Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A kick in the behind!

Lately I've found myself in a spot I vowed last October I wouldn't allow myself to be in.  I've been the whiny "why me" victim.  It's so unattractive, but with the news last week of more chemo in my future it was hard to to fight the backwards tumble.  I just want to move forward, not backward and to me Chemo is a step back.

I found myself looking at my nails today and am amazed at the havoc chemo wreaked on them.  Take a look, but I must warn you it's not for the faint of heart.

They are brittle, discolored, and look at those lines!  If you look carefully, you can see 4 lines.  One for each round of chemo I endured.

I also found myself admiring my how well my hair was coming in.  Then I got pissed cause I knew it would start falling out again when chemo resumed.

So I stopped, I pulled myself up, kicked myself in the ass and said "enough",  So what does one do to lift their spirits?  If your me, you get inky!  And there was no better way to do that then with the Perfect Reason Stamp of Approval collection from Catherine Pooler Designs. The sentiment from one of the sets in this collection was a perfect reminder of what I need to do!  And I couldn't help but smile after looking at all those cute little happy faces I added with a stamp that has been sitting in my stash FOREVER!

I can feel my spirits lifting already!!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wow..has it been three months?

When I started my journey with breast cancer 4 months ago I figured I was going to blog the entire time.  Then the reality of  Chemo really hit!  I underestimated how much it was going to kick my ass, but nonetheless I persevered.  I went to work when I could, functioned around the house when I could, but spent a lot of time napping and relaxing.  I found when I overdid it my body had a way of reminding me that I was fighting a life threatening disease and kicked me in the ass for a few days.

So here is the long and short of it.  I began Chemo on November 3, 2016.  The first round I was scared of what side effects I might feel.  I was amazed that they weren't as bad as they could have been.  Yes, I was nauseous, no I couldn't eat, and yes, by week three my hair was falling out in clumps.  BUT, I was able to function, I continued to work and to remain as "normal" as I could.  The only thing I did stop was my creating and stamping for two reasons.  One, it's hard to be creative when you feel nauseous and two, I didn't have much energy to climb the stairs to my loft.  I continued to watch youtube videos, checked into StampNation when I could and dreamed about getting back to my hobby,  I knew I would, I just had to be patient.

I finished my chemo on January 6, 2017 - round four!   My friend drove 5 hours to come sit with me for that final round. The three hours certainly went fast with her to occupy me!!  She stayed the weekend and made me homemade ice cream!  Ice cream is just what the doctor ordered!

The week after that round was the worst I had felt.  I guess by that far in your body is just beat down and exhausted.  I spent almost three days in bed, but eventually I started to see the light.  By three weeks out I wasn't nauseous anymore.  I still had no appetite, and my energy was low, but I was feeling better and that's all that mattered!  I was ready for my next step - surgery to remove the tumor!  Ultrasound and MRI revealed that the tumor had shrunk to half its size, so I was good to go!

Monday February 6 was the day of my surgery.  I was OK until they brought me into my room. That's when I started to cry.  I had never been under general anesthesia and I have an irrational fear of being put under.  I tried my best to put my fears aside, but it just all became too real.  Fortunately, the morning was busy as I was whisked off to radiology so they could mark my tumor, take pictures, and make sure my surgeon was ready.  After that I met with my surgeon, the OR nurse and my Anesthesiologist. To each one I explained my fear of general anesthesia and each one reassured me that I would be ok, I would wake up and all would be good.  I was still scared, but I tried to keep a stiff upper lip.  Then the anesthesia nurse came in my room.  I reiterated my fears to him and he again tried to reassured me, but I could feel myself beginning to panic.   Then he said to me "I'm going to put something in your IV to help you relax".  That's the last thing I remember before waking up three hours later in the recovery room.

When I was more awake, my surgeon came to see me.  She told me the tumor had come out nicely and without a problem.  She did a biopsy of my sentinel lymph nodes.  One out of the 5 she tested had cancer cells, so she took them out. Everything was being sent for testing to determine next steps. Will I need more chemo or will I start radiation?  Now the long wait for those test results.

I know it's a quick Readers Digest version of my story so far, but I wanted to get some of it documented.  I posted pictures and updates to Facebook along the way for anyone who's interested.

Now to start getting back to the things I love, like stamping.  In the last week I've made quite a few cards, and just yesterday, the newest Stamp of Approval collection showed up!  I LOVE the smell of new stamps!!

Stay tuned for the return of my creativity and my MOJO!!