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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

One year ago, on Thanksgiving, I was bald.  This year I am not.  One of many things I am thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

=)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Squash Anxiety

Well I didn't call the surgeon.  December 7 will be here soon enough. Two weeks goes by quickly around here.  Gettin all ready for the big Thanksgiving dinner.  Tomorrow is pies & prep. 

No More Squash Anxiety

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Think I Figured It Out

Why the mediport wouldn't register for the nurse.  It does appear that it has shifted a bit...like it's trying to turn on it's side.  This would probably explain the mild soreness I've been feeling below my shoulder for the last several days.  And of course, me being me....yeah, I'm a bit freaked out about it.  Maybe I should see if Dr V can go ahead & take it out....gonna call in the morning.  Yep.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oh Em Gee! Didn't See THAT Comin!

Soooooooooo yeah.  I had my 3 month visit with my Oncologist, Dr W, on Thursday.  But first it was time to do the 6 week port flush thing.  For the 1st time ever since it's been with me, it decided to act up.  Sure, saline was able to be flushed through it, but it did not give a "blood register" when the nurse pulled back on the syringe.  She tried & tried.  Pumped 3 things of saline through it.  Even tilted the chair all the way back so that I was basically standing on my head.  Still nuttin.  Ok, so, me being me...yep.  Cue major freakin out time.  Even though all the nurses assured me that it was "fine" & "sometimes they just act up" & "it flushed fine, so it's fine" & "sometimes they just move around a bit"....  Not mine, I'm tellin ya.  Mine is stitched in FOUR places....all the way around it.  Not the standard 2 stitches.  Sooooooo anyway.  No blood comin from the port today.  So had to get stuck twice so they could run the blood work.  Yay.

And thanks to all that drama, no, I wasn't a bit surprised that my blood pressure was kinda high.  And I told that to Dr W when he came in the exam room. And then we chatted about this & that, & I was all nervously waiting for him to say the skeery "scan" word.  

He did not order a scan.  He doesn't do CT Scans for breast cancer.  At least for my kind.  He says that stuff that a CT Scan detects can be very vague & cause stress that could be avoided.  Says he sees ladies that can only live their lives in 3 month increments...scan to scan.  Elated at a clear scan, then totally freaked out the next time cause a 3mm spot showed up somewhere that no one is even sure what it is, just to find out it was just a spot.  A nothin spot.  So he opts for chest & abdomen X-rays.  And CBC blood work.  And mammograms.  And me feelin the boobies.  So then he was all like, yeah, "I think the port can come out in February, then get your X-ray & I'll see ya back here.."  I'm like, "yeah, lovely.  Just in time for my stupid ass health insurance deductible to have started over."  And then he goes..."You know what....go ahead & call Dr V & schedule to get the port removed in December.  A Xmas gift to yourself."  And I was like "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa??!?!?!!  Are you kidding me?" He was like, "No, go ahead."  And I'm like, "Even without a scan or the X-ray first?  You're THAT confident that everything's gonna be ok?!"  He's like "Yep. Sure am.  Now if you just INSIST on a Scan, I'll order it.  But I don't usually do those for breast cancer.  Plus don't want to be exposing you to more radiation."  

And it was at that point that I started hoppin all around the exam room like some deranged kangaroo, & even grabbed Dr W & gave him a big ol squeeze.  (He was probably sore the next morning...he's skinnier than I am.) 

He went on to explain that getting it out 60 days early isn't going to make a difference in things, & to just be sure to get my X-ray 2 or 3 days before I see him again in February.

So OH EM GEE! I totally didn't see THAT comin.  I showed up all a bundle of nerves, but left floatin on air.

So, I've got an appointment with the awesome surgeon, Dr V, for December 7, for the removal of my "little alien buddy".  And then that's it.  I'm done. D O N E.  Well, except for the 5 years of Tamoxifen & 3 month oncologist visits with X-rays, 6 month follow ups with the surgeon.  But "treatment wise"...Yeah, I'd call this done.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Questions of the Day

Ok, so lunch with a dear friend....she recently had her own breast cancer scare.  So glad for her that it turned out to be all fine.  Then off to see the Oncologist, Dr W.  I've been advised that he may request a CT Scan & that I may very well be getting it immediately.  Immediately upon drinkin some lovely barium.  Yum.  And I think I'm brewin my annual Thanksgiving sinus infection.  

Questions on my mind at the moment?  Will I actually get the scan today?  How long before we know the results.  Will a sinus infection show up on the scan & scare the bejeebus outta everyone?  And, should you refrigerate an uncut pomegranate?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Tryin...

I have a meeting with my Oncologist, Dr W, in a couple of days.  He's probably gonna order a scan.  IF he does, it will be the first scan since the pre-chemo, post-surgery scans.  And I'm very nervous about it.  I'm tryin not to worry or be nervous.  But at this point in things, when you've had the surgeries, done the chemo, finished the radiation, finished the Herceptin, & you're basically DONE (except for 5 years of Tamoxifen)...I think it's normal to feel nervous.  I think I'll always feel nervous & stuff about scans for the rest of my life.  

Anyway...I haven't even had the appointment yet & I'm already being a fuckin weirdo.  Can't help it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Posted Nov 10, 2010 Makin a Move...& More Hair Yadda-Yadda

Makin a Move...& More Hair Yadda-Yadda

Posted Nov 10, 2010 9:03pm
Ok, so several things to chat about right quick. First...saw the surgeon, the awesome Dr V, last week. Says it appears I'm doin great. Boobies feel good. =) YAY! Next up, Oncologist visit. Dr V suspects that a scan will be ordered. And it sounded to me like, if the scan is clear (please please please have a clear scan), then he'll be lookin to take out the port. But Dr W wanted it stayin for 6 months...which puts removal in February. Wonder how many clear scans I gotta have to get the port out. Hmmmm. Guess we'll find out.

And we had a pretty fun Halloween. We handed out tons of candy. Plus I wore my new hair. It's a fun half wig that goes on like a headband. So you see my bangs, and the front is MY hair, and from the headband back is the half wig. I think I love it.

 Also still lovin my hat wig. I wear it a bunch too.

Next. I wish some people would be more careful and not just blurt out an assumption. So yeah, I was shoppin with my friend and we went into this boutique we go in to all the time. Saw an employee there that I haven't seen in a long time. She was all tryin to remember me. Went something like this:

Shop Girl: *shakin her pointed index finger at me* "I know you...you come in here all the time..."
Me: "Yeah, you know me..."
Shop Girl: "Can't believe you chopped off all your hair!"
Me: *5 seconds of stunned silence*
Me: "No I didn't. Chemotherapy took it."
Shop Girl: *Gasps and grabs at her chest*

Yeah. Nice. Anyway, obviously not lovin the short hair. Still. But I CAN get a tiny nubby ponytail. And with my bangs and a headband, can sort of look like when I wore a ponytail...until I turn to the side or from the back.
Hair regrowth after chemo - Nov 6, 2010
 Next: Not every-single-thing makes it into this CarePage blog. Not that I'm being dishonest, mind, but rather...selective in what all I share. With my family being so far away, sometimes it's best to chat on the phone about some things, so as to prevent someone reading something, and then worrying a bunch, when maybe should only worry a little, or not at all. Ya know? And also, I understand that people wanna say whatever they can to make me feel good/better. Even to the point of being overly-complimentary. And I LOVE and am SO blessed to have people around me who do honestly care about me and just want to make me feel good. BUT, that said: Yes. My hair is growing back. It's good hair. It's good to HAVE hair. Do I like how I look? No. And no amount of compliments or assurances that "if it would look that cute on me..." is gonna change that. Thus my new half wig, hat wig and soon to come fake ponytails and the possibility of extensions in the future. =)

*oops...sorry...hope I don't sound too bitchy there*

Yeah, so this post turned in to a bit of a rant-novel. Sorry. I'm hormonal. I take Tamoxifen. (Promise my next Update will be one of more substance....you know, more important stuff about scans and the like. Occurs to me y'all are probably SICK to death of me lamenting my hair issues, huh......)

