Thursday, September 16, 2010

Updates at what nots!

**Maybe I forgot to make a note of this, but I changed my family blog address. Its not a private blog, but I was having some issues with some wierd guy, so I changed it a while back. If your interested, its or you can click on the sidebar link.

I know that I said I was done with this blog, but I really dont want to do any cancer posts on my family blog, especially when im talking about boobs. Not really family sort of material!

So, I guess my first order of buisness would be to say that...I AM OFFICIALLY, 100%, CANCER FREE!! Hallelujah!! I really feel so blessed to be rid of that nastiness. To know that the medicine did its job and to know that all the prayers on my behalf worked and that its gone! I had a PET scan a couple weeks ago. My Dr wasnt going to do one because I wasnt having any symptoms and he thought there was no reason too. I had a difference of opinion, and told him I was going to do one. So..he gave in and I was able to have one. Its such a relief to just have that peace of mind and know that every headache or backache is just that. Its a great feeling!!

The same day that I found out that my scan was clean, my sweet cancer friend found out that she wasnt so lucky. Her scan showed cancer had spread during chemo and radiation and even after a mastectomy. I was happy for me, but had a hard time celebrating knowing that she, who had the same treatments as me, with the same Dr, was just begining her fight all over again. She recently just found that it has spread to her lungs, so please send prayers and good wishes her way as she starts this crap all over again.

On to boob news...I recently went in to the plastic guy to start the next and final stage of my reconstruction. I had kind of put it off because I was waiting for my left side to drop and relax a little more. But as time went on, it just became tighter and more uncomfortable. I read a few cancer blogs, and on one of them, she explained about a process she went through because the radiation had burned her skin so bad and there was no way to stretch it. I emailed her and asked her more about it and then I researched it on my own. It seemed that this procedure just might be for me!! So during the Dr appt, I was waiting for him to bring up other options before I told him how to do his job.

He never did.

I kept hinting and hinting that I wasnt happy with being COMPLETELY lopsided and I was in pain all the time, but he basiclly told me that it is what it is and unfortunatly, radiation ruins the skin. So, before I punched him in the face and told him I was going elsewhere, I brought up this procedure. He was all like, "Oh yea, the dorsi flap procedure, that would significantly help the look and feel". SERIOUSLY?!? Why on earth was I the one to bring up this totally, obvious solution? He is a great Dr and he does really good work, but seriously? What the crap? I asked him if it would be worth it to go to all that trouble and pain, and would it really make that big of a difference and he told me that it would be awesome and that I would notice a 75-90% change in elasticity. Well, thats great! Im glad that I could do all the work for you!

Im not bitter...i sware! Im really grateful that there is an option for me that will work and relieve some of this pain.

As a background, my left breast, or what was left of it, was the side that was radiated. It burned me pretty bad and pretty much ruined my skin. It feels like leather to touch it. During the recon. phase, my right side did great with the expanding, but my left side just wasnt budging. After the implants were in, it still didnt move. My right side looks awesome!! It almost feels like the real thing...almost! But my left side, looks like a square. Its almost flat against my chest, and during these last 7 months since the surgery that my skin was supposed to relax and soften, it has only gotten worse. Its tight and it hurts to wear a bra or touch around it and its hard and just uncomfortable. I didnt want to settle. I was sure there was another way to fix this. Of all the reconstruction stories that I have heard about, I had never heard one that ended in complete lopsidedness and pain. Im seriously an A on one side and a C on the other. I didnt go through all this pain to end up like this.

So anyhow, my surgery is on Monday!! And I couldnt be more thrilled! Here's what will happen...He will cut all that bad, radiated skin off and he will replace it with skin from my back. They will take a nice chunk of skin and muscle and make a new boob from that. I will still have the implant in, and hopes are that it will allow the implant to be what it is and not stuff it in my chest wall. So I should be pretty close to even on both sides. Right now, the implant I have in my left side is bigger than the one in my right, but you would never know...Its just one flat, square, pancake. Its a more invloved surgery than the other ones and I will be in the hospital for a day or 2. My birthday is on Tuesday, so I will spend my bday in the hospital...YAY! Whats a birthday when your this old anyway...I will just celebrate this weekend.

