Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm Off to Canada!

Canada And scared shitless that it's so cold Tongue up there that I'll end up having an asthma attack and have to come home early.

I gotta tell ya, cancer's one thing. I mean it scares you and you think you'll die and the treatment sucks and the chemo brain is horrible but, mostly, it's over. Asthma? I always have to be aware. Is there a breeze? Is it going to dip below 60 degrees? Is anyone smoking in the near vicinity Cigar ? Is there a fan on Snowstorm ? Is there someone close by with perfume on? All these things set me off and more. I'm always watchful.

The worst thing is leaving a building. There's no smoking in the building so people smoke right outside the building. I have to hold my breath but I have asthma so holding my breath for any length of time is near impossible. It's a daily thing.

In my job I go on home visits. I have to ask if they smoke prior to going. If they do, I have to meet them somewhere or give the sale away to someone else. They always say "well, I won't smoke when you get here" or "we only smoke outside" but that never works. The house is full of smoke "debris" if they smoke inside and if they smoke outside, invariably it does end up inside. At least a little bit. Ugh! What a pain in the ass. I have several friends who smoke and I can't even go to their houses. So, what I'm trying to say is that I'm not actually scared of smoke for this trip but I am scared of the cold. Snowstorm I don't think I said that clearly but that's what I'm trying to say. LOL!!

I'm also not looking forward to driving in snow. Snowplow We haven't done that for seven years and when we did we had a big 'ol Suburban to plow us through. We're renting a smallish car that, I'm pretty sure, won't "plow" through the snow.

I also had to try to find clothes to wear. I had to buy a bunch. Shoot, truthfully, Kevin never wears long pants. He's a shorts and flip flops kinda guy. He had to rummage up some pants that would fit. And boots Snow Boots ? We don't have any. Mitts Mittens ? Nope. Hats Hat 4 ? Nope. OMG!! Do you think I could whine any louder?!! ROFL!!!

Anyway, I don't think we'll do this again....but we just had to go for Andrew's mom's 80th birthday. Birthday Fireworks Just had to. And...I am looking forward to seeing everyone up there! Yay!!!!

Everyone have a great Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Dinner and I'll post in December.

(could you guess that I found a smiley place? LOL!!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Year Ago & What I've Learned

It was one year ago yesterday that I had my first chemo. It was one year ago today that I was waiting for the side effects to kick in. I read my post from one year ago and it didn't seem so bad. I was in pretty good spirits for a girl who was about to lose her hair, had already partially lost a breast and didn't know if she'd live for another year or not. Yep. Pretty good spirits.

What I'm going to address today is the fallout of cancer. The after effects - both physical and mental. It's not pretty so pull up your big girl/boy panties and go ahead and read it...or not. I'm just puttin' it out there. This is my blog. It's about me. About my feelings and "stuff". If your feelings are hurt by this entry? Hmmm.....maybe you should think about your choices. You've been warned.

OK, physically, I haven't been totally upfront. Yes, I lost my hair. Yes, I gained back all the weight I had so diligently lost...and then some. Yes, I will need a double hip replacement in a couple of years and yes, my brain has turned into mush. My hair is now wavy and I haven't got a clue how to style it since I've had stick straight hair all my life.

What I haven't said is how devastating it is to have a huge dent in my breast. It's huge, people. I know I'm lucky to have a breast. I get that. But the truth is I am deformed. It's not something anyone other than my mom, Kim and Andrew have seen but I live with it every day. Every day I take off my bra. Every day I put on my bra. Every other day I shower. Every day I see my deformity not once but at least twice.

I went to my family doctor and asked him for the name of a good plastic surgeon. I told him how I felt and then I joked that "at least I have a nipple". Then, when I got to thinking about it? It's no different. Yes, I have my own breast but it's not pretty. I don't let Andrew touch it and I rarely let him see it. If he sees it it's by accident on my part. I almost think I'd rather have a "fake" breast. At least it would be pretty. Nippleless but pretty, with a matching one, to boot.

