Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another good follow up visit today

Hi everybody! Happy Obama Day! whoohoo!

After sharing the swearing in of Obama with my friends over breakfast, I went to see Dr. Chang for a follow up. She was amazed at how good the reconstruction looks, and how quickly I'm recovering. yay!

She cleared me to start mild arm exercises to regain my range of motion by the end of January. I can also start chemo the first week of February.

I'm looking forward to starting chemo so that I can get it over with! Dr. Chang confirmed that not only will the hair on my head fall out, but so will my eyebrows and eyelashes. I thought that this was the case, but wasn't sure. That part I'm not so much looking forward to. With the size of my dome, being completely bald isn't going to be so cute!

I was told about a program sponsored by Pantene which provides wigs made from real human hair to women with cancer. If you are interested in donating long hair to this cause, you can check it out: www.beautifullenghts.com
Tomorrow I'm going to contact the American Cancer Society to see if I can receive one of these wigs. If not, I'm just going to rock some scarves for a while.

Mom left on Sunday, since I can drive on my own now. Life is getting back to normal, and I feel great. As always, I have to say a huge THANK YOU for your continued love and support.

kiss kiss love love

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Figures...my tumor is stubborn, too!

On the heels of yesterday's great news, I had my first consultation with my oncologist today. She's younger than me! I actually like that. Glad to have a progressive, young doctor.

She took a lot of time to explain the four different kinds of cancer that are all called 'breast cancer'. I didn't know that. Turns out, all of them have different traits, and are all treated differently.

The super short Cliff's notes on the situation is that my type of cancer is called a "triple negative". This type of cancer doesn't respond to any other therapy other than chemo. So, I'll have to have chemo. Good news is that it will only be four cycles, not six. While it is a stubborn kind of cancer, it is very responsive to chemo, and when it goes away, it tends to stay away.

So...I'm going to do everything I can to clean the slate and make sure that we zap any cells that may have settled down elsewhere in my body. My doctor explained that while my lymph nodes and margins tested clean, there is still a high enough chance that some cancer cells are still setting up shop in my body somewhere. Chemo will evict them.

She said that I'll definitely lose my hair, which honestly doesn't bother me much. She also told me that I'll have a greater than 50/50 chance of keeping my period. yay!

Healing up nicely from the surgery, and enjoying the company of my friends that are swinging by.


Monday, January 12, 2009


Wicked good news today from my doctor...ALL TESTS WERE NEGATIVE!!! YAYYYYY!!! All three lymph nodes were negative, and the margine testing was negative. This means that the cancer didn't spread! again...YAYYYYYY!!!!

I'm waiting for an appointment with my oncologist in the coming days to discuss chemotherapy and my options. If the prognosis isn't much different, then I think I may explore alternative options so that I don't go into early menopause. Of course, I'm not going to mess around with this thing, so I'll put my health first. I want to make sure that it is away, and STAYS away!

Still on track to get the drain out this Friday. Surely I'll feel like a million bucks then!

Drain and all, I am amazed at how good I feel. Yesterday I went to the farmer's market for a half hour with my mom and friend, Goga. Gotta eat your beets, you know!

Today is my first Tylenol-free day. Other than discomfort, I'm not in pain. It's kinda crazy to contemplate how radical this surgery was, and to be up and about the way I am now. It's awesome.

Thank you again for all the love. Really. It's overwhelming. I look forward to healing up so I can give each of you a big bear hug when I see you ;) XOXOXO

Saturday, January 10, 2009

So far, so good!

It's three days after my mastectomy. Honestly, the worst part of the hospital stay was that they kept waking me up...and I'm cranky in the morning. OK, well, the one time when the four hot plastic surgery residents came in wasn't the worst way to be woken up.

Yeah, taking off of my breast kinda sucks. I'm not underestimating that. But, by the time I got to the hospital, I had already made peace with that. It simply is a shitty, but necessary, part of this process. The ability of the mind to come to terms with this sort of thing is remarkable.

