World Cancer Day…

Today Facebook informs me it is world cancer day. Lately I have skimmed past these feeds as quickly as I can. I think I’ve been trying to forget. Maybe that’s not exactly the best way to describe it. Not really forget, just not wanting to be reminded. The lump in the throat, anxiety in the chest, ball in the bottom of my gut. The mind can play terrible tricks on you. “What if’s?”… “Why’s” … “When’s?”… All that useless wondering. 
Once my days returned to normal, I chose to turn the page on my cancer story, and put that chapter behind us. (hence the lack of updates on my blog.)
World cancer day hey…? Ok, good a day as ever to bring you all up to speed…. Wow! Over a year since my last post..😁 This could take awhile. Lol
After I completed chemotherapy, I began 28 rounds of radiation. I was very fortunate to find a downtown condo to rent as my home away from home, and I walked to and from my daily appointments. I was zapped everyday, Monday to Friday, and then I would return home on the weekends. Through the last half of December and the month of January I lived the city life, and it flew by. So many visitors. Friends, family… there weren’t very many nights I spent alone. These visits defiantly helped turn a bummer deal into something fun. (Minus the repeated hot boob blasts…)  
   

  
 

Lining me up and giving me the worlds smallest blue tattoos. 
     
“The Beast”
     
Radiation. Sounds scary right? Well it was…. At first…
They contorted me into the exact position they wanted me in, lining up a laser light with the mini tattoos they gave me. “Don’t move, don’t sneeze, don’t blink, … Don’t breath…” Lol, just kidding. Then this crazy beast machine would cause a ruckus and spin around my very still body. (Weird how when I am forced to sit still my nose itches.)
If I remember correctly, the entire process took about 15 min. Then I would slather lotion , lots of lotion. Then more lotion. Have to keep the skin soft and supple. It felt like a sunburn. And my implant would radiat heat all night. I would apply even more lotion. I was very lucky, I never really blistered, just a tiny bit on my collarbone and armpit at the end. The lotion did the trick. I also did cool wet salt compresses regularly. 
After the first week there were many familiar faces. My “rad buddies”. We all had our own brown paper bag to hold our beautiful hospital gowns and belongings, mine was custom designed by my niece on one of her visits. The radiation ward was very accommodating to visitors, and the technicians never tired of giving all my loved ones their individual tours and back stage passes.. 
My “rad buddy”, Joy, finished her radiation the same day as me. After laughing and complaining of the horrible tan lines this “vacay” had given us, we both shared in the pleasure of chucking those bags in the recycle bin with a “whoop! Whoop!” 
     

 Eventually each zap just became routine, didn’t hurt. The beast became less scary, it was saving my life, I guess I could learn to think of it as my friend not fo. Radiation complete. ✔️
There are all sorts of crazy side effects from radiation. I was very easily fatigued, and my implant has encapsulated with scar tissue. It has fused to my chest wall, and is slightly now deformed. Not a lot though, I still am very blessed to have come out of this with fabulous reconstruction. Recently I had my nipples tattooed to appear three dimensional. I also had my mastectomy scars tattooed with a beautiful design. They are amazing!
I’m not sure if I’m ready to share the before and after photos with the world yet, perhaps because these nipples look so real that now I’m feeling shy about showing them. They look like real boobs again. No more Barbie mounds. 😀🎉
I’m growing my hair out. Lol … well, trying to, but this mop has a mind of its own… Lol 

  I have good hair days, bad hair days, and BIG hair days… Lol 
My hair has come back very, very curly. I did not have curly locks before cancer, this is full on chemo curl. Who knows if it will stay or go, but have decided that as crazy as this do gets, it is hair, and it’s my hair! Might as well have fun with it. 
The last 15 months have been fantastic. My life is great! I’m learning to not panic over every ache and pain. To swallow that lump, breath through every heart palpitation, and dissolve that belly ball. No more useless wondering! Living in the now!
Last check up was excellent. Blood work came back exceptional. !!!! Yahoo! BIG sigh of relief .!
Today is world cancer day…
I have now forced myself to face those memories, stop hiding behind that turned page. I have reminded myself of the courage and strength not only I have, but my friends and family as well. Thank you all for being brave and strong, and supporting Chad and I through every bump in the road. 
Who knows if or when my next post will be…. My only hope from this blog is that it helps other warriors find their courage and strength to fight the hardest fight of their lives. 
As I sign off, I leave u with this: 
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? 
I believe we are here to be happy!
It’s that simple! 
Xo  
    

  
 

  
  

 

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Two steps closer to the finish line..