Also, just so you all know? Here's were it gets personal so you may want to skip this if you want. Menopause sucks. The hot flashes? All consuming. It happens and you forget what you're even doing or talking about because you're so hot and all you can think about is getting your clothes off. Ironically, while you're sopping wet on the outside on the inside? Exactly opposite. Dry as a bone. (See? I warned you!!) My skin is dry. Inside my nose is dry. Inside my va jay jay? dry too. It's gotten much better as time has progressed past the chemo but it really sucked for a while there. Anyway, I'm really glad that that part has fixed itself but there was a few months there when it was not good and nothing worked to help.

That's all for the physical part. Here's the "other" part.

I've mentioned before that some people dropped me. I just never heard from them again. It may have just been a "course of time" thing. Kevin stopped playing hockey (because of the broken leg) so that let's some people out of our lives just because the only time we saw them was at hockey. I also changed jobs so others fell by the wayside that way. But, there are some who I really expected to hang in there that just didn't. But, I've mentioned that before. What I haven't mentioned is

#1 I picked up some friends that I really really cherish, now. Holly and Susan P. They're friends of my cousin, Judy. Both have sent me e-mails and followed my blogs. I, in turn, have followed their blogs and feel like I have some new friends in Kitchener. Mrs Young follows my blog and a fellow cheerleader from high school who I didn't even think would remember me. Susan from the UK and many more.

#2 People who didn't pay any attention to me before suddenly started commenting on my blog and calling me and e-mailing me. It was really weird. Like, they didn't like me/didn't give me the time of day prior to me having cancer but, suddenly, they love me and give me encouragement. I must say. I was very wary of these people. It turned out that, now that I'm "over" the cancer? They've fallen by the wayside, too. I just don't hear from them. I think that's really weird.

#3 I thought relationships would change. I really did. I cherish people more, now. I reach out and call them. Do I get anything back? Not usually. I was really home sick this summer. Really home sick. I had gone through hell and back and just wanted to see people who love me. I ran around like a loony person trying to fit everyone in. Then I realized. It's just the same as always. I run around trying to see everyone and what do I get back? Not a lot. I don't get e-mails or phone calls. I don't get visits.

What I do get is excuses. On the phone calls "I was so busy". On the visits it's that old "we can't afford it" thing. Funny how I can afford it but others can't. Just for the record? I have three kids in college, I have done no landscaping and no fix-ups on my house because I tend to spend my money on travel. Now, yes. Some is for me alone. That Vegas trip? For me and me alone. Andrew got some "extras" (nudge nudge, wink wink) out of it but it was for me. I'm so glad I did it because knowing I'd see Donny at the end of chemo and radiation really did get me through it. The travel to Europe is more of a business thing. Andrew loves me to go to keep him company. It's very lonely traveling from country to country and very tiring. Don't get me wrong...he loves it and the people and the work. But, it's nice to have a loving wife along every so often.

Anyway, I just really did think things would change. I thought people would cherish me the same way I cherish them. It didn't happen and it's making me a little bitter. I don't think that's good for me so I may, actually, start some sort of counseling. I'm betting there's something offered for post-cancer people. Survivors as they call us.

Anyway, my point is that I really truly thought relationships would change but everything's stayed the same.

#4 This is really morbid. I was in the shower this morning thinking about death. I wonder who will come to my funeral. Oh, c'mon! You must have thought of this at some point! If you didn't then I may just be weird. Anyway, I was thinking....I wonder where my funeral would be. Florida? Canada? Both? Who would come. Lots of people who don't see me or keep in touch with me, I bet. Saying how they loved my sense of humour and the way I saw things in a positive way. Bet they didn't read this post, then, eh? LOL!! I just think it's interesting that people will take time and spend money to travel to a funeral when they don't do that when the person's living. It's just an interesting view point.

Anyway, all this has been swirling in my mind. I am really looking forward to going up north for Thanksgiving. My doctor is not very happy about it at all. In fact the words "I forbid you" came out of his mouth and then he laughed at himself and remembered who he's talking to. LOL!! So, we are going but I'm going to have to stay inside the whole time. I'm also going shopping for clothes this afternoon. I have never, ever been this big and can't fit into any of my old cold-weather clothes. Ugh!! The problem I buy long sleeves? With all my hot flashes, I may just rip all my clothes off if I have long sleeves on!! I better wear really pretty bras, eh?

