breast cancer


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He’s Ten today, the big double digits… I love this little guy so much. He’s caring, and funny, and has found a sport he loves. He’s a great son, brother, grandson, cousin, and friend. I can’t believe it’s been ten years. I hate that on this day I worry about being here to see him turn thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, and so on.¬† I hate that cancer has put those feelings upon on us. But I have been trying to instill in all that we now know just how fragile life can be so all the more reason to cherish all these special days and every other day in between!!! Happy Birthday Andrew my lacrosse loving, bike riding, x box playing little boy:)

There’s also a pink ribbon on the front, and I told hubby pink pedals with our pink Grey Ghost Bicycles Jersey would be perfect:)

 

It’s been awhile but I’ve been busy “living”. It seems life has returned to warp speed as if none of the past 7 months have happened. I still am “recovering” from everything and have my FINAL radiation tomorrow,woohoo!!!!I’ve been lucky in a since that I have only had a little fatigue and probably if I’m being truthful have been more grumpy/bitchy than tired. My skin for the most part has held up except under my armpit is pretty ugly looking. I’ve held off on posting the mastectomy/reconstruction pictures until after tomorrow so I could include what radiation did as well. I’ve been out speed walking, or doing the treadmill when the weather is nasty and have been doing a minimum of 40min each time 5-6x a week and a minimum of 3.5miles each time. So I’m pretty proud of that accomplishment. I’m following the plastic surgeons warnings on what jogging can do and have decided that speed walking for now is the way to go and hopefully hubby is going to surprise me with the awesome Giant Breast Cancer Road Bike so I can start cycling again:) Seriously this bike is awesome looking white with pink flowers and of course a pink ribbon. We celebrated Alyssa’s Thirteenth Birthday on March 16 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There was also celebrating EasterOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and comparing who has longer hair (pic taken two weeks ago)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We are twelve yrs apart so I’m going with he looks twelve yrs younger instead of the other way around;) One of my recent walks (5.7miles) was with my favorite exercising partner spring 2013 I love our talks we have and of course she always manages to update me on the countdown till she turns 16 and can get her permit (July 5) so Breast Cancer didn’t kill me but teaching her how to drive omg I’m scared:) She had her first Softball game yesterday and played fantastic and they Won!!! I think I’m still thawing out from it, it was freezing. Tonight Lax starts for Andrew so things are really in full swing now. Alyssa decided to take a break from a sport this spring and just work out with friends and chill, as a parent I’m glad that I only have two sports teams to navigate but am also sad that she opted not to play softball again this year…Treadmill time since the weather is not wanting to cooperate today so be back soon:)

