Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12-28-10

I think I am having an odd freak out thing going. So I will write it here and not worry my family with it.

I don't feel well, my breathing is getting better but I am doing the breathing treatments often and I don't want that to be the way it is for the rest of my life. I don't know if crunchy lung cilia will refresh....

This morning, my left eyeball went weird, I can't diagnose that, I am eyeball illiterate. The left side of my left eye was very bright and flashing. Not those floaters, but weird bright light. Since a brain tumor is my big fear, that freaked me out.

I am exhausted, I feel off and I don't think there can be anything wrong since I am pretty recently scanned. Except the brain, which they don't look at.

But here is the sucky part.... I just had this feeling that I could be OK with being done. I did the shit year....trudged through the treatment, did the single mom cancer bit. It sucked, we made it. The kids have nice bedrooms, they had a good Christmas. I think I have managed to get all my crap into one room so if I kick off, they can just load up a truck and empty this one room of my oddities.

I met a great guy, had some nice lovin'. I have bonded with my Mom and my older sister. I am still estranged from my younger sister and see no hope of that changing. My ex-husband and I seem cool, although we don't talk often (but that works). The kids are getting closer to their Dad and that is wonderful.

I don't know if I am depressed, scared or what. I don't feel depressed, just tired, physically and mentally.

I guess I need a therapy tune up. I haven't seen the shrink in a while. That would be a productive thing to do.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12-22-10

Things are starting to feel "normal". They talk about the "new normal" you have after cancer, or any big life changing event, I suppose. After my divorce, it took awhile to get my bearings. This experience is very similar feeling.

We are not doing much in the way of Christmas. You can't even tell it is 3 days before the holiday if you look in my house. No tree, no cookies, no stockings...nada. Last year, I did it up big, I was in the "I have cancer and this might be my last Christmas" mode. This year, we are redecorating. My children have shared a bedroom all of their lives. Their Christmas present in their getting their own rooms! I am moving my bedroom down to the den and giving them the two bedrooms.

My house looks like a disaster area as we are moving furniture, painting, refinishing furniture. And I am experiencing personal growth as I let the kids help me paint and am not worried about drips on the base boards!

I am having a lot of trouble breathing. It could be my radiated lung issue aggravated by the dust and paint fumes we are all breathing. That is a little depressing, breathing is so nice. But, I am not freaking out about possible lung tumors and shit.

Growth.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12-8-10

I didn't realize how long it had been since I updated. The scan was pretty good, all glowing spots are attributed to radiation. Still not a "No Evidence of Disease" result, but I'll take it. Rad Onc freaked me out a little, he is such a Debbie Downer. He felt that the scan results were a more cancer-ish and less radioactivity-ish. BUT....he called me a few days later, said he reviewed the films and agreed with Big Onc that it was probably radiation that was lighting up.

That was shocking to me, the doc actually called me out of the blue to tell me things weren't as dismal as he had thought.

I had a Mammogram on my one boob yesterday, all clear. That was also refreshing. Except, the tech didn't know I only had one boob so there was that awkward moment as she pulled back the gown. You would think that would have been on the chart somewhere....but....shit like that doesn't hardly phase me anymore.

I also had a stitch come out of Clyde a few weeks ago, that was huge news. Clyde is now healing back up, there is no area of fried flesh that will become a huge necrotic wound. How in the hell surgeon missed that stitch, who knows. But....shit like that hardly phases me anymore.

So, the stay of execution has been extended. There is no reason to believe that there is anymore cancer in there. It isn't all rainbows and unicorns, this shit can turn on a dime. But...for now, it is good.

RIP Elizabeth Edwards.

I could bitch about the phrases "loses her battle", "succumbed to disease" etc. But I am not wasting energy on it. I guess the only phrase that would work is "She stopped living with cancer". She escaped. Godspeed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11-11-10

My scan is scheduled for next Monday, the 15th. I will see Onc on the 18th for the results and for my IV treatment. I feel much better now, just getting that decision made. I have no idea what the big deal was, why did they even ask me if I wanted to scan? Why not just go ahead and do it like we had planned on in June? That would have saved me all this mental hamster wheel churning.

The fear is what is the worst. Treatments, surgery, side effects, all that sucks but is completely do-able. It is the fear that sucks the worst. And it is no as much fear for myself and what my future holds; it is more about what the kids are going to have to deal with. This has to be changing who they are.

Monday, November 8, 2010

11-8-10

I did call Onc's office and I spoke to the research nurse. She says that the increase in SUV could be a number of things, but that we biopsied Clyde and it was negative. Big Onc had already put in an order for a scan, though. So I will scan and see what we have.

This made me feel OK for about five minutes. Then, I realized that Clyde showed up at least a month AFTER the scan, after I started radiation. So are they saying that this blob was under the surface and once we radiated it, it came up to the outer layer and has plagued me since??

BUT... I just keep telling myself that my cancer registered at a 13.8 SUV, this mystery shit has gone from 3.0 to 4.8. So whatever it is, it is less potent than what I HAD.

BUT....I had an increase a month before I had the Clyde symptom. Maybe I am scared that no eyebrows were raised.

BUT...they knew I would be radiating the area, so maybe they didn't need to be concerned, stray shit would be radiated.

You see how this just goes around and around??

11-8-10

Turns out is not not easy to just "not worry". I saw the scan results, I can't un-see them. I don't think I will make it two more weeks before asking Big Onc. My appt with him is the 18th. Do I call and give him a heads up about my concern, see if he will discuss it over the phone??

A little scab thing formed over Clyde, I think it just got poked too much the week I saw Onc and Plastic Surgeon. The scab feel off this morning and now there is a slight opening that is a tad weepy. Just the slightest bit, I wouldn't normally think twice about it. But....since this is in the radiated, crispy, pork rind section of my body, I have visions of it growing into a large necrotic wound.

And.... I was having "adult relations" this weekend. I was on top and his hands reached for my breasts. There was that split second of hesitation as he decided where to put the second hand. I doubt he realized it, but I did. I won't mention it, I do believe that men don't like having to spend time reassuring women. the lack of a breast is probably less of an issue than my potential insecurity about it.

I did ask him about his opinion on reconstruction after I saw Plastics guy. I said he was in an interesting position of being able to have input on creating his dream boobs. He seemed indifferent...could that be? Is no boob preferable to a Franken-boob?

Questionable scans, weepy pork rind sores, Franken-boobs....oh yea, no worries.

Friday, November 5, 2010

11-5-10

I just reviewed my calendar. So far this year, I have had 85 doctor's appointments.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11-4-10

The PET scan stuff has me a little bummed. But, the positive is that my June number was 4.8, my number last year was 13.8....so that was in the right direction.

I keep saying I am going to just chill out and not worry about it until I see Big Onc on the 18th. That might be asking a little much of myself. Maybe I will give him a call and see if he will give me a little more info.

Cancer Sucks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11-3-10

I have received and reviewed the PET scan results with my completely untrained eyes. The last scan was on 6/2/10 which they compared to the one on 1/29/10. Keep in mind my surgery was 10/2/09. The last scan was post all chemo, but prior to radiation. Listed in the Opinion section, it reads: " Interval increase in level of hypermetabolic activity in the medial aspect of the right pectoralis major muscle in the parasternal area compared to the prior exam This is suspicious for site of residual/recurrent carcinoma".

In the text of his finding, he states that that the S.U.V is now 4.8 as compared to 3.0 on the prior scan. I don't know what as S.U.V is (in radiology terms), but this sounds like more of whatever it is, to me.

To me, it seems completely unreasonable that I would have more "surgical changes" 8 months after surgery than I did three months after surgery.

I am thinking I should scan and see what radiation did, unless the radiation is going to give a false result.

But at least now, I can have an informed conversation with the Big Onc.

Ha Ha, spell check loved this post!

Monday, November 1, 2010

11-1-10

I have just been blah today, maybe coming off a chocolate high from the kids' Halloween haul. I received an email about a little "class", lecture, meeting thingee at the YMCA Breast Cancer group about depression after cancer. Since I had just woken up from an odd nap, I thought, "Maybe I am depressed, I should go to this meeting."

The speaker gave a nice talk called "Pink Mourning", (gag gag). His take on things didn't bother me, I came away with some little nuggets that may come in handy. But man, I hate this freaking pink shit! The leader of the group in very pink, perky AND pink. She is very Rah Rah, let's all beat cancer and be all perky and happy. The lady in front of me was bummed since she is getting ready to start another round of chemo, she is in permenant treatment mode, I assume she has mets.

Sometimes, there is not a need for the pink pom-poms. Sometimes a hug and a "that really sucks" is more helpful.

I think I keep trying to embrace the pink since it bothers me so much, I figure there must be some issue I need to resolve. I am not a sorority kinda gal, I just never had female friends, maybe I should find a testicular cancer group.

But I will keep knocking on those pink doors, there has to be a group of grumpy ladies out there that I will fit in with.

Oh, I called PET scan place, they won't send me the scan reports. You would think that since I signed the release, I should be able to get them released to me....assholes. But, I called Onc's and they will send me reports so I can compare and contrast before next IV.

So that is my plan, look at scans reports, see what weirdness they are following and whether it sounds like they all think they are surgical changes (like did they show up immediately after surgery or did the weirdness show up on a later scan). I don't claim to know more than any doctor, but Onc didn't recall the location of the weirdness and whether it was in the same spot as Clyde. So he can review, I will review and we can make a plan.

11-1-10

Pinktober is OVER!!! Yeah!

I am contemplating two issues: whether to have the PET scan and whether to do the reconstruction. So I will lay my thoughts out here and see if I can get a clear picture.

Re: PET scan

I have not been declared cancer free but I am in a good mental space with that. If I were finally declared cancer free, would I stop worrying...probably not. If I were declared stable or no change in the chest spot, would that change anything...I may feel frustrated that I don't have a clear answer. If something new lights up...well that would suck.

