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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Musings On This New Year's Eve

Well, another New Year's Eve....This year has gone by so fast.  And compared to the last 2 years, it's actually been pretty ok.  It did have it's with O's job issues & stuff....but for the most part, I'd say it was a pretty good year.  I'm like, any year that I'm still clear of cancer is a good year.  Any year I have hair on my head is a good year.

And I have made SEVERAL New Year's Resolutions.  One of which is to stop showing up at my Oncologist's office completely bat shit crazy freakin out.  So that's one of, like, 10 things I'll be doin differently in 2012. 

I look back on the year & I can see that I've made several new "online friends" this year.  And, even though I've never (& possibly will never) met them, I regard them as close as friends I have in the real world.  I think it's interesting when we "meet" people online & friendships form.  I think people are brought together for a reason.  And I'm so thankful for all my friends, both in the real world & in the cyber world too.  Y'all have all been a big part of helpin us through the bc ordeal. So thank you. SO much.

And to my family as well.  They are far away from where I live, so most of our interaction is online too.  (Thank you Mark Zuckerberg for your awesome creation) So, another Resolution: I am going to try my best to get over my unnatural fear of flying & get on an airplane home a LOT more often...I hope....depending on airline ticket prices of course.  Even though they are not close to me, their love & support is what I know got me to where I'm at today.  And it's what will keep me movin forward with a more positive outlook than I've had the last couple of years.  So thank y'all & I love y'all & hope to be seein y'all SOON.

And my hubs....not gonna do a bunch of mush & gush on here, but he knows totally how much I love & appreciate him.  And my family does too.  He had his fair share of crap to deal with this year, & I only hope I've helped him with things.

So anyway....goodbye 2011.  Was a pretty ok year I suppose.  2012 should be interesting. Bring it! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

All This Horror Business

So, apparently most people who read my blog are not Misfits fans.  Sooooo, they totally didn't "get" my last post . So, here ya go.

So, yeah, maybe now I can get this song outta my head for five minutes.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All This HAIRY Business....OR...How Long Will It Take For My Hair To Grow Back After Chemo?

 Yeah...have had songs from the Misfits stuck in my head while trying to come up with a title for this EPIC "How Long Will It Take My Hair To Grow Back After Chemo?" regrowth post. This is going to be long & I'm putting in lots of pictures that chronicle the loss & regrowth of my follicles, some never before shared with anyone....Today I am at the 2 years from last chemo mark.  And while I still have a ways to go before my hair is "back to normal"'s pretty much back.  Still have some shorter top parts to grow out to catch up to the length.  But for those who (like I did) are searching the interwebs lookin for info & photos showing the rate of hair regrowth after chemo, then this is the post you're lookin for.  Now, everyone's hair grows at it's own rate, but I've been told my hair grows at pretty much the average rate....
1/4 - 1/2 inch per month.  And of course I'm doin a post like this...even before I had the breast cancer, I was all about my hair...And I miss it...soooo Ok, so here we go.....
So here I am...June 2009, (above) celebrating my 40th birthday...& I have breast cancer, I just don't know it for sure yet.  I knew about the lump at this time, but hadn't been to the doctor yet.  In about 2 weeks from this day, I was diagnosed. So, this is what someone with very aggressive breast cancer looks like.  Yep.  Next:

First chemo, August 27, 2009. ROCK that shit!

Ahhhh, the shave day (above)....September 14, 2009...pretty much right at 2 weeks after my 1st chemo...the hair was comin out all over the place.  I'm convinced that's what killed our vacuum cleaner! Anyway, yeah...I was more than a little upset about the havin to lose my hair part of this whole ordeal.  And I'm not gonna lie...I had to get pretty well lit to go through with it.  So after drinkin several Berry Skyy Vodkas with Diet 7Up back (was out of the good stuff lol)...we began the buzzin...Talk about Horror Business....

