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!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 276

Hubby and I are on a little road trip - casino-bound for the night (woohoo!), and we were talking about different things. I told him that I realized something.... My chest looks awful (for a normal healthy person.... for a breast cancer patient who has undergone surgery it's not bad), I have scars and peeling skin and hard, fake boobs (temporary, thank God), etc...

It might sound vain, but how my short short hair looks bothers me 100x more than how my chest looks. I am thankful to finally have hair and not have to wear something on my head every day, but I hate hate hate my super short hair and I don't like how I look at all. I look in the mirror and it's just not me. At least with my curly wigs I resembled the old Michelle. This is going to be a LONG "awkward growing out" period. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 275

Today had nothing to do with cancer...it was all about this cutie:

Today my little girl turned eight years old.  How in the world did that happen???  Seems like just yesterday I was holding this:

That beautiful little bundle of joy has blossomed into a beautiful young lady.

K is a kind, compassionate, sensitive, funny free spirit with a fantastic imagination.  She loves horses and nature and music and high heels.  She can go from a dress and flip flops to cleats and her catcher's gear without batting an eye.  She is grouchy in the mornings (like her daddy) and hates to be teased (like her mommy), and always has a complaint about something.  She melts my heart and makes me smile, and every single day when I look at her I realize how blessed I am to be the one she calls "Mom".  

She is a good person, a great friend and the amazing daughter I never knew I wanted.  
Happy Birthday K!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 274

I should wait until tomorrow to post these pictures because that will be her actual birthday, but tonight we celebrated K's eighth birthday at Pony Pal Stables.  We had friends & teammates, cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents there.... it was a little chaotic and a lot of fun.  My sweet girl had the time of her life with the people she loves at a place she'd like to have as her second home.
Thank you to Miss M for the wonderful party!

K & Maggie... reunited

 J actually ventured close to a horse
(the animal he's most allergic to)!

K would ride forever if we'd let her!

What a fun party!

"Train" ride with her BFF

"Thank you everyone!" for all the gifts!

 One last goodbye moment with Maggie...until next visit!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 273

This morning we went to J's awards ceremony.  He was commended for Outstanding Citizenship, Outstanding A/R (Accelerated Reading) and A-B Honor Roll (he missed the A honor roll with one B on one report card this year).  I'm so proud of him.

Grammie and I had a nice mom/daughter lunch with my friend K and her mom at Cracker Barrel after we finished at the school.  (Credit for these pics goes to K)

After lunch we headed back to school for J's band concert.  I am so impressed with how well this middle school beginner band performed!  They played songs that the high school band plays at the football games and I felt like I was getting ready to watch the Bulldogs play!

We capped the day off with a nice family dinner out and I spent the evening playing catch with K while J mowed the grass.  The weather was perfect tonight... just wish the rain hadn't brought out the bugs!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 272

I am tired of being tired!

I'm a part-time working wife and mom of two kids... there's always dishes to do, laundry to put away, floors to vacuum, errands to run, bills to pay, homework to go over, softball games to coach.

I've also been busy fighting cancer for 272 days. So I suppose it's understandable that I'm tired. Fatigue is a known side effect of all of my treatments and most of my meds. But I'm just so tired of the fatigue. 

Sunday I slept until 10:30am.  Yesterday I didn't get up until 9am.  I go to bed at a normal time most nights.  You'd think I would feel rested.  I don't. By 3pm (if I make it that long) just about every day I hit a wall and I'm ready to crash, and I just try to push through until bedtime.  Being done with active treatment doesn't mean my body is done with the effects of active treatment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 270

Breastcancer.org has introduced me to so many "sisters" that have fought or are fighting this same fight along with me.  The ladies from my September chemo group have seen me through some really rough times because of their amazing spirit and the fact that they were going through exactly what I was at the same time.  Even now, five months after chemo, we are still dealing with what treatment has done to our bodies (and minds).  I also post in a January surgery group and those "surgery sisters" help me every day by understanding and supporting me and encouraging me with their shared experiences.  When you are struggling with something, it's so comforting to know there are other people who know exactly what you're feeling.  These ladies are more than just screen names on a web site, they are warrior women who have become my friends.

