I had treatment again this week. It went well. No surprises. I had Herceptin and Zometa, as I have been, my lab was drown and my blood counts are only a hair below normal, and I visited with the PA instead of my doctor, as he was out of the office. My MUGA scan indicated that my EF was up to 57%. It was at 50% 3 months ago, so that was good news. I asked that we see if I can get a PET scan the next time I have scans instead of the multiple CT scans. I haven't had a PET scan since June '06 and I have changed insurance companies, so hopefully they will approve it! She didn't see any reason why my doctor would disagree with the idea. I haven't really been having any new symptoms, so I felt no need to have scans before the holidays. If you rememeber, I had back surgery last Thanksgiving and a mastectomy last Christmas, and spent New Years Eve on the couch with drain tube while my husband and friends partied around me! This year I was looking to secure an uneventful holiday season! I have been having scans every 3 months since my heavy chemo ended, and with my last scans being in August, I will probably be getting them scheduled shortly...but not until after the new year! If I have cancer hiding in my big toe I do not want to know about it until after the New Years bashes are over! But, let me reiterate...I am having NO new symptoms, and I have no reason to be lieve that I have any new cancer anywhere!
So, the running. It has been going okay. I am running 4-5 miles a day, 3-5 times per week. My biggest issue seems to be my knees, not my back, so I guess my age is more to blame than my cancer for any difficulty that I am having. But, I am just stubborn enough to run through it. Lord help me if I don't run this half marathon in May! I will need some patience and understanding!
What am I thankful for?! All the wonderful people that I have met through the Relay that are asking me to come speak at their events! I have a few friends that are going through a lot with their cancers right now, or cancer in their family, and it hurts my heart so much. I told my husband just last night that I wished it was closer to the first of the year when the Relay starts to kick back into gear, because I was really needing to feel like I was doing something to Fight Back! I hate to feel helpless! I suppose you all know how that feels, as we all seemed to be touch by cancer in one way or another.
Later Gators!



If I have loved you and you have loved me back....THANK YOU!
If I have loved you and you have not loved me back....SHAME ON YOU.
If I have hurt you....PLEASE FORGIVE ME!
If you have hurt me....I FORGIVE YOU!

What am I thankful for?! my 2 sons, my husband, my parents, my sister and her family, my grandparents, my in-laws, my extended family, my friends and coworkers, my children's daycare and school teachers, my doctors and chemo nurses, my faith, survivors, Relay supporters, my friends who have passed on and I that they have taught me, my BLOG followers, the ACS staff and volunteers, the Heroes of Hope, my Lenny Kravitz CD, rainbows, dancing in the rain, the smell of rain, white sand beaches, holiday programs, breast cancer walks, brain cancer runs, the treadmill, my psychologist, ladybugs, e-mail and texting, flowers especially purple irises and lilacs, tacos, dancing anywhere and everywhere, my cherry red jeep aka happiness on wheels, Rascal Flatts, hugs, kisses, grilling out, compassion, red nail polish, forgiveness, diamonds, diet dr. pepper, the Big Bang Theory, Orange City, color stay make-up, cliff jumping, mechanical bull riding, monavie, back and foot rubs, Herceptin, Tuesdays with Morrie, Bruce Willis, jeans, my Asics, twizzlers, happy dreams, fuzzy socks, RV's, singing in the shower, my doggie, rodeos, HOPE, my MP3 player, watching grass grow, swimming pools, sticky notes, flip flops, music, christmas lights, pasties, courage, 5Ks, a warm home and a snuggy blanket on a dreary day, laughing till you cry, Target, weddings in Key West, Boston Legal, the Huskers no matter what, cheese dip, tatoos, smiles and winks, peanut butter Twix, pink ribbons, team PERSEVERANCE, dragonflies, the first snow of the year, bananas, turtles, George Strait, running, star gazing, guitars, Coors Light, babies, monkey jammies...life is good!


What is a BLOG!?

