Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Story of Jaxson's Departure

I'm really still too tired to do this entry, but I did some work from home tonight and am just now winding down. (Before you think my employer is an ass, please know that I'm doing it by choice to help make up time I miss for appointments, so it's a favor and it did NOT have to be done tonight...I just decided to get step one done.)  Phew.  What a disclaimer!   I got up at 4:30 this morning and made it to work by 6:30 since they've loosened up my schedule, but I will NOT be doing that tomorrow.  Not seeing what the clock is telling me now!  :)

Nurse Terri gave me the new wrap with tighter compression on Friday, and told me that as soon as I had two days under 30cc, they'd pull the drain.  I let her know on Tuesday that it was 25, and she said, "Call and come in tomorrow if it's still under 30 and we'll pull it."  It was 28.  Rock on.

I called as soon as the office opened on Wednesday, and the lady said, "We can get you in on Friday afternoon."  I nearly cried.  I gathered my composure and said, "But Terri said to come in this afternoon."  She asked if I was seeing only Terri, or also the Dr.  When I told her it was just me and Terri, she said, "Oh!  OK, how about 1:30 today?"  PHEW!

It was pretty quick.  She cut the stitch, told me to take a deep breath, and then said, "That's it!"  He was out.  She held a bit of gauze over the opening like they do after removing a needle after a blood draw.  After a few seconds, she pulled it off to look and said, "Oh boy!  Oops!"  and put the gauze back, asking me to hold it there while she got more.

She got more, I let go, and she said, "Woah!" as she put more on.  I would have worried, but she is amazing and kept telling me that it is nothing to worry about, it's normal after a drain is in that long, and it's better to leak out than to be retained inside.  OK.  She asked me to hold the gauze once again and got a thicker, plastic-backed bandage.  It was taped to me and we crossed fingers that it wouldn't leak, since I was going back to work.

It didn't.  I hit "the wall" around 4 and headed home.  I wasn't even 5 miles from work when it leaked a bit.  Talk about timing!  At least I was gone!  By bedtime last night, it was nothing but a tiny dot on the bandage. Kind of like what you have on the cotton ball they put on you after drawing blood.  After all day today, there wasn't even a dot.  I guess it's done.  Except...

I'm getting a seroma that will likely require a trip to the cutter general surgeon's office tomorrow.  I'm supposed to go to the plastic surgeon for the first fill of my tissue expander, and Terri and I have already discussed the fact that I'll likely be sent there for needle aspiration.  Cutter's office has an ultra sound, so they can do it while making sure they miss the tissue expander.

*sigh*  That means leaving work shortly after noon, going to Leawoodfreaking, KS, and then being sent to St. Luke's on the Plaza.  (That won't mean anything to anyone not from this area, but it's an inconvenient trip, OK?)  After all of that, I have to call the oncologist.  Yup.  Time to get chemo back on the calendar, now that Jaxson is gone.  I avoided that for today, just to have control over one more day.

Childish?  Yes.  Too bad!  Tomorrow, I'll act like an adult again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Goodbye, Jerk

I am WAY too tired to do a post tonight.  (I'll wait while the applause dies down.)

Jaxson the Jerk is gone.  They pulled the drain, there were a lot of laughs and some extra fluid and it will all make a great story.  But not today.  I'm tired.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back to Work

I went back to work today.  I'm nearly dead.  Due to the "near death" status, this shall be a short post:

I have been napping daily, including yesterday.  Therefore, I couldn't fall asleep until after midnight.  Therefore I worked nearly a full day at work, for the first time in over 6 weeks, with only 5 hours of sleep.  That won't happen again.  I came home, exhausted, and refused to let myself nap.  I'll be going to sleep soon.  LOL   And I'll sleep well.

Jaxson played nice and only offered up 25cc, despite the fact that I stripped the drain several times to make sure nothing was slowing it down, other than healing.  Terri said that, if he's under 30cc again in the morning, I can get him pulled tomorrow afternoon.