I almost forgot, I am DONE with Herceptin!! This is what I have been doing for the last year. Its a low dose chemo that I did every 3 weeks at the hospital. So I am offically done with all things chemo and medication related. Now if I can just get this reconstruction done, then I will finally be able to put all of this behind me. It has been a looong year and half. I did chemo from Feb-May, then the mastectomy in June, then radiation started in August-September. Then I started Herceptin 1x/every 3 weeks for the next year, and then the start of my my reconstruction(October) which included the initial surgery to place the expanders and then going to the plastic surgeon each week for 3 months to get injected with saline to fill me up (worse part of the whole cancer experience...worse pain EVER) from Nov-Jan. Then, the permanent implants in Feb. Still doing Herceptin and ended that in August. Now its September and I will do another surgery and when im healed from this, and if all goes well, then I will complete the reconstruction with one more surgery in Dec. sometime. And in all of this, I had Dr appts, checkups, blood work, and MUGA(heart) scans(5 in the past year). AHHH, just thinking of it all overwhelms me. How grateful I am to be on the end of this. I truly feel so blessed that I had the strength and faith to get through it all. I couldnt have done it without my Savior, and I really couldnt have done it without all the help, the prayers, the love and support from everyone!

Anyway, im not one for mushy, so THANK YOU!!
I am so glad I took the time to write all this out. I was just gonna do a quick update, but once I started writing, it just kept coming. Im glad I will have this for my journal. I tend to ramble, so sorry about that.
I will try to update about the surgery when I can move and maybe I will post some pictures of my gnarly scar on my back. Oooh, I bet you can hardly wait!!
Til then...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I just realized that I never updated after my doctors appointment 2 weeks ago. I really thought I had and I just looked on here and realized I hadnt. Whoops!!

Things are good and im feeling great. I am slowly starting to get my energy back and feeling normal. I still have my low energy days, but I dont think thats too out of the ordianry being a mom and all. Its amazing what new boobs will do for ya-even if they are slightly uneven =)

On that note, I walked into that appointment mad as heck and ready to tear into him, but I totally chickened out and decided to be nice about it. He explained in detail why they looked the way they did and he gave me hope that they would not always look this way...and he was right. I can already tell a difference. He said that over time the left side will relax and even out, but it will never look like the same and I needed to be realistic. I understand that raditation ruined my skin and it will never be normal-it will always feel hard and leathery and he did the best he could under those circumstances. I believe him. I think he did a great job and im happy with what I have. They are just boobs afterall.

The next step is the nipple reconstruction. Im not really sure what steps have to be taken for this, but im not really worried about it. I have an appointment this next week to get the stitches out of the left side and im sure we will talk about what comes next. Im excited to just get this over with. I cant even tell you how sick I am of doctors appointments and driving and taking time out to go. I can handle the once every 3 week Herceptin, but anything else just drives me crazy. I cant even stand to take my kids. Avery has been due for her 3 year check up for a month and I just keep putting it off. Im lame.

Anyway, everything else is good and I love being on the end side of all this crap. This whole last year seems like a blur and I cant even believe all I went through. I think I just erased it all so I could move on. I dont remember much so I just count it as a year lost but now things are back on track and its great. Im looking foward to Easter this year because last year I was so sick and I missed out on so much. I look foward to alot. This last year took so much of me and I found it hard to do the small and simple things, like hang out and play with my kids. I just didnt have the energy or the drive. Its a strange feeling to be complely zapped of everything, even when I felt good. I love feeling alive again. Maybe its the weather, I love the warmth and the sun and it makes me happy. =)

I dont really feel the need to dwell on this cancer crap so I probably wont write on here anymore, not that I was a regular or anything, but I feel I need to move on and focus on good things. I might still update here and there, but now that im on the end of this, I want it to be the end. I created this blog so I could make it the focus and record what I was going through. I didnt want this to take away from my family blog, so I made it its own. I think I can incorporate the two now. This is where my life is and im hoping that cancer will make less and less an impact. I will still live with some effects from this blasted disease and I will always have to maintain and do tests and blood work and all that to make sure it doesnt come back, but its just maintenace and I dont think it needs its own blog. Besides, im soooo not on the ball enough to keep 2 blogs. Have you noticed how lacking my family blog has been. Im just now starting to get caught up on the last year. I think my last post was on an event that took place around halloween. Im pretty with it these days.

