Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 215

I know I've talked before (more than once) about my friend A and her long, long fight with ovarian cancer.  I would like to introduce you to Ally's Wish, which was founded to grant the wishes of moms suffering with terminal illness.  I am A's friend, I am a mom and I am fighting cancer.  That makes this a cause very close to my heart.  Please visit Ally's Wish to learn about the amazing lady who inspires so many, and how you can help.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 214

Hubby was watching tv tonight when K came out & asked if they could watch something together.  He asked her what she wanted to watch and she said, "Everybody Loves Raymond".  This show is one of our favorites, so of course he put it on and they watched a couple of episodes.

Shortly after that, K picks up her phone and heads to her room, saying, "I'm going to learn how to speak Italian.  I have an app for that!"

That girl and her unique spirit light up my life.  I'm so blessed to have a husband and children who give me purpose and bring me joy and laughter.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 213

Today has been a little bit of a reality check for me.  Here I was, happily going along in my little world doing what I have to do and thinking I'm holding up pretty good.... and then along comes a softball tournament.  Ha ha.  We've played three games so far today with one more to go, and this lady is exhausted!  I've missed being in the dugout with the girls and helping coach them, but man, I feel like I'm the one who's been on the field all day fielding balls and running bases!  Cancer has a way of stealing your stamina, that's for sure!

Our girls are one of the youngest 8U teams this spring so they're in for a rough year compared to the more seasoned teams, but they still have so much fun.  K hit well, scored twice AND caught a foul fly ball.  Woohoo!  Another bonus was that our "softball sister" (also a K) from the Wylie high school team came out to watch one of the games.  She's a sweet girl and the team was so happy to see her.

Hopefully I'll catch my second wind after a little rest, because our final game today isn't until 9:10pm!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 212

Tonight was the Lady Diamonds' second game of the season.  Last year we were the oldest 6 and under team and won forty games (yes, I said 40).  This year we are the youngest 8 and under team and we're getting creamed.  The good news is the girls really have no clue.  They still come in the dugout after the game saying, "Did we win?"  My girl had two sweet hits, although one was snagged out of thin air by the shortstop.  Boooo!  She was very happy she scored after her first hit - she kept saying "Mama, I made it home!"  

Today was a big day for J.  He went to Dallas with the middle school band for a competition.  They did great (received a "1" which is the highest rating you can get).  The competition was at a music festival and after they performed they were able to ride the rides all afternoon.  They stopped at a pizza-and-games place on the way home for dinner, so you add in charter buses and friends and video games and it was a pretty perfect day for my boy.

My hot flashes had disappeared for a while but tonight they are back in full force.  As are my restless legs.  I had a good day, but I'm not expecting a good night.  I wish cancer would take its treatment side effects and go back home!

Kicking cancer's ass - day 211

Ok, ok, I missed a day.  Yikes!  Don't freak, people.  I'm ok.  I'm perfectly fine.  Let's blame it on chemo brain.  I thought about posting last night, couldn't come up with anything to write about so I put it off.  And then I went to bed.  Oops.

People are always asking me how I'm feeling (and that's not a complaint, I definitely appreciate their concern) and I always give the same answer:  TIRED!  I don't know if I'm trying to do too much too soon after chemo and surgery or if it's just a cumulative effect of everything I've been through, but I feel like I could sleep for a week.  I'm a little anxious about that, because I've heard the number one complaint during radiation is fatigue.  So I'm wondering...how much more tired can I possibly feel?

The good news is my little stickers they put on me to cover my markings for radiation are hanging in there.  I thought surely there's no way they will survive multiple showers.  But it's been five days and they're still there.  I told Hubby I don't know why we didn't think to ask for some extras in case one came off while I'm at home.

Speaking of Hubby, would you please keep him in your prayers?  It is taking his tongue a LONG time to heal and he still can't eat much of anything besides soup, yogurt and pudding.  He popped a stitch the other night and bled like crazy - scared the you-know-what out of both of us!  So now he's being extra careful.  This has been a long week and a half and it shows no signs of letting up.  I feel so badly for him and know he's ready to be feeling back to normal.  Please ask for healing for him so he can talk, drink and eat like normal without pain.  Thank you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 210

Yesterday was the first day of the last phase of "active treatment" for me.  That sounds a whole lot better than it really is.  Ha!  Even though radiation is my last big step, it's a 6 1/2 week "step", and even after I'm through with that, I won't really be done.  I'm still facing multiple surgeries and will be on hormonal therapy for five to ten years.  But I digress....

