Friday, December 31, 2010

Not what I wanted

So I get a call from an old family friend last night....she called on the home phone and on my cell....so I suspected she really wanted to talk to me. My stomach had already turned over a couple of times as I suspected an idea....

Sure enough....she says to me that my mother had called her for the first time in about a year....she seemed civil and so she told her....about my "situation"....why?! why?! why!?

If you don't understand the complexity and severity of what has happened between my mother and I....don't judge...go to another site.

Apparently she shed a tear and said that if I wanted to...I should call her. Ummm...no. I am a firm believer that cancer can be self-inflicted, the result of being on the shit end of the stick and/or a result of terrible negativity and constant stress and strain on the body....I firmly believe that my cancer is a result of the latter...for the most part.

It's been four 1/2 years since I've spoken with "her". It took me a good year to go through a type of "grieving" process. There is no relationship between my mother and I. My life is finally...."calm"....my life is finally "without major stress"....my life has cancer....funny how that works. I can finally "take care of me"....and the last thing I need is to rip open my broken rib cage and expose my battered, ill beating heart. Sorry....I'm going to be a selfish, self-centered wife and mother of three. The four people I have closest to me....are all that I need. There is no more verbal and physical abuse in my life and none for my children to witness...nothing but love and gentle hands and understanding hearts.....it's what I craved for years....it's what there is now.

So anyways....I'm disappointed that she took it upon herself to tell my mother but I'm not changing a thing....not now. Ask me again in 5 years....maybe I'll have had a change of heart but for now....I need to get through this and I need to get through it without any added crap. She'll have to "take a number".

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"From this moment on"....

"So, it's official.

You've been diagnosed with cancer.

This time it's not some family member, acquaintance, or celebrity --

It's YOU.

Like it or not, you've joined

the cancer movement.

You're one of "them."

More accurately, you're one of "us"

And from this moment on....

your life will never be the same


NEVER

Some things will be worse and
some things will be better...

There will be many surprises
but also discoveries.

In the days ahead,
you will find YOUR OWN WAY
to deal with your cancer diagnosis."

I was loaned a book labeled "a guide for those recently diagnosed with cancer"....beautiful excerpts....I will be sharing....hope you don't mind....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If you don't want to hear this....

....cover your eyes. Yeah, yeah...I know....

So the chemo itself went pretty well....it's the "after crap" that didn't/isn't. It consists of this list of sufferings....

tiredness (lots)
nausea (slight)
headache (big time)
fever (a touch)
constipation (don't even go there)
stomach ails (I just about passed out last night)
gas(I think I could run the entire Ford fleet)
monthly (just one more thing to add to my list)

I've had so many fluids....Metamucil and prune juice, water etc.....I just don't get where the pains have come from. Regardless....if Tony doesn't have to take me to the e.r. tonight (which was a very close option last night), I might even venture out for a bit tomorrow. Of course I have to stay away from anyone with a snotty nose. But I'm looking forward to getting out of this joint...just for some fresh air.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

TMI

I know...if you had a look at my side panel and noticed the "how I'm feeling" spot...it might be a little much information for you to handle. Yet another side affect of taking all these pills....now if you'll excuse me....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas update



So here I am...it's Christmas Day 2010, I have countless toxic chemicals running through my veins, pills upon pills in my tummy and a strict schedule on when to eat and when to pop a pill. I spent 6 hours in the chemotherapy department of LGH yesterday hooked up to an iv, talking to and learning about other people and their situations...having to run to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so. At the end I was "unhooked" and sent downstairs for an echocardiogram just to make sure that my ticker was in good form. By 5 p.m.....I was literally exhausted. Of course when I laid myself down to go to sleep....I couldn't....at least not for another couple of hours.

Today I woke up with ever so slight bit of nausea, a low-grade fever and nice warm and rosy cheeks (I'll take advantage of those for the time being). It's now almost half past two and other than feeling very tired again...I'm feeling pretty good.

One down and four to go...not doing to bad at this point. My sister's mil is coming by at 4 today to give me my white blood cell booster shot...hopefully that goes just as swimmingly.

Turkey's in the oven, although I was very disappointed when I took her out of the packaging to find that she was missing a wing...I should've noticed! I'll make a pork loin dish, mashed potatoes, asparagus and gravy...simply...but yummy...oh and of course not to forget the cranberry sauce!

