Sunday, September 30, 2007

Satisfying Day

Yesterday my daughter, son-in-law and grandson made a special trip up to Ellijay. One of the oldest trees in Georgia is there. It's known as the Gannett Poplar. Someday I'm going to get to go and see it. I hear it is a lovely walk.

Fall is definitely in the air. It got down to the 60's during the night, and it was gloriously brisk when I went out to go to church this morning. I've been trying to take my grandson to church lately, but I can't wrangle him while I'm feeling this puny. I put my pink cap on and just went.

I have been feeling pretty robust today, so I cleaned the fish tank, and have managed to gather enough trash to completely fill the outdoor trashcan to the top. In other words, it was way over time to start shoveling some of the crud out of here!

Tomorrow I have an appointment to get some bloodwork done, and hope to get paperwork from the oncologist.

My geocaching friends are planning an event here in Bremen later in the month so that I'll be able to see some folks and still be a part of things, even though I can't get far from home. That makes my heart happy. ( There was a HUGE event this weekend, but it was on the other side of the state, and while I wish I could have attended The Lacy Family Campout, it wasn't destined to be this year. However, lookout next year because I'll be a new woman by then and I'm sure I can make some wake in the water then! LOOKOUT!

My head feels like velvet. The little tiny bit of hair left has a definite directionality to it, and so it's just like smoothing out a bit of velvet. It's soft in one direction and rough in the opposite direction.

I enjoyed a lovely dinner out with family tonight. It was wonderful to get out of the house for a bit, visit with Eric's folks and just share a nice meal.

I've been wondering if between chemo sessions I might be able to do some volunteering at my church on the days that I'm able to sit for a bit. I'd like to do something positive with my time besides just being the human paperweight. I may have to just try and see if I can manage it. I think if I could just sit and do something for a bit, I might be able to handle it. Time will tell.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

This Says it All

I'm a big fan of creating your own view of the world, preferablly a quirky and silly one. This fits the bill!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stronger by the Day

At this point I'm getting more back to myself everyday. I'm not strong, just more normal than I have been. I know that the rubber legs are just a moment away, but I'm enjoying being able to do small errands and take care of some of the small details of life.

I enjoyed visiting with a friend briefly today. Thanks E. for coming by! Awful House is my favorite restaurant!

Feeling awkward about not getting paperwork back from the doc. I am not sure why he's dawdling, but I have to get that to HR so that this time next month there is money coming into the bank account! Worries. Lots of worries.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Everyday is an Adventure

OK, today was the day that I got up and got out. I went grocery shopping. Now this seems pretty mundane, but for me it was THE moment when I exposed my bald self to the world. I also rediscovered the rubber legs. When I give out, there is no inner reserve to draw on anymore. When my body says I am DONE, it says so pointedly, and definitively. There is no, "Just one more minute," like when you were a kid and were trying to put off going to bed. I may want to stay one more minute, but done is DONE these days. A generous WW II vet put my groceries on the conveyor, the cashier called for a fellow to take my groceries to the car for me, and then I endured him telling me more than I wanted to know about everyone in his family and church that had cancer. It must be wonderful to live in a world where you know everything so clearly like the bag boy. Fortunately for him, I was too exhausted to tell him how stupid and naieve he was (they are different ideas). It's good for me to do everyday kinds of activities, but I see that I am going to have to do small trips, and not large expeditions to the grocery. Picking up 10 items at a time is probably much more manageable than shopping for an hour, which is really not so manageable.

Thank you MEM for the nice little book you gave me. I just opened it today. One piece of wisdom that I liked was, "Losing your hair is a bit like losing your virginity. It's never quite what you expect." [No More Bad Hair Days by Susan Sturges Hyde]

I am learning that I have the energy to do ONE thing in a day. I might do a little laundry. Or, I might get some groceries. Or, I might run an errand to Carrollton (the farthest away I trust myself to drive anymore). But I can not do two things, at least at this moment.

Thanks to R. for the lovely cards. Thanks to N. for the really great knitted cap! Arrived today and it's lovely and soft!

Last night I occupied myself working a crossword for the first time in a very, very long time. It's good mental exercise, and that's the only kind I can handle.

Today I bought some kind of little MP3 player gizmo to put some tunes on. I'm not sure I have it figured out yet, but I'm looking forward to a different passive activity other than mindlessly watching television. And, when I'm down and low and can hardly move it'll keep me company in an easier way too.

