning

Two weeks and one day ago, I had a very normal, divorced mom of two, not rolling in the dough, worried about the car needing new tires, kind of life. I was planning on having all credit card debt paid off by the end of the year and thinking about some fix-it projects around the house.

Two weeks ago, I heard "Well, it is cancer".

I have had to tell my children and my family that I have cancer. I have had to take a crash course in cancer. My "google" history looks completely different now. I have had major surgery and look like a truck ran me over. I have tubes of body fluid strapped to my waist that I carefully measure.

Two weeks and one day ago, I was trying to learn to do pull ups and was getting very close. Today, I can't even get my fingertips to touch the pull up bar.

Two weeks ago and one day ago, I was going to get debt free and have my house paid off before I turned 50. Now I am hoping I get to 42 and receiving offers from loved ones if I lose my house and need shelter.

My vocabulary has changed, my wardrobe has changed, my internet search history has changed. My job, my finances, the stuff I mark on my calendar has changed. I was tracking weight watchers points and calories consumed. Now I track cc's of schmuck that come out of my mangled chest.

It is not all bad, my friendships have become richer and I have culled the dead weight of some relationships. I have an opportunity to look at things a little deeper than I did two weeks ago. I don't think I was a very shallow person to start with, but it all gets a little more intense after cancer gets introduced.

So I can use this to get more "earth mommy", enlightened, and peaceful. Or I guess I could become bitter, angry and get real old, real fast.

I am tired of "character building experiences".

The doc said "agressive" cancer, I don't like that either.

I haven't told the kids that mom still has cancer and must have chemo.

I want a tattoo that says "Fuck Character".

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10-6-09 Morning

Today I have my post-op appt with surgeon. I took another piece of tape of yesterday, so I have had a pretty good look at the incision. I can't even try to describe the breast area other than to say -DAMN, that looks like it hurts (which it does). The armpit looks pretty mangled also.

I cut my pain pills in half yesterday. I think I need to feel more discomfort so I know when to stop. So even though I am allowed to take 12 a day, I only took 1.5 yesterday. That makes me proud in my warped Rambo-ette kind of way. I even took a nap yesterday, but had a terrible nightmare and woke up crying and panicked.

My daughter says I still confuse her as I don't seem "real sick, just like someone with the flu". They know not to try and hug me on the side that the drains are on, just because I don't want to freak them out. My 10yo DD did feel the drain bottles through my shirt since she was curious and she agreed that she didn't want to feel them during a hug.

My Mom has been staying with us, taking care of us. I think she is going home today, her husband needs her, he can't figure out the remote control!

My oldest daughter (12yo) is much more quiet and reserved, she is harder to tell how she is doing. She did say "Good morning my lop-sided mommy", so I replied, "Good morning my symmetrical daughter". We chuckled and that felt good.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Day 3 post op report:

Yesterday was pretty good, but I stayed up too much during the day and started to crash about 5PM and my Mom grounded me, made me stay on the couch and took my cell phone. (good mom).

Got a shower yesterday, unbandaged, tried to wear stuff that conceals the drains but that just isn't happening. My drains did have belt loops, so that is the best way right now. The laynard worked well for the shower. The fanny pack was just too big and bulky.

My arm burns when I first get out of bed. And it burns when I do too much. Reaching across my body was hard, like putting make-up on the opposite eye and wiping after toileting is not comfortable but it is do-able.

I have ugly tiger striped looking bruises from the tape high on my chest, I would have to stay totally buttoned up to hide those.

My goal for today is to keep moving, but take more frequent breaks so I don't get as bad as I got last night,

Doctor's appt tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Woke up in my own bed this morning, did get a little bit of uninteruppted sleep.

My plan for the day is to get bandages off. I figure there will be a nice dose of valium for that procedure. I look like I am wearing a bullet proof vest. No way around it, that part is going to suck. I can't imagine what I am going to look like under all these bandages.

The blue smurf pee has stopped (side effect from dye they used to find lymph node). Something is making me nauseated, either the pain meds,the pain or getting the anesthesia worked out.

So hopefully, I can get unbandaged, showered and wearing my fancy new camisole with built in boobs and pockets for drain bottles, before my daughters get home from their dads.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Home from hospital, lymph node biopsy was positive so they were also removed. Apparently, chemo will be in my future.

I am allowed to remove bandages tomorrow, that terrifies me.

I think I am scared to go to sleep, everytime I wake up, I get more bad news.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Three hours until check in.

I try to say, it's just s surgery, you have been cut open before, you will be fine. But this is an amputation, nothing is going to be the same. Things will be Ok and there will be periods of greatness, just like before cancer. But they won't be the same.

