Friday, June 19, 2009


A bit of good news. Actually, its a bit of GREAT news!
Today I had my appointment with my oncologist to go over the results of the pathology report from my surgery. Let me start from the top...
Monday I had my first follow up with my surgeon. I was prepared to beg with all my might so that he would take out the drains. I had had it. I just couldnt take it anymore. I knew that there was a really good chance that at least the left drain would stay in because I was still having a ton of drainage, but to my complete surprise, he said that they were ready to come out!! Holy cow, I have never been so excited to feel the ripping pain of those drains being pulled out. And pain it was. I really didnt know what to expect-I just knew it was going to hurt. Luckily, I was still numb so i didnt feel the stiches coming out, but oh my heavens, I felt those drains being pulled on then yanked as they ripped through muscle and tissue. I thought I might die for those brief seconds-but they are out and I am feelin good!!! It has taken a good part of this week for the swelling to decrease, but today I noticed a big change. The swelling is down and my arms have almost reached normal position down by my side. I dont look like a body builder anymore. I am still having pain and numbness on the backs of my arms and my arm pits are still completly numb as well as the stitches where the breast were removed and around that area. I still dont have full range of my arms-I cant reach and stretch them like before. I think that is just something that im going to have retrain my muscles to do. Hopefully the plastic surgeon can do something about that when I begin reconstruction. But its nice to feel a bit normal again.
The surgeon then told us about the pathology report. He started off by saying that it wasnt the news he was hoping to hear. I think Bill about had a heart attack. He said that 3 of the 7 lymphnodes that were tested came back positve for cancer. He was hoping that the large size of the nodes were the result of scar tissue-but they werent. I didnt panic, I knew that it was my oncologist that I needed to talk to, not the surgeon. Bill, on the other hand, paniced enough for the both of us. Hes funny like that.

So, that brings us to today. My Dr came in and said he was extremly happy with the report. He said that they were able to get all the cancer-thanks to the chemotherapy. He said that since the tumor and surrounding little spots were so reduced in size, it made it possible to get it all. He wasnt the least bit worried about the 3 nodes that tested positive. He just kept saying that he was so pleased that the chemo did its job and that my body was very receptive. Thank you body!! So as far as im concerned, I AM CANCER FREE!!! Its such a great feeling. I feel so lucky to be in this position. At the begining of all this, things didnt look good at all. Now look where I am. I have a great Dr and he has done such a marvelous job. I am convinced that I have been greatly blessed by a higher power-EXTREMELY blessed!! And of course I wouldnt be here without the many, many prayers that have come my way. What an experiece this has been. I know that the hard part is over-now its on to the maitenece part of all this. I should hear back next week as to when I will start the radiation and I will also start my Herceptin treatments. I knew from the begining that I would have to do the Herceptin because of me having the HER 2 gene, but I always thought it was a shot. I was informed today that this is an IV treatment that will take about 1hr and 45 min to recieve. So, im back to the chemo schedule. 1 day every 3 weeks for the next year. Its a bit discouraging to know that for the next year i have to deal with this, but I guess I would rather deal with this than have to deal with cancer again.
So thats where I am. Still a long road, but im prepared and ready.

Its a great day!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I cant believe its been a week since the surgery. Time goes by so fast when you measure it by tv shows. Im so sick of being down and in bed-so today, I actually got out of the house. I guess it wasnt a real getting out of the house since I only stayed in the car, but it was nice to drive again anyway.
I am about ready to rip these darn drains out of the holes they are stiched into. I would say the pain is kinda like a sunburn mixed with total irritation of the skin. You know when you wear a cap sleeve shirt that rubs just under your arms-like that. So annoying. Im still draining tons of fluid so I know that im going to have to keep these things in a bit longer. I go see the surgeon on Monday and hopefully he will take out the stiches and these blasted drains.
I meet with my oncologist on the 19th and we should get my radiation scheduled-sooner rather than later-but it all depends on the healing of the wounds and the surrounding tissue. If you try to do radiation on tissue that is not strong, then you have a good chance of burning a hole right through it. Not a good thing.
Not much else going on. The kids are bored out of there minds. They all get home from lessons by 10:30 and since we are homebound they get bored really easy. Poor kids. Lots of TV and rock band. Hopefully next week we will be able to get out more and stay busy. Its been hard to not be able to play with them or do small simple things for them. I cant move my arms much, so even making them a meal is out of the question. How thankful I am for my mom for steping up this past week to take care of my kiddies for me. She has done everything from changing the diapers to lunch and dinner and all the cleaning and picking them up from lessons. Poor thing is so worn out, but she has not once complained and Im so grateful for her and all she has done for me. Tonight was the first night we had to figure out dinner. We have been brought dinner from ladies in our ward all week. Its been so nice.
All I can say is im glad that I wont have to do this again for a while!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

