Saturday, September 19, 2009

Update on the Breast Cancer Thing

Sorry I don't have any photos for you.

It's been three and a bit weeks since my mastectomy and I'm happy to say that I'm healing very well!

I finally had my long, awaited, appointment at the Victoria Cancer Clinic on Wednesday. It's three hours from home, but is one of the best places in the world to go for any kind of treatment.

Because I have an aggressive cancer (stage 2, High Grade Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) that tried to spread, I will be going through the maximum chemo therapy treatments: six. The treatments are three weeks apart and my first one is on October 2nd.

I have an appointment on October 6th with a Radiation Oncologist. This is because a month after I've finished my last chemotherapy appointment, I'll start radiation treatments.

I have tried to explain to my daughter what I'm going through is a six-year-old way. At first, I told her that I have a sore inside my body and the doctor's have to take it out. Then, when I went in for my 2nd operation, I told her the doctor's didn't get it all and they had to operate again. Then, on my third operation, I had to tell her that it was still there and to get it all the doctor's were going to have to remove my breast. I said it matter-of-fact so she didn't worry. She didn't. That was a relief.

Right after my third operation (in five weeks), my daughter asked me when my next surgery will be. -Out of the mouths of babes! LOL!

I told her that I was going to get a fake boob. She laughed and asked if it was going to be on the inside or the outside! I was very proud of this question, it was a good one!

A week and a half ago, I had an appointment with the Canadian Cancer Society to get fitted for a mastectomy bra and prostheses. I left with three bras and two prostheses. When I got home, I could not believe the price tag on the prostheses (which were donated to me) of $340- and $350-!!! I feel so fortunate!

Tomorrow, Sunday, my husband and I leave for a cruise, before my treatments start. It leaves out of San Diego and it's for five days with two stops: one in Encenada and the other in Cabo San Lucas. The reason for going on the trip is to try and forget about this cancer thing for a bit and also we had our 10 year wedding anniversary on July 31st. (Next month, we will have been together for 17 years!)

I'll update with more when we get back from our cruise.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm home from my third operation

I can't believe I'm one breast less! But, I don't have cancer that spread - that's the really good news!

My operation yesterday was a success - I think. I'll find out when I see my surgeon for the pathology report next week. I'll book that appointment this morning. It's too early to book right now, the office isn't open at 8:00am.

I came home with my chest wrapped like a Mummy. It looks funny when I look in the mirror because I had double-D's. I remind me of a me when I was a teenager with an 'A' cup! LOL!

I was able to talk to a really nice lady named Barb in the hospital yesterday. She is a survivor and has had both breasts removed and also all of her lymph nodes. She is a nurse there, too! She's also a Dragon Boater, too! A true inspiration. She has chose to put in implants rather than the 'tram flap' (I think that's what it's called).

Implants seem to be the way to go for me. I'm going to opt for my DD's again! I don't mind admitting to being a fan of big boobs - but not too big like Beth's; you know, Dog, The Bounty Hunter's wife!

I am not on any real 'drugs' from my operation. I alternate Tylenol & Ibuprofen every three hours. It works well and I don't find that I stiffen up. I do have a drain. I think it's gross, so I won't go into detail about that! LOL!

I have daily exercises that I am suppose to do. They are harder than the other times, but if I don't do them, my shoulder will stiffen up and it'll be really had to get it back to normal.

I am married to a really nice man. He takes very good care of me and our family, I am fortunate. He has booked a trip for us. On September 20th, well be heading down to San Diego for a five day Mexican cruise. I hope I get fitted for some kind of prosthetic before then! Could you imagine wearing a bikini and only filling one side of it an the other side has nothing? Ugh! LOL! I am not suppose to 'fill' that side until my six weeks are up - but I have decided I'm going to cheat! Wouldn't you?

In talking with Barb, the survivor/nurse, I learned some information that I was given was incorrect! Apparently, I can carry a purse over my shoulder on my right side. That's okay, I've always been a left shoulder purse carrier - for some reason it must be slightly higher and has always fallen off my left! LOL! It's all good :)

I'm fighting like a girl!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3rd Time Lucky

Tomorrow is my third operation; I'll be having my right breast removed. I asked my surgeon to remove my left one, but he really recommended not to. Since I have received this news, I have been down in the dumps. I know it can't jump from one breast to the other, but the piece of mind would have been comfortable! My 1cm lump had been growing for 2 to 8 years. My daughter is six - did I nurse her with breast cancer?

I am coming in for a third time because my surgeon thought he had taken enough tissue on my first two ops, but each time, the 'margins' had traces of cancer.

I DO NOT feel comfortable knowing I'll be leaving the hospital with only one breast and nothing to augment the loss. I am a double-D and will look very lopsided tomorrow.

I have to be at the hospital at 7:20 and my operation is for 9:20. At this point, I am known to select nurses; some I have met, some I have not (known via telephone). The nurses at St. Joseph's hospital are wonderful! They are so sweet! I am fortunate to be under their care.

My surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Kimberly is a REALLY nice man! I think he is very shocked at how things have transpired. I think he's being directed by an Oncologist out of the Victoria Cancer Clinic.

I hope to visit the Cancer Clinic in Victoria in about three weeks. At this stage, I would 'normally' have visited, but my operations keep putting me behind with this.

My husband is a wonderful man, I don't know how I got so lucky! He is beside himself because he can't 'fix' this. He has booked a cruise for us and we leave on September 19th. I am not suppose to augment in any way, shape or form of my breast during my six week recovery, but to go on the cruise, I'm choosing to ignore this rule.