I'm not anywhere close to "normal," but I had enough energy to sit up, move around and go grocery shopping today. That's big stuff in my world these days.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Raw Recruit

I'm feeling a little more like myself and really need to be getting some things done. I wanted to go grocery shopping today, but the idea of facing the world looking like I do is just a little more than my psyche can handle presently. I've tried my caps on and they look dorky. But then the shaved look is pretty dorky looking too. By tomorrow I have to figure out how to move through the world. I have things to take care of, and they are not all inside my townhome.

I talked to the oncologist today, and now that we know the results of the pathology report, we are not changing the course of treatment. I will continue to get the "A-bomb of chemotherapy." (The doc's metaphore.) I don't yet know how many treatments, but that's ok. I talked to the Human Resource person at the Board of Education, and she's going to help me file for disability. I'm hoping to pick up the paperwork from the doc tomorrow. Working right now is possible for some people, but not this person. I'm on FMLA right now. That only lasts 12 weeks, so I'm carried on through Christmas, but......that'll be about the time I'm probably doing some kind of surgical intervention. I hear the procedure I'm interested in will take about a month to recover sufficiently from to be able to return to work.

I've found a cyber community of breast cancer women who help me sort through information, support me in my frailty, and make me laugh often ( I also have a chemo-sister that I can talk to who is about three months ahead of me on the treatment journey. It's good to have someone who can take away the fear of the unknown and give accurate information on what to anticipate. It helps emensely. EMENSELY.

Tomorrow I'm making a break for it, no matter how I look! I will not be kept captive by my own insecurities!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cut for the Cure

Cut for the Cure was an idea I had to raise money for Relay for Life. Students bought a ticket at a chance to cut my hair off. J.P. a very nice young lady that I'm so proud of as a JROTC student and an all-around good person won the chance. At her lunch on the cafeteria stage, she got to shear off my hair. I'm so proud of our students for raising $521.02 for Relay for Life. The ponytail will be sent to Locks of Love. Because the student is under 18 and I do not have her permission to show her image on my blog, her identity is pixillated. I'm very proud of her and so glad that the student who won, was someone I could trust behind my back with sharp scissors! I wanted someone I really liked to get to do it, and it was. :)

If you reach down deep into the center of things, even sad and awful things, you can still pull out something redeaming. Maybe not in the moment, and maybe not immediately, but there are ways. This was my way to make two good things come out of one really bad thing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Post-surgical Evaluation & Pathology FINALLY!

OK, I saw the surgeon today and the pathology report is FINALLY done, and the news is what it is. Get ready to have your brain scrambled by lots of scientific information.

1. The way doctors look toward treatment of breast cancer has to do with the particular kind that it is.

2. Right now, there are three (minimially) factors that "define" what kind you have.
o One is if your body is able to react to estrogen
o One is if your body is able to react to progesterone
o One is if your body is genetically disposed to "express" a certain genetic receptor named the HER2 receptor

3. So here's my status:
I'm estrogen receptor negative (er-)
I'm progesterone receptor negative (pr-)
I'm HER2 negative

4. That means that the class of drugs that would be used to treat someone that is er+ are not available to treat me, because my body will not react to them. Further the class of drugs that would be used to treat someone that is pr+ are not available to treat me, because my body will not react to them. Finally, the drugs used to treat people who are HER2+ are not available to treat me, because my body will not react to it.

5. Now this seems a little discouraging because I have the common cold of breast cancer -- truely the most common kind. However, all the drugs that have been discovered in recent years, and particularly the "silver bullet" of cancer treatment (Herceptin), are all drugs that will not work for me.

6. So what does a person with my particular profile do to fight cancer? Well, I'll refer you to this site. Put your hands behind your head, lean back in the chair and have a nice read. Now you know the kind of scientific mumbo-jumbo that I need to wade through to figure out what strategy is the one I want to adopt. There is one particularly nice piece of information that came out of the pathology report today. That is: I'm Node Negative. That means of the 5 lymph nodes that were sampled two weeks ago and examined, none of those nodes has any cancer cells running around inside. That means it's not LIKELY in my bloodstream. That is a very good piece of information to know.

7. Clearly, it is important for me to do chemotherapy. Which one? I am not sure......I'm researching things more. The first chemotherapy I got is a VERY aggressive kind called TAC. It's the scary monster of chemo's. I can always get easier (comparitively) with the chemo or scale back on the drugs, but there is a lifetime dose that one can accumulate of the "A" component. Now that we know the definitive pathology report results, we can be more focused on selecting a set of poisons.

