Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cancer ok, gall bladder....not so much!

Busy few months.  Right after I had a follow up appointment that was uneventful....still wish there was a test to tell me there's NOTHING there, I got really really sick.

I went to emergency and was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis and gall stones.  It was pain like I have never felt before.  It took a week before they could remove the stones and then remove the gall bladder.

The experience (especially the hospital I was taken to since there were no rooms around here) was FAR worse than all of the cancer crap I endured.

Recovery has been interesting.  Food is not my friend.  Diet pop is not my friend.  Being near a toilet because I don't know how things will affect me is a pain in my ass.

On a happy note, Christmas was nice.  Family time and friend time was special.

Ready for the new year.  Gotta start working out and eating better.  Motivation is sorely lacking.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Six Month Check up Monday

A little anxiety happening but I feel great and am keeping busy with lots of jobs.

I still wish that they would do a "test" that would tell me with 100% certainty that there is no cancer anywhere in my body.

I keep seeing cancer commercials and they make me nervous too.

I just don't want it to come back.....EVER!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

One year

Last July 19th at this time I was still in surgery.  They worked hard to be sure to get all of the cancer out.  I think they did a great job!

I went back and read what I wrote a year ago.  I was so scared and uncertain.  It isn't that I am not afraid anymore, I am.......but I am living and except for every once in a while when the doubts and worries creep in, I am just wonderful and grateful for excellent doctors, friends, and family.

Life is good.....REALLY good.  I appreciate everything so much more as a result of going through this experience.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's all good....

I heard from someone this week who has missed my blog.  I hadn't realized that it's been so long.  Things are good.  Really busy which helps keep my mind busy too.  I got a part time job at the Washtenaw Community College Health and Fitness Center.  I work in the Kid Zone and play with little ones while their parents work out.  I'm currently a sub and work maybe once or twice a week but it's a blast.  The little snot nosed kids keep making me sick but I still think they are fun!!!

I'm also heading up the Summer School program for Milan this summer which is also proving to be lots of work but it's going to be a great program.

We are busy in our garden too.  It's going to be a big one this year.

So you see, I'm doing well.  I am a bit frustrated that I am not doing well at dieting but I'm not giving up.  I am looking forward to a healthy summer.  Sounds good huh???

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Port is OUT.....treatment is over....HOOOOOORRRRAAAAYYYY!!!

I went to meet with my oncologist last Friday and she had a wonderful surprise for me.  My last treatment (which was supposed to be yesterday) was cancelled because she re-counted them and I had already finished the year's worth.  That was such great news.

Today I went in and had the port taken out.  Much easier coming out than going in!  I have to be careful for a week but other than that, I am all set.

While at the doctors I was talking with her about some pain I've been having on my left side.  I am sure that it's just my implant but she decided to send me for an ultra sound this Friday to check out my lymph nodes.

I am relieved that they will be checked out and I trust that after they tell me it's all clear that my mind will allow me to put it aside and let it go.

Then I have a three month break with no appointments.  That will seem so very strange.  I'll get used to it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's been a month......time flies!

My brother is complaining that I haven't updated my blog in a while.  He also says that the picture from February is giving him bad dreams.  Here's a nice pretty picture Bob of my baby daffodils........these should not give you nightmares!

I am now down to one treatment.  I am both incredibly happy and incredibly scared.  My feelings are VERY normal so I am not fretting too much.  It's just a bit frightening that after 15 months I will be "done" with the whole thing.  I still have lingering doubts that somewhere in my body there still is some cancer.  Again, the thoughts I'm having are very normal and are ones I am working to live and deal with.

I'm feeling well.  I am slowly getting my energy back.  Some days are better than others and even though my body hurts, I still exercise every single day.  It hurts either way so I figure I might as well exercise and lose weight.  So far, so good!

The weather we've been having has helped with the sun, warmth, and blue skies....can't be down when you see beautiful little daffodils growing outside your door!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Year Ago!

A year ago I had just had one chemo treatment and was facing five more months of it.
A year ago I went to the gym on Valentine's Day, ran my hand through my hair and came away with a clump.
A year ago I cried because I was losing my hair.
A year ago I decided to take control and turn the sadness around.
A year ago my hairdresser Janelle and some great friends (including one from Florida via Skype) joined me in a hair shaving party.
A year ago what could have been a very sad day turned into a wonderful memory.
I am very blessed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston

I am so angry about the number of celebrities who have died in recent months.  Don't get me wrong....I'm sad for their families and those left behind BUT......

THEY have control of their lives.  THEY have the resources to get help.  THEY can get better.