In the long period of time that has past since my last post, I have completed my final round of chemotherapy, and am recovering from another surgery. An auxiliary node dissection .
I am so relieved to be finished with the chemotherapy. A cat scan was preformed shortly after, and the results showed no cancer.. 🙂 the chemo did it’s job! Such awesome news!

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As I mentioned before, last treatment, one finger up! FU CANCER !

As an extra precaution we decided to still go ahead with surgery. 5 days ago my surgeon removed all the auxiliary nodes in my left armpit. Surgery went well. I am very sore, and very bruised. I have a small incision in my armpit, and again have a nasty drain to deal with, but am healing nicely. Hopefully when I have a follow up appnt with my surgeon, she will be able to remove the drain. It is really the most annoying, uncomfortable part. Not to mention gross!
For now my movement is very limited. My arm, surrounding torso, and chest are numb. This is normal. The nerves get worked over pretty good during surgery. A physiotherapist visited me in the hospital and went over the numerous exercises I must do in order to aid with drainage, and help build up to a full range of motion again.
I need to watch for lymphedema, swelling of arm and fingers, and make sure to not cut, burn, or puncture my left arm for the rest of my life. Having no lymph nodes in that armpit, means that my body cannot fight infections on that side. (Guess that means no more tattoos on that arm…)
In 4 weeks I will meet with my radiologist, and we will get the ball rolling on the final step.

I am still staying strong. Still staying positive, but I am definitely getting tired of all of this. I am over being poked, injected, poisoned, scanned, X-rayed, put under, cut into, sewn up.
I am over the sleepless nights, hot flashes, mood swings, discomfort, and the pills I need to take to ease these troubles.
I am over the post chemo side effects…. Losing toe nails, sore aching joints, hormonal skin problems, hairs popping up where they shouldn’t, and taking their slow ass time growing back where they should.
I am over looking in the mirror and not recognizing my reflection, the weight gain, the scars.
And, I am SO over the colour pink… Breast cancer isn’t pink. Breast cancer isn’t pretty… Breast cancer is all the above. And I am over it!
I have fought through almost all the hurdles on this long road. Climbed this treacherous mountain and am nearing the top. Radiation is the last stumbling block. Having to be away from my husband and fur babies, family and friends will be the hardest part. I will get through it all, and cross that finish line. Hopefully never having to venture down this path again.

My hair will grow back. I will get back into shape. I will find my femininity once more.
My body will eventually balance itself out and give me back my strength, my sleep, my comfort, and my toe nails.
It might take a little time, but I will look into that mirror and see my scars as beautiful markings. Wounds that will remind me of all I have endured, all that I have accomplished. I will learn to love my warrior scars… (At least the ones I can’t tattoo over..😉)

Oh…. I almost forgot ..Found an amazing henna artist who turned this bald head into a beautiful work of art… ❤️

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Chemo countdown…

Wow, quite a lot of time has past since my last update. 3 cycles of chemo… I guess my excuse is living life. My first fight with cancer was during the winter months, so a lot of time was spent inside, hiding from the blustery weather, iPad in hand…. This go around has been through spring and summer, and I really am a sunshine lover, so, all my time has been spent outdoors enjoying the wonderful weather and digging in our garden, rather than updating my blog. So today I will fill you all in on how I have been.

My 3rd, 4th, and 5th treatments have been given. The 3rd treatment hit me a little harder than the previous. I have been so lucky with little to no nausea. But day four of that cycle was a whole different story. Boy was I sick. Could’ve been a combination of many things. I had a very bad migraine that day, had been camping, and busy, not resting. Probably pushed myself a little to hard. I won’t get into the disgusting details, let’s just say I spent the entire evening praying to the porcelains gods. I have never been so sick in my life. And scared… Poor Chad. The look of worry and concern in his eyes. He did what he could to help me feel better. In sickness and in health… So many people take those vows, never to really be put to the test. My husband, my best friend, my knight in shining armour. I couldn’t have made it through that night without him.