Going back to yesterday's appointment - it was the radiation planning/simulation that didn't happen last week.  Last week I waited an hour to see the doctor and got nothing accomplished.  Yesterday I was in and out of there in an hour and they did everything they had to do.  Maybe Hubby is my good luck charm!  They did a "mold" for me to lay on that conformed to my body to insure I will always be in the exact same position for every radiation treatment.  They did a CT scan of my torso and marked me where they will do the radiation.  Now the radiation oncologist and physicist will work their magic to come up with my computerized plan  - where to direct the beams and how much of a dose.  This all takes a week or so, and then we'll be ready to start my 33 treatments.  Sounds fun, huh?

One bonus - normally when someone has radiation, they will mark you with pen-point sized tattoos so when you go in they know exactly where to line things up.  Instead of tattoos, I was offered to keep the sharpie markings covered up with little clear band-aid things, as long as I promise to keep them on the full six weeks.  Since the radiation techs will see me every weekday, they will change them out if they start coming off so we don't lose my marks.  So the good news is I won't have permanent black dots on me reminding me of radiation.  The bad news is I look like my daughter colored on my chest with a green sharpie and most of those marks will stay for the next two months.

Another day of kicking cancer's ass...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 208

Someone shared this on one of the breastcancer.org bulletin boards I post on.....it was posted on another board by a breast cancer patient's husband and I wanted to share his beautiful words.  I do not know this man, or his wife, but what he wrote really touched me:

I am a husband/ caregiver...

I didn't know where this should be posted---and since my wife is going through treatment now, I just picked here.

I have lurked since my wife's diagnosis and have been posting only for a few days.  I can recognize a sisterhood when I see one.  An army of kind souls.

I am humbled by your humanity.  Your grace.  Your power.  

My wife says she's just doing what she has to when I tell her I'm proud of her.  But she's doing more than enduring treatment for self serving means.  She's doing it with a grace that doesn't frighten our 2 small, sensitive girls.  THAT is strength.  I see my wife comforting our 4 year old over something trivial (the kind of thing only 4 year olds think is apocalyptic) and I see a woman of strength and beauty the likes of which I cannot imagine life without.

I read your posts and I see my wife or sister or mom.  I see a beautiful woman who is power and grace and humanity.  

I read accounts of people letting you down or failing to support you.

It breaks my heart to think that you aren't being held or hugged or listened to to the degree that you deserve or more importantly NEED.

You are beautiful.  Worthy of love and support and someone is missing out on YOU.  It's not your fault.  People with a heart and a soul and a brain are inspired by you.  Touched by you... whether you think you deserve it or not.  

People in pain don't reach out like you do to comfort others.  You ask very little.  You deliver day after day for others.  And you think you aren't worthy of praise or wonderment or fanfare.  You are wrong.  

You are to be cherished and held and loved.  And even on days when someone in your physical environment doesn't seem to be doing quite enough of this, you are being cherished and held and loved from afar by someone you have touched----even if quite by accident.

Know this to be true.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 207

I have a cold.

Breast cancer and Hubby's 24 stitches not-withstanding, my biggest complaint right now is a head cold.  My eyes won't stop watering, my nose is runny, and I have a tickle in my throat that makes me cough ALL.NIGHT.LONG.  Ugh.  I've been pretty healthy all through chemo and surgery, so I hope it's not a bad omen that I'm feeling puny right before radiation!  I'm supposed to have my radiation simulation on Tuesday.

Hubby's tongue is still awful.  I feel so bad.  He can't eat anything.  Even though they are some of his favorite things, I'm sure he's sick and tired of yogurt, ice cream and pudding.  He goes back to the oral surgeon on Tuesday and we wonder what he will say.  Probably "Oh, this is normal" but that does not help Hubby with his sore tongue!

On a side note, second grade girls can have SO much drama.  Sheesh.  Can't we all just get along?!?!??

