Friday, November 20, 2009

New Man

I have a new man in my life. His name is Ned. That's short for
No Evidence of Disease

Monday - the mammogram
As the tech was leaving the room after taking a few pictures, I asked that the radiologist return with her to give me the results. I explained that the last time, she returned to the room, she stated that it "was clear". I took that as clear of cancer, yippy, skippy. No; what she meant was the digital films were clear. This time, I wanted to have all the information before leaving the building. The Radiologist came in and said that there was no evidence of cancer. It was clear.

Then why couldn't I yell "yahoo" and dance around the room. I just didn't want to get my hope up until after the MRI on Thursday.

Thursday - the MRI @ 2 p.m.
The MRI went much smoother and easier than last time. Maybe it was the Xanax and Valium I had in my system. :-) It was only about 20 minutes and voila done. We grabbed a bite to eat in the hospital cafeteria, waiting for the 4 p.m. oncologist appointment. Still a little apprehensive until we heard the MRI results from the oncologist as we waited in the exam room. And waited.

I hopped onto the exam table and took a snooze; nice sleepy drugs. And waited. Vic finally went out to the front at 4:45 p.m. and had the oncologist paged. No idea why she took so long.

The MRI radiologist had not entered a report into the computer system, so the Oncologist briefly reviewed the MRI pics. She had stated that she's not trained to read them but went through a few screens and said it looked good. She would call me at work in the morning with the results from the radiologist.

I still could not muster up a lot of joy. Paranoia?

I really wanted to bring in some goodies to work this morning to celebrate NED with my coworkers. They knew about the MRI. I didn't want to say anything until I had heard from the oncologist, at which time I was going to run out to the store. She was going to call my work with the MRI results. I waited.

I had told a few of my female coworkers when I got into work that I was NED and stated that I was still waiting for a call from the oncologist to confirm the MRI. At noon, I decided to share the info with the men of the department in an email. When talking to the guys about the cancer, it seemed their eyes would travel down to the chest area. Were they trying to figure out which one was fake? Ha, , none of them are fake. A little smaller perhaps from the lumpectomy.

At noon, I checked my home's voice mail to discover a message from the MRI clinic. . . it came in at 10:25 a.m. They found a 5mm spot on the lumpectomy breast and a 4mm spot on the other. I needed an ultrasound to check it out . . . but, hey, didn't they tell you that the MRI picks up everything? It's probably nothing, but we want to be overly cautious, said the sweet MRI tech. Umm, nope, no one said a thing about this. She tried to schedule me for next Tuesday. No friggin' way was I waiting until Tuesday. I asked her to find a clinic associated with their hospital, anywhere in the state, that would do the ultrasound TODAY. She was able to get me into a clinic fairly close to our home at 1 p.m.

My sweet husband said he would grab a bus and meet me at the hospital (he works about an hour north of my job). No, honey, it's nothing. I can do this; you've missed enough time from work, blah, blah, blah. I'm fine.

Ultrasound @ 1 pm
Ultrasound on both sides, with the tech reviewing the MRI films. Oh, I so wanted to be Vic, "don't worry about it until they tell you to worry about it". But I'm me. . . . mind you I wasn't sobbing, but the eyes were leaky. Happy thought, happy thought, think happy thoughts! Where are those darn happy thoughts? Bleh. . couldn't get them.

While the tech could see something, she felt confident the spots weren't cancerous. She stepped out of the room to speak with the radiologist. In hindsight, I should have asked that he come back into the room with her after their consultation. When she returned to the room, she stated that the radiologist agreed that the two areas were clear and that we just have to be over-cautious. I'll have another MRI in 6 months.

Walking out into the lobby I saw my hubby. Guess he didn't listen to me. :-) And I'm so glad he didn't.

I called the Oncologist to find out for sure what the ultrasound showed and did it jive with what the tech had told me. I waited. Those of you who have been on this journey know that we do not wait very well. About 5 p.m. the oncology nurse called and said the ultrasound was clear. However, the MRI would be repeated in 6 months. I suggested that we do it in 3 months given the aggressiveness of the cancer. Nurse indicated that the doctor does 3 month checks on certain cases, and where indicated, but would do mine every 6 months. I have news for the nurse - I'll be pushing for a check every 3 months until the mammo, MRI and ultrasound all come back with the same conclusion.

Lesson learned: expect an ultrasound after each MRI.

Regarding the child custody issue - it isn't good. I don't have the whole story from my daughter's hearing today. Just know that our hearts are heavy . . . trying our best to not have them break.

This will be my last entry for a few months. If you want to stay connected, please feel free to click on the Facebook link and add me as a friend. Sister Warriors - I will keep reading your blogs and cheering you on!

Much love and thankfulness for your support,


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hair & Boob Pics

Below - November 2008 . . . .about the 3rd chemo

Below - November 2009 . . . .11 months post chemo

Hoping that the curls stay. Never thought I'd hear myself saying this!
Well, as far as the boob pics go . . . .Gotcha

Tomorrow is a mammogram and blood work. Last blood work was good, mammogram had some architectural distortion.
Thursday, November 19th is the MRI. We went to the hospital yesterday to visit the MRI machine. Who in their right mind visits MRI machines? Me.

The anxiety has lessened somewhat since talking to the MRI tech and seeing the machine. Xanax to get through the days leading up to the MRI and Valium an hour before the MRI . . . . life through chemistry, ain't it grand.

For a number of years, fear of the dentist would send me to this same high level of anxiety. I've been able to work through the fear with two great dentists and hygenists (and a Xanax once in a while). Who knows, maybe I'll get to this same place with MRIs . . . . dentists and MRIs every six months, hmmmm.

We are still working on the daughter and granddaughters situation. I thank you for your words of wisdom, ladies. This has been 10 times worse than the breast cancer diagnosis. I could fight and do something about the cancer, but I can't do anything about this situation.

Talk to you on Thursday.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

October is . . . .

I haven't posted pics of the new hair do because I just can't get it quite right. But my hair was always like that before cancer. A week and a few days after a hair cut would find me fussing, and fussing some more, just to get the hair to go the way I wanted it to go. Too many cowlicks and growth patterns for one head, I do believe. I expect pics to be up soon though.

It has been an extremely difficult week. I won't go into details here, but just say that we need your prayers. My daughter has temporarily lost custody of her girls, ages 6 and 8. This is wrong. Nothing she did warranted this type of treatment by her husband and the legal system. Because he has friends in blue (police) and is part of the legal system, he has used both to leverage his child custody issue. And, now he has 100% control of my daughter like he has wanted. He is a domestic abuser. Flat out, I'll call it what it is.

