Friday, May 21, 2010

Christmas, Torture, and More UGH!!

Christmas in May.

It felt like Christmas morning on Tuesday evening!!! Todd called me on my way home and told me I had a package. I was so excited; it was my new fake one. The first thing I did after pulling into the garage was go get my package and opened it up. My new FO came in its on box (it looks like a hat box.) It was huge!!! And even has a nipple. We held it up to Ham bone’s chest and it is as wide as her little body. The next day I did not wear it. I opted instead to bring it to work to have a show and tell. Several people told me they wanted to see it…so instead of having to take it out every time..I just choose not to wear it. The most shocking thing about it was that people wanted to touch it. Believe me, it feels very life like!! It is a lot heavier than what I am used to so it has take me a while to get used to something being there again.

Here I Go Again…

I have been having issues with swelling under my arm pit again. I am in a wedding with a lower cut back and you can see it. So I called my doc and she sent me to the torturer again (lympadema specialist). The last time I went it was very uncomfortable because I had cording in my chest; the therapy was not pleasant (lots of pressure on the cords). When I meet with my torturer on Wednesday, I was happy to hear that this therapy is not torture like it was before. YES!!!!!!!!!!! It was very comfortable, thank goodness. I was prepared for the worst and was excited to learn this is more like a massage. After getting the treatment, the torturer taped up my back to help get the fluid moving from the problem area to other lymph nodes. I can keep it on my back for 5 days. This type of taping is called Kinesio Taping has swept around the world as a new and exciting treatment option for many conditions, including lymphedema. The concept is by lifting the skin and by the stretching of the tape during body movements, lymphatic flow is improved. So we will see it how it goes.


I don’t know why I do it but I hear stories about women or young people dying from cancer and I begin to panic. Last week a relative of my co-worker died at the age of 29. He left behind three kids. So what did I do, I got on-line and started to remind myself of the statistics of living with IBC. Reading that only 40% of us will make it past the five year mark….

I guess I accomplished only a few things with this dumb move:

1. Reminded me to enjoy every minute God has given me. Who knows when he’ll decide my work is done here?

2. Reminded me to look at the whole picture and figure out what is really important in my life. Is what upsetting me at this moment truly going to make a difference or reflect on me as a person?

3. Reminded to me to laugh and to realize that not everyone will see your struggles the way you do. And that is o.k.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doctor's Visits Galore!!

I am big slacker and haven’t given all of you an update in a really, really long time…
Last week I had several appointments. Todd and I meet with Dr. K on Monday. During the visit, she made it very clear to us that with my type of cancer the side effects of all the meds were easier to take care of then the cancer coming back. I have never seen her so serious in all my life. It was scary for me because this whole time she was been very encouraging and she was so serious that day. We got the point and everyday when I take my meds I think of what she said to us. I had my IV treatment after that. I found out that my last treatment for Herceptin is on Sept 27, 2010. Todd and I went and saw my radiation doctor afterwards. She was very positive and was pleased with how my skin looks. She encouraged me to continue applying meds on the skin to keep the healing process going.

On Tuesday, we meet with Dr. Kennedy (the surgeon). This was the first time I had seen her since my drains have been removed. She checked my chest wall and my real one. She told me to make sure that if I have any bumps or lumps in my chest wall to let my doc’s know right away. She also scheduled me to have several more appoints in July (meeting with reconstruction doc, mammogram, follow up with her and a how to be a survivor meeting). These appointments will be the end of my journey with her.

On Wednesday, I got fitted for my new fake one. It was the funniest thing I have done in a long time. In this tiny room, Todd, myself and the sales lady with all of these bras and fake boobs started the process. There is a scale from two to sixteen on size. The lady insisted on me being a number eight…Todd told her I was a ten. She made me try on the eight…after several minutes I ended up with size ten!!!! We also had to figure out my shape of my breast. Ski sloped, tomato, melon!!! I then had to try on several bras. The companies do not make very many bras in my size; this was a struggle for me. I finally found two that would work. My insurance pays for one fake one and two bras every two years. At the last minute, I asked them if that any of the fake ones that stick to your skin. They did!!! I tried it on and I loved it. Even though the first time I put it on it ended up to far under my arm pit. I know I will have many chances to get it in the right place. This “contact model” can be worn in a regular bra or a mastectomy bra. Below are the benefits to the model I picked out (this is from their website.):


• Attaches to the skin and moves with the body

• Stays in place with every movement

• Relieves pressure on the shoulders - especially important for women with lymphedema or a larger bust

• Easy wear and care

• Provides more freedom in clothing choices like low cut-dresses

• Gives a woman more security and self-confidence

Light breast forms offer the following benefits:

• Weigh up to a third less than traditional breast forms of the same shape, offering exceptional comfort

• They help to reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, and are therefore particularly beneficial for women with a large bust or who have been diagnosed with lymphedema following their breast surgery.

• Ideal to wear for sports and swimming

• All Amoena light versions combine the advantages of the best fitting breast form with lightweight comfort.

Now with Comfort+

Amoena Contact attachable breast forms are even more comfortable to wear with a unique and innovative design that includes new Comfort+ technology.

• Look and feel natural with soft silicone front layer and new super-soft outer film that feels like cashmere.

• Stay at a constant, comfortable body temperature longer with new Comfort+. The pearlescent temperature-equalizing layer absorbs excess body heat which reduces perspiration behind the form.

• Enjoy the attachable confidence of the Pearl adhesive combined with Comfort+ technology—you’ll feel an even more secure adhesion.

I am very excited. I should get it sometime this week!!!! Overall, I am doing well. My cousin who was diagnosed with IBC as well had her surgery last Tuesday. Her path reports were great as well. She is back home and recovering. I went to visit her in the hospital. It was like reliving it all over again. I even saw some of the same nurses. I was having a hard time fighting back tears when I saw her.