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 206

I have two pictures to share today.  First - it's spring, and spring means SOFTBALL!
Here's my girl and her friends at opening ceremonies:

Second, Hubby and I took the kids (along with two softball friends) to eat at Olive Garden.  The girls were fun and funny and the kids were really, really good.  When the waitress brought our bill, she left this inside:

If you're a mom, you know how incredible it is when you get validation for all of the blood, sweat and tears you shed along the journey called parenthood.  

Oh, and news on Hubby's tongue saga - he ate SOUP today!!!  

Kicking cancer's ass - day 205

All I can say is HALLELUJAH!!!! 

First of all, the lump that Hubby had removed from his tongue that made him get 24 stitches?  It's still extremely painful, BUT IT'S NOT CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!  Doctor said it was fine.  Thank you, God.

After an entire week of working nonstop, ignoring the dishes, my pet, my husband and my kids, I think I finally have a schedule for softball.  I'm sure there will be tweaks along the way, but right now I am DONE.  Tomorrow is our opening ceremonies (technically today since it's 1:30am) and I'm going to enjoy some softball games.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 204

Well, I promised Hubby I would make it to bed before midnight but then I forgot about my blog.  <sigh>

Let's make this quick.

I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist yesterday.  They were supposed to do my planning and sim... which basically means they put you on the table, do a CT scan of your anatomy that they'll be radiating and do a mock-up of your radiation plan.  Then the RO and a physicist work on the plan to get it precisely where the radiation beams need to be.  After 5 days or so they're ready for me to come back and get started.  At least that's the way the process was explained to me.  I might not have that 100% accurate.  Oh, and I also get cool little tattoos that show where I'll be getting radiation.

However, the physicist is going to be gone for a week and Dr. Au didn't want to do my CT and sim yesterday and then have to wait to start, because my anatomy might change (skin and muscles loosening up) before then which would throw the whole plan out the window.  So now I'm rescheduled for next Tuesday.

I want to ask for prayers for Hubby.  He had to have a bump removed from his tongue the other day and they are going to biopsy it.  You can imagine, after everything we've been through, we don't want to hear the word "biopsy".  Please pray that it's nothing.  Also pray for healing.  He had to get 24 stitches in his tongue and now, three days later, can't even eat anything more than ice cream or yogurt.  He's in a lot of pain and not feeling good at all.  I know he needs a lot more TLC than I've been able to give him this week because madam softball has been so demanding, but I hope he knows how much I worry about him and how sorry I am to see him hurting.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 203

Well, once again, another midnight has come and gone and I haven't posted my blog.
I'm happy to say the softball schedule is done.  Not written in stone, of course... more like written in my blood, sweat & tears!  I can't even tell you how much time I've devoted to this in the past week.  I've had dishes in the sink for three days that Hubby finally washed despite his hydrocodone fog.  I have laundry in the dryer that is probably so wrinkled I will have to wash it again.  I haven't spent any time with my kids other than to yell at them to do something or not do something......  The pressure was on and I don't like the person I've been this week.

However, tomorrow is a new day.  I know it won't be a pleasant one when the coaches all wake up to find the schedule waiting in their inbox.  This was a ton, I mean a TON of hard work for me and very time-consuming, so all complaints will be directed toward someone else.  My back hurts, my eyes hurt, my brain hurts.  I won't let my feelings get hurt, too.

On a positive note, K's team had an impromptu scrimmage tonight during practice.  K had a fantastic day at catcher, making three outs at home plate including a double play (caught a pop fly & tagged the runner out).  Of course I missed all the fun because I was at a board meeting upstairs... but I heard about it.  Games start next week and I'm ready to WATCH some softball instead of working my fingers and brain to the bone getting READY for softball.

It's 1:09am and I'm turning into a pumpkin.  Sweet dreams, all.  I'll update about my non-radiation appointment tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 202

I have been so absurdly busy lately that I completely forgot about my blog until a friend texted me this morning saying I missed a day.  Ooops.

I have been working non-stop (literally every waking hour possible) to do the softball schedule for our league.  Almost 40 teams, 8 weeks, combining two other leagues with ours for some games....it has meant hundreds of texts, dozens of emails and one very unpleasant meeting.