So, I hope I didn't hurt too many feelings. That wasn't the intention of this post. It was supposed to be more of a "what goes through this cancer patient's mind when it's all over and done with" and what has surprised and/or bothered me in the aftermath.


Saturday, November 15, 2008


I was tagged to do a meme. I think that's what they're called. Anyway, I'm feeling quite negative about many, many things right now so, instead of posting a mean rant I'm doing this:

THE FAVOURITE MEME. Fill in your favourite for each of the following:

1. Political show: Bill Mayer

2. Picnic food: I don't really picnic. When I go to the beach, though, I like grapes. Dark red, seedless grapes (and beer LOL!!)

3. Mixed drink: Green Apple Martinis. OMG I love these things. I could become an alcoholic on these so I'm not keeping the ingredients in the house. Sadly, I'm so not kidding.

4. U.S. President: I have no idea. But, I do know who our next one will be!!

5. Kind of student to teach: I'm thinking this must have started with a teacher group? Anyway, when I was a Substitute teacher I always liked the boys better. I think it's because I have boys but the girls just seemed to be too full of drama.

6. Hobby you do or wish you still did: I wish I still did Jazz and I wish I still felt like scrapbooking. It's a great idea, that scrapbooking, but I think it's for organized people and I am definitely the opposite of that
7. Sports commentator: Don Cherry!!!

8. Sport to watch on TV: Hockey

9. Animal to have as a pet: I like my dog, a Scottie named McDuff

10. Halloween costume you have worn: Please know that I hate Halloween. I don't have a creative bone in my body. I'm crafty but only if you show me what to do. I can follow instructions. Anyway, I guess the best one was when I went as Nicole Brown Simpson. Andrew went as OJ and it was tasteless and funny.

11. Kind of dessert : My carrot cake and my mom's trifle and my sister's nanaimo bars and my sister in law's chocolate chip cookies.

12. Comic strip: I don't read the comics. If I were going to, though, I still like Calvin and Hobbs

13. Style or make of footwear : OMG!! They're these shoes called One Sole. They're totally cool and wonderful for someone who travels so much. They have a sole with snaps. Then you snap on whichever "top" you want. I'm not explaining it very well. Here's a link:

14. Ice cream flavor: Pralines and Cream
15. College or university president What?!
16. Internet news source AOL front page and Perez Hilton. (I stole that from Holly! LOL!!)

17. Vacation spot: Aruba but I'm going to Hawaii next September so I have a feeling that could change.

18. Wine: Pheonix by Penley Estates

19. Way to waste time instead of working: So many!! Playing Pogo games, watching tv, reading books and magazines, reading other people's blogs and chatting on the phone

20. Student excuse for late work: ???

21. Reality show: American Idol

22. Jewelry on a man: Cool watch

23. Pizza topping: This is gross but - extra cheese, black olives and anchovies

24. Children’s movie: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang of course

25. Celebrity you wish would retire: Bill O'Reilly

Ok, that's it on that. I'm supposed to tag people to do this so I'm tagging Candace and Judy (I know you're not writing anymore but you could do this one, couldn't you? please?) & Susan P

I'll write a real update tomorrow.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Have I told you?

Have I told you.......

That I don't like my oncologist. I really, really don't like this guy. He's very dismissive and doesn't listen. Here's what happened. I went to him last Tuesday to get my Herceptin. I wasn't even scheduled to see him but he wanted to see me because we go the results of all the tests. Well, frankly, I'd already discussed the results with my radiation oncologist (who I love, love, love!!!) and didn't see the point. He was running late. and later. and finally I went up and said that we needed to get moving on this because I was seeing my surgeon in an hour and a half. Turns out, I didn't get to see the doctor for another half hour. So...there wasn't enough time for the Herceptin. I had to go see my surgeon and then come back later in the afternoon for the Herceptin. This pissed me off right there, k? Really fucking pissed me off. I don't have time for that kind of shit.