8. I go back in a month to decide, probably, how much of me, and when I'll have some of me physically removed. Go to the above site and read and you'll see why this is a complicated thing to decide. There is a part of me that screams "GET THIS CRAP OFFA ME!" However, the advantage of doing the chemo first is that you get to see if any of the poison they throw at the monster, works. So, the moral of the story is, "Be patient." Another reason to do the chemo first is so the surgery can be figured so you can save as much skin as possible and do the least amount of surgical "revision" of the area as possible.

9. If I thought it would save my life, I'd be willing to sacrifice a lot of me to the knife. The bottom line, however, is that just lopping things off doesn't necessarilly improve your chance for survival or reoccurrence.

10. After sitting up in the car for several hours today, I was EXHAUSTED. It's one week today since the chemotherapy was administered, and it just blows me away how just sitting up can be too taxing for me. I mean so EXHAUSTED that I can literally fall down. I'm talking about so tired, I can't eat, can't move, can't catch my breath because I've been doing something like standing still for a few minutes. I wanted to take pictures of my hair today, before it goes away tomorrow. I wanted to see my grandson and just enjoy being in his precious presence. I wanted to just be able to eat a meal and have it digest normally. I wanted to believe I could be independent and take myself to the doctor in north Atlanta. I wanted to believe that once I knew the name of my enemy, I could fight it better. None of these things are meant to be.

Thanks to Jeff who called me today to touch base with me and let me know that my students are managing. I'm sorry you had to "draw" the sick teacher as your coteacher this year. If I could have "dodged this bullet" I sure would have though!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chicken' & Dumplin's

Thanks to J. for bringing me some home-made chicken and dumplings and some fresh cantelope. Thanks be to god, Jenny got me some more TP and a few provisions. I'm awful thankful for the TP though.

I got a beautiful, beautiful card from my chemo-angel. I'm stunned by the beautiful things she creates with paper. Somewhere over a thousand miles away a kind person makes these things of incredible beauty and she sends them through the mail to me to brighten my day. And it works! They are great bouys that hold my spirits up.

Thanks to all who send a card, make a call, or share their spirit in other ways. It all helps.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

If Crap was Holy, My Place Would be the Vatican!

I thought surely I was getting stronger, and I felt a little more like myself last night. However, my tummy was NOT happy with anything complex in it, and spaghetti was way, way too complex! The sad result was cramps and an all-night run between the bed and bathroom, that got pretty old. I surrendered this morning to anything complicated, and just managed to go to the local drugstore and get some Immodium (large supply!) and some of those BOOST drinks. I've hydrated slowly today, and enjoyed the smooth liquid going down my throat. It tastes like it has candles melted into the liquid, but it goes down nice, and it's not into high volume exit production, or cramping, so I'm happy. I got brave this evening and have warmed some chicken soup and had a little, and it was heavenly.

Betty just called me and wanted to know if I was feeling up to taking her out to dinner? She said she had enough cigarettes and food to keep her going until I got well. I've got some bad news for her. This could last a little longer than she anticipates.

The joint pain is diminishing some, so that's an improvement! With luck by tomorrow I'll be able to re-claim membership in the human race. Phew, last night was tough!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Post-poned Events

I couldn't work yesterday at all. Today I was supposed to be in North Atlanta at 7:30 am for a post-surgical follow-up. It didn't happen. I had planned to drive myself, but knew last night that such a trek was not possible. My daughter has kindly sacrificed her day off, Monday, to haul me up to my surgeon and back.

These changes then cause changes in the "Cut for the Cure." Scheduled, originally, for Monday, the winning student will cut my ponytail off, to be donated to "Locks of Love" on Tuesday instead of Monday. Sorry to anyone that was effected by the changes.

Thanks to Jen and Eric for making sure my puny self got something warm and nummy to eat for dinner last night. The interesting "fun fact for the day" yesterday was finding out that on chemotherapy, green beans taste good. Never liked them. Ever. On chemo, they taste good. Who knew?

Still feel very weak and .....well not myself at all, but at least having admitted defeat to the chemo-monster, I'm able to just stop struggling frantically to do what has obviously become impossible. Things will improve, just not today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rubber Legs

I got up. I got dressed. I was late, but I got to work at 8. I left at 8:20 with rubber legs and a sense of defeat. I just couldn't do it. I came home and Romeo, my cat just lay down on top of me, comforting me.