It has been frustrating to watch my daughter go through this. We feel she should be doing much more to remedy the situation and take control of her life. It may be just too hard for her to see the truth about their relationship. It may be too hard for her to break free of his control. She wants to remain married to him. Classic domestic abuse victim. We have to let her make her choices; this is tough. As her parents and grandparents of two beautiful little girls, we want to "make it all better".

As a grandparent, we have no rights to visitation. We have asked, but he stated he has fears and concerns about letting us see the girls. What B.S. is that? Oh, yeah, the same B.S. that he put on the protection order that he was in fear for his and his children's safety from my daughter.

Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

What is Domestic Violence? Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Domestic abuse not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life - therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.

Abuse usually gets worse over time. Yep, that has happened . . . . six years of him getting worse have led to this place.

Hey Mr. Husband, we have our fears and concerns as well. Fear that you will do more physical and psychological damage to the three girls in your life that you love so much. Because you know you will - unless you get help.

You've met your match, Mr. Husband. No wait. You've met someone better than you, Mr. Husband - me!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hair Cut

My first real haircut in over a year! Something so insignificant and routine in my past life, such as a hair cut, now gives me great joy. The length was 4" and the hairdresser said it is much thicker than "normal". Ahh, there goes that word again, "normal". The hair is still curly and I'm hoping it doesn't go back to straight!

We have moved the MRI and mammogram from December 17th to November 19th. I am glad. I need to have this cloud of the unknown that has been hanging over my head gone. G.O.N.E.! Not saying it's going to be cancer, but if it is, this will give us time to increase our medical flexible spending account for 2010 expenditures. Sad that we have to think this way, but we also want to be smart with the finances.

Besides, getting the MRI/mammo results on December 17th then flying to my mom's the next day for Christmas, wouldn't have been the best if the news was bad. Reminder - we aren't thinking it's going to be bad, but . . . .

It's been tough, quite honestly, not to continuously think about cancer. I truly believe that if we had received an "all clear" at the June mammo, I wouldn't still feel stuck in the land of cancer. I so want to move on . . . Worrying about the issue isn't going to make it better or go away. I know this. It's a challenge to give this all to God and leave it there.

Going back and reading where we were a year ago serves as a reminder that tho we went through alot, we came out that much stronger. I am so lucky to have a husband who has supported me 100% through this journey and continues to support. While he can't understand how my worry-brain works, his hugs just make it all better. I am thankful.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Angel

I have been writing a new blog entry - in my head - for several weeks now. Soon, I will actually get it onto the blog!

But I wanted to share with you the spirit of a wonderful young lady who also went through a cancer diagnosis and treatment - Amber Chase. Her cancer is different from mine (Triple Negative) and is the one that, to me, is the hardest one to have diagnosed. It is called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Many ladies are misdiagnosed for months and years - until it is too late and they are diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

When you go to Amber's blog, please read up on Inflammatory Breast Cancer. And, more importantly, share this information with your daughters, nieces, and granddaughters.

Here is a link to one of Amber's blog entries. I encourage all to really read the last paragraph.

May this note find you living to your fullest.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Did The Time Go

Wow! Almost a month since I last wrote on the blog. I knew I was going to start having longer periods of time between writings, but a month? Oh well.

Vic and I had a great Labor Day weekend. We made it a four-day weekend, which was very much needed. We went over to Ocean Shores for just one night, but as usual, just seeing, smelling and hearing the ocean does wonders for me.

Work life has been too busy and too stressful. Along with keeping my eye to December for clear scans, December is when the multiple evening meeetings will end. Last Wednesday, I didn't leave work until 10 pm. . .was there at 9 am! That's too long of a day for me. I enjoy my evenings at home.

I turned 55 (gasp) this week! We had a great celebratory dinner with the girls, their husbands and the grandkids last Saturday. The 15 year old grandson, who has his driver's permit, drove Miss Daisy home from dinner. Yes, I was sitting in the back of the PT waving as we drove away.

Time this past week has been consumed with finding recipes and planning meals. I forgot how much time it takes to plan to eat healthy! I started attending Weight Watchers at Work program. The weigh-ins and meeting is held during the lunch hour so no excuses of being too tired to attend a meeting in the evening or too busy on the weekend. Tomorrow is weigh-in, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I lost at least 1/2 pound! :-) Weight Watchers has a great on-line tool where you can build a recipe from your favorite recipes to see how to make it healthier and how many points a serving would be. I highly recommend the program, even if you aren't overweight. It's all about making health choices.

This weekend promises to be a fantastic one! Saturday is a facial and a massage. Sunday - attending the play Wicked.

I pray that you are making the best of today! Remember . . . it can be worse!

Many blessings


Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Year Survivor

Today marks the one year anniversary of survivorship.

Some count the day from diagnosis,
but I have chosen the date from removal of the tumor.

If I stop to think about all that has happened in the past year - good and bad - I believe I would be in a puddle of tears and also amazed. Amazed that we came out of the journey stronger in our marital relationship. Amazed that the treatment wasn't too bad. Yeah, that's hindsight talking. Maybe I should go back to the beginning of this blog and re-read what I was feeling and thinking during chemo!

From Wendy Harpham on Health Survivorship

Healthy Survivorship is not about what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you. Healthy Survivors recognize and grieve their losses. And while they are grieving, they make the effort to look for opportunities to do those things that can be done even better than before because of what they've lost.

I realize that I the need to acknowledge and grieve my loss. I've been stuck at that point in the healing process. Yet, I feel that I am in still in this blasted process until I get the clear scans in December. I'll work on it either way.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

California Dreamin'

Super busy at work - too much work and not enough people. What were they thinking laying off two people on our admin team? One of the remaining team members reads their book at their desk when they should be working. That leaves three of us busting out azzes to just keep our heads above the water. It's not fair. But life isn't fair either. What goes around, comes around. I'm such a believer in that.

Have had many late night meetings and will have many more through November. I'm not happy about it as they all fall on me. See above - someone in their stupidity cut two support positions. What were they thinking? lol I refuse to walk on water or even try to walk on water. I gave that up years ago when I decided trying to be perfect and a people pleaser was killing me.

Vic went to California last Wednesday and came home today. I am so glad he is back! I get nauseous having to give the cat his twice daily insulin injections. At least I don't cry any more! Yippee, making progress. I missed the guy . . my friend, my love.

Health continues to be fine. I feel like my brain is coming back really well. I can multitask and don't need as many reminders, ticklers and lists upon lists to function at work. I feel like me again and I'm very happy about it. Hair is growing and is still curly! The curl is loosening somewhat, but it's not my normal straight. I'm loving it tho.

The December MRI and mammogram and "
distorted architecture" still sits in the back of the mind. I'm telling myself that I can make it another 3 months . . . meetings will be done, MRI and mammogram will be done. Family from California will be here the day after I receive the MRI results. I am sooooooo believing for a clear scan!