For the rest of my life, I am not allowed to do the following with my right arm:

- no antiperspirant (deodorant is okay)
- no carrying of a purse, luggage or backpack
- no shaving my armpit with a razor (electric razor okay)
- no needles given/taken
- no blood pressure taken

For the last two items, from I have purchased a handmade charm, very similar to a medic alert; I'm going to make my own bracelet so if anything happens to me where I can't communicate, hopefully it will prevent any damage to my arm. It's going to say, "No needles given or blood pressure taken on right arm". I hope that does the trick!

I'll write more another time. It's nearly 10:00pm and I should have some water or something as I can't have breakfast or anything else.

Until then, I'm fighting like a girl!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Breast Cancer

I have always wondered in the back of my mind if it will be me or my sister. I wondered because we have an aunt, our Dad's sister pass away 20 years ago from it and my Mom's sister beat it five years ago.

My sister at 38, was diagnosed with Osteopenia (the beginning stages of Osteoperosis), so I guess it had to happen to me. I have High Grade Ductal Carcinoma. It is an aggressive breast cancer. But most breast cancer's are aggressive for "younger" women. I am 38. I found the lump while getting hot and heavy with my husband . He takes care of our family very well and he is devastated that he is not able to "fix" this.

Here is my "Cancer Calendar" to date:

- 14 June, found the lump
- 16 June, first Dr's appointment with GP
- 18 June, Mammogram (that showed nothing and my Dr. sat on the results for a week!)
- 03 July, had ultrasound and unscheduled biopsy before I left the hospital
- 09 July, Dr informed me of cancer
- 13 July, appointment with the surgeon
- 20 July, operation to have Sentinal nodes & lump removed
- 27 July, appointment with the surgeon at 2:45 to find out what kind of cancer and the stage (rescheduled)
- 28 July, appointment with the surgeon at the hospital, amid his rounds, for the above info. He told me it spread and he has to go back in. Later this day, the hospital called with 05-Aug as my next surgery date.
- 04 Aug, 9:45 appointment at the hospital for a C.T. scan of my internal organs.
- 04 Aug, 2:00 appointment at the hospital for a radiation injection. Back at 2:00 for a bone scan
- 05 Aug, 9:50, be at the hospital for my operation @ 11:50
- 06 Aug, went home from the hospital after the physiotherapist visited
- 07 Aug, went to the hospital to visit the Outreach nurse to have bandages changed as I leaked from the drain site
-08 Aug, Outreach nurse (Sandy) visited my home to change bandages (gave a waterproof one, so I would feel better about showering), checked my drain and checked incisions – all was good.
- 09 Aug, Outreach nurse (Sandy) visited my home to change bandages again (no waterproof ones, this time), had to shower without bandage, checked the flow of the drain and checked my incisions.
- 10 Aug, Outreach nurse (Sandy) came to my home and removed the drain and checked my incisions.
- 18 Aug, Appointment with the surgeon. He said that my bones are clean, my internal organ scan came out clean and the remaining lymph nodes that he took were clean. BUT, the breast tissue wasn’t and was told that my right breast has to go. He also said that I could be tested to see if I carry a certain gene. If I am a carrier, I have an 85% chance of contracting cancer in my other breast. If I’m not a carrier, my chances are 10%. I am going to try and ask if he can remove both, so I can get free implants!
- 19 Aug, received notification from the hospital that my surgery will be on the 27th of August.
- 24 Aug, Saw the surgeon to ask if he could remove also remove my left breast in my next surgery. It was decided to wait and explore my options.

So, there you have it. I have cancer and my new favorite saying is, "I fight like a girl!"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mountain Biking

I went for my first "real" mountain bike ride yesterday with the local woman's riding group. It was suppose to be a "novice" ride. Wow! I was mistaken!! I cannot believe how hard I worked! I was not the only one who experienced their first ride and I'm so happy that I was not the one that was in 'last' place.

My bike does not have shocks and I was the only one without them. As my morning goes along, I am starting to feel every muscle that I didn't know I had!

I am finding it hard to get some good speed up with all the bumps in the trails - it's a fine line because if you don't go fast enough, you can't go over them. If you go too fast, the trees and turns come at you really fast and I'm scared that I may become 'one' with a tree!

The beer and burger afterwards was soooo good!

My bike is new-to-me and it does not feel like an extension of me, yet. I really want a new bike - with shocks!

This is me on the first time I went riding with my mountain bike, the trail that I did this particular day was very tame compared to last night - it was for distance.

I could not believe the amount of women that went out and how many of them are hard core riders! I have a lot to learn.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Do you Facebook?

I think I'm addicted. I cannot believe the people that I have connected with!

I found a long lost friend in England, all sorts of school friends, family and friends in general; old and new.

It's a great way to keep updated on what everyone's doing. I like vague and and don't like huge details. Does that make sense? For example: I don't want to know the ingredients that you cooked your dinner with, I just want to know that you had a BBQ.

This is me on Facebook:

P.S. I took my picture of me on Halloween in 2007 using my bathroom mirror.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blog Give Away

Not too long ago, I was the VERY lucky recipient of Lady Isra's blog Give Away: ! She is so nice and sweet; she allowed me to choose any headband of my choice from her Etsy shop:

Today is my daughter's sixth birthday and this is what she chose to wear - the headband - it looks great and works wonders in her thick hair! Thank you Ashley!