Well I do hope that you all are having a Merry Christmas and fabulous time with family and loved ones. Take in every moment and don't sweat any of the small stuff....it's not worth it.



xo

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How do they expect one to sleep the night before chemo?



So here's a shot of me after my surgery....notice....I still have my boobs....victory number one! Victory number two....I still have my hair...although it's pulled back...it's there....just where I like it.




















And here I am with my beloved pooch....who would kill for any member of this family...although it's tough to see that in this picture....especially with that pot belly....she really was a little piglet in her past life.











And finally....here I am with my hair hacked off....don't worry..."wig photos" are to come...and I'm excited...sort of.













We had a really nice dinner at my sil's...short but sweet....what do you do the night before you're supposed to get a good dose of major chemicals?...get nervous. I just wanted to be home and got my stuff together for the 5 hours we'll spend at the hospital tomorrow. Of course now that it's really time to hit the sack...I'm wide awake...adrenalin...or something like that. I'm even "trying" to have a glass of wine to "take the edge off" and it's not helping. I'm not nervous...but maybe I am....I'm just not looking forward to it....who would be?

I'm done my "nesting"...everything is set in place....everything is packed, wrapped, labeled. Turkey is salted...as are the next 3 meat dishes.....I just really want this to be over....

But I'm okay with it...I'll take it and get over it and move on...cuz that's just how I am. Oh and trust me...I'm bringing my little bell to beckon the hubs..."oh honey...it's tea time....put a shot of brandy in that will ya?" ;o)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting used to the new "do"

I'm just about done my Christmas shopping...what the heck happened to "sticking to a budget"? And then tonight I gave the kids $40 to go to a movie with their friends and my buddy...they came back with dog chew toys and some spare change...no movie! Oh well...they had fun....

...until the girl came home and saw my new "do". I had my hair cut...short....really short....and while I'm getting quite used to it and almost liking it....the girl refuses to look at me...even 2 hours later...which is starting to peeve me just a little. I mean seriously....I'm the one who's going to lose it all....and she won't even look at me. The boys on the other hand, say they quite like the new look.

I went to pay for my first round of white blood cell booster and anti-nausea medication....my credit card was declined....not because there wasn't enough to cover it...the balance was at zero, as I had just activated this morning. No...it was "suspicious"...which I appreciate but....I told "Visa" that I would have charges (very expensive charges) coming through for the next 4 months from two separate pharmacies....and now I had to deal with StupidStore for over 45 minutes and a line up of people witnessing that my card was declined and the cashier make the comment to her assistant "her card was declined because of the funds"....um no....my funds are there you bimbo....it's the credit card company that has it messed up. So I ended up being able to make a $1,400.00 deposit (as that was all my "debit card" would allow for the day) and I'm having to come back tomorrow to finish up the transaction...now that I spoke to the credit card co. Geesh....I just hope they put those meds back in the fridge!

Well I've had a crappy nights' sleep...for a while now....I'm suspecting tonight won't be much different....and I'm expecting not so good ones coming up.....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Organized

Yes...you know that I am..."organized" that is? How else do I get 75 Christmas cards made and out on time? The house has been decorated for a little while now, most of the shopping has been done...just a little more to finish. And here's my "window of opportunity"...the boys no longer believe in Santa...surprise, surprise...and the girl isn't home tonight, so guess what I'll be doing tonight? She really wanted to do some baking, so I'll make sure that we squeeze that in over the next couple of days. I'm set up with the pharmaceutical company that's going to fill my chemo prescriptions...my white blood cell injections are all ready to be picked up...along with my anti-nausea meds. lol...they called today wanting to make sure that I was aware of the cost.... $2,500.00 (one treatment)...um yup...see you tomorrow. My chemo med was not ready as of today....I'll take care of that tomorrow. My hair gets chopped tomorrow and I'm making stew today and soup tomorrow....and then we're good except for our family Christmas dinner....I'll deal with that in the next couple of days. I really want the kids to have as "normal" of a Christmas as possible.