I'm tired and must go to sleep soon.  Please cross fingers that this JERK drain leaves tomorrow.  I wanna blow him up with one of those TNT plunger things that Wile E. Coyote uses.  Yup.  That's where I've gone now.  It's completely out of control.  I've gone to the crazy place.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jaxson Update and a Long Weekend

I have to report to the nurse (Terri...we love her) every week or so with the amounts that Jaxson is producing.  If there was some big change, I would have reported in more frequently, but we hovered around 50cc for three weeks.  Seriously, it became so predictable and SO depressing.  I usually sent this info via email.  

I had to call her to get a refill on my antibiotics last Wednesday, so she said, "I know you emailed, but give me your numbers again."  I reported the 50cc per day that it ALWAYS is.  I also mentioned that it had been five weeks, and they said the record for that office was seven weeks.  She said, "Yeah, it's been long enough I'd like for you to come in.  At lease let us check for infection, etc.  How about Friday?"

I went in Friday and the Doctor came in and checked me over and expressed that he wasn't happy with the fact that the drain had been in so long (infection can set in, or the drain itself can cause drainage to continue,) but taking it out too soon can cause the fluid to pool under the skin and require aspiration with a needle every day or two, which, obviously, would be a hassle, so it's a balancing act.  They have determined that the magic number is 30cc.  At 30cc, it is believed that your body can reabsorb the lymphatic fluid, which is why they try SO hard to get it down to 30cc or less, two days in a row.

Back to the doctor's visit:  He talked it out with Terri, checking me over while I was in various positions to see if there was fluid buildup under the skin, even with the drain.  He determined there was not.  He stripped the tube, and it immediately filled again.  I knew it would, because it does every time I strip it, but he looked at Terri and asked, "Did you see that?"  Then he told me that if the drainage was slowing down, it should stay empty for a while after being stripped.

The decision was made to try a different and tighter compression.  They think that will make me heal more quickly (by holding the parts together that need to heal together,) and therefore not produce so much more fluid than my body can handle.  The way they are having me do this is to roll up some Kerlix (very soft gauze) into a roll about 2" or so in diameter and put it in my arm pit on the surgical side.  Then, a 6" ACE bandage is wrapped around me tightly, and as high as it can be and still be under my arms.  It is tighter than the previous wrap, too.  

The next morning showed a 24 output of 80cc.  WHAT???  That's MORE!  I calmed down when I realized that the Dr. had messed with me a LOT, the drain had been stripped more than usual, etc.  Breathe in, breathe out, calm down.  I only empty once per day now, first thing in the morning, so I can officially report that Saturday and Sunday's output (based on Sunday and Monday morning's measurements) have been 40cc.  

I haven't reached the magic number 30 yet, but there is a decrease for the first time in three and a half weeks.  That is encouraging.  I am to call Terri tomorrow and report these amounts.  She'll talk to the doc and they'll decide what to do.  I need to have 30cc or less, two days in a row.  

I'm just hoping and praying that tomorrow morning's number is 30.  If so, then maybe they'll help me start my divorce proceedings from Jaxson.  I'm all done with having him in my life.  LOL  Especially since I'm returning to work tomorrow.  What a hassle it's going to be to have him with me.  I wonder if I should dress him in a little outfit?  Thanks for that suggestion, Shannon.  Now I can't picture him any other way.  Sheesh.  

NO, coworkers.  He will NOT be dressed.  In fact, he hides under MY clothing, so you will not even get to meet him.  It's for the best.  He'll hopefully be out of my life soon, and it's best if you don't get attached.  LOL  Get it?  Attached?  Never mind.  I'm just ready for him to be UN attached from me.

Now that this post has become WAY too long, I shall not rehash my Memorial Day weekend in detail.  Here are the Cliffs Notes:  Kevin's BFF Brian and his son Ty came up, I met a cool new family, we grilled, we ate, we saw my parents and my cousin, and, ummm, oh yeah, cut all my hair off.  If you aren't on Facebook, I'll post about that in my next post.  Both people who started reading this post are now sleeping.  Shh.  Don't WAKE them!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Attitude Adjustment and the Breakfast of Champions

I have not been posting much lately because I have had an attitude problem for the past several days.  Time to get over it.  A crappy attitude is NOT going to fix anything.  I think I'm done pouting now, and ready to move on.  Sometimes you have to say, "What are ya gonna do?" and just go along with what has to be done.

