Archive for February, 2009
I had another follow up with my plastic surgeon. The next step is to lift my natural breast to match the implanted breast. The doctor apparently cuts in a circle around the nipple with a little tail that goes off to one side on the bottom side of the breast so that the incision looks like a helium balloon. Then they move the nipple up higher on the breast and bring all of that skin together to lift the breast to a new position. OUCH! ha
I am not looking forward to the surgery, but I am looking forward to getting it over. It will be fun to buy new bras to go with my new breasts. ha It is really amazing what plastic surgery can do these days and I feel very blessed to have insurance coverage that pays for the reconstruction. I am also very lucky to have an incredible surgeon who I trust completely.
Please pray for this next stage in my reconstruction so that things go smoothly. Thank you for lifting me in prayer.
Add comment February 28th, 2009
1. Anti-Nausea. Take your anti-nausea drugs before you start to feel nauseated and take them for at least the two days following your chemo therapy treatment. If one drug isn’t working, take the next one on the list, and so on.
2. Eat! It is so important to eat and mix some food in with all of the drugs in your system. The more you eat, the better you will feel. Eat comfort foods. If you can’t stomach any thing else, try ice cream or a shake. You will get several calories and fat that you need.
3. Be comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes like sweat pants to chemo and for a few days afterwards. If you are uncomfortable in a wig, wear a pretty scarf, turban or hat that is more comfortable. Enjoy being bald. The plus side is you save several hours a week doing your hair.
4. Get your rest. Relax, take naps and go to bed early. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your oncologist for medication to make it easier to sleep. Your body does most of it’s healing while you are asleep.
5. Get a port. I am sorry that I didn’t look into getting a port soon enough. I have had several infusions and after awhile your veins wear out, get scared, and even hide when you go in to have an IV.
6. Don’t be afraid to hurt your Chemo nurses feelings. If you don’t get a port or a pick to make your infusions easier, do not be afraid to ask for what you want when it comes to getting an IV. Build a repore with a couple of different nurses in the infusion room and ask for them when you go in. I have found two where I go that are excellent at getting IV’s in my arm. They only have to stick me once instead of 3 or 4 times.
7. Get a ride. Have someone take you to and from infusions. You may not feel well when you are done with your chemo infusion. It’s better to have someone drive you home.
Add comment February 22nd, 2009
1. Have faith. Have faith in God. Have faith in your doctors. Have faith you will get better.
2. Listen to your Oncologist and do everything they tell you to do. Their job is to save your life. If you don’t trust your Oncologist to do that, then it is time to find a new Oncologist.
3. Don’t over research your illness on the internet. I have found this to be more destructive than it is helpful. There are too many bad stories on the internet. If you think about it, most people don’t write encouraging stories. They tend to write about bad experiences. I told my Oncologist when I got cancer that at least in the begining I would not be surfing the internet researching my type of cancer. I told her that she was going to be my primary source of information and that I trusted her to tell me what I needed to know. I even asked that she not tell me the statistics of death associated with my stage and type of cancer because I wanted to focus on the positive and believing that I would get better. Which leads to my next tip.
4. Attitude is everything! A positive attitude is half the battle in cancer recovery. You have to believe that your treatment is working for it to work. You have to keep a positive energy running through your body to give youself the best possible chance of recovering. There is always someone out there worse off than yourself. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get moving.
5. Exercise. Exercise as much as your body and energy will allow. Don’t push yourself too hard. A great place to start is a swimning pool because you can do very gentle exercises without stress to your joints.
6. Find emotional support. It is important to have some moral support from either a spouse, parent, friend, or support group. If your spouse isn’t supporting you emotionally, find someone that will. You deserve it.
7. Pray. Pray for youself and ask others to pray for you. I felt the positive energy of the prayers of my family, friends, and others all during treatment. It is a very powerful tool.
Add comment February 18th, 2009
I had my first mammogram Tuesday post cancer. Since I only have one real breast left after cancer, I only have to have one smashed between the glass plates. Wouldn’t you think with all the advances in medicine that they would have come up with a better way by now to examine a breast for breast cancer?
Tuesday was the first time I have seen the films of my lump in my cancerous breast from a year ago. It was very obvious on the film. It was a large, white circular shadow on the film. It was a little strange to be sitting in the same chair I was last year waiting for the x-ray technician to start the mammogram. The last year went much faster than I expected it to. It is nice to be mostly done with the hard parts of treatment.
Thankfully, my new films looked clear of cancer and there were no significant changes in my healthy breast. I am glad to say I don’t have to start this whole nightmareish process over again. It would be really nice to have an uneventfully 2009. After the last 5 years, I deserve some peace.
Add comment February 12th, 2009
I had my very first hair cut last week since I had chemo and went bald. It is exciting to finally have enough hair to have it cut into a style. I finished chemo in July, and it is just now long enough to have it cut. It takes a long time to grow back a reasonable amount of hair after being bald. There are people that don’t recognize me. People that only met me after I had cancer walk right by me now because they don’t recognize me with hair.
I had another heart test last week and it came back fine. My heart function actually went up one to 51%, which is good. I have another infusion of Herceptin scheduled this week since my heart is holding in there.
Here is a little tip if you are a chemo nurse. When your patient tells you that it is very difficult to get a vein in her arm, she is not kidding. Swallow your pride and go and get the best IV nurse in the building and let them do it. After being stabbed 100′s of times in the last year, I would really appreciate it if the nurses would keep the needle attempts down to a minimum.
This week I went and bought myself a necklace with a pendant in the shape of a ribbon with pink saphires in it. It is my gift to myself after surviving this last year of breast cancer, surgeries, chemo, radiation, infusions, shots and everything else that goes into cancer treatment. I am proud to say that I am a Survivor!!!
Add comment February 3rd, 2009