Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hair In Waiting

My hair is still on my head.  Every day it starts to fall out a little more.  If I run my hand through my hair, 7 or 8 strands will come out.  Every few minutes I have to pick one or two strands off when I feel them fall.  It's gross but I just can't part with my hair yet.  I know I'm just prolonging the inevitable by waiting until the last minute to shave it off.  I'm surprised by the depth of my fear of being bald.  I'm not a fearful person so this anxiety that I've been feeling all week has completely caught me off guard.  Part of me wants to just get it over with and shave it all off so I can be done with the anticipation of how I'll handle it.  I don't know how I'll feel until it actually happens but once it does I can at least begin to process it.

Today I learned how to crochet.  I'm going to try it out for a while.  I'll see if I can regulate my OCD enough to allow myself to actually enjoy it.  I don't want to get my hopes up too much about a productive hobby.  :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sometimes Things Get A Little Bit Better

Last night my sister came over and cut my hair for me.  I put it in a pony tail and she chopped it off.  It's completely uneven and looks like a hack job but I don't really care.  It'll be easier to manage the hair that falls out now that it's shorter.  I'm not quite sure when I'll be ready to shave it all off.  I guess that will be when it starts coming out at a faster rate or when it starts to look bad.  In other words...any day now.

Today I had appointments all day in Santa Barbara.  The most important one was the one with my OB.  She did a quick ultrasound to check the placenta previa and it's already improved from my last ultrasound two weeks ago.  Hopefully by my next appointment I will be in the clear and can start exercising again.

I never updated about my appointment with the new plastic surgeon.  It went well.  I definitely feel like I can trust him to do a good job.  He filled the misplaced implant enough to smooth out the places that were pointy and causing discomfort.  I hate the way it looks.  My right pectoral muscle looks enlarged.  My sister says it doesn't look bad that it just looks like I'm swollen.  I don't like looking swollen.  I have a swollen pectoral muscle and a concave breast...not my idea of an appealing look.  I can't really complain much though.  At least it's not as uncomfortable as it was.

Tonight I came home to another gift of love from my friend Sharon who knows what it's like to lose both a breast and her hair.  I was given a book called Turning Heads.  It's filled with photographs of women who have lost their hair from chemotherapy.  The most special part is that Sharon wrote by hand scriptural promises throughout the book.  On one of those pages is a bald 35 year old mother blowing bubbles in the yard with her three children.  The scripture written on that page is Psalm 32:7 - "You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

The most amazing thing about this journey I'm on...the blessings that show up with perfect timing.  It's not just Sharon and her scripture filled book or June with her prayer's all of you.  Whether it's caring enough about me to read my blog, encouraging me with your kind words, sending me a text message that says good luck today, providing a meal, donating to the fundraiser, buying me hats, praying for me, sending money to help with my medical bills, wanting to sock my plastic surgeon or any of the other bazillion kindnesses that have been shown to all have blessed me.  There is no way I can ever express how greatly these blessings have impacted my life...these blessings that keep showing up at just the right times.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Obsessing About Hair

Today I was invited to go shopping with two of my friends, Heidi and Erika.  I told them I can't because I'm not supposed to be walking around but I wish I could because I need to buy some hats to prepare for the loss of my hair.  Heidi tells me she's going to shop for hats for me.  Heidi and Erika went out shopping.  Erika tried on the hats.  Heidi took pictures and texted them to me to find out which ones I liked.  It was so cute and sweet and kind.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the couch laughing at the photos of funny looking hats they sent as a joke.  After they finished shopping, they brought me the hats and they all fit (which is a miracle because of my huge head) and they were all adorable!

I now have the hats but I am totally unprepared to lose my hair.  I'm going to cry when I have to shave it all off.  I don't want to look like a cancer patient.  I could go get a wig but I don't like the way they look and I don't want one on my head.  I just don't want to lose my hair.  I don't want to lay in bed at night next to my husband with only one breast and a bald head.  Soon enough that will be the situation I find myself in.  I'm pretty sure the hair loss started today.