Therefore, I will most likely be going back to work on Tuesday morning.  I really wanted to wait until Jaxson's departure, since that will be a pain to deal with, but whatever.  He's been holding steady at 50cc per day for nearly 3 weeks.  I'm going to the plastic surgeon's office this afternoon just because they haven't seen me in a while and they cannot believe that Jaxson is this stubborn.  The record in that office is 7 weeks for a JP drain to stay in, and Jaxson's been around for 5 weeks and 2 days (but who's counting?)

It'll also be good to have them verify that there are no signs of infection from me having it so long.  I've been on pretty strong antibiotics since surgery, so I doubt it, but it's worth letting them take a look, anyway.  They won't remove it with the output being this high, but maybe they can give me some guidance as to why the amount hasn't dropped in 3 weeks.

I was up until nearly 1:00 am, watching crap on TV.  I had an alarm set for 5:30 so the drain amount that I give them today is for exactly 24 hours.  (Why did I have to wake up so early yesterday?  LOL)  The plan was to go back to sleep.  So much for plans.  Natalie was in my room, watching TV (I sleep in the recliner and Kevin was gone to work) so I spoke to her, and then I instantly started thinking about today's appointment, so sleep was futile.

I started having coffee and doing my typical, early morning internet surfing, and Natalie said she would make some eggs for me.  The only problem was, we are apparently out of eggs.  Dang.  What did she offer to make instead?  Or stranger yet, what sounded REALLY good when she offered?  Grilled ham and cheese!  She fixed one for me and I had some of my mega thin chips with white queso dip, and it was an amazing breakfast!  What a sweet kid I have.

Oh, and the coffee we've been having is the best coffee in the world (in our opinion.)  It can only be found in Texas, because it's a store brand at HEB.  You can order online, but the price gets really high if you do that, so we stock up when we go to Texas, and our Texas friends always bring some along when they visit.  The problem is, we haven't been down there in nearly a year, and our friends haven't had the opportunity to visit, so we've been out for quite some time.

Actually, another friend (not from Texas) ordered online and had some sent to us in bulk since we were there last (shout out, 'Shell) but it's been gone for a while.  Well, one of my Texas friends (shout out, Susie!) sent a care package recently with SIX bags!  It is SO good.  I think I'll go refill my cup.

I only have four more hours to kill until we leave for my appointment.  *sigh*  Wouldn't it suck if they told me I had to quit coffee and chips in order to get rid of this drain?  ARGGG!  ::shudder::  What a nightmare THAT would be.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Look Good, Feel Better Class

Going to something like a Look Good, Feel Better class is WAY outside of my comfort zone.  I'll go to a Mary Kay party or something, but that is usually at the home of someone I know, or I at least know several of the attendees.  This was me, going to find out how to take care of bad skin, bad nails, and a bare head (cancer is FUN) with a room full of people I don't know.  I also wear very light makeup, and figured the esthetician would push heavier makeup than I usually wear.

I had asked, when I scheduled the class, if one or both of my girls could attend with me.  They experiment with makeup a lot, and lately I am half useless without a second set of ears.  I was told that guests couldn't come because of patient confidentiality.  I completely understand that, so I set out on my own.  DEFINITELY outside my comfort zone.   I knew NOBODY in that little room.  Oh, and each of the other four attendees in the room had someone with them to help/observe.  I was the only one alone.

The two hour class lasted only an hour, because the person that teaches wigs, scarves, hats, buffs, etc. wasn't there.  That is 90% of the reason I wanted to go.  *sigh*  They did teach how to draw on eyebrows, which I will need.  I plan to teach Monica today so I'll have help when the time comes.  All of the skin care products, makeup, etc is donated, so everyone's kit was slightly different, but I bet each contained at least $150 worth of product.

Any time any of us mentioned something that we wouldn't use, the lady told us to take it for someone we knew (my girls will always try new makeup) or we could swap with each other.  Heck, two or three of the other ladies gave me several of their things when they found out I had teen girls at home.  Everyone was really sweet.