Now that most of us are on the tail end of treatment,  the physical effects of breast cancer treatment and surgery sometimes take a back seat to what we are facing and will continue to face mentally and emotionally....for the rest of our lives.  Unless you have walked in a cancer patient's shoes, you really can't understand what we go through.  Not to say that you can't help, because I have AMAZING people in my life who have been there for me and supported me every step of the way.  But I can talk until I'm blue in the face about things that go through my mind and you may sympathize, but you will never truly know what it's like (and I hope you never do!).

One of my January surgery sisters wrote a post about this and her words were so eloquent and spot on, I just have to share them:

"I don't think that the amount or types of treatment you get make any difference to your emotional reaction. You were diagnosed with cancer! That shook my world off its axis, and from getting to know the other ladies on here, it did the same to them, too. We were in control of our own lives. Many of us were diligent about mammograms and PAP smears. Then BOOM! You don't know or understand your body, or this thing that has taken control of it. But we move thru it, doing what the doctors tell us to do. Outsiders (people who have not walked in our shoes) don't understand the emotional ramifications of cancer. Or the physical ones. My kids were great thru chemo and surgery. But they don't get radiation at all. The cancer is gone, so the radiation is no big deal. Anytime I mention being burnt to a crisp, or I am so tired, their response is, yeah, but it's almost done... like it's no big deal. 
I don't think "outsiders" are being intentionally mean. They miss the "old" us and want that back. They truly think that cancer is like a really bad flu or something - with time, and proper care, it will go away. And you have had the time and proper care, so stop whining and obsessing about the past, and get back to being you. The problem is that cancer is not a flu, and you don't get over it. There is that fear, that I pray lessens as time goes by, but will never disappear completely. Your faith in your own body is shaken, at best, and your body isn't capable of doing the things your mind tells it to do. They don't get any of that. You are cancer free, so it's over."

I will say that nobody in my life has made me feel like I need to "get over it".  I have an incredible support system and I'm forever grateful for that.  But A's words are true for a lot of people.  I don't want cancer to run my life forever, but it is life-threatening and life-altering, and has been the priority in my life for ten long months.  There is no "getting over" that.

I'm forever changed.  I'm still me, but I will never be the same.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 269

I've been debating something.  Now that I've completed "active treatment", I wondered if I needed to keep posting my daily blog.  I mean, really, will I have something to talk about every single day?  This morning first thing, Hubby held up his phone with this page on it and said "No blog yesterday?".  I don't fool myself into thinking I have a cult-like following on here, but I guess I'll keep going for the people who look for an update every day.  I wouldn't want to let any of my peeps down!  Besides, I figure I'm pretty much going to be "kicking cancer's ass" every day for the rest of my life, because every day I'm alive is a win for me.

My skin is healing well from radiation.  I was lucky to not have too bad of a reaction.  I had a few red areas (thankfully in places I have don't have much feeling thanks to my surgery) and itchy spots in other places, but the lotions I've been using have been taking care of them.  I'm going to have to be very careful this summer to not expose any of the radiated area to the sun, but my skin really handled treatment well.

My pec muscles are very tight, and the "cording" under my arm has gotten worse thanks to radiation, so I'm going to have to go back to my daily stretches (which are NOT fun) like I had to do after surgery.  When I heard my doctors and other patients talk about everything "tightening up" from rads, I thought they meant skin.  I had no idea all of the muscle and tissue in the radiated area would suffer the worst in that respect.  Hopefully I can avoid having to do any more physical therapy, but we'll see.

Next week I will start taking Tamoxifen again, so I'll probably have a few side effects from that.  I was on it for about six weeks before radiation, though, and it didn't seem too bad, so hopefully I'll tolerate it well.  We will head to Dallas on June 12th for appointments with my surgical oncologist, my plastic surgeon and my gynecological oncologist.  The appointment with my surgeon is the first since a week after my surgery.  I'm not sure how often I'll have to follow up with her after this.  My plastic surgeon wants to evaluate me after radiation, but we won't do anything reconstruction-wise for another six months or so.  When we meet with the gynecological oncologist we will discuss the timetable for my hysterectomy.  Since I'm at a higher risk for ovarian cancer and Tamoxifen can cause uterine problems, they pretty much want me to get rid of all of my female parts.  Good riddance, I say!

