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A great line!

Hemp!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Breast Hokey Pokey

Breast Hokey Pokey

You put your right breast in, you take your right breast out, you put your right breast in and you shake it all about…

About 8 years ago, I decided to have breast augmentation.  The two years prior, I had lost over 200 pounds and was left with, what I like to call, Gym Sock Boobs.  Imagine, if you will, a tennis ball in the toe section of an old gym sock.  Put another one next to it and, voila, you have Gym Sock Boobs.  When I’d lay on my back, those suckers would end up in my arm pits.  After working so very hard at trying to be thin and healthy, I was left with a lot of loose skin.  I had implants put in and all was well in my self-image.

Then came breast cancer.

And all the treatments associated with breast cancer.

Here I am, two years after completing treatment and I now have an implant that is trying to run away from where the evil cancer once lurked.  Picture it…a round glob inside of me traveling the path of least resistance.  North East is the direction that it’s taken and soon, I’m certain that my chin will be resting on its own little boob shelf.

It hurts.  I could probably live with the disfigurement by continuing to lean to the right and back a little to keep the view correct to those that were coming head on, however, the pain that comes with a runaway implant isn’t something that I can mask or ignore.  

In two weeks, I’ll be going back to the same plastic surgeon that I visited all those years ago and will be having her rip out my girls (formerly known as Lucy and Ethel since they made me laugh).  She’s going to pluck them out, send them on their way to the lab for examination and then lift up what I’ve got left.  I asked (begged) for her to suck fat out of my butt and fill the empty space with my ass excess, but she said that I had a sufficient amount of tissue to carry off a regular lift without assistance from my butt, thighs or stomach.  Hmph.


New names for the girls…Itty and Bitty.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Quick Two Years

It’s been two years since my cancer was excised from my right boob.  Excised.  I really like that word…sort of brings Linda Blair and her spinning head with green vomit scene to memory.  And THAT my friends is what going through breast cancer treatment is like.  An exorcism.

Two years later, and I am in full on menopause.  I've been tested and it is scientific fact that I’m all dried up.  I think that is exactly what the lab results had printed out.  Hormonal diagnosis:  all dried up. 




My hair is thinning to the point of needing a comb over.  You know how the smart balding men just shave their heads to hide/own the fact that there is an issue?  Brilliant in my opinion and so I've joined the company of Dr. Phil, Gandhi, Telly Savales and Elmer Fudd.  Oh, and let’s not forget Brittney Spears during her freak out moment. 



Memory issues, also known as “Chemo Brain”, are my main concern.  At least it is when I remember that it’s a problem.  There are times when I can’t comprehend a Dr. Seuss book, let alone my boss’s direction.  “Tell me again” is a phrase that I use often, which is sometimes followed by, “again…say it again”.  My least favorite part is when I get the eye roll in response.  I know it’s frustrating to talk to a floating balloon, but sometimes that is what my head is.  Sadly, I have to say, “get used to it” because according to my doctor, it’s a slow process to recover from.  I've got another year of this brain fog.  The chemo kills off the cancer cells, but it also kills off the healthy cells.  Healthy cells that used to make sense of the words Green Eggs and Ham, now just scramble up and leave me thinking, “I should buy eggs.”

I'm also very fat.  I am putting some of this on the chemo brain, because I honestly think that I forget that I need to diet.  I'll be 100% focused and then *poof* a piece of chocolate is in my mouth.  Shit...I'm on a diet...shit...where did these cookies come from?  Oh, who wants birthday cake?  Me!  Shit, no...I don't.  Why don't I?  Sure, cut me a slice.  It's a battle that I have to conquer.  My mother tells me that I'm fat.  I see it in the mirror.  My primary care doctor tells me that my GERD will go away if I lose 20 pounds and the workplace biometric screener lady told me, just yesterday, that I need to lose 4 inches off of my waist.  Okay, okay, okay...I get it.  I'll focus!

Do I smell bacon?

Surely, I’m thankful to just be here free and clear of the BigC and I know that had it been 75 years ago, my sisters in this fight would be thrilled to have a dried up uterus, chrome dome and vague memories of what just happened 10 minutes ago.  


See you back here soon if I can remember my log in information.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fat and the Big C

I checked in for my appointment this morning and the receptionist at Club Cancer says, “I really like your hair!”
  
Thoughts that run through my head:

  • You really like that I have hair?  
  • You really like the style of my hair?
  • Is she implying that the dye job that I did all by myself isn't as bad as she’d have expected from a recovering cancer patient?
  • Does she say this to every woman that walks into the Club that has hair?  If so, how would she tell the difference between those with wigs and those that are natural?  

