The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meeting Mary Poppins

A distressing amount of my time has been dedicated to watching the Olympics since they started on Friday. I can't help it, I LOVE sports! I can't get enough, especially when it comes to the excitement and sportsmanship of the Olympics. So, my house looks like several bombs went off because I just can't tear myself away from table tennis ( <---actually, I'm totally kidding about that). Soccer, swimming, gymnastics (talk about drama!), the list goes on. The Olympics have been a very welcome distraction for me, let's go Team USA! London has been pretty fantastic too. I wish I could just pop over there for a few days. I don't even need to see an Olympic event, but a castle or two would be great. Oh, and I'd love to hang with Wils and Kate for a bit, maybe for a cocktail or something.

Speaking of all things Brittish, I met and hired Mary Poppins last week. If you've been following my blog, then you'll recall a somewhat drug-induced plea for Mary Poppins herself to arrive at my house (see: Mary Poppins and Other Drugs post if you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about). Well, she's here and quite modern, if I do say so myself. Yes, she is an actual Brittish Nanny, in case you were wondering. She was with the kids for the first time yesterday and she didn't run from the house screaming before I returned home, so we'll take that as a good sign. She'll be here every day once I start radiation, but for now she's working a few days a week (I still have 4.3 million doctors appointments every week). I told her if she could have Stella potty-trained I would pay her a bonus. Is that wrong???

Recovery-wise I'm about the same. I still have one drain remaining, the damn thing just won't give up... I've begun having the fillers for my tissue expanders on the right side. I can't begain radiation until that's complete, so I still have a few weeks to go. I'm frustrated because I just want to get this part over with, I'm quite tired of being patient. It's not like I have a choice, I know, but I'd like to move on. So, as July fades into August, I'm trying to keep things into perspective. I've been incredibly lucky to have such a positive outcome regarding the seriousness of my cancer. I just need to keep my chin up and move forward. Until next time... I've got an appointment with the men's water polo team :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Backing Up the Truck

I suck at making decisions. It's a big, big weakness and I can be such a procrastinater when it comes to making really big, important decisions. For example: I'm currently interviewing people for a nanny position. Wait. Back up the truck. What did I just say??? Did hell just freeze over? Possibly but definitely not in Georgia, it's 987 degrees here today... Yes, I'm in the process of hiring a part time nanny because with radiation being every single day for 7 weeks, I need someone to watch the kids. Bringing them to radiation is not an option (just what I need, a couple of radioactive kids) and really, why would I drag them there anyway? So, it's been a good run and I've held out as long as I could, but we just can't make this work without some help. There, I said it, the H Not my favorite word by far. Wish me luck, I am WAY too nice when it comes to telling people no. It's not unreasonable to have 6 nannies, right? Just kidding...sort of.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks. I had a chance to talk with my chemo pal Kate yesterday. Our schedules have not been meshing and I haven't seen her since June. To be honest, it's been kind of a tough break. While I've been getting great news and seeing tons a progress, Kate hasn't had it so easy. Right before I had my surgery, she found out that her tumor hadn't shrunk enough for her to be a surgery candidate. She has to have two more rounds of chemo and they'll reevaluate after that. I CANNOT fathom having to endure two more rounds of chemo, she is a true warrior. I've gone through a lot of my treatment with blinders on in the sense that everyone should be having success like me. The truth is, many people aren't having much luck at all and that's been a huge wake-up call to me. It's so unfair and it makes me furious. Kate and I have literally had every treatment together since March so when she wasn't there when I had my last treatment I was seriously bummed. The good news is that I'll be there for her last chemo treatment in a few weeks and we'll be back on track. I can't really explain how much it means to have someone going through what I'm going through and be able to share the experience. I guess it makes having cancer feel a little less lonely.

I have approximately 45 doctors appointments next week. Not really, but it feels like that many. I was hoping to get home to Virginia before radiation started but now it's looking like I will have to wait until after. Everybody wants a piece of my day! Gosh darn it's hard being this popular... Oh well, there's nothing like Georgia in August. Cool and breezy... under the AC vent at least.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Updates and More Updates

I know, I know, I totally left you hanging with that last post. The nerve, right? The problem is I have too much going on. Today is your lucky day because I have 5ish minutes to spare. So, let's see...updates

Steve fixed my iPhone. If it's possible to win husband of the year at least 5 times in one year then he totally gets the prize. It took him a couple of hours and he completely dismantled my phone (which has approximately 1,000 small parts) but it works. That said, the flash light is still on, although somewhat dimmer. Whatever, as long as the phone works, the other stuff can malfunction all it wants to. I'm pretty sure the next time my phone takes an unplanned flight it's going to die or shatter into a million pieces just to prove a point.