I have loved this blog and I am so glad that I had a place that made it easy to journal and keep record of all I went through and keep people informed who cared. Thank you so much for all the support over this year and for all the prayers and well wishes. I felt every single one. Im not one for the mushy, but I really am so grateful for all the meals and treats and notes and phone calls and texts and the many, many countless acts of service that came my way. I hope to be able to pay that foward and always be on the giving side of service. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and allowed me to endure this trial to make me a better person and more compasionate and more willing to serve others. He showed me miracle after miracle and answered my many prayers and he continues to do so. I am happy, healthy and so grateful for another chance at life.
If you really care to keep up on my oh so intersting life, then please feel free to stop by my family blog. Hopefully I will get it updated soon, but its spring break and I dont have much time to blog. But soon, I promise!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

All that...for this????!!

Its been 4 days since the big surgery. I feel pretty good, only a bit sore on the right side and really sore on the left, but good overall. I was able to take the bandage off yesterday.

Not good.

Not good at all.

I dont know exactly what I was expecting, but what I saw wasnt even close. Its horrible. I know im sounding way over dramatic, but I just figured it would look somewhat close to normal. The right side had been overstretched and now the skin is saggy. He had to put in smaller implants because of the left sides refusal to stretch, but I had no idea how much smaller. I dont mean to sound ungrateful, they are only boobs afterall, but all that pain to be right back where I started. I think I am a big A or small B-somewhere in that area. With the expanders in, I was at least a small C. Im not sure why they are so small, I havent yet been to the Dr, but I sure plan on speaking my mind. I went through over 3 months of pure hell and pain like I have never known and I assumed I would be a nice size. I am still lopsided and I dont match. He said that he had to cut down fartther to make more room so the implant wouldnt expand under my arm. It kind of looks like a ramp of some sort. I guess it all came down to waiting to do the reconstruction until after radiation. That radiation ruined my skin and made it into leather and there is no give whatsoever.
I am grateful to still be alive and even if I knew I would look like this at the end, I still would have had the mastectomy, but I guess I had false hope. I guessed that I would have nice, perky girls as a result of all this crap I had gone through. Not so.

When I first saw how they looked, I cant even tell you how I felt. I started bawling and I couldnt stop for hours. I got myself dressed and jumped back in bed and pulled the covers over my head. Bill came in a while later to check on me and found me crying. I wouldnt show him at first, I was so embarressed. It took a few minutes before I would show him, but he told me they looked fine and we knew that the left side would look different. He calmed me down a bit, but it took most of the day for me to calm down and stop crying. I had never cried, really, from the mastectomy. I knew that it was only temporary and that soon, I would look like a woman again. Even with the expanders in, I knew that it was only temporary. Now, this is permanent. This is how they will look forever. This is the final product. I just couldnt handle it. I still am in shock and this will take a while to get used to. Im not sure if I will ever feel comfortable in a swim suit and I will have to get a bra that will make me look even. I wasnt expecting this.

I am supposed to meet with the Doctors office in the next couple days, so hopefully he can help me, but im sure if there was something he could do, then he would have done it.

But on the bright side, my chest feels a hundred times lighter and I can breathe again. I plan on being up and around in the next few days and back to normal things. I will feel sorry for myself for a while, but it will pass, it always does.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Its Official!!

A week from today, the girls will be here!!!

I cant wait!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is it true?!

