An Unexpected Journey

IBC SURVIVOR – MY STORY

General Anesthesia Please! March 29, 2012

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I had been trying to decide for quite some time (nearly 2 years) if I was going to have my mediport removed.  Dr. H, my medical oncologist, helped me make the decision at my last visit.  It’s coming out.

Now to face a new unknown…again.  As cancer survivors we are familiar with this feeling.  Since I hadn’t heard of anyone’s experience having their port removed I just made my own assumptions.  I imagined going for outpatient surgery like my previous D&C.  Dr. H’s office had scheduled the appointment so I wasn’t sure if it was for an office visit or surgery.

I called the surgeon’s office and they told me I would have an office visit first.  I am taken into a patient room in the doctor’s office and the nurse asks me to sign the consent form before we head into the procedure room.  What???  I am taken off guard and blurt out “What do you mean procedure room?”  She probably thought I was nuts.  I apoligized and explained my confusion.  It turns out that they can remove the port in the procedure room with a local.  So I agree to get it over with.

Anyone who has read my posts, knows what a chicken I am.   I remind myself that God gives us not the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.  And to fear not, but have faith.  The procedure went fine, but it was quite ….different.  After he made the incision and starting working in there I felt my face going white as a sheet.  It wasn’t from pain.  I had been numbed.  It was just the thought of it all.  Eww…I should have opted for anesthesia.

It seemed like it took forever.  He had trouble getting it free.  I wanted him to stop tugging around in there.   Did you know surgeons are rough?  He showed me the purple port after he removed it.  Funny how I imagined it clear.

Now that my port is gone, the only physical evidence of my battle is the missing breast and the radiation scaring.  People may not always recognize survivors, but our lives are forever changed.

Love and blessings to you all.

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Thanks Dr. H. February 27, 2012

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I recently had a 6 months checkup (and a good one by the way) with my medical oncologist, Dr. H.  She is so awesome!  This woman is like a doctor, coach, and friend all rolled in to one.  She reminds me to celebrate life and not dwell on the negative.  To find ways to be a positive influence for others.

One of the things she recommends as a positive step is to call my local American Cancer Society and see if there is a way I can help someone else.  I hadn’t called yet and to be honest my mind has been on taking care of my son and husband with everyday life.  Then I started checking my unread blog subscriptions and came across fellow blogger Laura Renegar’s post (be sure to check out her blog)  http://laurarenegar.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/are-you-a-breast-cancer-survivor-5/  with information on a local training in her area for Reach to Recovery Volunteers by the American Cancer Society.    Guess that might be a sign for me to give my local center a call.

Since I am talking about Dr. H. today, I want to take a minute and remind everyone out there about the importance of your doctor.  It is so crucial to your treatment and recovery to have a doctor who listens and encourages.  I know I can ask my medical oncologist anything and she will give me a truthful answer with understanding of who I am and what I am going through.  I’m not just a patient, I am another human being with feelings and a need for hope.

To complete my day of good news, my sister and I went shopping and out to eat.  We had some great “giggle time”, as a dear friend of mine calls it.  The only thing my day lacked was buying a new purse.   Hmm… maybe next time.  🙂

Blessings to you all.
 

Free to Celebrate January 11, 2012

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Yes, it’s still me.  I have just changed my blog theme today.  (I was using Twenty-One and changed to Rounded)  Hope you like it.  I was in the mood to add more color and style.

This week is the three-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.  Why would I want to remember such a horrible event?  It’s not that I’m trying to hang on to the diagnosis.  It’s that I am celebrating each year that I live past it.  Each day is a blessing from God.

My first anniversary was not so pleasant.  I actually dreaded the coming of it.  I wanted to forget about cancer, chemo, radiation, surgery, tests and the stuff in between.  Just pretend it never happened.  Memories from my diagnosis rushed back every time I thought about my birthday (as I mentioned in an early post, I was diagnosed 2 days after my 40th birthday).  My wonderful hubby had a birthday/survival celebration for me even though I kindly protested.  So I sucked it up and went.  It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to thank some of the friends and family who were so supportive and loving during my treatment.  For some I did’t have enough words to thank properly.  They shuttled me to treatments and doctor appointments.  While I was out of town they picked up my son from school and kept him overnight.  When I complained they listened.  And most of all, they lifted me before the throne of God in prayer.

I’m relieved that this year is much better.  I am able to celebrate God’s merciful healing with joy.  Getting to this point in my journey feels good…..really good.

 

That Stupid Question I Can’t Stop Asking Myself January 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — prettygirllost @ 11:33 PM
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Do other cancer survivors ever stop wondering if every little illness is some form of cancer? I’ve had some stomach problems and slept in the recliner last night hoping for the cramps to stop. First thing I think is….could it be some type of cancer? Geez Louise. Why do I ask that stupid question?  Then I allow myself to go down the path of imagining who will take care of my son and so on. Don’t go there. It’s not a happy place.