In other news...well, there really isn't any....except that it's still not snowing and I though this winter we were going to bombarded with snow and freezing temperatures?!?!?!?...not in this location.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Time marches on

It's but a few more days before I start my lengthy treatment. I'm scared shitless....not about the outcome...just about the toxicity and volume of chemicals coursing through my veins. It's always the fear of the unknown that gets me...I'm sure I'll be okay after the first treatment...even though they say the second one is the one that "gets ya".

In the meantime...I've taken to a sort of "nesting"...cleaning the house, washing the floor, cooking up a storm...I like to be prepared....I'm gonna be prepared! The kids are home this week and so it'll make Christmas shopping/wrapping a little more difficult...even though, even that's pretty close to done....

We went to my sister's last night...oh my gosh....the food was phenomenal!!! To die for actually...well, not literally but hey...."bil...where's the recipe?".

Hair gets chopped on Tuesday.

Time to get the little one in the tub.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To answer your question....E... ;o)

The chemo drug of choice "Abrax**ane" is currently not covered by our benefit plan nor our wonderful BC "Fair" (stupid title) Pha%^rm%^acare plan. Apparently Dr. K (my oncologist) said that he uses a slightly "unconventional" method of treatment for cases such as mine. If he were to use the treatment plan that is recognized by the BC Can^^cer So*&ciety, I would be covered....HOWEVER....I run a great risk of heart damage due to the toxicity of one of the drugs used. He said "if you were my daughter...." and that was enough to settle on our decision. He said that the price in the short run is well worth the long-term outcome. Not to mention the fact that the side effects are much better tolerated with this drug. We'll dig into the line of credit and pay it off after....for now....it's a blessing that at least my white blood cell booster meds are being covered 100%. At $2,100.00 a pop and I need 5 "pops"....we're saving additional $10,000.00....but I'll probably have to learn how to give myself the injection in my rear....hmmmm...something for the hubs?

I'm dropping off prescriptions for anti-nausea meds and the white blood cell booster tomorrow....we're looking at $10,500.00 right off the start....I'll be darn sure to submit that receipt asap.

What pisses me off to no end though is.....a friend of mine told me that she knows someone who works at the local pharmaceutical dispensary warehouse... She said that the "number one prescription being filled"....is being dispensed to inmates for "breast enhancement" drugs....can you fricken believe it?!?! And they're covering that shit!!! Me....a tax-pay, law abiding, hard working mother of three....and I get the short end of the shit stick....I can't believe it.

This all makes no sense to me....I still can't believe this is happening to me. Tomorrow my hair gets cut off.....

All in all....I still believe with 100% certainty that I'm in the best of care and that my outcome will be good. I wouldn't trust myself to anyone else but Dr. K.....and I believe with all of my heart that I'm going to be here writing about this "blip" for many years to come! There is no other option!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quite frankly....

...honestly and from the heart.....this is shit.

I'm not as strong as you think I am....

Today I met with my oncologist/family friend....all reports were good. I went through my "chemo teaching"....I can't even begin to tell you how scared the drugs that they're going to pump through me make me feel....I'm terrified....and yet...."comfortably numb"....go figure. My "home away from home" for the next year "essentially" has been set up and I've met my "temporary family members" today.... The chemotherapy department at LGH is about to become my "next best friend".

My first treatment begins on December 24 and runs for 5 treatments, every three weeks....I will finish my last chemo on March 21 (5 days after my birthday) and then run another 13 treatments (every three weeks) with the drug "Herceptin"....at which time my last treatment will be November 28th, 2011...and then I'll have radiation...I'm putting on my foot down on next Christmas being a better one than this....I'm hoping.

And with all of this....it's going to cost us between $25,000 - $36,000.....less if we go the 7 day injection route of the "white blood cell med"...as opposed to the 1 day per treatment injection.....I don't know....$9,000.00 is alot of money that could be spent in Tofino...

I almost broke down as we got "the tour"....I was the youngest one there by a far cry....I know I'm not but....at the moment I was...."I wish I had a river I could skate away on".....

My friend told me today that her first treatment made her so jittery that she was up at 4 am baking and cooking...which might be a good thing...I should just leave all the Christmas prep work for that first night...or maybe the family will wake up to more food than they could handle in a week?!?!?

For now....my husband is the most awesome....sparing not a single nickle on my health.....how can I not love this family??? Seriously....I am loved....and that's what's going to get me through this......