Didn’t realize it has been almost a month since my last post. Things have definitely improved. Hubby and I have gone to Boston for our second opinion which was very helpful. We where told that my team here did EVERYTHING right and that with my type of cancer very rarely do they see someone come back with a clean pathology report after chemo/surgery. Yes they would have preferred that outcome but the Dr out there was still very pleased with my results and how I had responded to treatment. She told us that she felt I was in fact CANCER FREE but we want to keep it that way. I was also staged at a stage 3 which we had assumed so surprisingly that didn’t through me for a loop. Also we apparently haven’t even gotten to the most important part of treatment which is for me Tamoxifen which I will take for at least 10 yrs, I am also supposed to keep those ovaries “turned off” so if my periods do return I will be giving another drug to stop them right away as we don’t want the ovaries to “turn on” again. Having them out is not something they want to do since they are more beneficial to leave them where they are. I have also been invited by our DR in Boston to join a clinical trial so we will be starting that after Radiation, and than I will truly be able to say that we have thrown EVERYTHING known at this time at this and hopefully it will be enough to keep me cancer free!!! On another note my Plastic Surgeon didn’t end up doing another fill, even though I wanted to go a little bigger he felt that airing on the side of caution knowing what radiation can do was a better course of action. So I’m about 290cc, but I’ve been assured that hopefully if the radiation doesn’t do any major damage I can still go bigger even the day of my surgery which will be in the fall, they can blow up the expanders more and let them sit like that while they’re doing prep work and than have a bigger “pocket” to put the final implant in. I do have an appt this Thursday as there’s a spot that is driving me nuts, not sure if it’s the end of a stitch or what but it feels like it wants to come through the skin and if I move just the right way it’s like getting stuck with a needle. I’ve noticed the same thing is just starting on the other side as well. Hubby thinks it’s do to the swelling going down and we have heard that sometimes a stitch will work it’s way to the surface and they either pull it out or trim it.Leave it to me to get the quirky things. I started Radiation last week and so far so good. The biggest pain is the parking lot and I’m not lazy enough to take advantage of the valet parking. Although this morning in the rain I was very tempted but did find a spot fairly close. The major problem is it’s a very narrow lot and small spots and most people don’t know how to park straight or within their lines. I am so loving the back up cam on the van, it has cut down on some stress of maneuvering out of those tight spots. I’ve been working out now 5-6x a week which has me feeling much better but I’ve only lost a couple pounds which is a start I guess and I’m only allowed to really lose 1-2lbs a week while on radiation but it’s still so frustrating to not be able to fit into a lot of my favorite jeans thanks to the weight gain from chemo:( I still have 12lbs to lose to be what I was when I started all of this and of course I would like to lose another 10-15 on top of that. Abbey’s recovered from Mono and went back to school two weeks ago, has returned to working out at the Y and has started softball practice daily, HOWEVER yesterday I get a phone call to come and get her from school she hurt her knee. Thankfully Hubby’s off on Mondays so when I was able to get her in to her orthopedic office (she’s my accident prone kid) in Saratoga which is about 20min from here he was able to drive us. Thanks to radiation something as simple as a drive like that is to much for me right now. Well thankfully she didn’t do major damage but she did dislocate her patella and tweaked all the muscles around it. So now she’s in a lot of pain and wearing a knee brace. Also no sports for at least a week and physical therapy 2x a week for a month. So she’s home from school today as she barely can walk but hoping to return tomorrow as she is still catching up from being out from Mono. Never a dull moment. Good new’s is I’m able to go out with out head wraps now ūüôā woohoo it’s been two weeks so I’m now sporting the Charlize Theron buzz cut. Alyssa’s Orchestra teacher saw me last week at her concert and made her come home yesterday and tell me how awesome I looked and was totally pulling off the new hair do. It’s people and comments like that, that totally make my day and keep me feeling good. After all, going through everything I’ve been through can leave you feeling not so feminine at times and a little self conscious too. I always try to hold my head up high when I’m out and about not only because it is what it is but I want my children to learn from this as well and to know if you can hold your head up it makes you that much stronger.

K so it’s been almost five days since my last fill and I’m really hating these things called tissue expanders that are helping me have nice boobs when all this is done. I am still blessed with having lovely burning pain that takes your breath away, sometimes throughout the breasts and other times where my my nipples should be and where now the ports for the expanders are.. I’ve stopped taking the heavy duty pain pills because they of course made me constipated AGAIN and I’m getting really tired of having to drink “colon cleanse” as I call it. So I’m trying motrin or tylenol during the day and taking the good stuff at night. I don’t have the pain all the time,¬† but some movements produce that intense burning throbbing pain which of course has made me feel sick to my stomach most of the time. I’m getting so tired of all of this and long for the day when I can sit or lay down down without any pain or being able to get up from sitting or laying down without pain. I’ve done hours of research on all of this and I¬† think the reason this week is so rough is because of the amount that was filled, aka as we pushed it a little to much, the dr did ask if I had pain pills and if I was alright or did I want him to remove some, of course I said nah to the removing of some, because I new it had to be done at some point and time of course isn’t on my side since radiation is supposed to start in about 2 1/2 wks. I believe it was 70-90cc that was put in but hubby and I aren’t quite sure. So this week I have to remember to ask what we are up to and what he’s planning on putting in since this is the final fill.¬† My thoughts now are this Thursday we may be doing only a little more if nothing at all. I know the end result the Plastic Surgeon was hoping for was a 250cc implant¬† to be put in later this spring, which is about a big b small c. I’m thinking we need to be close to that and there’s no way I’m suffering this much next week. Ok one more week and this is supposed to get much easier, I really hope it’s a quick week and that these damn “boobs” better be worth it in the end:) Now time for some knitting which should help my pity party mood immensely…