I had two drains removed last Wednesday and one removed today. Only one left!! If things continue to go well, Iwill  have it taken out Wednesday or Thursday of this week. That's huge progress people! It's been such a relief to have them taken out - if you've ever had stitches that started to itch because they were ready to come out, this is very similar. That and the disgustingness that is having to deal with drains in the first place. Ick!!

I met my radiation oncologist last week as well. She kicks serious ass and I want to go have drinks with her. She's really funny and down to earth. As she was reading over my chart, she stopped and asked me, "Did you just say 'what the shit just happened' when you were diagnosed?". I couldn't have phrased it better myself! I'm looking forward to working with her. I wasn't really worried about radiation as I've been expecting it from the beginning, but it was good to learn more about the process, which is specifically tailored to each person. As of right now, we're planning on me doing 7 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. Can't wait! Well, I mean, I'm not excited about the prospect of being radiated but it'll be another check mark in the box once it's done. We're not sure of the exact start date yet and I'm still healing from my surgery, but probably before the end of August.

So, all in all, things are going well. Simon is eating us out of house and home and over the weekend he figured out how to "talk". Nothing like baby jabber to make you smile. Simon cracks himself up, often. It really is funny. I think he really freaked Stella out when he started his "talking" (which is at top volume, in case you were wondering) and she would start screaming which would make Simon laugh even harder. It's not a restful place around here. Steve and I did manage to actually watch a movie (from our couch, the planning it would take to GO to an actuall movie is unthinkable right now) this weekend. Don't judge but we finally watched Bridesmaids. Hilarious!! A perfect end to the weekend. And so, another week begins...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Because I'm Awesome...

And I mean that as sarcastically as possible. I feel like blowing something up. I felt like I should just get that out right away. I believe it sets an important tone for this post... I managed to break my phone (again) today. That is how I started my day of awesomeness as I'm now referring to it. My iPhone flew down the steps on a solo trip as Simon and I fell together. Not to worry, we're both fine, Simon cried because his hair got wet (such a boy!) from the glass of water that also went flying. I suppose it's obvious at this point why I was never selected for Team USA... In my stunning display of grace I somehow managed to not shatter the glass, not injure myself or the child and destroy my phone. I didn't shatter the screen. Instead, the camera flash is now on (going on hour 8...) and I can't use the touch screen. The phone itself is working fine - calls and texts are coming in, etc. But I can do nothing...aughhhhhh! So, if you need me, email is your best bet.

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to update the blog. Part of the problem is that I can't see. It's not a cancer problem, I think I just need a new prescription, it's been two years (at least). I'm totally one of those people who has two-week disposable contact lenses and wears them for at least a month or two. Flame away!! I asked the eye doc about it once and he said as long as they weren't irritating my eyes, it wouldn't kill me. 1-800Contacts stalks me like a bad habit. No, I don't need a refill because I still have plenty of boxes! I would never describe myself as a frugal person, but for some reason when it comes to contacts, I'm a regular penny pincher.

In my spare time between falling down staircases and breaking iPhones I am recovering from my surgery. I had 400 appointments last Friday (not really, but, I'm having a bad day, so just play along). My oncologist was very happy with the path report (which, by the way, was FANTASTIC! Zero (0) infected lymph nodes) from my surgery. My breast surgeon said it was the "best path report ever", not that I'm bragging or anything... She has me set up to meet my radiation oncologist (tomorrow) and also started me on a bone builder along with my Herceptin treatment. I asked the staff if I should watch for any side effects and they said I should be fine. Oh right. Chemo didn't really phase me, but Zometra nearly killed me (not really). I felt HORRIBLE. I would compare it to feeling like the flu (aches, chills, etc). Luckily it was just for a day, but it certainly wasn't fun. I looked the drug info up online it emphasized in bold letters to be sure to drink a ton of water before treatment. Well, since I didn't know I was getting treatment, obviously I didn't drink gallons of water (which I did before every chemo treatment). I'm sure that didn't help my reaction to the drug. My wonderful Friday the 13th continued with not being able to get my drains out... yay. I would have to wait until Wednesday (tomorrow).

So, tomorrow is another day of marathon appointments. I really hope tomorrow is better than today. I might have to take up pyrotechnics or something...

