shaved head

shaved head
Channelling GI Jane

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010: Erich's birthday

Today is my husband's 43rd birthday. When did we get so old? Just yesterday we were 25. I feel well, a little stronger everyday. I was brought down by some horrible perfume and now I have thick, raspy air stuck in my throught wanting to enter my lungs. I'm trying to drink lots of fluids and lay low. I can't get sick or aesthmatic now. Yesterday I made doctor appointments for Erich and I to renew our medication prescriptions. The Nurse Practitioner we saw gave me a quick look and heard an irregular heartbeat, so she gave me an EKG, which turned out: IRREGULAR. I contacted my oncologist as well as my surgeon this morning. Although noone is concerned about my having a heart condition, we are all concerned that any aneasthisiologist might refuse to put me out for surgery, which is! Oy vey. Thank God my parents are connected to the medical community in Santa Monica. My mother made a phone call to a steller cardiologist (who worked me up in 2002 for anxieety provoked irregular heartbeat) and he agreed to see me on Monday. Just when you think all the balls are rolling smoothly straight ahead!

Meanwhile, I have lost 4 pounds. My hair is coming in fast, however, I cannot say the same for my eyelashes and eyebrows. My skin disorder on my hands has returned with a vengence as well as a nasty case of athlete's foot on both feet (which I have never had before). "Chemo Brain" has set in and I find myself forgetfull and unable to sequence events well. I often forget to take my anti anxiety meds, which make my foggy headedness even worse.

My month home alone with my boys has been delightful. I'm not saying they have been angels, quite the contrary, but I have enjoyed playing and snuggling with them daily. They are challenging, but I love them more than I can express. They have been through alot the past few months and they now spontaneously curl up on my lap and shower me with hugs and kisses. I will be very happy when this next big phase is over. I am content having spent the Christmas holidays with family and I look forward to spending New Year's with friends. I am also bursting with happiness for my girlfriend, Eileen, who became engaged over the holidays. Miracles really do happen that she was able to find someone as gracious, generous and with as huge a heart as she.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wed., Dec. 22, 2010

Erich and I met with my plastic surgeon yesterday to go over surgery details. When I asked Erich what he thought of her, he replied, "She's hot." Very well then, glad he was paying attention to the important stuff. He did manage to ask her all the questions he had concerning my surgery and any complications that might occur. She assured him that she performs my surgery, a double DIEP trans flap reconstruction, about every other week. This surgery lasts anywhere from 10-16 hours and I will probably not be in my ICU room until midnight. Obvious concerns are with the anaesthesia and clotting in the brain or heart, but that is the worry with any procedure in which one is put under. She told us I would be put in leg compressors and that the nurses will move my limbs since I will laying still for approximately 12 hours. She told us that the nurses would get me out of bed to stand on the first and second days in ICU. Once I'm on the women's floor I may eat, shower, and walk to the bathroom. I will have 6 drains in me, 2 in my tummy and 2 in each breast. The nurses will teach us how to empty and record the amount of fluid before we leave the hospital. It sounds like I will be on my feet in 2 weeks. I can't drive for 5 weeks, but I can begin mild excercise in 2-3 weeks after surgery. I'm still so excited. Then of course the 2nd surgery, which will be done as an outpatient, will make me look pretty. I think Erich felt much better after talking to Dr. Grunwald. I don't think he's convinced he's gonna loose me on the operating table anymore. Hell, I'm not going anywhere now that I will have the body I always wanted.:)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

This would have been a chemo day, but I'M THROUGH! So starts a 4th week without chemo. I haven't experienced that since August. Everyday is a challenge with my kids at home, but a happy challenge.:) I love my boys even though they are uber energetic and stir-crazy without school. I heard from my surgeons that they will take out my power port during surgery. I am so happy that I can be asleep for that. Today I saw my oncologist for a pre-op appointment. I had multiple blood tests and an EKG. All were fine and I was cleared for surery. Tomorrow I see my plastic surgeon for her pre-op. My hair continues to grow longer, it now blows in the wind (like baby chick feathers-again). I continue to get stronger on my feet. Although, today I had another nap attack at 2:30. I had to tell the boys not to answer the door and stay in the house as I passed out on the couch for an hour. Thank goodness Erich came home early.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010