I guess the sticking point is that damn area in the chest. I swear the doc said that it was consitant with surgical changes but it seems odd that it showed up well after the surgery. I had scans in between surgery and the weird spot that no weirdness showed up.

If it has always been there, I could assume surgical changes but it wasn't mentioned at my prechemo scan.

I guess the prudent thing to do would be get the report on all my scans and pretend like I know what I am reading to see what they have said. Ha ha, or I could trust the Big Onc and is judgement. I have no symptoms, I could just let this good mental space continue.

It is all a mental game anyway. My reality is good right now, why muck that up with the facts.

Re: recon

Again, I am in a good space, why mess it up. I could live like this forever. I am scared that I would get really bad results and regret the loss of muscle. If it came out cosmetically bad, I could always have it cut back off. BUT, I do not think they could reconnect the muscle. The plastic surgeon said that he would lift droopy boob and make new boob to match. Gravity would still affect old boob and over time it would start drooping again and I would want it relifted. And, since I am so young, at some point I would need the implant switched out. (It is nice that I may have a longer shelf life than the implant, outlive the implant could be my new goal.)

But, I can stop mentally masturbating about the recon if I want to, I can't have it done until after the first of the year due to the radiation. After the first, I could see what my finances are like, see if I can afford to take time off work.

I also don't have to do anything about the scan, ignorance can be bliss.

Friday, October 29, 2010

10-29-10

I had my Herceptin IV yesterday. My blood work looks great, normal people normal instead of cancer people normal. Big Onc asked me about a PET scan, did I want one or not. Honestly, I had mentally planned on being scanned in November and I told him that. I am still hoping that I can be offically declared cancer free one day.

He OK'd the scan and laid out the possible results.
1. The chest area lights up more or the same: he will blame this on radiation and not cancer growth.

2. Nothing lights up and that will be great.

3. He didn't say it, but there is the possibility that something new would light up and that would be bad.

So, it seems that he is not willing to entertain that anything bad could be happening in there.

I could put off the scan for a little while, just ride this mental train for a bit. The train that says I am OK and able to make plans and do things like normal people. If I can believe that without a scan, that is good. A scan may prove that...but a scan could also leave the black cloud over me.

It is all a mind game.

Then, I went to the new plastic surgeon for a consult. He said the same thing as the first one. There is no way I can just have an implant stuck in there, my radiated, crunchy issue just won't support it. They have to bring in a fresh blood supply from somewhere. This guy does the Lat flap from the back.

I liked the Doc, he spent 45 minutes talking to me during the exam, answered all my questions. He had an odd take on the cancer thing. I was saying that I was waiting for a clean scan, make sure I wasn't going to die soon before thinking about a new boob. He said, "Oh, you will get a clean scan, no doubt. You just don't know how long it will stay that way." Hmmm, gotta love that brutal honesty.

So, now I feel confident that ripping a muscle off my back to make a boob is my only option. Doc says unless I am a golfer or swimmer, I won't notice a functional deficit.

Decisions, decisions.... I hope I can talk to someone who has had this done, I just have a hard time believing that you don't miss that big ole muscle.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10-27-10

I have had a lung crud that lasted too long, so last week I saw the nurse practioner. I also was worried about the weird neck thing. It turns out that my cilia isn't perky anymore (hey, how perky should 42 year old cilia be!). The radiation has caused the hairs in my lungs to be a little crunchy and not able to move lung funk as well as they used to. So, I came home with an arsenol of lung medication and my breathing has improved. I don't know if my cilia regenerates or if it will always be crunchy, but it is just another thing on the list of crappy cancer related shit.

My neck thing is just muscular, probably from the new bite splint I am trying to help me stop grinding my teeth. But the NP was very cool and understanding of my cancer paranoia and said I could come by anytime I have a new lump or bump. That felt nice, to know that it is OK to be paranoid and that she understands.

Tomorrow I will see a plastic surgeon. I hope he has a better idea than ripping muscles off my back to make a boob out of. I could be lopsided forever, I can just stay like I am . But, if there are good options, I would like to know them.

I will confess, I have guilt thinking about reconstructive surgery. I feel guilt for putting my family through another surgery just for cosmetic reasons. I would have to miss some work, would need a ride to and from the hospital, the kids would have to carry groceries for a little bit. I realize that is not too much to ask of my family, but I am asking for help just so I can get a boob.

Maybe I am just trying to talk myself out of it so I won't be disappointed if it can't happen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

10-18-10

I am in a very crappy mood today, just angry, pissed off and tired of all this crap.

First off, my morning TV line-up has changed so I have been watching "The View"....probably my mistake, I should know better. So today, Sherri and Elizabeth get mammograms. It is Elizabeth's first and Sherri's first in many years. Watching them whine about the pressure, the squeezing, the smooshing of the mammo just really pissed me off. If you can't handle 3 seconds of smoosh every couple of years (or whatever the CDC is recommending now), why even bother getting a mammo since IF you have cancer, three seconds of smoosh will be a freaking walk in the park.

I am NOT saying don't get your mammo's, but please...please can we put this in perspective ladies. "I had to get a mammo and it squished me" wahhh wahh f*cking wahhh. It does not even register on the crappy day meter once you have had the bad mammogram and all the ensuing shit that goes with it.

Suck it up, it is not about saving the boobs, squishing the boobs, getting new perky boobs....woman are dying. Your squishy little test is like a paper cut. BUT, there are people out there whose paper cut turned into gangrene, their hand fell off and it led to a systemic blood infection that killed them.

(Man, I will be glad when Pinktober is over).

Secondly, I have a pain in my neck (unrelated to my morning TV problem). It has been bothering me for several days. My mind quickly goes to mets, cancer working it's way up to my brain. Sure, it could be muscle, sinus, teeth grinding, slept funny...but it could be something really bad.

Even if it is nothing, it pisses me off that everything registers as 'tumor' in my mind. It is a crappy way to live, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Clyde is still there, still don't know what the hell it is. My armpit has an odd tremor in it, a weird tick thing.

I did get two weeks without imagining any tumors. That was nice. I think I have just enough info to be dangerous. I know muscle strain, I work in Physical Therapy. This doesn't feel like muscle strain. I see the Oncologist in a week and a half anyway. I'll just set is aside and bring it up then if it is still around. That seems to be the cancer rule, symptoms that last longer than two weeks are note worthy.

Maybe I was unfair to the whiny View chicks, but it felt good to direct my anger somewhere.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10-13-10

I think I am figuring out one of the things that bothers me about Pinktober.

It is like the tampon/maxi pads commercials with the horseback riding and the yoga and the night clubbing. The commercials say that my period is supposed to make me want to do those things.

All the breast cancer awareness marketing puts off the same vibe. You see all these smiling, pink bandanna wearing women doing marathons, ER+ woman on the beach or at the gym because their bones are so strong now.

Having my period doesn't make me want to go to a kickboxing class and having breast cancer hasn't compelled me to ..... whatever it is that I am not doing right, because I sure don't feel like the women in the awareness ads.

Women die, children are orphaned, women are being "pinked" which means to cut in a jagged line (I find that so ironic).

When I was diagnosed, I was literally given a breast cancer welcome kit with the bracelet and the scarf and angel pin and various sundries. They might as well handed me my reconstructed boobs and my marathon entry number tag to pin to my pink T-shirt.

So forgive me for not attending your Pink Pampered Chef party or drinking the Pink bottled water. I just don't get it, there must have been something missing in my welcome kit. God Bless the women that embrace the Pink, maybe it does remind someone to do a self exam. I don't mean to sound like I am taking anything away from those that do embrace the Pink. I just hate that I could be bathed in Pink Pepto Bismol and I would still feel scared, scarred and screwed.

This is what breast cancer looks like to me, there is nothing pink about it.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

10-9-10

Nothing new in the cancer department, I'll get another PET scan in November. I did tell the doc-ish people about my fears of brain mets, not that I have them now, but that I will develop them. A young lady in my community was declared cancer free and six months later was having brain surgery for mets. That scares the hell out of me.

I was answering a "cancer questionaire", those things always make me feel like I am flunking cancer class. Some of the questions were about what changes I have made in my life, what lessons I have learned... I haven't learned much except a whole bunch about cancer. I keep thinking there should be some great lesson and many of the questionaires implies there should be a great lesson. But I am not oozing inner peace, no epiphany, no near death appreciation for life.

I was thinking about the latin prefix 'meta' as in metamorphosis and metastisis. To change forms or to change from stable, I think there is a cool train of thought there.

I'll update if this train of thought gives me the great life changing epiphany. But if I have the big epiphany, I may get a letter in the mail saying that I cannot share it with regular people, it is reserved for cancer peeps. I think that is what those cancer questions are about, people want the big secret and they don't want to have to go bald to get it.

There is no big secret, just baldness.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10-7-10

I woke up thinking about the boob vs teeth thing.

There is no great philosophical meaning, I realized. I have insurance that will cover a boob, but I don't have insurance that will fix my teeth. I can't justify sinking money into my mouth when both the kiddos need braces.

I get my IV treatment today, I will ask Onc about when I get my next scan. I am enjoying my stay of execution. I get nervous when I hear about people who recur shortly after finishing treatment.

But, I think cancer is kinda like that car in the blind spot. When I am about to change lanes, it always scares the shit out of me when I realize a car was in my blind spot. I have learned always to check, don't trust the review mirror. Something as big as a car was right there but I didn't know it. My brain assumed I was clear to change lanes, but it wasn't.

It all feeds back to my wonder at how fluid 'reality' is.

My sister-in-law is having surgery next week, may have uterine cancer, they need to get in there and check out this tumor she has. We have talked about the fear, the fear is worse than the treatment. This week, she can believe it is not cancer. Next week, she may not have that option (at least not without illegal drugs). The tumor will not have changed, just her reality.