I just got home from the surgeon and received my LAST, yes thats right, LAST injection. This is the last time I have to stretch my skin to its limit, to be in so much pain that it puts me on my knees, bawling, to spend so much time sitting in my stupid recliner heating my back. I am officially done with the expanding process of my reconstruction!!! I cant even tell you how excited I am-cant you tell!!
As soon as they get all the insurance paper work done, and get all the final approvals, then they will call me and get get me scheduled. Im like, can we get this done tomorrow?!
I need to wait at least a week to let this last round do its stretching, so im thinking in the next couple of weeks. I just want it done before spring break so im able to be up and around while my kids are out of school.
I will be doing the silicone gel implants. Its a pretty quick surgery, about 1 1/2 hours if all goes good. Its in an out and the best thing is there are NO DRAINS REQUIRED!!! If anyone has had any sort of drain, then they can tell you what a huge relief that is. Those darn buggers are the most bothersome of the surgery. Im hoping that I will be down a few days and then sore for a few more then back to normal. Just thinking about having normal boobs again makes me so happy. Not to say that fake boobs are normal, but they arent hard rocks that smash every person I come in contact with. My kids and especially my husband will be soooo happy to have something somewhat soft again.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Be strong and Carry on

When I first started this blog, I really wanted to share the details of the day to day with cancer. I wanted to remember what it was like and how I felt and how hard it was for me. I guess I wanted to remember what I had overcome and what I had learned from this trial. For the most part, I have been very honest and have shared details-even the not so good ones. I promised to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Thats why im writing this today. Its time I share whats really going on during this time in my life. I will say in advance that im sorry if I offend anyone. Thats not my intent, I just want to be honest with myself and I want to be real with all of you.

It has officially been a year since I found out that my life would be changed forever. I was happy and we were just about to start a new chapter of our lives in owning our own business. We had plans and it was exciting. I hated Utah and everything about it, but I was truly excited. How quickly everything changed. We ripped up the papers, wrapped up loose ends, packed our house and were gone in a matter of days. We didnt even have time to think or feel. Once here, we dealt with what we had to and that occupied our time. Those first months are a blur. I really didnt feel much-or allow myself to. I knew that I had no other option but to be strong and deal with this head on. My husband was having hard times enough for the both of us, and I knew my only path was to be strong and carry on. Chemo and surgery and radiation took up so much of my time that I was always occupied-my mind was always occupied. Now, I have had a lot of time to think and to feel and it has all caught up with me. All the emotion and stress and worries. To say the least, im a mess.
There is a lot that comes with having cancer, it affects EVERY aspect of your life. For me, at the begining, it was such a positive experience. People from all over the place were coming out of the woodwork to say they loved me and were praying for me. I had constant reminders of love and service. I had never seen anything like it. I received cards and gifts and treats and calls and texts. It was such an example that I will never forget. I will never forget what it felt like to be on the receiving end of such service. It was really hard for me to accept this. Call it a pride thing, but I usually like to be on the other end. This was new for me and it was hard to get used to and it was hard to show my gratitude without feeling stupid. I know thats wierd, but I felt like a burden after a few weeks. I felt like it was getting old real fast and I just wanted it to stop. I just tried to get through it without trying to feel much. I took it one chemo treatment at a time and before I knew it, I was done and on to the next step. I really expected to feel a loss of some sort after my mastectomy, but I didnt. I felt fine. It was actually a relief to have them gone. Radiation came next. It was long and boring, but easy. I couldnt wait for that to be done so I could start the reconstruction process. During radiation, my skin started to get red and irritated. I wasnt allowed to wear any sort of bra of prothstesis because it would irritate the skin. My skin was so sensitive that if there was any friction, it could literally rip the skin. I had to be less than flat chested for the next couple of months. To be honest, it didnt really bother me first. I was really good at ignoring my feelings and putting them off, but everywhere I went I was reminded. People would always ask how I was and how I was feeling and what was next. It was constant. I soon started to feel selfconscious of how I looked. I had no hair, no boobs and I had gained alot of weight. All of a sudden, I started to see myself and all those feelings I had been storing away broke free. What the crap had happened to me. I started to not want to go out or to talk to anyone. I felt hidious. Seriously. I even convinced myself that my husband was totally repulsed by me and thats not good for any marriage. My poor husband-its amazing that he's still here =) I started to feel like I was the pity girl. Its all any one would talk about, it seemed no body knew what to say so they just would ask about cancer. I didnt want to be the charity case.