So while I've been busy kicking cancer's ass, softball has been busy kicking my ass!
The only bonus is that I've been so busy I haven't had time to think about my radiation appointment today.  I don't actually start rads today, but they will do everything to get me ready and it's supposed to be a two to three hour appointment.  Oh boy.

I can't complain, though.  Hubby had to get 24 stitches in his tongue yesterday.  Yes, TWENTY-FOUR.  Needless to say he is still in a hydrocodone coma.

My life is so much fun sometimes!
Onward and upward... today is a new day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 201

 What could be better than spring break?  How about an overnight trip to Dallas with your BFF?

K and K went to see MattyB in concert.  If you don't know who he is, don't worry.  I didn't either.  K discovered his music by watching him on YouTube.  How my Taylor Swift-obsessed, country music-loving second grader turned into a rap lover is beyond me, but he's clean cut, his music is age appropriate and they tell me he was very nice.  What more can you ask for out of an eleven year old boy?

Afterward the girls were treated to a shopping spree at Toys R Us by BFF K's Nana.  

I'm so thankful for good friends who treat me and my family LIKE family.  
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone. (My eyes are green, don't pinch me!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 200

Two hundred days of this nonsense.  That is a long damn time to wake up every day knowing I have a disease that could kill me.

I thought I would write a big meaningful post for #200, but I've been working on a softball schedule all day long and I'm too tired to think of anything.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm feeling this:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 199

I've almost reached the 200 day mark since my first chemo appointment.  It was actually a month before that when all of this craziness started, and a month before that when I found the lump that led to d-day.  It seems like this has been going on forever.  When I think of all of the tests, procedures, surgeries and treatments I've endured, all of the prescriptions I've had filled and all of the miles we've driven to countless appointments, it's truly overwhelming.

But, in the grand scheme of things, regarding a cancer battle, 199 days plus a couple of months isn't very long.  My friend Allyson has been at it ten times longer than that.  I've posted about her before, but I would love for you to read her latest blog entry.  It's as awful as it is inspirational.  This woman, my friend, is going through the unthinkable and somehow manages to share that with the rest of us through words that exude the goodness and grace that are inherent in her.

My 3 Sons: Bellies, Beds and Body Bags

The strength and courage that Allyson shows by sharing each horrible step down this road she shouldn't have to walk is astonishing.  Talk about courage under fire.

Count your blessings everyone, and pray for my sweet friend.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 198

Everyone keeps telling me I need to slow down and that I'm doing too much (ok, Hubby keeps telling me that)... but I'm not really sure how to do that.  I'm a wife and a mom.  I do my small part to help Hubby run his business, I help my friend run a softball league and I help my kids with whatever they need (and whatever I have energy for!).  Every once in a while my body will demand that I stop everything and rest.  I know that should be more than "every once in a while", but my world hasn't stopped turning just because I'm tired from having cancer (and tired of having cancer!).  

Today was a long, busy day, but a fun one.  I managed to get a few things done that I needed to before meeting up with friends that I don't see often enough.  We took our kids roller skating - and I even put on roller blades and skated for an hour!  We all had lunch together before I had to leave to take K to one of her favorite places in the world - Pony Pal Stables.  For a spring break "treat", she got to go twice this week for riding lessons.  Her favorite horse there is Maggie - I think she would curl up in Maggie's stall and stay forever if I'd let her.

We capped off our day of fun with softball practice.  Luckily it was a gorgeous evening with no wind.  A girl could get used to this!

I'll probably wake up tomorrow sore from skating and overwhelmed with two dozen things I'll think of that I have to do, but for tonight, I'm pleasantly tired and happy to say that no part of my day today had anything to do with cancer.  (Aside from taking my thirteen daily pills - blah!)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 197

I get to check another thing off of my things I need to do to kick cancer's ass list!  Today was my last weekly trip to my plastic surgeon's office in Dallas.  I'm expanded as much as I'm going to be and ready to move on to radiation.  I have an appointment next Wednesday with Dr. Au (my radiation oncologist).  They will "map" and hopefully "sim" my radiation treatment and I will start soon after that.  I'm not sure of my exact start date or how many treatments I'll have.  I do know it will be every day, Monday through Friday, for about six weeks.  I hope those weeks go by with minimal skin reactions and not overwhelming fatigue.