A few days later I celebrated a pretty big birthday… My big “40”!!!
I was a little emotional the morning of. After my first fight with breast cancer, I thought about my life ahead. How I would be spending my fortieth birthday. It did not consist of another marathon battle. I had a little pity party in the shower that morning. It’s just not fair. But I dried my tears, put my big girl panties on, and reminded myself how lucky I really am. This life changing experience has made me realize what I have to be grateful for. That afternoon friends and family showed up and spoiled me rotten. My sister and closest girlfriends treated me that following weekend to an overnight spa getaway. We had the best time. Dinner and drinks. Food fights, board games, skinny dipping, manicures, pedicures… I really am truly blessed.

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IMG_3515.JPGMy fourth treatment was delayed one week. I had been suffering some bone pain a few days prior. So, to be on the extra paranoid, safe side, my chemo doctor ordered another full body bone scan. More “Scanxiety”…. That evening my GP called me at home to confirm results were clear. No spread. Bone pain must be a side effect if the chemo. Phew. What a relief. So a week later we went ahead with round 4. I learned my lesson previously and continued to take anti nausea meds even if I wasn’t feeling sick. It worked 😉

My head is completely bald. All except for one single strand of hair in the middle of my crown. It just keeps growing, and growing, all by its’ little lonesome. A slight bit Homer Simpsonesque. One benefit to chemo in the summer is I don’t need to wax or shave. Entire body is bare, except for my forearms…?? Weird I know… .? And my single little stubborn head hair…
My eyelashes and eyebrows are non existent. I don’t like to look in the mirror. That alien reflection I said goodbye to is back. It has been to hot to wear wigs, so I have been wearing a scarf and hats. When I draw on eyebrows, they sweat right off. So, this week I have an appointment with a henna artist to “tattoo” my head. Maybe this will help me like my reflection. I want to feel pretty again.

Last week I had my 5th pre chemo blood work. My veins are starting to get tired of all the poking. Getting blood from me is slowly becoming more difficult. As is administering the IV for treatment. Hopefully they cooperate, only one more round!.. My hemoglobins are great. Must be all the wholesome veggies we’ve been eating out of our garden 😉 My neutrophils on the other hand are not. This is somewhat “normal”.. The chemo attacks white blood cells, and my cells are not quite strong enough for a full dose. So last Friday I had my 5th round of treatments, but only 75% strength. Doctor didn’t want to postpone chemo again, so instead we lowered the dose. Sunday night was a rough night. Think I overdid it…. again… So the last 2 days I have been a slug. Sleeping as much as I can, and listening to my body. This is the hardest part for me. I get so angry that cancer steals time from me. That we have had to cancel plans. Miss out on events. I have the odd “why me?” days. I think this is normal. I then remind myself that everyone is fighting some sort of battle. That things could always be worse. I am stronger than most. I can and I will beat this. When I feel sad, I turn my sadness around, I get pissed at cancer, and use it to fuel my fight.
I have one round left! The chemo countdown is on! My road is still long, and I am sure there will be many more bumps to come. I will have more surgery, and 28 rounds of radiation. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

6,5,4,3,2….. The chemo countdown… Can’t wait to hold up that last finger!

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Quick update…

Forgot to update a couple of things yesterday. I guess hair loss trumped what is really important… (Now I feel vain…😳)
So, on the brighter side…. Brain scan came back clear, no spread:) headaches are most likely a combo side effect of stopping hormone replacement therapy, and now the chemotherapy. I also spoke to my oncologist yesterday. The lump in my armpit is shrinking! Yay! Looks like the nasty concoction is doing what it’s supposed to! Great news! Think I’ll do a happy dance…. From the couch.. Lol

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No hair, don’t care….?

I spent the last week “pasting” my hair to my head, somewhat resembling a Donald Trump combover. I wasn’t ready to let it go…. again….
Friday morning I decided I had better wash it. Was looking pretty patchy. Here we go, déjà vu. Another 45 minute shower… It really is the craziest feeling. Just melting off your head. Filling the drain with what looked like a small fur animal. When I emerged and looked in the mirror, I busted out laughing… A nervous response I guess? Yes, it was less traumatic to go through this process the second time around, but not that much easier. Yeah, yeah, yeah…. “it’s just hair”….. I disagree. My advise to people who have a loved one losing their hair?…. Do not tell them “it’s just hair”. Trust me, that’s the last thing we want to hear. If you believe it is just hair, shave your head! It is not just hair. It’s femininity, it’s personality, it’s normalcy… Losing it just royally sucks! No hair don’t care? I will tell myself that until convinced, but truth of the matter is I hate this!