I decided that I was over thinking the comment and forced out a simple, “thank you”.  I was going to toss in that I also had a nicely shaped head, but figured that there was no reason to rehash the past.

My appointment today was just the regular 3 month check-in.  Weight, blood pressure, blood work and then coffee talk with the Oncologist.  I mentioned that I'm still having the hot flashes and he gave me that sympathetic look that he's so good at.  Basically, this is just something that I have to live with while I'm on the medication.  If I want the best odds of keeping the cancer at bay, then I need to live with the hot flashes.  

Bite the bullet and sweat it out Sister.

Speaking of keeping the big C away, I read about a study this past week that was done on 7,000 breast cancer patients.  Get this...carrying extra fat increases your risk of getting the blasted disease back.  You get it cut out of you, you take the chemo treatment, you get fat from the chemo treatment, you fry your boob, you gain more weight from the awfulness of it all...and then this horrid fat turns around and stings you where it hurts most.  

From the study:
This study found that despite optimal treatment, including chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, the increased body mass index -- which usually corresponds to the body's fat content -- significantly increased women's risk of cancer recurrence and death. Additionally, the more obese the patient is, the more likely they are to have breast recurrence and death from this cancer.

Whoa Nelly.

After reading the full article, I am highly motivated to drop the fat.  I can't get this disease back.  My mother would kill me.

To all the members of Club Chemo!  If you have extra pounds, please join me in this effort to lose the fat and increase your life span.  

xoxo

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's my birthday!

Sheesh...what happened between years 45 and 46?

July 2011--life is all about Ozzie the puppy.
August 2011--life is still about Ozzie and the size of his paws.
September 2011--start out with a birthday celebration for MyMan.  Put an Int.Ch title (baby class) on Ozzie.  Got my annual mammogram.  Got diagnosed with breast cancer.  WTF?
October 2011--had my cancer removed.  Celebrated Halloween as a cat.  Who does this after cancer surgery with the anticipation of chemo and radiation???
November 2011--Got my tubes tied and my port inserted.  Two separate surgeries.  Evil, evil, evil port.  I hate it.  Do a 5k with my mom, MyMan and his family.  Eat massive amounts to kick off the holiday season...
December 2011--Start chemo.  Lose my hair.  Celebrate Christmas.  Master how to wrap a turban on my head. Eat.
January 2012--Um...chemo...and...I dunno.  I lost the month of January.  I gained a ton of weight.
February 2012--Chemo final treatment.  Valentine's Day was sickly.  Started radiation.
March 2012--Continue with daily radiation.  Except for weekends.  Cancer takes weekends off dontchyaknow.
April 2012--Easter!  Last radiation!  Port removal!!!  Fought it and Fabulous Cancer Party!!!!  Life is good, good, good.
May 2012--Mammogram shows that I am clear of cancer!  Eat to celebrate!
June 2012--Go to NY to become a Goddess.
July 2012--Here we are.  A year later.  I'm now all about juicing, organic, clean eating, and eating a plant based diet.  MyMan is still by my side, my dogs are healthy and with me.  Strangers comment on how stylish my hair is and I still feel the need to spew out, "I had chemo."  Poor people.  I guess it's time to stop sharing that bit of info.  The poor girl at Sephora today said, "Well congratulations!"  What?  "It grew back!".  Awkward moment...
I love my life.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cancer Scares Me

There.

I said it.

It's the truth.  I mean, I got the beast out of my breast, but it can be lurking anywhere.  Do I live in fear of the lurker?  No.  However, I do live with an eye open at all times and if I become aware of something, I take note and react.

Due to my last PAP showing crap in my cervix, I'm going to have to have a procedure done next month.  These pre-cancerous cells showed up, most likely (according to my doctor), due to having the chemo.  Isn't that shitty?  I had chemo to kill the beast in the breast and ended up getting a parting gift in my whoo-haa.  My first question was, "Wouldn't the chemo kill all the bad cells?"  Um, the answer would be "no".  The chemo that I received was breast cancer specific.  How does it know where to go?  It makes my head hurt trying to think about it.

So what is a girl to do?  Well, THIS girl takes action.

Here's the story.  Of a lovely lady...that was living with two dogs and a man... (any other Brady Bunch fans?)