Anyway, I finally get in to see the oncologist and he goes over the results and I ask him about the lymph node. I really want to know why my lymph node is enlarged if it's not cancer. He says in his stupid Brazilian accent "There's no enlarged lymph node." I say "yes there was" He says "no there wasn't" I say "Well you must not have all the results because there was an enlarged lymph node". He keeps insisting there wasn't and now, every time, I begin to talk all he keeps saying is that it doesn't matter what there was because it's not cancer. He's talking to me like I'm an idiot! ARRRRRGH!!!!

So, I think I'm crazy, now. Maybe there was no enlarged lymph node. Maybe I made it up in my head. Maybe I've gone fucking mad!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe I have that Munchhausen's disease where you want attention so you make up diseases. Well, I did love getting the cards and the flowers but I can't imagine wanting to be sick for those things, you know? But, well, I'm thinkin' I'm nuckin futs, ok? So, I leave there and go over to the surgeon's office. I get in right away to see him. No waiting. He does the exam and I'm fine. I have a hematoma in my boob (it hurts) but it'll go away. It was caused by bruising on the inside when I got my biopsy. The bad thing is that it hurts. The good thing is that it's rounding out my indented boob. I kinda like it, ya know? Makes me look more "normal", ya know? Anyway, he finishes the exam and I ask with much trepidation "I did have an enlarged lymph node, didn't I?" He says, " yes, it didn't show anything...It was probably enlarged because of the trauma of the lumpectomy and we will now watch it. Always. It will probably stay enlarged but we have to watch it for any changes." OK, now. That's a good doctor, right?

So, I tell him that # 1 - I hate my oncologist and #2 why and #3 I want a new one. He asked if there was any way I could stay with this guy until my Herceptin's done because it's better to stay with the same doctor until the treatment ends. So....I'm going to try to stay with the stupid Brazilian guy but I am going to tell him how I feel next time I see him and if I don't get a satisfactory answer I'm going to a different oncologist.


Have I told you.....

That my dog's doing chemo? He's actually doing really well with it. I love him.

Have I told you....

That we're coming to Canada for our Thanksgiving? It's the last Thursday in November. Andrew, Jeff and I are coming on the 22nd flying from Tampa and Scott & Kevin are coming on the 25th from Orlando. It's Andrew's mom's 80th birthday!!! 80!! I so want to make it to 80! Oh, hell, who am I kidding, I'll be happy to make it to 50, to tell you the truth. Oh!! that brings me to another one....

Have I told you.....

When I was getting my Herceptin treatment a lady there did a palm reading on me? I'm gonna outlive you all!!!!! Yay!!!!! Andrew is my true love. I am strong and caring. Cool, eh?

Have I told you....

that I think I'm having allergic reactions to the Herceptin? OMG!! I am so frickin' itchy!!!!!! It's mostly in my hands and feet but it does go up my calves and arms later in the day. Isn't that weird? Oh, I did tell you that before 'cause I remember telling you about using the hemerroid cream on the itchy parts. Now that's weird!

Have I told you...

That my port moved. When I was having my PET scan they had me put my arms above my head and I could feel a stitch come out from my port. It didn't hurt or anything I just knew something had happened. So, after the scan I felt my port and sure enough it moved onto it's side. It's ok, I guess. The surgeon said as long as it's accessible, it's fine. Phew! I have a love/hate relationship with my port but it keeps me from having to get an IV every time I have a Herceptin treatment so I mostly love it. But, it is ugly.

Have I told you...

That Scott and Kevin are doing Air Force ROTC and I thought they would hate it but they love it? They've never really liked anyone telling them what to do so I don't understand what they love so much but they love it, nevertheless.

Have I told you......

That I think the Air Force ROTC is a cult? That's right. I said it. A frickin' cult. They love it. They call them "family" (WTF!!!!) and they don't come home because they're doing "stuff" with their flights. That's just fuckin' pissing me off. I am their family. I cleaned their butts, wiped their noses and put up with their stinky feet and smelly farts and took them to hockey and soccer and karate and every other frickin' thing they did and.... surprise, surprise, boys! I didn't always enjoy it either. Andrew, too of course. And their brothers. We all supported each other. These people that they just met in September are not their family. OK, rant over. I really am happy for them that they're so happy but if they don't come home soon I'm going to hire one of those cult people to de-brainwash them! ROFL!!!!!!!

Have I told you....

that I'm done.

Night Night!!