Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine!

Each day now is such a pleasure knowing chemo is done.  I still have years of check-ups and scans before I can consider myself "cured"; but I am a survivor of all that has been! 

Once again (YAY!), at my last check-up at the plastic surgeon's, all things are still going well.  And once again, I do not have to see him until THREE weeks!  What a complete and utter pleasure to have so much time in between doctor appointments now.  I still have a month to go before my oncologist visit also.  I am now, though, in the process of playing "catch-up" with all my other doctors such as my original surgeon for the mastectomy, my dentist, my gyno doc, etc.  All things that need doing and have been neglected for the past year and a half.  I got a card from the place where I get my mammograms and ultra-sounds reminding me that I am due.  It was a bittersweet moment to see that and know those two tests won't be needed anymore; but was once again reminded that now I just look step at a time.

The right extender bothers me more than the left.  I am guessing that this is because it was more recently put back in, and that it was put in vertically rather than horizontally (plastic surgeon wanted to ensure that darn spot was not affected at all).  He is still saying that the implants will be in sometime in May.  I had a chance to talk to my friend who had the mastectomy and asked her if the implants will indeed feel better and more comfortable than the extenders.  She told me they definitely were that is something to look forward to.  Can't wait.  And can't wait to be done with surgeries.

I did have one additional surgery just last week....I GOT MY PORT OUT!  My oncologist gave the "all clear" and said I could arrange this whenever I wanted to.  Since it was beginning to press somewhat on the right extender, I decided to do it now.  While I was in there waiting for the procedure, I started thinking about the last time I was in that room (same room, same bed!) and how frightened I was for the port to be put in and overwhelmed by all that was coming.  I sat in the bed unable to hold back the tears...and the nurse came in.  She told me "Don't cry have so much to go through, this will be the smallest part.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and don't look ahead.  Just take it one day at a time."  And she was right.  It indeed helped to just survive the next procedure, next chemo, next surgery; and not keep thinking about all of it at once.  God reminds us of the same thing when he said "Don't worry about tomorrow.  Tomorrow will come with worries of it's own.  It is enough to just get through today." (Matt. 6:34)  And it sure helps knowing God is there every step of that day in front of you.

So I wake up today to sunshine and a beautiful spring-like day in February and remember when I so wanted to just be at this point and had so much yet to go.  With a lightened heart I can gladly say, "Good Morning, brighten my day!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Things keep going well right now.  My final chemo was January 20th, and this past Friday should have been "the next one" if I had to keep going.  I bet my body was in shock to find it can start standing on its own.  It will be wonderful to watch my body repair itself after all the chemicals put into it through that damn bag hanging overhead.  That final treatment was probably the hardest to get through since I sat counting the minutes until I could officially know I was done.  I now have the "official certificate and pin" of being done with chemo treatments.  Let's hope that remains to be fact throughout the rest of my life.

The new implant continues to do well.  I still have a slight reddish-brown mark (which my plastic surgeon says may never now go away totally) on the side of the "breast" where the infection continued to plague me the last year.  But the good news is that for the first time, I have had two follow-up appointments that have been two weeks apart-----a length of time I have never been able to wait without a problem!  So this is a truly wonderful, healing thing.  My surgeon says that if this continues, I will be able to finally, finally get my implants in by May.

For those who have never had extenders, you need to know that they are uncomfortable.  You never truly get used to just adjust life to knowing they are there and that eventually something better will be put in place of them.  For now, it interrupts sleep as I usually wake up when turning; bending over puts pressure in that area, and temperature changes outside affect how they feel.  There is always a certain uncomfortableness and you just know and are aware that something different is in your body.  Plus, any change in weather or a coming weather pattern....or who knows?...maybe even a full moon...brings with it it's own pressure throughout the breast area and along the scars on my sides.  But I am alive and I am a survivor and that puts all this into perspective.

I have been really busy lately since I am re-entering my life with all it's meetings, decisions, and constant "going" that life gives to all of us.  I do find myself more tired lately, but also find that since I "look well" people assume I feel that way also.  I DO feel much better, but I also do need some rest between session "running the hamster wheel of life".  It's hard for others to recognize this, I know, so I do have to remind people sometimes that I am still a breast cancer patient and in the process of recovering.

My husband and I spent the weekend with family that we have not seen in some time.  My brother-in-law had a milestone birthday party and family came from up and down the coast.  We don't always talk together as much as we should....or see each other often....but we do love and care for each other.  It was so great to have this time together.

During this past week, I found myself just wanting to purge my home from some "stuff" that had to be around me during this past year.  Things such as:  some v-neck shirts that I wore to chemo since they could get to the port easier with them; old medication for chemo nausea; I put bandages and such back in the closet; I got some of my "cancer books" together to give to another person currently going through this; I finally got rid of my "chemo notes and calendar" since this blog really has all I need; and other stuff here and there.  Once I started purging, it seemed I kept going through more and more "stuff".  Things that once seemed so important, I now know to be "just stuff"!

I acknowledge this year and a half to be one of the hardest in my life (and yes, I do know it is not done yet...) yet it has given me moments of great joy; I have shared true feelings of love given and received and it has only strengthened a faith that will not be shaken but will continue to be my rock.

So I purge forward to a "new life" that is, and always has been....mine!