I'm thinking about the loss of my breast and it's not even a close comparison.  Logically it makes no sense to me that I should fear the loss of my hair more than the loss of my breast but that's exactly how I feel.  I really don't think I ever mourned the loss of my breast.  As soon as I found out it was cancer, I wanted it off of me and I couldn't get it off soon enough.  It was a relief to have it removed.  On the day of my mastectomy, the only emotion I remember feeling was fear that I wouldn't wake up.  I remember being wheeled into the operating room and I moved myself onto the operating table.  They started hooking me up to all the machines.  As soon as they put the oxygen mask on my face I started to cry.  I don't know who it was but someone wiped away my tears and spoke soothing words as the drugs put me under.  When I woke up I was just relieved to be alive and to have the cancer removed from my body.  So why can't I just accept the hair loss and stop obsessing about it?

I did end this post with the above paragraph and then decided to add more to it because I feel like I need to vent.  Who do I vent to?  I'm sitting here at 1 am feeling sorry for myself.  I feel so selfish.  How can I go from one extreme to the other in just a matter of a couple of hours?  I felt happy all day long, blessed by my friends and family.  How silly am I to feel alone when I am surrounded by loved ones showing me love in so many ways?  I'm so tempted right now to just go into the bathroom and cut my hair off...not shave it completely but to just throw it into a pony tail and chop it off.  Everyone keeps telling me that it's just hair and it will grow back.  I know that and I feel so irrational letting it affect me so greatly.

I just went into the bathroom and brushed out my hair, put it into a pony tail, took the scissors in my hand and I couldn't do it...

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Fine Line Between Too Much and Too Little Hair

As I was getting into the shower this morning, I looked around at all the hair products and I was thinking... this might be the last time I wash my hair.  Is losing my hair something I can really prepare myself for?  How did I prepare for losing my breast?  I didn't.  It happened and I was fine.  At least my breast removal was scheduled.  Maybe I should go ahead and schedule my hair loss as well rather than sitting around and waiting for it to happen.  As I'm contemplating all of this in the shower, I go to shave my arm pits and there's nothing to shave!  I am going to savor this one moment.  My hair is still firmly in my head and the hair has stopped growing on the rest of my body!  If I could just press pause on my current hair situation for the rest of my life, I would be one happy gal.

I have an appointment with my new plastic surgeon today.  I'm very excited about this appointment because for the past several weeks I've been trying to ignore the discomfort caused by the implant.  I'm not sure if I mentioned this in any of my previous posts but after the incompetent plastic surgeon filled and deflated the implant, I ended up with pointy ridges right under my arm pit that rub and cause quite a bit of discomfort.  The port sitting right under my bra line causes a problem for me to.  I don't really think he'll be able to do much for me right now but I'm hoping that he might possibly be able to fill the implant a tiny bit to smooth out those ridges.  We'll see.  This plastic surgeon comes very highly recommended.  He's also listed as the number one plastic surgeon in Ventura for several years running.  So I'm thinking it's a good indicator that he is probably going to be a competent plastic surgeon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cross Stitchers Anonymous

