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!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 760

No pain, no gain.  
That's what they say, right?

This is my leg, three days after surgery:

Before you ask, yes, it is as painful as it looks.  Both legs and my stomach look like this. 

If I didn't have cancer, I wouldn't have needed reconstruction, and I wouldn't look and feel like this right now.
Stupid cancer.

I do have to own up to the fact that this was my choice, though. I'd been through this surgery before, and I knew the result.  It HURTS.  

While some people choose plastic surgery for vanity's sake, others, like me, choose it as a way to get back some of what we lost.  I could have lived with what I had.  But after going through everything I've gone through, why stop two feet from the finish line?  I've been bruised before.  I've been in pain before.  I healed.  I will heal again.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 759

I am battered and bruised, exhausted and running a fever from my surgery on Friday, so I feel a little bit like I was on the receiving end of an ass-kicking.... but I know that's only temporary.  This was - hopefully - the last time I will have surgery for anything related to breast cancer.

On our way to Dallas last Thursday Hubby asked me if I had to do it all over again, would I still choose to go through all that I have?  My answer then, and now (even hurting from surgery), is yes.

The easiest choice - physically - is to forego any reconstruction at all.  I knew that wasn't for me.  I didn't want to spend the rest of my life without breasts - not if I could help it.  I have a couple of friends who have not had reconstruction and they are perfectly fine 90% of the time.  I know I wouldn't be.

I could have chosen breast implants.  They still require surgery, but you end up with (hopefully) real-looking breasts.  After having tissue expanders in for almost a year in preparation for my reconstruction, I can say with all honesty that I'm very happy I don't have anything "foreign" in my body.  Even the softest implants are still just that - implants.  

The most complicated, intensive and time-consuming choice is to do reconstruction using your own body tissue (or "flaps" as they call it in the plastic surgery world).  That was my choice.  Dr T is a big proponent of natural reconstruction.  My surgery was long and complicated, with a grueling recovery.  I've had to have a couple of  revisions, and I developed an infection, which meant even more surgeries, and those have given me scars on top of other scars.  

Was all of this worth it?  Yes.  Because you know what?  I have the most real fake breasts I could possibly have.  And after twenty-five months of treatments and surgeries, I'm DONE!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 757

Yesterday I had surgery.
Yes, another one. That makes 7 surgeries in the last two years.  I am hopeful that this is the last one, because really - enough is enough.

It was a quick procedure and I was out of the hospital around lunchtime.  I feel ok, just very sore.  And I have to wear the lovely compression garments for two weeks, which makes getting dressed and going to the bathroom a workout.

Plastic surgery is not for wimps!! 

I'm thankful that Hubby was there with me... as he has been for every step of this long, painful journey.  He's always there to make me laugh, comfort me, hold me up or just hold my hand.  His quiet, steady presence is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Let the healing begin!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 752

I'm not okay tonight.

No real reason.  At least not that I can think of.  This came on suddenly and without explanation.  Just now, tonight....just like that.  Last night I had a fabulous date with Hubby that continued over into today.  Fantastic concert (really - fantastic, amazing, phenomenal concert), a night without kids in a hotel, sleeping in this morning (sort of).  Tonight we had a nice family dinner out.  I haven't done anything else, or even talked to anyone else.


I'm not depressed.  I've been through hell and back over the last two years.  I know what being depressed feels like.  I'm not angry.  I'm not frustrated.  I'm not tired.  I'm just.... off.

Do you ever feel like that?  Like something is wrong (well, maybe not 'wrong', but more 'not quite right') but you don't know WHAT?  I feel unstable and restless and kinda sad.  What gives?  Is there some cosmic shift going on with the change of seasons and I'm off-balance?  Is this the start of one of my "something bad is going to happen" premonitions? 
(I'm usually right, so I hope to God that's not it).

I want to go to bed to escape this feeling, but I don't feel tired enough.  
I know I took my Lexapro this morning.  I'm sure of it.  
Maybe I need another.
I feel overwhelmed, but I don't even know what is overwhelming me.  

Ugh.  Sometimes being me is difficult.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 749

Last night I should have written an Insomniac Blogging post...  I was up until 2am.  I did have a long "nap" earlier in the evening, but waking up at 6:15 this morning was not fun. I did get a lot of work done in the wee hours, but I'm paying for it today. .  

There seems to be a pattern I've developed where I can go about my business as usual for a while...going to work, dealing with softball league business, being wife and mom... until I hit a wall.  Yesterday I hit that wall.  I was sitting on the couch when Hubby came home from work and could hardly keep my eyes open.  (Ok, ok, I was sleeping.)  I told him I was going to lie down for an hour.... and woke up four hours later.  

