Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Halfway through herceptin

I had a herceptin infusion today. It marked the halfway point in my herceptin treatment. I have to go every three weeks until December. My nurse counted them all down for me and we discovered that after today I have completed 50% of it. Nice.

I also found out today that I have strep throat. Julianna had it about two weeks ago. She was recultured on Friday and it was negative. When I went to the doctor today I asked them to check me because my throat hurt. Sure enough, positive. They said that adults are usually pretty sick with strep. I always was but this time I don't feel too bad. I think its all relative. Even if it were the same it would be bad a year ago but now, not so much. Nothing can really be all that bad anymore because I was soooooooo sick with the chemo.

Smudge is also on an antibiotic for a bad cough. Our whole little family has been on them in the last few weeks. I zoomed him to the vet because he sounded like a cat with a hairball. I thought he had something caught in his throat but the vet told me that is how dogs cough. He is not supposed to exert himself but he doesn't listen. I hope he clears up soon.

Yesterday was my birthday!!! I am so happy to leave 44 behind. I had a bad feeling about it when it showed up last year. I am happy to see it go. I am told that people who lose a parent at a young age have extreme emotional difficulty with reaching the age their parent was when they died. This is found to be especially true with a same sex parent. I absolutely felt this way before I got the cancer and then getting it felt like I was right all along, 44 is bad. I am super happy to be 45 now. I passed the dreaded age and it sure feels good.

The American Cancer Society says it is the official sponsor of birthdays. I think that is pretty great.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Important Message From Julianna, Age 2

An important message from Julianna, age 2:

My Great Grandmother had breast cancer.
My Grandmother died of breast cancer. She was 44 years old. She never got to meet me or my cousins.
My Mother has breast cancer. She said she will beat it so she doesn’t have to leave me.
I want her to see me grow up.
I don’t want to get breast cancer. The odds are against me.
My Mother is walking in The LI 2 day Breast Cancer Walk to raise money help fight this disease. She finished chemo in March and will have more surgery in June.
Please sponsor her to help all the women fighting and all the kids like me.

Please sponsor my Mom!!

Click the link below to donate online:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Plastic Surgeon

I saw Dr. Keller today. He is my plastic surgeon. We had to talk about the upcoming surgery as well as schedule it.

He is going to remove the tissue expander from the left side and replace it with an implant. It will be a silicone implant. I was a little iffy about the silicone but he assures me that it is different than it used to be. He said if I used saline it would look like a water balloon under the skin. He said that saline works for breast augmentation because there is breast tissue there. The breast tissue is above the implant and it looks realistic. In my case, there is no breast tissue so the silicone is needed because it is thicker and will act more like breast tissue.

He said that the type of silicone they use in these implants is made to stay in place if the implant ruptures. He said it is likely that I will have an implant rupture in my lifetime. That is one of the reasons why I didn't go with implants from the beginning. They are a lot of maintenance.

The right breast also needs some work. That would always be the case. The transplanted tissue is doing well, but it really isn't shaped like a breast. The second stage of the DIEP process is where they shape it. He will be removing some fat from a part of my body yet to be determined. He said it will only be about half a pound. Then he will inject the fat into spots on the breast to make it look more breast like.

Dr. Keller said I will need to be off from work for 2 to 3 weeks after this surgery. I can't lift Julianna. I can't drive right away but I am sure I will be faster than average with that. It is scheduled for June 23rd.

I will need another few surgeries after this one. Because one side will be an implant and the other is transplanted tissue they will look very different. Dr. Keller said they can never get complete symmetry when there are two different reconstruction methods. He is going to try to get them as close as possible. He is going to do a breast lift on the right side. It will likely be in the fall. The breast lift is because the right side is pretty naturally falling but the left side, an implant, will be high. After the lift there will be at least one more surgery.

I am not looking foward to any of these surgeries. I know each time the recovery has been very difficult. I really don't have any choice with this one because the fill port on the tissue expander is blocking the view in the MUGA (heart) scan. The fill has metal in it and it is right above my left ventricle. They need to see the left ventricle to figure out if the herceptin is doing any damage to my heart.

Thanks everyone for all the support!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. ~Abraham Lincoln

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms reading this. This is, of course, a hard day for everyone whose Mom is gone. I miss my Mother everyday. It is amazing, after 28 years it can still feel so new.

I remember how, at sixteen I looked down at my forty four year old Mother in a hospital bed and saw only the distance between our ages. Surely I could do all I wanted before then if I too were to meet the same fate. I now realize how very young she was and very frightened she must have been.

I am thankful for all she did in the very short time we had her. I realize she did so much to shape my life. I certainly hope that I can be as good a Mom to Julianna as my Mother was to me.

If roses grow in heaven, Lord pick a bunch for me.
Place then in my Mother's arms and tell her they're from me .
Tell her that I Love her and miss her everyday
Then when she turns to smile

place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile.
Remembering her is easy, I do it everyday
But there's an ache within my heart that ...
will never go away.

Happy Mother's Day Mom, I love you. XXXXOOO

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Hello everyone! I have been crazy busy lately. Also stressed out thinking about the upcoming surgery.

I went for my herceptin Monday. The port wouldn't work so they are sending me for a dye test to see why it isn't working. If that doesn't work I might have to have a surgery to replace the port.

They also said they are not sure why I am still so swollen. They said the chemo should have really gotten out of my system by now. My hands, feet and face are still very swollen. I also still have twitching to my eyes so I am guessing the chemo is still in me to some degree. But, they said it could be heart effects from the herceptin so they are sending me for another MUGA scan. I am due for it anyway. I am hoping it has nothing to do with my heart but it is a possible side effect from the herceptin so they have to check it out.

I am seeing the plastic surgeon on Thursday. We are supposed to schedule the exchange surgery at that time. The exchange surgery is when they remove the tissue expander and put a breast implant in. I am worried about that surgery. The surgery I had to put the expander in was the worst one of all of them. I am worried this may turn out to be a repeat of that. It will mean I can't pick Julianna up for some time. I will be happy to get the tissue expander out because it hurts all the time and I am very lopsided, but, I am not looking to repeat the last experience.

Even though I am thrilled that the chemo is over I wish all the treatment were finished. I keep waiting to look and feel like my regular self and it is not happening yet. My blood counts are still low too. I am hoping they come up soon and that it will give me a bit of energy.

Thanks everyone for all the help, encouragement and understanding.