Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Freedom!

Dr. Wonderful removed my drains today! I feel so much better. My energy is pretty good too - I am not going to be running any marathons this week but I feel normal.


My hair is really starting to come in too. I predict I could go hatless in about 6 weeks. Not too bad!

No cancer, no bra, no hat, no drains. Freedom.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Changing of the Guards

Today Emily left and went back home. I feel like a hole is in my house without her. She was so incredibly helpful and did things other people would not. Helped me get dressed, emptied my drains, cleaned my house and watched my children. I miss her already. She has been an incredible angel this entire time - saying and doing just the right things all of the time. I love you Emily - I hope some day you can live closer to me.


The good news is that my Sisters Sarah and Heidi have come to replace her. I am already feeling so much better. Practically myself. I am excited for the week ahead to keep my mind off of my drains and on other things like having a good time with them.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tight

I am still waiting for the fluid in my back drains to subside so they can come out. I feel very, very tight. Like I am wearing a sports bra that is two sizes too small. I can feel how all of the muscles have been moved and pulled. I think I am going to have to get used to this feeling for awhile until my final surgery and even then I am not sure how long it will take to feel loose again.

I had a hard time not dancing yesterday when I good tune came on. Every little bounce, shake or shimmy hurts. Torture. Who knew I loved dancing so much. I will appreciate it all the more when I can finally break out!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A OK

Every day that I move farther away from surgery I feel exponentially better. You might be surprised to know that yesterday I went to the beach and Wal-Mart. Today I had a Doctors Appointment in the morning where he re-did my bandages and removed 2 of the drains. I was allowed to finally take a shower. I ran to the shower when we got home and I am a new person. I have never felt so good. My sister and I took the kids to see Toy Story 3 this afternoon and I am still feeling great. I promise I am getting a lot of rest and I am not overdoing it (don't yell at me Liz). I may have the 2 remaining drains out at the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

Yesterday was the 6 month mark from when I was diagnosed. So much has happened in 6 months and really six months is not long at all. I feel like my life was a dusty snow globe. Sitting on a shelf looking pretty. It wasn't until someone picked it up, shook all of the dust off, and made it snow that you could see its true beauty. Life needs a little dusting once in a while.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day



video

My incredible sister Emily is here taking care of me. We are affectionately calling her Nurse Emily. I cried when I saw her. She is perfect in every way. She had to try on the wig - isn't she cute!

John made us all a wonderful dinner on Father's Day of pasta and sausage, salad and homemade dressing. Yum.

Of course Julia had to write a song for John on Father's Day. My favorite part of the song is at the end when she says "Good, glad Dad". So cute

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Experience

The main thing I was worried about before the surgery was the unknown of what came after the surgery. How would I feel? Physically and emotionally. So, before I forget here it is. I hope someone else can find relief in my recount.

Upon arriving at the hospital I was admitted and put into a paper gown. I was wheeled down to radiology so they could inject radioactive material into my right breast in order to find the sentinel lymph node on that side. Then we waited. John and I were pretty calm while we waited. After about an hour they wheeled me away again to take a picture and make sure the radioactive material had progressed enough. I had to say goodbye to John then. They then wheeled me into holding. I saw all three surgeons. They were all reassuring. After they put an IV in my foot (so it was out of the way) and drew the lines for the surgery they gave me versed and wheeled me into the OR. I remember seeing the room and Dr. Wonderful holding my hand while they put me out. She was the last person I remember seeing.

Almost 9 hours later I remember waking up in recovery feeling very drugged up and a bit frustrated. I was cold but couldn't get my mouth to work to tell someone. Time seemed to be moving too fast. By the time they took me to my room I was a bit alarmed because I still felt so drugged up but it subsided quickly. John and his sister were there to meet me. I had a little bit of pain but not much. I had 4 drains in me and a pain pump that had tubes going into my back that released a numbing solution over my incisions so that cut the pain a lot. I was on a morphine drip.

While in the hospital they want you to give them a number for your pain between 1 and 10. 1 being no pain at all. I was mostly a 1 the whole time. That was a relief. I was not able to move easily at first but my mobility increased a lot every day. I am now able to lift my arms up to my shoulder level. I am a bit weak from losing blood and the oral pain meds make me tired too.