This may be the biggest hurdle of my cancer fight and it may be the beginning of a much longer journey. This is just the first thing that I can actually do to try and save my life.

But great news, the CT scan was clear, no sign of anything in my lung!

Three hours, and I can't have coffee.

I feel like I should have some profound thoughts, but I don't, I will blame it on the lack of coffee.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

10-1-09 Good-bye boob

A letter to my right boob

I guess it was about 30 years ago that you came into my life. A sore little nubby that was exciting and disappointing and the same time. I remember when Mom took me for my first bra fitting and that old lady just treated you like an assembly line boob, not understanding what a big deal these little protrusions were to me.

We adapted through the teen years, you were probably very attractive back then wish I could remember better. A nice D cup that I tended to keep under wraps. I never wore fancy bras or low cut tops. I don’t think I was ashamed of you, I just kinda thought you were my private business and never felt comfortable with the low cut tops that women wore.

Remember the wedding dress fiasco? I wore a different bra for the fitting and so my fancy wedding night undergarment made the wedding dress fit differently. The lady who did the alterations was not pleased.

Good times and bad times we have had. The nipple crushing incident with the large cans of tomatoes- sorry about that. Being stepped on and rolled on by babies jumping on the bed – sorry about that, too. The whole breast feeding thing, sorry about the crappy parts of that, the thrush, the being raw, the breast pumping, it was all a necessary evil.

Speaking of the breastfeeding, I do appreciate you stepping up to the plate on that one. I felt like a failure after having C-sections and you helped me feel redeemed by becoming a breast feeding champ. The nerf ball size engorgement, the crazy bras, the funky clothes, we made it through it all. I remember the last time I nursed my youngest daughter. Thanks again for all that.

Remember that thing that the one guy did, pretty cool, that is a memory of you that I will always appreciate.

Remember the time I had to redirect the guy since you slid downhill since our last encounter, funny memory, but not quite as pleasant. But it wasn’t your fault, you fought gravity like a champ.

Oh and sorry for trying to make you do jumping jacks. Double D’s should not have to put up with that. But remember how funny the kids looked holding their chest. That is how they thought you were supposed to do jumping jacks.

Now we get to the lump part. That morning in the shower, that panic, the brief denial, doctors, tests, drills, and finally the diagnoses-Cancer. You were once a novelty, then a sexual organ, then a baby feeding machine, then you struggled against gravity to maintain an air of vital womanhood.

Now you are a tumor to be analyzed, handled by strangers, bruised, painful and about to hacked off in a cold operating room. Where I once suckled my children will be replaced by an ugly scar. Men used to feel you and get excited about what was to come, now men in lab coats feel you and their face drops and they wish me luck on the cancer journey.

I don’t hold it against you, we had a good run. I could have tried to have them carefully carve out the cancer and save some of you. Please don’t take it personally, you are not my friend anymore, you have to go. I will not subject myself and my children to long treatments to try and shrink your poison so I can have some of you left. You are just too far gone, in my opinion.

Thanks for the memories, the good the bad and the ugly. It is weird, I remember the “growing pains”, I remember the great naked times, I remember the breastfeeding sensation, and I am aware of the sensation of cancer cells growing in those ducts that once carried milk to my young. I kept feeling like I was lactating, but it was cancer cells filling up my breast. That weird arm rub women do when they are engorged, I did that because my breast was filling up the cancer.

You were a great tool, but now you are a liability. I am glad to have the memories I have but I need to make about 40 more years of memories. I mean no disrespect to you, but good riddance.

In about 24 hours you will be gone. Take all the crappy cancer with you please. Don’t leave anything behind. Right now, I do have good memories, so retract your claws and go peacefully.

I hate thinking of them cutting you off and plunking you in a cold stainless steel bowl for dissection. But you were once cradled nicely, oh I guess I shouldn’t blame you. You didn’t do this to me. But better a boob than a brain or something important.

So, bye boob, I’ll wear that hot pink bra you liked for you last day.


Nightmares last night about losing the children, as in driving around lookng for them. The alarm woke me up before I found them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Another wonderful day in the war zone. Surgeon's ofice calls this morning, chest x-ray looks funky, need to rush in for a CT scan before surgery Friday. So I get that done and now will wait for a call from the doctor telling me what is up with my lung.

At this point, I start getting pissed. Not for me, but for my kids. This should not be the kinda stuff they should have to deal with. When I get mad, I want to chop down trees and stuff, really whack at something. So, we head of to the batting cage, where else can you swing at stuff so cheaply. Three dollars got me 45 pitches and I only missed one. Each of those balls represented those bleepy cancer cells. (Don't remind me that the one I missed may be the one that gets me.) That is only the second time in my life I have been in a batting cage, the first time was divorce anger management. Other than that, I haven't pick up a bat since elementary school.