So I figure if I MUST lose my hair, might as well do a mohawk....And yeah, that's my personal message to breast cancer...eff you!
 So we took a few pics...& then buzzed off the 'hawk & it was gone & I was bald (above). 

And I plopped my wig on my bald head (above) & felt SOOO much better.  And we went out to dinner.  Took the new wig 'do out for a test drive lol... fast forward through 6 rounds of chemo to right about a month after the last chemo...January 2010 (above).  We called this baby bird head.  The longer hairs are what never fell out...Looks like a receding hairline.

 February 2010 (above)...these are about a week apart.  When I look at these it reminds me of a turtle lol!  I didn't have any eyelashes or brows...Just using makeup as best I could to disguise that fact.  I was finishing up with radiation around this time I think...I remember the excitement with every new bit of hair growth during this time.

 March 2010 (above).  It's startin to fill in.  These are about 2 weeks apart.  I was still wearin my wigs & bandanas when out & about, but SOOOO happy to see more hair growin in. Seems like you could almost see it was different every day.

 Later in March 2010 (above)...The picture on the right is when I went out for the first time without anything on my head. Said I went topless! LOL! But was still doing wigs to work & stuff.  Very butchy lookin...

 And here is the pixie in June 2010 (above). Six months after last chemo. I finally stopped wearin wigs.  It isn't a hairdo I would have ever chosen to do, but it sure was nice to not have to have something on my head.

 July 2010, 7 months post chemo (above)...I've entered the "Headband Phase" of things.  The second picture shows when the chemo curl started.  These are about 2 weeks apart.

August 2010, 8 months after chemo (above).  I called this my "senior citizen 'do" lol.  I'm celebrating the end of Herceptin treatments. YAY!

 October 2010, 10 months post chemo (above).  I had gotten a tiny flat iron & straightened my hair in the pic on the left.  Every time I see it I think "Activiaaaaaaaa..."  On the right is not straightened, still in the headband phase.

October 2010, 10 months after chemo ended (above).  I'm about to attend my very first "Pink Out" Pep Rally.  And I need to learn to stop takin pics in here...SUCH bad lighting...Too much Horror Business...(Misfits fans get it...right?) Still in headbands.....I started callin the 'do the "chemo-fro" at this point. LOL!

 YAY! A nubby ponytail! (above) And from the front, startin to look more like "ME" again.  January 2011, 13 months after chemo ended. I had been able to do this for right at a month...remember when I got my mediport removed?

And when I just didn't feel like doin the nubby pony tail, it was chemo-fro in headband. Had to do the headband thing, cause it was quite the mullet! April 2011, 16 months of growin hair (above).

 May 2011, 17 months (above)

 June 2011, 18 months (above).  This was my first "real hairdo" cut.  But it wasn't really a 'do...just some blending.  I never wore it like this again.  Just kept doin ponytails, & the chemo-fro in headband thing. This was flat ironed.

This is August 2011, 20 months(above).  The shag 'do is gettin mullety again. Not flat ironed, just round brushed while drying.

 Early October 2011, 22 months post chemo (above). Round brushed left, chemo-fro right.

Late October 2011 (above).  Now I can clip up the sides while they grow out & not be in the pony tail all the time.  I've pretty much stopped wearin it curly at this point.  When I round brush it while blowdrying, it's straight, just like it used to be. YAY!

 And this is exactly 24 months from the end of chemo - December 2011 (above).  Two years of growin. I wish these photos were better quality, but we were in a bit of a rush & I wanted pics taken on the anniversary of the end of chemo.  Anyway, I still have some growin to do...gotta let that shortest top layer catch up to the rest....So, I'm still growin, but wanted to share this in the hopes that newly diagnosed people might see that yes, it sucks to have to lose your hair, but it does come back.  I saw a similar post one day while I was bald in the middle of chemo, & it encouraged me & helped me so much...& that's all I'm wantin to do others goin through the same thing.  I realize that, as cancer survivors, we have much more serious issues & things to deal with, but if you're like me, the hardest part was the hair thing.  So I hope that if you're checkin out this post because you are waitin & watchin for your hair to grow back, just will be back.  You WILL have your hair again.   

