Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fear & Road Trip

Today has been my second treatment of radiation, 2 out of 28.  This weekend I had may little breakdown.  You see, fear started to grip me with the unknown reactions that my body will have to this radiation.  Will my skin be so damaged that it will make reconstruction impossible, will my lung and ribs be significantly damaged, or will I be the 1 out of 3,000 that could develop cancer from the radiation being used to kill my current cancer.  The fear of the unknown gets me each time before I start a new treatment.  What a funny thing fear is.  It grips you and paralyzes you.  If you allow it, it will take control.  I may let fear take a day or two from me, but I then turn it over to God.  So, just like Carry Underwood sings, "Jesus, take the wheel."  I am leaving it in his hands.

I have decided that since my diagnosis, this has been like a road trip.  With each treatment, they say they give you time to recover before the next.  But it is really just like exiting an interstate just long enough to pee, then getting back into the car until the next rest stop.  You know after you stretch your legs and use the bathroom you feel better.  Then as the miles pass by, you feel trapped in the car.  Your eyes are watching the signs for the next rest stop.  Well, that is how I am feeling.  Only I realize that this road trip doesn't really have a final destination.  I will always have thoughts of recurrence in the back of my mind.  I guess while I am on the road, I need to enjoy the scenery.  I have learned to treasure my everyday life.  Even down to my sweet princess's scowls that she gives me on occasion (ok almost every other day).  I have learned to not take for granted anyone or anything.  A song I like to listen to is Miley Cyrus's "The Climb."  It helps me keep perspective.

While we are all on a road trip travelling different roads, I hope you are taking the time to stop and enjoy each day.  See you back on the road!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sweet corner cabinet

I am still limited to what I am able to do.  It has been 5 weeks and I have been okayed to vacuum.  I know, I could barely hold back my excitement on that one :)  Anyways, one day I was looking through my memory card and found a few projects that I have never posted about. 

This poor little cabinet was a diamond in the rough when my mom proudly brought it to me from a garage sale.  This is just a shot after I scoured off the dirt.  As you can see, the door wasn't attached but had the hardware.  It just didn't want to close. 

Hubby took some time making the door fit properly.  He usually throws a little fit but I think he secretly likes tinkering with all of my "junk," as he call it.

After he proudly displays what a fine job and how well the door can shut, I did my part.  I was thinking a little dry brushing with some chalk paint would give it that great country look.  Not to mention, it only took me 10 minutes of my time. 

This is the original knob.  All crackled and crazed.  I love it.

What do you think?  It sold quickly at the shop.

Sharing over at:

Furniture Feature Fridays The Shabby Nest
Hope you all are taking care!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Breast Cancer update

First and foremost, the most exciting thing is my hair is growing.  My right eyebrow is growing faster than the left.  I don't have the heart to pluck those crazy random misplaced ones because I have gone so long without them.  I now only use eyeshadow to darken where the eyebrows are growing back instead of using the eyebrow pencil.  I don't think I ever became friends with that thing.  So, do you want a glimpse?

I have a lot more gray growing amongst my brown.  I'll take a little salt and pepper.  My son said we could always buy one of those boxes of color at the store :)  My daughter still is calling me bald. 

So, to update you on the latest of this journey.  I have been doing physical therapy since the surgery.  I have finally regained my normal range of motion.  I needed to get my arms above my head in order to start my radiation.  Goal met.  Big cheer for me.  I am starting to work on strengthening my arms back up.

About 2 weeks ago, I get a call from my oncologist's office asking if I could come in the next day in the afternoon.  I said, 'oh, did I forget an appointment?'  The response was no.  I then ask when was I suppose to see Dr. Mayers next, the receptionist said not until October.  I ask what my oncologist wants to see me for.  Of course the receptionist tells me, I just have a note that she would like to see you tomorrow afternoon.  I say okay and start freaking out.  My mind kicks into high gear thinking oh no this can't be good.  She got the wrong pathology reports and is going to tell me I need more chemo.

