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 30, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 639

Happy 9th Birthday to a very special young lady.
K is thoughtful, kind, fun, funny, creative, sensitive, caring and silly.  She is beautiful inside and out, and I'm proud to call her my daughter.
Best Kelsie ever!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 635

Let's talk medicine...

Before cancer, I had one prescription. One.
And it wasn't even a daily medication.  Just as needed for headaches.
Now this is part of my morning routine:

That may not look terrible to you, but for someone who abhors taking pills, it's a nightmare.  I have to have about five gulps of water to swallow each pill.  I hate swallowing pills!  And water still tastes gross to me (thank you, chemo), so drinking a bottle of water to take my pills just makes everything worse!

I also have three pills I take at night.  And you know what makes all of this even more frustrating?  Some of the pills I take, I have to take to combat the side effects of the other pills I take!  It's like a never-ending cycle.  One pill makes me sick?  Take a nausea pill.  One pill gives me restless legs?  Take a restless legs pill.  God forbid I get a headache, too, and have to add yet another medicine or two to the mix.

I used to tease Hubby about all of his prescriptions. 
That teasing is coming back to bite me now.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 634

I'm fat.

One of the things I hate the most about having had cancer (aside from the whole trying to kill me thing) is that thanks to chemo, six surgeries (and recoveries), being thrown into menopause and having to take estrogen-blocking medicine, I am the heaviest I've ever been except for when I was pregnant. 

I don't have the energy to exercise, even though you'd think I'd have more motivation than ever. I want to be healthy. I want to be in good shape. I want to be strong so I can keep kicking cancer's ass!
Unfortunately the only exercise I get these days is riding my exercise bike at 10pm when my restless legs act up!  We've had day after day (after day!) of rain, so I haven't even been able to take walks, my preferred choice of exercise.

I have lost a few pounds lately, but I can probably attribute that to the swelling finally subsiding after my lipo surgery. Whatever, I'll take it. It's the first time the scale has budged - without going up - in almost a year.

I know I'll never be skinny again. I'm just going to have to concentrate on being the healthiest I can be.

If only vegetables tasted like chocolate!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 630

Yesterday my blog post was about being forgetful and unorganized which interferes with my OCD-perfectionist tendencies.

I'm happy to say that I had a very productive day.  It took a lot of focus and more than once I would sit down to work on something and then pop up five minutes later to get a drink, check the weather, start something else.  I feel good, though, that I managed to do four loads of laundry and wade through a mountain of softball paperwork.  I sorted everything, boxed & labeled the files, and printed out sponsorship acknowledgment letters for everyone who donated this season.  And thanks to my quick trip to Sam's, I'm close to my 10,000 steps today even though I spent most of the day at my computer.  Oh, and I cooked dinner!  Those of you who are familiar with the softball lifestyle, you know home-cooked meals are few and far between, especially in the spring.

More good news from yesterday:  Mom checked off another chemo treatment, leaving only ONE LEFT!  Thank God.  Her doctor lowered her dose for these last few and she is doing so much better.  Thank you to everyone for the prayers.

Last, here's a pic of my smiling, handsome son receiving his award for earning over 300 accelerated reading points this year.  He may not touch a book at home, but he's a reading fiend at school!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kicking Cancer's Ass - Day 629

Ok, you laugh (because that is pretty funny), but that's exactly what having cancer has done to me.  Well, I probably can't blame the OCD part on chemo, because I'm pretty sure I was born that way.  And I can't claim PMS because I had a hysterectomy.... but I promise you being suddenly thrown into menopause at age 40 is like a permanent state of PMS.  You want to talk hormones?  Try having NO hormones!

I have the attention span of a toddler.  I have about fifty projects I need to finish, papers all over my coffee table, stacks of medical bills and insurance papers to go through, a to-be-read pile of books bigger than me..... and most of the time all I can manage is to play a game of Trivia Crack on my phone.

It's really disconcerting and frustrating.  For someone who always had it together, could multi-task with the best of them and was known for her organizational skills, feeling like this depressing.  I can't accomplish anything because I either can't remember to do it, or I start and don't finish, or I get distracted and it takes me ten times longer than it should.  And deep down inside I'm still a perfectionist, so I get aggravated with myself more than anything.

I haven't found a solution yet.  I'm sure Hubby wishes I would.  I think he's gotten used to my OCD-ness over the years.  But this new and not-so-improved menopausal, forgetful, tired and grouchy woman is not the lady he married.  She's in there somewhere.  