People with cancer and other diseases have no control.  They sometimes die and can't do anything about it. They WANT to live and be with their families.

I know there's lots more to any story and celebrities have their own issues but it just makes me sad and mad.  What a waste!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nothing to update....sorry

I'm doing well.  There's not much going on.  Saw some friends tonight at a fundraiser and they were wondering what's up so I thought you should know that I'm hanging in there and doing just fine.

I'm down to three treatments....I hope!  Achy joints continue but I'm exercising anyways.  Hurting sucks but I think it makes me feel better so I continue to do it.  Have lost over 10 pounds in the new year and that mentally has been good.

The only strange thing going on right now is that I am cold 24/7.  I wear two or three layers all the time and  cover up with blankets.  Going to give the doc a call and see what's up with that.

It's nice to see friends.  Sometime I get lonely and miss the action I'm so used to.  Applied for a job in a local library and was really hopeful but didn't even get an interview.  Was a bit depressed.  It's hard when you are used to being a viable contributor to suddenly not be wanted/needed anywhere.  Humbling.  A learning experience?  I hope so but it stinks.

I think it's time to figure out what I'm going to do with my life.  Hard, so hard.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Swimming......I love it!

I'm back to swimming as part of my exercise.  I went four nights this week.  I can't describe how much I love being in the water.  When I was really overweight it was one of the few exercises I could do that didn't hurt.  Despite looking like a beached whale I put on a suit and got in the water.  When I first started I couldn't even swim one length.  Last night I swam over a mile (78 lengths).  I feel light in the water.  It's a good feeling.  One of my goals when I lose my weight is to learn how to scuba dive.  I think it would be a blast and going somewhere warm REALLY sounds good about now.

Until I can fit in a wetsuit and look good, I'm going to keep at this.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to work tomorrow.....NOT!

All my school friends have to go back to work tomorrow.  I remember the feeling after having a great two week break.....NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I miss my job so very much but I always hated the idea of going back to work.  That being said, I have to do the hospital thing tomorrow and that's a pain although I can come home and crash after the infusion so that makes up for it.

The weather has been incredible even if it's not going to last.  Chloe and I have gotten a bunch of nice walks in and she sat out in the yard in the sun an hour this afternoon.  Sun and blue skies make you feel so very good.

: )

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here comes 2012!


Not too long ago a friend told me that 2012 would be my year.  While I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions (because I have NEVER, EVER stuck to them), I’ve decided to think of twelve reasons why 2012 will be my year to get healthy.

1.    I know how much better I felt when I was in the 100’s.  It’s time to get there again.  It sucks that I have to do it again but I WILL do it.

2.     I’ve been thinking of and worrying about cancer for 12 months.  Thinking about something else sounds really good about now.

3.     I’m alive.  Wouldn’t it be a shame to live out the rest of my life fat, unhealthy, achy and not able to move well?  I can’t settle for that.  I’m tougher than that.

4.     If I supposedly beat cancer I can certainly lose 100+ pounds.  Then I get my tummy tuck!  Oh boy!

5.     Despite everything, the last year went fairly fast.  12 months of losing weight shouldn’t be too bad.  It’s “just” a year!

6.     I think 2012 will be the year I learn to cook.  In everything I have read, it’s so much better for you.  I absolutely HATE to cook but I will work on it.

7.     I’m going to do 365 days straight of getting my butt up and moving.  Exercise daily makes me feel good!  It did before and will again.

8.     I need to find other things to focus on.  Giving back, helping others, keeping busy will help me take the focus OFF of food and ON to life.

9.     I am going to try not to think I have to always be in control.  I need to do better at asking for help, taking advice, and learning.

10. I’m going to track my food, check in every single day and play by the rules.  I know it works and I have to believe that if I do it I will lose the weight I want to lose.

11. By this time next year I will have 365 days of momentum going.  I like that idea.

12. No matter what obstacles I face in 2012, I won’t give up.  I will take it one day at a time and get the job done.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A wonderful gift

Mary Kliber and family stopped by for a little visit and Mary gave me this gift.  It's not only hilarious, it's a beautiful glass plaque that will stand up on my shelf and make me smile especially when I get to thinking about things that worry me.

Throughout the last year Mary kept in touch and always ended our conversations with a joke, silly comment, or irreverent comment about cancer or boobs.  Just what I needed and very much appreciated.

Yet another reason I have to be grateful for this Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

End of the year thoughts....