Lastly, I'm in the process of moving this CarePage over to my Blogger site. It used to be about my Online store, but is transitioning to mirror this CarePage. Seems some people are put off by having to have a membership to read a CarePage, and I have recently had some people ask if I had a "regular" blog. Well, yes I do, and my CarePage is in the process of makin the move to it at http://lunatechchick.blogspot.com/. Hope to see you all over there. I can be a bit more "myself" there, as CarePage is a bit restrictive in what you can do. Posts on my Blogger site might be a bit more...ummm....descriptive? LOL! ;)

Ok...that's it for now. As always, I do so appreciate your comments, thoughts, prayers and well wishes. Hubby and I both do. It means so much.

xx

Posted Oct 17, 2010 For the Times, They Are A-Changin...

For the Times, They Are A-Changin...

Posted Oct 17, 2010 9:22pm
Yikes, I haven't posted an update in a long time. Guess that means these be different times, bein all done with treatment and all!

Sooooooooo.....when I wake up in the mornin & look in the mirror, I see Bob Dylan lookin back at me. Yep, my bedhead looks like Bob Dylan's hairdo....or Un-do. AND, at night, when I remove the headband that holds my hair back so I can wash my face, I get Kramer hair. *Serenity Now!*  I'm still stuck in the "Headband Phase", cause I don't think I prefer how it looks flat ironed.
Hair Regrowth After Chemo - Headband Phase, Oct 13, 2010
 I see that pic and hear the jingle "Activiaaaaaaaaaa". Ugh. Yeah, kinda like a cross between Jaimie Lee Curtis & Liza Minnelli.
Hair Regrowth After Chemo - Activiaaaaaaaaaaa!
 And if I don't do anything at all to it, it's just awful. Wavy over here, curly over there, straight and flat on top....But at least it is growin. I'm just SO impatient with the speed of growth. Seriously considerin extensions when I have enough hair to pull it off.

Anywaaaaaaaay, nothin much really to report. Went in for the port flush. Sat down, port accessed, flushed, needle removed, bandaged & I was outta there. It's weird only goin in every 6 weeks. Feels like I'm all done...and I basically am done. Just takin Tamoxifen. Very little side effects so far. I've heard that possibly means that I'm not metabolizing the drug & therefor not gettin benefit from it. Dr W suggests staying on it, as the jury is still out on if that is even the case for "non-metabolizin" people. So I'll continue takin it as long as I don't get any of the bad or dangerous side effects. Kinda makes me feel more confident, that I'm still "in treatment" while takin it. Can't get bc again while on it, right?

Oh, I changed PCPs & saw my new doc. He did a CBC & metabolic panel (?) and tested Vitamin D levels and said it all looks good. Course I sorta knew that would be the case, as I've been having CBCs done every 3 - 6 weeks for over a year now.

Yes, October is bc awareness month. The shade of Pepto Bismol graces everything. I get that there are some good organizations that do raise money for research and stuff. But I think that the majority of pink ribbon stuff that you see, especially during October, is only aimed at separating you from your money. So check to see if the pink ribbon stuff you're buying contributes to a legitimate organization, and how much is contributed.

What else....attended a Pink Out pep rally at the high school last week. Saw a sign on the gym wall the kids made. Said "Save Second Base ;)" Cracked me up! The cheerleaders and A-Team gave us, the bc ladies, nice gifts.

And I'm studying to get my Property and Casualty Insurance license. Yeah, I knew I'd regret letting my Multi Line Agent's license expire! But looks like I'm goin back to work in the Insurance biz. And it will be great too cause I'm goin back to where I used to be an agent. Will be a very easy transition. And it's only gonna be part time for now. But first things first. Gotta pass the state exam. And I'm goin through this book and realizing how much I have forgotten. And hopin the chemo brain doesn't interfere with my ability to retain/learn stuff. Or pass the exam. And yeah, it's a struggle studyin this stuff. Insurance material is some dry readin, folks! I'd like to get this done quickly, but looks like it's gonna take a bit longer than I had anticipated.

So yeah, being able to go weeks and weeks without a doctor's appointment of some variety, plus lookin and feelin more and more like myself...yep....the times, they are a-changin.....
=)

Posted Sep 26, 2010 My Hairy Situation....

My Hairy Situation....

Posted Sep 26, 2010 9:07pm
Ok, so just a quickie update...my hairy situation. Soooooooo......here we go round FOUR! FOUR with the eyelashes. Round 2 with the nose hair. You might remember back last winter a post that said "Don't know whatcha got, till it's gone...nose hair...just sayin...." Yeah. It does serve a purpose. You totally learn that purpose too when it's all gone. Eyebrows still not totally filled in, but gettin there. And I have been seein lots of other post chemo chicks flat ironing their hair to give the illusion that it's longer and to handle the damn chemo curl. So I pulled out my old friend Chi Flatiron, and tried it out. All I was successful in doing was burnin my fingers. Hair is still too short for my 1" Chi. So I picked up this teeny tiny super skinny flatiron at the beauty supply store. Success! Was weird to feel my hair feel smooth again, cause in it's current natural UNRULY state, it no feel so smooth. Anyway, I might do that from time to time. And no, I don't like it.  (There's a shocker!)
Hair Regrowth After Chemo - Sept 21, 2010
 Again, yes, I'm super very over the moon thankful to have a full head of hair again. SO glad it's not all gray. But I'm just never gonna love how I look with short hair. Not even gonna like it. Not even a little bit. Ever. See the gallery. It's like a super short Joan Jett 'do. ICK!!!!!

I mean, just...IIIIICCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~End Rant~

Ok, that is all.
;)

Posted Sep 18, 2010 Nuttin To See Here...

Nuttin To See Here...

Posted Sep 18, 2010 7:05pm
Howdy. Just a quick update after the 6 month, both-boobies-and-a-mediport mammo. And it was all good. Clear. Nuttin to see here. So I was all like "WHEW!"

What else....I also got new hair. We did a video for my wig guy & he needed additional DVD copies, so we worked out some trade. We discounted the invoice if he'd throw in that ball cap wig. I think it looks more like "me" than my actual wigs. Never been much of a ball cap kinda girl, but I'll be wearing the #$%&! outta this one!

Oh, and I did finally start takin the Tamoxifen. Finally. On Wednesday. So far so good.
Then last night, I'm sleepily watchin The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, when it happened. He TOTALLY read meh Tweet!!! I was all like OH EM GEE! It was awesome. I love me some Craig Ferguson.

And the season is tryin to change. I love when fall approaches. You can just tell it's comin with the angle of the sun, the looooong afternoon shadows....gettin darker earlier & earlier...which I LOVE!!!

And that's about it. Nothin really to report other than my mammogram is clear & I now have hat hair...which is a good thing!
=)
New Hair

Posted Sep 7, 2010 Good To The Last Drop

Good To The Last Drop

Posted Sep 7, 2010 12:44am
Sooooooooo on Thursday, August 26, I had my LAST Herceptin treatment. YAY! And the chemo nurses and staff all applauded & blew bubbles around me and gave me a certificate.
Last Herceptin Aug 26 2010




Mediport has to stay put for another 6 months. So now we do port flushes every 6 weeks & see Dr W in 3 months. Wow. This means I will not have to go to the center at all in the month of September. And 6 weeks between port pokes (was hopin last week was the last, but, no...). For a year, been gettin poked every 3 weeks. Things seem to slow down a bit while we watch and see...Shew...I'm not gonna know how to act with so much less medical crapola goin on!

Next up, mammogram on September 14. Both boobies this time. Gonna have to mammo around the port. This should be interesting.

Oh...Tamoxifen. To take it, or not to take it. Got my prescription all filled & ready. But haven't taken it yet. Still very nervous about it. But I figure, I'll give it a try. If the side effects are just too much, I'll just stop takin it. That's what Dr W says he tells patients. So within a week I'll start it. Promise.