I thought once I started the reconstruction process, alot of this would go away. I really was never the vain type. I never cared so much about clothes or being stylish, but all of a sudden I was painfully aware that I was far from it. I started to withdraw from everything. I didnt want to do anything. I lost interest in things that I used to love. I guess all signs point to depression. Im too strong to be depressed. I have had boughts before, after I had kids, but I always got through it. I would get through this one. And so I did. I realized that I choose to be happy and thats what I needed to do. Once again, be strong and carry on,

Now it was time to start reconstruction. I couldnt wait. I finally had boobs. It was awesome. The first part of this process was pretty easy. It hurt a little, but i was tough. Just right before Christmas, I recieved an injection that was unlike any other pain I have ever felt. I was bawling my eyes out and nothing I did was relieving my pain. To make matters worse, I couldnt get a hold of my Dr to get pain pills. My next appointment wasnt until after new years. Pure hell is all I can say. Since then, ive had to live off of pain pills and muscle relaxers. Ive never been one to take pills. Ive always refused them after babies and when I get a headache, I would rather suffer through it than take anything. Im dumb, I know, but I just had never felt comfortable taking them. I hate pain pills, I hate the way they make me feel. I hate everything about them-except that they are wonderful in relieving my pain. Everyday, I go through the same fight. I put off taking them until im in so much pain that I cant function. Why?? I have no idea. I guess I just think that I can deal with it without help, like everything else.
Being in constant pain does something to a person. It has changed me. Not for the good. Im cranky, mean, withdrawn, tired, no energy. Im back to not wanting to socialize, or go out, or do anything. I have a hard time doing the things im supposed to do as a mom, wife. Im in more pain than I admit to anyone and its hard. All I want to do is climb in bed and pull the covers over my head. But I cant. I have responsibilities and I have to take care of them. The thing about being sick for so long, is that you have used up the "i need help" card. I feel that I have taken advantage of everyone and all the resources. I dont want to be a burden anymore, to anyone. I just want to feel good and be able to do things on my own. Im not in my own house, I dont have my own things, im not in my normal routines, my kids arent the same. Im so wiped out from pills that I cant even get up in the mornings to get my kids off to school. My husband has taken on that responsibility and he does a great job, but thats what a mom does. And I cant get out of bed. Im completly numb inside and out. Chemo did something to my brain-its like it wiped it clean. I feel dumb as a rock. I dont have the energy to be with my kids or do things with them because I dont feel like I can-I cant teach them because I dont know how or what to teach them. Its all a vicious cycle.

So after a year, what have I learned? That its not as easy as I thought at first. That I didnt have to try and be superwoman. That it is what it is and I should have dealt with it head on instead of trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be. Its hard dealing with an illness that could potentially kill you. There is always the thought that this could come back and be way more agressive and I would have to do this all over again. All I know right now is that things can only be a bad as you allow them to be. I know that if I focus on this hard time and feel sorry for myself, then im allowing it to win. My cancer may be gone, but its affects are still lingering and will be for quite a while. What do I do now? The only thing I can do...Be strong and Carry on!!

I dont mean to sound so depressing-sorry about that, but I cant even tell you how good I feel now that I have written this all down. I know I am going through this for a reason and when I read this again sometime down the road, I hope to know why and I hope to be able to have learned something great from all this. I know there is a plan and that is why I am able to move on. We all have hard times and this too shall pass.

On boob news, I should only have about 2 fills left to even them out. My radiated side isnt being too cooperative and its just not stretching like we would like it too. Im hoping for the permanent implants to be in by the end of the month. Cross your fingers!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Just a quick post today. Things seem to be so much busier around this time of year, even though we are still doing the same ol, same ol.
I got word yesterday that my MUGA scan came back clean and my heart is still pumpin away. Thats good to know-all this means is that I can continue to do the Herceptin until my next scan in 4 months.
I just got home from the plastic man and he filled me up nice and good. I usually do 60cc's, but today he did 100 and I feel stretched to the max. It feels like I have an ace bandage wrapped nice and tight around my chest that keeps me from breathing and just for good measure, strapped in a couple elephants. Its great. But, im looking more like I have boobs and less like a boy, although I am a bit lopsided still because the radiated breast isnt wanting to cooperate by stretching. The volume is the same, its just a bit deflated on the top. Are you getting sick of hearing about my boobs yet? I know I am. Im very anxious to just speed things up and get this over with. Wishful thinking, right?
Well, thats all on the cancer front. Things are good and what a blessing it is!!