Maybe that is what all this pink shit is about in October, bathe our fears in pink and it will all be OK.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10-6-10

This is such an odd ride I am on.

I found another plastic surgeon in my state that takes my insurance, that brings the available doctor count up to ...two. So I made an appointment with this guy to check out my options.

First guy didn't give me the warm fuzzies. First, when he saw my scar he groaned and kind of rolled his eyes and griped about surgeons who were just worried about cutting cancer out. Second, his best bet is to take muscle from my back to make a boob. I need muscle more than I need boob.

Maybe this second guy will have more balls, maybe he will be willing to try an implant on my radiated chest.

The point in here was, making a plastic surgery appointment sounds like a hopeful, positive thing to do. Sounds like moving forward, putting this behind me, yada yada.

I also went to the dentist today. The stress is making me grind my teeth in my sleep so hard that I have a loose tooth. I talked to the dentist about my options and we came to the point of "save the teeth" or "pull the teeth".

I sent my kids to the waiting room (they had just had their cleaning and were enjoying seeing me getting poked and prodded in the chair). I flatly told the dentist that I had no intentions of sinking a bunch of dough into my mouth when I probably would not live to old age. Saving teeth would be great if I was going to make it to my 80's, but I don't see that happening.

That did not sound like a very positive, hopeful thing to say.

I don't think it is a boob versus teeth thing, I believe that teeth are more important that boobs. It is a 10-15 year thing. I don't think I need to go into debt to save this damn tooth, especially since I can't stop grinding it in sleep.

I bought a new Night Guard, I chewed through the last one. This one comes with a "chew threw" warrenty, if I grind a hole in it, they will replace it.

Won't I feel like an idiot if I make it to the nursing home and bitch that I had that damn tooth pulled and have to stay on a soft, nursing home diet.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

10-3-10

One year ago today, I woke up in the hospital after having my breast amputated. That was supposed to be the end of this, catch it before it spreads. The surgeon came to my room, sat down and told me that it had spread. It seemed that every time someone looked at me, my cancer got worse. By the time the scans and cutting were over, I was classified as a stage IIIC.

So much has changed in this year. I have been through so many physical, emotional, financial changes.

Last evening, I spent time with a special man. I have not dated during my cancer treatment year... low white blood cells, baldness, radiation burns. Having a maimed chest made me very hesitant, I can't imagine what that looks like to an outsider.

I feel rather lucky. Had I been married to a man during diagnoses, he might have felt stuck with me so he wouldn't be labeled as the dick that left his wife when she had cancer. To meet someone who accepts me, my body, my fuzzy head, my diagnosis and the uncertainty that brings...that is pretty special. Special and scary, but I have faced cancer head on, I shouldn't be scared of a little relationship situation.

Fearless living...fearless loving....fearless giving, not a bad way to live.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

10-2-10

Today is the anniversary of my mastectomy. That means I have been on this blog for about a year now. I have been a uni-boober for a year.

I had a phantom breast-feeding sensation in my missing boob the other day. A baby was crying and I felt that weird tingle on that side, my brain still associates crying baby with breast feeding.

That is so odd to me, I haven't breast fed in almost 10 years. I haven't had that boob for a year. The brain is such an interesting organ, much more interesting than boobs!

I wonder if I could drum up phantom sexual sensation on that side. Now that would be useful!

Friday, September 24, 2010

9-24-10

Clyde is benign, just a blob of mystery tissue.

Surgeon snipped my stitches and said the skin looks good.

I can breathe again.

I was prepared to do another round of chemo or whatever, but I am so freaking relieved that I don't have to. I have received another stay of execution.

9-24-10

Today I will go to the surgeon, get my stitches out and find out the pathology of Clyde. I still feel pretty confidant that Clyde is not cancer, but...there is always a but (or a butt).

Speaking of butts, the kids bought me a box of 20 full size cancer bars for my birthday. My butt will be huge. I may get back to dieting after I am sure that Clyde is cool. I guess there is a mental thing where I don't really worry about the size of my ass if I am still cancer-y.

Well, that may not be entirely true. I ate a bunch of crap during chemo, because I could. I am eating crap now because I can. I did try, and succeed in losing weight before cancer because I started thinking about how the extra weight would affect me in my old age. I didn't want the people in the nursing home to have to life my fat ass out of the bed. Since I lost weight when I had 40 years to prep for my nursing home stay, you would think that I would work harder to get in shape since my period of infirmity may be much closer now.

But not today.

Ooh, one creepy thing. My stitches are not the dissolving kind. They feel like fishing line. They poke out of my shirt and when I accidentally rub it it feels very icky. But, the skin seems to be doing OK, I think the holes will heal up fine. I may have escaped the dreaded non healing radiated wound fate.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

9-22-10

"Well, it's cancer", NOT Clyde, but that is what the Surgeon said a year ago today.

It is my cancerversary. (I still don't know what Clyde is, I'll find out Friday).

Looking back, the fear really is the worst part. Yes, there is physical pain involved, there is a whole lot of suckiness that has happened. But the fear really is the worst part. Maybe that is because they have drugs for all the other stuff, pain, anxiety, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, radiation burns.... There isn't anything for the terror you feel.

September is a big month for me, many anniversaries. My birthday, my wedding, my exhusband moving out, 9/11, cancer diagnoses, big stuff happens to me in September.

The main thing I am feeling right now is thankful for this break. I don't know what is going to happen. I could learn Friday that I have another battle coming up (although I really don't think so, I think the biopsy will be negative). I think sometime in October, I may get another scan. But for now, I have a break, no treatments, just some healing time.

I had a great day with the homeschooling yesterday, we just sat around the table learning and laughing. The kids seem to be doing well, maybe this will just be a little blip in their childhood memory bank.

Helluva blip.

Monday, September 20, 2010

9-20-10

More Birthday thoughts...

Last year on my birthday, I had just had the biopsy and was waiting for the results. My family and I met at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate my birthday. My Mom had bought me a toaster over (which we have loved having) and she also bought me a zip up front shirt thing. The zip up shirt was significant since she had picked that in case I needed to have surgery, which I did.

If I knew where that damn shirt was, I would burn it today. I think I have already given it away to Goodwill. I still have my chemo scarves and my favorite chemo pajamas and I don't feel compelled to burn any of them. But that shirt...I guess it represents the dread of the unknown.

Helluva year.

9-20-10

Today is my birthday, Wednesday is my cancerversery. Friday, I will find out if I won round one of the cancer battle.

Maybe I should go ahead and declare myself the winner of round one. I am not sure if the bell has sounded yet (I am doing a boxing match thing here.)

I am 42 now. That is weird to me since the number 42 seems to hold some special significance. When I am yelling at the kids, I seem to always say "I have told you 42 times to put your clothes away". They brought this to my attention, that I really always say 42. My Mom says "eleventy million" as in, "I must have eleventy million baskets...". OK, so if I am afraid I will die when I am 42, than my Mom is going to live forever...so that theory doesn't hold. Moving on.

It has been a helluva year.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

9-18-10

Surprisingly, Surgeon did biopsy the bump yesterday. He took out two plugs of it, stitched me up and I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, like a drive-through biopsy. I will get the results next Friday when he takes the stitches out.

It was exactly one year, to the day, in between biopsies.

Surgeon said he ran into Rad Onc at a tumor conference and Rad Onc asked about me. That is a little concerning that my bump was so memorable.

So I have done my little fashion show, went to the State Fair with the kids and had a biopsy, plus had my IV infusion. It has been a busy little week for me.

One thing I am looking forward to, there is a salon that does a free hair thing for us post chemo headed people. That will be great, I don't know what to do with this fuzzball on my head, other than just pet it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

9-16-10

Going to see Big Onc today, getting my IV infusion and let him check on me and see how I am doing. I see surgeon tomorrow, I have no idea what is going to happen with Clyde. He is more integrated into my body, either my body is eating him, or he is eating me.

I did the fashion show, it was long and anti-climatic. But, the kids really enjoyed seeing me, they kept saying how proud they were. I guess I was able to convey to them that beauty is an attitude and if their overweight, boobless, chemo fluff haired Mom can feel good enough to work a runway (a tiny runway), than they can feel wonderful at any stage of their life.

I took the kids to the State Fair last night, my sister and I and four kids. I had some extra kids since school let out early. I spent way too much money but I think we all had a blast. Morgan said she had no idea her Mom was so fearless! My favorite ride was down for repairs, the Gravitron. We'll have to find one somewhere else to try out.

At the end of the fashion show, we had to hold up signs that showed how long we had been cancer free. Mine said "Hope to be soon", that was a little depressing. I was looking at all these vivacious women, beautiful and spirited and felt bad about being fuzzy and tired. I had to remind myself to cut myself some slack. Many of those wonderful women were years out from their treatment. But it did give me a glimpse of what I may feel like one day soon.

The kids received their TCAP scored back. They were not as great as the last set, but they were still proficient in everything. I felt bad that they didn't score advanced, but again, I had to remind myself to cut myself some slack. I home schooled them through surgery, chemo and radiation and they have not fallen below grade level. Even if they were in school, the stress that they have been under would affect their test scores.

All in all, it has been a good Mom week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9-10-10

Nothing is going on, but I feel the limbo starting to fade. I guess I am moving on and I will find out what the chapter is. Clyde is still there, I see surgeon in a week. Clyde feels different, I am not sure they can cut it out, but it is still red and very much there.