And their off!!

What a strange experience surgery is. I had never had surgery before, so I really didnt know what to expect. I had read some other blogs of women who have had mastectomys, but other than that I was clueless. All that worring over nothin. I had a great night before surgery. After Bill dropped the kids off at his moms, we met at Oregenos. YUM!! I got the Pablo Picasso salad and Bill got some sandwhich. I think we were both really nervous because we only ate half our meals. Even though we werent hungry, we still ordered a pizookie because you cant go there without getting one. What a waste-we only ate half of it-well I only ate half of it. Then, I headed straight to book club. They are the sweetest bunch of girls ever!! Julie had made this sign that said "good luck Shelly" with bras and "feel your boobies" ribbons, and balloons put together to look like boobs. So dang cute! After a couple hours of good conversation, I headed home to finish getting ready and then "cuddled" with the hubby and then suprisingly fell asleep and slept really good until the alarm went off at 4:30. After registering and getting in my awesome hospital gown, the drug man came in and gave me some good stuff to help me relax. Thats about the last thing I remember until I woke up. Bill said I was laughing at the doctor, but I dont remember that. When I woke up I was in soooo much pain that I was rolling back and forth and moaning. I vaugely remember "kinda" crying. I think it was more like a child does when they are fake crying. I was just coming out of the fog and still acting really wierd. Nothing they gave me was working so they found something stronger and it worked like a charm. I went right back to sleep and woke up in my room with Bill and my parents. I still was hurting a lot and I went to feel my chest and there was nothing. Such a wierd feeling. Its a hard emotion to explain. The doctor had said that the lymph nodes were larger then he thought, but he thinks it might just be scar tissue from the cancer that was there. We are hoping thats what it is and that the cancer is gone from the nodes. We should find out tomorrow or Wednesday.
So anyway, the pain medicine wore off pretty quick, so they gave me more. About and hour later, it had wore off, but they can only give it to you every 4 hours. About a half hour later, I threw up. Then I threw up again, and again. By the end of the night we realized I was having a reaction to the morphine. So they gave me something else-something so glorious. It worked the second they put it in the IV and it lasted a long time. This was the first time I felt comfortable since being there-and it was at 4 in the morning. I finally was able to sleep-until they came in the next hour for vitals and the next hour and the next. I felt better the next day, but was still in pain. I was able to finally eat and hold things down, so at 1pm, I was able to go home. They gave me one final dose of the heavenly pain meds and I headed home. The second I walked in the door I puked. I guess I left a bit too early. Whoops. Luckily, that was the last time. Unfortuanlty, the pill form of that glorious drug isnt as glorious. Pain pills just dont work on me. Oh well, I guess I will just have to tough it out!!
I have these super cute drains in that are annoying as all get out. They are like a mile long with a grenade at the end. They keeping getting clogged and they hurt liek crap. They are stiched in to the side of me and the incision is so itchy, but I have to keep it covered with a bandaid so I cant get right to the source of the itch. Its driving me crazy. The back of my left arm is completly numb and at various times in the day, I will get a sharp, stabbing pain. Its so weird. Just above the incision on my left side, I have tons of fluid building up-so much so that all you have to do is push on it and you can hear a swooshing sound. Gross!! I called the Dr today and he said its fine as long as the drains keep draining.
Its hard to not be up doing the things that I usually do. I dont have full range of motion with my arms so i can only do things that dont require my elbows to leave my side. Its not as bad as I thought it would be. I thought I would have had a lot harder time, but I have been ok. Maybe when the drains come out and I can wear normal clothes, it might be harder. I have had such incredible support and it makes this so much easier to handle. I am still a little out of it and my brain is still a bit foggy and I could sleep all day. Thanks to my Mom for taking over my duties for the next couple of days so I can recover and Thanks to Bills mom and sisters for taking such good care of the kids while I was in the hospital. They had soooo much fun!! I love you guys!!
Sorry no pictures, but this wasnt really something I wanted to remember with pictures. Thanks again for all the support and the kind words and the meals that were brought and the treats. They helped so much through this and I could never say thank you enough!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Last night with my girls!!