Of course, last night when my dressing came off, seeing my boob for the first time was still a shocker. I just wasn't ready to look at it yet. I don't know when I thought I'd be ready, but it wasn't at that moment. I was sad and scared. I look like Frankenstein. Yes, I keep reminding myself that the reconstruction has a long way to go, but it's still shocking to see yourself mutilated. I miss my nipple!!

Turns out, the drain that is coming out of me was causing so much irritation where it was laying against my skin that it caused blistering. This made for a rough night's sleep. It'll feel a million times better when the drain comes out this Friday.

I haven't used one of the pain pills that they sent home with me. Haven't needed them. I'm not trying to be tough and all...it's just that Tylenol has been fine. It's much more manageable than I imagined.

Trying to be good and stay still, like I'm supposed to. Mom's seeing to that. Sweet thing is helping me with every little thing.

Fighting going batty from boredom.

Lots of you are wondering about the test results. I don't know yet. They did a bunch of tests the day of the surgery, but the results aren't in yet. Honestly, I'm in no rush to know. It's weird...I just want to focus on healing from my surgery. Step one. I don't want to worry about the unknown. They'll call me at some point this week, I guess. Then I'll meet with the oncologist and work out the path for the chemo treatments.

Keep the prayers coming that it hasn't spread, and I promise to put a post out here as soon as I find out ~ one way or the other.

In the meantime, I continue to be humbled by the love being sent my way. I believe 100% that it has made the difference in my ability to handle this mentally and physically. Thank you. Again. And, if it isn't too much to ask...please keep it coming!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Say goodbye to my little friend...

In T-minus 7 hours, Dr Chang is going to have at it. (why do they say T-Minus when counting?) While I get can my head around the reconstruction of the boob, I'm starting to seriously mourn the loss of my nipple. Yup, that's what I'm thinking about right now.

Mom flew out tonight. She's sleeping on an air bed in front of me now. For some reason, I'm just not sleepy. Huh.

They moved my surgery up to 8:30am. Have to be at the hospital in 5 hours.

Yesterday and today were full of fun activities at the hospital. Yeah...not so much. Let me catch you up:

I thought yesterday was tough...that was until today....when a really sweet Dr. Xu stuck four (that's FOUR) needles full of radioactive liquid around my nipple. For fuck's sake! GAH! That really hurt. I like to think I'm a toughie, but this was just not right. This nuclear stuff then seeps into my lymphatic system, and an hour and a half later, they take a few pictures in this massive machine. The picture is supposed to tell the surgeon tomorrow morning where to aim for the node or nodes of choice. It's all very sci fi. What's more...the surgeon actually takes a wand to this area tomorrow...and it will beep where the radioactive stuff is concentrated...kind of a guide. Again I say, sci fi.

Yesterday I just had to drink two jars of white sludge in preparation for the CT Scans. When I turned the corner into the waiting room to drink this crap, a cup full every ten minutes, I was greeted by several obviously sick people. A woman with a head scarf, an old man with a surgical mask on his face. That was kind of an eye opener. These people are SICK! I'm not sick!! Isn't there a room for the people who just have this crazy diagnosis but aren't sick?
It's too much. (I say that a lot lately).

It must have been obvious to these veteran hospital-goers that I was a newbie to the CT lounge. They all chuckled and welcomed me to the 'bar', and asked what flavor my sludge was. I just got all frat house on it and chugged it. Berry flavor, by the way. In the event you should ever have to go through this CT process, I don't recommend chugging it. Turns out, your body may not like you very much...let's just leave it at that.

So, after tomorrow, the combination of all these tests and the biopsy of the lymph nodes will tell them if it's spread. Still the only thing that scares me.

With a boat load of stuff to do in preparation for tomorrow, I may not have had the time to adequately respond to the TON of emails, texts, letters, pressies, care packages and phone calls that I've received this week. I promise that each and every message and prayer is living in my heart and giving me comfort and courage. I'm taking you all with me in the morning. I feel sooooo loved. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love you right back. More than my puny vocabulary could possibly describe.

Will be in the hospital for one night only (yay!) then resting at home under the care of mom and my lovely lovely friends. Please feel free to call if you like. If I'm not up for it at that moment, I'll just ring you back when I can. XOXOXO