I wish I could mail each and every one of you this message but there are so many I want to thank that I worry I'd forget someone.  There's lots to say about what I'm thinking about this time of year but after the new year I will reflect some more.  For now, here's my Christmas message:


Dear Friends and Family,
                  It’s hard to believe that 2011 is already over.  My year was full of incredible experiences, which may sound strange in light of the cancer diagnosis but incredible it was.
Almost a year to the day I discovered my cancer.  Initially I felt an intense fear and a great deal of anger that I had to learn to deal with.  Luckily for me I had a wonderful family and wonderful friends that stepped up and did more for me over these past twelve months than I will ever be able to repay.
While I never want to get cancer again or wish it on anyone else, the experience has changed my life forever in so many wonderful ways.  I learned that my faith in God is strong and even though I am not sure why all this has occurred, I believe that there is a plan for me and I pray daily that I can help others like I have been helped.  I know that I am meant to make a difference in some way and I am working to understand what that means and what my role is in this world.
I learned so many things in the last year.  I learned from others what it means to listen, not judge, not necessarily give your opinion, but just listen.  That means so much.  I learned from others what it means to send a card, an e-mail, even a quick text.  That means so much.  I learned from others what it means to make a little treat or pick up a surprise gift for someone.  That means so much.  I learned from others what it means to do a simple task for someone.  Things like going for a walk together, vacuuming the floor, making dinner, all mean so much.  I now know the importance and value of keeping in touch.  That means so much.  I know that it doesn’t necessarily take money but usually just a little of your time to make a difference in someone’s life.  Sometimes just a smile or a joke can change someone’s day.  I learned that you don’t necessarily know what someone else is going through but all of these things and so many more make a difference in their life.  I learned so much from all of you.
In this busy time of year we sometimes lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas but having cancer makes you appreciate the gift of life and realize that you must do whatever it takes to make a difference in the lives of others.  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for whatever you did this year to help me.  You inspire me to do something good with my life.  I will be forever grateful and forever honored to call you my family and friends. 
Merry Christmas!!!
Nancy


Thursday, December 8, 2011

All Done!!!!!!!!!

Surgery is over and everything went well. Was able to come home early this afternoon. Amazing!!! Sure I will have some uncomfortable times but so glad to have it over. More later.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fabulous Friends

Great weekend........getting nervous about my upcoming surgery so keeping busy is occupying my mind and it's a good thing.  Friday I was able to spend time with my nephew....an incredible little kid!

The girlfriends from High School came over to my place Saturday for brunch.  We've done this for so many years (I'm not sure if any of us remember how many).  Its a great time to talk, laugh, cry....little bit of everything.  It's getting funnier every year with our minds and our bodies aging and even with that, we're a good looking bunch of women!!!

Saturday night three good friends from school invited me over for a movie night and I had yet another wonderful opportunity to enjoy good company and think about other things.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

things go south.........boobs too!

I love watching birds all year long but especially in the spring when they return to Michigan and in the fall when they seem to be so excited to go south to be warm.  Thinking of birds going south reminds me of boobs......I love writing about things like this because my brother reads my blog (even tho he says it's stupid) and I know that when I talk about boobs he gets grossed out.  More motivation huh???

The boobs of a 57 year old woman definately go south.  Mine were droopy and not too pretty pre-cancer.  Maybe that's one of the reasons I wasn't too devastated to lose them.  The tissue expanders have been in since July and are ok for the most part but the right one has given me grief the most (not the boob with cancer tho, that one is just fine).  The tissue expander has dropped and shifted to the side. It's NOT a pretty sight.  It did it a month or so ago and eventually went back into place.  This time it's apparently comfortable down south and isn't going to go back where it belongs.  Stupid thing!!!!!!!  It's hard to wear a bra when you have one boob out front and one down and out to the side.

Picture that.........thought that would make you smile today.

Surgery is next Thursday.  Sounds like it's a much easier surgery this time and I should be able to come home the same day if it all works out.  Recovery is slow and there are lots of restrictions for a while but that's ok.  It's will be done and then my life will be mine once again for the most part.

The mental part is still tricky.  I want a test that will definitively say I have no cancer in any part of my body.  There is no such thing.  I have to accept that.  Hard, very hard.

Working on it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving......

........so thankful for so many little things over the past few days........was able to spend time with family and enjoy a delicious meal cooked by my sister yesterday.  I was able to talk to my friend Lynn in Florida, Beverly in Indiana, my Aunt Julie in Lansing, my nephew Tim in Atlanta, my brother Bob, Merri, and Ben in Chelsea, Joan in California and Kris in Arizona (not in person but we texted).  Called Julie in St. Louis but will have to catch up with her this weekend.  A really nice surprise was a phone call from Mr. Stanley (I can call him Don but...) who hired me as a teacher in 1976.  A man who helped me so much over the years and I loved catching up with him.  I saw my cousin Rob, Val, and Chloe and Jack on Wednesday for a short time.  I received texts from other friends and neighbors too.  I am so thankful for the people in my life.