[I may add pics to this post a couple of times until I achieve the 'do that I will call Mission Accomplished.] 

***************Edit: Pics Added April 2012**************
 March 2012 - 27 months post chemo
*************Edit: Pics Added June 2012**************
May 2012 - 29 months post chemo

June 2012 -  2 1/2 years post chemo
I think I'm almost there. Still gotta keep the sides pulled up.  Will check back in about 6 more months.

************************Edit:  Pics Added December 2012**************************

November 2012 - 2 years 11 months post chemo

**************************Edit:  Pics Added April 2013***************************

March 2013 - 3 years 3 months post chemo

********************Edit: Pics Added December 2013***************

Mission Accomplished! These were taken October & September 2013, just shy of the four year anniversary of the end of chemo, which was December 10, 2013, the date of this Edit

***************************Edit: Pic added January 2015****************************
One last pic. This is January 2015, 5 years and 1 month post chemo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

REALLY?! A Rant......

Good gawd! Some people are just SO RUDE!!! And I just have to rant cause I just couldn't believe this rudeness!!  

Ok, so I heard that one of my very favorite restaurants, Chipotle, started offerin brown rice as a choice.  They've always only offered white rice.  So I get zero rice & order the salad bowl.  But this more healthful brown rice option made me SO very happy! And we were kinda turkey'd out from Thanksgiving, so O suggested we grab a Chipotle & get out & about for a bit.  I was all over that like white (or brown) on rice! ( I mean, I probably haven't had rice in my Chipotle bowl in years.  So off we went.

Here's the thing about Chipotle's assembly line style...usually very busy & seating is limited.  Music is loud & unique.  Just a great fun place to eat some really great food!  But not exactly a place you'd lounge around in for AGES after you've finished eating.  And ESPECIALLY not with an infant in tow....And VERY ESPECIALLY when you can see there's a line out the door & clearly most of these people will have NO PLACE TO SIT.  But that's what we saw when we got there....

So we walk in...line isn't terrible...yet...All the good tables are taken, only a couple of high tops available.  I hate a high top.  Anyway, there's this family (I guess) who are well finished with their food. So we figure (hope) they'll be gone by the time we need someplace to sit.  They were takin up 2 four top tables, but at 1 of those was just the Mom (I guess) with the infant. Other table had young adult lookin people all in their Sunday finest...suit & tie, dresses, head wear...clearly they had been to church earlier...I guessed, since it was Sunday afternoon...

So I'm thinkin....surely they aren't just hangin out....And luckily I found a regular two top table for us, but everything else was full.  And everybody in line was like watchin these people just sittin there, takin mobile phone pictures of each other, woman cooin with the of the young adults puts their head down on the table like she was gonna take a frickin nap or somethin....And O & I are watchin & just can't believe it.  The line is almost out the door at this point, most tables are full...all the good seats are taken. (Thanks to these people!) And I'm all like REALLY?!! How fuckin RUDE can you be??  Can't they see that like EVERYBODY is watchin them? See, this place is designed for you to go through the line, sit down & eat, & leave...which is what MOST people do. Cause there's no comfy booths, no soft dinner music, no wait's not that kind of place.  Now, if it's totally dead in there....fine.  But crazy ass busy, tons of people in line, very limited seating??  And you & your gussied up group are gonna just sit there.  REALLY?? 

We finished our food & they still showed no signs of gettin it together to leave or anything.  So as we're gatherin up stuff to take to the trash, I'm all like "Yeah, let's GO since we're FINISHED & FREE UP this table so OTHER PEOPLE can SIT DOWN & eat!!" O was crackin up...I was just like "GAWD!!"

