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Yea…It’s been awhile, I know

So it seems that starting my first ever blog probably shouldn’t have come at such a crazy time in my life. Which is the exact opposite of what I said here. I thought having something to do and someplace to keep track of everything was going to be such a great idea and in all honesty, it probably is a good idea. But writing “out loud” for the first time in my life, while going through chemo and trying to keep up with our family of five wasn’t the best choice for me. If I made it to my computer and actually tried to write something it would of turned into some short, garbled up mess of a post containing exactly what I didn’t want on here. So I chose not to write.

So what have I been doing these past four and a half months? (By the way, I didn’t realize until just now that it’s been that long. Wow! ) Mostly taking care of myself. Sleeping, A lot of sleeping. Healing. I’ve been to the doctors more in the last six months than I have my entire life. And of course taking care of my family as much as I could during the in between times.

As of today I am one month past my last chemo treatment. I am finally starting to feel good although my leg muscles are still very sore and tired feeling. I dropped down into the anemic category by my second to last treatment and that last treatment really took everything out of me. I thought I would be feeling better or at least good enough three weeks past that treatment (which would of been a normal cycle for my treatments) but I wasn’t. I still get very winded when I go up stairs. My legs feel sore, weak and very tired. I also have a slight case of neuropathy going on in my toes, fingertips and left hand. The neuropathy has gotten a lot better! Just have some lingering in the very tips of my fingers and toes and my hand is driving my crazy. It feels like my hand is getting ready to fall asleep, all the time. I find myself raising it above my head and shaking it often as if I can get the blood flowing again then this feeling will go away. But I know it won’t. I just have to wait. So I will.

Hopefully I will be back to this thing called “my blog” from this point forward. I have a lot of thoughts I want to get down. Having someplace to put them is nice. I am otherwise a very quiet, private person. What I have found with blogging is that I really enjoy the feedback I get from people.

My thoughts these days seem to focus on two things; When will I ever get some hair back??? When is it safe to get back to work??

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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Breast Cancer Fight

 

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Talk about scaring your parents!

June 08, 2013

After 18+ years of parenting we made our first call to 911 and I got to ride along in the ambulance!

I know it’s no joking matter. But if you’ve read my stuff or know me at all, you know this is how I handle things. In the end. Everything turned out ok. So all’s good.

After complaining of a stomach all morning. Sara woke up around 11:30 to go to the bathroom. Tom saw her walking down the hallway “hanging onto” the walls. She made it to the bathroom doorway and then fell to the floor. I walked into the house at that time, after picking Alex and Zack up from the park. I ran to her. Cradled her from behind while she sat slumped but upright. She talked very quietly about not feeling good and needing to pee. After a couple of mins of letting her sit still I asked her if she was ready to go to the bathroom. She said yes, and just as I felt her legs move (I thought she was trying to stand up) I realized she was starting to “posture”. I drew my gaze up her body and saw that her arms and hands were curling inward and tight up against her chest. I knew she was having a seizure. I yelled to Tom to call 911 she was having a seizure! He immediately dialed them. I yelled for Alex to get Ricky. I needed his help moving her. As she seized, she also lost bladder control. As soon as she loosened up I began talking to her and she very quietly responded yes and no answers. I left her leaning onto my body until all of a sudden she seemed better, saying “I think I passed out”. We said yes, you did. But now you have to be still. No getting up. We called the ambulance. They don’t want you moving. However we were right in front of the front door. So when we knew she was coherent and nothing was injured, we helped her slowly scoot backward to the front room area, so the paramedics could get in the house and check her out. From this point on she was very alert and talking. We were taken to the hospital by ambulance. After running bloodwork, a urine test, and a CT scan it was determined that she in fact had a seizure due to low blood pressure. We are to see a neurologist this week for an EEG to make sure this isn’t something that is going to be an ongoing health issue.

Other than a belly ache most of the night. She seemed a little better after we got home from the hospital. Her color started to improve. She ate a good dinner of Brats and fried potatoes. She also had a strawberry and banana smoothie. She drank a lot of water as well. She didn’t wake me up over night. Which I hope means she slept well (she is still asleep as I write). I peeked in on her when I woke up and her color was even more improved. Yay!

When I was right around her same age, the same thing happened to me. Although it was never determined why my “episode” happened it never happened again. I do feel faint when I get real sick but I’ve learned to recognize the signs and now know how to manage them. Hopefully Sara will be as lucky and she will continue to have great health!