I just can't remember where I put her.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 625

So... I'm in the hospital.  It's a big, shiny new hospital (Clements University Hospital) in a big city.  These doctors and nurses have thousands of patients come through here... and they remember me???

My nurse last night saw me and asked if I'd had my mastectomy at the other hospital. She said she remembered me, and said "It was 2013 right?" (Actually 1/3/14 but close enough).  I jokingly asked her if she remembered me because I was a good patient or a pain in the butt patient. Ha!  She said she remembers me because I have the kind of naturally beautiful face that once you see, you remember. Wow.  Ok.  Considering I am in a lovely hospital gown with bed head hair and bandages and no make up, that was quite the compliment.

Then Hubby tried to get in on the action by saying "I've been trying to tell her that!"

So just a little while ago, two residents from Dr T's office came by. When they walked in, the one doctor smiled and said "Hey - I remember you!".   Ok... In the grand scheme of things, in the Dallas medical community, I shouldn't be that memorable of a person, so I'm finding it a little amazing that these people who haven't seen me for months (or over a year!) and who see dozens of patients every day remember me.  

It says a lot about the level of care they provide here, and I will always be grateful that I chose to come to UT Southwestern. The drive is a pain and not always convenient, but I love my doctors (and their teams) so much.

I remember when they wheeled me into the operating room yesterday. They hadn't given me the feel-good meds yet so I was wide awake. I even moved to the OR table myself.  The anesthesiologists were on my IV side getting ready to put me out and the nurse was on my other side. I have a restriction on my left arm, which means they can't stick me, draw blood, take blood pressure or anything on that side. The nurse looked at my "restricted extremity " band and told me she would guard that arm with her life.  Then she stood close and rubbed my arm until the anesthesia kicked in. Not a bad operating room memory to have.

Dr T told me yesterday that he'd probably keep me here for three or four days, until the infection was totally cleared up. The resident who came this morning (who was with Dr T yesterday in surgery) said it looks a LOT better. She said Dr T wants me here on IV antibiotics until the redness is all gone, and then she said "maybe even tomorrow". Woohoo!  I'm not holding my breath, but it would be so nice to go home that soon.

I have little pain and more energy than I've had in weeks. Considering I had surgery a little over twelve hours ago, I feel good.  I think I got my kick cancer's ass mojo back.  Thank God.  That tired, wimpy, complaining Michelle was getting annoying!

Today's agenda is to rest, eat, rest some more and take a walk.  I think I can handle that.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 623

The good:

The Lady Diamonds took first place in a softball tournament last weekend.  They won four games and only lost one (and that one was 16-15).  It was a fun, fun day with my softball family.  These girls continue to make me proud and steal my heart, and their families are friends I wouldn't know what to do without.

The bad:

Those same Lady Diamonds that were on fire Saturday lost their last regular-season game tonight, only scoring three runs.  Everyone has an off night, I guess, but geez.  C'mon girls!

The ugly:

I have to fast after midnight tonight.  I have to fast for a surgery that is scheduled for tomorrow....at 3:30 IN THE AFTERNOON!  Wait, it gets better.  I have to have this surgery because there's an infection from my last surgery.  I found this out right before I left my house this morning to go to a funeral.  Are you jealous of all my fun?  And because I'll probably be admitted after my surgery, I'm going to miss a much-anticipated ladies night out with my fellow Diamonds moms.  Seriously?  I know we've gotten a lot of rain lately, but why is the black cloud hanging over ME??

I have to drive three hours (with no drinks or snacks, mind you) to have surgery tomorrow because something didn't heal right three weeks ago.  "A minor setback" is what Dr T said.  He also promised he'll fix it.  There's something to be said for being able to text a photo of your reconstructed breast to your doctor and have him call you immediately.  Unfortunately he called immediately to tell me he needed me in the operating room TOMORROW!  Very unexpected, slightly inconvenient, extremely disappointing.  I really didn't anticipate spending my weekend in the hospital.  

I know, I'm whining.  I can't help it.  This is my sixth surgery since August 2013.  I know it's relatively minor and definitely necessary.... but each time it gets more and more difficult to bounce back.  Add in chemo, radiation, anxiety and LIFE and you get one tired lady.

I'm not even tired.  That's not the right word.  I'm weary.  

I know surviving cancer is a lifelong battle.  I know that, and I will never stop fighting.  I just need a little time to get my ass-kicking mojo back, that's all.  Just a little bit of time with no appointments, no surgeries, no procedures, no worrying.  Just a little bit of time to be Michelle the wife and Michelle the mom, instead of Michelle the cancer patient.  A little time to rest.