I'm feeling good right now except for the achy joints but I'm learning to deal with it as good as I can since it will be around for a while.  Lots of doctor's appointments coming up in preparation for the next surgery on December 8th.

Enjoying the sunny day today.  Wish I had some money to shop with (not that you'd find me out with all the crowds today!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's Already November!

My how time flies when you're having fun.  Actually last week was one of the first weeks in over ten months that I had no doctors appointments and treatments.  It was really, really nice.  It probably doesn't sound like a big deal but it was.

This week, back at it but far fewer things to do.  Working hard on diet and exercise.  Joints still hurt a bunch but I figure they hurt if I do exercise and they hurt if I don't exercise so I decided that I might at well keep exercising.  Sucks but it is what it is.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not been updating much...sorry.

Not much to talk about.   Rough time emotionally lately but I'm working through it I think.  Sometimes I feel like suck a dork when I cry over crazy things but in reading and talking to doctors, my feelings are normal and part of the "cancer experience" but I'm still frustrated.  Stupid ass cancer!

Several people have asked about how Connie is doing.  She is one tough cookie!  She is working really hard in moving and doing the hard exercises to help get her hip strong.  Every day she does more and more.  We went on a road trip a few days ago to run some errands.  Even though she didn't get out of the car, she loved getting out of the house after being cooped up for over two weeks and enjoyed seeing all the pretty leaves.

I met with the plastic surgeon and the next surgery phase is tentatively set for December 8th depending on whether or not my skin heals.  It's pretty sore right now and having to put a shirt on it is a bit painful but I am confident that by December I'll be good to go.  He knows that I REALLY want this part done by Christmas.  It'll be a year since this journey began and it needs to be done.......seriously!

Now that radiation is over and surgery is 53 days away, I an trying to get back on the diet and exercise plan.  I know that losing weight would also help me emotionally so I just need to DO IT!  I did it before so I know I can.

Gonna go visit Lynn for a few days.  I feel bad about leaving Con but as long as I bring her a present, she will be ok with it.  Looking forward to getting away for a bit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Radiation is over

Thank goodness.  Skin held out quite well until this weekend and now it's a bit "angry" but it's done.

Meet with the plastic surgeon tomorrow to talk about the next surgery.

Tired, so tired.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goodbye gray!


 Hair is growing out more and more (except for the bangs!) and I had enough of the UGLY gray color so Janelle helped me out today an gave me a nice brown.  MUCH BETTER!  She even trimmed it up a bit too!  Thanks Janelle!




Radiation is going pretty well.  I actually have started counting down now.....only eight to go.  It's gone quite fast.  My skin is holding up pretty well.  It's red and I have some rashes going on but no complaints because I know it could be far worse.

The hardest part of the actual radiation is the position I have to put my arm in during the treatment.  It hurts so and every day my arm goes numb.  Today I lay on the table with tears running down my face.  They probably think I'm nuts!!!  Thank goodness it's a short period of time.

Fatigue has hit really hard too.  I have never been as tired as I am right now.  It affects how I feel and my emotions are crazy.  I was told to expect it but it's way more than I thought it would be.

So tired of it all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Exercise and Cancer......some good information.


I was contacted by a man by the name of David Hass who found my blog and has recently been researching and writing about how beneficial cancer support networks and staying physically fit is to people going through cancer treatment.  Below is his article sharing some of the research he has done.  Thanks for sharing David!


The Benefits of Exercising When Dealing with Cancer

Anybody who has ever had any experience with cancer knows that it takes a tremendous toll on a person's body and mind. With the amount of stress the body is placed under, exercise is highly beneficial for any cancer patient, whether beginning treatments or going through remission. The benefit of exercise is the same for every type of cancer, whether it's breast cancer, mesothelioma or kidney cancer.

In addition to the typical benefits of exercise, like a decrease in body fat and a gain in lean muscle, exercise can help cancer patients to feel less nausea and fatigue. It can even help cancer treatments to be more effective, by aiding in building the body's natural defenses. Many exercising cancer patients have found that they have more energy, better moods and even a better quality of life than they felt they had before exercising.

Though some studies are beginning to show that exercise can be a cure for cancer, more research is needed to determine the validity of this claim. One study, called Move More, found that a breast cancer patient's risk of recurrence could be decreased by as much as 40 percent, just by spending two and a half hours a week exercising. Even if exercise is not a cure for cancer, the benefit of more effective treatments, reduced recurrence rates, and an overall sense of well being, make it worthwhile.