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20140611-144333-53013148.jpgPictures aren’t pretty, but neither is cancer! This is the real deal!
My scalp was so tender, felt burnt. I compare it to the feeling of taking out a really tight ponytail. So, that afternoon my sister in law very carefully and gently shaved what little hair was left.

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Gotta put sunscreen on this white head.

I sat through my second cycle of this round of treatments on Friday. My mom was my chemo buddy this time. Counting down, 5 rounds left.

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The 5 hrs it took to administer seemed to go by a little faster than last time. Probably because of all the visitors I had pop in. I feel so very lucky to have such thoughtful friends and family. The day of chemo, and the following day were so busy for me, no time to rest. Perhaps that is why the last 2 days hit me so hard. Feeling so crappy, so fatigued. Fighting waves of nausea and crazy hot flashes. Night after night of little to no sleep, reminds me of the seriousness of this. Makes me upset that we have to go through all this “bs” again. Seeing the look of worry in my husbands eyes I realize how strong he is for me. I know that he stresses every minute of the day, loses sleep, suffers with me. We are a team. We fight together, we support each other. We share our fears, and fuel each other’s fight. I read so many stories of people who have lost their partners during this process. Not everyone can handle the stresses cancer puts on a relationship. I am so very fortunate to say that ours has thrived. Sure we get moody, sometimes bicker. Keeping a strong brave face is hard. When emotions build up, and frustration kicks in, we take it out the the people we love the most…. Then…. that big bear hug…. always fixes everything. He picks me up, he holds me up. I love my man more than life itself. I will not give up. He needs me, and I need him.

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We are a team. A force to be reckoned with.
So I guess… After reading this post, I can truly say, “no hair, don’t care!”

Back on the chemo train…

It’s has been almost a month since my last post, and finally things are rolling. We are back on the chemo train.
The plan of attack this time is 6 rounds of chemotherapy. A paclitaxel carboplatin concoction. As long as blood bounces back on schedule, these rounds will all be 3 weeks apart. I started the first round 4 days ago. It took 5 hours to administer. They dosed me up with Benadryl and dexamethasone through an IV before hand to help with any allergic reactions I may have had, and then slowly dripped the chemo into my system. My sister sat with me for the whole duration. The pre chemo drugs messed with me a bit, I was quite dozey, and totally out of it.. Guess I was entertaining because my sis found me very amusing… lol
Being back in the chemo ward, sitting for hours in those green plastic chairs was very surreal. The nurses are amazing, but can’t say I missed them. 😛
The side effects so far have been milder than the previous chemotherapy. I had a small amount of tingling to my face and tongue the first night, neuropathy, which subsided by morning. I am however very exhausted and weak already. And this 4 day long headache has got to go, so I just caved and took some Tylenol.
Yesterday was a harder day for me mentally. I am so very annoyed. Frustrated that I can’t preform my normal tasks. It’s not fair that we have to deal with this again. I had a couple bouts of sadness, but Chad pulled me through. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. We will get through this. We will win this battle!
6 rounds, counting down… Guess which finger I’ll be holding up on the last round?!

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Next week I will be having a brain scan. Nothing to worry about….( yeah right… “Scanxiety”…) This is because I have been having headaches. Radiologist thinks this is from going off hormones, but has ordered a scan to be on the safe side.
About 3-6 weeks after chemotherapy is finished, I will undergo surgery. My surgeon will remove all the lymphnodes and tissue in my left armpit. I will have a drain again. I HATE DRAINS!…Once I am fully healed from surgery, about another 4-6 weeks, I will begin radiation. 28 rounds over five and a half weeks. They will radiate the left side of my chest and my left armpit. The schedule for this is Monday to Friday. 3 hrs away from home, so I will probably be staying there during the week, home on the weekends. This I feel will be the hardest part for me, being away from my husband and fur babies. For now, I don’t want to worry about that, and we will deal with that bump in the road when we get there. There is also a chance that the radiation will cause damage to my left implant. If this occurs I will have more reconstruction.
It is unreal how many scans, needles, doctors appointments, and surgeries a cancer patient goes through. It is a long hard road. Sometimes I feel like I’m on cruise control just going through the motions. Then I am reminded of how much love and support I have. How truly spoiled I am. That not only am I fighting for myself, but also for everyone around me. I need to be strong for my loved ones in order for them to be strong for me. I want to be an inspiration for others whatever their battle may be. So on that note, I will strap on my fighting gloves again, and ride this damn chemo train with positivity, strength & courage.