I haven't updated my bog in several days because I have been extremely busy.  I've spent the last several days doing counting cross stitch and when I needed a break from that, I was reading.  This may not sound all that busy to you, but if you have a little OCD that runs in your family too, maybe you can understand.  My mother-in-law so sweetly bought me the cross stitch.  At first I was really enjoying it.  As my OCD crept up on me, grabbed me by the neck and forced me to stitch away continuously until I had finally completed the project, it became much less enjoyable.  I am so relieved to say that I have finally finished and I think I will keep away from cross stitch from now on.
Keeping my hands busy has been good for me though.  I've stayed away from my computer and taken time to let my mind wander and process while I've been keeping my hands busy and my place on the couch warm.  Allowing my mind to wander has been nice.  It's really kinda fun to see where it takes me.  I think all this down time gives me a great opportunity to really evaluate myself and see who I really am.  I have to say, I am quite pleased with the work the Lord has done in me.  Despite a few set backs here and there, I am happy.  I feel blessed and I see those blessings everywhere I look.  My baby boy is so active.  I get overjoyed with every little movement.  I've been pregnant three times before this and always loved feeling my babies move but this time it's so different.  Every movement he makes I thank God for the reassurance it provides me.  I thank God that this baby is such a strong little guy.  I thank God that those strong movements inside of me make me confident in the fact that my son is protected.  If this little guy has the energy to be that active inside of me, he has to have plenty of energy to be growing well.  Blessings all around me, including inside of me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I was so afraid of what it would be like once I started chemo.  I'm irritated that the hardest part so far has been emotionally.  I'm trying to deal with the things that were said about me but it's not an easy thing for me to let go of.  I fall asleep thinking about it.  I wake up thinking about it and can't fall back to sleep.  I'm irritated that I can't control how it affects me.  I don't want this added stress right now.  For the sake of my unborn baby, I need to stop letting it eat at me.  The thing that bothers me so much is that what was said is a reflection of the hearts involved.  What was said is a reflection of a negative opinion of me.  What was said was done behind my back.  If I've said something that offends, I expect a true friend to come to me with that rather than letting it fester and turn their heart hard toward me.  Just because I have cancer doesn't mean that my loved ones should be afraid to tell me how they feel.  I'm not perfect.  I know that fact very well.  I know I'm not going to be perfect throughout this hard time.  Those surrounding me will most likely see me at my absolute worst.  This is a time in my life that is bringing out ALL of my weaknesses as well as my strengths.  What I need through this time is to be surrounded by people who are going to love me despite my weaknesses and to help me call me out on my crap in a LOVING way, in a compassionate way.

I don't know the whole story of exactly how the hurtful situation came to be.  But from what I do know, it all started with some comments I made within the first several days of my diagnosis.  At the time I was in shock and every thought going through my head was sarcastic.  I said many things that I never thought someone would take seriously.  One of these things that I said, from what I've been told, is one that motivated the comment.  I said, "If I have to have cancer and go bald, I'm going to be the only one.  Everyone else around me has to have hair, even the baby, if he's born without hair, he'll have to wear a wig."  Never in my life would I expect someone to take me seriously.  If you know me at all, you know that I am not looking forward to getting attention from having no hair.  Who would think that in the same conversation that I'm talking about making my baby wear a wig, that anything else I said would be serious?  I just don't get it.  I could type about this all day long. There are so many different aspects of this that are hurtful and confusing.  For someone who knows me to think that of me, hurts my pride.  For people who love me to mock me, breaks my heart.  To lose faith and trust in people I love, when I need them to be by my side walking me through this is so disappointing.  To lose sleep and to cry over this is maddening.

Note:  To those of you have have tried to comment and have been unable, I changed the restrictions on comments.  You can now comment freely...even as anonymous.  No need to comment on FB because you couldn't comment here anymore.  You can still comment on FB too.  I don't mind either way.  :)
(PS.  Commenting as anonymous is kinda lame if you ask me.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Discussions/Arguments I've Had

Some days I feel completely rational.  To those around me, I'm sure I appear pretty irrational.  Below are some of the conversations I've had that show how hard it is to tolerate my stubborn ways.  And these are just a few of the many.

This morning with my husband:
John:  How are you feeling?
Me:  Slight nausea consistently and a continuous throbbing headache.
John:  Did you call the doctor about the headache?
Me:  No.
John:  You know they said you should call and let the doctor know if you have a headache?
Me:  I think it's just because I haven't been sleeping well.
John:  Don't you think you should call either way?
Me:  Can you just call for me if you're that concerned?

With my sister:
Cyndi:  How's your headache?
Me:  It's still pretty bad.
Cyndi:  Have you taken anything?
Me:  No.  My liver is already working overtime with all the drugs in my system.  I don't want to burden it any more.
Cyndi:  It's a fact that you heal better when you're not in pain.  Take some motrin.
Me:  I can't take motrin.  I'm pregnant.
Cyndi:  Take tylenol
Me:  Tylenol is too hard on the liver.