My hair stylist extraordinaire (we'll give her the fictional name of KettleOneBeauty) had recommended a book to me when I first presented my cancer diagnosis to her.  "Crazy Sexy Cancer", by Kris Carr.  I bought it, took it home and after flipping through it, thought, "eh...not my thing".  Her story was about having a cancer that couldn't be cured or treated...no chemo...no radiation.  Well I was getting treatment.  No connection.  The book was tossed into "the cancer drawer" and I went on with my chemo.  And radiation.  And now, Tamoxifen.

Fast forward to June.  I take a trip to NY to visit my Cool Aunt and am treated to a Goddess! Girl Event.  The lovely women of G!GE comped me my session since I just beat the beast.  They made me feel like a Goddess and the pictures that I've seen so far are stunning.  Stunning?  Yep.  I think that would be the right word.  The photographer, Tamme Stitt Photography, did an awesome job at making me feel super comfortable.

Photo by Tamme Stitt Photography

Okay, so I did the event and then had the rest of my vacation hanging out with my CoolAuntJo.  While there, I received a call from my doctor...which went to voicemail since she came up as a "restricted" number.  She needed me to call her back the next day because I had an abnormal lab result.

Shit.

Double shit.

Emotional breakdown.

You see, the last time I got a call from this doctor, it was to tell me that I had breast cancer.  A flood of fear, angst and panic hit me as the memory came back.  The words.  The tone.

I call her the next day and find out that I've got issues with my PAP and that I need to see the specialist.  She says, "the worst case would be that you have to have a hysterectomy".

Shit.

Double shit.

Emotional breakdown.

There wasn't anything that I could do while I was there, other than panic and worry and fret and get more grey hair...so I put it out of my mind.  I'd deal with it when I got home.  CoolAuntJo took me to Woodstock, the Hudson River and to many cute little shops where she lives.  It was a wonderful vacation, even though the crappy news was in the back of my brain.

After booking my appointment with the specialist to deal with this new issue, I had a flashback to KettleOneBeauty's recommendation of "Crazy Sexy Cancer".  I pulled it out of the drawer and started flipping through the book.  Wait a second...Kris Carr, the author, lives in Woodstock.  What a coincidence that I was just there.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  I think that the Universe was slapping me in the head.  I went out and bought another book of hers, "Crazy Sexy Diet" and learned about her way of living and most of all, how she took back her power.  Diet is the way that I can ease some of the fear.  Her change in diet after getting her cancer diagnosis was all about organic and vegan.  She has successfully stopped her cancer from growing.

I am going to be okay and this whoo-haa issue is going to be fine after I get a procedure done next month.  It's a pain in the ass (don't laugh), but it's fixable.  The realization that cancer can be anywhere laying dormant in my body (or yours) is a very crappy reality.  I don't want to live in fear.  I want to take my power back.  So I'm going to apply all of my will to following the vegan diet, along with juicing and taking a variety of supplements.

One of the challenges that I face is my gastric bypass.  It's been years since I had it done, yet I still have the malabsorption issues.  Do I still need to consume mega amounts of protein?  Is the juicing going to even be effective?  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop???  So many questions.  No answers.  I'm just going to have to experiment with it all and see how I feel.  There isn't a prescription for this and I'm on my own.

For now, I thank my KettleOneBeauty for putting Kris Carr into my life.  I thank MyMan for putting up with my emotional breakdowns and loving me no matter how many supplements end up in the pantry.  I thank the Universe for slapping me.  And I thank my body for trying really hard to do it's best with what I've done with it.

I love my life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Better, better and BETTER

It was a monumental week for me.

I used shampoo for the first time since losing my hair to chemo back in December.  You see, it made simple sense to me to just use my body wash on my head since it was more skin than hair.  I was clean, so don't snark at me!  I pulled out the bottle of shampoo that I got in my stocking at Christmas (oh how I had been waiting for this very moment) and smelled it.  Blackberry/Vanilla.  Nice!  I then proceeded to over estimate the amount of shampoo that I needed and found myself wearing a hat of suds.  Note to self:  pea sized drop will be sufficient.

Okay, so it gets better.  I THEN went and got my hair colored by my most awesome hair stylist.  I was sick of the grey.  Some people said that they loved it.  Me?  I looked old.  ShannonTheStylist used a "green/organic" sort of product on my virgin locks.  Paraben free.  Ammonia free.  Whosiwhatsit free.  She said that I had more than my share of chemicals this year and she didn't want to add more to my recovering body.  I love her.  She declared me officially 50% grey.  Ack!  When did THAT happen???  No clue since I've been coloring my hair since I was a teenager.  Black Cherry.  That was the color that I used in high school, just in case you were wondering.  I know you were.