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Here we go again….

Quite a lot of time has past since my last post.
April is the one year mark of my last chemo treatment. Looking back I realized how much I actually went through fighting breast cancer. How much I missed out on, how much I physically and mentally endured. How great it has been to finally be getting some normalcy back into my life. Reason to celebrate, right?
Almost to the day of my one year cancer free anniversary, I found another lump, this time in my left armpit. I was changing for bed, I felt it… Instant panic set in. Here we go again….
The life of a cancer warrior/ survivor: Anxiety… Stressing over every headache, every bone pain, every bruise, every lump. Hard not to worry. I haven’t met anyone who goes through a life battle like this, who doesn’t suffer from a form of post traumatic stress. So, yes, after feeling this lump I panicked… No sleep that night.
The very next morning I called my doctor right away. Even before examining me, she had me booked in for an ultrasound that day. Emotionally I was a wreck. Chad was very concerned and worried about me also. But I put on my brave face, and went about my very busy day. I was actually quite relieved that this day was chalked full of stuff to do, including a trunk show that evening. It was a good distraction. My doctor called me while at the trunk show, to inform me that she had ordered a biopsy ASAP. I am amazed at how strong I was…. I wanted to crumble into a ball and cry, but I was with a bunch of fabulous women who had no idea what these last 2 days had entailed, I toughed it out, and pulled through. I will admit tho, on the drive home after the show ended, I had my release… Cried… No, bawled the whole way home. Chad was there, cooked me a great dinner and hugged me hard. He couldn’t believe that I continued with this trunk show and held it together, like a boss… We talked it out, and decided to toughen up and stay positive until we had some results.
The next couple days consisted of a cat scan, blood work, and a biopsy…
Here we go again…..
Then, the hardest part of all…… The waiting game! I made daily phone calls to doctors, receptionists, labs… It is hard to stay calm when you need answers. Only a few people in my life knew what was happening. I kept this from some very important loved ones, only because I didn’t want them to worry. We needed to know what was going on first.
Finally…. While on my way to my next trunk show, the phone rang. My doctor knows me well. I wanted answers, had been calling her daily. So, rather than wait for another appointment in her office, at my choice, she broke it to me over the phone… “I am so sorry Cheri, it is cancer…., again…”
After a quick conversation, outlining vaguely what was next, I hung up, hopped into my car, and drove off for another pleasant distraction, and major test to my strength.
Here we go again…
Breaking the bad news to my family and friends was probably the hardest thing I have had to do. The emotions were physically and mentally draining me. It took some time in between calls to recoup my strength and positivity. The news spread like wild fire. It was hard to tell everyone personally before they caught wind that something was wrong. The support all over again is unreal. I do truly feel so very loved. Everyone had so many questions.
My oncologist appointment explained how this could have happened. Very long explanation, and a very rare reoccurrence, but somehow a microscopic cancer molecule survived the chemotherapy. So microscopic in fact, that it couldn’t be detected in all the lymph node tests we did. Nobodies fault. Nothing I or anyone else had done wrong. As a matter of fact, my body is in better shape than it was the first time, and I have been looking and feeling healthier than ever. Regardless, breast cancer has returned in my lymph nodes. One lump is 2cm and the cat scan shows a couple smaller markers in the same area. We went ahead with more scans. Wanted to make sure there has been no further spread. More blood work, another cat scan, a full body bone scan, and a full PET scan. Each scan required an injection. This all happened in the span of 4 days.. I felt like an alien autopsy. Being poked continuously, injected with radioactive dyes that warmed up every inch of my body. Very strange, very weird feeling. Strapped down and run through crazy futuristic tubes and machines.. Just tried to go to my happy place and take myself out of what was actually going on. Then again, we waited….
My GP and my oncologist are amazing. Not only did they get me in for these test very rapidly, they checked daily for results. Both calling me after business hours to give me some answers.
With a HUGE sigh of relief, I can say that the cancer has not spread anywhere else. It is localized in my lymph nodes. This is great news.. Yes, hard to say, because the cancer has returned. But this could be so much worse. Takes away a little of the worry.
Now, the plan of attack… Depending on surgical time wait lists, I will either undergo surgery, removing infected lymph nodes. Followed by chemotherapy, and radiation. If surgery wait list is to long, we will begin with chemo, then surgery, and finish off with radiation. The chemotherapy will be a different “concoction” as the first dose didn’t kill the cancer. Here we go again….
I have no idea how many cycles I will endure, not sure yet how much radiation they will give me. I should have a better game plan by tomorrow.
I am sad, scared, and royally pissed off. How dare breast cancer eat away at my positivity. How dare it put the people I love through all this worry and fear again. How dare it steal from me another year of normalcy. I finally have hair, be it a little wild at times…. Lol … But. It is hair! I have gone off my hormone replacement therapy, so prepare for the return of crazy, hot flashed, mentalpausal Cheri…. This is not fair. We have made so many plans to get away and create memories together, and once again we may need to put those on hold.
My fight is not gone, I am stronger now than I was the first run. I won’t need to recover from a very major surgery before hand. Removing the lymph nodes will be a breeze compared to a double mastectomy. I have my emotional moments, but I will kick cancers ass again! Give it a harder go around this time! Fuck you cancer!