I eat careful today and only have a few cramps.  What a relief.   So, maybe it wasn’t really blood. Maybe it was just paranoid thinking. Yes. It was all in my head. I hope.

You would have laughed at me yesterday morning. I was going back and forth taking some things to the car when I tripped on the porch. It was like slow motion with my arms sprawling out to try to stop my fall just as a car was driving by. I know they must have burst out laughing. It was funny.  So, I try to hurry and get up and pretend I didn’t fall. You know you do it too. I have to stand still a minute for my knees to stop throbbing to walk. I place one hand on the house and the other on my hip. Guess I was trying to act nonchalant. It was just me and the cat by then. She just looks at me like she’s bored when I ask her if she thought I looked funny.

At least I’ve enjoyed reading some books in the recliner.  I love having a Kindle. The only problem is trying to decide which book to buy. I recently used an Amazon gift certificate for two books “The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo” and “The Help.” I don’t regret reading either, but I must say the first one was a little weird. No, I strike that. It was very weird. I found out more than I needed to know about sadism.  Yep.  I had to finish reading it to figure out the answer to the mystery.  Plus, it was like driving by an accident (or a person falling ha ha) where you can’t help but look.

Now, what book to buy next.  Any suggestions?

 

Seclusion December 23, 2011

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Surprise!  I’m actually posting. ha ha  I know it seems like I have dropped off the face of the earth, because I haven’t posted in so long.  I tend to withdrawal when I’m not feeling well about myself.  Most people post happy, I’m-on-top-of-the-world type blog entries and in my world…that doesn’t happen often.

My sleeping schedule has changed because my hubby works nights and sleeps days.  Then my son of course is on a regular schedule.  I have to take care of him too.  My body has finally picked the night schedule, so when I’m up during the day I am sleepy…and grumpy.  This does not fit a healthy lifestyle.  I eat late and have ceased exercising.  Thus the pounds have packed on profusely.  I no longer need to lose a few pounds.  I need to lose weight equal to my 11 year old boy’s total weight or more!  I felt like crying at my last weighing at the doctor’s office.

I try not to think about how bad I look.  When I am at home it is a lot easier.  I enjoy life and the time with son.  It’s when I have to go out into the world that I struggle most.  Trying to find something to wear that makes me look good is impossible.  Too many bulges.  Who is that fat woman in the mirror?  Why does everyone else look so thin and beautiful?

And I have noticed that people don’t often look at me the same.  A few times this month I sat in a school or church setting and watched people move around me talking.  Then they do a oh-I didn’t-see-you-there look and say hello.  Makes me wish I could just stay invisible.

On the bright side, I am enjoying Christmas break with my son.  He is so sweet spirited and fun to be with.  I realize these years of his childhood are precious and I love every minute of it.  I am blessed to be alive, so that I can be here for him.  Thank you Jesus!

 

Just Me August 24, 2011

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I helped with the children’s ministry at church tonight.   It’s the beginning of the fall session and I will be leading one of the stations when they start in a couple weeks.  I did that a few years ago, but had to drop out because I felt so fatigued from radiation. 

It felt really good to have a few hours to forget about doctors, tests, medical bills, regular bills, and being a breast cancer survivor.  When you have your eyes on a group of kids, you don’t have time to worry about those things.  Plus you get to see those joyous faces.  Kids try to have fun wherever they are.

Now as I write this I am thinking of all you ladies (and guys) who are undergoing treatment right now.  My heart goes out to you as you struggle to get through each day and to reach that last chemo treatment or that last radiation treatment.  You are so strong in spirit and you are my hero.  God bless you all.

 

A Kind Word August 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — prettygirllost @ 10:44 AM
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Fawn in a friend’s backyard

I had a nice surprise in my Facebook inbox yesterday. Someone in my family whom I had lost close contact with, sent me a quick thank you message.

Growing up, she and I were close. I was often at her house on the weekends or she was at mine. When she went away to college, I greatly missed her friendship. We wrote letters to each other to keep in touch. (These were the days before texting, emails and cell phones everywhere.) 

After each of us got married, we just seemed to drift off into our own worlds.  Now this relative is sending her daughter off to college and was reflecting back to her college days. This prompted her to send me the thank you note for writing her all those years ago.  Back then, letters from home gave her comfort and support to get through some tough times. I had completely forgotten about writing her, but it was something that meant a lot to her.

Isn’t it wonderful what a kind gesture can do for you? I didn’t realize I had made a difference in her day, but thankfully it did. Now she has brightened my day by taking time to let me know how much she appreciated it.  It helps motivate me to keep  doing little things for others.  We have the opportunity every day to do something kind for others.  It’s the love behind it, that makes a difference. God’s love is a wonderful thing.

Proverbs 12:25

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”

TODAY’S PHOTO:  My friend Angie sends me photos from time to time that she thinks I will enjoy.  This is one of them.  Thought you might enjoy it too.  🙂