Things I didn't like:
  • I could have taken someone, and was told I couldn't.  I would have been so much more comfortable with Monica or Natalie there.  I'm sure you aren't supposed to, and the others just didn't ask in advance, so they let them stay.
  • The head covering lady didn't show.
  • Some of the makeup is WAY dark or heavy for me.
Things I liked:
  • The American Cancer Society offers these classes for free (and all over the city.)
  • The products sent home are completely free, and are full-sized...not trial sizes.
  • They will let you take the class multiple times, but you can only get one kit.  That means, I can attend another one later for the part they skipped.
  • There were people there with far worse cancers than I have, or on their third recurrence, and it made me very thankful for where I am, physically.
  • The girls will LOVE all the cool makeup products that they are going to inherit from this.
  • I am always proud of myself when I do something that pushes my boundaries.
Obviously, the good far outweighs the bad.  It's an amazing program and I'd never say I'm sorry I went.  I will attend another class for the head-covering portion, I'm sure.  If you have someone in your life who finds out they are going to face chemo, make sure you tell them about this class.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Missing Girls and Sleeping Upright

My girls aren't really missing, but I was thinking about the name of mom's most recent blog post.  The girls are, however, both gone.  At 9:30, Natalie walked in and announced that she wanted to spend the night at a friend's house down the street and friend's mom said OK.  Why not?  Then Monica felt left out, so she contacted her usual hang-out house and headed over there for the night.  Welcome to summer in my house.

I was talking on a message board to another lady who has had her JP drain nearly 5 weeks (her surgery was the same day as mine,) and she said that she found out that it would drain less overnight if she slept sitting up more.  I've been sleeping in the recliner based on other recommendations, but when I wake up, I'm usually reclined back as far as it will go.  She tried sleeping upright and is getting her drain pulled tomorrow.

I'm trying to form a plan that will keep this reclining from happening.  I asked Monica to sit behind the chair all night and hold it up, but she declined.  Come to think of it, perhaps that's why she left for the night?  At this point, I'm willing to give anything a shot.  If I wake up lying back too far, I may choose the corner of the couch tomorrow, instead of the recliner.

OK, Monica has called to tell me she made it OK.  The distraction of typing this blog post worked.  Have a fabulous week!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jaxson, HFMD, and Job Hunting

Jaxson is a big ol' jerk.  The quantity went up, significantly up, yesterday.  I almost let it break me.  My girls were here to watch season finales with me and keep me from melting into a complete pity pot, although I did post some pretty whiny stuff on Facebook and my favorite message boards.

There is a reason that this is happening.  I'm either not supposed to lose this drain yet, or I'm not supposed to start chemo on Tuesday.  I don't know what the reason is, but I'm sure there is one, so I'm going to shut my dang mouth about it.  Whining will get me nowhere.

I took Natalie to the Minute Clinic yesterday morning.  I told them, "She has a sore throat, sores in her mouth and spots on her hands and feet."  The nurse practitioner asked, "What are you thinking?"  I said, "I think she has Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease."  She nodded that she agreed.  Then she went to Bing on her computer and looked up the facts that she thought I should know.

The fact that I diagnosed her and they used a search engine didn't keep them from charging the full $25 copay. LOL  It's viral, so there's not much we can do other than Tylenol for pain and a prescription mouth rinse that helps with the mouth pain.  She is miserable.

I can NOT get this stuff.  Seriously.  That would cause a whole new batch of problems for me.  There is a lot of hand washing going on in this house.  LOL  Hand washing and complaining (from both of us.)

Monica is out of school for the summer, so the great job hunt is on.  She attacks a different nearby town each day.  It's amazing how many places won't hire you unless you are 18.  I don't remember it being that way, but it's probably a safety issue.  I hope she finds something.  I'll never forget how great it felt to have that freedom, responsibility, and MONEY!  ha ha

OK, If I disappear for a while, it means I have nothing new to say.  I don't want anyone to think that my absence means there is a problem.  I just find myself turning into a whiny-post person, and I don't want to be that person.  I can promise you with 100% certainty that I will post an update the moment I lose the drain.  :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Can Drive!