What can I say?  I am only human, right?  So it is a long night and day until finally the appointment time arrives.  It is actually good news (kinda of, sort of).  In the beginning of all of this, I was tested for HER2 + or HER2-.  My results came back equivocal.  So, I was considered neither.  Well, my oncologist reviewed my new pathology report from the double mastectomy again and found that my HER2 number registered 2.  You are considered HER2+ at 2.2 allowing for a drug Herceptin to add to treatment. 

You ask what does all this mean right?  Well, being HER2+ means that my cells have mutated allowing cancer to grow more aggressively.  Therefore, making my cancer more likely to reoccur.  My oncologist talked with my insurance and they are allowing me to take this Herceptin.  It is amazing the first pathology from the lymph node surgery rated HER2 at 1.7 and after the mastectomy, they pulled out a lucky cell to test that came back closer to the HER2 diagnosis.  Sounds confusing and not good, but to me, I have another weapon in my arsenal against this cancer.  Herceptin is suppose to work very well.  I will hooked up to an IV every 3 weeks for a year.  I feel lucky to have such a great oncologist that would review my chart again and catch this.  She is on it!

This week I start Herceptin.  I only experienced a low-grade fever and being knocked out by the benedryl given in case of allergic reaction to the drug.  I  got my left expander deflated about 150ccs to get ready for radiation.  Next Monday I get my mold made for radiation.  Then hopefully get started on my 28 sessions of radiation, wait for my skin to heal, trade out my expanders for implants and get my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed at the same time, finish my herceptin by next August, and hopefully be cancer free the remainder of my life.  Wow!  What a journey.  God never said life would be easy, but I am sure glad he is here with me.

Remember ladies, check yourself.  Know your body so you can detect things early.  Best wishes that you all are junking, thrifting, and creating while I still wait to get approved to lift more than 5 pounds.  Can't wait to do at least one project.  Who knows, I will figure something out.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm still standing

Yes, it is true.  I am still alive.  It will be three weeks tomorrow that I had my double mastectomy.  I had tissue expanders placed in at the same time.  When they say it takes about 4-6 weeks to recover, I think they have it about right.  It has only been 3 weeks but I am hanging in there.  The chemo worked.  They tested the breast tissue removed and found only 4mm of residual disease and had clear margins.  One doctor used the word cancer-free.  It is hard for me to grasp that.  Right now, I am hating these tissue expanders.  In case you don't know, basically these are a rough, hard type plastic capsules placed in a pocket of your chest wall muscle that they create after your breast tissue is removed to be filled to prepare your skin and muscles for an implant.  Unfortunately, this is not the run of the mill Housewives of Orange County way.

Because I will be doing radiation, the plastic surgeon wanted to fill me as much as he could.  So, I have 550cc expanders that were filled to 500cc at the time of the surgery.  It was like a baby elephant was placed on my chest.  My muscles were not enjoying being stretched.  Two weeks later, he placed the remaining 50ccs in.  That wasn't too bad.  It is more than the 'uncomfortable' that the nurses and doctors state but I guess it is the path I have chosen. 

Now that you are up to date, I wanted to share some pictures I had taken the week before my surgery.

I wanted this one to mark one of the hardest journeys in my life.  Don't laugh at the eyebrows.  They are incredibly hard to draw in once they are gone.  I will never make fun of any older woman ever again.  To let you know God does have a since of humor, my leg hair is growing like a forest, I am getting peach fuzz on my head but I still have about only 3 to 4 eyebrow hairs and eyelashes. 
Anyways, here are the most precious pictures to me because these little two ones along with my husband is why I would endure any treatment they would throw at me.  Every minute I have with them is precious.

Please give those you love a big strong hug and kiss and let them know.

Since I am still not allowed to lift anything over 5 pounds or do housework, I will be sitting around with my dust bunnies recovering while checking out all of your amazing projects. 

Nothing but good thoughts being sent out to all of you wonderful people.


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