I am participating in a fashion show to raise money for a local cancer program. It is a silly thing that is very out of character for me, but maybe that is why I am doing it. Maybe there is a new character in me coming out. They have called the show "Heroes in Heels" which I find stupid, almost insulting. If I saved a kid from a burning building in stilettos, now that would be something. All I did was get cancer and go to a bunch of appointments and I am pretty sure I never wore heels doing it. Wait, I did go to one birthday party in a pair of clog type shoes during chemo, very unsteady on my feet in a Japanese restaurant with slick floors. It rained and I didn't mind going to get the car since I was bald and had no hair to get messed up.

My shoulder is a little weird, not the joint but the surrounding tissue. The rads fried it all pretty good. It just feels thick and tight in there.

I went on a date, I let him poke my port on the first date. I thought I would try to slowly introduce him to the weirdness that is my body now. My port is my little chemo access button in case you were confused, get your mind out of the gutter!

So next week I have silly fashion show, my IV treatment and the surgeon. I will admit it was a little fun having someone dress me in what is actually in style. They will do my make-up and all that girly stuff (but I won't admit that I like it).

I have also signed the kids up for a support group, but I haven't told them yet. They will moan and groan and grumble. I may end up having to pay them to try it out. I do feel like they need to debrief about this cancer crap. They may have some things that they don't want to say to me. They have said I was nicer during chemo and that they didn't mind having a mom that napped a lot. Motivated Mom seems to be less fun for them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

9-2-10

Clyde seems to be slowing dissappearing, I think he is scared now that we have a slice and dice plan. He is still discolored but it is smaller...hmmm. So when I get back to surgeon, maybe it will be gone. I will never know whether it was cancer, and for some reason that will bother me. They said if it gets smaller during radiation, it is probably cancer. If it gets bigger, it probably is not.

I think the powers that be are just messing with my head. There is a lesson in this, as much as I like puzzles, this one is wearing me out.

I don't want to die, but I am not scared of it. What I don't want, is to have to pack for the trip. I really would need to get rid of stuff if I was terminal, make it easier on my family after I kick the bucket.

I don't love my house, but I won't move since I don't want to pack.

Did you hear about the woman that was missing for four months and they finally found her dead body under a pile of stuff in her home. She was a hoarder and they didn't realize that she was actually dead in the house. I am not a hoarder, but I could see it happening to me. I do have quite a bit of weirdness in my house. Things that the post-death packers would wonder "what the hell was she keeping this for".

What is funny is that a few years ago, I actually lived in a 187 sq ft camper. You can't keep much stuff in that space. I loved it, you had one place to sit and one place to lie down. How many other spaces do you need.

Frankly, I don't think it is a mental problem of not getting rid of stuff, it is a problem of I am too damn tired to carry it away.

So I am not sure that that issue is the great life lesson I am supposed to be learning.

The quest continues.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

8-28-10

The day after my last post, I saw Rad Onc. He was shocked that I am still toting Clyde around, he feels very strongly that I have it removed. I asked the receptionist if Rad Onc was normally so pessimistic, she didn't have an answer.

Thursday, I went for my IV infusion, so I talked to Big Onc about Clyde. I said I just needed a plan. So, we have a plan. On September 17th, Surgeon will be seen, he may biopsy Clyde with every one's blessing. That gives me a good 6 weeks after radiation to try and have a chance for good wound healing.

That is why we haven't biopsied yet, radiated tissue doesn't heal well. The nurse told me of a patient that spent 53 days in hospital from a radiated wound that wouldn't heal. 53 days in hospital!! I can't even imagine what would happen if I had to face a long hospitalization like that. Who would move in and take care of my kids, who would take care of the babies I babysit, no work, no money.... so I need to heal.

So at least now we have a plan. Perhaps Clyde will be gone by then. He is turning a little dark, that is weird. If he is necrotic tissue, what if it eats through my skin. My sister pointed out that it may be dark from bruising as people have been poking at him all week, I like that theory.

I have asked work to start giving me more patients. I need to assume that I am getting better and need to find my new normal. Before cancer, I was on the fast track to get out of debt, paying off everything with the intention of being debt free by the age of 50 (including student loan and hopefully the house). The past year, nothing has happened except more debt, more interest and student loan in deferment for the year. I am so grateful that I was able to defer my student loan. Not making that payment freed up my meager salary for food and electricity.

But, my year of deferment is almost up, my treatments are pretty much over except for my IV tri-weekly. Time to believe that this is behind me and get back on track.

Which makes me wonder what the lesson to be learned in all this is. I feel like I was snatched out of my life, put through a meat grinder for a year and now I am plopped back into my life. The past year, interest has accrued, paint has pealed, yard has become overgrown, and now I need to hop back in and repair all the damage in my meat grinded state.

I have learned to be in the moment a little better, but that is only because my chemo brain can only focus on one thing. I have learned to crochet, not sure that is a life changing skill. My kids have become a more independent once I nag them. I do make more eye contact with people, one of my patients said I really seemed "plugged in" to my patients, I notice things that a lot of people don't.

I want to be all enlightened and spewing inner peace. And I would like it now, damn it. Tee hee.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

8-24-10

First of all, as I typed in today's date, I realized it is my father's birthday. He passed away when I was 18. I miss you Dad.

As I typed in "father", I didn't capitalize it....when I type in "Mother", I capitalize it, it is a proper noun when I am referring to my Mom. But "Father" sounds like I am talking about God when I capitalize it. Hmmm, my weird brain.

OK, I saw surgeon and he was prepared to cut out Clyde, scalpel was on the table. But, after looking me over again, he has now decided that Clyde is a blop of necrotic tissue caused by radiation that my body will reabsorb. OK, I'll buy that. It doesn't sound appealing, like I need maggot therapy or something to eat this dead thing sitting on my chest.

He is leery about cutting since I am all radiated and may not heal. Then, I would have an open wound which could be very problematic in my immunocompromised state.

So, Clyde and I cohabitate in this body until my little white blood cells eat him.

The kids and I are going through another transition. I have been sick for a long time, all chemo-ing and stuff, I have let so much slip by as far as doing chores and things like that. My first priority was the homeschooling, so if I didn't get the corners clean, that was OK as long as I was vertical long enough for school time.

I am starting to feel better, ready to start scrubbing the corners. The kids are not thrilled, they have become used to a Mom that naps and leaves them alone. They say I was nicer during chemo.

I need to find a happy medium, slowly integrating a new system into our household. Since it is just the kids and I, we can make any rules we want. We discussed this over lunch yesterday. One rule they would like imposed is storing the ketchup in the cabinet, not the fridge. They really enjoy restaurant ketchup since it is room temperature.

I am stressed out about the state of the union in my home and family dynamic and they just want warm ketchup.

Why does ketchup say "refrigerate after opening" but all restaurants leave it on the table all the time?

In the back of my mind, I am freaking out a little about all this cancer business. There have been a couple of deaths recently and it is scary how quickly this shit can turn for the worse.

I need to find that balance of living in the moment while being aware of how quickly this can go to hell and being prepared for that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

8-20-10

I go see surgeon today to see what he thinks about Clyde. The generalized swelling as gone down in the chest, so I am pretty sure that it was just inflamed from the radiation. Clyde, however, is still hanging tough. He looks more red and angry but that is just because the rest of my skin is returning to its normal color.

I still feel optimistic that Clyde is not cancerous, still feeling the pus-filled abscess warm fuzzies.

It has been a pretty good week. Homeschooling is going well, kids jumped right back into it after the summer break.

I think I will sky dive on my cancerversary.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

8-15-10

This past week I developed a new area swelling in my scar site. I did go back to Rad Onc who sent me to surgeon.

It was nice seeing surgeon again, he is the one that told me I had cancer. He has a special place in my heart. He looked at both bumps, Clyde and Oma. Oma is the fluidy new swelling which he wasn't concerned about and said I could do my lymphatic drainage massage to that area without worry that I was just spreading "cancer juice" around.

Regarding the hard and tender Clyde, he thinks (fingers crossed) it could be an infection. So he gave be antibiotics, did an ultrasound and stuck a needle in there trying to drain it. He couldn't get anything out of it, but we are going to think infected pus pocket for now.

Next Friday, I will go back and he will see if it needs to be cut out. He did not think it is cancer. For some reason, his opinion makes me feel so much better. When other docs say it is probably not cancer, I assume they are lying to keep my spirits up. When surgeon says it, I believe him, tact is not his strong suit.

So for the next week, I get to do the "happy pus filled abscess dance" since that is what I believe for now. Things can turn on a dime, but this is what I believe today and that is good.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

8-8-10

Radiation is finished and my skin is healing pretty well. I have a lovely area of burnt, crusty flesh that I have to slap myself to keep from picking. Everything on that side is tight. When I raise my arm, it feels like I am ripping muscle off the ribs.

But, it is getting better quickly.

Saw Big Onc, he said I will still be cooking for six weeks. If the new bump (Clyde) is cancer, we are cooking it. I can't scan for 3-4 months as everything would glow right now. So, I will stay in 9/21/09 mindset, the day before I received the initial biopsy results. But I am not quite as stressed as I was on 9/21. On 9/21, I was full of fear. Today, I am not full of fear, just mild anxiety. Been there, done that, can do it again if needed.

I do refuse to spend the next three months freaked out about the "maybe-s".

As much as I want to smack people when they say this, I am going to say it (and then duck), "It is what it is".

I would like to know what the hell it is, though. Patience, patience...

By the time I scan again, it could be gone and we may never know. Why is it so important to know if Clyde is cancer, wouldn't it be more important to know that it is gone? That is what everything thinks. In my mind, it causes me concern that my cancer has no respect for authority and will grow despite being chemo-ed and radiated. That scares me, a tumor that grows after treatment is one thing, a tumor that grows during treatment is another.

I typed threatment, threat ment, ha ha. What if Clyde is just laughing at my threats like a smart ass teenager. Do they make military school for tumors?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

7-27-10

Today is my 3rd boost. I have a few weird burn marks.







It looks like I have been choked or have been given a hickey by a duck billed platypus.