Another one with my sister:
Cyndi:  I'm going to look into renting a wheelchair so we can get you out of the house.
Me:  I'm not going in a wheelchair.
Cyndi:  Why not?
Me:  Because I don't want to go out in public in a wheelchair.
Cyndi:  I think it would be good for you to get out of the house and be able to go shopping or I could walk around down town or at the beach with you.
Me:  I do not want to go out in a wheel chair.
Cyndi:  Why, because of your pride?
Me:  Yes because of my pride.  I can't bring myself to be out in a wheelchair with no hair, drawing attention to myself.  If you want to get me out of the house, we'll have to go somewhere where no walking is involved.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prayer Quilt

Yesterday I never got around to posting about the amazing gift I was given.  I was too focused on the hurt I was feeling but today I am choosing to focus on the multitude of blessings.  My mom asked me yesterday afternoon if I was feeling up to having a visitor.  I said of course when I found out it was June, who helped at my wedding 12 years ago as well as my fundraiser last weekend.  June came in and handed me a gift bag.  I opened it and this is the first thing I saw.
My prayer quilt.  June made me a quilt.  The entire time she was making it she prayed for me.  I am blown away.  What a gift of love.  I started to cry when I opened it because it is so stinkin' special.  After everything that has been done for me already, the love and kindness continue to come, one after another.

These are the things that I need to focus on.  It's so hard for me to not let the hurts get to me and cause me to feel insecure.  That's what it comes down to...those hurts that nag at me and sit at the back of my mind every once in a while spitting out lies at me.  "People are laughing at you.  They think the way you are handling this is disgraceful.  Your friends and loved ones are not loyal to you."  And this is one of my greatest struggles in life...with cancer or without.  Trust.  Who can I trust?  And with that said, I will release these insecurities and try to let them go because today I am making the choice to find my worth in the Lord and not in my value to the people surrounding me.

My devotion for today:
"I HAVE LOVED YOU with and everlasting Love.  Before time began, I knew you.  For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope.  All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms.
When time was right, I revealed Myself to you.  I lifted you out of that sea of despair and set you down on a firm foundation.  Sometimes you felt naked - exposed to the revealing Light of My Presence.  I wrapped an ermine robe around you: My robe of righteousness.  I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity.  I infused meaning into your mind and harmony into your heart.  Join Me in singing My song.  Together we will draw others out of darkness into My marvelous Light."

It's pretty amazing.  Yesterday I was wrapped in a quilt that June made for me.  He used her (and many, many others) to surround me with love.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Today I was hurt by two people I love.  I found out they were mocking me by saying, "Hey everyone, don't forget I have cancer."  And the response to that was, "I was totally thinking that!!"  Well, at least they're in agreement in their insensitive judgment of me.

I write this blog because it's a way for me to process my feelings.  And it's a way to keep people updated.  Half the time I write this I have no idea what I'm even feeling until it's actually down on the page.  I'm not writing this to get attention or to make people feel sorry for me.  I'm writing it because this is who I am and what I'm going through.  If people want to judge me and make comments on my blog about how I need to be happy with having one breast, I don't care.  I've always known that those who chose to judge me actually do me a favor by revealing themselves and allowing me to choose to not have them around.  From those who love me, I expect to be given the benefit of the doubt.  And that is definitely not what I have been given in this situation....if you can't tell, I'm pretty ticked off about it.

If you don't like what I have to say, then stop reading my blog and unfriend me on facebook.  I have never in my life been a person who enjoyed the spotlight.  I don't seek out situations where I can get attention.  You cannot accurately accuse me of enjoying the attention I am getting from having cancer.  I hate it!!  I love that people care and make me feel loved but I would so much rather be cancer free and continuing my life as I was before.  You can, however, accuse me of being self absorbed.  All I can think about is what I'm going through, what appointment comes next, what pill to take next, what I should be eating, when my hair is going to fall out, etc...  So, if I make some joke out of the blue about how I'm going to be bald and need to tattoo my entire head so it makes me look like it was my choice to be bald, it's because that is what's on my mind.  I'm scared.  I'm afraid of looking in the mirror and not liking what I see.  So, self absorbed...yes.  Maybe I should not go on facebook anymore because when people go on facebook they talk about their lives and my life is consumed with cancer.  I don't want people to think that I'm seeking more attention when I talk about my life.  Yes, I'm using a lot of sarcasm.