It’s been awhile I know but I’ve been “healing” not just physically but emotionally as well. I’m 4 1/2 weeks post surgery and amazingly my scars are barely visible, my plastic surgeon is a rock star!!! I’ve had two fills and this last one I had two days ago has had me in the most pain yet!!! Except when they took those damn drains out ten days after surgery, yes everyone’s different but lets just say when the left side drains where removed I became slightly vocal and they hurt so freaking bad it was worse than child birth. Not sure what was up with them but they hurt right from the beginning, the right side I barely felt being removed. Enough on those nasty things and glad they’re gone and hope to never have to deal with them again!!! I had a slight set back which is part of the long break from here, my pathology report came back showing that there where cancer cells in all four quadrants of the right breast, we had thought only two quadrants where involved. It also showed that there was a microscopic spot on the chest wall and 7 of the 14 lymph nodes removed showed cancer cells as well and three had macro cells and four had micro. Yes we hope everything was removed but we where not expecting any of that. We’ve been told that the Chemo worked as best as it could and the tumors where no longer visible but for what ever reason it didn’t get rid of everything. We also where told that even though there where signs of cancer throughout the breast it wasn’t enough to add up and get a “number” so that’s good. But hearing that there was cancer showing up after chemo had me feeling like I was being diagnosed all over again, and had me pretty much uncontrollably sobbing and screaming this isn’t fucking fair. It changes my percentage of it coming back to 45-50% and means I will have a bigger area radiated, and have pet scans every three months following radiation. Plus my anger of being pushed aside last April has resurfaced!!! Hubby and I will be heading out to Dana Farber this coming Wednesday for a second opinion suggested by our team of Dr’s, they feel that it will for nothing else give me more of a peace of mind.I try to remind myself that we have done/doing everything known to hopefully cure this shit and hope it never comes back again and pray that it’s enough and I know that’s all we can do!!! I’m finally getting my kick ass attitude back but it’s taking awhile. Not only have I been dealing with my own healing but Abbigayle is still home with Mono. Remember I came home on a Tuesday and she came home that Thursday. She doesn’t have your typical Mono because her liver and spleen are involved and she had pleurisy too. So having her home when I’ve felt my worst has been a challenge and having tutors coming to the house has kind of stunk too. We have winter break here starting in a few days and are hopeful that the Dr will tell her she can return to school after break is over even if¬† it’s just for half days. Since I’ve had to take pain pills more days than not I’ve been stuck in the house or at the mercy of others to drive me where I need to go. I’ve been able to go to some concerts, swim meets, volleyball games, and talent shows and even though I didn’t always feel that great I was able to be there for my kids. At Andrews talent show I was pretty uncomfortable but so glad I could be there for him and especially thankful when some of the little girls in his class performed an act called fight like a girl, yup a huge breast cancer ribbon was wheeled out and these amazing cuties did a dance/boxing number to various songs including This Girl Is On Fire well that did me in and I didn’t care who saw the tears streaming down my face because I was so honored they put that together!!!I was hoping to go into his class today for their Valentine Party but after Tuesdays expansion am not going anywhere. Thank goodness for knitting I’ve finished some socks and will hopefully post pics of those soon! I have one more fill next Thursday because of Dr’s wanting to start radiation asap my fills have had to be done quicker aka more put in at a time and done once a week rather than over a longer time period. After next Thursday I will see the radiation Dr who has the final say if we’ve made them to big and if so I will go back to the Plastic Surgeon and he will remove some. We are leaning on the side of caution as to not stretch the skin to much so we can hopefully avoid any complications from radiation. I love all my Dr’s and trust them completely and at the end of the day it’s about curing me not necessarily given me “big”boobs. I’m a little bigger than what I started so as long as we end up with the same results I will be happy. I’m planning on posting pics of what things looked like after the mastectomy and through the fill process so after next week I should be able to post those. My hopes are to help others see it’s really not that bad and while everyone’s different, to maybe help put at least one person at ease. I’ve been very fortunate with our Dr’s and I’ve read how some others have been treated by their surgeons and my heart goes out to them. Our Plastic Surgeon has been nothing but compassionate and patient during everything and we often find our selves joking with him and his nurse during the fills. When I¬† saw him post op to remove the bandages and drains he took things very slowly knowing how worried I was and really seemed shaken when he saw how much pain I was in when the drains where removed. To me bedside matter is huge and I never feel like just a number or a person with cancer when I’m at his office because it’s not just him but his staff as well who are warm and comforting. So I guess my message is I hope for those who haven’t found that type of comfort from your Surgeons I hope you are able to, even if it means seeing a few different Dr’s because I think it will help in the healing process too. Of course you have to make sure they’re competent as well:) My hair is also coming in fairly quickly (although not as quickly as I would like) and I sort of resemble a chia pet but it’s a start. Cruelly enough I had my eyebrows and eyelashes until a few days ago, but they too seem to be coming right back in¬† (weird). So there’s the catch up and thankfully I’ve been having more good days than bad, so fingers crossed that we get good news next Wednesday!!!!Happy Valentines Day too, while I’ve never been found of this “holiday” I’m appreciating¬† it a little more this year and looking forward to a quiet night with my hubby and kids and some sushi for dinner.yum

