From the mouths of babes

Last week we had parent-teacher conferences at our boys’ school.  Our older son is in second grade this year, and when we sat down with his teacher she shared the following story that he wrote  (and read out loud to his class!).  I’m transcribing it verbatim so that you can truly appreciate the cuteness, with a few parentheses for translation :

“My hero is my mom.  Once I was on the sofa when my mom wanted me to know some thing.  This is what she said: this is really inportint.  My docter has found brest caser (cancer) in me.  I said why?  Because most of the girls in the family had it.  My mom has been fighting for a long time.  I had to stay with her mother and sister for a week.  I had to do stuff I don’t do.  But now she is better.  But the opporrashon (operation) made her bold (bald).  She is done with it now but she has a small opperashon (operation) soon.  She has been a great figter!  I am happy that she is done with kemo (chemo).  That is why she is my hero!”

His teacher said she was going to make us cry, and she did!

So that’s my be-thankful-because-it’s-Thanksgiving post.  Be grateful for your family and friends (as crazy as they may be), hug your kiddos as tight and long as you can, be thankful for what you have (and for what you DON’T have, an important distinction to make!)…just appreciate every moment, soak it all in, smile, and enjoy!

XOXO

Domani

Tomorrow is the big day…I say “buh-bye” to the tissue expanders and get my real, permanent implants.  Who ever thought I’d be blogging about getting my breast implants….

Tomorrow also marks three weeks since my last chemo.  I have to say that in the last week I’ve noticed my energy coming back a bit at a time.  I was even able to run 3.5 miles today without stopping – my first full run since about May 18th – and included a monster of a hill which I…can you guess?…ate for breakfast! 🙂

As for my hair, there’s some peach fuzz starting up there.  It’s very fine and wispy, sort of brownish-blondish…except for the grey ones which, of course, like to stand up stick-straight.  I have a feeling there will be an awkward phase worse than adolescence in my future.  Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to take and post some pics so you can all laugh along with me!

So.  Surgery tomorrow, bright and early – we have to be at the hospital for 5:30am, with surgery scheduled for 7:45am.  While you’re eating your bowl of Cheerios tomorrow morning, be sure to throw some positive thoughts my way, ok??  I hope to be home by early afternoon if all goes well…no more excitement like the first time I went in for surgery!!!

Here are my parting sentiments:

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XOXO

Fin.

Fin.  The French word for DONE.

There were lots of hugs, and lots of cupcakes.  I happily close this chapter of my “journey” to kick cancer’s evil, ugly butt.  And a visit from another dear college friend made it even better.  More than anything, I’m just relieved that chemotherapy is over.  OVER!!!!!  🙂

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Fin.

Looking ahead, I’ve got my second surgery on 11/9 and will then go for what’s called a “simulation” appointment for radiation (they map out where to aim the radiation rays) the day before Thanksgiving.  Radiation will start about two weeks later and run into the middle of January.

So, there are still more hills for me to “eat for breakfast”, but I will take them on one hill at a time…I’m still hungry…

Can’t wait to see what my hair looks like when it starts growing out!

XO

Seven down, one to go!

I couldn’t think of anything more clever for a title…must be the “chemo-brain”, lol.

But here I am, in all my seventh-chemo glory:

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And I’ve got yet another wonderful friend from college to thank for coming with me today.  We talked so much the time flew by (and these Taxol infusions take ALL day), and I scarcely noticed the traffic on our way back home.  I’m one lucky girl, that’s for sure!

So….I have to share with you that the past two weeks were TOUGH.  Really, really tough.  I had what I like to call a Def-con 5 meltdown last week – finally, don’t you think? – and my hubby helped me pick up the pieces (gotta love him!).  I’m just worn down…physically, mentally, emotionally…all of it.  I am completely, utterly and totally spent.  I know I’m almost there, and I keep telling myself that – but I found myself saying, “I’ve only got two treatments left – wait, sh*t, I STILL have two treatments left, ughhh”.