Everyone knows that exercise is important and good for him or her. What many people may not know, however, is that being overweight may be a link to certain types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov). Exercising won't necessarily prevent cancer, but it will better equip a person's body to work through treatments more easily and survive the cancer.

For many cancers, treatment options can be rough. Some options include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy (these options are typical for most cancers). Each option is very taxing on the body, and if the body begins treatment in a weakened state, due to a lack of exercise, it can be harder to go through surgery or chemo successfully. Exercising, whether it's through yoga, swimming, or a nightly walk, can help strengthen the body and prepare it for treatment and help make these procedures more effective. Even after the cancer is gone, maintaining a regular fitness regimen can be beneficial in helping prevent the cancer from returning.

By: David Haas

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NO LAUGHING....I mean it!!!

Ok, Chloe and I both have a weight "issue" that we have to address.  Chloe and I walk around the block at least three or four times a day (five times is a mile) but her short legs means a VERY slow go and not much exercise for me at all.  Chloe loves being outside and I need longer walks so I looked on line for a dog stroller.  There are hundreds to choose from....it was amazing.

So.......here's what I bought.  It came all the way from British Columbia and it's perfect.  I took her for a short walk last night and she just looked all over and seemed very relaxed.  Today after we got back from one of her walks I pulled the stroller out and said......"Do you want to go for a ride?" and she ran to the stroller and I put her inside and off we went.

We walked for a mile and that's a start.  She loved it.  She even laid down and rested but mostly she looked all over.  Here's a few pictures of our first trip.  LOVE IT!!!  (and I don't care how stupid we look either....remember I've been bald for months so it really doesn't matter.)   HA!!!!



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nice Article....thanks Joyce!

http://www.heritage.com/articles/2011/09/09/milan_news_leader/news/doc4e6a46c387c4c152664845.txt

Someone asked me why I didn't participate in the Relay this year.  I DID go down, walk around, saw some friends...stayed for a short time but it was hard.  Feelings too new.  Still lots of fear and lots of anxiety related to cancer.

I will participate in the future but for this year I just wasn't ready.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Radiation = no losing weight and no swimming....grrrrrr

I JUST got back on track with dieting.  I had lost close to 15 pounds already and last week they told me that I had to stop.  COME ON PEOPLE....I am fat and need to lose all the weight I've gained.

It seems that if I lose weight the tattoos they put on me for radiation may shift and then the radiation won't be accurate.  They took x-rays to be sure everything is ok and I should hear about that soon.

I'm good at losing weight when I try to and I am obviously REALLY good at gaining big time but now I have to maintain.  That's going to be interesting.  It is what it is so I will just wait another month or so to start losing again.

Apparently swimming during radiation isn't a good idea because chlorine is hard on your skin and there is a chance for infections from a public pool.  This one really bothers me because right now swimming is the only exercise that doesn't hurt me.  SO for now, no swimming.

I'm crabby.

Today they are sending me to a lymphedema clinic to make sure everything is ok with my arm.  I think it's fine but I want to lift weights and they will make sure I can and tell me the right things to do.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

better today.....MUCH better

Man, yesterday was one of those days.  The nurse that tried to get blood couldn't get it to come out of my port.  Went to visit a nurse at the doctor's office who was going to talk with me about the anti-hormone drug I am going to get for five years, sat for 30 min (at which point I was SUPPOSED to be getting my Herceptin infusion) and then they informed me that the nurse was at the Chelsea office......I've never gone to the Chelsea office.................grrrrrrr.  Some other nurse checked me out, didn't really do anything but they probably wanted their money (I know, I should be nice).  By the time I got to the clinic I was 40 minutes late and by then the pharmacy was backed up and it took longer than usual to the the drug for my infusion.  By the time all was said and done, what should have taken 45 minutes took almost 2 hours.   Came home and tried to settle down and then went back in for radiation and they were also backed up so that took almost an hour.  I'm glad I'm not a drinking woman because I would have been done for...not really!

I know that the biggest problem was missing the staff and kids at school but the rest of the day sucked!!!  Today I am cleaning my house, trying to be productive, and was greeted with a dozen roses from the staff at school.  Check them out!

I am a very lucky and blessed woman.  Need to remember that!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Missing school

Tomorrow is the first day of school and I won't be there for the first time in 35 years. I feel pretty sad tonight. I have to get bloodwork done, have a doctor's appointment, a Herceptin infusion, and radiation so it's not like it's not going to be a busy day but............ I miss school. Big time!

I know it will get better but I am sad, very sad!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another contest!