Since it's spring break, the kids went with us to Dallas.  They are excellent travelers and really liked seeing where we have been going every time I have an appointment there.  We stopped for lunch at a place called Boomer Jacks, which is one of J's favorite restaurants.

I'm glad to be home and happy to not have to do the weekly 6 hour round trip drive for a while, although once I start radiation and have to go every day, I might be wishing for just the weekly excursion!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 196

If it's not one thing, it's ten others.  Or one other.  I have had a toothache for a week.  I got my temporary crown a week ago.  (A crown for my tooth.....although after all of this crap I think I deserve a real crown!)  Coincidence?

I knew my mouth could be sore because a temporary crown is just that...temporary and it's not meant to feel like a real tooth.  There's no fooling my mouth that there's a real tooth in there.  For a few days that's all I thought it was.... a vague soreness on the bottom from the position of the temporary on top.  By Friday I was having stabbing pain when I drank something cold, and to me that didn't seem to go along with this crown business.  Unfortunately my dentist was out of town so I couldn't see him until today.  I hobbled along all weekend with Advil and lukewarm drinks.  Oddly enough, it doesn't hurt at all when I eat.

Anyway, I went to my appointment today so they could see what's going on.  X-rays didn't show anything worrisome (which is good) so he seems to think it's all stemming from my bite being "off" while having the temporary.  The good news is my permanent crown was ready a week early, so they went ahead and put that in.  He also evened out my bite a bit on the bottom where it was hurting.  Between the two, the hope is that it will slowly get better.  The bad news is, slowly could mean up to another week of tooth pain before it's better.

Normally going to the dentist doesn't bother me, but with the pain on my bottom tooth and the sensitivity from them putting in the crown on top, I was about ready to jump out of that chair.  I clenched my fists under the leaded x-ray blanket and had to tell myself I made it through breast cancer surgery for crying out loud, I can get through this silly little appointment.

I popped three Advil as soon as I got in the car (cringing from the cold drink) and tried not to cry on the way home.  An hour later I'm much better.  I even managed to eat a piece of toast.  Hopefully this is the start of better days as far as my crowned tooth issue is concerned!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 195

Yesterday I met the mother of one of my friends.  She told me that she feels like she already knows me because she's been reading my blog - all 193 pages up to that point.  She said it's amazing the things I write about and what I'm going through, and that if it was her she'd want to curl up in a ball.

So many people fighting a battle like this are called heroes, or inspirations, or strong and resilient.  I can honestly tell you, at least in my case, there is no special hero secret.  I don't wake up each morning thinking of ways I can be awesome.  There have been many, many days since d-day when I've wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from this mess.  There were many days when I actually did curl up in a ball.  There are days when I cry and days when I want to shut out the world and days when I've wanted to escape from myself - from my own body or my mind.  There are days when I want to say "I can't do this anymore".

You know how I get through?  Life goes on.  Even with no hair, no energy, crazy uncomfortable foobs (that's breast cancer speak for fake boobs) and more fatigue than I can even describe, life goes on, it's beautiful and I want to live it.  I don't want to look back in a month or six months or a year and say "Wow, I missed out on so much because of this cancer thing."  Cancer is harsh.  It's ugly.  It's devastating.  It's time-consuming.  It's scary.  It's exhausting.  But I refuse to give it any more power over me than it already has.

Hubby posted a video on Facebook today a woman made about fighting cancer and she used Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger".  It shows people with signs that say "Fighter" and "Warrior" and "Survivor".  The lady is dancing at her chemo treatments with the nurses, and singing along to the song.  He said, "Maybe not the dancing in public part but the rest of this is exactly Michelle's attitude and feelings."  If I'm stronger, it's because of him.  He's my only other "secret".....him by my side, helping me get through each day, each appointment, each test, each treatment.  That, and seeing my two kiddos' sweet faces..... best medicine ever!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 194

One thing I've found myself struggling with is fear - fear of everyday aches and pains.  BC (before cancer) I was a "wait and see" person.  Even with my kids.... I'd usually take the laid back approach and see if it turned into something worse before I called the doctor.  Stomach ache, fever, bad headache, sore elbow.... whatever... I rarely went to the doctor myself except for the dreaded annual "female doctor" appointment and didn't take any prescription medication except for headache meds.  Now, though, every little thing makes me question myself.  Should I call the doctor?  And if so, which doctor do I call?