Sending hugs to my breast cancer sisters going through treatment. And high fiving those who have completed.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Only through caring

are we truly attached

to each other

Borrowed from someone else . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Soy, Estrogen, Hot Flashes

Finally heard from the oncology nurse regarding taking low dose Premarin for my heat waves. Even though my tumor was not fueled by estrogen (ER negative), the Oncologist does not recommend any type of systemic estrogen. The oncologist would approve Estring, stating that a little estrogen would pass into the system from the vagina.

I asked about using over the counter Estroven. The nurse couldn't find on the internet the mg of phytoestrogens that are in Estroven and suggested that I speak with the pharmacist. Nurse Leslie said it was okay to consume soy-based foods, such as tofu, a few times a week, but not to consume soy supplements. After doing a little research, I now read that flax seeds aren't the best. But earlier research indicated that women should drink green tea and sprinkle flax seed on yogurt or salads, etc.

After disconnecting the call with the nurse, I was immediately mad and sad. I wanted to sit down and just cry. My first thought was, "Damn this cancer! Why does it continue to wreck havoc!?" I'm not sure why the emotions have been high these past few weeks. I find myself crying when driviing home from work. Soon I hope to have the light bulb moment that will shine on what is bothering me.

It's over 100 degrees in the Seattle area and it is miserable. Thank goodness for Ambien! We are taking a cold shower before bed, putting a wrapped ice pack on our bodies, laying spread-eagle in bed with a fan blowing . . . . waiting for that Ambien to kick in.

At least with this heat, I can't blame the sweating on hot flashes!!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Miracle Baby

Please join me in prayer and well wishes for a successful pregnancy for Kim (Batty) and her husband Peter. Kim has been fighting Stage IV breast cancer since 2005.

Read her story here: Batty's blog

Saturday, July 25, 2009


You only make a decision once;
thereafter you just manage it daily.

Happy to report that the fractured left radial head is improving!

I had serious doubts on the orthopedist wisdom when he said that it was in my best interest to keep moving my arm and hand – increase the range of motion (ROM). It hurt! Stinking hurt, 24/7. Pain pills just took the edge off in order to go to sleep.

Another frustrating point with this whole thing is dealing with work and HR. Sorry to those peeps who may be in the HR field and reading this. Look at it from my eyes. I have an arm that is in a sling. I have a hand that can barely hold 2 pieces of paper. Yet you want me to have my very expensive orthopedist spell out what exactly is “light typing”. Let ME tell you what light typing means. Heck, I’m the expert in this area - been in the this field since 1972 - and it’s my frigging arm/hand that’s hurting! I’ll tell you what I can do.

There were meetings that needed minutes taken and transcribed. There were letters and other documents that needed to be keyboarded or formatted. Wouldn’t you think that someone other than me needed to have their hands on the keyboard? Bless my supervisors heart for being between a rock and a hard place having lost three of seven positions during the recent layoffs. She has been trying to take over the extra projects while doing her own. I realize this. I appreciate this. And I didn’t fall off my bike on purpose. It’s just been a frustrating two weeks for me. Once again, I am impaired because of something beyond my control, and it is impacting every facet of my life. Impacting Vic’s life again. You try putting on socks or underwear with one hand. :-)

I have to wait another 4 weeks to allow the arm/bone to heal. If the pain in the wrist and the numb fingers continue, the orthopedist will then do a nerve damage study. But I’m glad that I can keyboard without too much pain, hold things with my left hand and drive (almost) safely.

I truly didn’t mean for this post to be whiney and cranky. Just wanted to report on how life our life is improving after breast cancer treatment and fractured radials. Oh well.

I am continuing to take 2,000 units of Wisconsin Ginseng that I took as part of the medical research study. It is truly helping with the energy! I take 1,000 units with breakfast and another 1,000 units at lunch. I was told not to take it after 1 p.m. as it may give me too much energy and may impact my sleep. This hasn’t really been the case.

I had a very minute hair trim on Wednesday. Some sections of the hair were too long and cork-screwing . . .sort of like Princess Leia from Star Wars. The hairdresser wanted to have some fun trying to straighten out the curls into a “style”. I let her. Figured if I didn’t like it, I could always put a little water on the hair and watch it curl back into place. It was a cute style. While the hair wasn’t exactly straight, it wasn’t poodle dog-like. The hair measures about 2.5” now. It seems the growth has slowed down and I’m thinking it may be due to not using Nioxin every day and not taking the mega-doses of vitamins and supplements. I had stopped the supplements, believing they were the cause of increased facial hair. But they helped the eyebrows grow!!

Other chemo/radiation related issues that continue are funky toe nails and dry eyes. I’m blaming the dry skin and heat waves on menopause, though I thought I was post-menopausal when I started treatment, so really not sure what this is all about! I spoke with the oncology nurse on Friday about taking a low dose estrogen (my internist suggested it IF the oncologist approved). The nurse thought the Oncologist wouldn’t approve, but would get back with me on Monday. Since my cancer was not fueled by hormones, I thought it would be semi-safe. But again, it could increase my risk of having hormone-fueled cancer. Will let you know what the answer is.

Finger nails are doing great, no bone pain and cognitive/memory issues are almost back to normal. The radiated skin still looks “suntanned” – in my case sunburned since I don’t tan.

One thing I do need to let go is my disappointment and hurt that local people who knew about Vic and I didn’t come through with physical support for the things that we couldn’t do. My mother lives 5 hours away and has never visited us during this past year. She is able to travel, in fact, has made one or two trips to California.

It’s so easy to see the negatives and not the positives, isn’t it? The energy spent on the negatives is wasted energy.

I am so thankful for my mom's prayers, the physical support and love from our daughters (including adopted daughter Laura from Eastern Washington), the support and prayers from my California family and friends, co-workers support and donated hours, and those here in cyber land. So I’ll take that wasted energy and turn it into thankfulness for you that did support!

Despite the above crankiness, I’m pleased that things are going so well after chemo and radiation. It’s still hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the surgeries for Vic and me.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Splish Splash

Splish Splash I Was Taking a Bath

I used to love taking long scented bubble baths with scented candles all around the room. Me - in the tub with my cigarettes, iced cold Pepsi and a good book. Hours could be spent this way. Awww, can you hear the sigh of bliss?

I still like my baths, don't drink Pepsi or smoke any longer, but the lovely scented stuff has gone. I'm now allergic to everything. It's been 8 days since I've had a bath and was desperate to have one today . No, I didn't say bathe, bath. I've had showers, silly.

I decided that the pain in the arm was less and I needed to take a long, relaxing bath. Vic was out truck shopping, so it was a perfect time to have some peace and quiet to read Fern Michael's Final Justice.