And finally, a word about the hair. Got my first real haircut on Friday, in an attempt to get it to look less fuzzy. But it seems it's turning into an afro. Brillo pad. Too damn curly. And short. Short, short, short. And I'm seriously thinking about wearin the wigs again. I just don't love how I look with this super short hair. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm SO happy to see hair growing. But this is a hairdo I see on ladies much older than me. And I feel like it's just not ME. And I can't do anything with it. It just is what it is. Just not likin how I look...I like it better than bird-head fer sure...but still missin my hair SO much. Hopin I can get extensions or something once it grows more...

Ok, so yeah...nothin really to report. Finished treatment. Flushes, mammos and follow ups. That's about it for now. Much less. Much better.
=)

Posted Aug 24, 2010 S'been A Long Time Since I Did An Update...

S'been A Long Time Since I Did An Update...

Posted Aug 24, 2010 4:24pm
"S'been A Long Time Since I Did An Update..duhnuuuh, duhnuuuuh..." LOL! Yeah, classic rock and Led Zeppelin fans will be singin "Rock and Roll" all day now! HA! Yeah, it has been awhile. I didn't do an update on the most recent Herceptin, cause there really wasn't anything to report. I sat and watched bags drip. Thrill a minute, I tells ya. BUT, then we got super busy with school getting ready to start...(started yesterday)

It's actually been kind of a rough patch around here lately. See, we've been in some sort of a weird, merciless heatwave. I mean, 100F+ every-single-%#$@!!-day. MISERABLE! And then the downstairs A/C went out. Got it fixed the next day. Or so we thought. Then a week later, still 100+, breaks down again. OF COURSE it needed a part that had to be ordered. OF COURSE we learn this late on a Thursday afternoon. OF COURSE the part takes till the end of the day Friday to be delivered, causing us to have to spend one HOT weekend. But Monday came, part was installed...all's right in the air conditioned world inside our four walls! And so glad too cause yesterday we broke a record at 108F!! But today, there are some showers in the area and it's actually not terrible outside for a change.

The big news this week is...*drumroll*....Thursday, I'm scheduled to take my LAST HERCEPTIN treatment!!!!!! The LAST one! Last medi port poke! Last day to sit and drip! I'm very excited about that, but nervous too...because I betcha Dr W is gonna start talkin scans and stuff. So I guess I'd say I'm "cautiously excited". And no, I haven't decided, even still, if I will take the Tamoxifen. Guess I will wait & see what the retest of my stuff showed...IF he actually had the retesting done.

Also, I already scheduled my next 6 month mammo...And it just happens to land on the anniversary of the day I shaved my head last September. Dunno if that's a good "sign" or what. But anyway, yes, the end of "active treatment". And this last Herceptin falls on the day before the anniversary of my very first chemo. So the One Year Treatment Plan will be complete in less than 48 hours. YAY!!

So, what have we been up to the last several weeks? Finally got the classroom & studio pretty much set up and ready to go. But like with any new facility, there are still some bugs to get worked out. The new High School is huge and very nice.

Hair...It's at SUCH a weird stage. Would probably benefit from a trim, but I just can't seem to get time to get it done. Hope to be able to do that before too long.
Hair Regrowth After Chemo - Aug 2010
 Ok, so, thanks for checkin on us. I'll let you know how Thursday goes, & what's next....betcha it's a scan of some sort.
xx

Posted Jul 25, 2010 A Year With NED & a Couple of Wet Muskrats

A Year With NED & a Couple of Wet Muskrats

Posted Jul 25, 2010 11:43am
So here's a little "in between treatments" update. On Friday, July 23, I celebrated spending the last year with NED. No Evidence of Disease. It's the term the docs prefer these days, rather than saying "remission". I think they reserve use of that word till you've gone several years with NED. I dunno. Only Dr. L has used the word remission with me. So anyway, yeah, July 23 a year ago I had that second surgery to try to get that clear margin, and Dr. V did get it that time, so I just assume that to be my "c-free anniversary" date.

The day after the last update, where I showed that ridiculous "hairdo" my stylist did, I got to messin around with it and came up with something else.
Hair Regrowth After Chemo - July 2010

Still don't like it. But it's better that the orange peel on the cat's head look. Wish I could like the look of short hair on me, but I just do not like it.

And I also washed my 2 most worn wigs for the last time. Thought I'd share what that looks like with y'all too. I call them "2 wet muskrats".

Haven't yet put them away. I can still wear them, it's just so hot. But if we were to go out somewhere and I just want to look more like "ME", I might wear the long one. I dunno...maybe being paranoid again, but I just feel like I need to keep them accessible till the mediport is removed.

We went to our new classroom and did some cleaning and arranging of things. Our graduate & good friend G came up and helped out. Fun seeing him. He's off to college in the fall.

Ok, so yeah, nothin really to report. Hot, long, dog days of summer. And 2 Herceptins to go.
Thanks for checkin in.
xx

Posted Jul 17, 2010 Round 3. A Rant.

Round 3. A Rant.

Posted Jul 17, 2010 12:17pm
Sooooooooo.....took my 3rd to the last Herceptin on Thursday. Nurse ran it in an hour again. One thing I'm noticing...I think when it runs in an hour, rather than 90 minutes, it causes me to feel SO tired after. The last 2 times I had it, I ended up takin loooong naps when I get home. Like 2 -3 hours. Then I feel all weird from sleepin through the middle of the afternoon and wakin up at 6pm. I dunno. I think I'm gonna ask that the next one, the next to the last one, run in 90 minutes & see. Cause all the others were 90 minutes and I didn't need a nap after. So yeah. Gonna give that a try.

Only 2 more. Then the scans begin I'm sure. And, I gotta say, I'm super nervous about it. I hate it. I wish I wasn't that way, but I just am. It seems like I was more confident right in the middle of treatment than I am now. Now I just try not to worry as the end of treatment nears. Nothin worse than waitin on test results. I mean, these scans will let us know if all of this worked, right? It HAS to have worked. Gah, I guess I'm just a paranoid person by nature. I dunno.

AND...here we go Round 3 with the eyelashes. They're thinning again. AGAIN. My left eye is very thin. Reminds me of how the lashes were during chemo. So, when everyone says they love my short hair (ugh!) cause it brings out my "great eyes" (not my words)...well, notsomuch these days. And the brows. OMG!!! I've got brow hairs growin where I don't want hair, and bald spots where I DO want brow hairs. What a *!@#% MESS! GAWD!

And finally, my hair-hair. Jeez. It's at this dreadful in-between stage where it's too long for pixie, too short for anything else. It's pretty much man hair. When a man desperately needs a haircut. In my opinion anyway. And I know many lovely ladies who wear very short hair & it looks great on them. I've just always had loooooooong hair, (except for that couple of years of the bob) so it just doesn't work for me. At all. And it's doing this stupid "chemo-curl" thing in the back. More curly on the right. So it's all jacked up in the back. I visited my stylist to see if she had some ideas. She really didn't. She cleaned up some areas around my ears and talked about how we'll have to keep trimmin up the back as the top grows down so it can eventually get to one length and finally begin to grow out. And she did this weird style thing, pushin it toward my face. Looks stupid to me. But then, it's all gonna look stupid to me for a long time. Reminds me of a funny cat picture I saw.
On a positive note...my nails have finally regained their strength, so they have finally grown to their normal length. So I did the French paint on them. I just do it myself. Not a big fan of manicures. Last update was toes, this time, fingers. LOL!

Posted Jun 26, 2010 Drip...Drip...Drip...

Drip...Drip...Drip...

Posted Jun 26, 2010 3:41pm
I mean it's just SOOOO boring! But thankfully, it gets done in an hour. Once it gets started, that is. Yes, it was Herceptin week. The new chemo nurse runs it in an hour for me. Works great. My port is a bit sore and bruised this time. Usually doesn't bruise. But when the nurse accessed it, she was like, "ooooh, I need to push that in more" and had to push on it a 2nd time. So I'm guessin that's it. I think I also flinched when she poked it initially. I usually don't flinch...just curse under my breath. No, I don't use the numbing cream. I figure, it's just a quick second, every 3 weeks. I'll deal. Hubby came with me this time, since he doesn't have to go to school anymore. So that was cool. 