We never saw them leave....we even sat in the car several minutes while I reapplied my lip gloss....I really expected to see them leave but they didn't.  I dunno what most of the people in the line did...I guess they had to wait for other (normal) people to finish eating & leave. 

Am I the one with the problem?  Maybe you just had to be there....but I could never do that.  I've never seen that before...I eat here pretty frequently with my friend...& we don't do that.

*end rant*

Sunday, November 20, 2011

So Excuse Me Forgetting.....

Yeah, some stuff I forgot to mention...

First: I don't work at the insurance office anymore.  I haven't since the 1st of October.  Well, actually mid September when I took some time off to deal with that flurry of medical & to help O with some big stuff in our video biz.  This time last year I was studyin to pass the state exam to get my license.  And now I'm back to full time with our video company.  And it's fine.  Nobody's mad at anybody.  The insurance biz around there is just too slow at the moment to justify my "experimental" position, so s'all good.  We're all still buds.  And I still pop by from time to time for "Mexican Food Wednesday" or "Asian Food Friday".  =)

Also, that latest member of the insurance office to have to join the "cancer club"....he's gonna be good.  Had a very small colon cancer.  Had it removed in surgery.  Does not require any further treatment.

And my appointment I just had with my oncologist, Dr W.  Was a bit stressful, but turned out good.  It was another one of those times where he was runnin behind & I was waitin in the exam room for like, by the time he came in I was totally about to freak out.  But it all looked fine.  Get the chest X-ray before I see him again in February.

And finally...chemo brain.  It's still an issue.  Not terrible, but I've become terribly forgetful.  Like, I'm askin people to tell me stuff they've already told me. Forgettin to do stuff I say I'm gonna do....(especially hate that one, cause I'm known to do what I say I'll do.) So, yeah...I'm learning that I need to write down things that are important.  Pretty much have started to write everything down. 

Ok, I guess that pretty much catches up anything left hangin out there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Superstition Ain't The Way.......

Right.  So the 3 month appointment with my oncologist, Dr W is tomorrow.  And I'm (as usual) nervous.  But not as much as in the past.  I've been just "havin a feelin" that I've totally beat this bs.  That it's all gonna be good.  And at the same time, I'm all weirded out about goin into this appointment all confident & not a bundle of nerves like I usually am.  I think it's because, in my mind, goin in there anything less than bein all nervous means I'll probably get bad news.  So, if I go in there all typically nervous, I should hear the same thing I always hear. Right?  Cause I usually go in there all nervous, shakin in my shoes. And he always says everything looks good/great/beautiful. So I guess it's a bit of "expect the worst & hope for the best". Superstitious much?  Right. So how much of a nut job am I? Bein all weirded out about not bein all weirded out about this appointment.  

Or I'm just a headcase. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Got Some 'Splainin To Do...

Ok, it appears I need to explain something about this blog. I was made aware of this fact when someone checked out my last post.  So here goes:  When you are readin my blog, & you see words that are a different color, (teal, I think) mouse over that & you'll see that it's a link.  And maybe the different colors don't show up on mobile devices...I dunno.  But I should not have just assumed (you know what they say about when we ASS U ME) that it was obvious that there are links inside some of the posts that don't look like a typical link. 

Movin on....I'm FINALLY wearin my hair NOT in a ponytail.  I went to see my stylist & got a bit of a blend & trim.  Still tryin to get the last of the chemo fuzz off...still a tiny bit left in the back, but it's not noticeable when I flat iron it.

So, YAY! It's startin to look like real hair.

And I'm slightly unnerved that my oncologist, Dr W, has rescheduled my appointment from this coming Thursday to the following Monday.  He's apparently out of the office all next week. *Shakes fist at Dr W* And, of course, being the super weirdo paranoid freak that I am....of course I'm worried that it "means something". *Can see my friend's eyeballs rollin right now*

And y'all don't forget to turn your clocks back this weekend! =)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Dinner Drama Continues...