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Family

 

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In a nut shell and lacking positivity.

cancer SUCKS!!

no revelation there, I’m sure.

It’s just how this past week has been treating me. Crappy. Thanks a million lower case “c” word!

Off to yet another unexpected doctors appointment.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Breast Cancer Fight

 

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Fuel for my soul.

Bday partyLast weekend the kids and I packed up and drove to my mom’s house in Michigan. We were spending the weekend with her celebrating my nephew Waylon’s first birthday! This was a weekend I was really looking forward to.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in late November, life has been anything but normal. We were supposed to spend Christmas in Michigan but because of my surgery we had to change our plans and stay home. Which was fine but I had really looked forward to being with my sister and her family and our mom for the holiday. Waylon is her first baby and it was also his first Christmas. We planned it for months. So when we knew we had to stay home for the holiday I made it very clear to everyone that no matter what I was going to be there for his first birthday party. When making my port surgery appointment they offered me that Friday and I chuckled and told her why I was not going to take it. She was happy to hear that I was going away and told me to have a really good time and to enjoy the break.

To say I enjoyed it is an understatement. I loved it. Every second of it. All of the craziness that goes along with party planning for a little one. All the family getting together. The food. The laughing. Watching Waylon take center stage and show off his silly smiles. My kids helping, holding him, playing with cousins we haven’t seen in awhile, hugs and kisses from everyone. I really needed that. That feeling of being so loved and cherished. It really made me feel so good. The only thing that would’ve made it better would of been having my husband there with us. He had to stay home to take any emergency calls that came in (and he got a couple) for work.

It was a weekend of normal and I needed that so much! It was a great recharge for my soul. Setting me up for the big climb. Now I am ready.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Family

 

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MUGA

Jan. 09, 2013

Today was my MUGA scan. After I walked into the room with the tech she told me to sit down on the table. I did. We talked about what was going to happen today. Then she said go ahead and lay down. I looked at her and said “should I take my shirt off first?” She said “Nope. We’ll do this one right through your clothes.” I smiled ear to ear and quickly said “This is the best appointment I’ve had in months!!”

Left my clothes on. Got to listen to my Zune (Mp3 player. I love my Zune) for a whole hour. Friendly tech. Best appointment ever! (even if I did have a short term I.V. placed)

Results were impressive. My heart is super strong. The reading was 77! She said they want it to be above a 40.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Breast Cancer Fight

 

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Wigs and Baseball teams

Jan. 04, 2013

After some much needed down time after the surgery, today we have an appointment with my oncologist. Today she will tell us if she thinks I need chemo. Of course I am hoping I won’t need it but after a ton of reading and researching I have a feeling my HER2-NEU positive status makes me a likely candidate. Even though we caught this early and my early stage status. I believe the positive HER2-NEU is my golden ticket into the infusion center.

All hunches are correct. As my doctor put it “the HER2-NEU is a game changer” without chemo, the likely hood of my cancer coming back is very very good. So chemo it is. One round. 18 weeks long. One treatment every three weeks. I will be given Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin (TCH). With the Herceptin being given once a week starting with my first dose of chemo and then switching to once every three weeks following my last dose of chemo, finishing up one year from the start date of chemo. Followed by the “hot off the presses” recommendation of ten years of Tamoxifen. Yay (insert ample amounts of sarcasm).

I know I am lucky to only need one, shall I call it “small” round of chemo, for that I am thankful. However…UGH!! Chemo!!

The craziest part I think about this whole trip is, other than the soreness from surgery, I don’t feel sick. Not at all. I just feel like regular, normal me with a whole lot of new appointments on my calendar! Every time someone calls me the first thing out of their mouths is “how are you feeling?” My response. “I feel like regular old me! Just fine, thanks.” Now up until now I have always been a pretty private person. I like to keep my stuff to myself and I don’t go nosing around in other peoples business. (Unless of course they blog for all the world to read. Then you can count me in!) But when you have cancer and you need chemo guess what? The chemo gets to decide if you are going to let the world in on your little secret. Damn chemo. The possible balding of my lovely head has been a major stress point for me. I have never in my entire life had less than two inches of hair on my head. Ever! I was born into this world with a head full of long dark hair! I have a head full of thick, long, natural wavy and super curly hair. Something you won’t find in those catalogs of free wigs from the american cancer society. Not even something close in a short hair style. I’ve heard “What I wouldn’t do for hair like yours!” from every old lady that has ever past me by, my whole life! So, I either pick a wig that is completely different than my natural hair and also something I would never ever “try” or I go the ball cap/scarf route. Also something I never do, due to this massive collection of hair I have upon my head!  This has been a really hard part for me to think about. I have since been told a few positive stories of people who’ve gone through chemo with higher and more lengthy doses that didn’t loose their hair. So I am staying hopeful until the end that I won’t be forced to choose between a little orphan Annie wig or a major league ball team cap. Although I do enjoy both, I don’t want to wear either of them as part of my identity.