But before the Herceptin was the meeting with the chemo oncologist, Dr. W. And he's still waiting for my answer about Tamoxifen. I discussed with him how I just felt it was very unlikely to have had a bc be ER-/PR "weakly positive" & HER2+. I think he's having it retested. And if it turns out that all of that is wrong, then I'll fer sure be takin the #@$! Tamoxifen. I reminded him that his initial plan for me was to do the year of Herceptin and be done. No further treatment needed. Cause really, Tamoxifen is mostly prescribed for those whose bc was Estrogen Receptor positive....which ain't me...unless the testing was read incorrectly. Eh! I dunno. We'll find out. So, doc scheduled my remaining Herceptins, and told me I need to have a decision by my last treatment.

LAST TREATMENT! OMG I'm so close to seeing the disco lights at the end of the tunnel! THREE treatments left! Last one will be on the day before the anniversary of my first chemo. August 26. Then things could get weird again...you know me....but trying not to even think about that stuff right now.

Summer is goin good so far. We're pretty close to being finished with the move into the new high school. Everything is over there, just gotta finish some set up stuff. But it is nice to not be on a particular schedule for awhile.

Tryin to eat healthier, less meat. Thought I'd try the vegetarian thing, but found that to be quite expensive...if I want to use meat replacement products anyway. Still can't find these fake buffalo wings that are supposed to just be tha bomb. Oh well...I'm at least limiting my meat intake.

Ok, so obviously not much to report. Here's a couple of pics. Guess you could call them my "day at the spa". You look up at the IV bag...drip...drip...drip....and try to figure out how much longer...

then you return to lookin straight ahead....I apparently look at my feet.

Thanks y'all for checkin in!
=)

Posted Jun 5, 2010 "Happy Birthday" Is A Victory Song

"Happy Birthday" Is A Victory Song

Posted Jun 5, 2010 8:30pm
A couple of weeks ago, I took part (briefly anyway) in the Relay for Life. I didn't get to stay very long, as we had another shoot. (Duty calls! LOL!) So I figured, I've been through hell and back with this stupid stuff, I'm at least gonna get the **** T-shirt outta the deal! LOL!

Soooo, I'm 41 today. It's been a very fun day too. I got to see some of our students and VERY good friends graduate from high school, had a lovely steak lunch, did some fun girl stuff...and now, as I type, I'm enjoying some of my favorite Spicy Hot Cheese Popcorn. It's very great. And in honor of my birthday, I thought I'd share a picture from my Big 4-0 party last year. It's me, raising a toast to myself. Sure wish I still looked like that...But it is what it is. *GROW hair GROW!*
The Big 4-0. Yep, missin my hair hard core these days.
 Also, I'm done with the wigs. Have been for a few weeks now. Which is great since it's been around 100 degrees the last few days. Hair is kinda doin a pixie thing. I don't like it, but am SO happy to see a full head of hair again. People tellin me how nice it looks and stuff. My stock answer: "Thank You. It's nice to have hair to hate." LOL!
Hair Regrowth After Chemo - June 2010

And I had Herceptin on Thursday. Went fine. Four more to go. Had our class banquet that night and it was the best one we've ever had. Lots of fun at that.

Last day of school was yesterday. We taped the graduation today. Was very emotional for hubby and me to see our Senior students graduate. And so far, it's been a pretty great birthday. And I'm bout to raise another one of those Jager toasts to myself, so it's about to get even better! LOLOLOL!

Still haven't heard from some docs regarding getting my tests redone to determine if that PR "weakly positive" is a false positive. I gotta say though, I'm really leaning toward not takin this Tamoxifen, unless the stuff is retested and comes back with some ER positive. So, I need to get back on the phone and lean on some docs I think. Will keep y'all posted on that.

So that's about it. School is out. Graduation is shot. Will be edited soon. Classroom is packed up and we're ready for the move to the new High School. THEN I'm gonna be all about having the summer off for fun stuff...Last summer wasn't so fun.


"Happy Birthday" is a Victory Song. Yep. I'd agree with that.

=)

Posted May 19, 2010 Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat???

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat???

Posted May 19, 2010 10:24am
Ok, so all this time, I've thought my bc was ER- & PR-. (& HER2+, but that's nothing to do with this post, but Thank You Herceptin!) Anyway, so going over stuff with my oncologist the other day and come to find out, I am ER Neg, but said my PR is "weakly positive" at 9%. BUT, HER2+ and the proliferative index at 81%. So yeah, Been doing Herceptin. (5 more to go! YAY!) Sooooooo, the radiation oncologist seems to think I need to be on Tamoxifen for 5 years. The chemo oncologist feels we've handled my bc with the Herceptin, since it was definitely more driven by the HER2. He said it was going to be my decision on whether or not to take the Tamoxifen.

Hmmmm....what to do, what to do....On the one hand, I'm thinkin, 9%....that's a pretty low number for PR+. Would I really benefit that much? Especially since Tamoxifen really only deals with estrogen...I think...And the side effects on that...OMG...And on the other hand, maybe go ahead & take it, more like an "insurance policy" so to speak...insurance against developing ER/PR+ something down the road? Again the side effects....blood clots, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, weight gain (OH NO!), hair loss (OH HELL NO!! OMG), hot flashes...full on menopause...which I thought I was already in.

Doc said I could go ahead and start the Tamoxifen and see how I do. Quit taking it if I don't get along with it. I just dunno.

Another option I learned about is ovary suppression with shots...Lupron. And also another drug with that...Femara. No docs have mentioned this to me. Learned about it on a support group forum. But Lupron also has it's own side effects. Not hard core as serious as the Tamoxifen, but still...Plus I hear this is one helluva big needle too. GAH!

I'm also learning that ER- PR+ HER2+ makes up for less than 5% of bc. But of course, this is ME, right? And some think I should have the testing re-done, as there is a good chance this PR+ is a false positive. Ugh. And the nerves I get about retesting....well, just not gonna go there...
So...decisions, decisions...

Things crazier than ever with work. Thinkin that's a good thing right now.

Thanks for checkin on us.

Posted May 5, 2010 Not Much Doin...

Not Much Doin...

Posted May 5, 2010 11:55pm
Well, medical-wise, there ain't much to report. Thus the lack of updates recently. Two weeks ago I had Herceptin. I showed up, they gave it, and I left. While I was there, I witnessed what happens when a person's mediport doesn't cooperate. Made me very thankful that MY "Little Alien Buddy" works perfectly. But those visits are pretty uneventful, so I didn't post afterwards. I mean, if I posed after every Herceptin at this point, they would all read like: "Had Herceptin. It was the same as last time." I'll take it again next Thursday...the 13th(?) I think. And I'm not scheduled for any additional tests or scans for awhile. I bet I have to get a MUGA done in June.

So yeah, seems like nuthin much goin on, but work-wise...craziness! And just gets crazier the closer we get to the end of school. All the banquets and our move to the new school. We've just been crazy busy, so it's a good thing that the medical stuff has chilled out a bit.

One thing I have been doin for fun is following Craig Ferguson on Twitter. Yes, finally did the stupid Twitter thing. You can see where to follow me at the top of this homepage, or just search me in Twitter. Anyway, been trying to get Craig Ferguson to read a tweet from me on his "check ze tweets" part of his show. But no luck yet. And so now I'm apparently addicted to Twitter, Craig Ferguson, and this has worsened my already sick BlackBerry addiction. So yeah, if you see me and I'm not workin, I'm probably head down, tappin madly away at my BlackBerry, typin stupid questions to @CraigyFerg on Twitter. I know. I'm sick with it.

