Cancer Free.

by debi9kids on May 28, 2017

I’ve been home from the hospital for seven days. My surgery was 14 days ago, and while I’d love to say I’m feeling better with each passing day, the truth is that I’m feeling pretty lousy.
There have been many days where I thought I should update but honestly I just haven’t had the energy.

A woman in my online breast cancer group warned me that for every 5 minutes that I did somethinMog physical, I’ll end up sleeping for two hours.
I thought she was kidding.
Turns out, she wasn’t.

I don’t think I’ve felt this exhausted since giving birth to twins, except at least with twins the bonus was that I had twins.
My bonus with this surgery is that I have an incision that runs from hip bone to hip bone and “lollipop” incisions on both breasts where my nipples used to be.
But hey, I am cancer free!
So, there’s that.

My surgery,  as it turned out, was scheduled May 16th and supposed to be 8 hours long. My mom and Hugh both brought me to the hospital and originally planned to drop me off and go home  (since my hospital is so far away from where we live). However,  since surgery was expected to be shorter,  they decided to stay so they could see me when I woke up.

I honestly don’t remember much before being taken back to surgery other than kissing them both goodbye and being filled with a lot of anxiety.
I remember waking up and seeing their faces and being told that my surgery took much longer than expected (more than 12 hours!).
They left to go home to sleep and I went to sleep as well (or as much as you can sleep when the hospital staff wakes you every single hour to check the blood flow in your transplanted skin cells).

My surgery was a double mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction (along with Tram flap reconstruction).
Essentially my body went through amputation and transplant surgery where I was the donor of the organs.
And trust me, I feel every single ounce of it and hurt everywhere.

The morning after my surgery I awoke barely able to see and extremely frustrated and angry.
And I’m quite certain everyone who saw me, knew it.
I couldn’t focus on anything or anyone.
Everything I looked at was blurry and no one had an explanation why, except that my body was in shock and “hopefully it would get better”.

I cried.
A lot.

It took a good,  solid week for me to even sort of get my vision back,  and it still remains mostly blurry and completely changed where my eye glasses are no longer the correct prescription.

I came home with strict instructions to do virtually nothing but “relax and heal” for the next two weeks.
I’m allowed to shower, although that’s complicated since I’m not allowed to lift my arms above my head or bend at the waist.

Pretty much I spend my day in a recliner my son Alex bought me, wanting to cry, because my drains hurt 24/7.

I am thankful, however, for family members and some friends who have made meals for my family.
I’m thankful for my mom who checks with me each day to see what needs to be done, whether it’s running to the pharmacy or just picking up groceries, and makes sure we don’t go without.
I’m thankful for my kids who are willing (& able) to do the laundry and are teaching themselves to cook (with my supervision). And who help get their little brother up each morning for school and who help get me out of my chair every single time I need to move.
I’m thankful for a boyfriend who puts up with the “excitement” that is now our life, which includes him shaving ny legs since I can’t bend to do it myself. True love, I tell ya.

And mostly, I am thankful to be alive and cancer free.
I’ve waited almost a year to hear those words and when my surgeon came to my room after surgery to tell me that pathology on my tissue came back “cancer free”, she cried right along with me…

Cancer free.
Two of the most amazing words in the English dictionary.

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An update

by debi9kids on April 17, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve updated.
I had a bit of a set-back where chemo was concerned and it had to be cut short.
I was having trouble tolerating the Taxol and was having really bad neuropathy in my hands and feet and ended up in the hospital twice with SVTS in the high 200’s (I don’t recommend this. The only way to get my heart rate normalized was to be given a drug that shocks the heart back into a normal sinus rhythm. Ouch!).

So, long story short, I’m done chemo.
My official last day was March 27th and it was a very emotional day that I was glad I was able to share with Hugh.
At the end of the final session my nurse handed me a quilt signed by the oncology nurses and then she had me read a poem on the wall.
And then I rang the bell…
It was incredibly emotional,
more than I was expecting.
And instead of being silly and ringing the bell with a goofy smile on my face,
I cried.

I haven’t cried much since I was diagnosed.
But I did cry ringing that bell.

Cancer is as scary as people make it out to be.
And it creeps into your mind and fears often when you don’t even have it.
When you do have cancer, you do your best to push it out of your mind and not give into the fears,
But it’s always there.

And now that chemo is done, the real fear is present…
When will it return?
Not if, but when?

And I’d love to say those fears aren’t mine, but I’d be lying.

My double mastectomy is scheduled for May 16th and between now and then I’m praying for clean margins,
no rogue cells,
for God to guide my surgeon’s hands,
and for peace of mind.

I’d appreciate your prayers too.

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I don’t want to get my hopes up…

February 8, 2017

It appears my hair might be growing back! Now, I don’t want to get too excited. A. It’s coming in VERY slowly. B. Only about 40% of patients on Taxol have their hair grow back while on treatments. But, it does look like it’s coming in. In some spots. And more special, some is snow […]

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What would you do with it?

January 20, 2017

Lately I’ve kind-of been feeling like I just don’t care about certain things in life anymore and I think it’s p*ssing people off. They aren’t exactly saying that I’m angering them, but I can see it in their faces and honestly I’m definitely not in that fake-it-til-you-make-it kind of mood. I have cancer. And you […]

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Untitled. Because I can’t find the right words

January 18, 2017

I’d love to say I’m always positive, but the truth is, I’m definitely not. There are definitely moments, like tonight, where for no reason, I get pre-occupied with “why me?” Wasn’t it enough to have skin cancer? Twice? Or a cheating ex-husband that I forgave and took back after he got the woman pregnant only […]

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From the mouths of babes

January 16, 2017

Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes *My daughter Emma has decided to share some of her feelings about cancer. Please leave her comments and I will read them with her. PS I did edit for grammar and punctuation but left her words as […]

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The Next Step

January 9, 2017

I finished my first round of chemotherapy. Thank God! That Neulasta was abusive. The second round began today with an appointment with my oncologist where I had to sign papers approving the usage of Taxol and read through the 3 pages of probable and possible side effects. It makes a girl feel all warm and […]

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