 

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Breast Cancer Fight

 

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What the lump-ectomy happend?

Dec. 19, 2012

~For the record. I am writing this post surgery day… I would have never been able to write anything on the actual day of surgery~

Driving in the dark is not something I do often. Today my husband and I are up early and on the highway before either of us are normally out of bed. The traffic isn’t bad. We are quiet. He holds my hand. I love that. It is warm and comforting. Like a continuous hug, mini version. After 35 minutes on the road we arrive. Park. Admire the lit driveway trees that run the length of the entrance to the hospital. They are covered in white Christmas lights. They look so pretty against the crisp, dark sky, with a hint of sunrise far off in the distance, just above a far off tree line. He gives me a hug. Holding me tight for just a second longer than usual. We turn toward the entrance and walk together. Hand in hand. Into the hospital.

Today I am scheduled for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. I am a bit nervous. If all goes as planned I will come out of this with a removed tumor with clean margins and one removed sentinel node that is negative. We caught this early so I am very hopeful that surgery goes well and I will be back home before dark. The only other surgeries I’ve ever had were both done under “twilight” anesthetic and were only an hour long, each. This one is scheduled to be a two and a half hour surgery with general anesthesia and much more complected than either of the others. I am ready though. I need to get this unwanted “thing” out of me so we can proceed to the next step.

Standard surgery prep is done upon checking in. Once we are taken to my recovery room I am given my IV and we go over all the details of the day. First up is a trip to ultrasound where my Dr. with the same name as me, threads a wire through my tumor. Yep, you read correctly. She numbs the area and uses a thin needle to place a long thin wire from the other side of my tumor straight up and out of my breast. She used the ultrasound to guide her in finding the tumor and then placing the wire in the right place. It didn’t hurt at all. The nurse taped the wire down and I was done.

Next stop on the fun train was nuclear medicine. Where I am told “I’m not going to lie to you. This is going to hurt. A LOT! Some women handle it well and others…not so much.” My heart is racing. We talk about what is going to happen. In order to find the closest sentinel nodes I need to have 6 injections of dye. Into basically what is the outer rim of my areola. The dye will then travel into the lymphatic system. Making it easier for the doctors to use a little wand (like my husband uses at work) to pick up the dye and find the sentinel node. The dye is injected three at a time just under your skin. I understand and they ask my husband to step out of the room (Um…why? Will he want to punch you when you hurt me? Oh. Probably? Good idea then.) Now, I am a pretty strong person. I’ve given birth to three children and only one was with any medication. Not that it was fun but I would be more willing to give birth again than to ever have to go through that again in my entire life! It was over in less than 30 seconds. I remember squeezing the nurses hand and saying owwww owwwwww!!! I was just about to come off the table when the doctor said “Done”. I held back my tears when the nurse asked if I was ok afterward and although I said yes, I wasn’t. Why hadn’t anyone told me about that part? Is it because it sucks beyond anything you can imagine? Maybe. But I do better when I am told and have a chance to prepare myself.  The nurse brings my husband back in with me. Then leaves us alone for a few minutes while I lay flat letting the medicine do it’s work. She closes the door and he leans down to kiss my forehead and tears immediately flow from my eyes. It hurt so so bad, is all I can say in between sobs. He holds my hand. His face next to mine. Thank God he is here. I need him so much. Eventually, I compose myself and we wait the 45 mins needed for the dye to work. After the doctor comes back in he uses the cool little wand to find the nodes. Marks them with a Sharpie. Packs me up and now we go back to my recovery room and get ready for surgery.