My chest is also very red, but I will spare you those pics, for now.

Friday, July 23, 2010

7-23-10

First boost down, four to go. The boost is more high tech than the wet washcloth. There is a telescoping protrusion with a lead plate which is cut out to reveal the shape of my particular bananna shaped area they want to boost.

I asked if they recycle the plates, I thought if they just trashed them, I would take it home, it would make cool art.

Rad Onc talked to Big Onc's nurse and came and told me I was clear to have the surgery. Five minutes later, Big Onc's nurse calls me and tells me to hold off seeing surgeon until after I see Big Onc in two weeks.

Frustrating

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7-21-10

24th Zap today, One more regular zap and then five boosts. They set up the "booster", it is more hi-tech than a wash cloth. It is like a booster seat your kid sits on at the table. The booster sticks out of the machine and gets very close to the area. Which area, I am not exactly sure, they did draw a large bananna shape on me, maybe that is the area.

Today, I just don't give a rat's ass. I am tired.

Rad Onc wants me to have the new bump cut out ASAP, my surgeon's office was calling me as I walked in the door from radiation. This makes me nervous. Big Onc wanted to wait and scan it when I am not radioactive. This makes me nervous.

Rad Onc and Big Onc were supposed to Pow Wow today on the phone. I don't think I get a vote, that makes me nervous.

I think I get nervous when I don't know what worst case scenario is. Let's assume it is cancer, can I do more chemo or am I maxed out? Since Big Onc thinks it is probably nothing, we didn't discuss the what-ifs.

I have a feeling that Rad Onc thinks that it is something, although he flip flops. I don't think he believes it is scar tissue if he wants surgery ASAP.

I am tired, burned out, burned up.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

7-15-10

I had my 20th zap today. Five more with the wet washcloth and then 5 "boosts", maybe they will pull out the silly putty for that.

I saw the Big Dog Onc today. He said nothing very helpful, same ole, same ole, if it's cancer, we are already zapping it. He did say that I can't be scanned for a while, since I am all radioactive, everything would glow.

So what I have learned is that I won't learn anything for a long time.

So I am going to try to just forget about it, except when it rubs on something, I have to wear my seatbelt, I am in the shower, trying to sleep on my stomach, getting hugged or getting zapped.

Other than those times, I will forget about it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

7-11-10

My children go to their Dad's every weekend, so I used to use that opportunity to look at the reconstruction message board and contemplate new boobs. I don't look at surgical pics when they are here, any mention of body fluid grosses them out.

I haven't been to the recon board in a while, I think my brain is back into survival mode and not worrying about boobs or the lack of anymore.

I had my first radiation treatment with the bolus Friday. Radiation in a very precise science, lasers and trajectories and constant monitoring. I get Xrays every week, there are tattoos that make sure I am lined up precisely right. The purpose of the bolus is to "trick" the machine into thinking I am thicker than I am so it will zap more superficially. It is a thing they literally lay over the area in question to get more radiation to the surface. It is all very scientific and I am glad there are people with a lot of initials behind their name in charge of this.

The bolus is....a wet washcloth. Wow, if a wet washcloth can trick this fancy machine, I have very little confidence in this machine.

There are more fancy bolus materials out there, but my guys say that the wet washcloth conforms nicely to individual lumps and bumps better. I suggested if we are going to just use a washcloth, which they nicely used warm water on, perhaps a nice seaweed wrap would be more therapeutic.

The smart ass tech said he could run down to the gulf to get some seaweed but the oil content may cause problems, that spontaneous combustion I am worried about.

Rad Onc said my Oma (that is mystery growth) is not bone, it is either scar tissue or soft tissue cancer. That is good news, I have a lot of soft tissue to spare, they can just keep cutting it out. Too bad it is not on these saddlebags on my thighs.

So I will finish rads with the fancy washcloth, probably get another scan and a biopsy. Unless, my Big Dog Onc says something different on Thursday.

I think I will name the Oma "Clyde", don't know why, it just feels like a Clyde.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

7-8-10

Had a little pow wow with radiation oncologist to discuss CT scan from yesterday.
They are going to add a bolus of radiation to the lump, the peanut M & M, which sounds like cancer treatment to me.

He was hesitant to say the word "cancer", I found that odd, he is a radiation oncologist, I would think that everyone he sees has or has had cancer.

I suggested we stick a needle in there and see what is up. We can't do that while I am taking radiation treatments since it will interfere with my healing. So, after rads, then we will stick a needle in there and see what it is.

In the meantime...if it gets bigger, that means it is probably scar tissue that is being all twisted and mangled by the laser beams we are shooting at it. If is gets smaller, that means that it is cancer that is shrinking from the laser beams.

It seems odd to be hoping that my mystery lump gets bigger.

7-8-10

Time does not heal all wounds, time just increases the odds that you will die before the conflict is resolved.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

7-7-10

14 zaps down, no big side effects, just a little pink.

But...I have a new lump. It is on my ribs on the cancer side. It wasn't there 2 weeks ago, doc says it feels like a peanut M & M, you would think he would have said something in medical-ese.

It is in the same spot as the mystery spot on my last PET scan, but it is also in the field that we are radiating. So, if it is cancer, we are already zapping it.

They did a CT scan on it today.

I am crocheting on Valium.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

7-4-10

Twelve zaps down, who knows how many to go. My skin is starting to turn a little pink. There is a weird shape to this pinkness, it looks like I have been branded by a giant Lego or something.

My youngest daughter's birthday was yesterday. We had a little party for her Friday. I was too emotionally invested in this as it was a way to prove to myself that I am still a good Mom despite cancer. I really needed this to be successful...of course, it wasn't. There was family drama between my siblings, a pissed off niece and a bratty 6 year old that hurt my daughter's feelings. There were traffic jams so some people didn't get to make it, her Nana was out of town....my baby's birthday was a bust.

But, she did love the gifts that I had bought for her, so that made me happy.

I would really like it if something nice could happen to my kids, they have had a crappy year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6-29-10




I have crocheted myself some dreadlocks and a rasta hat.

6-29-10

I am not doing very well, mentally. I guess it is from doing radiation every damn day which means that I feel all cancer-y every damn day. With chemo, I would not sleep well the night before the drip, then I would move on with my week. With radiation, I don't sleep well, I get my zap and for the next 23 hours, I feel I am just killing time until the next zap.

So I crochet like a maniac, I get very consumed in finding cheap yarns. I cut up plastic grocery bags to crochet.

I made a five foot afghan in 10 days, that is some heavy duty crocheting. Plus, I made a few other small things in that time frame.

Crocheting through Cancer.... if I learn something big, I should write it down.

So I have had 8 zaps so far, and the jury is still out on how many I will have. I have been told 25 and 33, I don't know how the decision is made. It kind of messes up my count down if I don't know what the final tally is.

The treatment itself is pretty scary. There is this machine that comes at you like the Alien from the Alien movie, but I am not Ripley. There are teeth in that thing, it comes very close to me and it growls and buzzes. The teeth slide open and shut to make the exact shape of my cancer-y area.

I try to relax and pretend this is a tanning bed treatment. But I have this fear that the techs aren't paying attention, the machine will zap for too long and I will combust right there on the table. I discussed this fear with the techs, one tech replied, "That very rarely happens", then he grinned. He also told me to stop counting the seconds of the buzzes or he would change it up just to screw with me. I guess that is good that he can joke about it, I will try to chill out.

Tanning bed and one armpit electrolysis, tanning bed and one armpit electrolysis...that is too hard to chant, I need a simpler mantra.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

6-17-10

First radiation treatment was this morning. Here is my recap:

They showed me to a dressing room, I put on the gown and there was a locker with a little key just like at the bowling alley. I kept my boob and my purse and my shirt in the little locker and there was a handy dandy wrist strap to keep the key on. This system impessed me...I should get out more.

They took me to the mad scientist lab looking room, put me on the table and situated me in my custom made pillow that is molded to my head and my arm as it lays over my head. This sounds more comfortable than it is, there was something that felt like gravel under my skull and you can't move, it got pretty irritating.

I joked about how small my tattoo were and I wanted a redo, they said there are no do-overs and then they examined me closely trying to find the damn tattoos that are so small, they couldn't find them either. There was about 20 minutes of X-rays, I stayed still and the two arms of this large machine moved around me. It felt like a scene from one of the Alien movies. At one point, the arm comes really close to my face and I can see inside it. At I am peering in, metal teeth slide apart to reveal this abyss inside.

Just when I thought I was done, they tell me the Xrays are finished and the zapping will start. This was similar to the Xrays, arms moving around me, pausing and buzzing, the buzz was just much longer with the actual treatment times.

The was also a period of sharpie markering on my chest, I have some strange looking map thing drawn on me. There is also a taped area that is where they line me up for next time, so little bulls eye is protected by tape.

I did remember to ask, I am scheduled for 25 zaps. This is fewer than I was originally told and the zapper said I am getting a stronger dose. So that is less zaps but a more concentrated variety.

We'll see how that plays out, my reality is that I am not going to feel bad, even with the concentrated doses.

The hardest part (in my mind) is going to be remembering to show up every day.

I need to put up some post-it notes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6-15-10

I had a very weird dream last night. It was a boob dream, I guess that is like the "drinking dreams" I had after I started living sober. In my dream there was a woman with the strangest boobs, weird robotic boobs composed of several areas in a pinwheel type shape. She could flex her muscles and make each area contract individually.

I woke up wondering what this could symbolize, then it dawned on me. I have been feverishly crocheting a afghan made up of 91 hexagons. I finished it yesterday. Dream boob lady had breast that were made up of granny square circles. So there is probably no deep philosophical meaning behind the dream, I just have crocheting on the brain.



There is the afghan before I put the edging on it, I am quite pleased with it. But I may see weird robot boob chick everytime I look at it now.