I e-mailed my oncologist because he said I need to be very careful about my bodily fluids not touching skin.  I thought of this last night when I was holding my daughter and crying.  So, I asked the oncologist about tears.  He said it's not a big deal unless I'm continuously crying.  So, I've been trying to catch my tears before they leave my eyes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sometimes Things Get a Little Bit Worse

I woke up this morning at 4 am and couldn't go back to sleep and that has made for a very long day for me.  I had an appointment with the perinatologist in Santa Barbara at 8:45.  We had another ultrasound of the little guy and he is simply perfect.  The only problem is that I have placenta previa.  I'm pretty irritated about it too.  I finally have full use of my arm after the surgery and am feeling like I am capable of doing some exercise and this happens.  The doctor says no sex, no lifting, and no excess walking.  He actually said, "For the next month you need to be a couch potato."  Are you kidding me?  I've been a couch potato for the past month and a half.  Then the guy has the nerve to ask me if I want to test for downs syndrome.  I'm 20 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  Don't you think that if I was interested in doing testing to make sure my baby is perfect that I would have done it by now?  I don't know that my response to him was very polite.  I said, "No thanks.  I want to keep my baby no matter what so I don't need the testing."

After that appointment, I had another appointment at the cancer center for a shot.  It's all part of the routine.  Monday I go in for chemo and 24 hours later I go in for a shot of a drug that I don't know the name of.  At least I know what it does.  It stimulates the bone marrow to start producing more good cells after the chemo obliterates all the good and the bad.

Tonight I'm pretty upset.  I feel like I've had one disappointment after another.  It makes it worse when I feel like I have a conflict at home too.  My husband is unhappy living at my parents house and I'm terrified of not living here and having the help.  A tough situation to resolve when you have two stubborn people unwilling to budge.  And here's one more to add to the end of my day... After the kids went to bed, my daughter started crying hysterically.  When I went in, I asked her why she was crying.  She said, "I'm afraid the baby in your tummy is going to die."  I started sobbing.  I couldn't even say anything to comfort her because I couldn't stop myself from crying.  Crying from my own fear and also mourning for my 5 year old little girl who should not have to worry about things like this.  I'm also angry at myself for not being strong enough to comfort her when she needed it.  I can blame it on the pregnancy hormones making me too emotional.  I can blame it on the fact that I have cancer and just started receiving chemo yesterday.  I can blame it on the continuous disappointment I've had over the last week.  I can combine them all together and try to blame it on the group as a whole.  It doesn't really matter though.  My little girl needed comfort and I couldn't provide it and there is no excuse for that.

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Chemo Treatment

See those dark circles under my eyes?  That's proof of my inability to sleep last night.  There I am in the photo with my nurse, Beverly.  She is injecting the adriamycin into my IV.  Weird that it is red, right?  Right now I'm sitting here in my little green chair with the last drug of the three.  It will take half an hour for this last one to get into my system.  So far I feel nothing except fatigue from my inability to sleep last night.  And I'm kinda hungry.

When I woke up this morning, I was feeling so extremely emotional.  I am taking a drug that is going to save my life as well as make it extremely uncomfortable for the next several months.  The next time I'm here I will be bald...bald and pregnant with one breast.  That's hard to swallow.