Well I should get some shut-eye....did I mention?....the hair that I've spent so long in trying to grow....is getting hacked off...it's time....it'll make the transition a whole lot easier.....for once....I'm look forward to change.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A "slow down"

I really have "slowed down" and I'm quite liking it. I haven't woken up in a panic for over a month now. I'm not sweating as I'm rushing out the door anymore. I'm enjoying my morning tea and sometimes even an afternoon one too! And I sleep in on the weekends...when I can...like today....10:00 a.m.....and I finally crawled out. And here it is 10:40 and I'm tap, tap, tapping away at the keys....still in my comfy cozy, fleece pj's...sipping away.

Today I will spend an hour on finishing up a work project, then I'm going to prepare lunches for tomorrow and then we get to spend 3 hours at Krystina's Christmas dance performance....which I'm looking forward to because....hello....she's performing in three dances!

And with that being said....maybe I should make some breaky?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cut me a break...would ya?

I'm doing okay...thanks for asking. I had my follow-up with my surgeon today...he said the massive bruising and swelling was "perfectly normal"...considering how much tissue they removed...which, if you look at the actual measurements....doesn't sound like much but....well, I'm prepared for the deflation of my breast....when the swelling comes down...which it will...so I'm told....*shucks*.

Dr. K. managed to "get it all"....I swear he had some fun while he was in there as well....you'd have to see the photos to agree with me on this one. Two sentinel lymph nodes were removed...one was "clear"...one had a two mm cancer spot....which is enough to say that the cancer had spread to my lymph node(s)...which means that either a further operation (not likely) or radiation (almost 100%) will be added to my treatment plan. Per Dr. K. today....over the next 5 years I will be watched over like a hawk and I will undergo many, many more tests, mammograms, scans etc.....my focus right now...the next 10 months.

In other news.....my chemo medication was turned down for coverage by our insurance plan....it is also not covered by Pharma*freakin*care....we're talking a small mortgage here.... We don't know why the insurance co. denied the covered...apparently they didn't "completely" deny coverage...whatever the heck that means...and because they wouldn't talk to the hospital handling my chemotherapy care....I need to call them on Monday....but so far it ain't looking so good. The nurse at LGH said they're "going to fight for me"....I mean seriously...how is it possible that our flippin gov't. will cover "gender change" operations but not medication for someone who has a legitimate disease....I don't even smoke!!

I guess this is where I "get mad" at this whole shitty situation?!

I am mad....I have every right to be pissed.....I, and every person with this stupid disease deserves the best in care without question and without selling an arm and/or a leg....or ovary....or whatever....I'm a tax paying, mother of three, fairly young, wife and I need to be here a lot longer than this.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I don't plan on going anywhere.....

Yesterday I got a call from a friend who had just found out my "predicament" (sp?). Her message was sincere enough and I love her but.....her tone was as though I was already on my death bed. People....I only have one option....I'm not going anywhere....not anytime soon. While I desperately cling to my family and close friends for support and the want to help during my "down times"....please, please, don't cry and speak as though I only had a week left to go. I've lost a chunk of my boob....and I'm glad!...it means that nasty lump is gone. I've lost a sentinel node...I'm glad...it means the cancer won't drain over to my other lymph nodes. I'm going to lose my hair....I'm glad....I got me one gorgeous wig! My life has slowed down....I'm glad for that too....it was time. I'm still me though....and I'm enjoying life and living....and that's what I'm going to continue to do!

On another note....well regarding the same topic...I took a couple of photos (for my own reference) of the state of my boob....well little miss took my camera and.....saw them. I told her calmly that she shouldn't have taken mommy's camera without asking....and then I asked her if they scared her...."yes"....I told her it looked worse than it was, gave her a big hug and reminded her that I'm going to be just fine.

On an even "other note"....I went to the best sushi place in town today....oh my gosh...I couldn't believe how tasty and how beautiful this food looked....for cheap!!!...I'll definitely be going back to "Sushi Sh*el$ter 101"....D...you gotta go!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The sun came out today

It's December 5th, 2010. It's been exactly one month and two days since my father-in-law passed away. It's been exactly one month and 7 days since I was diagnosed with "invasive, ductal, carcinoma". In the last 2 months I have had more mammograms than a woman should have in her lifetime. I've been injected with so much radioactive material that I should be sending off signals to satellites floating around high above our atmosphere. I've been poked, cut, scooped, squashed, stretched, flattened, scanned that really....how did this happen? Well it did. And I'm grateful.