It seems very strange to not be returning to work in Milan for the first time in 35 years. As my friends go back to school tomorrow I will be starting daily radiation for the next five and a half weeks. By the end of 2011 I hope that this journey will be over and I will have time to do other things in my retirement!

Those of you who know me well know that I love entering contests. That, in addition to having lots of free time on my hands right now, should tell you that I've entered another contest. It's called the Life Opens Up Project and the purpose of the contest is to tell how your mouth and your voice have helped you open up to the world and also how you would use $25,000 to improve the world around you. 

I chose to tell my cancer story and how I'd use the money to give back to others. Below is the link to my video. I apologize in advance for the quality of the video. I had a great deal of trouble getting it to work and downloaded to the site and the video isn't the greatest but the story is really close to my heart.

http://lifeopensupproject.com/player.php?q=88

Part of the scoring process (10%) is based on public voting and so I am asking once again for your help. The good news is that I believe you can only vote once so I won't be begging for daily votes. If you click on the link and vote you are done unless you want to share on your Facebook page or pass the link along to friends, family, relatives or co-workers. 

I have appreciated your support and kindness throughout his journey and hope that one day soon I can support others in the same way. 

Nancy

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I've Been Slacking.....sorry!

Not much going on except for the fact that I am trying to get back in the diet and exercise game and start to lose all of this weight I gained.  It stinks, REALLY stinks.  I have to write about how I feel about weight soon.....maybe during a sleepless night....but for now a quick update.

They were able to do the radiation simulation last week and so I am scheduled for some more prep work on Tuesday with radiation starting on Wednesday.  I'm not figuring out when I will be done with radiation until I have started for sure.  I know I am a few weeks behind my "plan" so I don't want to be disappointed if there is another delay.

Went down for the Relay For Life last night.  It was a little emotional, maybe too soon, maybe I'm still scared of the future.  I hope that in the next few years I will get active and involved.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Medical Mysteries....a few more sleepless thoughts

Going through cancer treatment has changed me so much.  I was always so private about my body, what I'd share, what I wanted people to see............. but after all of the doctors, procedures, and tests, it's like NO BIG DEAL anymore.  I'm over it.  I just do what I am supposed to do and not think too much about the gross stuff.  It's probably like having a baby....at the end you just want the thing out of you so you don't care what shows.  Ha!

In the past weeks I've thought about about a few things that crack me up.  Here's a few of my thoughts right now:
1.  Constipation.  Constipation should be a four letter word.  There's so much more I could say about this topic but that should tell you all you need to know.
2.  Belly fat.  How come when they took of my boobs my belly seems soooooooo much bigger now?  My sister said that it's always been there but it was hidden below my big boobs, thanks Con!  It has gotten bigger in recent months.....that's another story.
3.  Side fat.  Ok, they remove your boobs and the way the incisions go, the fat on the side of your body is still there, looks stupid, and actually feels like boobs on the side of your body.  The plastic surgeon will be removing much of this during the next reconstructive procedure but in the meantime, GROSS!!!!
4.  Tissue expanders.  I have tissue expanders in place of my boobs.  They are ok for the most part.  Apparently they were put below my chest muscle and can be expanded to whatever size I want.  I'm ok with little ones tho so they are being left alone.
5.  Skin sensitivity.  One breast has almost no feeling at this time,  The other one is hyper sensitive....sometimes it almost kills me to have anything touch it.  Very strange.  They say it "should" go away.  PLEASE do!
6.   Incision healing.  All of my incisions have healed really well with the exception of one big spot.  It won't heal.  It's not really infected but the darn thing is ugly.  Come on medical people, figure it out.
7.  Toe nails.  I know that during chemo they say that the drugs can affect your nails and I had some affects but NOW, so long after chemo, my big toe nails look bad, they look like the may fall off.......really???  What does one do without toe nails?  That's stupid.
8.  Socks and tennis shoes.  Who would think that having your boobs removed would make it so hard to bend over and put on socks and tennis shoes.  It's hard.  The stretching hurts.  It's getting better though.
9.  Lymph nodes.  They took out eleven lymph nodes.  Eleven little things that I am not sure I totally understand their purpose or function.  Eleven little things removed that have made my left arm hard to move, hard to stretch, hard to lift.  Exercises are helping but progress is slow and very frustrating.
10.  All of this being said and despite the grossness of some stuff, it is a miracle that doctors can do all of these surgeries, remove the right stuff, and give people hope that life will go on.  Now they just need to figure out how to cure things.  I sometimes wish they'd stop spending $$$ on cancer commercials and spend more on curing it.

More to come!!!