The steroids I'm on for the first four days after a chemo treatment....may be the culprit. I don't know. It could certainly be three doses of massive poisons. It could be a combination of surgery on Friday and Chemo on Monday, and my refusal to believe that I'm indestructable. Whatever is happening, I'm weak, and emotional and weak, and weak. Thanks to those who are understanding. I'm hoping this is transitory.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Exhausted Wednesday

I cried a real good cry for the first time today. Between meds and exhaustion and the kindness of some gentle friends, I just melted for the first time since diagnosis. Not a convenient moment I must say, but it helped wash some pain from my soul.

Tonight, I'm just too, too tired. I passed exhaustion a few hours ago. Can't do anything right now but hold down the bed for a while. Regards to all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nulasta to the Chemical Mix

Because of what I got yesterday, and am taking for the next few days, my bone marrow is going nuts and so I got a shot of Nulasta this afternoon. The fun news about that is that is is supposed to have intense bone pain as a side effect. "Please don't feel hesitant to call and ask for pain meds!" said the nurse. OK! I got very, very tired at work about 1PM today, but was able to keep plugging along until time to leave for the next doc appointment. Can hardly believe I have another one tomorrow afternoon! The bills are rolling in now too, and that looks much more exciting than having pancreatitus last year!

We've set the date for the shearing. It will be Monday. I will check with Mrs. Anderson to see who gets the "honor" of cutting off my hair. Once we know what lunch that person has, then we'll be able to get things set up. My daughter is going to pick me up Monday and take me to the barbershop for the rest of it to go. Then I'm supposed to go to a church meeting. Hummmm. My first bald moment at church.....hope they and I both can handle it.

I have to sleep now. I know it's not quite 9, but I'm really, really tired. Thanks to my Secret Pal who is already organized and has made sure I feel cared about! Mummmm, chocolate! And cool earings!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Me on Chemo #1

Here I am with a shawl over me. You can't see them, but I took fuzzy socks in case my feet got cold. That was an excellent move. They stay in the chemo bag. I think the shawl tranforms into a blanky by next time. The doc was nice, the nurses were nice. I drank lots of fluids. I pee'd lots of fluids. The place is nice and very clean and they give you all the crackers, ice and cokes you want to drink. I have three prescriptions for nausea, and one for steroids, and tomorrow I get a shot of something that will make me feel like I have the flu but which will stimulate my bone marrow to keep working even though it's stressed out.
I don't feel "normal" (whatevertheheckthatis) but I don't feel bad. I'm being very careful to use my anti-nausea stuff to ensure I don't start hurling. If I feel tomorrow like I feel now, I will be able to go to work. I'm setting the alarm for 5 am to take inventory though and see how I'm doing at that time.
Jenny checked my incision for me tonight. It's all intact and aside from some increadible bruising, it's healing and the swelling is going down a little everyday.
I have been briefed on all the potential side effects. The rules are: if I run a fever of 100.5 I call the doc anytime of the day or night. If I start to hurt anywhere and a dose of some really good pain stuff doesn't take care of it, I call the doc anytime of the day or night. If I can't reach the doc's office, I go to the Carrollton ER and they will call the doc. I have to use lots of bacterial hand cream, stay away from germs, and wash my hands incessently.
No worries here.
I'm imagining that HUGE syringe of red medicine going straight to the tumor, although I really know it went straight to my bladder. It took 5 hours to put three different poisons into me, but so far, so good. We'll see if that is different in the am. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Big Busty Girls....

...have BIG incisions! I'm very uncomfortable today and because I'm being stoic about it and not taking lots of pain meds, I'm hurting. The incision is neat and tidy. "Tidy" in relationship to incisions is a good thing. I'm pretty happy that I don't appear to have any lymphodema (swelling) of that arm, but for the rest of my life, I can not have needles or blood pressure taken in my right arm! That piece of information wasn't in anything I read before the procedure! My goal for today is to do some light housekeeping, and take a shower. Not sure if I'll be allowed to take a shower yet but it sure seems like a very appealing idea.

I am happy to report that whatever way Dr. S did the SNB, I do not, NOT have a blue breast. I've heard of some women having this for up to two years after their SNB, but I'm happy to share that aside from the incision, the removal of two lymph nodes, and a good bit of pain, I'm a normal flesh tone. I'll take all the perks I can get at this point in time.