Soooo, yeah, new pics in the gallery. The Hubs just got a nice new haircut. While we were gettin ready for work yesterday, it occurred to me, we have the same hairdo. Pretty much. LOL!
The Twins
 Also, famous actor, Burton Gilliam visited our theater students, and we got to visit with him a bit and get a picture with him. Maybe you remember him from Blazing Saddles, Back to the Future III, Honeymoon in Vegas, Fletch, or maybe you remember his Pace Picante commercials. Anyway, he is a really nice guy. He complimented my toes. (Apparently he likes a French pedicure! LOL)

Ok, guess that's it for now. If anything earth shattering happens, I'll post about it.
Thanks for checkin in!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Posted Apr 11, 2010 Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Posted Apr 11, 2010 8:12pm
Hey y'all! So I survived that whole flurry of doctor visits. Over the last 2 weeks I saw my regular doctor - the wonderful Dr S, 2 Oncologists - Dr W & Dr L, my super ob/gyn - Dr D, had the echocardiogram at Dr A's office, FINALLY got that mammogram at a new & fabulous hospital in my area...and finally the follow up with my excellent surgeon - Dr V. Seven appointments. And I was very nervous about each one. Well, not so much the echo. Mostly just Dr D & the mammo.

So the mammo was scheduled about a week before the follow up with the surgeon. And we got there and I was just sooooo nervous. And this was only a mammo of the gimpy boobie. And the nice mammo lady took all kinds of views. And since this was a Diagnostic Mammo, you wait around for the doc to look at it and you learn the results right then and there. Seems like I sat in the little waiting area for ages before the mammo lady came back in and said those lovely words..."All Clear"! It's all good! I totally like slid outta the chair with a huge sigh of relief. (Upon re-readin my updates, I can see I already shared with y'all about this mammo....oh well...the chemo brain lingers! LOL!)

So armed with this info, I wasn't quite as nervous to visit the surgeon. Maybe a little, cause I knew he was gonna take a look at the "good", but "neglected" boobie. And he did check it and said it was fine. It will get mammo'd in 6 months.

So I saw Dr V and we chatted about things. He said he liked my hair. We discussed how I'm pretty much good. Just gotta finish my Herceptin with the mammograms every 6 months for 2 years. He said that a couple of months after the last Herceptin, after all the scans are done and are all clear, we will schedule to remove the mediport. I SO hope this will happen before the holidays. I won't see Dr V again until after the next mammogram in 6 months.

With all these medical appointments and all that's been going on with work and school, it just has been so crazy! I can't believe it's the middle of April already. And I'm SO happy that I have NO doctors to visit till my next dose of Herceptin next Thursday. Almost 2 whole weeks off from doctors!

Yesterday some friends took us out to a really nice sushi restaurant to celebrate hubby's birthday and my surviving all the medical stuff and gettin all good news.  Lots of sushi in my life lately! LOL!
Raw Stuff. I don't eat this.

And the day before we got to tour the brand new high school we'll be in next year. It is SO huge. It's very, VERY nice.

Sooooooo, as the Earth is sproutin new green grass and leaves on the trees, so do I "come back to life" from this battle. Hair growin in, energy continues to return...yes we're in the home stretch. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
=)

Posted Apr 5, 2010 Three Down, One To Go

Three Down, One To Go

Posted Apr 5, 2010 12:41pm
Three skeery appointments down, one to go. And then I can breathe. Well, this last upcoming appointment is a bit less skeery thanks to the outcome of the previous skeery appointment.
So yeah, finally got that follow up mammogram on the gimpy boobie. I tried not to be all freaked out about it, but I was totally freaked out about it! LOL! But the doc checked it out & said it's all good. So, thanks to that, I'm not as nervous bout seein the surgeon on Friday. Although I'm hopin that he shows some attention to the good and now neglected boobie. Gotta keep a check on that one too ya know! And after this visit with the excellent surgeon, Dr V, I think I should be good for medical stuff for awhile (I hope), and back to just doin the 3 week Herceptin things.

Did my Herceptin last Thursday. Went fine. Also saw both of the oncologists. Good visits.
All of these appointments just made for such a crazy couple of weeks. And hubby had a birthday over the weekend. We had a nice and fun day. Went to our favorite movie theater and saw Clash of the Titans in 3D, ate some sushi, and just generally enjoyed being together.

And I thought I was about ready to start just totally goin without the wigs, but no. Still gonna wear em to work at least. And when I wanna look like me, or as close to like me as I can with these wigs on. My friend thinks I have enough hair to go ahead and get a bit of a cut and shape to it, but I don't think so. Maybe in another month. Which sucks because it will soon be very warm here and that will make wig wearin super uncomfortable.

Ok, that's about all for now. Sure seems like I'm forgetting some stuff. Oh well. Thanks for readin! =)

Posted Mar 28, 2010 What A Difference A Year Makes.

What A Difference A Year Makes.

Posted Mar 28, 2010 5:17pm
Ok, so I made it through week 1 of 2 stressful weeks. This past week I had to go see my ob/gyn, the fabulous Dr. D, for my annual checkup. Complete exam. First time since the diagnosis, and I don't mind sharing with you that I was just mildly freaked out about it. And also, thanks to having zero estrogen in the bod, the exam hurt a bit. Usually don't feel it...(apologies if this is TMI for y'all). So that totally sucked. He was all hands off the boobies though. Said he's now leavin that up to the team of docs who are checkin those nowadays, the likewise fabulous Dr. V, Dr. L, & Dr. W. Unless I just wanted him to feel em, he would just leave it to them. So I figured, eh, I'm seeing all those specialists pretty soon, so yeah, we'll just let them feel em. Besides, I'm kinda feelin em myself almost daily.


Day after Dr. D was the echocardiogram. Very nice cardiologist's office. The office of Dr. A. Never saw Dr. A personally, but her technician was very nice. So we go into the room to do the echo and the tech leaves so I can remove the top and put on the gown....Motley Crue was on his radio! I had to laugh. I wasn't really worried about this visit at all, what with my excellent MUGA scan report in December. No, I was mostly worried with the Dr. D appointment. And all seems to be well, so that's good. Ran through some fast food on the way home. Now y’all know I like to eat healthy, but sometimes (ok, most times) I WILL snag one or three of hubby’s fries. Especially when he gets cury fries. So I was really trippin out at the curly fry I grabbed. So much so that I just HAD to take a BlackBerry picture of it.
 
Next week's stress...Finally gettin that mammogram. Not sure why I'm a bit weirded out bout that, but can’t help it. I mean, with all the chemo, radiation plus boosts, I can’t imagine anything bein wrong with the boobie. So, really tryin to remind myself that I’ve had excellent treatment from excellent doctors, so all will be great. Day after the mammo, I get to see both of the oncologists, Dr. W and Dr. L, and then visit my chemo nurses for the next round of Herceptin. Three weeks is goin by faster & faster! Then week after, I visit my super awesome surgeon, Dr. V. Kinda nervous bout seein him these days too. I dunno. I think I just need to get a few “all clear”s behind me, and maybe I won’t be all freakin out.

So yeah, what a difference a year makes.  Last year this time I was all makin plans to go home to Savannah to celebrate the Big 4-0. Lookin forward to school comin to an end so we could enjoy our first summer off as teachers. And so I’ve added some new pics!  A Before and After...




 Showin off meh hair, 
  …lots of changes over the last year, that’s fer sure!
Oh yeah, also last week, hubs and I celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary…once we remembered it! We both forgot! I guess that just shows that we’re just a teenie bit busy and have lots of stuff on our minds.

Me wishin hubs a Happy Anniversary w/ a phone pic!
AND I've taken to going out & about without headcover. But not ready for that at work yet. But I did wear the short 'do on Friday. Call it my "Soccer Mom" 'do! LOL! Gosh how butch lookin with the newly grown in hair. Maybe I should get some Birkenstocks & start flirtin with our waitresses! LOL!

