Welcome! Read Me!

This blog is created to give you a central location to answer any questions you have about my current and upcoming treatments and reactions. It is also created to help me make Lemonade out of the Lemons I have been given, so I will keep this as positive as I can.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The "vacation" is over!

OK, It has been a while since I have written up a new Blog Post. I have been on a "vacation" of sorts.
Radiation made me quite tired, and then once I got done I started feeling so much better that I didn't have time to just sit and blog. So I guess it is a good thing! :)
I will fill you in on a few things past and then update you on the things present and future. (A little like the Christmas Carol without all the ghosts. LOL) And hopefully I won't ramble too much and stay focused.

On June 1st 2011 I "graduated" from Radiation. This was a Great feeling, though a little bitter-sweet. Through my time going to Radiation I met some really great people and had some nice relaxing time working on the puzzles there. I worked on I believe 6 total puzzles ranging from landscapes, buildings, animals and fish. Though strangely enough I never actually had the opportunity to see any of them completed. I would always get them to the point that there were only 20-30 pieces remaining and would have to leave, and by the time I would get in the next day someone would already have it completed and a new puzzle would be started. This is the last view of my last puzzle that I was working on as I left.

On my way out I was given a Certificate of Completion and a Bottle of "Bubbly" (Sparkling Cider)

And it was great that I had Frank and his Wife come back into the office (even though he was done with his Radiation for the day) to hear me RING THE BELL! And I will tell you right now, I rang that bell with all of my Heart! I wanted the world to hear that I was DONE! And I was ringing it right the first time since I DO NOT plan on doing it again. :)

At my final Appointment with my Radiation Oncologist she let me in on a little secret... Even though I wasn't coming back, my Burn would only get worse before it got better. Essentially as she explained it to me, what they do today doesn't hurt you until about a week later... So all of the treatments were building up to that final week AFTER I graduated. I have to say I think my regimen of Aloe Creams and Vitamins helped me out A LOT!!! As far as my skin was concerned. I had to deal with itching and peeling, but for the most part it was "uncomfortable" more than it was painful, and I only got a couple very small blisters which went away fairly quickly. One thing I did not anticipate was that the burn would go all the way through me... They aimed at my collarbone in the front and I got a burn just above my Shoulder blade on my back!! That was odd! I now have a tan rectangle on my back. I bet you are jealous!! Right?!?! :) I could tell that after about 2-3 weeks after Graduation I started to come out of the Fatigue Fog that I was in. I was all of a sudden able to hold a train of thought for longer than 2 minutes, and I wasn't nearly falling asleep at stop signs anymore. Now this isn't to say that I am back to 100%, but I finally started to feel mostly normal. I could even lay on my right side while sleeping by the end of week 3, so that was a relief! And my girls could hug me without me cringing. And that made all the difference in the world!
I still have my lovely Expanders in, waiting for my Reconstruction Surgery. And they are less than Natural feeling, or looking... But even they are not bothering me as much lately. They are only really painful if one of the girls head-butts me or is climbing all over me too much. I can't be too rowdy, but I can at least hold them, hug them and carry them without pain. It is as if my body knows that I am nearing the end of this ugly road and giving me a glimpse of what I could be feeling like soon! I seriously cannot wait! Here is a picture that was posted on my fellow BC bloggers blog post a while back...

These are a sample of the Expanders that are being used to keep my shape for reconstruction. The white is a rigid plastic back and the dark circle is the port that is used to fill the Expanders with Saline and then it has a clear "bubble" that expands when filled. This is completely covered with Muscle and skin. I am grateful that this is not a Long term solution for me and will be removed next week. I do not like having alien products in my body, and they have been there since March!
On Tuesday July 19th 2011 I will check in to the Hospital for a procedure called DIEP Reconstruction. Put simply it will give me a "Tummy Tuck" and a "Boob Job" all at once! Great idea right?!?! I thought so. :) The more complex version of this is the fact that I will be in Surgery for most of the day. My Surgeon will be taking individual Fat "trees" at the Vein level detaching them and re-attaching them to veins in my chest muscle. This is a very long and arduous task, and I know that I personally would not want to be the guy doing it, and will be happy to sleep right through it. Once I am out I will essentially be in the ICU (there is another name for it when it is because of Surgery, but I don't recall it at the moment) because I will need to be watched like a hawk for the first 24 hours at least. If there are any of the branches that die because of Clotting or other issues they will need to take be back to surgery immediately. I hope that there aren't any issues, but I am glad that if there are that it should be caught early enough that it won't mean a second hospital stay to fix it... I hope! :) I have been Anti-Dieting since radiation got done. I don't want the Doc to run out of Fat stores to use, so I am making sure they are "healthy" by the time I go in for the procedure. ;)
As I said in my Mastectomy Post I have learned that I am NOT a fan of the Hospital... And I have discussed my IV options with the Doc to help make my stay at least a little more palatable. We are going with the PICC line so that I do not need so many needle sticks while I am there. This will be a great benefit I hope. But I am absolutely terrified of complications with the PICC. I am have never been and likely never will be OK with Needles. You would think after having 3 kids, Gestational Diabetes (poking my finger 4+ times DAILY) and Cancer that I would be "numb" to the idea of Needles... But NOPE! I still loathe the thought of them and have an intense fear of having them anywhere near me!

Additionally, I was recently given a great "opportunity" to find new employment. (thanks to a "reduction in Force") And in so doing I was given the opportunity to not be required to go back to work so quickly after my Reconstruction. (I have to see this as an opportunity right now so I don't get angry.) But the fact is that I had used up a great deal of my PTO for everything else and I would only have 2 weeks to take off for my reconstruction and then I would have absolutely nothing left after that and may have had to start taking leave without pay if I needed to take any other days off. This surgery is potentially going to take me at least 3+ weeks to be really up to par, so if I was still working I would not have the full 3+ weeks to heal in peace. Now, I will be gaining Unemployment, so I will still have to put in applications and it is possible that I will be required to go to interviews if they call while I am healing, but I guess I can fake normal for a couple hours to get that done. I am really praying that this was an opportunity to get me an AWESOME job, with fantastic hours and benefits. Though it is highly unlikely that I will find one quite as flexible with working from home as my prior job. But at the same time once I am done with this and my Follow up surgery(s), I should not need quite the same flexibility, and I can start using PTO, like a normal mom, for when I have a cold or when one of the girls is sick, instead of Chemo and surgeries. I hope that I have applied for my last FMLA and can just be ready to have a real life again.

Real life... it is in my not so distant future... I can feel it...
And it feels GREAT!!!!


  1. It's good to see a light at the end of the tunnel! I hope they are going the picc line while you are in surgery. You wouldn't like the looks of that needle ;)

  2. Amazing things are in store for you Mel, I can feel it! Big hugs lady!