Wow, I haven't been here forever! Sorry about that! I don't even know where to begin!~
I started running again, so that I could run a 5k in KC in memory of a friend of mine. It was called Head for a Cure and benefits supportive resources and treatment for individuals with brain cancer and their families! I think my friend was helping me along from above, because I ran the whole 3.1 miles, and in training (I say training, but is 2 weeks of jogging taining?) I had never gotten further than 2 miles without walking! Bless her!!! (and her family each and every day!)
Then I did the Komen 5k for Breast cancer in Omaha. That was a little harder because of that fantastic hill right at the end!!! Ugh! Why can't they make the end down hill when you really need it?! I ran that with a friend of mine..it was her first race, and she did AWESOME! I am so proud of her, and so happy that she has the running bug! Speaking of running bugs, I have yet another friend who is running the NY marathon this weekend!!!! Talk about strength and endurance! She is so amazing! I am in awe of her abilities, and will be sending her good vibes this weekend.
Then what? Oh, Relay Summit in Dallas! I went there for my "hope thing"! I was totally unprepared for the range of emotions and the energy that was generated there! It was incredible! There was about 1400 people there, I think. That is a lot of people when all gathered into one room. I was able to complete all my agenda items, but I must say that there were a lot of ups and downs. The mock ceremonies moved me from excited and motivated to sad and crying. And then there was the breakout session with the PR people from the Amer. Cancer Society that scared the crap out of me (but gave me a lot of good information that I can take with me)!!! I was emotionally all over the board in just a few short days! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to attend, and I am blessed to be able to be a part of the ACS and am able to help them get their message out!
This weekend I will be telling my cancer story as well as my ACS and Relay stories at the NE Relay Summit as a part of "my hope thing"! I am hoping to get people motivated for Relay, as Relay never really ends (I am learning that quickly!), and we will begin our fundraising efforts again soon! The Dallas Relay Summit has brought about several speaking opportunities for me, and I am anxious to get started.
On a sad note, I have a friend that is being tested to the max right now. She is about my age with 3 young children and has been battling breast cancer since she was 27 years old. Most recently she has had a tough bout with metastatic disease in her bones and brain. She has just had her 2nd brain surgery and is going to do gamma knife radiation to her brain this next week. She also has a broken arm due to cancer in her bone, and her other side is weak due to the brain mets. Through all of this, she has been the most amazing woman, with a strong faith, and more courage than you can imagine! They are having a benefit for her on Monday, November 12th. I will not be able to go, as she lives about 4 hours away, but I do plan to send a check. They are raising money to help her family pay for medical bills and get into a handicap accessible home! If anyone out there wants to throw a check in with mine, let me know as soon as possible. I am sure her family would be eternally grateful!
What am I thankful for?! Each day that I wake up with the ability to go out and experience the world and try to make a difference in the only ways I know how! I am thankful for little boys that are so resilient and for a husband who helps us all keep it together (or at least tries to)! I am also thankful for days spent laying on the beach...even if it was with just one boob!!! Trust me! It was an experience. I put a temporary tatoo over my mastectomy scar that was a pink ribbon and said survivor and a pasty on the "good" side! See, I am even spreading breast cancer awareness while on vacation...and, I didn't even have to say a word! Makes for some interesting vacation photos! Probably won't put those out on the coffee table! Oh hell...I probably will! I may have one boob, but I am alive!!! I am thankful to be alive!