I never worried before if a headache might be because of a brain tumor.  I never wondered before if digestive trouble was a sign of cancer building up in some hidden place inside me.  I never before worried that my constantly watery left eye had something do with the cancerous lymph nodes on that side.  Now I have to worry about blood clots from the Tamoxifen I take every day.  I have to worry about getting cut or injured on my left arm because of lymphedema.  I have to worry about my heart because the red devil chemo has been known to be toxic to the heart.  As if I didn't have enough on my plate just worrying about cancer not being 100% gone???

All that being said, I do not live my life in fear.  Do I have my dark moments?  Of course I do.  Anyone who says they don't is a liar.  But when I say faith is my beacon of hope, I mean it.  And I don't just mean faith in God, although I have that, too.  I mean faith that I will be ok.  Faith that I'm doing the best I can to be healthy.  Faith that I'm doing everything I can to fight this stupid disease.  Usually it's not good to take things for granted, but in this case, I'm going to take for granted that modern medicine and my fighting spirit have worked wonders and will keep the cancer away for a long, long time, if not forever.

K told me tonight that she really wished I didn't have cancer.  Me too, baby girl, me too.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 193

Trying to be healthy is no fun.

I know that having cancer means I need to be extra vigilant about how I treat my body and what I put in it.  Unfortunately that is easier said than done.  I love fruits and salads and grilled chicken.  I snack on almonds and apples.  But I also love chocolate and sweet tea and, well, most things sweet.  And did you notice how expensive it is to eat healthy?  Shopping in the produce, meat and dairy sections will rack up your grocery bill faster than the processed foods located in the middle of the stores.  It can be almost impossible to find affordable fresh fruit but the Easter candy is already out and on sale.

I know being active is key to a healthy lifestyle.  I love to walk, but here it is usually either too windy or too hot or too cold to enjoy a walk.  I love to play golf, but given my current limitations, that's obviously on the back burner for a while.  I force myself to ride my exercise bike almost every day because it's good exercise and it helps my restless legs syndrome.  Unfortunately I really hate exercise.  I don't think I'm lazy by nature, but I'm definitely not a fitness buff.  I'd much rather sit on my couch and read a book.

I have a friend (who also had BC) whose lifestyle is about a thousand percent healthier than mine.  She eats a mostly plant-based diet, juices, takes yoga and actually misses working out.  She buys all organic food and even makes her own lotions and laundry soap.  Maybe it's because I'm still in the middle of the treatment phase of cancer, but that just all seems so overwhelming!  I try to eat right (and make my family eat better, too).  I have never smoked, rarely drink and I am getting exercise.  I buy organic milk, recycle cans and newspapers and even got my Hubby riding the bike.  Knowing I have a history with a disease that could kill me and could very likely come back makes me feel like what I'm doing isn't enough.  But most of the time I don't feel like I have the time, energy or willpower to be as healthy and "green" as I want to be.

I think I have a box of Girl Scout cookies hidden somewhere....

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 192

Thinking back to about six months ago, I was faced with a tough decision.  I had tried using cold caps to save my hair, but unfortunately the chemo regimen I was on was very harsh and the caps didn't work.  I had an incredibly rough few days at the end of September when I decided to stop using the caps.  Accepting the fact that I was losing my hair was almost as devastating as getting the cancer diagnosis.  I was lucky that I had reached the point where my hair looked so horrible that it was almost a relief to shave it off.  Even though it has been months and months, I still miss my hair.  I think I miss my hair as much as I miss my healthy breasts.  I hated being bald.  I hate how slowly my hair is growing back.  I hate wearing wigs and hats every single day.  I hate that I'm too self-conscious to "go topless".  All of the makeup and jewelry in the world will not make me feel beautiful.  I can wear a shirt and feel comfortable and look normal.  I still don't feel comfortable in a wig, and I know I don't look "normal" in my little caps.