Ok, thanks for reading and commenting and stuff. It really does help me get through this crap.
xx

Posted Mar 17, 2010 Topless? Oh Yes I Did!!!

Topless? Oh Yes I Did!!!

Posted Mar 17, 2010 9:02pm
So, just a quickie to say that today I went topless. Yep. Went out and about with NUTHIN on TOP of my head. Just the shortie short hairs that are growin there. Went and got my 1st spring pedicure with my butch 'do all out. Then ran to a store and then grabbed a quick bite at Panda Express. And at the salon, I could tell people were trying to grab a peek and not get caught. And others were trying hard NOT to look, but then they eventually looked. But at the other places we went, seems like people gawked LESS than when I wear the do-rag.

Still gonna be wearin the long wigs to work and when I want to look like "ME" though. Ok, most of the time when I'm out. But thought y'all would like to know that I totally went without headcover today. Does that count as some sort of bridge crossed, or milestone?
Topless March 28, 2010 - Hair Regrowth After Chemo
  Happy St Patrick's Day. I'm gonna roast some cabbage. =)

<3

Mar 13, 2010 Over The Cold

Over The Cold

Posted Mar 13, 2010 4:15pm
Wow, it seems like it's been quite a while since I did an update, so lemme fill y'all in on a bit of this and a bit of that. Yes, I'm so totally enjoying not having to report to the clinic daily! But that 3 week Herceptin did seem to arrive quickly. Took it last Thursday. It went just fine.

Ok, gotta back up a bit...so yeah, got done with radiation. Still can't wear a bra. And I'm SOOOOO not lovin that. Skin is almost back to normal color, except for some skin in the boost area, which is like, very dark & flakin off. I'm guessing another couple of weeks & it will all be off.
I had to see my regular doctor for some routine thyroid blood work. Had a really nice visit with her. We talked all about my journey through this crapola & I shared with her my new doc-phobia. How I pretty much don't ever care to see any doctor at any time for any reason. She said that sounds pretty normal, given what I've been through. Even said that in her opinion, I'm suffering from a bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yeah, I'd agree with that. She also said she enjoys my humor at it...although it does have strong sarcasm to it. Yeah, I'm tryin to laugh my way through it at this point.

And I was even gettin all back into my cardio & stuff, when BLAM! Came down with a cold. Exactly 3 days after seein the regular doc. Probably got it off her doorknob. Or the pen to sign in with. So yeah, last week I had a pretty typical cold. It’s gone now. I’m totally over it. Now hubby has it. Ugh! So, hopin to get back to workin out again soon.

We’re on Spring Break this week, and we have great weather for it too, so looks like we’re done with the super crazy arctic cold we had this winter. I mean, this has been the longest & COLDEST winter I can ever remember. And I’m SO over it! Next week, I’m not looking forward to much at all. I get to see the lovely OB/GYN doc. I’ve never been very good at remaining calm for that appointment, but now with the new phobia…well, yeah…not so much. Then day after that I get to meet a new doc, a cardiologist, who will do me an echocardiogram. Gotta make sure the ol ticker is still strong enough for Herceptin. And I really hope it is, cause I so haven’t been consistent with good heart strengthening cardio. THEN, the week after that, I will finally have that mammogram. You remember, the one the surgeon wanted done in December, but we put off cause I was still just too surgery-sore. Had to put it off another month due to radiation burn. So yeah, I’d say that if it’s good enough to squash down in a mammo, I’d better be back in bras by then. AND THEEEN, next day after that, Herceptin again.

So, we have this week totally free from any and all medical stuff. And I’m gonna be tryin to savor the time off from work too.

New pics....Yes, I can no longer refer to myself as “Ol Baldy” or “The Hairless Wonder”. Hair now pretty much covers my scalp. Not enough that I do without the wigs/bandanas mind you, but I’m definitely not bald anymore.

Hair Regrowth After Chemo - March 2010
 Also, check out the eyelashes!! They’re at about 90% of their length now.
Eyelashes & Brows After Chemo - March 2010



Ok, that’s about all for now. Until next time, YAY Spring! Happy St Patty’s Day!

Feb 23, 2010 Stick A Fork In Me...

Stick A Fork In Me...

 Feb 23, 2010 7:05pm
I'm D O N E with radiation! YAY! Took my last boost this morning. Now maybe I won't be filling up the gas tank every other day! LOL! Skin held up really well too. Sure it's red and sore in the boost area. The rest of the radiation areas are starting to recover. That skin just looks like it got a good tan. So yeah, it's good to have Part 2 complete.

I took Herceptin last week. I was able to get it from the cancer center, so that was good. I'll take one more Herceptin, and then do an echocardiogram, and make sure the heart is still doin well. I haven't been doin as much cardio lately, so I'm hopin it still looks good. Really do need to get back into my cardio.

Let's see...I now have enough hair that I no longer need to wear something on my head to sleep. But still wear the bandana or wig when out and about. Eyebrows are totally back, and eyelashes have all grown in, but are at about 60% lengthwise. It looks to me like I'm gonna have more lashes than I had before they fell out. So that's gonna be cool!

It snowed again today, but nothing at all like last time. Today we got about an inch, but it didn't mess up the roads or anything.

Added a new photo. It's the lovely radiation machine again, but this time it's in boost position with the boost attachment. Very cool machine!


Well, that's about it for now. Not much to report, just that I'm SO glad to be done with radiation!

Posted Feb 12, 2010 Muskrat is Makin a Comeback!

Muskrat is Makin a Comeback!

Posted Feb 12, 2010 5:00pm
So I finished the "regular radiation" on Wednesday, and had my first "boost" yesterday, Thursday. Would have had my second of 8 boosts today except for the fact that our area got buried under an unexpected freakin foot of snow! So the cancer center didn't open today. So now, instead of taking the last boost on Feb 22, it looks like it will now be on the 23rd.

So that makes 2 dates pushed back. This stuff just does NOT want me to finish it seems! But I will. I'm approaching the halfway point of "active treatment", which will be at the end of this month. Or, now, first week of March, thanks to the Herceptin getting delayed a week last time.
Still not sure if I'm going to have to go back to the hospital for the next Herceptin, or what. Guess I won't find out till the day. Doc told me to just show up for my appointment at 9, even though I've been told I must be at the hospital by 8. Doc said to just come to the cancer center & see him first, and if I gotta go to the hospital, he'll send me on and they will take me, that "we do this all the time." Soooooo, let's all hope that the insurance paperwork is going through quickly, cause I believe the stupid insurance deductible will have been met. Just has to LOOK like it in the records. I sooooo don't wanna have to go back to the hospital!

Anyway, so the boosts are just concentrated raditation to one specific spot...my tumor site. It's much quicker too. Skin seems to have held up very well. We'll see how the boost site does by the end.

Here's an interesting thing about radiation. Even though I lay on my back, and radiation is delivered to my front boobie and under arm area, would you believe that the upper quarter of my back is now all nice and tanned? Yep, from my spine all the way across my shoulder blade....so apparently this stuff goes all the way through ya! Wow! Gotta be killin off somethin! Hey, bein alive ain't for sissies! LOL!

My hair is starting to really grow now. Still doin the wig thing at school, and the bandana thing when just out and about, but I can see it shouldn't be too terribly much longer till I can go au naturale! I will not love the look of a butch 'do, but it'll have to do for a 'do. I mean, any hair is better than no hair. Eyebrows are basically back, just need to get a bit more length so they'll lay down. Lashes are about 40% of the length they were, but at least they all seem to be growin back in. And all the other hair is returnin. Yep, my muskrat is makin a comeback! LOL! Not sure I'm ever gonna be able to tolerate shavin under that arm. It's still all ICK feelin!

Anyway, that's about it for now. Enjoyin a nice snow day off. Hubs and I did go outside & throw snowballs at each other for awhile and I dug out my wax myrtle tree...not sure it's gonna make it, but I had to try to save it.