Relay 2007 Wrap up

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back!
This blog is the best way to reach as many of the people that supported team Perseverance as possible, therefore, I am going to use this as my main method to THANK YOU ALL for your monetary (or otherwise) support of Team Perseverance!!!
Tonight we had our team captain Relay 2007 Wrap-up. I get to attend these meetings and events as a representative of all of you who are so much a part of our team, whether it be as a team member raising funds and walking all night long, a donor who donates your hard earned money because you believe in what we do, or simply as a much needed cheerleader who provides emotional support or word of mouth advertisement of our mission!
At tonight's wrap-up party we were told that this years Haymarket Park RFL raised $340,600+ dollars towards research, advocacy, education and services! This is amazing and proves that the power of friendship, compassion, and community CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Team Perseverance raised $21,652.40 of that amount!!!!! We hit and once gain SURPASSED the goal we set for ourselves!
I was presented with the one and only DIAMOND LEVEL FUNDRAISING SIGN of the night, and received a standing ovation...this is so humbling, as I know the credit belongs out there with all of you, and I appreciate all that you do to get Team Perseverance to where it is, which is leading the way to finding a CURE for this deadly disease!
The ACS funds more than $120 MILLION in cancer research a year! And has funded 3 BILLION dollars of cancer research since 1946, so you can see what a huge impact we are making! This does not even touch on the advocacy, education and services that they provide to cancer patients and their families! If it was not for the advancements in cancer treatments over the last even just 10 years, I would not be here 2 1/2 years following a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer. I owe my life to this valuable organization, and I hope that you all, with your own personal reasons for supporting the ACS's RFL will understand my gratitude and will also consider supporting us again next year!
Hope, Love, and Respect,
What am I thankful for?! All the wonderful people that I was able to represent tonight!


Other stuff

My doctor looked at my MUGA results and decided that I should have an ECHO done to check out my heart a little further. So, I did that last week and have heard nothing with regards to how it turned out. No news is almost always good news! Treatment was pretty uneventful. I met a woman that was just starting her treatment. She was great, and we had a very nice talk. I appreciate all the moments that I get with other cancer patients...we learn from each other and draw strength with each others support.
I was in Dallas this past weekend for a training session in order to do my 'hope thing'! It was a great time! I wasn't there very long, but I met some very amazing and passionate people.
What am I thankful for?! My Relay family!

Blog #100

Well, it seems that on the day of my 100th BLOG I had a prayer answered!

When I found out that I not only had cancer but that it was an aggresive type and it had spread to my liver and possibly my bones, I sat down on the floor and tried to remember anything I could from when I was 2 and 5 years old. I came up with next to nothing...a few things that I am sure I remember not from the actual event but from the photos I have seen through the years. That day, the day they told me I had METASTATIC breast cancer, my kids were only 2 and 5 years old. If I died in the next year would they even remember me outside of the photos we take? I was guessing probably not. I prayed that night that God please let me live long enough to get my baby into school. He was little, I was certain he needed a mommy. And, then my oldest son would be 8 and would have memories that he could share about me....and more time....we all needed more time!
TODAY, my prayer was answered. I took my little precious baby to school and his big brother too! This is a day that was sent to me from the Heavens, and I am so grateful!
The boys had great days at school, and we all went to dinner this evening to celebrate, and then ran back to our cars in the POURING rain! Life when it is hard...is VERY hard, but when it is good....it is VERY good! Today was a VERY GOOD day!
What am I thankful for?! The 1st day of school, all the pictures that we have to capture our everyday moments and those special moments you never want to forget, friends that are willing to look at all your pictures I took of the first day of school (I took a picture every 10 feet from when the kids got up to when they sat down in their classrooms), and kisses.


No tears here!

Okay, from what I have gathered from the teary e-mails I have gotten from people, my last e-mail does not adequately express the humor and joy that is in my life...the everyday oddities that are what we are all about. We don't just talk about dying here! Geesh.

Forgive me, but this story is going to be about boobs(if the title didn't tip you off), so if that weirds you out, you can stop reading now....
So I am going to make this fairly elementary. I have one boob, and a few prosthetic boobs that I switch out on the other side. I have the swim boob(pretty self explanitory), there is the fancy going out boob (for cute little outfits), and the cotton fill boob (which would be the boob equivalent of the granny panty). So often times when we are home (without guests) I have a tendency to go uniboober and the prosthetic boobs get left lying around. My oldest son could walk past one all day and not even notice it, but my youngest son can not walk past one without giving it a little squeeze! (I know, there are guys high-fiving all over right now) So...the other day my youngest son picked one up, held it to his chest and danced around singing "I have a boobie, I have a boobie!" That is when my oldest son decided to chime in and grabbed one out of my closet and put it to his chest and said, "Look mom! Now we all have one boob!!!" ~Those are team players!

The other day in the middle of a down pour I danced in the rain with a friend! Everyone should try that sometime...it was VERY good for the soul! And...everyone should have the kind of friends that are willing to do it with you without batting an eye! Luckily I have several of those kinds of friends. I am forever blessed.