As is typical of me, I do a lot of online research about EVERYTHING.  When it comes to something that directly effects my health, you can multiply that research infinitely.  I even found an amazing online community to join at where you can join in message  board type chats, as well as search for answers.

I noticed a lot of folks on there who were driving themselves around, even though they had a JP drain (or multiples) in place.  This piqued my curiosity, so I emailed my handy-dandy PS nurse Terri to ask.  The only restriction on my driving is the pain pills.  What???  I could have been driving for two weeks!  As soon as she answered, I jumped in the car and left.

My poor car has been parked under the neighbor's trees for a while, and was so covered in bird dookie that it was hideous.  The girls and I laughed pretty hard about it and made the car wash my first stop. Due to a very generous donation, my windshield has been replaced (from the deer damage-no more duct tape) and getting it clean felt great.

From there, we hit Sonic's Happy Hour for drinks, and then to WalMart.  It wasn't long before I realized it may have been a bit too soon to run errands on an afternoon in which I had not napped.  Seriously?  The first day in weeks that I don't nap, and I decide to run around driving?  DUH!

I really thought it would be OK, even though I have a standard transmission, since that uses my right arm, and my left arm is the one that doesn't work.  WRONG!  I guess I actually use my left arm quite a bit.  Part of the reason for that is that NOTHING in my car is automatic.  Windows, locks, etc all need to be worked manually.  With a non-working air conditioner, that meant rolling the windows up and down a few times.

Anyway, I drove.  I can drive.  I'll be careful not to overdo it, and to maybe go earlier in the day, so I still have time to nap when I get home.  In other news:  Jaxson only gave up 10cc this morning (after nearly 12 hours) so it's looking like we might have an improvement there, too!  Fingers crossed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

And Here is Another Week

Wow.  Another Monday is here already.  I slept a LOT yesterday.  Recent surgery or not, I slept so much I felt guilty!  I would wake up for an hour or so, think I was done napping, and then BAM, back to sleep for another couple of hours.  I didn't feel as bad as I did on Saturday, but I sure was tired.  The day ended with a visit from coworkers bearing meals.  Yum is an understatement.

This morning, I decided to rest as needed, but NOT sleep the day away.  We'll see how THAT goes.  LOL  Heck, it takes an hour to shower and get dressed, 20 minutes to go to the post office and back, and then it's time for this important internet-type stuff.  :)  By then, the day is half over, so I think I have a solid plan to prevent non-stop sleep.

I've got Jaxson down to double digits, but we still have a way to go  before I can get rid of him.  Yesterday was 53cc.  The day before that was 87, so I'm hoping yesterday wasn't a fluke (because that's a huge drop.)  It has to be under 30cc for two days straight before they can remove it.  I am SO flippin' tired of dealing with it.  Tired to the point that I tear up as I'm trying to shower or get dressed or change clothes.  Of all the things that are horrible about cancer, who would have thought a stupid drain could cause this much grief?

I guess I'll go email my nurse the Jaxson status and see what she says.  Fingers crossed...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Jaxson Saga and Mother's Day

Wow, no post since Wednesday must mean no news, huh?  That, and I'm keeping weird hours.  I've never known anyone to sleep as much as I have been sleeping lately.  Other than a baby, perhaps.  I'm not complaining, however.  I am learning to adore a good nap or three during the day.

Jaxson seems to finally be slowing down.  94cc on Thursday, and 83cc on Friday.  Keep going that direction, buddy.  I may get rid of you before the week is out, which is actually imperative, since I am to start chemo the following Tuesday, and cannot start chemo until Jaxson is out of the picture.

Today, we're going to have a Mother's Day meal of burgers and dogs on the grill.  Brett and Melissa are coming over and bringing the kids.  I can't WAIT!  It's been weeks since I've seen them.  Even Kaylie is coming, and she NEVER makes it.  I stocked up on bubbles and sidewalk chalk, so we should make it a great day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chemo has been Scheduled

So yesterday, I just sat here.  Yup.  That's pretty much what I did.  I let the HVAC guy in to fix our a/c, and then I wrote a check to him.  I changed the channel several times, took medication and logged drain output.  Quite possibly the laziest day I've participated in for a LONG time.  If that's what it takes to get better fast, I'm going to have to heal slowly.  Jeez, what a long day.