I'm here with my sister and my husband.  They're taking turns sitting with me because I'm only allowed to have one visitor at a time.  How blessed am I to have people taking turns to be at my side while I go through this?  God has truly blessed me with the most amazing people surrounding me.  Faith, family, friends and attitude are going to get me through this.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Amazing Love

Friday night was the most amazing night filled with the most amazing people!  The fundraiser was unbelievable!  We weren't able to get an actual count but estimate that more than 600 people attended the fundraiser.  The community came together to donate some unbelievable items for the silent auction and raffle.  A friend of mine from high school (who I haven't seen in at least 13 years) donated meat for the BBQ.  There were two bounce houses, a cotton candy machine and face painting for the kids.  Friends of the family made cupcakes and cookies for desserts.  People I have never met before spent several hours of their evening cooking, setting up tables, cleaning and much more.  My family spent every ounce of energy they had to make the fundraiser a success.  My sister Cyndi is the most capable and talented woman I know.  She made the decision 4 weeks ago to do the fundraiser and she put it all together and turned it into an incredible success.  I am in complete shock and awe over the love and support the community has shown to me.  I feel so loved and covered with prayer.  I have never experienced anything like what was done for me at that fundraiser and I am so grateful.  I don't know that I'll ever be able to express with words the impact it has had on me. 

The pictures up top are of a series of four paintings that were made for the fundraiser by our family friend, Cyndi Nichols who has known me for my entire life.  I loved them so much that my mom bid on them and bought them for me because she thought it would be a good thing for me to have hanging in my room while I'm going through treatment.  God's love has been pouring down on me through so many different, friends and even strangers.

Tomorrow chemotherapy begins.  I've been having anxiety about it all day long.  I don't know that it's possible to prepare myself for what is in store.  I find myself feeling emotional when I think about the fact that tomorrow I will take a drug that will make my hair fall out.  I've always liked my hair.  I'm going to hate having to lose it.  I hope I don't lose my eyebrows and eyelashes.  I suppose it is a small price to pay for being healthy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Prosthetic Breast

Today I woke up feeling great.  I was thinking about how this hard time in my life is an opportunity for me to grow.  I was thanking God for this opportunity to become stronger.  It sounds ridiculous, I know.  I may sound like some kind of holier than thou, life is a bowl of cherries even though I have cancer, take everything in stride kind of gal...but that's just not the truth.  I have faith and I have hope but at the end of the day I am still just a weak and broken human.  The perfect example of that is the last 4 hours I've spent in tears or holding back tears.  Even now as I type this I have to stop to dry my eyes.

It started off as such a great day.  I spent the morning with my sister and my mom.  At 12:30, my sister, Cyndi, my husband and I headed up to Santa Barbara for my teaching appointment in preparation for beginning chemo on Monday.  This appointment is where they go over all the side effects, what to expect, prescriptions needed, reasons to be concerned, warning signs to watch for and so on.  They also went over the cost of treatment.  It will cost approximately $4,500 every time.  Thank God for insurance!  My part will be close to $500 due at every treatment.  I also picked up three different prescriptions to help with all the side effects like nausea and vomiting.  They sent me on my way and said, "See ya Monday!"

In my last post I said I was seeing a new plastic surgeon.  Yes, that is still true but he couldn't get me in until the end of the month and I needed to get my expander filled ASAP while my skin is still soft and still has it's elasticity.  I really didn't want to go back to him but after talking to some people about it, I decided that I would just go ahead and have him fill the expander.  I mean...what could go wrong.  All he has to do is stick a needle into the port and inject some saline.  SIGH...  Fortunately my sister got called into work and wasn't able to stay for the appointment with the plastic surgeon.  

I laid down on the procedure table.  The doctor took out a permanent marker and marked the spot where the port is and where the needle would need to be inserted.  He put on his gloves, cleaned the site, injected the area with a local anesthetic, and inserted the needle to begin filling the expander.  As soon as the needle went in, I flinched from the pain on my ribs.  I told him it hurt my rib and it felt like too much pressure on my rib cage.  He looked at me like I'm stupid and began to inject the saline into me.  The pressure on my ribs was horrible.  I felt like I couldn't take a breath because breathing would cause my rib cage to expand and the pressure and pain was too much.  The pressure continued to increase and was spreading to the surrounding area.  I told him several times about the pressure on my ribs.  He stopped injecting the saline  I looked down and saw blood in the end of the syringe.  I know nothing about medicine but I have enough common sense to know that if he had inserted the needle into the port there wouldn't be a back up of blood in the syringe.  The doctor then says exactly that to me.  Try number two... new needle, the doctor actually put pressure on my skin around the port to hold it in place and make sure the needle went in the right place.  He began filling the expander.  I felt my upper chest below my clavicle begin to expand.  I looked down...he kept missing breast stayed concave and my upper chest continued to grow.  300cc in I asked if there was a point in having an expander if it isn't expanding the skin where my breast is supposed to be.  He started to tell me about how he didn't want to use this expander because it doesn't attach to anything and he usually uses a different one with metal in it that attaches to the rib cage.  Blah, blah, blah... excuses...excuses...  He said he needs to go in and fix it surgically.  I told him he can't because I'm beginning chemo on Monday.  He asked why not.  I thought to myself...Aren't you a doctor?  Shouldn't you know the answer?  He told me we could leave it partially filled and see if that would help.  He began to drain the expander.  With 100cc left in the expander, he asked me what I thought.  I told him to go ahead and drain the whole thing.  I don't need to look like I have enlarged pectoral muscles and a concave breast.  He drained it and I left.  