Now that my hair is growing back, I'm going to be faced with another decision:  when to ditch the wigs and hats.  I am very happy that my hair is coming back.  I take a picture every two weeks so I can actually SEE the progress.  I've even started going topless around the house.  Unfortunately, I don't know how much longer I'll have to wait until I feel comfortable with the hair I have.  I think I'm just going to have to reach the point where I dislike my wigs and hats more than my short, short hair.  And I must have a high tolerance for that dislike, because I am really, really sick of wearing something on my head every day.  I don't think I'm sick enough of it to show off my head of stubby brown/gray hair.  I may not be bald, but I don't look like me.  

I told Hubby today that even though I haven't had hair for a long, long time, it still surprises me every morning when I shower because I'll reach up to wash hair that isn't there.  Maybe it's like phantom pain when you lose a limb.... I have phantom hair.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 191

I've spent the last 27 weeks undergoing various uncomfortable (to say the least) tests, procedures, exams, treatments and surgeries, and you know what has me reaching for the heavy duty pain pills today?  A toothache!

I am in the process of getting a crown, and I thought the pain was from the temporary one.  Unfortunately I now get a stabbing pain when I drink something cold, which obviously is not caused by a temporary crown.  And of course, with my luck, next week is spring break and my dentist is already out of town.  Thankfully between Hubby's numbing "gunk" left over from his oral surgery, er, I mean dentist appointment the other day and my stockpile of pain meds, I'll be able to tough it out until the dentist can see me.  I hope.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 190

Today I had two more appointments in Dallas, so Hubby and I made a date night out of it. We had a free hotel room at Winstar Casino (haha...free.... we definitely paid the slot machines for our stay!!) so we headed east yesterday afternoon. I love spending time with Hubby, and I love spending time at a casino.... Put them both together and it's a great date!

Did you know you're not supposed to be around secondhand smoke when you are healing?  I got busted by my plastic surgeon last time we went to Winstar because he smelled smoke in my wig!!!!  I was prepared this time. I wore a hat today instead of the wig I wore yesterday and didn't wear anything the same except jewelry, not even my shoes.

I thought we were free and clear until we were at the checkout desk and I set my drink on the counter... the drink cup that we'd bought at the store next to the casino this morning. Duh.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 189

After three days of feeling like this:

I woke up to face today feeling like the sun has finally broken through the clouds.  I feel like I have energy to face the day like a normal person instead of wanting to curl up under the electric blanket with my cat like I've done since Sunday!  

I need to remember....faith is my beacon of hope.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 188

Today I went for a check-up with my medical oncologist (Dr H).  It was just a routine appointment where they do labs for my various blood counts, check my vitals and then visit with the doctor.  Do you know what I learned?  My white blood cell count was good, I am no longer anemic, my weight stayed the same, and I was wearing a very pink hat.  Seriously.  Dr H said that about four different times during our appointment.  So I like pink, and yes, it was a bright pink hat.  I had more important things to discuss, but he was in a chatty mood, talking about prior patients claiming to have no stress yet being investigated for fraud and a lady that always wore neon orange socks to her appointments.  What in the world?  We waited an hour for this?

On a side note, I still have my port that they put in for chemo.  Since it's not being accessed for treatment anymore, I need to have it "flushed" every 4-6 weeks.  If you ever have to have a port, you'll need it flushed, so remember to pop a mint in your mouth when they do that.  I forgot one time and <gag>.  It's the strangest thing, but when they flush your port with saline, you can actually taste it somehow.  Even the mint doesn't completely disguise it, but it helps.  Thankfully I remembered today, and now I'm good to go for another six weeks.

As one of my friends said to me today, it would be nice to spend as much time with my children as I do with doctors!

One more thing....reading my blog yesterday where I mentioned a groggy, grumpy hubby made Hubby even grumpier, so I must apologize.  He was under sedation for oral surgery which is one layer above hell for him, so I'll give him a break and allow the grumpy factor.  Sorry Hubby!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 187