Putting the hands on the side of the tub to lower myself in should have been the first clue that this wasn't a smart idea after all. I didn't gently lower myself into the water. Rather, kerplunked my big azz into the tub since the pain in the left wrist shot up my arm. Okay, breathe. Yes, breathe. I start laughing. Here I am in the tub, with no phone nearby and not really sure when Vic will be home! Oh well, might as well continue with the plan . . .read while soaking in warm, relaxing water.

An hour goes by, I've re-warmed the cold water in the tub a few times. Finally, Vic comes home. I don't really want to tell him the predicament I've placed myself in. Heaven knows how many of these "situations" this boy has had to get me out of this past year. Let's give him a break!

I grab the towel and strategically place it so the right arm/hand and feet do not slip on the slippery tub. Not working. I have to call for Vic's help. I won't go into all the detail, but let me say that I had visions of the bathroom's outside wall being removed and a fork lift maneuvering it's way to pick me up out of the tub. Ewww, it wasn't a pretty thought either.

Our life continues despite tumors, cancers and broken radial heads. But Vic still does that weird shaking of the head after these situations. Maybe he needs to see a neurologist for that.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Yep, it's broken. I was hoping it was just tendon damage.

It's a radial head fracture. They can't cast it. I am to use a sling when needed and to start range of motion exercises very soon, like now. Doc said it would take 2 weeks to get the ROM of just bending the elbow. About 4-6 weeks for the wrist.

I am cleared to go back to work with no restrictions. I'm testing my typing now on this blog entry; it hurts. It hurts big time. My fingers are swollen and the elbow area is very swollen. And I'm released to go to work to type 90% of the day?

Anyone have any experience with a radial head fracture? Is this standard procedure?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bumpy Road

Vic and I had a wonderful time at the ocean. Good food, great drinks, awesome weather and ocean view from the living room & bedroom. Need to figure out how to win $1 million so we can buy a condo on the beach.

July 4th weekend was great as well. Life is going extremely well. Found out that I was on the Wisconsin Ginseng. Explains why the fatigue lessened so quickly. Yeah!!

New adventures on Renee's Bump in the Road. Literally . . . a BUMP on the ROAD. I fell off my bike ala Artie Johnson style from Laugh In (1970s). Landed on my left arm/elbow. Broke the radial head. I have a partial cast, keeping my arm at a 90 degree angle, and a sling. I see the orthopedist tomorrow morning.

This is me going to work this morning. I only stayed an hour since I didn't have a medical release. Sigh. Here we go again on not enough leave hours to cover this and have any time for future vacation.

More tomorrow! I can type with one hand...and it isn't fun.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Happy one year anniversary to me! Happy one year anniversary to Vic! Happy one year anniversary to our new normal! [groan]

What a bumpy ride this year has been. No pun in intended. You know. . Bump, Lump. Lump gets you lumpectomy. So if you have a bump, do you get a bumpectomy?

It seems a lifetime rather than one year since diagnosis. Much has changed, but most things have remained the same.

Vic and I are leaving today for a 3 days at the ocean. Rejuvenation. Celebration.

A couple of pics of the hair growth. Nothing straightens it out and makes it spikey. Nothing. I'm happy to have it - that bald look isn't comfortable.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Quick update on mammogram:

There is "architectural distortion" with no microcalcification per se. The breast radiologist's reports indicates that the mammogram does look different from the 2008 mammogram and believes it is from the lumpectomy. The distortion is about where the surgical scar is, so that makes sense. The oncologist stated that they are being conservative by asking for a unilateral mammogram in six months. . . just to confirm that the change in the breast is from surgery and not from anything else. About 90% of the time, the architectural distortion is from surgery, and particularly at the lumpectomy site.

So in six months, I'll have a MRI and mammogram. Until then, I'll just live my life distortedly (no, that word does't exist in And very happily distortedly.

Be at peace my friends,


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So, when is okay really okay? That ponderable was with me last night and all of today.

Yesterday was my first mammogram since diagnosis. I didn't realize how uptight I was until the tech said several times, "Relax your shoulder". I did my best to do positive speak to the worries and thought I WAS relaxed.

I think I had at least 2 and maybe 3 compressions on the non-cancer breast; at least 4 or maybe 6 on the cancer breast (or former cancer breast). Not sure the exact amount -- I was too uptight! :-)

Before the tech left to review the pics with the radiologist, she said don't be concerned if we tell you that we'll see you in six months. I appreciated the warning, but also told her that every 3-4 months, someone or something would be looking at that breast. So she left the room to confer with the radiologist.

A few minutes later, she stepped back into the room and said it was "okay" and that I could go have a seat in lobby to wait for the blood draw. I took it to mean "the films are okay and you have no cancer". Denial is such a great thing, isn't it!? In talking with my sweet husband last night about my day, I told him that it was "okay". I know he didn't mean to plant a negative seed when he said, "Okay just means okay - they don't need anymore pictures".

Update on the updates . . . deep breath and a big sigh; yes, this will end someday. I've been having pain in my left big toe but couldn't find the source. I discovered that the nail has a horizontal crack about 2/3 from the top. There is a fair amount of white on the toe nail - similar to how the fingernails looked when they were lifting. I just never put the two together. pain = chemo nail.

Vic and I meet with the oncologist tomorrow afternoon. I'm hoping that the Vitamin D levels have risen significantly. I've been taking a 50,000 IUs pill once a week and 4,000 the other 6 days.

We will also meet with the geneticist and the research coordinator for the neuropathy ointment. It will be interesting to find out if I did have the real thing! Not sure why we need to meet with the geneticist, but kind of glad that we are. I'd like to know if my BRCA gene variant has shown in anyone else's testing.

More news tomorrow! Okay?



Sunday, June 7, 2009


"That" Mammogram
361 days ago

First Surgery
301 days or 43 weeks ago

Last Chemo
185 days or 26 weeks ago

Last Radiation
126 Days or 18 weeks ago

Working 1.5 hours in the yard yesterday was amazing. I'm paying for it today with some tightness on one side and a killer of a headache. I don't really care about the pain - just excited that I had stamina for that long. Just a few months ago, it would have been 10 minutes.

The fingernails never did fall off. After they started lifting, I kept them filed very close to the skin which helped. Wearing bandages on the nails while keyboarding also helped. Currently, one nail is about 1/3 of the all white dead stuff; the others about 1/4. Just a few months ago, the nails were two-thirds all white.

Toe neuropathy is pretty much gone. I have days where they do burn, but it usually follows alot of walking in non-supportive shoes or attempting to wear heels at work. My body hasn't done high heeled shoes ever since I feel down a few cement stairs - face first - in 1990. Ankles were mangled.