What am I thankful for?! Rain and the love and humor that my children provide me with daily!


No longer the kid at the back of the class

So, this whole cancer thing has really changed my perspective on things. I used to be so nervous talking in class that when I was in college I signed up for classes that I knew would have 100+ students in them! And...sadly the communications prerequisite to grad school really held me back. I was terrified to get up and talk in front of a class full of students. I guess having cancer has made me realize what things you should be scared of and what things just aren't worth worrying about. In the last year I have been to 3 cancer related funerals, and I feel somewhat desperate to get the word out and to get people motivated to help find a cure...for any and all types of cancer!
This years relay proved to be a huge success with our team raising somewhere near $21000! That is so AWESOME! The power of community and friendship! It was a little out of my comfort zone though, as I spoke at the event and for TV, radio, and newspaper interviews! I guess I am going to use my misfortune for good...to try and help others.
My oldest son is not so sure about all of this. I think the relay and all the publicity surrounding it has been hard on him and has gotten him thinking about all of this. The other night he came down from his room crying because he couldn't sleep. He was thinking about my cancer. So, I put him in bed with me, and we snuggled. After some silence, I thought he was asleep, but no he was just thinking. After a couple of minutes passed, her said "Mom, why did God have to give you cancer?" I was honest, I don't know why God gave me cancer. I said "Maybe God knew that if I got cancer I would do everything I could to help other people with cancer, and maybe if I didn't have cancer I wouldn't do that." He replied "But you are the nicest person I know, you would help people anyway." What do you say to that? It broke my heart. I just told him that sometime things happen to us, and we don't know why they are happening at the time, but later in life it might make more sense to us. He was not happy with that answer, but that is really all I had to give.
I had my scans last week. I had CT's of my chest, abdomen and pelvis, and a MUGA scan to check my heart. The only cancer they can see at this time is in my one rib. So, everything is still stable on that front! PERFECT!
The MUGA scan showed that my EF has dropped another 10%. It has now dropped 27% in the last 6 months, but it is still at a functioning level. It is at 50%. If it gets down to < 40% we will have to take a look at the big picture and decide what needs to be done differently.
All is good, I can still ride the mechanical bull in Cheyenne without hurting myself! ....not for 8 seconds though, but come on now, I couldn't have done that 10 years ago either!
What am I thankful for?! Days at the pool, snuggling my boys, and my hubby! Happy 12th Anniversary, Honey!


Did I forget a health update?

I had lab and chemo last week. It was uneventful. I have been having nearly daily headaches, so they did an MRI of my brain, which came out cancer free! Thank goodness! The doc thinks that I am having muscle tension headaches from the back problems that I have as a result of the radiation and compression fracture in my spine. Which is what I thought was probably happening. He gave me some muscle relaxers and told me to take Advil. It is working out pretty good. So, on the medical front, things are going WELL!
What else am I thankful for?! Good MRI results!

Crazy Summer Months

Where do I begin?!
On a personal level, we have been busy with coach pitch baseball for Skye and tee ball for Laken. Both of the boys are doing great! Tee ball is fun to watch because the kids look so little! Half are chasing butterflys and the other half are making dirt castles in the field! Coach pitch is fun, because the boys are really starting to understand the game, and are getting into it! We also spent a week in Key West for my sisters wedding! It was the first time that the kids had been to the beach or snorkeled! It was a great time! I also got to go parasailing with my dad and with Dan, so that was a good time! We saw two HUGE sea turtles and a dolphin! It is pretty layed back there, and that is exactly what I was needing.
On a volunteer level, I received an award through my office for volunteerism, and got to take a little road trip to KC to meet the Regional Commissioner. I have also been chosen as the 2007-2008 Hero of Hope for the American Cancer Society. I affectionately refer to the honor as "my hope thing", because I think the word "Hero" is a little strong and don't feel comfortable in any sense referring to myself as one. I think I do what I do to keep myself grounded and busy, I am not sure that is a Hero thing, but if I can use this opportunity to talk to others who feel down about their cancer, help the ACS who has helped me, and help find a cure to this disease, I will do it! I will be in Dallas in August for my training, and again in October for my recognition and whatnot. I say whatnot, because I don't really know what this trip all entails! Probably a good thing! As far as the Relay goes, we have done a benefit concert, a golf outing and a 7 K run, with all the benefits going to the Relay. It has been a lot of fun, but also has been a lot of work, and taxing on my friends! I can't even begin to tell you how much time, energy, and funding has been donated by my friends. It is unbelievable how supportive they have been, and there is no way I will ever be able to repay them for all they have done. I hope they know how much this means to me, and how many people they are helping! It is not all about me, everyone is affected by cancer, whether they themselves have heard the works "You have cancer" or they have a friend or family member with cancer or who has died from cancer, all these people are helped.
What am I thankful for?! Quiet moments by the beach, the support of friends, summers filled with baseball games, and unconditional love.