Today is a beautiful day. The healing is happening with each day and I'm able to do more and more without wincing in pain. I have the support of many wonderful friends and family and more food than I know what to do with. I just enjoyed a really good cup of tea and am going to freshen myself up and step out and get some fresh air today, for the first time since surgery. My girl spent the night at a friends and I will meet up with her at her soccer game.....I think we'll just mosey on over to Starbucks after and get ourselves a hot chocolate topped with whip cream and chocolate sauce....yup....I think that's what we're going to do!

You guys have a great day too!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My IV line



Brutal.

I finished my Christmas cards tonight.....

Well hello there.....

....you didn't think I'd be gone forever...did you?

I'm starting to function again, albeit still in pain....the anesthetic has worn off and I'm now living in a slight fog of regular rounds of Extra Strength Tylenol. I was able to have my first shower today and boy did it feel good!

Surgery went well...apparently "textbook well", according to what the surgeon had told Tony. The nurses had a bit of tough time getting me knocked out (see....my stubborn attitude never leaves me and it won't now either) but once they did, they were able to man-handle my poor breast and arm-pit to their hearts desire. The big ole nasty tumor is gone, gone, gone!....and I lost my sentinel lymph node as well (that's the main guy that does the draining and filtering to other lymph nodes in the arm-pit area) which means the cancer had spread but luckily I didn't have to have more removed....well, at least not at this point....we'll have to wait and see what the pathology reports have to show next week.

But so far, so good...if you look at the over-all picture...I'm most grateful for how things have gone so far....but whenever I look in the mirror at my poor boobie....I just want to cry...momentarily of course....because then I remember that....the tumor is gone! My boob is so swollen and sooooo black and blue....it really is quite shocking and has kept me up the last couple of nights....it's actually kept Tony up too as he's too afraid to move in bed for fear of hitting me. I can't wear a bra and so when I walk I have to kind of hold it under my arm so that it doesn't "bounce"...lol...imagine that....my boobs "bouncing"...never mind...it's tmi....but then this whole post kind of is too. Did I mention I received my "monthly" yesterday?....lol....you knew that was coming, didn't you?...you had to?!

Anyways....I'm tired still, I'm still peeing blue (blue dye injection that I received during surgery) but I'm relaxing....seriously...I really am! Christmas cards are all almost signed. The kids are helping me out...in fact Teddy is vacuuming the house right now....I have food coming out of my ying yang and I'm so thankful for all that I have.

Now ladies....(and men)....check your boobies!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The billboard went like this......

...."Money CAN buy you anything...until you find that lump in your breast". Smack dab in the middle of my little suburbia that's what the billboard said....*sigh*.

You know what guys?....I just want to thank you all for your well wishes, you can't imagine what it does for my mood. I know I have total support from my husband...in fact it's a little hard to handle at times...but knowing that I'm thought of and wished well wishes...well it really does lift my spirits.

Today was another long day and I'm glad that for the moment....the pre-op/further investigation tests are all done. I went in today for my sentinel lymph node mapping injection....another injection of radioactive material that showed my lymph nodes during a 30 minute scan. Tomorrow I arrive at the hospital at 7:20 and have a "fine wire" inserted at 8:00 a.m. At 10:30 my surgery starts and I am injected with now a blue dye and will have a "metal detector" of sorts pass over me to find "hot spots" to see if the cancer cells have moved from the initial tumor to the surrounding lymph nodes...which will determine how long my chemo will be, at what intervals and possibly whether or not I will have radiation when the chemo is done.

I'm still scared.

Tomorrow I lose a good portion of what helps make a woman...just that....I nursed my babies with that body part....I finally got it back to "pre baby" appearance....but it is just that...."a part"....it's done it's job and it's really not needed any longer....besides...I still have one healthy one....which I'm obsessed with checking constantly. And ladies....learn from me....CHECK THEM!!

My kids are well taken care of tonight and tomorrow...we have more than enough food to feed them....*as I look over at the stove and make sure that the chicken soup is simmering nicely*....

Life is good and I for one....cannot wait until this surgery is done.

Thanks again for everything!

See you soon!