I started to cry on the way home.  I kept thinking about the difficult decision I had to make in deciding to extend the surgery time by an hour in order to have the expander put in.  That was a difficult decision to make while I'm pregnant.  I thought about the beautiful work Dr. Grafton (my general surgeon) had done to rid my body of the cancerous breast and to prepare it for the implant.  I am so angry and disappointed!  I paid to have a breast and now I'm not going to get one for at least a year...because of incompetence!  And to have that happen right after I had to hear about my upcoming loss of hair, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, etc...  Poor me.  Poor, poor me.  I should be allowed to feel sorry for myself without feeling guilty for at least one evening, right?  Nope...I feel guilty.  I am blessed and I need to focus on my blessings and get over this self pity.  Self pity never did me any good other than to bring on depression.

Tonight I went down to the local corset shop and bought myself a new prosthetic breast.  Four hundred dollars worth of fake boob.  The only problem...the bra sits right on top of the rib where the port is.  It's quite painful.  I guess that's one more thing that should have been considered by the plastic surgeon.  He screwed up in giving me an implant and the other alternative of a prosthetic breast is extremely uncomfortable.  The only other alternative is to strut my stuff with one breast and I say no thank you to that option.

The biggest blessing of the day... the rib came between the needle and my lung.  It could have been so much worse!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chemo Scheduled

I had a wonderful birthday last Friday.  I spent the day surrounded by loved ones.  To the left is a photo of me and my little girl who couldn't wait to get her hands on that cake.  We spent Sunday with friends who came to visit from Tracy.  We had a very nice time but getting out of the house for the day made me realize how weak I still am.  I was exhausted.

I have officially received my tentative chemotherapy schedule.  I will begin treatment on Monday, June 11th.  I received a call yesterday from the plastic surgeon stating that he found some "strange bacteria" at the surgical site.  I emailed the info to my oncologist and he wanted to get me on antibiotics immediately.  All this had to go through the OB who said there are no oral antibiotics for this kind of infection that are safe for the baby.  They wanted me to go in for a shot.  I wasn't able to get up to Santa Barbara before all the doctor's had gone home for the day so I was told to come in first thing the following morning.  Then I got a call from the general surgeon who wanted me to come in and see her before I had any antibiotics.  So that's what I did.  First thing this morning I went in to see the general surgeon.  She said that I absolutely do NOT have an infection.  If I had the bacterial infection that showed up on the culture, I would have high fevers, would need to go to the hospital for IV antibiotics, and I would have had to have the implant removed.  Needless to say...I'm pretty happy that I don't have an infection.  I am pretty irritated with my plastic surgeon though.  When I called my husband to tell him the results of my appointment, he informed me that at the appointment when all this bacteria was found, the plastic surgeon had washed his hands and then blew his nose with the same paper towel he used to dry his hands with.  And this was before he examined the incision, removed the stitches and swabbed the surgical sight.  No wonder there was disgusting bacteria found!  Who knows if the scissors and tweezers he was using were even sterilized.  I have an appointment scheduled with my new plastic surgeon in two weeks and my husband has been properly chastised.  At times having four different doctors makes my head spin.