Friday, August 12, 2011

No pills = no sleep = good time to write

Oh well, I can take a nap during the day right???  When I can't sleep I tend to start singing songs in an effort to stop thinking and sleep.  My favorite is "This Little Light of Mine".........THANKS V!  I usually sing it until I get totally bored (she even gave me all of the verses to learn) but tonight it didn't work.  Tonight I  started thinking of Barbara Streisand's "People Who Need People are the Luckiest People in the World" song and it got me thinking about the last month.

It's been over three weeks since surgery.  I continue to be amazed and touched by people in  my life. on a daily basis.  I already told you what a blessing it was to have Lynn here for two weeks and what great nurses she and Connie were to me.  Did I tell you that since Lynn left that Karen R. came over two or sometimes three times a day to strip and empty my drains......an incredibly gross job but one that she did without a second thought.  How about the fact that Julie Z. took me on my first "field trip" after surgery.....a very short trip to the grocery store to get a few things (and we survived even though the "seniors" bus just dropped of a load of folks and we, at 57, were by far the youngest people in the store....THAT was interesting!)  Julie also was willing to go with me all afternoon yesterday while I went to various doctors appointments (I'm not sure that a good book and a sunny day was a good enough draw when you have a day off but she did it anyways).  Friends like Sarah M., Julie and Mark and Karen brought meals.  Friends like Marilyn and Jenni brought be treats.  Dan brought some of his famous fruit salad.  The Klibers (the whole clan) came by to distract and entertain me one morning as did Carolyn....that will make anyone smile.  Other visits, FB messages, e-mails and texts from friends have touched me as well. Chris P. came and swept, mopped, and vacuumed my floors (several people have volunteered to do little jobs but there is really not much to do and I'm sorry but NO ONE will be cleaning my toilets.)  Goofy and very regular cards from Carol Preston and Beverly and others have kept me smiling as have daily "conversations" with Tonya and messages from Joan in California who says that I can call her when I can't sleep....hmmmm might just have to think about the time change.  Flowers from my neighbors and from Chris and Amy brightened my time stuck in the house.  Neighbors Cathy and Greg checking on me each night and helping me keep my garden growing even when I couldn't bend over.  My brother Bob sending me smart ass (but loving) texts, occasional conversations with my nephews, my cousin Rob knowing how much I love music burning me a bunch of CD's with music he loves to listen to during this very long boring time.  The music was wonderful!

The list goes on and on and I will most likely be adding more thoughts as my brain reflects on this time...................

Things that surprise, shock, and touch me:
1.  Besides the power of love and how very lucky I am???
2.  How grateful I am that I can now walk around the block with my overweight dog and not feel like she's winning the race.
3.  Even though 57 is certainly not old, I am amazed at how much surgery takes out of you and how long it has taken to feel even remotely "normal."
4.  That being said, I am beginning to realize that after chemo, surgery, and the upcoming radiation and the continued treatments for the coming year(s) that "normal" will most likely look a little different for me, something I am working and learning to deal with.  It's not easy though.
5.  How easy it is after sitting way too much for three weeks (and not being as active as I have been for months before that) and pretty much eating whatever I wanted to, to gain back a ridiculous amount of weight (sorry Tony) but I did it once and now will have to get it off a second time.
6.  Dogs.  Dogs know when something isn't right, when you are hurt, when you "need" something.  Chloe has not left my side in three weeks and the best moment was being able to get down low enough to give her a big hug and kiss.......sorry if you are not a dog person you just don't get how special this is but IT IS PRICELESS!!!
7.  Cancer still sucks and I want it gone but for these reasons and so many more I will continue to write about......it's a good thing too.

It's now morning and the birds are up.  What are the chances that I can go back to sleep.  Not good but oh well, it's a wonderful day already!

Keep in touch and I hope to see you soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back......damn!

Went for the radiation simulation today (where they figure out exactly where the beam will radiate...seems complicated.....a math lesson I probably didn't understand) and because my left arm where they removed lymph nodes isn't moving very far yet it just wouldn't work.  I couldn't get it in the position they needed it to be in and stay in for 45 minutes today without a great deal of pain.  Despite the fact that I tried to fake it and pretend I could do it, they saw that I couldn't do it.

It frustrates me to not be able to proceed but I understand how incredibly important it is that they are able to get the exact location they need to radiate.  Everything is put on hold until the 22nd and hopefully by then I will be able to move it or I will have to go to physical therapy.

So now I will be working hard to be ready, work through the pain, and be determined I can get where I need to be.  Piece of cake!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Drains are OUT. Life is good!

Pain is much better without the drains in.  So glad they are gone.  Working on an itchy body and on some healing spots but I'm getting there.  Still am not comfortable driving but soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

STUPID Drains!