So that's my medical update as of now.  I'll try to think of something witty and entertaining to write about tomorrow.  Happy weekend!

Kicking cancer's ass - day 268

I know... I know.... I'm a day late.  I was so tired last night that I was in bed at 9:30pm.  Do I know how to live it up on a Friday night or what???

It was my first day of no radiation, and it was so nice to not have to plan my schedule around that appointment.  That wasn't the most exciting part of the day, though.  K's softball team is playing in a tournament and not only did they win their game last night, she hit a home run!  I wish I had a picture of her beaming from ear to ear to post, but everything happened so fast I didn't even have time to get my phone out!

I love #22!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 267

Since August 1st, I have had three mammograms, two ultrasounds, three biopsies, two CT scans, a bone scan, a PET scan, three MRIs, port insertion surgery, one emergency room visit and countless blood draws.
In addition to all of that, the last nine plus months of kicking cancer's ass included:

8 rounds of chemo - done!
1 major surgery - done!
33 radiation treatments - DONE!

Other than taking a pill every day for the next five or ten years, I am officially done with active treatment.

Now it's time to walk away like a BOSS.  
(Until my next surgery...ha ha)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 266

Proud mommy moment today - 
K receiving her award for Academic Excellence.  She was so psyched to get a medal... she didn't think she would and was sad because some of her friends did.  After the program she must have said a dozen times, "Mama, I got a medal.  I didn't think I was going to get a medal!"  
Her smile says it all.
Good work little girl!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 265

As you know, yesterday was Migraine Monday.
I'm going to dub today Thankful Tuesday.

(Before I get all sentimental and philosophical, I'd like to mention that I wrote this before I waited and waited and waited for Dr. H today.  My afternoon was not much fun and I'm glad I got all of this thankfulness stuff out before I got stressed and annoyed!)

I spent all morning yesterday crying from the migraine pain and then all afternoon fighting the nausea that the migraine and pain meds brought on.  I don't know what causes my headaches and I hate them with a passion, especially ones like that.  However, I know they are temporary.  Most often they are helped with pain medication, massage, walking, sleep or a shower, or some combination of all of those.  As I reclined on the couch all day feeling low, I realized that my sweet friend A has felt exactly like that (or worse) for months and months, and hers is not temporary.  She doesn't have a lot of time left to be a mom to her three little cowboys....what do I have to complain about?

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 40 years old.  After "seeing" my BFF go through this exact same thing at almost the exact same age, I never in a million years thought I'd follow in her footsteps.  Knowing that the sister of my heart had been through every test, every treatment and every surgery I had to face was such a comfort to me.... there was at least one person in my life who not only loves me but knows exactly what I'm going through every step of the way.

The one thing that scared me more than anything else was chemo, and when I found out I was going to be given the harshest chemo regimen, there was a tiny part of me that wanted to refuse.  Chemo makes you sick, it takes your hair, it can do damage to your heart, it wears you down.  But you know what?  I not only survived, I handled it way better than I could have ever imagined.  Was it fun?  Heck no.  But so many women had it so much worse.  I spent one evening in the emergency room.  My sister-in-law spent days hospitalized after each treatment.  My friend's eight year old daughter is going through chemo right now in Canada and her treatment calls for a week in the hospital at a time for chemo..... and radiation at the same time.  This sweet girl is K's age.  Losing my hair and my taste for diet coke doesn't seem like a high price to pay for saving my life.

I was so emotional at the idea of losing my hair.  I spent hours and hours researching cold caps and hundreds of dollars in an attempt to save my hair by using the caps.  I tried, but they didn't work, and you know what?  The world didn't end.  I was bald, I wore hats and wigs and bandanas and hated every minute.... but I got through it.  I look in the mirror now and I see a stranger with short hair that sticks out in every direction who looks nothing like the me I'm used to.... but it's the new, cancer-free me.  Did you know chemo comes with a 6% risk of permanent hair loss?  While I hate my super short hair, I could still have NO hair.....