Been living La Vida Loca since my last chemo. I love growing stronger knowing that next Monday won't be another round. Yesterday my family and I were treated to Disneyland courtesy of Eileen & Mark, the Storms, and the Pattersons. We had a blast! It is most assuredly the happiest place on earth. The boys ran until they fell from exhaustion. Evan fell asleep in line waiting for the tram back to the parking lot. And it turned out that my "Scuz" and her family were there and so were the Lostraccos. I must admitt I used the "c" card big time and got a pass from Guest Services, which allowed all of us to walk straight to the front of the line for every ride. We rode every ride you can imagine starting with Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted House, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain, Small World, Tea Cups, Matterhorn, Peter Pan, Mr. Toad's WIld Ride, and Space Mountain. I think I giggled and howled louder than my kids. I ate a corn dog, cotton candy and a hot fudge sundae for dinner. This morning I can hardly move. We stood and walked for 9 hours. But I don't care about the pain, it was worth it. A great big thank you to my dear friends for such a generous gift! I contine to play with my kids every day they are on Winter vacation. It is both fabulous and painful at the same time. MOnday is my EKG and blood tests for pre-op with my oncologist. Wednesday is my pre-op with the plastic surgeon. I heard yesterday that both of my surgeons agreed to remove my power port. Thank God I can be asleep when they pull it out as I'm just sure it will feel like slurping up a noodle as it snakes out of my main vein leading to my hear and back through my chest and down my arm. Ick and willies just thinking about it. Haven't lost any weight. In fact I haven't been drinking enough water so I've gained a few pounds. Give me a break, will ya? I met with my Jenny Craig consultant yesterday after a 4 month absence. I'm back on the diet until surgery. I have to lose some of this weight. I'm snoring so loudly Erich has to sleep on the couch. Every day I walk alot to rebuild my stamina. Oy! And everyday it knocks me out. WIll I ever gain my strength back? Ah, but life is good. Soon I will be cancer free and this will all be a fading memory.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dec. 7, 2010

I'm horrified and sad at the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. It's easy for me to forget that breast cancer can be leathal. I am lucky and I am blessed.

My MRI went well this morning. I sat in my panties wearing a thin cloth gown that opened in front and barely went around me, thinking again that one size does NOT fit all, for about 15 minutes before I was given an IV line and ushered into the scan room. I was asked to climb up on a table, lay on my stomach and thread my breasts through 2 circular openings, while the tech held up a blanket under his chin (who's fooling who?). The indignities women go through! The MRI showed nothing we didn't already know; no tumors in the right breast or the lymph nodes, and the tumor in my left breast looks like swiss cheese after the chemo. It still measures 6cm. I will ask my oncologist what exactly that means tomorrow.

I met with my oncology surgeon, Dr. Chung, who met me with a hug. I just love her! We discussed her part of the surgery. We talked about 4 drain tubes stitched into my incissions (oh yuck). I chose to focus on the part about the "WOmen's Floor" I would recooperate in. Large private suites with flat screen TV's and WiFi. Yah baby! I like to think of it as a week away at Club St. JOhn's for rest and relaxation.:)

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

I recovered quickly and quietly at my mother's house. I think the calm, warm waters of my parents' saline jacuzzi helped me through. There was no pain and night sweats. Yesterday I had my first day standing on my own two feet. My boys are out of school for Winter break and Erich worked a 12 hour day. Staying home with the boys was the easy part. My husband coming home proved to be the trying part. He is so angry. I think he dreads my surgery, where as I can only look toward it with excitement. He says that when his father was dying from lung cancer every surgery took an emotional toll on the family. I'm trying to "feel" for him, but it is hard when he behaves like such an ASS. Today I go for my chest MRI at 9:30 and then I meet with my oncology surgeon at 1:00 to go over the results. I expect only great news! My hair continues to fill in at a rapid rate now. I expect to have a full "felt GI Joe head" soon. I don't mean to complain, but for the love of God, why does it have to come back all grey? That reminds me, as soon as I get a free moment I'm coloring it. My eyelashes and eyebrows are not falling out anymore, but they sure aren't filling in as fast as I would like. That reminds me, I see my oncologist tomorrow; I will ask for a Latisse prescription. My leg hairs are fewer, but are growing in just fine; same with my under arm hair. I am filled with happiness these days, there is a lightness in the air (at least for me and the boys). I am thankful for the month to regain strength and play with my kids. I plan to hold and hug them as much as I can now because for 3 months I won't be able to. I will write later about the MRI results.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 4: Hello Last Round

Today is Thursday and I am beginning to descend into the "fog" state. Chemo went well on Monday. I almost fainted when I got home, but recovered. I had Erich drive me to fluids on Tuesday because I was still shaky, but the 2 liters of fluids I received helped a great deal. Yesterday I sat with my girlfriend at the hospital while her husband underwent surgery for the removal of a cancerous thyroid. What the hell? Why are so many people being affected by cancer? I thank God that my friend's husband will be cured, as will I. We are the lucky ones. I am forever grateful for my support system of friends and family. Never in my life have I experienced the love and kindness that I have known in the last few months. I am so excited to face surgery. I want the cancer out of my body AND I have dreamed of smaller breasts my whole life. I feel as if I'm getting stronger every day, but I'm worried about Erich. I feel like he is at a breaking point. I'm encouraging him to take a few days to himself at the end of December. I hope he will.