I also did the go karts. My 10yo DD got to drive her own for the first time. I don't know if the kids were as into as I was, but I really needed a change of brain chemistry. We had a nice dinner, got the last of the pre-surgery grocery shopping done (I won't be able to drive for a week).

I am tired, not feeling like I am getting anything done and feel like this cancer is eating me alive. Give me a knife and I will start hacking at it myself. (I am sure the insurance company would love that!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9-29-09 continued

Did my pre-ops at the hospital, not pleasant.

People keep telling me that G-d will get me through this, but if I don't make it through this, does that mean that my faith is lacking? I do feel that I can use faith to give me strength to get through this, but I don't like the implication that only the "worthy" make it through to being cancer-free.

I mowed the yard today, that felt good, a "normal Melinda" activity. I usually do some good thinking on the mower. I had a decent cry, did some mourning and then went on about my business. I did have the crappy realization that this surgery may not be the end of this mess, but may be just the beginning.

I didn't like that.

There is a lot of "hurry up and wait", rush to get this test, then wait....rush to this procedure, then wait....rush to surgery, the wait for the path reports to tell me if I have more treatment in my future.

The path report, the paper that outlines the future about that?


Early morning trying to resolve more insurance issues. But I think I have done everything possible on the insurance front, so now I just cross my fingers.

My older sister came to sit with the kids this morning, it was a wonderful surprise and saved me from having to tote four children with me for this appointment. It also gave me a chance to show her the prep stuff I had ready for post surgery. She said I seemed a little manic. I guess I am, I just keep trying to do as much as possible thinking it will improve the outcome of this whole situation.

The reality is, no matter how well my freezer is stocked or how well everything is labeled or how organized my files are, I have cancer and I may be in for a really bad time.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Busy day today, trying to get something going with my insurance issues. On the insurance front, there is good news and bad news. The details are boring and the stress with continue tomorrow.

On the crappy cancer front, I received a copy of one of the initial pathology reports and I am ER and PR negative, which is not good news. UNLESS, it has not metastized. As long as it is in the breast, which is coming off anyway, hopefully the ER/PR status won't matter.

I made the mistake of doing some googling after seeing my path report, I saw alot of "You are going to die" things. Well, they didn't really say that, but that is what I saw. So I will stay in delusional land that it is only in the breast and when the breast is gone, so shall the cancer be gone.

A friend from church called and wants to bring meals, that is what you do for dying people, I don't like that.

I have struggled with trying to fight this efficiently, a big one, two, TKO. Taking it step by step is not my strong suit. Today, I am prepared to have the entire right side of my body amputated, remove and destroy any contaminated areas.

I was in a house when the clothes dryer caught fire. I realized today that the main thing is get the fire out. No one called Sears for a replacement while the dryer was aflame. No one considered laying new tile on the floor to repair the damage while the dryer burned. First step, call 911, get the fire extinguisher and stop the fire.

So as much as I would like to TKO this thing and call it a day, I realize that we must put the fire out, check the electrical, check the lint vent, once that is all clear, then we can repair the cosmetic damage and get a dryer. I am not patient.

On a wonderful note, I did finally make contact with a human being that may help me. She is the "Breast Health Navigator" at the hospital and helped steer me in the right direction on my insurance issues. Plus, she has a handout of the exercises I will be able to do for rehab and a handy little camisole with a nice cushy fake boob sewed it for after surgery. My children are concerned about seeing me with a "cyclop boob" so having something while I wait for the "foob" (which you wear in your bra) will make everyone more comfortable.

The clock is ticking fast, pre-op tomorrow at the hospital, another appointment about the insurance issue and another day will be gone.

Should I have made a "bucket list" for my boob?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


My right breast and I have four days left together. I will have a mastectomy on Friday 10/2. Everything has happened pretty quickly, with lumps, doctors, drills and diagnoses. We don't have alot of info, but what we do know is that I have cancer in my breast, IDC, invasive ductal carcinoma. How invansive remains to be seen. I will know more after the surgery.

Today, a good friend assisted me in making a plaster cast of my torso. It is not a great looking torso, but it is mine and it will never look like this again.
After it has dried well, I will sand it and paint it. I don't know whether to paint the tumor area on it or paint it as it was during happier times.
Frankly, it is all overwhelming, my brain deals with small chucks at a time.

Today I kept replaying that line from "Silence of the Lambs", where the bad guy is saying something about "It applies the lotion to its skin". I guess I was thinking about post mastectomy skin care in prep for reconstruction in the future.

I think I may have developed an unhealthy detachment from my breast. I have trouble saying "I have cancer", I tend to say "It is cancer", like it's the boob's problem, not mine. Get rid of the boob and the problem is gone.