Saturday, November 21, 2009


I am sure that this is Suki's way of reminding me to always see the beauty in life.  I don't think Annabel agrees.  She is just pissed that she keeps losing crayons. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Today was my LAST treatment!  I am really glad to have it behind me, but hunkered down for the next few days to get over it. isn't really over YET.  But at least I don't have to sit there and get poisoned anymore.  (Well....until more Avastin treatments, but that is another story altogether!). 

The morning started off well, despite the fact that I didn't get a very good night's sleep.  We woke up in time for me to get ready without rushing too much.  I even got to take a bath!  Scott's parents were here before 8:30 to spend the day with Annabel.  Scott and I had to drop my car off at Goodyear for 2 new tires, an oil change and an alignment (ugh!).  He stopped for coffee and we still made it there on time!  Rare. 

When we arrived, we didn't have to wait too long for me to get poked and have my blood drawn for lab work.  We then visited with the clinical trial nurse to discuss my surgery and what needs to happen to get ready.  She is shooting for the week of December 14th, but we don't have a date yet because my breast surgeon and plastic surgeon have to find a time that they are both available.  Before surgery, I will have an echocardiogram, a mammogram, a consult with both surgeons separately, lab work and review with my oncologist and a CAT scan on my neck.  The CAT scan is not for the surgery; I have mentioned a few times that I have had a sore throat since my first treatment.  It hurts in the same spot and the pain comes and goes, but never goes away.  I went to an ENT in June or July and he stuck a HOSE up my NOSE and said it looked slightly irritated.  He prescribed an acid reducer that I take twice daily for "silent reflux".  Shhhhh, don't tell anyone.  I am a little surprised that she didn't recommend that I go back to the ENT again, but she said she'd do the CAT scan to see if anything is going on.  She said that is abnormal, but she is not too concerned.  I am glad I don't have to go to the ENT because of the hose/nose deal, but they also pissed me off over a prescription issue and I would have had to bitch about that and request that she refer me to another ENT group/doctor.  I am not worried about any of this.  My oncologist initially said I would have an MRI before surgery, but after consulting the clinical trial nurse, they decided that a mammogram would be more appropriate.  I am sort of disappointed because they can see more with an MRI to tell me how much my tumor has shrunk, but that is something they won't know for sure until surgery time anyway.

Well, I meant to publish this post last week after my treatment, but I wasn't quite finished when I saved it as a draft.  Today is Wednesday and I am feeling better every day.  My biggest complaint these days is that when I THINK about certain things, I feel very nauseated.  And there are lots of things that make me gag just by thinking about them....the red hand soap that Scott bought for the bathroom grosses me out (looks like chemo medicine) and now even the smell of it makes me gag.  I am throwing it away next time I'm in the bathroom since I've been complaining about it for a few weeks now.  The thought of going to the doctor makes me feel first few chemos, (I am trying not to GAG right now typing it, because this is a MAJOR trigger) I asked Scott to pick up lunch from Pita House, which used to be a favorite restaurant.  Obviously I will never eat that again!  I was told that this would happen, but I didn't believe it until it started happening.  I am sure there is some kind of meditation or something that can help and I'll be looking into it when I feel a little better.  Until then, I am still taking some anti-nausea medication as needed.  So far, I have not barfed, but I feel like I spend a lot of time trying not to!  My appetite is not great, but I will eat food if it is in front of me and usually don't have any problems. 

Kim left to go back to Knoxville early this morning.  She was a great help as always.  I miss her when she goes!  I think that she and Annabel had an especially fun time together this visit.  Annabel is more communicative every day and is putting her thoughts together really well.  Kim took her to the zoo on Monday and Annabel made it VERY clear that Kim forgot to get crackers to feed the goats.  She was not happy about it, to say the least!  She likes to voice her opinion about most things and our main stuggle lately has been getting dressed or changing clothes.  Another big milestone....Annabel used the potty for the first time on Monday!  She hasn't been interested in going again since, but once is a good start.  She got some M&Ms for that and I plan to use some kind of sticker chart if I can get her interested again.  I think she is a little young yet, but I want to be prepared in case she shows interest. 

My surgery is set for December 14th.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I think I have been sort of brave about it up until this point because there was no date, but I have a lot of anxiety about it.  I am ready to move onto and past the next step of my treatment, but I don't like the idea of losing my boobs even though they are no good anymore.  Chemo was traumatic and losing my hair was awful, but at least it is going to grow back.  The boobs....not so much.  I am also not looking forward to recovering over the holidays.  I am grateful that we can celebrate Annabel's 2nd birthday before surgery and I hope I can get a tree up and shopping mostly finished before the big day.  I am not sure about the recovery time, but I will meet with my surgeon and plastic surgeon both before surgery.  I hope they can give me some realistic expectations about recovery and pain and all that fun mess.  I am sure that I have mentioned it before, but I will explain my understanding of the procedure again.  I am having a bi-lateral mastectomy, so they are removing both breasts.  My surgeon will go in first and hack them off and then the plastic surgeon will follow with tissue expanders.  Because I have to have radiation, I am not a candidate for immediate reconstruction, but the tissue expanders are sort of like temporary boobs.  I think of them sort of as the spacers that you get before you get braces, but I will be sporting them for several months.  The tissue expanders have some sort of port in them and the plastic surgeon will fill them with something (?) over the first two weeks after my surgery.  I am sure I will learn more about this during my doctor visits. 