I don't know if this recurring fatigue can be blamed on the medicine I have to take, or the fact that I'm in menopause at 42 years old, or just due to everything I've been through since d-day.  It's not going to get better anytime soon because I'm scheduled for another surgery next Friday.  That will be surgery number seven in the last 25 months.  Some have been pretty major, some have been "minor".  This one is supposed to fall in the latter category, but I've learned not to expect things to go as planned.  One thing cancer isn't is predictable.  

I'm hopeful that this will be the last THING I have to do, other than routine tests and appointments.  After next week I hope I don't need any more surgeries or procedures, at least for a while!  Months of treatment, more surgeries than you can count on one hand and two years of stress have made me so tired.  Being tired (among other things) has made me fat, and I'm more than ready to look and feel like myself again. 

Last, but definitely not least, September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.  Before all of the hype of "Pink-tober" next month, take a minute to pray for the women affected by this silent killer.  Ovarian cancer is the monster that took my friend Allyson way too soon.  If you can, donate to a worthy cause...

Ally's Wish is the brainchild of Allyson's friends who took their love for her and turned it into a wonderful organization that has helped moms all over the country.  These friends were touched by Allyson and her story, and made it their mission to grant wishes to women - moms - with terminal illnesses.  Allyson's wish was to have her blog published for her family.  I'm happy to say that book is available at Allyswish.org.  Buy it.  And wear turquoise.  For Allyson.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kicking cancer's ass - day 733


Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about forgiveness.  A lot of thinking.

When someone wrongs you, it's human nature to be hurt, angry, even vindictive.  We all feel that way.  Some of us work through those feelings faster than others.  Some people forgive more easily than others.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
I get it.  We are all sinners.  Who are we to judge a sinner, when none of us are without sin?
The Bible says it over and over:
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.
 Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
1 John 1:8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
I will be the first to admit that I've made my share of mistakes in my life, and would never claim to be without sin.  I also will be the first to admit that I have a soft-hearted, forgiving nature.  I try to see the best in people.  If I make a mistake, I own up to it and apologize.  And if I apologize, I sincerely mean it.  'I'm sorry' means I really am sorry..

Six months ago, I made a decision.  It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, and it caused more emotional upheaval for me and my family than I can even describe.  Someone I was very close to had been doing something wrong - something illegal - and I was the one to discover it.  It caused me a huge amount of distress because I loved and trusted this person.  Not only were laws broken, but my friendship was abused and taken advantage of - for a long time.  Years.

It made my heart hurt, because my doing the right thing brought hurt down on other people, including my own family.  I lost a close friend.  My daughter lost her best friend.  I lost other people in my life that I thought were my friends.  These people have found it easy to forgive, claiming they won't turn their back on a friend for making a "mistake".

A mistake.  Yelling at someone is a mistake.  Writing on the wall with a Sharpie is a mistake.  Running over a mailbox is a mistake.  Getting a speeding ticket is a mistake.  Deceiving the people closest to you, day after day, month after month, and taking from the very ones you proclaim to love... that's not a mistake.

Have I forgiven?  Can I forgive?  That's what I'm struggling with.

Just as the Bible talks a lot about the need for forgiveness by the person who was wronged, it also talks about the need to repent by the wrong-doer.
Acts 2:38  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 17:3  So watch yourselves.  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.   
The definition of "repent" is to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right.  The need for forgiveness can be a burden, if the offender hasn't repented.

The crimes that were committed, the lies that were told.... this person has been doing this same thing their whole adult life.  They've been caught - and punished - repeatedly, and yet they still choose to go down this path again and again.  It's not a "mistake" when you wrong people the same way over and over again.  It's a choice.  And it's hard to forgive when they show no remorse.

Repenting, to me, would mean expressing how sorry you are for what you did.  It would mean reaching out to those who were hurt.  It would mean doing everything you could to make things right.  In my opinion, someone who continues spreading lies and manipulating the very people they call 'friend' is not repentant.  This person has never once reached out to the "victims", not even my daughter who was practically a part of their family.  They have never once tried to make things right.  They are portraying themselves as a victim instead, and that is about the furthest you can get from repenting.

Dealing with the fallout of someone else's actions every day and knowing they are trying to muddy an issue that is completely black and white makes it hard to forgive.  Looking into my little girl's eyes and knowing someone who said they loved her doesn't care about the hurt she feels... that makes it hard to forgive.  Being the subject of gossip and condemned for choosing the right path, not the easy path... that makes it hard for me to forgive.

According to Wikipedia:
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.  Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).

Forgiveness doesn't mean everything is all better.  It doesn't mean that the wrong that was done doesn't matter anymore.  You can forgive, because you want to (for your own peace of mind), and because it's the Christian thing to do, but that doesn't mean you are condoning the wrongful act, or that you can (or will) forget.  And just because there is no reconciliation doesn't mean forgiveness won't happen.  But it takes time, sometimes a lot of time.  I'll get there, if for no other reason than because I deserve peace.

“Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.”  ~ Billy Graham