I've heard horror stories about radiation.  Most people say it's a walk in the park compared to chemo.  Ok, I made it through chemo relatively unscathed... so I can do this, right?  Then I see pictures of bright red, peeling skin and people needing ice and percocet to control the pain toward the ends of rads and my whole body cringes.  More than six weeks of daily Monday through Friday appointments sounds daunting.  But you know what?  I have two.... TWO.... radiation treatments left.  My skin is a little itchy and under my arm turned dark, but there is no skin damage and my radiation oncologist was once again surprised when he saw me yesterday.  "Your skin is doing very well" is what I've heard almost every day.  I've made it through six weeks of daily radiation ..... two more to go and I will be finished with 267 days of active treatment.

Along the way down this dark, long and winding road of surviving cancer I've met some incredible people.  My online Bellas have helped me through some rough patches with their love, wisdom and experience.  One of them posted the other day about feeling a little guilty because she "only" needed surgery for her breast cancer - so it seemed to her that she got off easy compared to what some of us other women have had to endure.  While my treatment has been about as aggressive and comprehensive as it could possibly be, I can relate to her, because just about every day I think "this could have been so much worse".  I don't want to jinx myself because I know I will look over my shoulder for the rest of my life, but no matter what this stupid cancer has thrown at me, I've managed to get through it with more than a little help from my friends (and family).

Another of my online groups, my January surgery sisters, are always posting about silver linings.  Going through all of this, dealing with cancer and losing body parts and residual effects from chemo....you find you have a lot to complain about.  But I wanted to write this post because no matter how bad things get (and with cancer it can get pretty bad), there are always silver linings.  Sometimes you have to dig deep to find them, and sometimes they are shining brightly right in front of you, but they are always there.

If there's one lesson I want to take away from kicking cancer's ass, it's to always, always look for the silver lining.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 264

Migraine Monday...

Nothing like starting your week off waking up with a raging migraine.  Even though I waited until I ate something to take any pain meds, my stomach still rebelled.  I haven't had this kind of "shoot me and put me out of my misery" kind of headache since my first chemo migraine landed me in the ER.

I'm sick to my stomach, it hurts to lie down, the light hurts my eyes and just for fun my restless legs syndrome kicked in. Yay me.

My wonderful Hubby came home to chauffer me to my radiation appointment and attend my last weekly visit with Dr Au. He was able to peek in the radiation room and even watch my treatment on the monitor.  Three more boosts to go and I don't have to go back to see Dr Au for three months.  Now THAT'S something to say YAY ME about!

Thanks Hubby.  You make the unbearable bearable.  I love you.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 263

It's not always easy to choose joy.  In fact, most of the time it would be so much easier to not choose joy (like the morning after a sleepover at a hotel with thirteen girls...ha).  My life has changed incredibly since last summer.  I don't look the same, I don't feel the same, I don't act the same.  My body is scarred, I'm worn down physically and emotionally from months of grueling treatment and I see my doctors more often than I see my friends.  Sometimes I am tempted with the idea of giving in to the "what ifs" and "why me" thoughts.  I wouldn't be normal otherwise.

Despite how much havoc cancer has caused in my life, some things remain the same.  I am blessed to be young and strong in order to fight this stupid disease.  I am loved:  by God, by my husband, by my children, by so many family and friends.  

I'm scared every day, but I am happy.  I have love and laughter, I am alive.... and that's reason enough to be joyful.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 262

If only I had the energy of a second grader.

Tonight I am spending the night at a hotel supervising a room full of girls at K's BFF's sleepover birthday party. We started out with 13 staying and have called three parents to come rescue their girls already.  Another of mine migrated to the other room. I now have one sacked out and three others watching Disney on Demand.

