Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So much for consistancy

I realize the last time I shared my experience was over a year ago. I wonder how many of you have stopped following me, or maybe those that do care have been looking at my facebook.
I felt compelled to come back here tonight. I wanted to share some experiences I have had since my last post. I have once in particular which has just given me hope, when just minutes before getting on here, I had felt all hope was lost.

Since my last post, I have been through radiation, more surgeries and some pain management techniques like you'd never believe. We will get into that later.

I had my upgrade from the expander's to implants. Though it was nice to have a chest instead of anything concave like I was warned, the expanders were horribly uncomfortable like having...well my husband called them the car dashboard, because they felt leathery and hard. To skip ahead a little, the implants were put in, in the same surgery which was about 5 hours long, not too bad. My surgeon was working with an an empty hole to fill because of course the year before I had a bi-lateral mastectomy. I had lymph nodes removed on both sides so even the tissue under my arm pit was gone. A normal person getting "enhancements" has breast tissue inside. So when you place an implant inside, it just makes everything, fuller, which is the whole idea of getting fakies. Got it?
Since I did not have any such tissue, the implant was placed and it looked like a little "mound" after. They were firm and did not move in the slightest. It was ridiculous because the radiated side was still very red and fro the surgery, black and blue. I really did look like barbie.
That's probably a good enough description, use your imagination. I don't know what else to say.
I don't think my situation was like everyone Else's though. I had heard good things about doing it this way. The only thing was that they had a 10 year warranty. I know, ha ha...but when its a part of your body, you don't want things failing.

That seriously lasted only a few months.The redness never went away and it continued to be black and blue. My cancer side started to hurt very bad. It was like it was infected. I also noticed that on the cancer side, the implant started sticking out, like it had some how folded inside.

I finally decided to see another surgeon. I did my homework and found the most wonderful surgeon ever. She confirmed that my implant had indeed folded and that the skin was so thin, it was only a matter of time before infections took over and the skin could actually break and rupture. I couldn't believe it.
I was familiar with a procedure called the S-Gap where you can take the upper part of a persons buttocks and use the tissue inside and also the skin on the outside to make a new breast with both the tissue and the skin flap. It is a very complicated procedure. Its not just a little moving of tissue from one place to another. It is a micro vascular surgery. The surgeon is working under a microscope the entire surgery, sewing arteries to main arteries and hoping it all takes. Your body has to think the new tissue is OK to be there. The surgery can take place and the procedure could still fail. The tissue has to be monitored closely during and after to ensure it gets enough oxygen or else it can fail.

My DR. gave me the OK and told me I was a great candidate for this procedure. Not everyone can do this. You have to have an adequate amount of tissue in the donation site. In my case, I was sufficiently proportioned for this type of surgery. I was thrilled. I never liked my bubble butt.
Although now I see its the "look" that people desire. The Kardasion look is the look as I understand it.

Skipping ahead....

The surgery took place on July 11, 2011. It was a total of 10 hours under and 4 days i n the hospital. The second surgery took place on October 19, 2011. That one being 12 hours and also 4 days in the hospital.
WOW! I had been warned. This was one of the most complicated surgeries. I knew it would be a challenge, and I overcame all of it.

I will post my surgery experience on a later date.

I know consistency would have been nice, especially since I kept much of it to myself. It does feel good to write with perspective though. I can honestly think about each experience and put how I felt and also what I learned. Sometimes when you are in the moment, feelings and emotions get, the best of us and you cant really give a clear picture as to what the true experience was.

The reason I did not keep up, was because I was down right sick. I was sick with radiation, and with each surgery. I did not have the strength to even think about keeping up with my blog, let alone share something incredibly personal. It would have been clouded and not thought out clearly. Much of the time I am in pain, so to voice my experience, I am afraid it may have been negative.

If I have been this way, I do apologize. I want this to be about growth, learning and a perspective on this new chance at life I have been given.
Please accept my sincere apology if I have let anyone down with any negative thoughts.

I have so much more that I want to share about the journey I have taken and the many wonderful and interesting paths I have taken.