Too much!

There has been too much to do lately, and not enough time to BLOG about it. My last very short blog was from the day that many of us lost a friend to cancer. She was young, with small children, a loving husband, and a wonder family, and it is just not fair! I have gone over it in my head a million times, and I just don't get it.
The day after the funeral I flew to Austin Tx to do a taping for the American Cancer Society(ACS). I was very nervous, but I drew from my anger towards cancer and the loving memories of the two friends I have lost to cancer in the last year, and did best the I could! I hope that all my fundraising and support for the ACS brings hope and life to others!
Now in the next 2 months I hope to raise about $16,000 dollars to reach my goal of $20,000! Thanks to those of you who have already supported the ACS through our Relay for Life team, and if you haven't yet, but you would like to, go to www.acsevents.org/lincolnne and click on my name in the top right corner and make a donation! We all know someone who is fighting cancer or has lost their life to cancer...please help us find a cure!
What am I thankful for?! Memorial Day weekend and all the love and memories that come with it, lawnchairs in the driveway, children laughing, and rest.


Be thankful for the time you have....

What am I thankful for?!
....the power of love and family....


More treatment and more test results

This week I had a MUGA scan and treatment. Treatment was uneventful as always. I am anemic, so I have some new fun vitamins to take! Unfortunately my MUGA scan showed that my heart function has dropped by 17%, and my ejection fraction (EF) is only 60%. This isn't necessary a bad EF, but when coupled with my situation it is, because if my EF drops to 55% then they will take me off of the Herceptin. Herceptin, while it has none of the typical chemo side effects, like losing your hair and throwing up, it does threaten to harm your heart. But, I am sure it will go back up...I mean, I have Angels and all and I just ran a 10k last weekend!!!! If my EF doesn't go back up then they will probably give me a little break from treatment to build up my system a little, and the new drug Tykerb is now out. It is taken in combination with Xeloda, and is very promising for those of us with metastatic breast cancer. I actually know 2 people that just started it, so hopefully it will do the job! They are in my thoughts always!

So about that 10k! Wow, that was hard(and WINDY), but it was not nearly as hard as some of the things that are going on with others right now! The pain was GOOD pain and I am SO THANKFUL that I was able to run! As inspiration to keep me running when I didn't think I could, I borrowed a permanent marked from the track trailer and wrote "Jeff" on the back of one hand. He will ALWAYS be my running partner, and although he is no longer here physically I know he is with me when I run, if only in spirit. Only the other hand, I wrote the name of a friend...may God be with her and her family. I think about them several times a day, and they are in my heart always! I guess some things are just not meant to be understood.

On a happier note, when I was 1st diagnosed with cancer, I didn't think that I would be here to see my youngest son go to kindergarten, as he was only 2 years old at the time, but yesterday I got to take him to Kindergarten Visitation!!!! Chalk that up as one of the happiest moments in my life!

What am I thankful for?! Arbor day (yep, I have the day off!), Kindergarten, running partners who are my strength daily even though they don't know it, the journals I have started for my children (I have been meaning to do that for so long), and the rain.