The other room has had two visits from hotel security... I think I picked the right room!  Although I do wish these little princesses would go to sleep, because it's past time for me to set aside my tiara for the night and catch some beauty rest.  Somehow I think instead of melatonin, I should have added a 5 hour energy drink to my nightly pills. {Yawn}

They're cute and all, but remind me I don't want to do a sleepover birthday party anytime soon. Or ever.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 261

I don't really have anything to write about pertaining to this picture other than the fact that I took a nap today, but it made me laugh.

I've completed all 28 of my regular radiation treatments - with no delays!  Woohoo!  Sometimes you might have to take a day off here and there if your skin gets too bad or if you get sick, etc... (or in the case of my friend K, when someone breaks the radiation table).  Now I've moved on to the five "boosts" I will have, which focus the radiation on my scar area.  It was very quick - once they had me lined up under the machine, the radiation took about a minute.  Literally.  

Four more of those and I'll be DONE!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 260

What do you write about when you go to bed and realize you never wrote a blog post that day?
I'm too tired to think of something clever and witty, so I'll just ramble.

Today my BFF spent the day at the beach with her parents. There is not one part of that that I'm not jealous about. I would love to spend time with my parents (or hers... LOL). I would give anything to be able to walk along the beach listening to the sounds of the ocean. And by "ocean" I mean East coast Atlantic ocean.... Not the Gulf of Mexico. I want to see sand dunes and lighthouses and seagulls. And I want to hang out with my BFF. But I already wrote about that this week.

Instead of hanging at the beach like some lucky people, today I sat out on my deck and soaked up some sun. I wasn't out there long and was mostly covered since sun and radiation don't mix.... But the 15 minutes of vitamin D infusion was like a balm to my soul.

They are tearing up the road in front of my house to build another lane, so my tranquility was interrupted by the constant drone of heavy machinery and "beep beep beep".  All.Day.Long. 

Tomorrow is my first of five " boosts " for radiation. We'll see if it's any different than the first 28 treatments!

Restless legs syndrome sucks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 259

Well, today's radiation was pretty much a non-event.  Not to say it didn't happen... it did.  It just wasn't any different than any of the other days.  I was a little disappointed.  If you read my blog Monday, you know that yesterday was supposed to be my last "full area" treatment.  Then I'm supposed to get two to the chest wall only, and then five boosts.  Ok, so am I the only one who thought "chest wall only" radiation would be different than "full area" radiation???  Ha - we were wrong.  Maybe the radiation beams came at me at a different angle or whatever, but it was the exact same procedure as the previous twenty-six days.

So either I was wrong in assuming today would be a little different or they messed up and gave me the full treatment again today!  Since I know next to nothing about radiation and (to Hubby's dismay) I didn't ask, you can figure out which one is more likely.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 258

I'm missing my BFF today.  I miss her most days, even though I should be used to it since we've spent most of our adult lives living in separate states.  But for some reason she has been on my mind and in my heart even more today.  

Really look at that picture.  She's a redhead.  I'm a brunette.  We both had cancer.  We both had breast cancer - same stage, same treatment schedule, same surgery, both had positive genetic test results - all within two years of each other.  How weird is that?  I hate that we have this in common, but I love that we are warrior sisters now as well as friends.  

T - you have no idea how much I wish we lived closer, but I'm thankful for your presence in my life every single day.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 257

I just want to take a minute to send a shout out to all of the wonderful people who share encouraging words with me.  I know to them, and maybe to most people, a Facebook message or a card in the mail might not seem like a big deal, but these thoughtful little gestures here and there let me know that people are thinking about me and that they care.  Cancer can be a very lonely journey sometimes and it's nice to have reminders that I am not alone.

Today I got a little bit of what I think is good news.  The radiation department was not as efficient as they usually are.   (That's not the good news.)  I normally don't have to wait more than five minutes before I'm called back for treatment, and when I see Dr. Au on Mondays he usually makes his rounds pretty quick.  Today I waited almost twenty minutes for treatment and then waited at least that long to see the doctor.  While I was alone in the exam room I caught a glimpse of my electronic chart on the computer monitor, so of course it made me curious.  I started to read what was on the screen and noticed some numbers.  25/26 was first, then 0/2 and then 0/5.  I knew today was treatment #25 so I figured it had something to do with my radiation schedule.  I asked Dr. Au when he finally came in and this is what I learned:

26 is the number of treatments I will have to the entire affected area (chest wall, lymph nodes, underarm, etc).  So only one more of those tomorrow!