New pics posted are of the fabulous IMRT (I think) raditation machine that has been savin (cookin?) my bacon since January,


Ok, thanks for all those comments. They always do bring smiles! Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Posted Feb 4, 2010 Don't Know Whatcha Got....

Don't Know Whatcha Got....

Posted Feb 4, 2010 12:30pm
 
...till it's gone.

Nose hair.

Just sayin....

;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Posted Jan 31, 2010 Hurry Up and Wait!

Hurry Up and Wait!

Posted Jan 31, 2010 8:54pm
Obviously, I survived the Herceptin at the hospital. What a crappy week it was leading up to Thursday. First I find out that the hospital requires you to show up by 8am. This hospital is located right off one of the most rush hour traffic congested freeways near downtown. Be there by 8 or risk being turned away is what I was being told. Then as the week wore on, the weather forcast was for heavy, blinding, downpouring rain to begin early in the morning and last all day long. And at the same time, temperatures were forcast to begin droppin (again! ugh!) and there was talk of possible freezing preciptation and icy roads. Oh I just LOVE to be driving around in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic in those conditions! NOT!! My cancer center is only about 15 - 20 minutes from my house. This hospital is a whole bunch farther than that.

Ok, so I have us up SUPER early in the morning (Early in the Morning by the Gap Band has been playing in my head ever since I told hubby "we gotta get up early in the morning"...lol) Anyway...up very early. It was my plan to be on the road by 6:15. Surely we'd avoid the rush hour traffic, or at least be dang close to the hospital by the time things started backing up.

And I was right. We rolled out by 6:15....only light sprinkles....light traffic. Got to the hospital, signed in. Name called after about 15 minutes. Did a bit of paper work. They did not ask me for any money. THIS totally shocked me, as the other hospital, in the same network, ALWAYS asked, even pushed for it. After paper work, we were led to the 7th floor....an entire floor dedicated to oncology. I was basically admitted to the hospital for the day and given my own private room!

So we get in our room by 8am...8:15 a knock at the door "Room Service"....I'm all like ROOM SERVICE??? Yep, brought me some breakfast. Pancakes with butter & syrup, nice crispy bacon, coffee, juice, milk...And it was actually good too! So I'm thinkin...hmmmmm, maybe this is the way to go eh?

But not really...because there is only one pharmacy to serve the entire hospital. So yeah, in the room by 8, port accessed by 9, and then nuthin. Seems like we waited forEVER to get the Herceptin goin! And it takes at least an hour and a half to get it all in, so.....nothing like hurry up and wait...and wait...and wait!

All the while, we're watchin the weather. Looks like we might actually make it back to our side of town before the heavy stuff gets here, right? Well, sort of. So gettin to mid day and "Room Service" is back again with my lunch. Chicken fried steak with gravy, peas and carrots, mashed potatoes, roll, jello with Cool Whip and iced tea. Yeah, hubby and I scarfed that down too.

So the Herceptin finishes and we're rushin to stay ahead of the weather. We were literally running from it. And right about the time we arrived at the cancer center for me to do my daily zappin, the bottom fell out and it poured. But at that point, we didn't even care, cause we were back in our familiar surroundings, not far from home, and my drama-trauma was behind me!

Yes, I hadn't been sleepin very well since I got told I had to start going to the hospital for my Herceptin. So I slept like the dead Thursday night. And I'm scheduled there again for the next one on Feb 18, BUT, I will be right at the end of radiation by then, so that, plus the one Herceptin, I'm hoping will have met my deductible, and I can just do the casual drive to the cancer center.

Oh yeah, yesterday I showed my friend my new hair growth and she tripped out. And I think I have to agree. I have quite a bit more hair than I had when I took that January 9th bird head pic! Eyelashes and eyebrows are rapidly growin back in too! YAY!! =)

Ok, so that's about it for now. Tomorrow starts another week of daily zappin. I believe I'm just past the halfway point in this part, and approaching the halfway point of active treatment. And thanks for all the comments and prayers and stuff. We enjoy reading them and know the thoughts and prayers are workin.

Can you believe February is here already??

Posted Jan 21, 2010 If You've Got the Money Honey....

If You've Got the Money Honey....

Posted Jan 21, 2010 3:35pm
Soooooo, I was supposed to have my Herceptin infusion after Radiation today. But it didn't happen. Got the call at 9am this morning. My appointment was for 10:30. Gonna have to start getting my Herceptin done in the hospital until my ultra high health insurance deductible is met. Needless to say, this didn't go over with me very well. Nope, not well at all. Those of you who know me well might have some idea of the kind of "scene" that followed.

Hubby walks in on me in mid-meltdown on the phone and takes the phone from me and tries to reason with the nice Financial Director lady, to no avail. So I show up to the cancer center for my radiation. And after much bad noise & flailing about....the answer was still no. No can do. No payment plan will be worked out. Leave that to the hospital, which is more financially able to work out payment arrangements. See, Herceptin is very VERY expensive, and my health insurance deductible is very VERY high.

I really think the deductible should already be met, what with me having had 12 radiations to date, but it's a matter of the billing being submitted & the insurance paperwork getting done, so by the time they figure out that the deductible WAS in fact met, I will have already had 1, possibly 2 infusions at the hospital.

This cancer center I've been going to is owned by 3 of the oncologists who work there and they have to pay for these drugs up front. And, it was explained to me, I'm not the only patient requesting that a payment plan be worked out. And if they agreed to work it out for all who ask, they would soon be out of business. So, apparently I'm being unreasonalby upset.

The thing is this: this is serious business. I just don't like the idea of having to trust a total stranger to administer this infusion. I've come to know and put my trust in the chemo nurses at the cancer center. Now I'm gonna have to get it done, at least once, by a total stranger. And maybe this should not freak me out, but it totally freaks me out! Yet, those chemo nurses were all strangers to me in the beginning too. Oh well...this is ME...Miss High Maintenance I guess. They claim I'm not the most High Maintenance patient they've dealth with. Sheesh, I'd hate to meet whoever THAT is, cause I'm pretty dramatic with this stuff! LOL!

Sooooooo, today has not been a very good day. Nothin like being the fodder for the cancer center office staff to chit chat over my drama-queen-ness. And I get to show my face there again tomorrow for the radiation. Thank GOD they don't offer THAT at the hospital!

Anyway, so NEXT Thursday I'll get the dern Herceptin. Eh, whatever! I understand why this is how things have to be, but I don't have to like it.

And I don't.

Posted Jan 15, 2010 8 Rads Done.

8 Rads Done.

Posted Jan 15, 2010 2:26pm
Ok, so I've had 8 doses of radiation, as of today. And yes, so far, it's WAAAAY better than chemo. I mean, zip, zap! In and out! The thing I like best about it is, not having to wait to be called back. Just sign in and let yourself in....get changed into the gown and they're ready for you by the time you come out of the dressing room. I like the 2 girls who run the radiation. They look SO young! But they're very nice, as far as I can tell. You get all of 30 seconds time with them, so there's not much time for chattin.

Now, some things I don't love about having radiation. The daily trips over there...ugh! But still, it's really fast. Also, Aloe Vera Gel....it's always cold. Having to rub chilly gel on the boobie area, and then wait for it to be dry....not lovin that either. Then, every 5 treatments, they do X-rays, to make sure I'm still in the correct position. That takes a bit longer. And it kinda sucks cause my right hand went to sleep & my neck gets tired of being in that position for that long. (I'm laying on my back with my arms up over my head, left hand laying in the right hand, head turned all the way to the right, chin up.)

Skin over there is beginning to turn slightly pink. That's to be expected. Every Thursday the nurse looks at it. Every Monday the Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Lee, sees me and has a look too. So far, all is well.

I started back using my elliptical machine this week. Hope I keep it up cause I sure didn't like the number on the scale when they weighed me yesterday! Helloooooo South Beach!

Anyway, this is a long weekend for us, but not from radiation. Oh well.

Posted Jan 9, 2010 So Far, So Good...

So Far, So Good...