Call me Poodle. The nape area is 2 inches, extremely curly, so much that no product will keep it straight . .or slightly straight. The nape hair looks to be 1/2 inch in length - it's that tight of a curl. My hair has been straight all my life, well, other than those ugly perms in the 1980s and 1990s. I went to my hairdresser a week ago to see if she had a magic potion to help style the hair. I walk into the salon, she greets with me with "Oh My Gawd!" and starts laughing. Say what? She was shocked to see the curls and waves, she couldn't help herself from laughing. Heck, I laugh every morning!

Eyelashes have lost their length again. I'm back to the short short that it isn't worth putting mascara on.

Port incision has healed nicely and no problems with it. Hallelujah! I am so glad that thing is G.O.N.E.

June 16th is the next blood draw and first mammogram since diagnosis. I will ask the oncologist about markers and all the new research on treatment for TNBC on June 18th.

Hope you all have a great week!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Than Negative

Drifting off to sleep at night, so many thoughts flood in, some being what I would consider good to share on this blog. In the morning, those thoughts are gone. Please don't tell me to keep paper and pencil next to the bed to jot down the info. That would require turning on the light, re-engaging the brain which will wake me up! Falling to sleep has always been a challenge for me. My brain is too active day and night . . . alot too active.

Some of you may know the mantra, or at least part of the mantra: If only I was younger,or If I was thinner. . . or I wish my [insert body part] was different. For you men (I’m guessing here): If only my [blank] was bigger/smaller, or If only I had hair, I'd be, , ,. Woulda, coulda, shouda.

Quite a few issues occurred this week that have set off these negative thoughts. One can handle a negative thought. I can do that. I can get the Doris Day, Que sera, sera song going with the best of them. But when many issues and many negative thoughts pile up on me, I don’t do well. Raise your hand if you do. Please.

I have no idea where I’m going with this, but hang on. Maybe we’ll circle back around.

I’m sick of self – myself. Self, self, self. I’m tired of people noticing the length of my hair. I AM more than my hair. I just looked up “self” on and found this:

Noun: An individual person as the object of his own reflective consciousness.

Reflective. Hmmmm. Yeah, been doing that this week. Wondering why I think and feel the way I do. What makes me different from other people? Am I really different? Don’t we all have some insecurity? Fears?

Fears? Oh my. Yeah. Fears that this damn cancer will come back. I hate sneaky people. I hate sneaky cancer. I hate fear. Fear takes away the ability to live your life in the here and now. Fear robs you of looking forward, outward.

Noun: A strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger or threat.

In the reflection of this week, I tried to find a metaphor for cancer. While in treatment, I had a purpose, a fight, a battle, a journey. Out of treatment and getting ready for the one year boob squeeze (mammogram), where am I? I need metaphors to get over big issues and negative thoughts. Like the time my doctor introduced the idea of anti-depressants 20 years ago. I didn’t want to take something just to feel normal. And this wonderful doctor said,

Doc: Do you have allergies?
Me: Well of course I do. That’s why I’m here every spring.
Doc: Do the allergies make you not normal?
Me: Okay, doc, where are we going with this weird conversation? No, the allergies don’t make me not normal. . I just have them. A lot of people do!
Doc: You just have them, hmmmm.
Me. Getting ready to roll the eyes. Yeah? So?
Doc: You have a chemical imbalance that causes depression. Just like you need anti-histamines for the allergies, you need anti-depressants for the depression.
Me: Light bulb!

Noun: The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn't, invoking a direct similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described.

And my metaphor for cancer is tooth decay. I know there is decay somewhere in my teeth. It’s inevitable. It may not show up at my dental appointment this coming Friday. It may not show up at the one 6 months from now. I eat sweets, I don’t brush my teeth 3 times a day and I don’t floss twice a day. But do I worry about the tooth decay? Is our life all about tooth decay? No and no.

My apologies to anyone reading this blog that may be dealing with Stage IV cancer or a more life-threatening cancer than my Stage 1 Grade 3 TNBC. My intent is not to downplay the seriousness of cancer or offend.

Worrying and having fear about the cancer returning robs me of my laughter and my joy. It robs me of living in the present. Worrying about the future is powerless. I like what this person has to say about worry

Worry is proportional to our sense of security. When life is going as planned and we feel safe in our life routines, then worries subside. Likewise, worry increases when we feel threatened, insecure or are overly focused on and committed to some result.

So, I’m going to live my life with possible tooth decay. But I am not going to BE tooth decay. If and when the tooth decay is discovered, I will deal with it then. And I'll continue to speak to the negative thoughts and do my best to turn them around to positive thoughts.

Sending you many hugs, I remain . . .


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walking Port

Many months ago, just the thought of getting the port removed sent me to anxiety city for hours. The weeks leading up "the" appointment on Friday, I felt rather calm. I did end up taking two 5 mg Valium - one before driving in and one when I was at the office waiting, and waiting, and waiting. No, I wasn't driving, Vic was.

Before the nurses accessed the port during chemo, they would inject lidocaine into the area around the port. The lidocaine injections stung, but were tolerable. Not sure what happened with the port removal, but each injection of lidocaine hurt like a big dog. The "I've never taken out a port before" resident, did the first round of injections. After the surgeon did the "do you feel this" poking of the skin to see if I was numb - and I wasn't - the surgeon did another round of injection. That was probably the worse for me.

I had my iPod blasting Josh Groban during the procedure and did my best to focus on his beautiful voice. However, the surgeon had other plans . . .she wanted to make sure I could hear her. Wait, I don't WANT to hear you or your knife or you talking to the resident. The main instruction was to hold still and to hold my breath when she told me to do so. I'm not sure why and I didn't ask. I believe I held the breath while the tubing that was in the vein was being removed.

There was a bunch of tugging, which I did not like. Was it enough to say I wish I had twilight anesthesia for the procedure? No, not really; that would have required an IV which we just don't do well. My veins close up as soon as they hear "IV". Trust me, I know this to be true. I wondered, tho, could they give Versed through a very fine needle directly into the vein. . . just a little bit of Versed? I love Versed!

Here is a picture of the port before removal.

I have a picture of the port after it's removal. It does have some red stuff on it, so if you are of a squeamish nature, don't, as in DO NOT, click on this link . The port itself is about an inch long, so I'm estimating that the tubing was about 8 inches.

Having low tolerance for pain, I did take Vic's Oxycodones Friday and Saturday. Sunday was Advil and today nothing. The incision itself doesn't hurt today, just the muscle in my neck. I am just glad that it is out!

Relay for Life was a very moving experience. For the cancer survivors reading this, if you have an opportunity to participate in the Relay or some other type of fundraising event, please do!

Here is a lady that spoke during the opening ceremonies. Please take a moment to read her great story!!