So I’m starting to feel more human each day. Thankfully after 6 nights of not much sleep my Dad came up with¬† the best idea of trying to sleep in one of their lounge chairs that we use by the pool in the summer. Bingo we put a mattress cushion on it and some comfy blankets and I actually slept. That was Sunday night so thank you Dad for coming up with that solution, truth be told I think my parents,hubby and kids had about it had it too and probably where starting to get a little scared of Mama since you can imagine after many nights of no sleep, sever constipation that had me throwing up in the kitchen sink, and yes much discomfort and pain, crankyness was an understatement:) Now all those problems have been resolved and I’m as content as one can be right now. Trying to follow Dr’s orders of not doing anything,¬† much time is spent on the couch tv watching, some knitting, enjoying the woodstove while others keep it going for me, and sleeping since like with chemo major surgery makes you tired. Lyssey has a swim meet this Wednesday which I would like to go to but Hubby said no since I don’t go to the Plastics Dr until Thursday when I hope they take at least two of these damn drains out, plus I’m not cleared to drive till after seeing the Surgeon next Tuesday. So I will have to have someone do a cell phone video so I can see her swim. If drains come out I may be able to go see her All County Chorus concert on Saturday otherwise I will just get to listen to it while those who do go can call me while she’s singing. I hate missing these things but keep reminding myself it’s only a couple events and I will be here for all the rest.So as if things haven’t been crazy enough and I feel heartbroken that my kids have had to see me in the hospital, and than in pain at home, yesterday blood work confirmed that our oldest Abbey has Mono. My parents took her to the Dr last Thursday where they diagnosed her with Plurisy, and by Friday night she was feeling worse so it was back to the Dr’s and than off to the Hospital for blood work and chest x-ray’s.¬† It’s so hard to not be able to take care of myself but now my child is sick and I can’t do much to help her either, and she has midterms all week so today she went in to try to at least get through one of them. We will play the rest of the week by hand and pray she can get through them all and if next week she has to miss school than so be it.I’m so thankful that between my parents, hubby, family, and close friends we are well taken care of but seriously are you kidding me? Haven’t we been through enough?! Hubby returns to work today full-time so now my parents will get the brunt of having to take care of both Abbey and I, not to mention play taxi service for getting the kids home from school, and to and from sports. So THANK YOU Mom and Dad we never could have made it this far without all of your love and support!!!:)

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