I hope you will stay with me as I piece this puzzle together for those of you who are interested in my experience as a Breast Cancer survivor.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I dont miss the infusion room!

I had my last chemo on September 22nd. It felt so wonderful to march right in there, knowing it was my last time. Now I don't know what is in my future, but I do know all of the decisions which were made, were to prolong my life, so that I did not have a re-occurrence. So to my knowledge, that was my last time!

I must admit I feel proud of myself. Looking back, I don't know if I knew how I would feel once I had passed all 8 rounds of chemo.I don't even know if I knew I would survive it!

I even got a certificate of completion! Can you believe that? I passed my chemo!
They sang a little song to me (you know the cheesy ones they sing on your birthday?) it was that kind of rhyming song. They also gave me a little fleece blanket with my certificate of completion.

I would be lying if I said I wanted to go back to that infusion room, but I miss the people who helped and attended to me. I miss the little snack lady who would come by every so often to ask me if I needed a snack, or another pillow. I miss the other snack guy who, at one point almost made sense when he ever so carefully tried to explain how medicinal marijuana was really good for the pain while you have cancer. He had lost a "partner" to cancer and his partner could attest to the comfort of the plant.
I made new friends every time I went and learned many things about people during my chemo sessions.

I am so very grateful for the time that has already passed. I am grateful to be in the hands of such fine doctors. I am excited to enter a new phase of the healing process, to take on the new challenges which await me on level 1 of the Huntsman Center, the radiation floor.

Its good to know I can still go up to level 2. I have nurses and doctors who carefully planned as a team, in prolonging my life.

I know that from this experience I have grown tremendously. I have a different perspective on life. I see things completely different than I did before. Many things don't matter to me anymore.

I cant say I am completely purged of my selfish wants and desires. I am still VERY human. The chemo didn't kill my desires to obtain and progress. I still have thoughts of walking into Tai Pan and filling my cart so my house feels more comfortable. Its just different because before I would have told myself to work, work, work and I can fill that cart. Now I think snuggling with my girls would feel more comfortable than an up to date house with all of the new vinyl trends and popular colors on my walls. Not that I wouldn't still want those things, its just that I cant obtain them on the worlds terms of debts and additional financial burdens.
If anyone knows me, they would know this really IS a change for me!

What if I died with the perfect house and newest buckle jeans? I would rather die with a sure knowledge that my girls knew my goal in life was to be a mother and how much I loved them and my husband felt I respected him and would essentially miss the fact that I was the only one who could ever understand what he really felt, that his kids knew I tried my best and that my activity day girls remember how the spirit feels when you make the right choices in life.

I cant say I have mastered any or all of these things, but I can say this experience makes me remember I am just here on this earth for a little while. We are in an earthly probation. Cancer is just a very small part of my life, and I needed to have this trial so that I could make my way to my eternal salvation.

I am very humbled to have been chosen to have this experience. I know if you aren't growing, you are failing. If you are living your life and never have any problems, you aren't going to learn. You remain still and stagnant.

I would invite all things , good and bad to come if they will make me stronger, so that I may shine as a daughter of our Heavenly Father and I will try ever so hard to love it.
I have great desires to make Him proud to have sent me to this earth at this time and this place.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hello...are you alive...YES

Well much has occurred in the last month. I just finished my 6th chemo on Wednesday the 24th.
I can't believe I am almost done with this part of the cancer!
I feel really strong today. It might have something to do with the steroids? Just kidding about that...though they do pump me full of steroids the day before and the day of the chemo.

My chemo regimen changed on chemo #5. It was super fantastic compared to the first four treatments I had, which left me swallowed in the depths of my couch throwing up and helpless for 8 weeks. I am not saying I would recommended chemo to people without cancer, I am just saying that this drug has been more forgiving to me.

I am week, and my body aches, my head hurts, but I am not throwing up! I can plan a few hours with a friend, and get my daughter off to school. I can post a facebook comment from my computer instead of my cell phone and can park in a normal parking spot instead of the handicapped....mostly.