Tomorrow is a big day because it is facing the biggest unknown for right now -- the first chemotherapy. I'm coughing a lot and getting up a lot of phlem, that I expect is related to general anesthesia. I still don't sound quite normal because of the tubes and so forth that went down my throat, but it's getting back to normal slowly.

Coughing and incisions are not a nice mix, however.

Thanks, Sissy for the book! I'm looking forward to working on it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Good news for a change!

Yesterday morning Jenny picked me up and we went to the doc's office where I got a second core biopsy. Dr. S. had some kind of special Frankenstein-looking machine that looked really scary to do the biopsy with, but was just as easy as the last time with the hand-held thing that Dr. Z did. Not a problem. They gave me these 2 mini-mini-icpacks to put on the spot. They are a little smaller than handwarmers but just the cutest little things that will no doubt become the ity-bitty ice packs to go on baby boo-boos.

Now the sentinel node bipsy was a much bigger deal. It made for a very, very long day. You enter the hospital get processed in to the "waiting pens" which has the feel of lambs being led to the slaughter, and I'm the lamb. The nurse here, who's name really was "Fink," I swear, talked to me like I was a child of 6 and the tone of condesension that would give King Faissel a run for his money. We were at the hosptal at 9, by 1 Jenny was famished when they took me away to get the dye shot. Now this part is a little intresting because I hadn't imagined where they'd put the shot, but it was right into my nipple. Now that you've stopped holding your chest, no, it wasn't as bad as one can imagine. They did give me a shot of lidocaine to numb the spot before putting in the dye. They took me back to the holding pen, and then about 45 minutes later the surgeon arrived, but was talking about being hit (not in her car but personally -- her body flew through the air 5 feet -- no this is not a hallucination) by a Hummer. Now I don't know about you, but hearing your surgeon talk about being hit by a Hum-V just before she is going to use a very sharp knife on you, is not reassuring! Apparently, however, it didn't seem to phase her, and I'm hoping when I take the dressings off, we will find that she does have nerves of steel.

I was Jenny and Eric's guest last night as a precaution, but am back home now holding down the bed. I very much appreciate their hospitality, but I'm glad to be back in my own bed. The cats don't seem to have cared that I was gone for a day, but the goldfish were glad I came home to feed them.

The really excellent, good, fabulous news is that Dr. S examined the sentinel node and one other node and did not find any evidence of cancer infiltration to the lymph glands. At this time, it appears the cancer is contained to the tumor and hasn't sent cells out to the rest of my body via the bloodstream. Very, very good news.

I do have to add that Nurse Fink was offset by the nicest nurse I'm come across that wasn't my daughter. She was sent by the hospital to just answer questions about anything going on with me, and she was genuinely helpful. I forget her name, but she was just kind and helpful, and a total surprise of good advice, and she even brought presents for me!

It was a long, long day for a pregnant lady to babysit me, and it was 7PM before they released me after surgery. It was a little after 9 when we got to Jenny and Eric's place. I ate 2 grilled-cheese sandwiches and then totally crashed!

This is a big deal out of the way now. Monday we can actually start treating the tumor! I'm looking foreward to poisoning this piece of death out of me.

Sore today but not too bad. Not sure about church tomorrow. Driving while on pain meds just doesn't seem like a great idea, you know?

Maybe typing while on drugs doesn't seem really logical either, but it's the best I can produce through the haze.

I hope the new biopsy gives more definitive results next week. We'll see.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SNB & Tumor Biopsy in the AM

The only way to get some indications on the stage of the cancer is to get the Sentinel Node Biopsy now, before the chemo can "sterilize" the lymph nodes. A SNB will help me know if the cancer has spread to my blood stream. It's not definitive, but it'll help direct treatment. One interesting side effect is that the dye that is used to assist the surgeon to find the sentinel node, can sometimes reside in the breast for up to a year. As the dye is a blue color, I have heard of women living as part Smurf for a while. Others are luckier and are able to excrete the dye through the urinary system. I'm hoping to be in the latter group. No show-and-tell if I'm part Smurf though! This procedure is done under general anesthesia. They threw me out of the hospital so fast after my last procedure, it's going to be interesting to see how conscious I have to be to leave this time. Last time I had to be alert enough to stand briefly to pull up my drawers, and that was adequate to release me to go home!

Many thanks to Miss A. who was kind enough to know today was a hard day at work, and made sure I felt wrapped in love from the start of the day. She has made sure I will be wrapped in the most lovely scents and have something uplifting to read for the next while. Angels come to us in many forms and times. Thanks for being my angel today, Miss A.