I get my first zap tomorrow. I have purchased a bottle of aloe vera goop and my crystal deodorant. You can't wear regular deodorant on the side you are having radiation. Luckily, I don't sweat on that side as much anymore. I do think I sweat more on the other side, I guess to compensate for whatever the surgeon snatched out on the cancer side.

My reality today is that radiation will be a pain in the ass, having to do it daily, but that will be my only complaint. The fatigue will be minimal, the skin damage will be a mere inconvenience and it will be a piece of cake. Anyone who says differently can kiss my ass. That is my reality for today, we will see how that holds up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

6-11-10

I am exhausted. I think I have been trying too hard to get "normal" now that chemo is done. I am barely a month after last chemo and I have been trying to work normal shifts at work, working out at the Y, doing my weight watchers thing, trying to get the house back in order after six months of neglect...I think I should have eased back into normal. The physical exhaustion plus the delayed mental reaction to the whole cancer thing as absolutely worn me out.

I don't really know what to do about it. I can't justify a nap in my mind, afterall, I am a month out of chemo, I shouldn't need naps anymore. It sucks being in my brain trying to talk myself into a nap when that other voice says, suck it up and go mow the yard.

I met my radiation oncologist, got my little dot tattoos, had another CT scan and will start the zapping next Wednesday. The nurse at the rads office wasn't quite buying my 'exercise made the PET scan show an area in my chest' theory, but that is going to continue to be my reality and in the back of my mind I will assume that the rads will fry anything bad going on in there.

The cancer shrink wants to talk about the cancer, imagine that! I need to cry, I am afraid I may explode if something to break soon. It is so hard to fit a mental breakdown into my schedule.

Friday, June 4, 2010

6-4-10

That last stubborn cancer-y lymph node is finally terminated. My scan showed that the lymph node is dead. It also showed a new weird area in my chest, but I am confident that is from me working out the day before the scan which I didn't realize you weren't supposed to do. They called me to confirm the appointment and told me to be a couch potato the rest of the day, but this was after I had worked out for an hour including pectoral exercises.

So I am sure that is what the scan picked up and I don't have new cancer, that is my story and I am sticking to it.

I feel like I have been given a "stay of execution", a cease fire has been called. I don't think I am out of the woods completely, but I have a chance to reload, regroup and replenish my stores for the next round. The next round may be this year, five years from now or when I am in my 70s, but at least I get a chance to catch my breath.

I meet the radiation oncologist next week. I will get a whole bunch of zaps to fry the battleground and hopefully destroy any rougue cells. Or maybe I will be zapping the battleground to make it inhospitable to future cell, I don't know, I will ask the zapper guy what the objective is.

One of my cancer peeps said something great last night. She was talking about the non-canerous people and said "They just don't get it and you don't want them to get it". That really touched me, you would never want someone you love to understand this situation. You can only understand it by living it, and you wouldn't wish that on anyone. I really like my new group of cancer peeps, it is fun to just hang with people that get it.

My headlight went out last night. Luckily, someone stopped and told me. If they hadn't, I would have thought I was losing half my vision due to a brain tumor. Kinda like when I spent 30 seconds convinced that I had a brain tumor since one of my hands was freezing...until I realized that the other hand was my coffee cup holding hand.

(Oh, and by headlight, I meant on my car, it was not a boob metaphor).

Stay of execution... that sounds great. I intend to enjoy it to the fullest.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

5-30-10

I have a very good friend at work. Yesterday, she said, "You are starting to look like yourself, not that other person." We laughed, it is funny. But this morning, I started thinking about all the lies we tell, regarding cancer.

We lie a lot, "I feel fine", "But you look good", "You are going to beat this".

I lie so I don't burden people with my reality, they lie thinking if I think positive, the cancer will be destroyed by my Mary Poppins fairy dust.

I am still hanging out in limbo land, scan on Wednesday and results revealed on Thursday. I am coming to terms with the fact that the results may not matter a whole bunch. I met a lady who finished treatment, had a clear scan, and two months later she is having two brain tumors removed. I met another lady who has been dealing with this shit for 19 years, remission and recurrence, remission and recurrence.

So, there is no point in me getting hung up on the scan results. They are simply a snapshot of where I am today, not an indication of anything long term. If they come up bad, I will use different weapons, if they come back good, I will pack up the arsenal for the time being.

I do wonder, if I still have the glowing lymph node, will they do more chemo before we graduate onto radiation. But I will find that out soon enough.

If I do have to do more chemo:
I will henna my bald head, I didn't do that last time.
I will use my toxic pee to kill the grass that grows in my driveway.
I will convince myself that doughnuts and crab rangoons taste nasty.
I will enjoy the chemo glow that my skin had, my skin did look great.

My 10yo daughter took eyelash inventory, I have 7, four on one side, three on the other. What a helpful update that was.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5-25-10



See how the pink part of my nails is turning white? The white is crawling up my nails a little every week. If you google white nail beds, you get heart or liver failure or anemia. I am hoping this is just a side effect of the Taxol, which sometimes makes your fingernails fall out. I am keeping my nails short so I won't catch the edge on something and rip them out.

Nothing much is going on at the cancer front. I have a break between medical things. So, I have a glimpse of life after treatment. That is a weird place to be, what to do...what to do. I am working out at the Y, at their after breast cancer program. I am pleased that I actually show up. I am seeing my cancer shrink and have found my cancer peeps support group. I work, I homeschool, I babysit the toddler, I crochet.

I think I should spend a little time thinking and planning on who I will be after cancer while I have this break. But, then again, next week I will have my scan and Oncology visit and infusion. So I will be all cancer-y again. And, the scan may show that I am less cancer-y or more cancer-y. So I will wait for the deep reflection on who I am until I have more info on how I am .

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5-19-10

I got a little pissed off last night. I washed my face and more eyebrows fell out. With my swollen face and no eyebrows, I now closely resemble Aaahnold in Terminator during the eyeball plucking scene. Did you ever notice how strange he looked with the movie make-up during that scene? It was the lack of eyebrows that made him look so fake.

So I went to bed, doing my lymphatic drainage and I am noticing a weirdness under my involved side armpit. I am thinking lymph node but am not quite sure if I have any left on that side. Hopefully, it is just a blob of scar tissue from where they ripped the lymph nodes out on that side.

Scan coming up, I will find out soon enough. Do I think positive and take a chance being dissapointed? Do I assume the worst and hope for relief from results. What if I assume the worst, be nervous for the next week, the worst is confirmed and then I have wasted a week of being perky and optimistic. (Perky is a little joke, I don't do perky).

This all goes back to that making your own reality thing, the powers of self delusion. I have to decide what my reality is today, which is, that I have finished six months of chemo, there is no reason to believe that I am in worse shape than I was before. The first chemo made a positive change, I will assume the second recipe did the same.

Crap... I thought my scan was next week, it is in two weeks, time crawls when you are waiting for important stuff. Two weeks, that is too long to be stressed, so I am choosing the ignorance is bliss path, for now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5-18-10

Feeling better every day, haven't napped in over a week. I even walked up the stairs at work a time or two this weekend! That is a big deal, I used to always take the stairs and towards the end of chemo, I had to ride the elevator up everytime. I have also worked out at the Y twice, a very wimpy workout, but it is progress.

I am also proud of myself for using my sleeve. I have had to turn the car around twice after forgetting it, but I am actually following medical advice and using my sleeve when doing activties with that arm or at work. I have used the push mower, did my upper body workout and worked at the nursing home with my sleeve and have had no noticeable swelling- Go Me!!

I went to a new support group meeting last night. It is not a breast cancer group, it is a generic cancer group. Very small, all cancers, all stages, pretty cool, but I cried a little. I may need to cry occasionally, I might sleep better. I am realizing that I do spend a lot of energy trying to portray the "fine-ness" of everything. People really don't want to hear how crappy things are, it makes them feel helpless...and scared. I think people want me to be "fine" so they know that they too, can be "fine" if it ever happens to them.

I have been crocheting like a mad woman, I have all these squares in a stack. Maybe one day, I will join them all together and have a big blanket. But for now, I only have the attention span to do 10 x 10ish squares. The kids bought me a book of fancy stitches, I can't follow the directions but my mistakes look pretty cool. I have found that if you just keep doing the same thing over and over, it loos like you are doing it on purpose.

That is with yarn work, I guess it applies to life too. But with yarn work, your mistakes make a pretty pattern if you screw up the same way every time. I am pretty sure that real life shouldn't work like that. It shouldn't, but people try and make it work like that. Once they screw up, they just keep doing it until it becomes a pattern. It becomes their new identity since they refuse to pull out the yarn and do it over, correctly.

"No, really, this is who I am." That is what they say, but it is not who you were designed to be.

Sorry, I got off on a tangent thinking about some people in my life. Hopefully, therapy will help me to see that I should appreciate the interesting pattern that has been created by all our screw ups. That would make me all inner peacey and all that and the assholes would love that.

I told my new cancer shrink that I feel guilty that cancer has not given me those new eyes, a more enlightened view of the world. She said that was an unrealistic expectation, most people are just really pissed off about cancer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

5-14-10

Yesterday was my first day that I would have normally had chemo, but I didn't. So, this means that I should start feeling better every day. I did have my Herceptin infusion which was very uneventful and boring is good. I felt like the people I used to envy, those that popped in for a quickie IV and then be-bopped out of there. I didn't have to have a driver, I wasn't on the drip for hours, I wasn't drugged and crampy, piece of cake...umm cake.

Since I have finished the six months of steroids I have been on, it is time to stop eating cake, and crab rangoons, and all the other stuff I have been eating while I had chemo mouth. I gained 22 pounds on chemo, I am hopeful that some of that is water weight from the steroids. But, much of that is from crab rangoons and it is time to get that off of me. I lost 35 pounds on purpose right before my diagnoses. So time to get back on that horse.