2 is the number of treatments I will have to the chest wall only.  This is good because my collarbone area and underarm are both having slight skin issues.... so it's nice to know they won't be getting zapped anymore.

5 is the number of "boosts" I will have, which are to the mastectomy scar area only.

This makes me happy because {knock on wood} my skin has held up well.  Under my arm is pink and bothers me a little and just below my neck is itchy and looks like a rash and bothers me a lot.  Other than that I feel like I'm doing very well.  I'm happy that the problem areas only have one more treatment, and I'm happy to say that I will be done next Thursday!
Eight more to go.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 256

Despite the heat (97 degrees in early May - yuck) and the wind (dust bowl anyone?) and having to split my time between a one-year-old's birthday party and a softball tournament that my girl wasn't even playing in, I'm feeling blessed on this Mother's Day because of three people....the two that call me 'Mom' and the man they call 'Dad'.

A mother's work is never done, and this mother still has a lot of work to do in the world of cancer ass-kicking, but every day I wake up and put my arms around my family is a great one!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 255

Before all of this fun started, I could count the number of things I knew about radiation on one hand.  Even now that I have 24 treatments under my belt, I still don't know much more than I did at the start.  I know what happens during treatment, I know how long it takes and I know I can't wait for it to be over.   I knew the actual treatment would be painless, I knew to expect fatigue (which I have in spades) and eventually sore, pink skin (mine is pink, but not sore so far - knock on wood!).
What I did not expect is itchy skin!!  Holy cow.  The skin on my upper chest in the collarbone area has a slightly red rash and it itches like crazy.  I'm not sure if it's from the radiation (am I even getting radiation in that area???) or from the creams I'm using because of radiation.  The fun never ends, right?

The good news is I am now down to single digits in the rads countdown.  Nine more to go!!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 254

Today Hubby left for a much-needed (and much deserved!) overnight trip to the casino with his brother.  He has carried so much on his shoulders for so long....between the burden of my cancer and holding down the fort at work while his brother/partner works out of town and the ordeal with his tongue and now trying to recover from bronchitis.....yeah, I'd say he's earned a break.

Last night, though, while lying in bed, I realized that this will be the first night we've spent apart since d-day.  I don't know why that freaks me out, but it does.  More than I want to admit.  I know I'm a needy, dependent wife, but I'm usually fine solo.  And it's very rare that he does anything just for him, so I don't begrudge him that at all.  I hope he's having a good time and is able to de-stress a little.  I guess I just feel a little like Linus without his blanket.

Nothing much to do except:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 253

Let's talk chemo brain.  I know I've mentioned chemo brain before.
(I have, haven't I?)  
Chemo brain is the one "cancer card" that I shamelessly pull whenever necessary, because honestly it's the truth!  BC (before cancer) I was smart.  I was OCD organized.  I was able to multitask.  I had a mind like a steel trap and the memory of an elephant.  
Thanks to chemo, I'm still smart, but those other things?  Nah - they are gone like the wind.  

Example - Sunday is my nephew's son's first birthday party.  My sister-in-law came by the office today and I asked her for some ideas of what to get him.  She told me a couple of things she knew he was getting and what she got for him.  Fast forward two hours.  I'm at Sams buying Icee frozen push pops for Hubby (you're welcome) and I see something that little T might like for his birthday.  Not frozen push pops, although he'd probably like those, too!  Anyway, my brain immediately goes blank and I honestly can't remember if what I'm looking at is what my sister-in-law told me she already got for him.  In just a couple of hours I completely forgot, as in, no remembering no matter how hard I try.  <sigh>

In case you think it's just me...here is a series of posts from a group of my Facebook friends who all went through chemo the same time as me:

  • Today I realized my shop rent was due a few days ago....which also means my sales check is waiting. I mean, I am forgetting to get my money??!! LOL 
  • I have a calendar book that I must have with me all the time...its the only way I have kept up with all the Cancer appointments. I am not sure how I have managed to get my kids off to school every morning since all this began.
  •  I just graduated to modern technology and started using the calendar on my phone to log everything. I still double-booked myself today. One day I scheduled 5 friggin appointments at the same time. FIVE! How is that even possible?
  •   I am in the same boat... I have things set to pop up on my computer and ding on my phone. I set a reminder for when I get home on things I think of in the car and do voice memos for...... and I have still not paid last months cable bill -> look a squirrel
  • I forgot my American express payment this month. thanks $25 late fee 
  • Post-its, posts-its everywhere........
  •  I didn't realize how bad it was in NOV/DEC... except that I can't really remember much of NOV/DEC. 
See?  It's not just me!  And I'm not making it up!  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 252

We are lucky enough to have a professional photographer's kid on our softball team.  Isn't this wonderful??
(We actually have two, but this photo was taken by Marti Wade who did our team pictures).  

One of the big "issues" Hubby and I have right now is softball.  I love it and love being involved with it.  He likes K playing it but doesn't like me being so involved in it.  I think it bothered him even before cancer because it takes up so much of my time, but it really bothers him now.  He thinks I'm doing too much and it's too taxing on me, given all that I've been through and am still going through.

He might have a point.  At least a small one.  Maybe I am doing more than I should sometimes.  I'm tired all of the time, which is completely normal considering my body has been through chemo, major surgery and now daily radiation.  Despite that, life still goes on.  I have a husband and children to take care of.  I have a house to keep up with.  I have a job.  I can't spend every day "resting".  Not only that, I don't want to.  There are days when I can be more active than others, and there are days when my body tells me "ENOUGH!!" and I crash for a long time.

What I don't think Hubby understands is that like reading or blogging (or Facebook...haha), softball is a hobby for me, an outlet.  It gives me something to think about and focus on besides my health.  So much of my life revolves around cancer.... researching and appointments, tests and medications, that it's nice to have something else to concentrate on.  I just really hate that it is a bone of contention between Hubby and me.  He has his "who done it?" shows and I have softball work on my laptop.  At least we're in the same room, right?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 251

If you look up "radiation therapy" in wikipedia, you should find this picture.  It really explains it all.  
Of course there are other issues that go along with rads, including skin problems (just a little pink so far, thank God) and headaches for me, but the fatigue really is overwhelming.  I must look it, too, because the dental hygienist looked at me this afternoon and said, "Are you feeling worn out?".  

Kicking cancer's ass - day 250

It has been two hundred and fifty days since my first chemo treatment.  That means I have been actively fighting cancer for that long.  If you think about it like that, it really is overwhelming, and the main reason why I have to just take one day at a time.  Today marks my 20th radiation treatment... still have a ways to go, but I'm ticking them off day by day.

I haven't had any problems to report up until now, but I had to mention the increase in bad headaches when I saw Dr. Au today.  I've always been a headache person and had some real doozies during chemo, but things seemed to have settled down until I started radiation.  Since then, it seems more often than not I wake up with a headache, sometimes a really bad headache.

In honor of my mother, who absolutely loves Cinco de Mayo for some reason, and who also appreciates silly humor:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 249

We had a busy day yesterday.  My girl and her Lady Diamonds played in a tournament and got their first two victories of the year.  They won their first two games before being eliminated late last night.   
The girls, as always, played hard and had fun...

Celebrated with snow cones...

 and a pizza lunch with friends.  

I really love our softball family.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 248

Hubby says I take the easy way out when I choose to only post a picture, but I've rambled on enough this week about my recent highs and lows.  Besides, this is a softball tournament weekend and who has time to think up a blog post?!?!??!  Certainly not a bad-ass like me!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 247

You know what that means?  Two whole days without radiation!  Hallelujah.