Wednesdays chemo was good. It was a very long day though. This new infusion lasts 4 hours. It makes for a really long day when you have to have labs and a Dr visit before hand.

We got to Huntsman at 9:30 am and left at 5pm. That's a full working day, and I didn't even take a lunch!

I found out I am fighting another skin infection. It is a good thing we caught it fast. I found out my final reconstruction surgery may be a little harder than I anticipated because of my infections. It may result in two surgeries. Blaaa! I am typically so focused on the end, I forget to think about today. So for right now, and maybe just for this post, I am going to slide into denial and not going to talk about my upcoming surgeries.

This round of chemo I went with one of my neighborhood moms. It was great to have her with me, though I feel bad for falling asleep from the benadryl they gave me.

We enjoyed each others company from the drive there and back. It was very comforting to have her with me. Oh how I am blessed with such good people around me!

I met a new friend at infusion. She was such a ray of sunshine. She had breast cancer 12 years ago and is going through it again. She is on the end of it though, for this 2nd time.
It was great to talk to her about what to expect. It was great to see her cute hairstyle, short and curly. She had such a great big smile on her face, I couldn't help but feel such hope inside.

I really think the Lord made it so that we would cross paths on Wednesday. I could have talked to her during the entire infusion, but they put us on opposite ends of the room. We did get to chat before infusion....and that in its self was a blessing.

I got to talk with my wonderful Seattle Mom today. Shes my Marriott Mom! She's as strong as they come! I am not kidding you...I am who I am today because of her.
She was great to talk with as well. She gave me a ton of encouragement, a bunch of advice, and a dandy lift of spirits. I just love her so much! My heart aches for the good friends I miss right now in Seattle.
When I beat cancer thing I totally need to visit Seattle. It is my peaceful place!
I have a ton of hope today. I guess when that happens its a good thing.

I have much to be thankful for, and I am very grateful for the rain that is falling outside this moment.

I too should remember to "Come what May and Love it"
I forgot in the last few sorry to those who may have seen me at my weak moments!

Friday, July 23, 2010

It was a good, good day

Today was a good day and yes,
I am here, alive, for anyone still interested in me or my life.
This morning I learned three valuable things from three totally different sources
and here they are:

#1 There are cute blogs out there, you just need to change them.
So sorry for anyone who followed me before. Can you believe I had the worlds most boring template, with a bunch of bald pictures of me on it? So, if you still follow me, this site will get a make over...just be patient. If you are still interested that is.

#2 I should blog even on the Xela and the very horrible no good very bad days, days, but not on the days when, and if, I cant get off the couch because I am fighting 3 infections, which I don't know about yet, so I am aching in pain, on the couch... sending my 6 year old to the kitchen for food into the pantry of death (smells like that because I left a bag of oranges in the corner and they rotted but I didn't find them until I threw up in the trash because of the smell) anyway...where was I?

I will separate the paragraph because I believe this is a poprocks moment...I just know it! That is what they would call me at work...because I bounced from subject to subject....

So the point being, I should blog more, unless I need to be admitted to the hospital!

By the way, I did get admitted to the hospital. After Mondays total couch day and after suffering and laying there in the complete anguish, Tuesday I woke up in so much pain I couldn't deal with it anymore.
We dropped the girls off at my sister in laws house without much notice and drove to the hospital.
Every minute in the car was horrible. I felt as if my life were ending (remember I don't know I am fighting 3 infections yet).
I plead with the Lord to take it from me. I begged....and cried the whole way.
All I could utter was "No No No No No!"
My thoughts were more geared into thinking it was the chemo, and it didn't occur to me that I could really be sick. I kept thinking I would not go in for another chemo, that I would quit and not continue, if this was how it would be.

That drive to Huntsman went on would think there would be a Huntsman drive by now...from the freeway straight to the there is an idea! Thousands work up there every day, why not a Huntsman drive?

It will probably come after my cancer is through. The U was under construction the entire time I was pregnant, Huntsman is under construction right now while I have cancer...why not make the drive easier....after we make all those trips up there.
Ok enough said....the drive was horrible.

