My Support System

My Support System
I have the best time with these guys

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Next Adventure...

Well, I have been accepted to attend the Costa Rica humanitarian trip with A Fresh Chapter.  WOW!  This is amazing, scary and completely fun all rolled into one. The people who are accepted are all cancer survivors or caregivers.  I am terrified of raising all of this money but I have faith that I can do it.  I saw this amazing video clip today it got me so excited to go.  These people from all over the world were working together for a cause.  I couldn't help but think of the people in Costa Rica and that maybe I could make a difference in their lives.  I could think outside of myself and help take care of other people.  Maybe cancer wouldn't be the first thing on my mind in the mornings??  Wouldn't that be a nice change.  More to come.....

Monday, April 6, 2015

3 Years of Borrowed Time

My 3 year anniversary came and went.  I didn't mention it to anyone but I thought about it all day.  March 29, 2012.  This day is my Cancerversary, the anniversary of my devastating news,
  "You have cancer." 
 I live with the reminder every day.  The scars on my chest, the weakness in my back and the dull ache in my arms from having my lymph nodes removed.  Each ache I feel, every headache I get, new symptoms that arise-"Is the Cancer back?"  I hold it in, I know that people around me are sick of hearing about The Big C. I keep waiting for my old "normal" to come back, whatever I am living now- it is my new "normal".

 I am grateful for each day.  I know without modern medicine, I would be dead.  This time I have now, it is borrowed.  The Lord has blessed me with good doctors who look after me.  They cut out this beast from my chest, they filled me with poison, they radiated my body and they keep checking on me to see if I am allowed more time here on the Earth.
Houston was 9 months old when I found my lump.  He was just a baby.  He will be 4 years old in two weeks.  I am so lucky!  I have had three extra years with him.  He will know his mom.  I do not take this for granted.

Being a cancer survivor is also very hard.  I am TIRED.  Every day is a battle to wake up.  I want to sleep.  My body is tired.  It has been to hell and back and now it is worn down.  I have to fight with myself (and the snooze button) to wake up for work every day.  I do it, I owe it to myself and those around me to keep fighting to get my life back.  It is a realization for me that it may never be easy again. I think that this fatigue and the mourning of my old life at times leads to depression.  I have to keep telling myself that I am a fighter and it will get easier.

My daughter said something very profound last week.  I said that I was too tired to go on a walk.  She said, "Mom, you rode your bike 200 miles.  You are strong!"  Do you know what I did tonight?  I rode my bike.  I didn't want to.  I had a million reasons why I "shouldn't" go.  It was too cold.  My body was out of shape.  I just ate.  It was almost dark.  Instead, I listened to my amazing daughter.  I went on a 10 mile ride.  I loved every second.  On my jersey there is a word that inspires me to be better, SURVIVOR.  I have survived cancer and now it is my turn to make this body better.  It felt so good to use my body for better things than play Trivia Crack. My fingers were getting pretty tired this weekend.

Life is fragile.  It can change in a second.  Each day it is important to kiss your children, hug them, talk to them.  Tell your spouse that you love them.  The little things will work themselves out.  I have found strength in helping those around me.  It isn't all about me.  Life is about really SEEING who is around you, LISTEN to them, LEARN from them and let yourself LOVE those around you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Talking About Radiation...

I was asked to speak about my radiation experience.  I was delighted, the people at the clinic were so wonderful to me so I was happy to give back to the cancer center.  Here is the link to the article:

Valley View Medical Center-Radiation

Traveling After Breast Cancer...

There are things that become a little complicated after breast cancer.  One of these things is traveling.  If you are traveling for long distances in the car or flying in an airplane, you have to think about lymphedema prevention.  This includes drinking plenty of water, moving around when you can and wearing a compression sleeve.  Most people don't know or understand what lymphedema is.  I have to explain this to a lot of people.  Here is a medical definition:

What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of fluid that causes swelling, most often in the arms or legs. The condition develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged, or removed. The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system which helps fight off infection and clears debris from the body.

So, I just returned from a 30 hour trip (which consisted of driving and three flights).  I wore my sleeves and hand gauntlets.  I felt awkward but I did it anyway.  I don't want to end up with giant arms and fingers.  It is worth a few hours of strange looks and questions.  It is always about prevention.  Here is where I will put in my plug for my favorite lymphedema sleeves.  I love love love Lymphedivas.  They are stylish and fun.  I don't feel 80 years old when I wear them.  I am young and I like things to look pretty, even when they are for post breast cancer surgery items.  Check them out.   Lymphedivas

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Desert Divas are Ready to Roll

We are heading out tomorrow for the experience of a lifetime.  It has only been 8 months in the making.  We are super excited.  Many of our friends and family are coming to cheer us on.  TOUR DE PINK, here we come!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pinktober, Yes or No??

I am at odds with myself about Pinktober.  Do I like all of the pink ribbon merchandise everywhere around me?  Or do I want to throw up every time I see it?  Sometimes it just makes me mad because it is many companies getting rich off of the "Pink Ribbon" pop culture.  How much money do these companies really donate to support breast cancer treatments or research?  Cancer isn't beautiful like a pink ribbon.  It is red from all the blood we have shed, it is green from all of the vomit, it is purple from the scars left on our bodies, it is black from all of the sisters we have lost to the disease, it is blue from all of the tears given when we are scared for the future, it is white from the hospital gowns we have worn during the time we spend in hospitals.  I don't see pink anywhere except on the ribbons that remind me that cancer keeps coming and affecting the people I love.  You decide how you feel, I have yet to decide.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Maybe You Don't Agree-Tamoxifen

    Well, I have debated whether to share this or not.  I guess this blog is like my journal so, why not??  I have decided not to take Tamoxifen anymore.  Why??? would I ever do that?  Well, there are so many reasons.  #1 (and it is a HUGE #1)  my tumor was less than 1% estrogen positive. I had the tumor tested twice and two different locations and it came back the same both times.   I am almost a triple negative.  That would be negative for estrogen, progesterone and her2.  I didn't have to take the herceptin chemotherapy, which is an extra round of chemo.  Most people who take Tamoxifen are like 40% or more positive for estrogen.
    I saw my doctor this week.  The conversation went like this, "How is the Tamoxifen going?" he says.  I waited for a few seconds and said, "Well, I am not going to be taking the Tamoxifen."  It had only been about 7 days since the last pill but it felt pretty dang good to take my own health into my hands. I felt like I was letting him down but I have to do what I think is best. Yes, it is scary.  It is CRAZY scary!!  What if this is the wrong choice??  What if in three months the cancer is back?  I will never know if it is the cancer or not taking the "PILL".  It seems like everyone around me (Pink sisters) take "the PILL".  We do it because the doctors tell us to.  Does it help?  My doctor said it was like wearing a seat belt, sure you may not have an accident but it is there just in case you do.
   Why would I want to make this decision?  My side effects-weight gain, anxiety, hot flashes (like a burning tube of lava in my body, hot flashes), lost my right ovary due to cyst growth, had to get a D&C because of uterine growth, and the possibility of uterine cancer in the future.  Plus, the doctors have now decided people need to take it for 10 years instead of 5 years.  Well, it has been about 2 weeks now and "the PILL" is still getting out of my system.  I am with great hope that my body will be returned to me.