I also lost my eyebrows and eyelashes.  This SUCKS, plain and simple.  Much harder than losing the hair on my head, I have to say, which was surprising.  I’m still caught off guard by my reflection in the mirror sometimes though, because I just don’t look like myself anymore.  It’s the cancer-me, the face of someone who should feel sick (which I thankfully don’t).  It has a stripped-down feel to it…raw, naked, vulnerable, hollow….just plain yuck.  I can say without a doubt that I don’t like this reflection.  I’ve felt compelled to share my no-make-up face with you here, not for your pity or telling me that beauty is within – but because it’s part of this process, it’s part of my processing it all…and I hope you don’t mind!  On a brighter note, I’ve found an awesome eyebrow product (thanks so my best sister evah!) called Wunderbrow that has really helped.  So, I’m going to post my no-make-up face, and then another pic after I used the Wunderbrow, some powder and put on a SMILE (no filters on either).  The photos look like night and day to me, and I’m going to title these two #skindeep.  Brace yourself, friends:

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Eeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!

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Much better.  And I think it’s true what Annie sang: you’re never fully dressed without a smile! 🙂

Now that infusion #7 is over and I can say, “Only ONE MORE left!!!”, I feel the weight has been lifted.

I got this.

XO 🙂

Another one bites the dust, another one bites the dust….

Just in case you now need the lyrics to that Queen song, here they are…and, you’re welcome:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/queen/anotheronebitesthedust.html

Chemo #6 bit the dust today, which means I’m 75% DONE with chemo and have only TWO infusions left.  HOORAY!!!

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Yet another fabulous friend from college accompanied me today, bringing lots of memories and good laughter.  I brought our Bates yearbook, and she brought a photo album of college pictures….and let me tell you, we had some wonderful jaunts down memory lane – many of you who read this blog should have felt your ears burning today 🙂

This particular friend who came with me today was (and is) a notorious partner in crime, both in college and afterwards.  I’ve got proof of our shenanigans from not too long ago, when I had hair…and eyebrows…

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I think my half-mast eyes say it all, lol.  We’ve got over 20 years of pictures like this one, so there’s no way chemotherapy or cancer were going to get in our way:

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Screw you, cancer.  You lose.  <<cue chorus of Queen’s above-mentioned song>>

XO

When it’s good to be boring.

It’s good to be a boring patient.  Especially when you’re getting chemotherapy!

NOBODY wants to be “that” patient (like when I had cardiac arrest before surgery, for example)…the one everyone talks about at grand rounds, or in research articles or around the lunch table that day.

Thankfully, I wasn’t that patient today.  Apparently this second round of chemo medication has a pretty significant rate of allergic reactions.  To help avoid this, I was given a big dose of steroids, pepcid (yes, it blocks stomach acid, but also helps to block histamine which is part of an allergic reaction) and the equivalent of two tablets of benadryl.  People tend to either get jittery or completely zonked out on benadryl.  I’m the latter…it felt like I was drunken sailor slurring my words – but my awesome sister-in-law (today’s ride home and chemo cheerleader) swears that I wasn’t 😉

We had good food, great conversation, AND she brought me presents – pictured below is the Pandora bracelet charm which is a boxing glove with a pink ribbon on it.  So cute!  Chemo round 5 was a good one:

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I’ve started reading a book called “Anti-Cancer” by David Servan-Schreiber, which I can already highly recommend.  He was a neuropsychologist and researcher who battled brain cancer for almost 20 years.  He talks about what foods are best to prevent cancer, encourages regular exercise, but also talks about the importance of having good support and a healthy emotional mind.  In his research he found that patients with good support networks had better survival rates.  I want to take a moment to say thank you to ALL OF YOU for being my amazing support network.  I feel so privileged to have you all in my life.  Knowing that you are all cheering me on has allowed me to keep my positive attitude while I kick cancer’s ass 🙂

Keep the good thoughts and prayers coming, folks.

XOXO