Radiation fatigue has hit.  Big time.
(Or it could be that I'm going down for the count with germs from Hubby who has bronchitis and walking pneumonia, but I hope not!)
I am so tired.  Weary.  Worn out.  Bushed.  Exhausted.  Drowsy.  Spent.  Drained.  Whatever you want to call it, that's how I feel.  I took a two hour nap yesterday, woke up tired and still went to bed at my normal time.  I was on the go all morning today but now at 3pm I feel like I've hit a wall.  Forget toothpicks for my eyelids, I might need super glue to keep my eyes open for the next three weeks!

I was telling Hubby at lunch today that I'm really just over radiation.  You'd think having completed nineteen treatments that I'd be used to it and it'd just be routine for me, when in fact it's getting worse.  I wasn't nervous before I started radiation (even though I had no clue what I was going in to) and the first treatment didn't bother me at all.  Neither did the second.  Or the third.  Or even the tenth.  But almost four weeks into it?  Yeah, I'm bothered.  I'm sick and tired of having to go there every weekday at 9:45am.  I'm sick and tired of putting that stupid gown on backwards.  I'm sick and tired of laying on that cold table in that cold room by myself and just waiting for the machine to start its beeping.  The radiation machine goes through seven different positions around me (to zap from all angles I guess) and I could tell you how many seconds each position lasts.  Every day after they line me up the tech says, "Here we go" and I say "Ok".  Then after the last beeping quits, I wait to hear the door open.  Same thing every day.  And yet it bothers me more and more.  Today I just wanted to jump up and say "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!!!"  I practically leap off of the table as soon as they unstrap me (they strap my feet together so I don't move).  

The radiation techs are very nice and efficient - I'm usually in and out of there in under twenty minutes.  That's not the point.  I just don't want to do it any more.  I don't want to be dog-tired every afternoon.  I don't want to have to slather cream on my skin several times a day in hopes of avoiding radiation burn.  I don't want to go to the cancer center every day where nobody talks and all there is is elderly people with their walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks.  It's depressing, it's frustrating and I want to be DONE!
(For the record, I have nothing against elderly people, walkers, wheelchairs or oxygen tanks - I'm just tired of it all and that's part of my rant - how I don't fit in there and it makes it so much worse going every day.)

Radiation may be a walk in the park compared to chemo and surgery, but it's no picnic and I'm not enjoying myself one bit.  However, every day when I'm there and I'm hating being there, I remind myself that every beep is a zap to any stupid cancer cells brave enough to still be sticking around.  Since I want them gone, I'll endure.  But I don't have to like it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 246

Today is radiation treatment #18.  I will have a total of 33, so that means I'm more than halfway.  Woohoo!  Some days I feel really good.  Most days I feel tired.  Some days I feel completely exhausted.  Now that I'm on the back half of my radiation schedule I can start to expect some skin changes.  A friend of mine who just went through it said the two weeks after radiation were the worst.  I'm not looking forward to that.  So far so good, though.  I just have a slight "tan" under my arm.  My BFF said her skin turned dark but never hurt.  I only hope I can be that lucky.

I've had a lot of people ask me what's next.  I don't have a lot to update.  I will see my medical oncologist after completing radiation and will start taking Tamoxifen again.  I started it in February but the doctors wanted me to stop it during radiation.  My hot flashes have actually been worse since I stopped it, so maybe going back on the medicine will help?  Either that or the warmer weather is making them worse.  That doesn't bode well since I live in Texas and it's freaking HOT here in the summer.  It was nice during the winter when I had a hot flash and could just step outside where it was cold!

I have appointments to see my doctors in Dallas in June.  I'll have an after-radiation follow-up with my surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon as well as a visit with my gynecological oncologist to discuss when we'll do my hysterectomy.  That's the next "procedure" I'll have, and I'm assuming it will be sometime this summer.  Any further plastic surgery for reconstruction will wait until the fall so my skin has plenty of time to heal from radiation.

Other than all of that, I'm just trying to take care of myself the best I can.... take my meds and supplements that are supposed to help me, eat right, rest and laugh on a daily basis.
Oh, and pray for my hair to grow faster.