Two weeks since surgery.  MOST people get the drains out by the second week.  NOT ME..........they still are draining big time, in fact they are going up instead of down.  Now I am not crabby about it or anything (ya, right) but I want these stupid, stupid, stupid things out.  Until the fluid collected is under 30cc in a 24 hour period, they stay in.  One is over 70 and the other over 50.  I think that the doctor thought it was humorous because they really should be out by now but I told him that I didn't like him too much.  Not really, he is a really nice guy and he likes my new temporary boobs.

The stitches came out today though and with the exception of a few areas that hurt like the devil, it wasn't too bad.  He said that if the fluid went down by Friday they could take them out for the weekend.  That would be nice.

Was supposed to meet with the radiologist on Thursday to start getting ready for radiation but they can't do anything because of the drains so everything will be delayed a little.  Oh well, patience right?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Improving each and every day.

It's amazing how much better I get every single day.  Had doctors appointments yesterday and today that went well.  (It was really nice to get out of the house!!!)  VERY gross stuff they did however.....lots of good stories tho!!!

Today the plastic surgeon took out two of the four drains which was wonderful, I walked around the block by myself, took a shower by myself, only took one pain pill.........life is good.  Lynn continues to be a wonderful live-in nurse.

I think after Friday morning, visitors would be nice especially short ones (not short visitors, just short visits)!  Lynn is here until first thing Friday so we have things going on over the next few days and I want to spend as much time with her as possible.  Please plan to call first just so I know when to expect you.  I should be around except for doctors appointments since I won't be driving for a while.  : (

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hello there!

Yes I am alive and kicking...well not really kicking but I am doing remarkably better each and every day.  Sleep much of the time, love pain meds.  I am able to stand by myself.  Working on pulling up my own pants (no smart comments).  Connie and Lynn  are wonderful nurses.  Emptying my drains.....apparently I'm a "bit" squeamish because I can't do it or watch without feeling like I'll pass out.  Lynn even took a shower with me yesterday (again, no smart comments) and washed my incisions.

Have doctors appointments Monday and Tuesday but maybe later in the week visitors would be nice.  Will  let you know.

Got great news about the pathology report.  With the amount of cancer found in the breast and lymph nodes, they are saying that I am cancer free.  That is about the best news ever!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BOY! THE THINGS YOU IMAGINE WHEN UNDER AN ANESTHETIC!



To Nancy -  I LOVE YOU, DEAR FRIEND!  PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!  Lynn

CELEBRATE!

Nancy's pre-op brochure said she needed "a RESPONSIBLE adult who is MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY CAPABLE of assisting her.". .... No such person!!
However, Lynn and I are attempting to make it a "team effort". We figured I was mentally capable (no comment). And Lynn was physically capable (whatever!)
We'll probably only get rights to this blog for 24 hours (if that) so here's the good news...
Nancy's surgery went well and was very successful. The chemo did what it was out to do and there were no visual signs of cancer left.
The plastic surgeon also had good news to report as that part of surgery was a success also.
Lynn says she thinks Nancy would say the highlite of her day was having the two surgeons initial her breast during pre-op!
Nancy will be in the hospital until Thursday or Friday. Thanks for respecting her wish for privacy. I'm sure she will be updating you during recovery. Connie and Lynn

Friday, July 15, 2011

Passing the time.........

Thanks to some great family and friends, the weeks are passing pretty quickly. E-mails, cards, phone calls, visits, lunches, trips to the gym, a movie, a walk in a park....... all are helping me so very much. Thanks friends!!!


Getting anxious for Tuesday's surgery. Have lots of emotions about it. Most are reasonable. A few are pretty crazy but that's the way it is I guess.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A GREAT Weekend! (one more thing to be grateful for)

Spent a long weekend with my family, cousins, and their kids up at cousin Rob and Val's lovely home on Lake Leelanau.  There were 18 of us together for the first time in a very long time.  My Aunt Jan was my mom's sister and my very favorite aunt growing up.  She passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56 and I miss her so very much.  Her kids......Rob, Tim, and Kris have grown up into wonderful adults and have special families of their own.  Aunt Jan would be so proud of them all!!!  Spending time with all them (and my sister and brother) made for a  wonderful weekend.  We talked, laughed, looked at old family pictures......really great.

The kids ranged in age from 4 to 19 and I enjoyed getting to know them again too.  They are funny, smart, each has their own personality, and they are all so well behaved....another reason why Aunt Jan would be so proud.

Waiting for surgery is a pain but having this time together helped me tremendously to "forget" and appreciate the gift of family.  Memories of this weekend will be with me always.