Must go sleep now to get ready for tomorrow. All will be well. I agree with Maxine's assessment of my problem, in her picture at the head of this installment.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm pleased to report that about $450 has been raised for Relay for Life in the "Cut for the Cure."

I am proud of FCCLA for all their hard work selling the tickets. Thanks Mrs. Anderson. I hope school folks will relay to the students how grateful I am for their participation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Small Victories

Being an avowed coward, I had talked to some other chemotherapy patients and gotten the recommendation that I get some Emla cream in advance of my chemo. It numbs the skin above the port and makes the chemo experience easier. I'm all in favor of easy and less painful. I had called the doctor's office last week and was blown off by some "gatekeeper." After getting coached by my daughter, a nurse, I called back today and used her magical wording, and low and behold, it all worked out!

The lady from the newspaper came by today. Have no idea what she's going to say, but she sure took a bunch of pictures. The last time I was in the paper, the article was so full of typo's it was almost impossible to make sense of what the reporter had written! I just hope whatever she writes encourages people to get their mammo's and PSAs on time so they don't get the same rude news I have. Supposed to be in the Tallapoosa Journal on Monday.

I had a lot of fun being a Secret Pal last year at school. I was glad to see that we're going to be able to do it again this year.

LilypieExpecting a baby Ticker

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'm so excited! I just found out that over $260 has already been raised in the short week of with Labor Day in it! We have one more week to collect money for Relay for Life this full week, and with the new promo I did last week premeiring this week, I think we'll likely get some more Cut-for-the-Cure money coming in. Isn't this just the greatest way to turn a negative into a positive? Yes, I'll cry when my hair is cut, but this fundraiser will make my tears partly tears of joy because I know that another cause has benefited through this piece of my life journey. I'm happy, happy, happy that this "event" is helping out with the R for L campaign. It warms my heart.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Pre-Op Monday

I got the bill for my port. It is the most expensive accessory I have!! A mere $10K and I'm going Monday to do the pre-ops for another "event" at Northside. Can't wait to find out what that surgery will cost! (Yeah, I can.)

Liam is learning the songs at Children's church and getting to look foreward to going. He is such an extrovert and such a busy fellow! I just wish he was a more quiet fellow while at church.

Sundays are fun with him. Well, anytime with him along is fun.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Local Interest Story

Well it appears my silly idea of raffling off the opportunity to cut off my hair has caught the interest of the local paper. A reporter asked for an interview with me. My hope is that if they do a story, they'll emphasize everyone doing timely mammograms and PSA testing (for the gentlemen) so that others can avert themselves from the experience I'm having presently. And, maybe someone else will be encouraged to give to Locks of Love. Who knows?

My daughter and I went to a local jewelry establishment today and bought a BUNCH of larger and more overstated earings that I can wear when I have no hair to show off my femininity. Curly of the Three Stooges would not wear earings, so I'm hoping that'll be the give-away that I'm really a girl when I don't have hair to give a hint about my identity. Hair is such a vital part of a woman's feminity. I'm just looking for other ways to be girly without being too gaudy. Classy but feminine can still be achieved without hair, I hope.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cat Therapy

My grey kitty named Romeo is my constant companion now when I'm home. He's evicted my other kitty, Chelsea, from her spot next to me. That's pretty assertive for him. Generally he lets his wives have their own way. Poor guy has asthma so he wheezes while he snoozes next to me. I like it that he knows me well enough that he feels compelled to comfort me. The cats are better at cuddling up with me than the three goldfish.

My neighbors did a wonderfully kind thing for me yesterday. I came home to find my grass cut, my back patio completely tidied up, and the concrete swept. It was a lovely gift from several neighbors. Thanks to S. & K & J. You ladies are just the BEST!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I'm So Proud

I'm so excited that students from Mrs. A's class are already selling tickets for the "Cut for the Cure." I was surprised today when someone asked me if I'd seen the promo spot on HCHS TV? Well, no.....the room I'm in during 2nd block doesn't have cable access, and yesterday the dear fellows who were trying to tape me were having huge technical issues, so I didn't think they got it. I was surprised. But students are running around at lunch and they're collecting money. I'm excited beyond belief that Relay for Life will benefit from my misfortune.