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I have been having some fun with my hair growth, will be sad to see it go… Again… 😦

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Fortunately we were able to create some fun memories on a very long overdue well deserved vacation. I am so grateful for my amazing husband.<3

Surgery update….

The next step on my journey…. A bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The removal of my Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Because I am a BRCA gene carrier my chances of breast cancer and ovarian cancer are very high. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and kicked ass, beat it to a pulp. I chose preventative surgery, removal of Fallopian tubes and ovaries, to decrease my chances of ovarian cancer.
I met with my surgeon just over 2 weeks ago to discuss my options. She specializes in BRCA gene mutations, and recommended this procedure. I must be very lucky, because I was squeezed into her busy surgical schedule immediately. Sooner than expected. She preformed the surgery 2 days ago.
Everything went very smoothly. I was sent home the next day. I now have to couch surf and take it very easy for a couple weeks. No heavy lifting, and no gym for at least a month…. 😦
The surgery was done laparoscopically so I have 3 very small incisions on my stomach. I am very bloated but this will go away. Some discomfort and cramping, but feeling pretty good. I will be on hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen and progesterone. This will prevent me from going into menopause, again….
While performing this procedure my surgeon discovered that I also have endometriosis. She doesn’t seem overly concerned with this. I will inquire more when I have my follow up appointment. The ovaries and Fallopian tubes are being biopsied to rule out any cancer markers. I should have the results within a couple weeks.
I am defiantly over surgeries. I hope and pray that this will be my last procedure for quite sometime. Hopefully ever!
3 surgeries in 1 year. And since my diagnoses last July, I have had approximately 78 doctor, chemo, MRI, tests, misc appointments. I am very thankful for the expertise, but I think I am starting to reach my limit.
I have stayed positive through the majority of this journey, but I do have the odd moment of “why me?”…. I’m not looking for pity, I think sometimes staying so strong eventually weakens a person. Those moments alone, reflecting on life, everything piling up, eventually one needs a release. And who knows? This could also be contributed to all the hormonal changes my body has been through. Crazy chemistry…. A woman’s body is an amazing, but very confusing thing.
I will take it easy the next few weeks, try not to overdue it. I’m a Christmas junkie, and had to miss out on a few of our traditions last year, so I will take this time to prepare for a Christmas to remember!
2012, and 2013 have been the hardest, most difficult years of my life. Mentally, and physically.
I am ready for a fresh new start in 2014!

20131109-115901.jpganother post surgery “selfie”….. look at that hair! 😳

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Still cancer free:)