The day I left the hospital Dr. Wonderful came in and removed the bandages to re-dress them. I was nervous for what I would feel but excited at the same time. I was so pleasantly surprised. I had tears in my eyes. To the average person if you saw my chest you might be mortified but I am so extremely happy. I can see what they will eventually look like. I have a very small mound that looks like an adolescent breast and they point out to the side - not out in front - but they will eventually be in front and perky. I have nothing but relief. I have no more cancer in me and even though I am without my original breasts I do not miss them. I am not sad at all. I am ecstatically happy. The whole experience has been better than I had played it out in my head. Every day I am stronger and feel more myself. I don't know that I would have listened to someone telling me their story before the surgery but here is mine for someone who wants to hear it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home

It didn't really hit me until I was in the car on the way home that the hard part is over. There was a moment right before I was wheeled into surgery where I had a quiet moment alone to talk to God. I just told Him I had complete faith and trust in Him. Peace came over me.

Today I am filled with gratitude. I am thankful most of all that there is no more cancer in my body. I am thankful for my amazing surgeons and nurses. My family. My friends. My life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pathology

You will have to excuse me if I don't make complete sense (narcotics will do that to you). I am feeling quite well! Better than expected and I am heading home tomorrow with 4 drains but I am heading home. The pathology came back today and all of my lymph nodes were clean (no cancer!). The margins came back clean too. I did still have a bit of desease in the left breast but it was taken out. We still need to talk to the oncologist to make sure I don't need any more chemo or radiation but I don't think he will recommend it. Now I just need to focus on recovery and taking tamoxifen for 5 years. Whew! Thank all of your for your prayers over the last few days. I could really feel them and I know John could feel them too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

surgery day

This is John Kristin's husband. Kristin's surgery went well today and she is sleeping in her hospital bed. She was out of surgery by about 6 pm and in her room and talking by 7.

Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers today we felt them and were blessed by them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

signing out

OK peeps. I am signing out for the weekend. I have a few graduation parties to attend today and then tomorrow will be spent with family. I will see you on the other side of surgery. I will try to have John post a quick note on my blog with updates as to how everything went. Surgery is at 9 and should take 6 -7 hours. You may want to check around 5 or 6 Monday night. Thank all of you so much for your amazing support and prayers up to this point. I feel so lifted and loved. I love you all!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Where do you go?

The whole anesthesia idea is so strange to me. When you are asleep you sort of know you are sleeping - you have dreams and are aware of loud noises etc. You are aware you are in your body. When you go under anesthesia you go to sleep and then 2 seconds later you wake up. That time in between is just gone. So I wonder - where do you go? Where are you hanging out while your body is undergoing such trauma? Such a mystery - but I am glad that we have it. I am glad I don't have to be aware of those long hours of meticulous slicing and dicing and mending. I am glad I get to wake up with the band-aid already on.

Say a prayer for my sweet husband on Monday as he has to wait and wait and wait..... Pray that he has peace in knowing that we are all in God's hands. That He is guiding my fabulous doctor's hands. Pray that the time will pass quickly and without much anxiety. Pray for peace.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

God's Gift

Today I was at my son's school and I was talking to the principal. She asked how I was doing and said I looked "great" - she then said "it must be because of him" and put her hand on Jack's shoulder. And it is because of him. Because of both of my children. They are the light of my life and the most precious gift God could ever bestow upon me. They have kept me going and have put a smile on my face every day. They have had to endure things children their age should not have to endure but they persevere. There have been times when I was frustrated with my own issues and have taken it out on them with a raised voice or impatience and still they lift me up. They show me something new each and every day. God gave us these two amazing children. Not just any children, these specific children chosen just for us. I asked it the day they were born and I still ask it today... what did we do to deserve such an extravagant, rich, beautiful and amazing gift?

I love you my sweet babies. My heart aches at how much I love you. I can not imagine a world without you. You are precious gifts from God, perfect in every way. He has so many big plans for you - so many exciting and new adventures and I know you will embrace all of them. I am sorry the last few months have been hard on you - but both of you have handled it with such grace and courage - supporting each other along the way. The road may not be easy my beautiful babes but the journey is well worth it. I know you will continue to bring happiness to everyone around you and show your love through example. You are now, and always will be, in my heart. And I will always be in yours. Nothing can ever separate us - we are bound by love.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hair update


It has been exactly 5 weeks since my last chemo treatment. Very soft hair has started to grow on my legs and my head. I shaved my head once hoping that it would encourage the hair to grow thicker but I don't think it did anything. It is a lot like a peach - you can feel it but not really see it yet. It is also very, very light.... hmmmmm. Grey? I am going to think platinum blond instead. I will give you another update in 4 weeks - maybe there will be something to talk about then.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Goodbye muffin top, goodbye cancer


I am sure most of you already know what "muffin tops" are (and no they are not the part of the muffin you pick off and eat first). The funny thing is that John had never heard that expression until a couple of weeks ago. The ironic thing is that up until the past few months I had never really had muffin tops (yes, I know you all feel so sorry for me). It is a strange and uncomfortable feeling to have this extra jiggle around the middle that I have no control over. John has now lovingly given me the new nickname "muffintops" simply because it makes him giggle (and me too to be honest with you). Sorry to say honey, but that nickname is NOT going to stick. Enjoy it while it lasts cause eventually this muffin will not have a top.