O & I have decided that if we didn't need to eat, things would be much easier.  Cause it seems like every damn time we work late, or want to eat out, SOMETHING makes it difficult.  Or impossible.  And we've just about decided that we just need to start videotapin our life, cause when we tell people how things happen to us, it really does sound like we're makin it up.  We often say to each other, jeez, you'd just have to be with us to see all this shit happenin around us.  (And our "Law of Attraction" where people just flock around us all the time continues too, but that's another post for another time.)

Ok, so after a meeting, we decide to eat out, cause I'm just not feelin like cookin.  We decided to try that new Chinese restaurant that we didn't last time when we made the mistake of goin to that other place that forgot about us.  I had always thought it was a Chinese buffet, although the building does look tiny for that. It's not.  It's a walk up to the register & order & pay like you're at McDonald's kinda place.

So we walk in.  And right away, O can tell he doesn't wanna eat there.  It's fast food....I mean really fast food. Not awesome fast food like Panda Express (which we also love).  And so O is like "Yeah...think I want something I'm gonna like better than this..."  So we just leave without approachin the cash register to order.  Then we noticed they have a Drive Thru.  Wish I'd noticed that before gettin outta the car.

So then we decide, hey, let's try that new Mexican joint that opened up recently right in our little town.  It always has lots of cars & people say it's good.  Even got a great write up in our local magazine, which made me want to try it even more.  So we're like "Yeah, let's do that!  Then we'll be close to home & everything."  So we go.  And we walk in.  And I think we realize why there's always tons of cars here.  The BAR.  But we figure we'll give it a shot.  Even though it is a bit of a dive...but I've had some of the best food ever in order some Queso to go with the chips.  Ok, we shoulda known by the salsa...which I suspect is just Pace from the jar.  Now I got no problems with Pace, just kinda hope for fresh made salsa when I eat out.  But we go ahead & order.  O orders the Enchilada special - 1 cheese, 1 beef.  I order the Fajita Steak Salad.  I figure, if you got good fajita meat, then I'll try other stuff.  OK...the queso....I'm not sure what the hell that wasn't even the color of cheese...very light yellow like a Post It Note....& very thin & watery.  Ok fine....& then the food comes out.  I can tell just by lookin that I'm not gonna like this. But I taste it & was all like:

"Ummmmmm, I dunno what the fuck that is, but it is awful!!! How's the enchiladas?"
O: "I'm scared to try it."
Me: "REALLY....taste this fajita meat..."
O tastes & goes "What the hell? WAAAAAAY too salty!!"

So then O tries his refried beans, suspects they're 2 days old & from a can, & then he tasted the enchilada & ended up spittin that right back out & wavin our server down. And I told him "Yeah, I can't eat this.  This is just terrible!"

Server comes over & says she'll get the owner for us.  So then the owner comes over & Ollie asks her about the beans...I swear he turned into Gordon Ramsey!  He's all like "These beans....they're from a can, yes?" LOL!  And the owner goes, in her super thick Mexican accent "Oh no, those beans are made today my friend."  Ok...we didn't ask you WHEN they were yeah, she kinda busted herself right there.  And I told her that fajita meat was terrible & super salty & she was just shakin her head & makin a face as if she was thinkin "You stupid gringos don't know good authentic Mexican food!" So O was like, "What do we need to do to just leave, cause we can't eat this..."  She tells us we can just leave.  And we do.  FAST.

So by this time, once again, it's gotten later than we'd like, so we ended up with, yet again, another fast food dinner.  That was the end of that attempt at dinner. After describin that fajita meat to some people, I've had more than 1 person tell me that it sounded like Menudo meat.  Eeeeew!!!!!

Two days later, it happened again.  Had a meeting run very late.  Like we were walkin out of the office around 8:15pm.  And here we go again..."What do you wanna eat?"  It's the Million Dollar Damn Question I'm tellin ya.

O: "I kinda would like a steak."
Me: "Yeah, there's that *Steakhouse That Will Remain Unnamed* just off the highway on the way home."
O: "Alright! Wow, that was easy!"