So here I sit on the eve of my surgery, trying to do everything and anything so I dont have to sit and think of tomorrow. I came to a conclusion yesterday...I am very, very good at distraction. If there is something I dont want to do, I sure as heck can find just about anything else to do. I havent really put that much thought into this surgery-to be honest. Of course I have thought about why im having it and what it means and that this may be what completly rids my body of this cancer-all the important things. But what im trying not to think of is the physical part of it. If im being honest, I love my boobs. I was very lucky to be so well endowed. Even though they are saggy and stretchy, they are mine and we have had such a long love/hate relationship. Im scared to let that go. I know all these fears I have are stupid and shallow and I should just be focusing on getting the cancer out of my body, but its a lot harder than I thought it would be. I know that I need to face it right now before they are gone, but im scared to think about it. For example, I have been putting off getting a mastectomy bra. I finally decided that it was time yesterday. I went to the mall, not even really knowing what I was looking for. I asked the lady if they carried mastectomy products and she showed me what they had and I immediatly felt overwhelmed. I ended up just grabbing the sports bra that zips in the front for the surgery and left. On my way out, the tears started falling and I started to panic. Just my luck, the first tears I shed about this and im in the mall around perfect strangers. I pratically ran out of there. I got in the car took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and pulled myself together. Its been the same today, I have been so busy that I havent thought about it...much.
Im pretty good with the distractions.
But at some point before tomorrow, im going to have to look it in the eye. I may shed some tears, I know my husband will. Its a sad thing what this cancer does. It took my hair, my eyelashes, my eyebrows, it took me from my family and put me in bed for weeks, it made me gain 10 pounds thanks to the steroids and now its taking the last thing that makes me a woman. I know that boobs dont define me or make me a better person, but they sure are a big part of my appearance as a woman-and now thats gone. Its hard to deal with. I know the fake ones will come at some point, but they arent mine.
Well, enough of that. I dont do well with the negative things. I would rather think of all the positive things that will come from this instead. The cancer being gone, new, perky boobs and a tummy tuck! What gal wouldnt want that!!! Im blessed to be here and blessed to be able to even have this option.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and sent kind words and wishes my way. I really have felt them all and I know that one of the reasons I am able to stay positive is because of them. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

So what to do with my last night. Hmm...We are shipping the kids off to Grandmas. They have been looking foward to this all week. Sleepovers are the best-especially when it invloves Grandma, Ana and Aunt T!! We are no match for them. Then, I think me and the hubby will go out to dinner and celebrate all the good years we have had with the twins. Then im off to book club for some girl time, but I actually have to be home at a decent time. No rollin in at 3 am this month. Its gonna be more like 11pm. Im pretty disciplined. ha ha. Then its time to panic. Im pretty sure there wont be much sleeping going on-so we might have to give the girls a propper goodbye!!! (im sorry-I know that was totally inappropriate-but im all about happy things right now and its my blog, I can write what I want =)!! And you know you were thinking it anyway)
We have to be at the hospital by 5:30 and hoepfully the surgery will start on time at 7:30. Thats early!!