I'll avoid running errands that aren't necessary (we'll leave those up to Kevin,) but I'm not going to sit in this chair 24/7, THAT'S for sure.  Today, I think I'll walk up to the post office.  All the way up town, by myself.  (Those who know this town will get the joke.  We're talking 4 blocks.)

I got a call from someone yesterday (I cannot keep track of what nurse is from what office anymore) but she was somehow affiliated with the oncologist.  I am to go in at 10:15 on May 22.  I'll have a meeting with the oncologist and then have my first chemo treatment.  I'm supposed to plan on being there for many hours, especially for the first visit.  Maybe as many as six!

The problem that I see (and it may not be a problem, but I'll be asking) is that I expect Jaxson to still be hanging around then.  I still have not dropped under 100cc in a 24 hour period, and it's got to get under 30.  If you aren't familiar with Jaxson, go to this post and read the last paragraph.  I didn't think to ask yesterday, but I have an email in to my favorite nurse/source of information to see what to do about it.  Maybe Jaxson will just go along for the ride.  LOL  He's always enjoyed a good road trip.

I slept in my own bed last night, and I believe I slept better than I have in three weeks.  Can you believe it's been three weeks?  I may try to make the transition back into there now.  This poor recliner deserves a break.  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Suppose I Should Just Sit Here

I think I overdid things on Saturday, so I spent Sunday recuperating.  I was exhausted, sore, and even had a pretty big chip on my shoulder by the end of the day (I know!  Shocking!)  I was slowly but steadily recovering, and the setback just ticked me right off.

I got up this morning after sleeping a bit longer than usual, and still wasn't great.  What the heck?  Fine, I'll take another easy day.  Mom even offered to take me with them to McD's for breakfast (not that I eat breakfast, especially theirs, but she knows I look for chances to get out of the house.)  I turned her down.

I tried to take my daily nap, but after 4 interruptions, I gave up on that pipe dream.  Maybe tomorrow I'll pull my head out and silence my phone and put a DND sign on the door, huh?  I got up and fixed one of the meals provided by my wonderful coworkers (which was easy and amazingly delicious) and then asked Kevin to take me to the store.  I was relatively sure I felt well enough to go.

Wrong.  I did well 3/4 of the way through the trip, and then started fading fast.  I almost felt feverish.  I'm on antibiotic, so I'm sure I'm not, but I was just "off."  Got settled in for the night and decided that I shall not move for at least 2 days.   I'll read, I'll surf, I'll sleep, and I'll twiddle my thumbs, but I'm going to quit jeopardizing my recovery, which is what I was inadvertently doing.

Oh, and I had also planned to be back to work by now, at least part time.  Yeah right.  Satan drain Jaxson is still putting out over 100cc per day.  It's still gotta get under 30.  I can't drive, I can't work, I can even make it to the damn store with a chauffeur without issues.

If you need me, check this recliner.  I'll be here.  Likely pouting.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thankful, with a Side of Angry

My workmates have been amazing.  They sent over pre-prepared meals with preparation instructions.  They sent cards.  They sent Lee and Michelle (two of my favorite people.)  They hooked me up.

Yesterday, My BFF Tammy took me out for the day.  We got Cinco de Mayo fajitas and a huge mango margarita to share.  I think I had more than my share.  After that, we got pedicures.  That was a first for me, and it was fun, relaxing, and an all new adventure.  It was fun.

Later, Lee and Michelle (and their son Jake) showed up with pizza for dinner, and a cooler full of other meals, prepared by my coworkers.  Coolest concept EVER.  Everything has full instructions and is perfect.  It was an amazing visit with many surprises, and so cool.  However, it was a lot for one day.

Today, I was so exhausted that I could barely get out of the shower.  I slept, took meds, slept, missed a race, slept, took meds, slept, etc.  I was thankful that my family let me sleep all I needed to, but it doesn't explain why I woke up so angry.

There was a storm blowing, lightening flashing, and rain pouring.  However, I saw our trash bag going through the neighbor's yard (nice neighbor, not crazy neighbor) and had to go after it.  It started sounding more ominous and I just started laughing.  It beat the HELL out of crying.