Friday, September 14th I get the Sentinel Node Biopsy AND another core biopsy of the tumor. The following week I get my first chemo. I'll be setting that appointment up tomorrow.

From date of diagnosis to first treatment will be right at six weeks. I wish we could be pelting the enemy within by now, but.... it is not to be just yet.

Anyone out there interested in donating 10-inches of hair to Locks of Love along with me? I was so impressed today when several young ladies offered up the information that they'd already done it. One of them had done it twice!

I know this is a strange way to cope, but it really makes me feel elated that somehow in the midst of my horror other people can benefit. That is my gift back (by way of the hands of many others) at a time when I have little control over much of anything in my life.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dori the Fish

Dori is a bit of a ditz but she has a great philosophy about what to do when you don't know what to do, "Just keep swimming......just keep swimming....just keep swimming." That's what I feel like I'm doing right now. I'm just keeping swimming in-between allt he big tests, the blood tests, the appointments, and the conversations with surgeons and oncologists. Even though they seem overwhelming to me most of the time, I'm a bit like Dori and I "Just keep swimming."

Today's adventure was setting up the appointment for a sentinel node biopsy and a new core biopsy of this weird tumor that gives the pathologists such strange results. That pushes off the first chemotherapy, I THINK. I'm not sure. I now have an e-mail in to the oncologist to see for sure. It might actually be a little cool by the time I lose my hair!

I'm very excited that Mr. K, my principal has approved my scheme to raise money for Relay for Life. I tried to record a promo for the school news today, but the mysteries of electronics prevented that. Maybe tomorrow, eh? I'm hoping we'll get a bunch of money for R for L.

The reason for the Sentinel Node Biopsy is that since I'm doing neoadjuvant (or before surgery) chemotherapy, I'll never get a chance to have my tumor staged. Staging is relatively important, but it's not everything. My MRI says that my lymph nodes are not likely to be involved (infested with cancer), but the only way to know for sure is to get a biopsy. The Sentinel Node is the principle node for the arm, and she will harvest a few other nodes as well, but I won't likely end up with the drastic swelling and impairement that women used to have to deal with when node examination had to always be so invasive. This has to be done on the arm with my dominant hand, so I want to preserve it as best as possible, but I also want to know if the cancer has decided to migrate from its original location through my bloodstream.

The surgeon today asked me if she wanted her to take out the lump when she had me under for the SNB, but I just turned it back to her, and said, "And how will I know if the chemo works on the tumor if you take it out?" She replied that most patients want it out, out, out, but that she thought I was wise with my strange profile and the limited number of drugs that may effect and/or affect the tumor to keep it inside me until she could do the more dramatic surgery later.

So the oncologist is pretty much telling me that my chances are just as good if I do the chemo before, as they are if I do the chemo after the surgery. The surgeon is definitely giving me good "marks" for my research, and complimented me on learning so much and being a very well educated cancer patient. God I hope I'm making the right decisions! Only time will truly tell.....for real.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Port is Doing Well

Now you see it. Now you don't. Jenny, myself and the radiologist did good with the port placement. Well, a week ago tomorrow, was when I got my port. It's not as itchy anymore as it's been being. I'm relieved because I thought, "OMG, what if I'm allergic to this dang thing!" But it's just the skin knitting together and it's fine now. The bruising is a nice yellowish color and by this time next week will likely be gone.

My cold is so much better at this point that I can actually breathe out of both nostrils at different points in time. I'm not coughing as much, but my ribs are sore from coughing so much yesterday. It looks like I'll be able to recover from this cold JUST before I start the chemo this coming week. I don't know how well I could handle having a cold AND doing chemo. Chemo is different for different people, but as my cancer is an aggressive form, I'll be taking an aggressive form of chemo. I'm expecting it to do some major butt kicking. However, I'm the gal that loves to give blood because it makes me feel positively giddy. Who knows how this chemo thing will go. I'm waiting to hear from Dr. Pierce to see what he has worked out with Dr. Steinhaus. I await their choreography. Whatever they line up for me, I'll do it. No question about it, I'm scared. But I have to do this and do it with gusto or the cancer will get the better of me, so I'm imagining myself putting on my armor and going off to war this week. My weapons will be chemical and the enemy is a very real tumor. All positive vibes accepted gratefully, as well as prayer, chocolate and jokes.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


I've got a cold. I started the day by barfing twice. The moral of that story is don't take your decongestant on an empty stomach.

Just coughing and spluttering and lots of misery here. I'll be better soon; just not today.