Friday, April 30, 2010


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.