EVEN BETTER!!!  I signed up to do a walk for Making Strides.  It's part of the American Cancer Society and when I was waiting to be seen by my Oncologist for a follow up appointment, I saw the flyer in the lobby.  I sat there and watched patients coming and going, all in various stages of treatment, and it just made me feel so ridiculously blessed to be through all of that.  To be sitting on the "other" side.  Club Chemo was no longer my resort.  It was theirs.  I pledged to do the walk and also made the goal of raising $2,000.  Not only did I exceed my goal in ONE week, but I'm now sitting in the number one spot for raising the most money at this local walk.  How freaking awesome is that?  I'll post my fundraising page at the bottom of this so that you can donate if you'd like to help a great organization.

Even MORE better!!!  When I saw my Oncologist, I asked him about some Chinese herbs that my acupuncture guy was giving me.  The hot flashes and lack of sleep is just killing me (thanks Tamoxifen).  I'm getting acupuncture to help with it all, but Acupuncture Guy insisted that the herbs were the best solution.  I was so worried that it would be something that my Oncologist wouldn't approve.  Well, said it was OKAY!  He said that there weren't any findings that contradicted the use of herbs, so I could go for it.  I love it when East meets West.

So it's been mostly awesome, but there has been one slight issue (other than the hot flashes), that I'm trying to deal with.  I've developed Elvis sideburns.  Yep.  The doc says that this is just the initial rebound growth after my Alopecia.  Um, I dunno about that.  I've got the initial reaction to rush my ass to the waxing chair, but he is insisting that it will cycle through and I won't be feeling the need to start singing "All Shook Up".  He said that in another two months, all things would be back to normal.  My hot flashes will be gone, my beard will disappear and all the world will smile with joy.  Yeah.  We shall see.

Hey, I've got a question, is there a difference between a hot flash, a flush and the night sweats?

Thanks in advance for donating to this cause!

Cupcake Kicks Cancer's Ass Walk

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grumble, grumble, sniff

I had a tear filled moment this morning at my desk. 



I knew it was coming. I could feel it.

Build up…build up…pressure…ready, set, explode!


Ugly cry.  Sad, ain't it?

I passed off my red nose and puffy eyes as allergies to those that asked and the person that set me off is without a clue that anything happened. I’d like to keep it that way.

I’ve been a cronky wretch of a woman lately and have not been able to pinpoint what exactly was causing the cronkiness. I’d think that I had it figured out and then *boom* my feelings would change.

What is it??? Sigh.

Big sigh.

Get it all out sigh.

I just don’t know for sure, but I’m thinking that this damn Tamoxifen has something to do with it. Or maybe it’s the acupuncture treatment? Or the change in diet? Or the Chinese herbs? Or side effects of radiation. Or my frustration that the Brazil nut is trying to make its way to the mainstream nut mix.

I don’t know. I hate not knowing.

Hey, don’t think that I’m going to jump off into the deep end. No need to talk me off the ledge. I will be fine and in comparison, it’s no where near as bad as chemo. For those that are new to the class, it was awful and so far, nothing in my life has come close to being as bad.


Another sigh.

I heard something on the radio this morning that was pretty cool. When we walk into a room, we bring energy to that room. We get to choose what kind of energy we bring in to share with the others in that room. That’s powerful, don’t you think? I have the power to change another person’s moment in time. Oh but yikes, they have the same power over me. Positive and negative.


So today, I came in with negative energy. Did I choose negative energy?  Nope.  It was just there. I think that if I had taken a moment, I could have made a shift, but I didn’t. Then I was greeted with negative energy (though the greeting was meant to be kind). Those around me had negative energy and, as a result, all of that power just knocked me down.

I just want to let go and be. Honest and true, I don’t know what I mean by that. It’s just what keeps coming into my head when I ask for the answer.

Let go and be...

Anybody know what that might mean?

**********************************
Updated two hours later...
Putting my words down has helped immensely.  Writing is a great form of therapy for me!

I thought I'd also clarify this whole Brazil nut thing since it's showed up in my last two posts.  It's a nasty nut that nobody seems to like, however it keeps on showing up in the assorted mixes that I buy.  You know...and I know, that the Nut People are just using this nut as a filler.  To add weight to the jar of mixed nuts.  You can never find Brazil nuts in a bag or jar by themselves, right?  You know why?  Because nobody would buy them and they'd go rancid.  Or they'd get shipped to starving third world countries.  If you see a "Help the Children" commercial any time in the near future, make a mental note to see if the little girl is holding a thumb shaped nut in her fist. 

Nut People, please quit toying with us.  We're on to you.