I know it has been quite sometime since my last post. Perhaps it is because my life has returned somewhat back to normal.
I had my first post cancer physical, and am very happy to say I am still cancer free. I felt very positive about the outcome of my results. I beat breast cancer, and left it cowering in a lump…(no pun intended)… on the floor. It should know better than to return for more ass kicking! But I will admit, a small part of me was very, very nervous. I did lose a little sleep. Can you blame me?
I know this thought has crossed my sweet husbands mind too. After a conversation about donating my wigs, he mentioned we should wait…. What if I need them again? I realized at that point, those horrible possibilities have creeped into his thought process also.
But, there is life after cancer, and our life is amazing. The scary “what if’s” that used to consume our everyday, have become less and less. My body is slowly returning back to it’s old self, and my hair now looks like I purposely chose this short “do”. I am no longer menopausal, my cycle has returned back to normal. My finger and toe nails, mostly toes, have suffered the after effects of chemo, and my skin has dealt with the odd infection that before chemo wouldn’t have been an issue. But all in all I am doing great. Oh yeah, and I am finally getting some sleep.
I remind my self daily of what I accomplished. I don’t want to forget everything. I feel like this chapter of my life has been so significant. I can’t let the real world cloud what I have learned, and who I have become while fighting for my life.
I am so looking forward to this year. All the fun times and traditions I love were put on hold, spent those days fighting so hard, this year is for fun!
The next hurdle is an hysterectomy. I have had exams and blood work done, and have an appointment set with a surgeon who specializes in BRCA gene preventative surgeries. After that consult I will have a better idea of recovery and know how long my wait will be.
We are prepared…. We have dealt with the fact that there will be no pidder padder of baby Lewis feet. All you will hear around this house is the clickity clack of doggy claws in need of a good trim. We are very happy with our fur babies, and have so many wonderful children in our lives.
And… I am ok with that!

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What a year!…

One year ago, almost to the day, I was on the phone and felt a very tiny lump in my left breast. That discovery started my journey through the hardest year of my life.
Physically and emotionally my strength was tested. I fought with all my being, I chose hope not fear, and I kicked cancers ass!
This fight is not over. I will still be going forward with a hysterectomy, and have a few small reconstruction procedures left.
I am the strongest woman I know! The chemotherapy tried its hardest to knock me down, and some days it did, but I toughed it out, and pulled through. The after effects have put me into menopause, the hot flashes are starting to ease up, as well as the insomnia. But the chemo has defiantly done a bit of a number on my body. Every joint aches. First thing in the morning is the most difficult. Getting out of bed is painful. Gripping my toothbrush is next to impossible… but once I get things moving, the aches ease up.
I am slowly getting used to these cohesive gel implants. They still feel foreign. Sleeping is very uncomfortable, still have to lie flat on my back. Depending on my movement, occasionally they hurt. And sometimes the way my pectoral muscle flexes looks a little alien….but all in all, I am happy with how they turned out. The advances in breast reconstruction after mastectomies have come so far…. (Sorry mom, and auntie Liddy…. But my boobs look much better than yours… Lol..)
It is the battle mentally that is the most difficult right now. Worrying about every little abnormal thing my body reveals. A shortness in breath, heart palpitation, unidentified bruise… Sends my mind reeling. Not knowing is the hardest part. I do choose hope, not fear, but I can’t help but be afraid of its return. Hearing stories of other warriors losing their battle puts such a lump in my throat. Part of me wants to turn a blind eye…. Scares the shit outta me!
Any hoo….. Besides my thoughts venturing into overdrive, my life is unreal! I have the most amazing husband in the world. He is so supportive. He works so unbelievable hard so that I can focus on me. And he is handsome to boot! My friends and family are unreal, I don’t let them see, but I get emotional about them daily! I really hope they all know how much they all really truly mean to me!
Speaking of emotions…. Just came back from our first escape from the everyday. A yearly tradition/vacation to the Oregon sand dunes with some of our closest friends. Pulling into Horsefall… Super excited, long overdue….. Burst into tears. I didn’t even realize how much we needed this! Kinda surprised me…. I didn’t think I would have such an outburst of feelings. I gathered my wits, wiped away the tears. Didn’t want my dune family to see me cry. I might be the strongest woman they know too! 🙂

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20130710-120121.jpg Such a great trip. Excellent memories. Great riding… Boobs stayed in place! Lol…
Happened to be my birthday while we were there! Another secretly emotional day for me!

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20130710-120413.jpg As you can see my hair has thickened up bit, and is coming in so much lighter in colour than my pre chemo natural hair colour…. As well as quite a few more grays! 😳

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20130710-120635.jpg I also had some more ink done since my last post. I wanted a piece to signify this chapter of my life, as well as something to cover my picc line scars.

20130710-121058.jpg Peacocks can ingest toxic substances, the more toxic the more colourful their feathers. Chemo was my toxic substance! The peony, chrysanthemum, and lotus symbolize strength, courage, and survival!

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So there you have it, another update. The more I live life, the more time flies between each post. I will be booking in to see the surgeon who will be performing my hysterectomy very soon, and get on her wait list. Tackle the next part of my story. I promise to keep you all informed. Xo

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