And we go.  And my 1st clue that I probably don't wanna eat here came when the hostess asked us if we had a smoking preference.  Ummmm, you can still smoke in restaurants?  Yikes!  So she takes us over to a booth that is like, the closest table to the smoking section, but I'm hungry, & it's late, so I don't say anything.  We order our food.  Bread comes out.  So far so good.  Then the salads come out.  I put the 1st bite in my mouth, & then it happened.  O saw it a split second before I did.  A fuckin ROACH is walkin right up to me...right there on the TABLE!! 
ON. THE. FUCKING. TABLE!!!  Salad comes flyin outta my mouth.  And the roach then is walkin up the side of my drink.  And O is like..."We. Are. Leaving! Get up!"  Shew, I was miles ahead of him.  We totally jumped up & ran outta there, brushin ourselves off to make sure we weren't takin anyone with us.  I bet the server must have come back with the steaks & wondered what the hell, cause we totally went *POOF*. Ummmm, G'day *Steak Chain Restaurant*!

All the way home (cause neither of us could eat at this point) we were just "I canNOT believe that fuckin just happened!"

Today we have a meeting.  And it's very close to one of our very favorite restaurants.  And I SO hope it's still one of our favorites after tonight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size

Or rather, DRESS your age?  What does that even mean?  I'm in my 40s.  But some of the clothes I like to wear are found in the Juniors section.  And yes, when I'm shoppin in there, I see the teenagers lookin at me like, "OMG grandma, get outta here tryin to dress too young..."  And I DO see ladies my age & older, very obviously tryin to hang on to youth with their manner of dress.  And I have to I look like that too?  

For instance....until very recently, I used to love love love wearin graphic print tops....every day...with bling & without.  Sometimes I still wear one.  But not like I used to.  Was/am I too old for those? And now I'm wonderin about a trend I'm seein in jeans.  All these jeans with white stitching....or know, with holes....and distressed WITH white stitching.....And how about this....jeans with very ornate back pockets like this.  Am I too old for this look?  

I'm wonderin all this because O likes how these jeans look.  Recently he was all like, "I want to see how you look in a pair of these new white stitched jeans I'm seein everywhere".  And I asked him, "Doncha think I'm a bit OLD for that?"  And he goes, "Hell NO!"  So yeah, I now own not 1, but 2 pairs of white stitched jeans.  And, one pair is distressed.  Yep.  But what about these very deco'd pocket ones?  Is someone in their 40s too old for that?

Here's the thing.  Yes, I'm approaching mid 40s.  But....I'm told, pretty much by everyone, even strangers, that I don't look anywhere near my age.  Which is super flattering to me & quite amazing actually, after havin gone through such hard core treatment for the bc can I pull off these younger looks cause I look younger?  OR....are people just tryin to be nice & lyin through their teeth & I in fact look exactly my age or even *shudder* OLDER?  I think this new hair length makes me look older, but when I do the ponytail thing, I (think) I look pretty much the same as I did pre bc bullshit....just shorter on ptail....Anyway, gettin off track here (thank you Sudafed & seasonal upper respiratory issues)...

How old is too old?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

She's Come Undone....

Ok, so this is a tale of two hairdos.  Cause it's time for the "Hair Regrowth After Chemo" update.  First up, we have the "UN-'do".
This is what happens when I just blow dry & go....Ok, so I do round brush the front, but the chemo curl remains, as you can see here....

Next, we have the "UN-done Done 'do".  What that means is, this is what happens when I attempt to actually style my hair with products & brushes, but I haven't gotten a 'do cut yet....last cut was just some blending done in still haven't had a REAL 'do I wanna DO. So the "UN-done Done 'do"... Just round brushed, not flat ironed.
These are right at 22 months from my last chemo, which was December 10, 2009.  And I'm thinkin of gettin somethin DONE with this 'do after Halloween...