Monday, March 30, 2009

Joining the Marines????

I never thought I'd see the day when I would have a hairdo like a Marine!!!!! But I do have to say. . . . I've never been so happy to see HAIR!!!!

Today was the first day I ventured out WITHOUT my cancer hat! It's just getting too hot anymore to wear that thing. And since I've been on the Arimidex (the hormone blocker), I have been one HOT MOMMA, with the crabby sweats! No kidding, I've been sleeping with those ice packs that you put in your picnic coolers. It's that bad.
I go from ice cold, cuddling in quilts, to throwing them off, declaring to the whole world (mostly just Buster as he is the only one who will listen) that I'm dying of the heat! So hats are gone! If you want to call me "sir", a marine, or whatever, I'll put up with it until I get some more hair. Funny how it's growing in. white around the edges, black on top. And it's as soft as puppy fur --- everyone wants to rub it like you do a puppy's belly!!!!!

So I saw the Dr. today. Or should I say the nurse practioner. Does anyone ever see a Dr. anymore????? But. . . . I must say, I REALLY like this lady! She takes a lot of time, cares a lot, asks a million questions, etc. Blood Pressure is down, so that is one worry off the list.

Came home, only to wait a little and head back out for the radiation treatment. #21 today. Again, everyone wanted to rub my head!!! It was like some kind of celebration. But a few hours after the treatment, I noticed blisters!!!! Those dreaded blisters have now appeared. I'm glad, though, that I only have a few more weeks to go with this and it will all be getting better again. I keep telling myself that I had the all time worst sunburns when I was a kid and lived through double peelings, horrible pain, etc., so I can get through this, too. What's the worst that could happen. . . . I whine and moan a little to whoever will listen.

By the way, have you ever seen a mastectomy scar that has been radiated, heated up repeatedly, slathered with grease, and recooked????? If you don't want to look, quit now! But here it is! Mind you, this is from the center of my sternum to my armpit:

In another month, this will all be forgotten and behind me. At least that is what I keep telling myself! Don't you just love that old song, "We've come this far by faith. . . ."

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Crappy Doctor's Visit!

Ok! So maybe that's a little harsh to use the word, "crappy!" As I said in my last post, I am having some "separation issues" with all of this, and don't like the words "almost done," etc. Now, all of a sudden, I WANT to be monitored by a doctor, and I want to know the minute a cancer cell reappears somewhere and have it zapped out of me right then and there! Being weaned off my oncologist is NOT a secure feeling for me. But I do know that his job is done. . . for now. . . . forever, I hope and pray!

I thought today I would have LOTS of questions for this guy about how I would know if the cancer was coming back, what are the symptoms to look for, etc., etc. But he took control of the session right from the start. He looked at the site where my boob once was, and had this HUGE smile on his face, his eyes lit up, and he was almost giggly happy as he said, "BOY!!!!! does that ever look great! I never dreamed that it would close up like that!", etc., etc. And to him, that was the end! Kapotz! Over! Success! When I did ask about the future, it was like I burst his balloons of celebration. All he could tell me was, if I suspect something or feel something, let him know. And I don't see him again for another 6 weeks. So that was the extent of my 6-week check up.

So. . . . I guess I'm doing fine for now. A couple more weeks of radiation every day, and that will all be over with, too! Isn't it strange how we become so attached to the care we receive. As long as I felt I was doing something to "fight" this cancer thing, I felt positive. Now. . . .I don't know how to feel. For nine months, this has been my focus, and there hasn't been much else in my life except getting through each day of treatment. Now all of a sudden, I have my life back, and I'm finding there isn't much in my life at all right now.

New beginnings. Where do I start? I do know one thing, my heart has changed a LOT! No more whining about what I don't have, about what I'd like to have, etc., etc. I've become so thankful for each day, for the people around me who have cared so much and helped me through, for all my blogging friends, their prayers and love and encouragement, and learning what's important in life and what is not. Values seem to change when you begin to calculate. . . . all the charts seem to say that I have a 68% chance of this cancer returning within two years. Not very good odds, to say the least. If I make it past the two years, then it goes down to 51% chance of returning. With those figures constantly dancing in my head, there are a lot of things being tossed from the "important" pile into the "not important" pile, believe me! I've also begun to re-evaluate my faith. I always thought I had a very strong faith, but find myself wondering why I have this anxious feeling all the time! If I were so full of faith, I would just go on about my daily to-do lists and not worry about tomorrow at all. I've so appreciated all the comments that you have left me about living for today and not worrying. I feel very guilty about how many times I have told others that, not understanding what they were going through. Now that I'm there, I do understand, and the Lord has shown me my lack of trust and reliance on Him. I am way too self-sufficient and self-relient, and to be stripped of that is very hard!

So my goal for tomorrow is to NOT think about cancer returning, but rather, to think about finding something new and beautiful in each new day God gives me! Want to join me?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wisteria and Radiation

I can't believe how fast things change once the weather turns warm for a week or so! All the leaves are popping out on the trees --- even my Sycamore tree is showing a return to life. But the most beautiful site of all is this:

I have to say, Wisteria has to be one of my all time favorite flowers (or vine) and whenever I see it, I always stop and gaze for a while! Those sites where it has overtaken a house, or an archway, etc., is so breathtaking, and I'm hoping mine will just cover my whole fence one day.