I found out I had cancer four days before my birthday.  I'm unable to return to work before mother's day, although I was sure I would make it happen.  Satan drain (sorry, I mean Jaxson) is preventing it.  Meanwhile, I sit here, unable to do anything involving more than three pounds, sleep a lot, try to be funny, and cry when nobody is looking.

Thanks to all of you that are helping.  Sorry to the same people that I'm being such a friggin' girl.  If I do not see you before the chemo starts winning, I'll paint "I'm sorry" on the side of my bald head, OK?  If that's not enough, then YOU suck as much as cancer.

I'm just sayin'.  I double-dog-dare you to try to scare me.  Go ahead.  Try it.


Friday, May 4, 2012

My Tammy, and My Plans

Tammy and Greg came to visit tonight.  They brought along some Bates City BBQ for dinner.  LOVE!  It was amazing as usual.  We had a good visit for several hours, and I committed to something else with her.  At Christmas time, a customer sent a SpaFinder gift card to me.  I am NOT a spa-type of girl.

Since the "C" word was dropped on me, I thought it might be nice to get a pedicure and just make something feel kind of pretty before the ugliness begins.  The problem is, I have issues with feet.  Feet are gross.  As I was talking to Tammy tonight, she said that she had feet issues too, but LOVED the only pedicure she's ever had.  OK, enough for me.

Tomorrow, we'll go get pedicures together.  Wish me luck.  LOL  I'm not sure how I'll feel about it.  It will also be good to spend some time with my Tammy.  It's been too long.  We may even celebrate Cinco de Mayo a bit.  You never know.

Oh crap.  I only own tennis shoes!  What good is a pedicure if it can't be seen?  *sigh*  This is why I avoid being a girl most of the time.  Give me jeans, a sweatshirt, tennis shoes, and a pony tail and I'm fine.  Oh well, we'll figure something out.

Oh yeah:  Most of the hair is going tomorrow, too.  Not all, but I have three weeks to get it down to nearly nothing.  I don't want the shock of waking to 12" chunks of hair on my pillow, so I'm prepping in stages.

Long story short (too late) I'm having a fun day with Tammy tomorrow.  Yay!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Report from My Oncologist (The Plan)

I'll try to keep from rambling from place to place in this post, but I'm on information overload, so there are no guarantees.

I'm taking part in a clinical trial.  No, this doesn't mean I'm getting un-tested drugs or anything.  I will get the same mix of chemo drugs that the doctor would prescribe anyway, but because of this trial, there is a 50% chance I'll be chosen to get an extra drug that has not typically been used in cases like mine, but might be beneficial. There are slightly over 3200 women, with cancer similar to mine, who will be a part of this trial.   It was purely voluntary on my part.

Some people with breast cancer are HER2-positive.  In that case, they are given Herceptin.  It is to fight this protein. When it comes to your HER2 number, you are a +1, +2, or +3.  +3 means you are HER2 positive.  Otherwise, you are considered HER2 negative.  I am a +2.  Technically, that makes me HER2 negative, but they are doing this trial to see if "HER2-Low" patients (me) might benefit from Herceptin.  Whether or not I get this extra drug is the only variable based on the trial.  Other than that, all other drugs/treatments will be the same.

My chemo will start in late May.  Probably another 3 weeks or so.  My cocktail will be Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide.  This will be given every 2 weeks for 4 cycles.  After that I will take Paclitaxel once each week for 12 cycles.  If I am in the part of the trial getting Herceptin, I will receive it during this same 12 week period, plus every 3 weeks for a year.  There is no additional cost to me for this drug, since it is part of a trial.

After all chemo is over, they will talk to me about doing radiation.  That isn't a decision that has been made, but it seems that they are leaning that way.  We'll get through the chemo nonsense first.  Woo Hoo!  A summer vacation for the ages, no?

I can't find that I've explained tissue expanders much on here, so if I have, ignore this part.  When they did the mastectomy, they inserted a tissue expander.  This is basically a special type of breast implant that is deflated.  Because of my original size, they filled it partially while doing the surgery to insert it.  After the final drain is out (more on that later*) I will start visiting the plastic surgeon's office every two weeks for a "fill."  They will add a bit more saline each time.