I decided to head back to my teaching roots today and did a BodyCombat DVD. Whoa mama - boy did I LOVE it! Talk about kicking cancers a$$! Those jabs and uppercuts felt so good. I just pictured those little ba$tards exploding with every punch (hmm, I must be feeling slightly aggressive - sorry for the turrets ). That and my Superfood fruit juice this morning and I think I could conquer the world today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Look ma, no arms!

I spoke with someone today ( the woman making my chai at Starbucks ) who had breast cancer 4 years ago. She had a mastectomy on one side with the simple reconstruction (not my complicated one). She informed me that for about 2 weeks she really could not use her arm at all. She needed help to sit down, roll over, everything. Hmmm. I am hoping that I am not that bad but perhaps I should prepare myself for that kind of experience.

It is funny how perspective just keeps changing. When John and I went to the pre-op appointment at the plastic surgeons office we both recognized what a different experience it was from the first time we went there. I would guess it is the same with surgery. Once you go through it you sort of know what to expect. A friend of mines father recently had his second knee replacement and this time he seemed very relaxed about it. He didn't have the anxiety he had with the first one. I hope after this surgery I can pass on that it was no big deal - or at least after the fog clears I wont remember that it was a big deal :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Visitors

Surgery is one week away and I wanted to give you my two cents on visiting. I don't know where we all got this idea that visiting people in the hospital is a good thing. I would normally be one of the first people to visit someone in the hospital if I heard they were there. That is what you are suppose to do right? Why? This didn't occur to me until I was faced with thinking about my own experience in the hospital. All I want to do when I am there is rest and recover. It is not that I don't want to see your smiling happy faces - I do - just not in the hospital where I haven't bathed and am on massive amounts of pain meds. Maybe some people really love having visitors. Maybe some people enjoy the time they get to spend with loved ones. Well, let me tell you. I love you all but I will make all the time in the world to see you AFTER I am out of the hospital and feeling better and can actually enjoy your company. Besides, the last thing I want is to have some YouTube video of me spouting nonsense in my drug induced fairy tale - put your video cameras away.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The mighty cheeseburger



I have been eating primarily fruits and veggies for a few weeks now. I could easily see myself becoming a vegetarian and not having any problem doing it. I don't think I would miss much..... except cheeseburgers. I love em. They have to be cheeseburgers too - not just hamburgers. The combination of all of the flavors just makes me happy. They are one of my go to comfort foods. The very good and bad news is that our little town is getting an In N Out Burger this fall. This could be very dangerous for me. That along with the new Target store opening up and I am in big trouble.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pre-op #2

I met with the plastic surgeon today. I told him he was my lollypop after a shot. I am hoping he can make my tatas look somewhat normal - at least under clothes ( I brought him cookies.... you think that will help?). It sounds like recovery wont be as bad as I was expecting but I am going in expecting the worst so I will be pleasantly surprised. He wants me up and moving around the next day and told me that would most likely be the worst day. I will have drains in for at least a week - maybe 2 - then the journey to final reconstruction begins. Pretty strange posing for picture of my naked breasts today - I could put them on my blog.... but I wont. The only exciting pics you will find here are of bald heads ;)

We found out that we wont know anything about the cancer until the pathology report comes back. It could take anywhere from 48 hours to a week to get the results back after surgery. That will be the hardest part - waiting for that news.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Change of thought process

I had my pre-op appt. with Dr. Wonderful today. I found out that I will never hear the words "you are cured". Even if everything comes back perfectly from the pathologist and it looks like they got all of the cancer out I will continually be monitored and watched by my surgeon and oncologist for the rest of my life - looking for a recurrence. I may never see cancer again and if I go to my grave without it they can say "I was cured" then but some people have recurrences after 20 years. I just need to change my thinking a bit is all. Who needs a stinkin word - it is just a word.

Count down is on. 13 days until surgery. I am feeling great and made it through an hour of BodyJam in my family room today. A big a accomplishment. I feel strong mentally and I am starting to feel strong physically. Bring it on!