Test Results

Quick update.
I am not very inspired to blog right now.
CANCER SUCKS...and I just feel too angry right now to deal with it.
Miraculously, I am doing well, so my anger and sadness isn't directed at my disease this time.
I had CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis, and while I still have cancer in a rib and a vertebra, it is not progressing, and that is great for me and my family.
Unfortunately, not everyone who has dealt with cancer in the past or is dealing with cancer right now, always gets the same good results I have gotten this week.
I am so lucky, and I know that...and, deep down I count my blessings, but I also feel guilty. I feel guilty that I am doing so well when I have peers who are not.
There was also a time (despite my true happiness for them and their families) I have felt jealous of those who have been "cured". I feel guilty having those kinds of feelings, but I guess that might be part of what makes me human.
Dealing with cancer is such an up and down experience, and I am learning how to appreciate what I have in my life each and every day.
What am I thankful for?! I am thankful for good scans, a loving family, and the strength and courage of my cancer diagnosed peers who have fought or are fighting tough battles....you are my HEROS.
GOD, please be with those who are are having harder times than I!



Two Years and Still Surviving!!!! It is a beautiful day!
Hope and Love!


Relay for Life Event Advertisement

Okay, I am going to attempt this public speaking thing again. And because I want your Relay money, I am going to post the info about the event! If you come, expect the play to be good, and my part to be a little shakey! I am very nervous, but it is my story, and I think people should know that cancer can happen to anyone. Breast cancer doesn't just happen after your kids are all grown up!

"One Act play to focus on Breast Cancer Survivorship and also Tracy Harnly is going to tell her story. She is a breast cancer survivor and a team captain for the Relay For Life team "Perseverance".

One's Company, with actress Pippa White, will be performing L.B. 4:15 at7:00pm on Friday, March 16th, at the Lincoln Women's Club at 407 South 14th Street. The show is sponsored by Kastens Counseling & Resource Center and the Doane College Lincoln Campus as a fundraising effort to benefit the 2007 Lancaster County Haymarket Park Relay For Life.

L.B. 4:15 is a performance that concentrates on the 1993 Breast Cancer diagnosis of Sylvia Roba. "In the beginning," she said, "I wrote to save myself from despair." What she wrote was a one-act play. Surprising, provocative, and even funny.(L.B. 4:15 stands for Left Breast, 4:15pm. Sylvia felt that at times shewas no longer "Sylvia" but had been reduced to the location of her cancerand her appointment time.)

Admission to the one-act play will be $5 with 100% of the proceeds going to the Relay For Life. Dessert will be provided. There will be various items for sale at the fundraiser.

For questions, or to purchase advanced tickets,please contact Brenda Kastens at 402-540-4772 or at kastenscounseling@alltel.net. On street parking is available on 14th street. The Cornhusker Parking Garage is 1/2 block walking distance from the location."

What am I thankful for?! I am thankful that Brenda has the confidence in my ability to do this, and for giving me this opportunity to face my fear of public speaking for all the right reasons.


Keepin on...

Well, in what was found to be a very odd grouping of blog followers, it seems that people are still reading, so I am going to keep on blogging. Running report....not going so well. It hurts, and not the good kind of hurts. It has been bothering my back quite a bit, and I haven't even made it over 2 miles yet! So, I had to take a break. My rib has also been bothering me, but only if I sit for long periods of time, or if I lay on my right side at night, which I might add is how I sleep. Of course it is!!! So I have been waking up quite a bit at night.
What seems to be pushing me over the edge right now is a stupid cold! I can handle the cancer treatments, but the common cold....CAN'T THEY CURE THAT YET!!!? On top of all my other medications it is really wearing me out, and I HATE to be tired, there is just too much stuff to be done, and too much fun to be had!
I had treatment today, which was fairly uneventful physically, but being me, I had to make new friends, and when you are making new friends at a cancer center, it can be pretty emotional. I met a woman who has breast cancer that has spread to her colon, lungs, abdomen, brain, and basically all of her bones! When she first entered the hospital in 2002, they told her she had about two weeks to live. She has been in chemotherapy every Thursday since then, and she is still going! At one point the cancer had replaced so much bone that she had to get blood transfusions because she did not have enough healthy bone marrow to make new blood cells! Her current chemo is helping kill some of the cancer in her bones, and she is now making enough blood cells to maintain her body. She just went to Italy on vacation last year, and will be going to Greece in May! She is a fighter! Her sister is also fighting breast cancer, and her mother has since passed away from breast cancer. She will forever be in my thoughts and prayers!
I also met a man who has been diagnosed with lung cancer (not a smoker or a regular second hand smoker). His cancer had spread to his lymphnodes, and thoracic area. He has been through 4 chemo treatments and only has one small spot in his lung left. He is doing fantastic! We spent an hour talking about holistic treatments, nutrition, chemo treatments, and the fun of medication side effects! He is just starting a cancer study, to promote advances in lung cancer treatment. Awesome!
Now, I am off to a Relay for Life meeting! My personal fundraising totals just dropped from second to third place, but my team as a whole is in first place! Thanks to those of you that have already donated!
What am I thankful for?!?! People who share their stories and their lives with me, the beautiful pictures that my kids color for me, my husband who made my green tea this morning and stayed up and talked to me at 4am when I was stressed and crying, and for the Goehner Spaghetti Feed! That is good stuff!!!