Each survivor wore a purple shirt and words can't begin to describe what it was like to watch this sea of purple walk the first lap. Caregivers walked the second lap and both survivor & caregivers walked the third. Participants and supporters surrounded the track, clapping as we walked by. Yes, I did cry, but I also hooted and hollered back at them. The laps truly symbolized a race, a journey, that we all had been on.

I had just a few minutes to create two luminary bags. My apologies for not getting everyone's name onto one of them. But every one of the Journey Supporters and fellow cancer previvors/survivors were in my thoughts!

One of the volunteers put the luminaries out for us since we were short on time. But! As Vic and I walked around the track, we came upon them! It was so extraordinary that I glanced down at the right moment to see the names.

There are more pictures of the event on my Facebook. If you would like to email me your ID (see "Complete Profile" for the link), I will add you to my friends list on Facebook.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Port and Walking

Well, today is THE day! It's two significant events in our lives.

The chemo PowerPort comes out in 2 hours. Then this evening, Relay for Life. Where I will proudly (and probably bawling) walk the Survivor lap. It will be a joy to watch Vic walk the Caretaker lap and he should lead the pack since he was the best one ever!

It's not too late to make a donation. If you haven't already donated, won't you help me reach my financial goal by donating $10 . . . just $10. Come on, you can do it! Just click on this link and it will take you to my home page to donate. Plus you get to see a pic of Baby Posh Spice. Thank you so much for your help!!!!

I will update later on how it actually was to have the port removed without Versed drugs. Got to go charge up my Ipod so I don't hear anything!

Much love and hugs to you all!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tea for Two

Whoa! It's been a while since I updated. The delay isn't because I've been out having fun. . . . shoot dang!

My company laid off 24 people; 6 being from my department. One of the positions was the other Admin Asst. My supervisor is doing her best to keep the other admin's work off my desk, and I am so appreciative that she is doing this. I've been covering evening meetings, at least 2 a week, and it has drained my level of energy back into the fatigue arena. This week there were two meetings, both beginning at 7 pm with one ending at 9 pm and the other 10 pm. I start winding down my day at 8 pm!

I started back into yoga two weeks ago and it feels good to finally be doing something other than walking a little bit each day. The fatigue is such a catch-22. I needed exercise to help alleviate the fatigue, but sometimes felt too fatigued to exercise. Doing some type of exercise during chemo and radiation would have been good for me, but I found myself doing no exercise other than going for treatment and/or going to work. Those going through chemo and radiation - please do something. It will definitely help!

Even though the past weeks have been rough due to the evening meetings and the stress associated with the layoffs, I am actually feeling pretty good! The nails are doing much better and filing them very short has helped tremendously. They are still ugly, but I'm happy that I only have to bandage one now every morning -
Mr. Lefty Middlefinger - in order to keyboard.

I received a post card in the mail this week that gave me that catch in the gut. It was from the breast imagining clinic notifying me that I was due for an annual mammogram on June 11th. Could it really be only eleven months since my first digital mammogram and we found something suspicious? It feels like it was forever ago that the cancer was found.

Now I feel so "seasoned" in the cancer patient world. Reading other people's blogs, who are just beginning the journey, brings back so many memories. Sometimes I am awestruck when I think of what my body went through with the chemo and radiation. I let someone do that to me?

Vic is doing very well after his surgery. He still has "discomfort" every now and then, but amazingly has been pretty active. I forgot all about another cancer-related item with him, though. He has a spot in his mouth that the dentist recommended a visit to an oral surgeon to rule out cancer. The dentist said it could possibly be a spot where silver dropped onto the tissue. I now remember wanting Vic to have this done last August before his major surgery . . . he didn't want to, stubborn mule.

Port removal and Relay for Life are this Friday! I'm sure both will be highly emotional events. I am so thankful that I get to walk the survivor lap and watch Vic walk the caretaker lap. Let's hope we both can do it without bawling our eyes out. Dang, I'm tearing up now just typing about it!

It's not too late to make a donation. If you haven't already donated, won't you help me reach my financial goal by donating $10 . . . just $10. Come on, you can do it! Just click on this
link and it will take you to my home page to donate. Plus you get to see a pic of Baby Posh Spice. Thank you so much for your help!!!!

My oldest daughter and I attended a tea last night at my youngest daughter's church. Yummy desserts and a new way for us to celebrate Mother's Day. I am so proud of my two girls. They are magnificent women!

For those of you who are mothers, I wish you a wonderful and relaxing Mother's Day!

Many blessings,


Thursday, April 30, 2009


I wanted to share with you something that was so heart-feltly written by my fellow TNBC sister. I couldn't have said it better!

She calls it a "rant".

i don't

it's what we feel

it's what I feel

bravo, S.F.!

Please click this link to read and absorb what so many people diagnosed with cancer want to say out loud: The Cookie Jar

Monday, April 27, 2009


There is hope after a cancer diagnosis.
It WILL get better after the cancer treatment.
And your hair WILL grow again.

Just three things I wasn't so sure of November 2008.

In November, my daughter and her family came over to do whatever it was we needed them to do. I had her help finish an organization project I started before diagnosis. The upstairs room was totally torn apart with piles of like items everywhere. Even though I didn't do much while she organized, it tired me out immensely. I had her stop when most of the task was completed. . .I was too tired to give directions while sitting in a chair. That's how sad it was.

Yesterday I was up in this same room, doing more organizing and I had a light bulb moment. Don't you just love those? I realized that I was able to move around, crawl into the long, large closet, pull out boxes, etc. and wasn't fatigued in 5 minutes. It was great to have something to measure how I feel now compared to 5 months ago.

It's so easy to focus on the negative aspects of cancer and the treatment, and what we used to be like and aren't now because of cancer. But cancer can not take away our internal self and who we are really at the core.

I continue to research the Internet to find my grandmother's relatives. I have a variant of the breast cancer gene (BRCA2) that doctor's couldn't say did or did not cause the breast cancer. Some may say, why give a flip about this, , ,why worry?

I am not worrying on this matter. It's more that I want to KNOW. Know for myself, my daughters, my granddaughters and my niece. Are there others who had breast or ovarian cancer? If so, then that person's relatives can be tested. We can test the generations to see if it truly is a hereditary gene or just a fluke of one of my genes because my mother ate too many bon bons (or whatever) while I was developing in the womb.

While I will be monitored by the medical profession for years to come, and my daughters can be hypervigilant on their breast exams and diagnostic mammograms, I just want to know -- did it, or did it not cause the breast cancer.

I have used the clinical trial creme for the neuropathy for over a week. My feet do not burn! Hallelujah! Now is this the real stuff or is it a placebo and the neuropathy healed on it's own? We'll find out in 5 weeks.