I saw my cancer shrink yesterday. Now I have a cancer shrinker and a cancer shrink. I also started the YMCA after cancer workout program and I am going to the cancer club today to expand my cancer social skills.

And I don't have a doctor's appt for almost three weeks!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

5-10-10

I have finished chemo, I sat with a camera so I could capture the last drop as it fell. It didn't fall, it turned into a bubble, flapping around like spittle from a dog's mouth. It finally dropped, the machine beeped and no confetti spewed out...bummer. It was a little anti-climatic as I will be back in a few days for an infusion of the Herceptin, which I will do every three weeks. So it is not the end of the poking and dripping, but it is the end of the toxic, napping, stinky sweaty, nauseated days.

At least for now. I don't have any confidence that this will be the last of chemo that I will see in my life.

I made an appointment for therapy, with an oncology counselor. I am curious to learn her interpretation of what is an appropriate thought process for someone in my situation. Everyone tells me I am handling this well, except for one nurse. I pointed out to her that I was not terribly perky before cancer, this might just be my personality.

I did check out a meeting for breast cancer people, but found it entirely too pink for my liking. I also have gone to a cancer support place, all kinds of cancer, no pink to be found. I hope that they can be my cancer "peeps". They have family support, stuff for kids and all types of cancer are represented.

A new hair development has occurred. I have some hair, very short hair, and I go "topless" 99% of the time. Apparently, now it is not assumed that I have cancer, people now make assumptions about my sexual orientation. A construction worker actually yelled something to me as I drove down the road. A co-worker confirmed my suspicions that the loud mouth asshole was attacking what he assumed my sexual preference to be.

What people yell out on the street is not really my issue, it is that people think it is OK to yell anything out at all. I don't know that I have ever felt strongly enough about anything to just scream it at strangers as they pass by.

But, I guess it is impressive that at 41 years of age, this is the first time that a stranger has insulted me directly, meaning that directed it only to me. I guess I have spent my life being pretty invisible.

I should take that up in therapy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5-4-10

I live outside of Nashville, Tn and we have had unprecedented flooding this past weekend. My home is safe and dry, but there are so many in the area that have had devastating losses.

I was scared, and that is the first time I have felt new fear in a while. I think after I was diagnosed, I thought I would be done with fear since I already had cancer, what else could happen?

Maybe it is more anxiety than fear. I am pretty sure I can handle what comes down the pike, I just get nervous waiting for it. Not that I am saying, "Go ahead and hit me with all the shit now", let me throw that disclaimer out to the universe. I just don't like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My divorce was like that, the process took forever and I just hated the waiting to see how bad it was going to be. There is something surreal about watching the flood waters come up and waiting to see if it is going to enter your home or not. Tornadoes happen rather quickly, we are used to that. We have had days of watching the river, waiting to see how much destruction it will cause.

Maybe that will be my new normal, like living on a flood plain. With every bad storm, you wonder if this is the one that washes you out. So you do your thing, live your life until the rain falls, the scan is scheduled, a new pain is explored.

In my odd and detached way, I am curious how my brain will handle it once treatment is done.

Yep, therapy is on my to do list.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

5-1-10

Yesterday, my 12yo daughter came to me with a problem. She has marks on her breast which concern her. My daughter is extremely shy, but she showed me the marks. They were just stretch marks from puberty. I am angry that my daughter has to worry about breast cancer, but I am so proud of her for paying attention and letting me know her concerns. She is very proud of her boobs and said that she would hate to get them wacked off due to cancer.

What a terribly shitty thing for a 12yo to have to worry about.

I also have concerns. The end of chemo is coming up. What if it didn't get it all. I had a dream that they told me that I was up a creek since I have finished six months of chemo and I still have cancer. I also dreamed that I tried to have a conversation with my ex-husband about dealing with my stuff (house, insurance, etc) after I am dead, he wasn't interested... big surprise.

So now that I am awake, I will try to be more logical. I still have radiation to go through. If the chemo didn't get it, hopefully the rads will. But anytime I have a scan coming up, there is anxiety, that is appropriate and normal. But I won't get scanned for a few weeks, I don't want this anxiety for that long. So I need to learn to table the scanxiety for awhile.

Good news is that I get to do rads in my town, a quick drive instead of the longer drive that I have to chemo. I haven't met anyone from rads yet, that will be new and exciting. I did go to the building where scans will be for my echo, I saw two bald people! I seem to be the only bald person where I get chemo, I don't quite understand that. My Mom feels I am the only one without enough sense to wear a wig. She still has bald daughter issues.

I was cleaning my room the other day, I have a basket of scarves and such. I am not sure that I should donate them, I think I need to pack them up. I am not at all confident that I won't need them in the future.

One day, the cancer will be gone. Then I will just worry about it coming back. I will beat myself up for not being able to enjoy a cancer free life.

I think I need therapy.

Friday, April 30, 2010

4-30-10

Chemo was a go for yesterday, they cut my steroids in half thinking that is what is causing all the swelling. My heart appears fine, I am just a fat ass with allergies, yeah!!!

Last chemo will be May 6th, I will miss cinco de Mayo, bummer.

Here is the PSA portion of my blog:
Do not operate crochet hooks while receiving IV Benedryl.



It is supposed to be a scarf. I guess I can't make straight edges when stoned on chemo drugs. My Mom is going to teach me how to make a ruffle to mask the edges, we will call it chemo-charming.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4-28-10

Chemo cancelled yesterday, Echo pushed up to today. We need to determine if the swelling and shortness of breath is a symptom of heart failure from the chemo drugs or a symptom of crab rangoon consumption.

I am hoping I am just a fat ass.

If the Herceptin is damaging my heart... the nurse said "That would suck". That means that I won't be able to keep taking the drug that is supposed to be the miracle drug against my type of cancer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

4-27-10

I am a little scared. My fingers are still swollen and I am having a little shortness of breath, this is probably not good. My face is swollen, my neck is swollen, I have been fatter than this and never had a neck or tummy this puffy.

Lucky for me, I have chemo today. Yahooo! So, I will see the nurse or the Onc or someone with initials behind their name who can tell me if I am in trouble, cardiac-ically speaking.

I also have my echocardiogram on Thursday, so if I am in trouble, it should be spotted. My concern is, if the drug that is killing cancer is damaging my heart, that is not good.

Let us just hope that the swelling is a chemo side effect and not a symptom of something more nefarious.

And my skin is trashed, my face looks like that of a cancer patient. I hate that.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4-24-10

That good night of sleep was an indication that something was amiss. I ended up spending most of that day in bed, feeling very much like the other chemo made me feel. Plus, my fingers were swollen, my legs are swelling and no matter what the medical community may say, my ass is swollen, too. The size of my ass is not caused by the Poptarts, it is the steroids, that is my story and I am sticking to it.

Yesterday, I found wet spots in the carpet. After closer examination, I found the connection to the hot water heater was leaking. Most of my day was spent dealing with that which was exhausting. But the leaking is fixed, the fan is on the carpet, hopefully I am not growing mold or funky fungi down there.

I guess I was hoping for a reprieve from the small problems that plague normal adults while I was doing cancer treatment, but I guess not.

I was not able to pick up my lymphedema sleeve since I was very busy sucking up water from the carpet. I did a good massage last night to counteract any damage I may have done yesterday and am pleased that my arm was normal size this morning.

I have also received my buckwheat hulls in the mail and will try making a thing to keep the truncal swelling down. I will spend countless hours and become frustrated and will have bought two pounds of buckwheat hull that will eventually, take up space on a shelf somewhere. Then, I will just order the thing online. But, I will try first, since I think of myself as a handy person and hate paying a lot of money for something I should be able to make.

But that is just how I roll.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

4-22-10

4-22-10

I slept through the night last night, did not get out of bed at all. I guess exhaustion has finally taken over, woo hoo!

Chemo #10 down, 2 more to go. Echo coming up next week to make sure my ticker is still ticking correctly. I will have another PET scan in a month or so to see if I still have cancer floating around. And radiation will start next month, sometime. I still have no info on who will be in charge of the frying portion of the program.

I think I can pick up my lymphedema sleeve today, looking forward to having that so I can do my yard work without worrying so much about my arm swelling. I am looking at lighter weed eaters, maybe without the pull cord starter, something wimpy that I can use. I love my big bad ass weedeater, but I shouldn't try to use it, the weight and vibration may set off the swelling.

At this point, I do not have lymphedema in my arm, just in my trunk. So when I do too much, my armpit swells and the area on the side of my chest swells. I have been doing my massage to keep the fluid moving, so far, so good. But, moderation is not my strong suit, asking for help is not my strong suit.

Will I learn to ignore yard work or will I learn to ask for help or will I learn to live with being puffy if I don't do either... update later.

Good arm is quite tingly, neuropathy is spreading but not getting more concentrated. I can still button stuff and have not dropped anything. My feet are getting a little numb, but I think I am doing well enough to finish the chemo.

Man, I needed that sleep. Just yesterday, I was getting very frustrated with the fatigue level. I was thinking about how bad it would feel if this was my energy level from here on out. Today, I am good to go, finish the last two chemos and have hope that I will feel better after that. Well, except for the radiation fry...

Small confession... I am hesitant to celebrate the end of chemo, with lemon cake or anything else. My feeling is that this will not be the end. I am 41 years old, this is going to come back at some point. It feels like celebrating under false pretenses. But, I should stop being so pessimistic, celebrate the end of this phase and let my family have their cake.

I did put new tires on my 18 year old car yesterday, that was optimistic of me. That I will be around long enough to justify the expense, or that my car will be around long enough to justify the expense. I even sprang for new windshield wipers, how exciting!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4-14-10

The kids and I were at dinner, discussing the end of chemo coming up. I asked what we should do to celebrate.