No hair yet!  I hope to have some brewing by surgery time.  I still have a head full of fuzz, but it seems to be coming out fast.  I have threatened to shave my head so that when my hair grows, it will be even, but I am attached to the fuzz for some crazy reason.  I guess because it's all I have!  My eyebrows and eyelashes are very thin.  I have heard that they will probably fall out completely before they start growing back in.  I have major eyebrow issues!  They are thin, but crazy like an old man.  I have some faux eyebrow powder and a pencil, but I haven't gotten it out yet.  I am just trying to be gentle with them so that I can keep what I have.  As bad as they look, I think it will look pretty bad to have none.  I might practice with my fake eyebrows tomorrow.

Not much else to report.  I am looking forward to the holidays despite the sense of impending doom over surgery.  Scott and I are planning to go and see the Brian Setzer Orchestra's Christmas show at the beginning of December.  We went a few years ago and it really put me in the holiday mood!  I have also been listening to Christmas music on Sirius.  I can't wait to celebrate with Annabel this year.  I think she will be excited about decorations and Santa and of course, presents!  I will keep you posted.

Monday, November 9, 2009


WOW!  Has it really been that long since my last post???  I keep meaning to update, but I have put it off for a long time I guess. 

Let's see.....since my last post, I have had a treatment.  As I have mentioned before, my oncologist does a rudimentary measurement of my tumor when I see her before chemo.  I was dreading this past treatment and got a great pick-me-up when she went to measure and couldn't find it!  This is excellent news of course, but also doesn't mean that it is gone.  Again, rudimentary measurement.  We will know more the next time I have scans and then for sure when I have my surgery.  But it is very encouraging to know that the chemo is doing its job.  My recovery was pretty uneventful after my last treatment, which is also good.  Annabel spent a few nights with Scott's parents and Scott actually ended up working from home both Thursday (treatment day) and Friday.  Annabel had a great time with her grandparents and I enjoyed having Scott here to keep me company.  Kim came to visit on Saturday night and stayed until early Wednesday morning when she left to go back to work.  I love having her here to help with Annabel and keep me company while I recover.  She usually makes me get out of the house and doesn't put up with my crankiness or take it personally.  I am not the best company all the time!

The news interview aired on the Tuesday after my last treatment.  I am glad that I did it and I think it turned out ok, thanks to editing I'm sure!  Here is a link:

I have become somewhat of a germaphobe lately.  Rightfully so if you want to ask me!  I don't want any part of the crud that is going around.  It would set me back and I am all about full steam ahead right now.  I am ready to be finished with chemo and getting sick is not part of the plan.  I haven't been out of the house too much and when I do leave, I am armed with hand sanitizer and wipes.  Since I got sick after #5, I have been really nervous about getting sick again.  I have gotten a flu shot, but I know that it doesn't prevent all kinds of flu.  I am just trying to stay away from germs since I don't have much longer now. 

The weather has been nice!  I love fall.  We have had some cozy days of chilly weather, but are still getting the occasional 70 degree day.  Annabel and I went to the zoo on Friday and she and Scott spent a lot of time outside this weekend playing on her playset and coloring the driveway and porch with sidewalk chalk.  I meant to take a picture of the house last week because our big crape myrtle looked beautiful with red-orange leaves, but they have mostly fallen now.  Oh, well. 

Annabel is talking up a storm.  She is getting good at putting words together and has been pretty conversational lately.  Every day is something new!  She is also VERY resistant to changing her clothes.  I have tried giving her two sets of clothes to choose from.  She will choose, but then has a fit when I dress her.  I have even tried to let her pick her own clothes, but that usually ends in disaster as well.  I am sure it's just a phase, but it is exhausting to have the same fight twice a day (jammies too!).  Right now, she is wearing a busy green calico-y pajama top and some black Halloween leggings with different prints.  We aren't going anywhere or else she would have on the matching shirt.  Or pajama pants!  Last week, we went to run errands and for whatever reason, she would only wear one sock.  As frustrating as it is, I still think it's pretty funny.  Before too long, she'll be able to tell me why.  On Friday, she will be 23 months old already.  She's almost 2!  I can't believe it.

Only a few more days until my LAST chemo!!!  I am not looking forward to the treatment itself, but I will be glad to have this phase of my cancer "journey" behind me.  I know it will take a long time to get back to normal, but at least I won't get the chemo beat-down every 3 weeks.  I feel icky whenever I think about even going to the doctor and the way it smells.  Scott got some red liquid hand soap for the bathroom and every time I look at it, it makes me want to gag!  I think I am having that association thing.  I am definitely going to have to take some anti-anxiety before my treatment on Thursday!  I look forward to hearing again that my tumor is disappearing.  I will also find out what scans and tests and doctor visits are required before my surgery and hopefully, I will have a surgery date.  I am nervous about that because there is so much going on in December....Annabel's 2nd birthday, Christmas and Scott's 40th birthday.  I don't want to miss out on anything, but I know I have to get it over with.  And at least if I have a date, I can start planning.  And I guess I have to do all of my Christmas shopping too! 

That is what's going on around here.  Maybe it won't take me so long to post again next time!