I started the baseline testing this weekend for the clinical trial of ginseng. This involved putting a cotton roll - like the kind your dentist uses - into my mouth before getting out of bed and chewing on it for 2 minutes until it was saturated with saliva. Lovely isn't it? Repeating the process 30 minutes later. The third baseline test is to do the same at nighttime before going to sleep. This is done for two days and today is Day #2. I will start with the ginseng tomorrow.

For those going through cancer treatments now, just know that it does get better. Be kind to your body, eat healthy, exercise when you can and don't be afraid to say "no". It's not a time for us to be super-people. Does this mean lay around all day on the couch or in bed? No, not unless your body is telling you to do so.

Find something good each day and focus on that. I know it's hard to do on those days when the nausea or fatigue has you by the throat. Also important is to have something to look forward to. Maybe a nice dinner during the week you aren't nauseous or a trip to see the ocean . . . just something.

Many blessings and hugs to you. Thank you for being a supporter!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Surgery was scheduled for 10:20 - and we arrived at 8:30 am. Ultrasound and radiation doctor came in to find the tumor and mark it up for the cut area. Since the tumor had a blood supply, they mapped out where the "small" veins were. The surgeon was behind schedule and Vic didn't leave the pre-op until 12:30 pm. I hate waiting!!

Vic was out of surgery about 2:30 yesterday. Doctor said it went well and the tumor is out. It was a nerve sheath tumor. I don't have any more info other than that.

Everyone kept asking - including the surgeon - if he was spending the night. We were confused as we thought all along this was an outpatient surgery. Then our concern was raised, what do THEY know that WE don't know.

I got in to see Vic at 3 pm and he looked good. A little groggy, but he snapped out of it pretty quickly. Once his blood pressure and heart rate stabilized and he could urinate, we were free to go. Within an hour or less, he had stabilized but not bathroom trips. And we waited. Did I mention how much I hate waiting?? Three glasses of juice later, he finally got a little out at 5 pm. Probably TMI, but it was the reason we couldn't get out. The nurse "dobblered" his bladder to see if it was empty and it was. So he got dressed and we left at 5:15. . . .and ran into the I-5 had two accidents so let's back up the freeway to Canada routine. We finally got home at 6:30 pm.

This morning, Vic continues to move around well, looks good in his coloring and has had minimal Oxys. Don't you wish we could all be this way after abdominal surgery? I'm envious.

I am heading to work as he doesn't need me to babysit. That's the one thing he is bad at -- being a patient. Doesn't need a nurse or waiting on. I've had to give him a sharp "Hey!" when he went to lift something. Nothing heavier than a gallon of milk . . which leaves the cats out. :-)

Peace over and out!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tumor House is Closing

This man is having surgery tomorrow.
This man is so calm, it's frightening.

We are due at the hospital tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. I imagine the surgery will start about 11 am. Surgeon said it would take an hour; resident said it would take 2 hours. This will be an out-patient surgery to remove the Schwanie-man from his body. Actually it's a Schwannoma, a tumor that is a benign nerve sheath tumor composed of Schwann cells, which normally produce the insulating myelin sheath covering peripheral nerves.

Schwanie-man is a family joke. Christy's husband worked out of city and sometimes out of state when they were first married. When she found out she was pregnant, she was asked who the father was . . . she said the Schwanie-man since she saw him more than her husband.

So after tomorrow, the Tobias Tumor House officially closes. No more stinkin' tumors will be allowed!

That's my cat, Whiskers, on Vic's lap. Doesn't he look comfy? Both cats find human laps the best place to rest or sleep. They will probably have a hard time this week . . Vic will be off, but no cat's on his lap due to the location of the surgical site. Poor kitties. Poor Vic.

This weekend was the best! Sun was shinning, I pulled weeds in a little area and then planted some new flowers in this area. I've missed these simple things of life.


Thursday, April 16, 2009


Howdy friends and family!

I received the super-secret clinical trial Crisco, errrmmmm, Amitriptyline and Ketamine combined topical today. And I'm patient #89. Shoot dang, it would have been fun to be Patient #99, as in Get Smart Agent 99. Got it?

The label states: Caution: New Drug - Limited to Federal Law to Investigational Use. The 15 tubes are white, super-sealed in three white boxes, which are super-sealed into one large white box. Very clandestine feeling.

To avoid a long trip into Seattle during the rush hour traffic, I asked the research coordinator if the topical could be sent to their satellite office where I received chemo - about 15 minutes from my home. He wasn't sure this could be done as the topical could only be transported by a nurse or doctor or the patient. Wait a minute. The courier transported thousands of dollars of chemo fluids each day, but he couldn't take one overly-white box?

Okay, I understand that Ketamine is a "Club Drug" known as Vitamin K. It's snorted, smoked or injected. Large doses of Ketamine produce effects similar to PCP such as dream-like dissociative states and hallucinations. We are talking large doses of a liquid or powder. For heavens, sake, these are white tubes smaller than a tube of toothpaste, in the white boxes inside an overly-white larger box. I guess if some junkie was desperate enough, they could club the courier over the head, steal the topical and rub the contents of all 15 tubes on at once for a buzz. But why couldn't the junkie do the same to the nurse or doctor? I'll stop now . . .it just hit me weird.

A bright yellow slip of paper fell out of the overly-shite larger box, stating "ALERT! When seeking emergency medical care for any reason . . . . You must bring your Study Medication with you to any Health Care Provider." Now that's a little scary.

I completed about 10 pages of peripheral neuropathy intensity and sleep questions. I will have to complete the same or similar survey at the end of each 3 weeks of using the topical. I'm excited about the possibility that this will help alleviate the burning ring of fire toes.

Going to the satellite clinic, I had the opportunity to talk with the crazy oncology nurse. We talked about my port coming out May 15 and mentioned that I could skip the port flush scheduled at the end of April. Yippeee! I so hate getting injected with the Lidocaine several times around the port, then doing gymnastics with my arm or coughing to get the port to take or receive fluids.

When I first started chemo back in October, I brought up the idea of putting the finger nails into cold water to minimize the nail loss. This nurse thought I was reading too much on the Internet, never heard of it. After showing her my nails today I stated I should have at least tried the nails in cold water - what would it have hurt!? Her colleague - a new nurse - said she recently attended training where this was talked about and the results were great. Surprise, surprise!

Sooooo . . . for those going through chemo right now, just do it. Don't give a flip if your nurse or doctor has never heard of this! It's your body, take control of your treatment. What could it hurt?

I was able to do the two hour lunch break three days this week and it has made a difference already! I can get through the afternoon without dragging. My employers should be happy because I feel more productive. I'm not pre-cancer energy, but it's a start. And I'll take it.