We finally make it up there Tuesday morning and I am just out of control tears while my husband is wheeling me through the lobby, elevators and finally to the desk.

They immediately got me in. Thank goodness because there was another cancer guy there waiting, he was dressed all nice and kind of GQed out and bald like me, but a guy, and I swear he had just had a talk with Tony Robins. He looked like a million bucks and I was still in my pj's crying in a wheel chair.

They took care of me real quickly though. They gathered all of the blood and urine they could ever want and went straight to work.

I felt a lot better even being there because I knew I would get help.
They got an IV in after an hour and besides laying on an exam table for 3 hours after that, I felt pretty darn good.

I laid on the table in a ball while they were finding out what the source of this whole things could be and they found 3 sources....3 infections, one very big one.

Not going to share what they were, because, well, that's just personal and you will just have to talk to me face to face or wonder the rest of your life, that is if you still care or want to follow me with my out of date blog and all.

So I was indeed sick. Pretty sick. Like it was a good thing I came in and I would defiantly die quickly if not treated, kind of sick. Duh though, I would have died from the pain anyway.
After all of that, I was admitted and given a more comfortable bed that's really, still not comfortable...but better than the couch piece thing that my husband would be sleeping on that very night.

I stayed put there for 24 hours. It seemed to do the trick, and so I am here now, nearly 5 am, have not slept for the night, writing my blog.

Oh and I have a #3 to tell!

#3 I have gained some knowledge this morning that will be helpful in helping me survive this cancer and help me to be healthy and happier as a person, inside and out.

It is my assured knowledge that the Lord knows where to guide certain people into my life. I dare say....oh I will say it....had I not had a conversation with this person this morning I may have wasted many more future days or weeks with this disease and not have learned a thing. I would have passed by so many opportunities that are really at my door right this moment even.
So thank you...angel sent from heaven. Thank you for your friendship and for being in my life, and coming back into my life for that matter!

I think that's it for today. After all I covered last night and this morning in one!

and so, Come what may...and Love it! Because guess what, I have something to learn from all of this and either way, I am going to grow and change.
It is better than staying stagnant and not growing.
Today I am even more thankful for this trial...and pain medication.

Thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The funny things about this...

This last week was a challenge, emotionally and physically. Despite the changes, I needed to get out of the house. A date was in order and so we went, even though there were now apparent changes to my hair. (Thanks Anne)
It was my first time out in public without a hat or scarf or anything. I was nervous. Maybe it was because Mike needed a hair cut so bad and I now had shorter hair than he did.

It was an experience watching other people watch me. I am learning what it feels like to not care what they think, just how to get comfortable with myself. I was confident that this was the right choice. I also knew I would be having the entire thing shaved at the rate those little hairs were shedding on my pillow...eewee!

I went to a family reunion with my scarf...because this was what was underneath...patches and patches. Not something I could deal with any longer....and this smile is fake by the way.

We had fun, and it was nice to get out. The very next day this is what happened.....

You can see I was a little nervous. It is my head for heavens sake...and a razor went on top!
I knew I had to face it eventually.
I will have to admit though, when it was all over, every time I look in the mirror, I scare myself a bit. My head is so white...and I look like an alien. Hmmm...whateva! It is what it is. I was so scared I would scare my little girls when they woke up the next morning. Edyn just started patting my head and saying. "Fuzzy fuzzy, all gone, Mommy has no hair or fuzzy fuzzy!"
Don't you love how kids are honest and don't judge but just love you back unconditionally.
Morghan told me I had a pretty face, then rubbed my eyebrows. I asked her politely to not touch them. I am thinking I am lucky to have them and my eyelashes as well, better not mess with them right? Morghan is such a sweet girl about it...though today she asked me if on the first day of school, I would wear my wig....what do you suppose that means?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pictures from the last few week

Edyn grabbed a bunch of hair from my head, you can see it just started falling 0ut.

Yea...the humor was in Grandpa always told me to eat my vegetables and I would get hair on my chest....he would be proud!