Hello! Anyone out there?!

Well, you all get to hear about me, but I don't know who you are! Drop me a comment if you want me to keep blogging! Does anyone read this anymore?!

Well, since I last blogged, I haven't really had too much going on. I have a little lymphedema under my arm, but not enough to require draining. I have had a bunch of lab done for the doctor in NY that is going to help me with my nutrition and supplements. My cholesterol is great at 144, so heart disease is not gonna kill me! And, my cancer markers were in the "normal" range. Which I think is a good sign! Can't be a bad one! My white and red blood cell counts were a little low, as were my platelets, but that has been pretty typical since been in treatment. I started a Breast Cancer Survivors class a few weeks ago. It meets 2 times per week, and last a couple hours. We discuss health issues for the first hour and workout for the second hour. I am back to running. I do a couple miles at a time right now, and the rest of the time I work on strengthening and stretching. My chest and arm are still pretty tight since my surgery, so I am working on that. We have some pretty interesting guest speakers and I am learning more than I thought I would...kinda nice to have some of my feelings validated, as well.
What am I thankful for!? Indoor playgrounds during the winter time, State Holidays, and being part of a group that understands some of what I am going through!


Breast issues

Do you think it is unhealthy to hide under the covers and eat big macs all day?! I thought so too!!! That is why I scheduled an appointment with a psychologist! Because, along with my long list of issues I had been perfecting for years, once the surgeon removed my surgical drains, the breast issues began! (If you think of breasts as a private issue you can stop reading right now, because as you know, not much in this whole ordeal of mine has been kept private!)
As soon as the drains came out, my body did a remarkable thing (which is not all that unusual... they tell me). My body began to create a pocket of fluid, kind of like a new boob, HOWEVER, the swelling was not out the front like I would have hoped, it was under arm...like a 'side boob'! So, not only did I have the boob I was born with, but I was wearing a foam boob where my killer boob had been, and I was carrying around a spare under my arm! Three boobs?!? What kind of sick joke is that?
I went back to the surgeon twice in two weeks to have that drained, but things seem to be fine now...and by fine, I mean that I am no longer the 3 boobed side show that I was. That does not mean I am not a side show of another kind!
Let me tell you a little something about the post mastectomy foam insert that one puts into the very sexy post mastectomy sports bra while recovering. You can tell time by it!! Oh yes, I am going to explain. Foam compresses over time. In the morning I put my ever so perky foam 'boob' into my bra. At this time of the day, I hate to admit it, but the foam boob is somewhat larger than my god given one. But not to fear, as the day goes on, the foam gets compressed. SO, if I am looking a little bigger on the right(the foam side) it is before noon, if my boobs look fairly 'normal' or equal then it must be around lunch time, and if I am bigger on the left, call it a day!
I can laugh at all this now, but it has been a long month, learning how to dress and where to draw my self-esteem from. Obviously, if you have seen me, my breasts are not a LARGE part of who I am, but a part of me none the less.
What am I doing now? I am back at work, this is my third week, I am going to basketball games, I am taking care of my family, I am putting together my relay for life team, and I am seeing a psychologist!
If you want to help in the fight against cancer, please go to my website by clicking on the link below and make a donation to the Relay for Life. There is a picture of me and my kids on the site, and you can track my teams progress! We are hoping to raise $20,000 dollars! And while I like to compete agaist the other teams for top dollars, the truth is that I am scared, and raising money for research gives me hope that a cure will be found. Come on, donate a few bucks! I told you about my boobs!!
What am I thankful for??! Getting to seeing a full moon against the backdrop of dawn, having one 'good' boob, and being alive... (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY! I LOVE YOU!)