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Truth About Percocet

Why, hello there! Yes, I'm alive but it's been an interesting ride. So, it would appear that I'm not actually allergic to Percocet because I had the same reaction to the second pain killer they put me on. The new (and current) theory was that the itching was from the anesthesia. That's some wicked stuff! However, the painkillers did end up making me sick (I mean, seriously, what the HELL? Who's idea was it to kick me while I'm down?) so I dropped them cold turkey Saturday morning and had the pleasure of suffering withdrawl (I would make a terrible junkie) for the next 36 hours. Good times, really. Talk about a hangover from hell... I am happy to say that I am feeling really good today, albeit sore. But that's okay, because I'll take a little soreness over feeling like an addict waiting for my next hit...

I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday morning and we were home by lunchtime. I was so happy to be home!! The staff at the hospital (doctors included) were nothing short of absolutely fantastic but it was just so good to be home and have the kids and Steve nearby. Steve did an amazing job of being Mr. Mom, maybe even better than me. Stella had bows ("pretties" as she refers to them) in her hair each day and Simon even had shoes on which is a feat I rarely attempt. I've been able to take it easy since I've gotten home, not really by choice but this has been good for me. Really. My mom arrived yesterday to help us out this week and allow Steve to go back to work.

So, all in all, it hasn't been too bad. I can't say that I've really been in any actual pain other than coming out of the initial anesthesia (that sucked). I'm sore but it's not bad. My appetite has been good (of course, ugh!) and I get around fine. Showering is a bit tricky but not impossible. Ask me about my drains sometime... oh come on, you knew there had to be some level of grossness :) And you're secretly curious, I know!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Good Drugs Gone Bad

Hello! Here I am! Thrilled to report that surgery went very well and I'm doing great! I am very sore (think somewhere between being kicked by a horse in the chest and being hit by a truck) but I'm not in any pain. I was able to go off all IV meds yesterday morning (huge progress!) and now am just on pain pills. I have had one small set back, I had an allergic reaction to the Percocet (I was really bummed because it was helping considerably!) and started itching like I'd rolled around in poison ivy. So, no more Percocet for me but the new drug seems to be working okay. I'm mobile, which is great. The nurses have had me walking the halls and I can get in and out of bed on my own (awesome progress!). I was allowed to have coffee this morning, thank you God for caffeine! If all continues to go well, I'll get to go home tomorrow, yay! The staff has been blown away at how well I'm doing and hopefully that will continue. I'm so glad to have this first surgery out of the way! I will have a couple of follow-up surgeries further down the road just to finish up reconstruction on my right side. So, all in all, things are going well. My goal for today is convincing the staff to let me take a shower... It's the little things, but I am dying to feel clean! This is the first time I'm thankful that I shaved my head. My hair would be rivaling Medusa at the moment! Happy 4th of July to everyone! I'm hoping maybe I'll have a view of fire works from my window, but if not, I'll catch some on TV. I'm mostly going to miss grilling out tonight (I'd kill for a juicy, grilled burger and a beer) but that's ok. Today I'm thankful to be an American and have access to best possible medical care and team!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Independence Day!

Tomorrow is D-Day! It's so hard to believe surgery day has finally arrived. I'm still not sure I fully comprehend just what I've gotten myself into (not that I really had much of a choice) but that's neither here nor there at this point. I am anxious for tomorrow to be here and gone. The surgery itself doesn't really worry me too much but there is always that unknown factor that will keep me up tonight. Luckily, we had a nice relaxing, normal (or, as normal as it ever gets with two small children!) weekend. We were able to get some things done around the house and catch up with friends. Yay for Champagne on Sunday afternoons! It was the perfect way to spend the time on this insanely hot weekend. Atlanta set at all time record yesterday for a temp of 106. Yup, we are sizzling here in the south!

Tomorrow is a red letter day for a couple of reasons. Obviously, my surgery is a big deal, no question there. My grandmother is being laid to rest tomorrow as well. Yes, she did pass away in May but was cremated. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetary (which explains the delay - you have to wait for Arlington to contact you with the date and time) next to my grandfather. I really hate that I can't be there but I will certainly be there in spirit. It's my hope that my grandmother will also be there in spirit with me during my surgery tomorrow. She is, afterall, my fairy grandmother. She would expect me to stand tall and keep my chin up, no matter what the situation. I'm going to do my best!

I'm not sure when I'll next be able to update the blog. While highly entertaining, I'm sure that writing on pain killers will not be one of my finer moments. I won't be taking the laptop to the hospital and my typing on the iPad is atrociously bad. Maybe I'll throw caution to the wind and have Steve post an update... I'm getting all sorts of crazy up in here!

I did want to say how much I appreciate all of the phone calls, texts, emails and visits that I've had today, wishing me well and offers of prayers and support. Please know how much they all mean to both Steve and I. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives. I know I'll never quite be able to explain just how much hope I've taken from all of the amazing people who've touched my life, especially on this unexpected journey the past few months. Thank you so much and I love you all!