This is basically stretching out that pectoral muscle in preparation for the permanent implant.  Here is the cool part:  We just keep going with this plan until I am happy with the size.  (Yes, Kevin gets a vote.)  When we decide it is what I want to have forever, then they do reconstruction on the right side to match.  (Take THAT, gravity!)  Because of chemo, we'll schedule the fills around that.  My blood counts will be at their best the day before chemo, so that is the day I'll get a fill.

Wow, I hope this all makes sense.  Please feel free to ask ANY questions you have at all.  I'm still figuring it out, and certainly feel better after a nap.  If I had tried to type this right after getting home, it would have been gibberish.

*Oh, and as far as that second drain?  I've decided to embrace the drain and adopt it as a member of the family.  His name is Jaxson.  He is QUITE productive.  He will be a part of my life until he gets lazy enough to produce under 30cc in a 24 hour period.  This morning, that ambitious little guy gave up 85cc before noon!  Ahhh.  Isn't he precious?  I think I'll draw a face on him and accept him as a permanent part of the family.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Losing a Drain

Yesterday was my appointment with the surgeon that did the mastectomy.  I actually told him that I've been calling him the "demo doctor."  He thought it was pretty funny.  I don't have to see him again for 6 months.  People poured into the room while I was there, too.  He was joined by his nurse practitioner, another nurse, a lady who remembered me from my biopsy and wanted to come say "hi" etc etc.  It was crowded in there, but I'm important like that.

My plastic surgeon's nurse had told me that, if I came upon someone who would/could remove drain one any time after Monday, I could ask.  Otherwise, I could go have her do it.  She's all the way over in Leawood, KS, so I asked yesterday.  They pulled it!  It was the one not causing any issues, but it's still kinda nice to only have to deal with one.

I slept in my bed last night, and it was very comfortable, but I paid for it this morning.  I guess I am destined to sleep in the recliner for a while longer.  Oh well.  I'm having a teary kind of day, so I ran to Lexington with Mom and Dad to see how much money I could blow at Dollar General.  $47, if you wondered.  Kevin's Monster drinks are cheaper there, so a lot of that was for those.

It was an early-out for the girls, so Natalie is here to keep me company now, and Monica will be home from softball practice when it's time for Natalie to go to track practice, so I should have someone with me the rest of the afternoon.  Uncle Phil and Aunt Faye are stopping by this afternoon, too, so I will have company all afternoon for sure!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Dogs are in the House

The dogs usually spend the night inside, and then are let out in the morning, fed, and given time to run around a bit.  When we all four leave, they're outside all day from this point.  Lately, I wait until Kevin and the girls are gone for the day and I let the boys back in, where they keep a close eye on me and my well-being (well, that's what they do in MY mind.)

Last night, Radar was hyper as all get-out when it was bed time.  He just would NOT settle down, and was even able to engage the grouchy old man (Hawkeye, not Kevin) in his antics.  I kicked them out for the night, and informed them that it's lucky for them that it's warm outside.

This morning, I woke up at 3, made coffee, and decided to see if they'd like to come in for a bit.  They were both in their warm dog houses on the back porch, but thought that coming in sounded great.  All of that lead-in was to tell about this conversation that I had with Radar.  I had cartoon-like voices for all of the players, myself included:

Me in a sing-song voice: "OK, boys.  I'm going to let you in, but you have to be good boys!  If you're not good, daddy's gonna get made at you and say:"

Kevin in a gruff voice: "Well, why did you let these boys in?  It's plain as day that they are bad boys and should not be in here with us.  Put them outside RIGHT away."

Me (sing-song voice again,): "So it's important that you're Very good and pretend like you've been in here all night, OK?"

Right now, they boys are sleeping sweetly in the floor.  Kevin even commented on it when he got out of the shower.  Radar barely glanced at him as if to say, "I sure do like this warm carpet better than my dog house.   I'm just sayin'.  Oh, and see how good I am?  I love you, daddy."

The end