Another week down with radiation and heat treatments! Half way through with 16 over with. I can't say that anything is sore or hurting --- there is a little redness in the area that is being treated. But I'm making sure I keep creams, etc., slathered all over it as much as I can. Kay, over at
The Rustic Cottage
is on a quest to come up with a "radiation cream" for me and others going through breast cancer. She makes the most wonderful soaps, lotions, creams, etc., so go over there and check her out! It seems that radiation gradually breaks down the skin to where it begins to sluff off, leaving raw, oozing "burns" at times. I'm hoping to avoid that. Most gals say that it heals up pretty fast after the treatments are over. I'll be looking forward to seeing what Kay comes up with.

The only side affect I seem to have from the radiation is being a little more tired than usual. I can handle that. But I am a little concerned about the fluctuating blood pressure. I never had problems with that before. Sometimes it's like 200/105, other times it's 130/88. The Dr. gave me pill to take each day, and an "emergency pill" for when it is over 160/100. After a while, you become obsessed with taking your blood pressure, and I've just had to put the machine away and set certain times for taking it. What is --- is! It seems that one of the main side effects to Arimidex is high blood pressure. I would hate to have to give that up, as it is the best hormone inhibitor there is for those whose cancer is hormone positive (which mine is.) I'm praying I can get the blood pressure under control and still take the pill!

Hair!!!!! It's really growing fast now. It feels like a short-haired dog's fur. I'm almost tempted to go out now with NO hat at all and just show the world my radical head! The hats are getting HOT, and since I seem to be having the sweats lately, I'll be very glad to be rid of those things! I remember when I first lost my hair, my head was soooo sensitive and I would say, "My hair hurts!" I had forgotten about that until someone mentioned their head being sensitive. I think in the midst of other horrible reactions to chemo, your head becomes the least of your complaints and you forget about that one!

The feelings I've been having have been strange ones lately as I come to the end of this cancer journey. I've looked forward so much to being rid of all this and ending all the trips to the Cancer Center, etc. But as my appointments become farther and farther apart with my oncologist (first every 2 weeks, then every 6 weeks, etc.), I have this underlying slight panic feeling that maybe I need more. . . . of what, I don't know! All the "what if's" seem to creep in. I wonder what the signs and symptoms are if the cancer shows up somewhere else, how soon, is it there now, etc. I sound pretty faithless, don't I? But all those who have been down this road seem to have those same fears. You look at all the per centages of possible return cancer and you wonder which side of those numbers you are on -- the return cancer or the cancer free.

All I can say is, cherish each day God gives you. Learn what is really important, get rid of what isn't! Take time with those you love, and nurture your relationship with the Lord. In the end, when all is said and done, isn't that really the most important thing in life?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Recipe for Washing Clothes!

oh, for those good old days again. Now count your blessings!

Washing Clothes Recipe

Never thought of a 'washer' in this light before..what a blessing!

' Washing Clothes Recipe' -- imagine having a recipe for this ! ! !

Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe:

This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.

Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed.. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.
Paste this over your washer and dryer Next time when you think things are bleak, read it again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and give thanks. First thing each morning you should run and hug your washer and dryer, also your toilet---those two-holers used to get mighty cold!

For you non-southerners -wrench means rinse. ;)


Friday, March 13, 2009

More of the Same!

I know it's been a while since I posted last. Whenever I sat down here at the computer, it seemed that I could only repeat my last post, as I seem to be doing the same thing day after day after day. . . .

You would think by now they would have developed something where you wouldn't have to go every single day for this radiation treatment. Get up, wait a while, shower (make sure you get all the cream off that you slathered on the day before), get dressed, last minute check for underarm odor (no deodorant allowed), drive all the way to the Cancer Center, spend 2 minutes getting the treatment, and home again. I don't know why, but it seems to ruin the whole day.

Radiation does seem to have a tiring effect on people. And I'm feeling it. I don't feel like doing anything afterwards. Sleeplessness might have something to do with that. I am having the night sweats like crazy. In fact, I'm taking ice packs to bed with me!!!!

My chest is just starting to show some redness. I've finished 11 treatments, so that's 19 more to go.

The only problem I've run into is very high blood pressure all of a sudden. I just can't believe it, as I've never had blood pressure problems before. I had my weekly check in with blood work, weight, temp, and BP taken, and the BP was sky high. My oncologist gave me a prescription for it, but said I had to find a primary care physician as he "didn't do blood pressure." So I have an appointment with someone on Monday. More running around!

And I'm getting hair! It looks very salt and pepper right now. I was hoping for some curls, but it doesn't look like that will happen. I'll be glad to be rid of the hats, that's for sure.

I have really felt guilty, though, about being a little irritated, impatient, and crabby about these radiation treatments. It's so hard to hear of others at the Cancer Center who are entering Hospice care because nothing worked for them, or to see an elderly old lady crying because her husband was getting his leg amputated that day while she was getting her treatments at the cancer center, etc., etc. The Lord has been so good to me through this journey. I guess when I'm tired, I just wish it could all be over with. . . . .!!!!!!