12yo daughter suggested a lemon cake. Frankly, I was think bigger, like going skydiving.

12yo daughter said, it would be a shame to survive chemo only to be killed in a skydiving accident.

She said "No one dies from lemon cake".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4-13-10

Getting ready to go to chemo #9 and I am tired, really tired.

I was too tired yesterday after watching the two year old all day, to go to the grocery store. So this morning, I don't have a biscuit to make for breakfast. That is sad, I have little that I enjoy, foodwise, and I do love that biscuit.

I also realized I can no longer take the stairs all day at work. It is only two floors, but I just can't go up and down dozens of times a day like I used to. So I took the elevator, and I think I feel asleep since I heard a snore, I feel asleep standing up in an elevator going up one floor.

But this too shall pass...right???

Friday, April 9, 2010

4-9-10

I have had five medical appointments this week. I am tired and want to relax. So, it is Friday evening, I don't have to see any doctors for a few days. The phone rings and it is the automated service to remind me of my next chemo. They call every freaking Friday night, that just makes me crazy. Let me have my little cancer free weekend.

I had one of those experiences that I find amusing, but I am odd. Someone is telling me how brave breast cancer survivors are and how we are the strongest women they know, yada, yada, yada. First, I don't love the term "survivor", I am not sure I am a cancer survivor until I die of something else. Second, I am not brave, I just show up.

Brave, to me, that sounds like you walked into danger for the greater good. I did not do that. I was minding my own business when cancer opened fire on me. What the hell else am I supposed to do but grab a gun and fire back??

And it seems to be that us "cancer survivors" are expected to be more profound thinkers than the general public. That since we have come face to face with our mortality, that we should be more grounded. I am of the opinion that we are very normal, some of us are assholes, some of us are enlightened, we are just people with a lot more doctors appointments than most.

Unless I missed out on something. Do they hand you the pathology report and also attach the secret to inner peace? My pathology report was missing that page.

My path report, the report of my path.... I commented on this a long time ago. Maybe I was supposed to get the Ghandi page. But I didn't... who is collating this stuff?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

4-8-10

Bad day today.

I met with a plastic surgeon for my fact finding mission. There was no good news to be had, there. He is suggesting a Lat Flap where they rip perfectly good muscles off your back, twist them around the front to make a boob out of.

When I asked how this would affect strength and range of motion, he said that I probably would not be able to get my arm all the way up over my head, but how often do I need my arm all the way up?

Well, since my arm tends to swell, I find myself with my arm up over my head quite often. Hell, I have a rope hanging over my desk so I can reach up there several times a day and hang my arm up over my head.

Apparently, my pectoral muscle is pretty screwed up and not a good candidate for an implant only. I guess that is what that large dent in my chest is.

So, when you hear someone has cancer, please, please, don't say "At least you get perky new boobs out of this".

He said to come back six months after radiation is finished and we'll have a better idea of what my option are. I asked if there was anything I could do to maintain skin integrity until then. He said "Find a good radiology oncologist".

Gee, thanks.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

4-7-10

Good day today.

I saw the lymphedema therapist and she worked on me for over an hour. When I left there, the chicken cutlet feeling thing under my armpit was noticeably smaller, really smaller! I could put my arm down next to my body, how cool is that!

(It has puffed up a little over the course of the day, but for an hour or two, I could actually feel my ribs).

Then, I went and visited a friend I haven't seen in a long time. I talked to her a few months back, but I never mentioned the cancer. I enjoyed the phone call without cancer. So today, I show up on her doorstep, bald. After explaining all the cancer stuff she did mention that she would not have been shocked had I shaved my head for some other reason.

This just really surprises me. That I put out that kind of vibe. It doesn't offend me, just surprises me. To me, I am the most boring, soccer momish, mini-van driving person I know. (Except my kids don't play soccer and I don't drive a mini-van...maybe my perceived image is really just in my head).

Anyway, if the I live for awhile, I think I may take the course to be a lymphemdema therapist. I would love to make someone feel like I felt today for a few hours.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

3-4-10

Happy Easter!

Had a crappy day yesterday. I learned that one of the nursing home patients died-of breast cancer. She was in her 60's, which is young in nursing home standards. She found out she had cancer a month ago, found out it had spread two weeks ago, and it now dead.

Hmmm, I have told my kids that no one drops dead from breast cancer, that you have warning, you have time to to prepare for it. I wrote about this before when the lady from "Survivor" died and reading about how quickly the actress who played the mom on "Eight is Enough" died. I wonder if a couple of weeks is long enough to let your family wrap their brain around your impending demise.

Of course, I could get hit by a truck tomorrow, or get shot and my foob won't deflect the bullet, blah blah blah.

I am concerned what happens to you mentally when you get comfortable with your mortality. Plan for the best, prepare for the worst, I think that is what my oncologist said. Plan... prepare... those are both action words. There was no "hope for the best". It was more of a cover all your bases. That is such a weird way to think. Do you put money away for retirement or take that vacation on your bucket list? If you have to make a choice, which do you do?

I am getting a little tax return. I think I will use a rule of thirds. One third for long term survival, one third for five year survival and one third to improve quality of life today. I need to play the lottery more, so I can cover my bases, better.

Here is a moment to remember the nursing home lady, you had a great laugh and sparkly eyes. I wish you Godspeed, I assume there are no wheelchairs in Heaven. I remember how kind you were to your former roommate who was on hospice care. I hope that someone was looking out for you they same way during your brief transition period. Here's to you Mrs S.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

4-3-10

I was wondering if I got shot in the chest, would my foob soften the blow of the bullet any??

Bloody nose this morning, that is new. Tingling in fingers is increasing but not bad enough to stop chemo, in my opinion.

My ass keeps growing bigger. Chemo mouth and lack of self control, eating what doesn't taste like dryer lint. But I have changed to No-Salt. I was salting so much I figured I would die of high blood pressure before the cancer gets me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

3-28-10

This weekend, one of my patients told me that I really seemed "plugged in" to the people that I am working with. That was pretty cool and I think, I hope, that she was right. I seem to make eye contact more, I seem to be engaging people more. I tend to be where I am more.

I think part of that, is because my brain cannot process as many things as it used to. So when I am talking to someone, I am listening, not thinking of the next question. I cannot multi-task these days. Whatever I am doing gets all of my attention. Now, that is not that great, since I am running at 1/2 capacity. But if I continue to be plugged in once my brain is at full power, well that would be great.

I had a nice errand run today. I needed to pick up a part for the lawnmower. The guys at Lowe's were so incredibly "plugged in" and helpful, I called the manager to brag about those two guys.

I do realize that they may have just felt sorry for the bald cancer chick... but I will give credit where credit is due. It is just a sad state of affairs when one is so surprised by good customer service, that it is the exception rather than the rule.

3-28-10

I read other cancer blogs and they are so witty and profound and I have nothing..

This past week has been a little crappy, very unpredictable as to how I will feel on any given day. Some days, I can stay vertical and I "over parent" the kids to try and compensate for the days I am horizontal and leave them pretty much to parent themselves. I imagine they will need therapy for this, or they are going to say to me "we raised ourselves during cancer year, we don't need you to start parenting us now".

I do realize I am being over dramatic. I am still raising them, I am just tired of being limited.

I do feel the need to apologize or at least acknowledge how hard this must be for my Mother. I do really hate how hard it must be to see someone you love going through this. There is a part of me that feels it must be harder to watch it than it is to live it.

I carry fear with me of someone I love being diagnosed. This seems odd to me, but in a way that I am very comfortable with, being odd and all.

Tomorrow I see the lymphedema specialist for my truncal lymphedema situation. I am looking forward to this as it will be a learning experience plus it will hopefully, help me with this swelling I am toting around.

Someone else asked me yesterday, why I shaved my head... so interesting. Maybe I don't look all sick and cancer-y. So I guess I should put in a plug for Mineral Silk make-up. It seems to be doing the trick to make me look less corpse-like. So thank you, Mineralsilk.com!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

03-23-10

Today, I will get number 6 out of 12 of the second phase of chemo. The kids want to celebrate the halfway point. The kids would also like to celebrate the 1/4 point and the 3/4 point, because the kids like eating out.

Yesterday, my 10yo DD said "Mom, I hope this doesn't offend you", (this is always a bad sign, she is going to say something offensive), "but if you are still alive when my sister gets married, will you help pay for the dress?" This was interesting to me since I am pretty sure that 10yo DD was questioning the depths of my cheapskate-ness and not questioning my mortality.

I chuckled aloud which may have scared them if she was indeed, asking if I would be alive to see 12yo get married one day. But this was more of a question about my frugal ways and would I be bargain hunting for a wedding dress. There was an unspoken message, though. A quiet acceptance that we don't assume anything. I think most kids assume their parents will be alive for their wedding, we have lost that. We don't talk about it often, I don't think we have really talked about it at all. But there is an understanding that has happened. I have never sat them down and talked to them about my long term prognosis.

No one wants to have that conversation with me. I can't even talk to my Oncologist since my Mom stays in the room with me when the Oncologist is there. I have considered asking her to wait in the waiting room for me, but that would freak her out. I will see him next week, I do have some questions for him, but I don't want to ask in front of my Mom.

Having the "safe sex" talk with the Oncologist, in front of Mom, was pretty awkward. So I am pretty sure that asking the Oncologist if I need to stress about my lack of a retirement fund would be pretty uncomfortable.

The kids and I were shopping (at the thrift store, of course). Someone was giving me the weird eye trying to figure out what was up with my hair. 10yo picked up on this and asked loudly "When is your next chemo, Mom?" She admitted later that she asked that in front of weird eye lady to get her to stop staring.

I have to believe that this is teaching the kids valuable life skills.