I'm walking in the Relay for Life on May 15th and asking friends, family and anonymous peeps to help me reach my financial goals by donating $10 . . . just $10. Come on, you can do it! Just click on this link and it will take you to my home page to donate. Plus you get to see a pic of Baby Posh Spice. Thank you so much for your help!!!!

I hope the sun is shining in your area of the world. There is much to be thankful, isn't there? God bless!


Welcome to Cora and Alli, two new Journey Supporters!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Two Martini Lunches

If I DID have two martini lunches, I definitely wouldn't be going back to work afterwards. Maybe this might not be a bad thing.

Actually, my supervisor agreed to my plan to help lessen the fatigue by taking two hour lunches. I live fairly close to home and would probably have 1.5 hours of rest and quiet to get me through the rest of the afternoon. I start this on Monday.

We have quite a few extra evening meetings in April and May and I knew I couldn't keep going like I have been. . . . Superwoman. For the next six weeks, some will have one or two meetings. My supervisor asked the other Admin to cover a few for me. My colleague is going on vacation the last week of April and first week of May. . . .oh boy. My supervisor agreed that some other support staff will help with phones and such so I can get through these blasted meetings. Come June, my life will return to staffing two evening meetings and two late afternoon meetings a month.

I've put in for intermittent leave and my doctor has signed a form with the medicalese that says I need more rest. Supervisor has signed my request, now the Director needs to sign. Not sure if I'll qualify for shared leave again; but either way, my vacation and sick leave will be depleted again. And here Vic and I were hoping to have a vacation this year to celebrate getting through 2008.

I was displeased to see that the doctor responded with "six months or more" to the question of how long I would have this "condition" aka fatigue. I am truly hoping and believing that having the consistent long breaks in the middle of the day will help. Maybe Vic won't be the only one doing things around the house during the work week if I get the added rest.

I try to find peace and remind myself that "this" won't be forever when the toes are burning and the nails are hurting. It will be my reality for a few months. I may rail against my body and whine about it in this blog. No, I will 99% probably -- none of this "may" stuff. I believe I am reaching the place where I am friggin' angry at cancer. I am pleased that I never fell into the victim role during this journey. I couldn't go in that direction - my energy had to be spent on putting one foot in front of the other to get through the surgeries, chemo and radiation and show up at work. Anger can be a good thing.

The City has announced that it will lay off employees. This is the first time in a very long time that the City has had to do this. Morale is down and lots of people are concerned. I'm not worried about it, though. It feels really strange to say that because a loss of a job or fear of losing a job used to send me into a tailspin. My last two positions were eliminated.

First elimination :-) , I was devastated; no matter how much they told me it wasn't me or something I did. As a contractor for Dept. of Corrections, DOC decided that my position should be at their HQ. I didn't want to drive an hour each way, so I was out of a job. The second time of being "eliminated", I was scared but thankful - it wasn't a good job fit. Maybe I'm calm because I've "been there, done that"? Heck! I can't look too far in the future - have to deal with just getting through 8 hours of work each day, so maybe that's it! lol

We are hoping for good weather tomorrow. I just want to go pull weeds. Now, don't laugh. But I like to pull weeds - it's instant gratification. Maybe I'll purchase some annuals just to have color and perk up our life. We need some perking! That's my hope for tomorrow. . . .we'll see if the energy holds and rain clouds stay away.

One more week for Vic's surgery! Whoo hoo!!

Over and out,


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Okay, so it's not tomorrow night or the weekend. But that's what happens when you are having fun (not).

Fatigue continues to be immense. I didn't expect this. And, Kathy, even after reading on your blog about the weeks/months that you had fatigue, I thought, "that won't happen to me". Ha! This sucks. Absolutely is the pits.

The other two post-chemo complaints continue. . . .burning toes and finger/toe nails that want to disengage themselves from my body. This sucks. Absolutely is the pits. Now, we'll add in bone joint pain. The greatest pain is in the fingers - feels like what I imagine arthritis would feel like.

I didn't want this to be a blog entry of whining but it looks to be that way. Whining doesn't do any good, isn't productive, doesn't solve the problem. But it's my life right now. I do my best not to whine to Vic or any people near me, and you, my captive audience, are soooo enthralled by my blog that you get to hear it.

Cancer is such an evil bugger and to eradicate it, they use evil stuff. We hope that the treatment doesn't kill us. But could any of us say for sure what the evil treatment does to us long-term? It's frustrating because if I did no treatment, I wouldn't live decades with this aggressive triple negative cancer. I had no choice in taking the evil treatment versus not taking it. I sort of like to live.

We are each unique and how we respond to chemo/radiation is unique - no doctor can predict how our bodies will react. Likewise, I'm guessing they can't predict how we will react months after treatment ends. I know - and hope/believe - this post-treatment stuff won't last forever. I need to be patient. Patient with my body and roll with the flow on the energy, burning toes, finger/toe nails and now joint aches.

About the Oncologist appointment last week:

Potassium is still low
I'm trying to eat foods that will raise this. Don't mention bananas. I am probably one of a few people in the world who dislike bananas to just eat out of the peel, but love, love, banana nut bread/muffins, banana creme pie (oh soooo healthy) and banana Laffy Taffys. I can eat bananas in Jello, but that would take up too much energy in the evening to make the Jello. Yeah, that's sad.

Port Removal
I have scheduled May 15th for port removal. This also happens to be the opening day for Relay for Life. I was looking forward to participating this year, walking the survivor lap and watching Vic walk the caregivers' lap. I plan to go - gorped up on Oxys probably - but I want to walk that lap!

Dr. V said it can take up to a year to feel normal. Yeah, I've heard that before but felt it wasn't going to happen to me. She has asked that I look for ways to modify my work schedule for a few weeks; definitely no back-to-back late night meetings - which I did in March and will be doing April and May. My supervisor will return to the office this Thursday, so we will talk. I hate going back on intermittent leave and having to deal with the "boy-o" from HR.

I was asked to participate in a study, Study of American Ginseng in Treating Patients With Fatigue Caused by Cancer, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The doctor's researcher was excited to see that I scored a "7" on a questionnaire about fatigue. 0 - no fatigue and 10 - the worse imaginable fatigue. I won't know until after the study if I was given the Ginseng or taking a placebo. I sort of believe I will know, don't you?

I was going to start acupuncture for the fatigue, but can't now because of the study. I can't take or do anything that might alleviate the fatigue during the study.

Burning Toes
I was asked to participate in another study - this one for the burning toes . . . Study of Amitriptyline and Ketamine Hydrochloride Cream in Cancer Patients With Chemotherapy-Associated Peripheral Neuropathy. Can't wait to see if it works - if I get the "real"stuff.

Love to all!