Final Follow up with the Surgeon

I had my last scheduled follow up with the surgeon today. I got my last drain out, and am on my way to healing up completely. I think after a little physical therapy, I will be good to go!
What am I thankful for?! Our fireplace! It is COLD out there!!


Follow up appointment

I went in Friday for a follow up appointment with the surgeon. He took out my staples, and one of my drains. I am still draining too much fluid to take the other one out. But he said that one will come out this Friday, no matter how much I beg to keep it! HA!
The surgeon said that the path report came back showing the cancerous breast tumors were removed completely and of the seven lymphnodes that were removed, NONE of them had cancer in them. He felt that this was AMAZING! So, I am probably not going to have to do radiation or any additional chemotherapy at this time. That is fantastic, but I don't find out for sure until I see my oncologist next Thursday.
I went shopping for a temporary boob...found it at Jim's Home Healthcare! I have a lot of jokes about that, but the self-esteem can't handle them right now, we will get back to those at a later date!
Not much else happening right now. I am trying to heal, and take care of a kid with strep throat. Always something!
What am I thankful for?! A funny and romantic episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Webkins (which keeps my sick kid busy), and 55 degree days in January!


"Mommy's gonna have one boob, Mommy's gonna..."

The evening two days before my surgery, we sat the boys down and explained to them in the simplest terms possible, what was going on. My oldest son plugged his years and said "I can't hear you!", and then began repeating "nah, nah, nah, nah, nah" over and over again in an effort to not hear what we were trying to tell him. On the other hand, in the land of innocence and nievity, my youngest son bounced on and off the couch giggling about mommy's soon-to-be one boobed chest! One might find this disheartening, but the giggling finally brought my oldest one around, and he listened to us until we came to a level of understanding we could all deal with and he ultimately began to laugh as well.

The day before my surgery, I spent all day with the kids, just them and I. We went out to breakfast, we went shopping, we snuggled on the couch, and we ended the day at Chuckie Cheese for their friends birthday party! There was something about those parking lots though, that made my youngest feel the need to yell out "Hey, remember Mom is gonna have one boob tomorrow! HA HA HA HA"- as they both then fell out laughing! One thing I know is that laughing helps heal wounds, lightens hearts, and just makes you feel good, so I smiled and listened to them sing the One Boob song in the car, and we all laughed and dealt with our fears in the only way we knew how.

On the day of my surgery I went to the hospital with my husband, mom, and dad in tow. I put on the gown and stockings and awaited the man with the good drugs. The next thing I remember was being in my recovery room trying to type a text message with only one eye open, with two eyes open I was still seeing double!

The day after my surgery I ate sushi for lunch and was discharged around 2pm. I was happy to be home and to get into some real clothes.

Things have been going well since I have been home. My pain is fairly minimal, I am working on the range of motion in my arm, and the drainage tubes are manageable. I can look at myself with my bandages on, but am not yet able to look at myself without them. The mirror in our room came down and the bathroom mirrors are temporarily covered. Dan helps me with everything that requires bandage removal. I shower with assistance and my eyes closed. It seems silly, but I am going to have to take some baby steps here. The staples across my chest look like the battery pack zippers in the backs of talking stuffed animals. In my case, instead of taking out the batteries, we took out my breast.

What am I thankful for?! The support and help that we have received during this emotionally difficult time, heart shaped diamonds, and fleece blankies!