6:25am - wake up, hit snooze, go back to sleep
6:35am - wake up and feed the cat, make breakfast for the kids
6:45am - wake up kids
7:00am - pack lunches & backpacks for school
7:15am - 7:30am - continuously harass remind kids to brush teeth, get dressed, make beds, take meds
7:20am - wake Hubby to take kids to school (he drew the short straw since it was only 13 degrees outside)
7:35am - shower and get ready for the day
8:05am - eat breakfast while waiting for Hubby to shower
8:40am - take Hubby to periodontist for unknown procedure (he doesn't want to know what they are going to do to him)
9:00am - 10:30am - sit and read while waiting for Hubby
10:40am - pay $610, then escort a groggy, grumpy Hubby home
10:45am - make a detour because the aforementioned groggy, grumpy Hubby demanded donuts
11:00am - settle Hubby into his recliner
11:00am - 2:00pm - put away laundry, check Facebook, work on softball league stuff, eat a snack, listen to Hubby talk in his drugged sleep, try to stay warm, read some more
2:15pm - give in to overwhelming fatigue and settle in on the couch for a nap
3:30pm - be awakened rudely from nap by phone alarm
3:50pm - welcome kids home and announce they can get their own snack
4:00pm - 5:00pm - watch Ellen and try to stay warm
5:10pm - head out with J to get some chili for my groggy (but no longer grumpy) Hubby since he can't chew anything solid
5:45pm - eat a totally unhealthy dinner of chicken nuggets and fries
6:00pm - wash dishes and put away more laundry
6:45pm - ride 4.2 miles on the exercise bike
7:05pm - torture myself with post-op stretches and exercises, hating every minute
7:30pm - present time - try to stay warm in between hot flashes, rest on the couch

When someone asks me how I am, when I say "I'm doing good", this kind of day is what I mean.  I'm never really good.  There are days when hardly anything bothers me.  There are days like Saturday when I'm in bed all afternoon and evening.  Then there are days like today.  Days where I'm so tired by afternoon I can barely see straight.  Days where it takes all my energy just to get through the day.  Days where I'm able to play Mom and wife - and according to grouchy but no longer groggy Hubby, play pain pill Nazi.  Days where I'm able to exercise for twenty minutes without stopping.  Days where I'm able to eat what I want, not need any extra medication and keep up with what I needed to do that day.  It's all a balancing act and it's never, ever easy.  Having cancer is hard.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 186

Here is a picture of my girl and her BFF at a birthday party yesterday:

And here is what it looks like today:

Only in Texas can it be 84 degrees and sunny (and NO wind!!!!) one day and 19 degrees with snow and a wind chill of 0 degrees the next morning.  Shorts and t-shirts Saturday, fireplace weather Sunday.  Yikes.

I'm feeling better today.  I always tell my mom that I have a "hollow head" feeling after a bad headache, and I've had that all day, but not much pain.  I really think that uber-migraine was my body's way of telling me that I needed to REST!  Between kids, work, medical stuff and softball I have been running on empty for weeks.  I can only do so much and I guess I reached my limit!  I need to listen to my body more and the demands of people around me less.  I may not have cancer anymore, but I'm still a cancer patient.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 185

Don't you hate it when you have a day that turns out exactly the opposite of what you had planned?  Today was Saturday, and after a crazy busy week, I had decided I would take it easy today.  That was made even easier by the fact that both of my children were gone for the afternoon.  Unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy some alone time with Hubby or get anything accomplished that I wanted to because the headache from hell descended upon me.

After trying three different pain meds (we have quiet the selection in this house!), a massage, a hot shower and a nap, I'm finally feeling better, but it was the kind of headache that had me in tears, it hurt so bad.  I haven't had one that bad since my first chemo six months ago and I ended up in the ER.  Ugh.  Luckily I'm feeling a little better now, but after my extended nap time this afternoon/evening, I will probably have a hard time getting to sleep tonight, which means I'll be worthless again tomorrow.  Not exactly my plan for this weekend.

On the plus side, I just registered my son for church camp.  J went away to camp for the first time last year (how I managed to let him do that, I don't know.... that was hard on this mama's heart!) and he absolutely loved it.  I showed him the brochure for camp this year (different place) and he said he definiely wants to go.  I love that he wants to go, and I love that it's a place he can meet new people and experience new things in a safe environment supervised by trusted people from our church.  Any time he can experience an opportunity to let Jesus into his heart with young people his age is a good... no, a great, thing.  Funny thing - after looking at the brochure, the one thing he told me he's looking forward to most is the lazy river.  If there's anything to do with the word lazy, my son is all over it!