Posted Jan 9, 2010 5:02pm
OK, so, radiation kicked off this past Wednesday. Today is Saturday. So I've had 3 doses of my radiation. And so far, so good. One thing is for sure, it's so much better than the chemo, in that I'm in and outta there in 15 minutes! Maybe less. I probably spend maybe 5 minutes on the radiation table. Hopefully my skin will hang in there and not do the severe burn thing. But when you ask questions like, "what type of people/skin/boobs have the worst reaction?", you get that ol mantra, "Everyone is different". Soooooooooooo, I'm a-slatherin the Aloe Vera Gel on faithfully, and so far skin looks good. But it's only been 3 treatments....30 some odd to go...

Starting to see some new eyebrow hairs & a few teeny tiny eyelashes too. And the beginnings of "other" hairs. LOL! Hair on the top of my head, well, I have 3 lengths of hair now...the longer stubbles that never fell out, some stubbles about half the length of the longer ones, and now fresh brand new hairs sprouting. But I do still have my 2 bald spots on the sides, but I can actuallly see little hairs sprouting there too. So let the race back to having hair begin! I'm actually already having to shave my legs again now....not so much lovin that part! LOL!

Over in the Photo Gallery you'll see a few new pictures. One is of the little baby chick stuffed animal Allen gave me for Christmas, cause he said it reminded him of my round "baby bird head"! LOL!
My baby chick gift, cause it reminded hubby of his wife's "little, round, baby-bird head"! LOL!

So, I've added a pic of my round bird head also, for comparison. LOL!
Reminds you of a baby bird head, right! LOL! Jan 9, 2010.

I've also included a picture of one of my mother-in-laws chihuahua's wearing a Christmas dress. LOL! She's very sweet. Her name is Roxy. Her dress had jingle bells on it!

 It's been crazy COLD here for what seems like forever! But the last 3 days have been colder than we've had in something like 12 years! Bald headed people don't like cold. Going from the car into the cancer center for radiation in that cold really did make me appreciate the job the hair does to keep you warmer. I was wearing some head cover, but still! Brrrr! And my friend Marya loaned me some of her knit hats awhile back & those have come in SO handy. Especially for sleepin.

Ok, that's about it for now. Really not much to report. I mostly just wanted to tell y'all that I got a little, round baby chick gift, due to my baby bird lookin head. LOL!

Posted Dec 31, 2009 Goodbye 2009!

Goodbye 2009!

Posted Dec 31, 2009 6:28pm

So yeah, like most people I talk to, I'm MORE than ready to say goodbye to 2009! What a crappy year it's been, for so many people. 2009 can kiss my *ahem*...patootie! LOL!

Anyway, today, I got my bod all marked up so they can line up the radiation machine exactly the same every time. On Tuesday, I'll go in for just a run through, where they will use the marks on my body and do a bit of a "dry run" of a treatment, and then the Radiation will start on Wednesday. Got my Aloe Vera Gel ready. Lookin for a big ol Aloe Vera plant I can bring home & pinch from. Heard that really helps reduce the burn.

Then I went across the hall and got my Herceptin started and spoke with my chemo oncologist, Dr W. My MUGA scan looks not just good, but GREAT! My heart is functioning very well. MUGA scan measures the percent of blood the heart pumps out...it never pumps all the blood out. Anyway, he says any thing from 55% & up is normal. I'm in the GREAT range at 81%! YAY! =)

So I'm back to healthy eating, (kinda been treating myself since Thanksgiving) and back to rebuilding my stamina for the elliptical machine. Gotta start slowly and work back up. How I ever did 45 minute workouts on that thing, I dunno, but I hope to work back up to that.

So Good Riddance to 2009! 2010 WILL be better! I will complete "active treatment" in August 2010. =)

Happy New Year y'all! Hope you all have fun and safe celebrations. And thanks again so much for your thoughts and prayers, cards and well wishes and comments here. It really does help me, and I know it's working too! =)

Posted Dec 22, 2009 I Touched Myself...

I Touched Myself...

Posted Dec 22, 2009 1:05pm
Yeah, my cousin would get a kick out of the title of this post, but I finally did actually touch, with my bare hand, my surgery sites. Some of you know that I haven't been able to bear touching the left breasticle area due to the fact that it's been totally numb, like dead, since the surgery & it totally grosses me out! Just to bathe in the shower, I take the pouf & quickly scrub under the arm & the boobie which is followed by the sound of me wretching, cause it's soooo icky feeling! Anyway, I am trying to get used to how it feels to touch these parts, cause radiation is about to start, & I'm gonna have to be slathering Aloe Vera Gel on these regions, sooooo, time to be touchin stuff. There is some feeling coming back, but I don't think 100% of the feeling is ever gonna come back, & that is not unusual. And I will totally live with it. No biggie.

I met my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. L, on Friday, after having a follow up appointment with my fabulous surgeon, Dr. V. Both say they think I'm doing really really great! Both did an exam of the affected boobie area. Both said all feels fine. Dr V wanted to order a mammo, but I'm still quite sore over there & told him that if that boob got squashed down in a mammo, that I'd probably faint! So he opted to physically check the boobies for lumpies. None found & he liked the feeling of his scars. Said they feel fine. Ordered a mammo for March. I have zero faith in mammos, as my lump was not detected by the digital mammo. But it's not really being done to look for cancer so much as it will establish a new "base line", so we can see the scar tissue & exactly how a post op boobie looks. And I totally LOVE Dr. L. He is the 1st person to say these words to me: "You are in total remission." And he also says I'm one of the ones that is "cureable". How bout that?! But I knew this stuff already. LOL!

ANYWAY....so here's the deal. Radiation is about to get started. I will go EVERY-FREAKIN-DAY, Monday through Friday, for SEVEN-FREAKIN-WEEKS! (I totally need gas prices to go down, right?!) I will lay under the machine for about 1 - 2 minutes. Whole appointment, from arrival to departure should only be a bout 15 - 20 minutes. I will receive 25 doses of radiation to the lymph node area. I will get 26 doses of radiation to the entire left boobie area. And finally I will receive 7 - 8 "Boosts" directly to the area where the tumor was. And this is strange to me, cause that entire area of my boobie "appears to me" to be gone - removed during the last breast surgery. But hey, boost away. Kill this crap! Right?!

Radiation Side Effects: And again, "everyone is different"...this seems to be a mantra in the bc world...fatigue, itching, inflammation, burning, swelling, firmness, dryness, peeling, less elasticity, oozing...sounds like FUN, right? Might even come out with a rib fracture! Possible light scarring to the lung & heart too. Dang, this is serious business!

And, although I'm done with Chemo, thankfully, I'm not done with the chemo room yet. I will still get an infusion of Herceptin, till the end of August. MUGA scan willing....

Went yesterday for that MUGA scan. It's a heart scan they do so they can measure the strength of your heart. One of the side effects of Herceptin is a weakening of the heart. Soooooo, I so hope my MUGA looks good so I can stay on it, cause it's supposed to be like a "Miracle Cure" for my kind of bc, HER2+.

So, I will go for the Simulation of the Radiation & get my body marked up so they can line up the machine on New Year's Eve. Then I will go across the hall to have my Herceptin infusion. And then Radiation will start about a week after that & Herceptin (hopefully) will continue on the 3 week cycle.

Hair: Stubbles are still growing. I look like a freshly sprouting Chia Pet! LOL! Or a little baby bird - head. Cause you can still see my shiny, round BALD head, but there's all these 1 inch long hairs standing straight up on it! Lost most of my eyelashes & brows, but they are starting to grow back in. Yeah, I check em daily. LOL!

And even with all this crapola going on, I'm soooooo loving that we're totally off work till after the New Year. Enjoying my Christmas trees...all sparkly & stuff...Anyway, I hope y'all all have a really wonderful Holiday Season. Allen & I are really enjoying it, cause it's so great to be off from work for 2 whole weeks!

Thanks again y'all for checkin in on me & for all your well wishes, cards & prayers & stuff. =) I enjoy your comments! =)