Dr. M comes in goes over the procedure once again and it’s time for me to go. He leaves and my recovery room nurse tells me it’s time to go. Hubby kisses me once again. I remind him to please go eat some lunch while I’m in here. He says he will but I know he won’t. One more kiss and the nurse pushes me out of my little room and through the doors to the operating room. Here the anesthesiologist greets me once again. We make small talk while I am wheeled in and make the awkward transfer from my bed to the table. (why don’t they just let you walk in? It would be a hell of a lot easier to actually sit down onto the table than it is to scooch over, in a gown with one hand all taped up with an IV sticking out of it. Not to mention the table is just that! A two foot wide plank in mid air with nothing to put your hand on to steady yourself…who thinks of these things?? Whatever!) Now that I am laying down and comfortable the assistant puts “the mask” on me and says “this is oxygen. Take a few deep breaths.” I do. I also decide she is mashing my face with the mask so I put my hand up and take hold. She let’s go. The anesthesiologist is still talking to me and also says he is giving me something to help me relax. Followed by “watch her hand”.                     Lights out.

It is go time.

Waking up feels so strange. Slow. I can hear and then I’m asleep again. I can hear again. Then I am asleep again. I remember thinking, Wake up. No, take your time. Sleep if you need to.  I want to see my husband. I want to go home. Wake up so we can get out of here. I want to go home now. Ouch…my head is pounding. Why is my hand all wet? Wake up! Someone says my name. I try to open my eyes. Ouch my head! I go back to sleep. My name again. This time its my doctor. I manage to open my eyes. He says I did very well. He talked to my hubby. I just nod my head. Ouch!! My head hurts so bad. He tells me hubby thinks I should stay overnight. I nod again. (we agreed that staying was absolutely fine and he would make the call on that one if the doctor gave it as an option.) He says he’ll see me tomorrow morning in my room before I leave. He leaves. I close my eyes. I try to process what is going on. Why is my hand so wet? Why does my head feel like it was run over? Why am I staying over night? Can I move my arm at all? Do I have an arm?? I open my eyes and look. Yes. Good. All body parts are in tact. I am watching a nurse run around. She is loud. This is a big room! There are many people recovering. There goes that nurse again. Close my eyes. The loud crazy nurse is standing at the foot of my bed. She asks how I’m doing? I reply in a very soft voice, I’m ok but why is my hand all wet? She says it’s probably just cold. Then I squeak out that my head is throbbing. She says she will go get me something for that. She leaves and comes back. I tell her my hand feels very wet and so does my sheet. She finally walks over to look at my hand and laughs and says “oh your IV came out, that’s all”. Then gives me something for my headache through the IV. After some time I am taken to my room where my husband is waiting. The first thing I notice is, the darkness outside of my windows. Dark, dark. How long was I in there?

Surgery took four hours. Not two and a half but four! I am still very groggy and my headache is borderline migraine strength. It makes my eyes hurt so I talk quietly and slowly with them shut. Hubby explains why he decided to keep me here. The doctor had to take the first three sentinel nodes. Nodes 2 & 3 were positive for traces of abnormal cells. My doctor has said many times that it took a lot of looking to find these trace amounts, it wasn’t like they were loaded with them. Each one had a few that’s all. Regardless this meant they had to take more to make sure no cancerous nodes were left behind. Grand total of 19! Removing the tumor was less intense than removing the nodes. This is what took so long. Removing and checking each one.

So, 19 lymph nodes removed and one tumor with clean margins measuring 2.7cm. Step one. Complete.

Dec. 20, 2012

Waking up alone in the hospital was ok. I wanted my husband to be with the kids over night and in the morning to get them off to school. When he got back to my room I was happy to see him and a coffee he grabbed for me! My headache was mostly gone by now and we suspect it was due in part to my lack of caffeine the day of surgery. I was still quite numb but sore non-the-less. My surgeon came by to check up on me. Everything looks great and he will fill out discharge papers so I can get home first thing this morning. Home. A place I really want to be. Just the thought of our couch, my own blankets and pillows sends a wave of warmth and love through my body. Yes, lets get me home.

All in all, surgery went well. I was very sore. Mostly in my arm pit area. Ice was definitely my best friend for days! The prescription strength meds were a bit to strong for my liking so I only took them at bedtime and opted for the extra strength Tylenol during the day. Which worked just fine for me.  I had hoped surgery would only put me “down” (as in on the couch unable to do most things) for no more than three days or so. It ended up being closer to ten days before I was comfortable doing most things alone and several more days to feel like I was getting back to normal. The kids were off of school for Christmas break during this time and I knew this would be a good thing, since they could help out quite a bit and I was able to rest up a little more with the extra help around the house all day. Christmas was good. Very quite which we all enjoyed. New Year’s was the same. With the exception of running back and forth for a few doctors visits things were very low key for those two weeks.

Surgery is over. What treatment will be recommended?

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Breast Cancer Fight

 

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