Monday, October 29, 2012

Mountain #3 is now in my sights

Friday Kim and I went to see the oncologist and the plastic surgeon. The Oncologist, Dr Hahm, said the plan is the same....8 treatments of chemo, every other week. First, we have to attend "chemo school on November 1st, to find out what it is all about. Then, I will go have an echocardiogram on the 2nd of November, to make sure my heart is strong enough for the chemo. SO, I start chemo on November 6th. That will have me finished up in February.
After finding out all of that and finally getting a plan and a timeline, we hopped on over to Dr. Leake's. Although Kim has done great and hasn't fainted once (even when I showed her "dickey the drain"), she decided not to stay in the room while Dickey was being removed. Cissy and I proceeded to give gorey details about his removal though, just so we could see if she would fall out. I know, we are bad! Really we are proud of how strong Kim has gotten with our gore! So Dickey was removed, even though I was still filling him up, he had outlived his stay. Dr. Leake also wanted to fill the expanders- I was a little nervous about that considering I am still so "uncomfortable". I feel like I have a 2x4 across the top of my chest with tennis balls (now cantalopes) under my skin.
I am scared about chemo- just the thought of toxic poison going into my body, makes you a little nervous. But like I said before, I am on a mission to kill all those cancer boogers in my body. So, getting out the hiking boots, putting in the pink laces and Singing up the Mountain- here we go! Next stop "Chemo School" with Lloyd and Kim on Thursday!

Oh yeah, Saturday our team, Team Traci walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk- thank you to everyone who sponsored us and walked with us. It was a blast and we came in First as far as donations!! The American Cancer Society interviewed me last week and here is the link to that interview. Thanks again to all my wonderful supporters!!!
ACS interview

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Downhill side of Mountain Two

Well, I made it up and over Mountain #2, the wedding. I had to pull from every bit of strength I had to make it there. In fact, the Tuesday before, when Scott asked if I would be able to make it, I said..."if it were today or tomorrow, no, but maybe by Friday and Saturday"
I went to the Dr Leake on Thursday for my check up and had one drain removed. The other one on the side where the cancer was, still was not able to be removed, so "dickey the drain" got to go to the wedding with me. Since the surgery, the most it had ever drained was 65 ml- the wedding day it was 195ml...needless to say, I over did it a little and it has taken a couple of days to recouperate. I danced, I stayed till the wedding couple left the reception and I was able to WALK down the ailse and enjoy every last bit of it!!
Hopefully, Dickey will be removed tomorrow and I will be back up and at 'em. We are having another spa day and I will be going to Atlanta to get my "chemo hair". I figured it would be easier for Lloyd to shave short hair, plus it will be easier for me to style, before it starts falling out. (But enough of that- that is Mountain #3).
Mountain #1 was a hard climb- I really didn't want to start that climb, but I did. October 10th I showed up at Wellstar Hospital and put on my bear paw gown (a hospital gown with a hair dryer attachment attached to it to keep you warm). My Army was able to stay back there with me until I went back for surgery. This was actually 3 surgeries. First, Dr Robbins came in and cored out the cancer (she said it was pretty deep), she "amputated both boobs", then she inserted the port. The port will be used to administer the chemo directly into my big heart vein. The combination of drugs that I will be taking is very strong and can't touch your skin and damages small veins. It is called "red devil or red death". Once Dr Robbins finished up, Dr Leake came in and started the first step of reconstruction. He placed expanders under my chest muscles and then he filled the expanders with fluid. Enough to give me perky little B-cups, I had cleavage when I woke up! He will continue to fill these until I am the size I wish to be and then in about 9 months I will be able to get the permanant implants. I was unable to do that until after the chemo is complete. This pain was more than I expected- if someone tells you that it is just "uncomfortable" remember...they are on drugs!! I was supposed to stay in the hospital only one day, but ended up staying two nights. The morphine did not agree with me and so I needed to stay. The best way to describe how I felt was "road kill". I felt like my chest had been beat and mutilated and then stuck to the road and run over. Luckily, today two weeks later, I just periodically feel like I have been beat.
The good news that came out of the surgery was there was NO lymph noid involvement- YAY!! and the margins were cleared- so Dr Robbins was able to scrape that shit clean!! (Sorry mom for the use of the S*** word, but I believe the C***** word deserves the cuss words!)
So now here we are at the base of Mountain #3- Chemo Hill- don't want to start this climb either, but if getting to the top of this means killing every little Shit (cancer) Bug that wanted to stay in my body- then lets pull up our big girl panties, don our pink warrior outfits, and lace up those climbing boots!! I have an Army who will pull me up this mountain if I need it, so get to hiking!

On a side note:
Thanks to all that are reading these blogs and keeping me in your prayers- if this blog saves one woman and encourages her to feel her boobs or have a mammogram I have done my job. I have heard of a couple of people who have said it is wrong that I am sharing this journey with all of facebook, but I can't handle the bombardment of phone calls and only telling this once is so much easier- so I guess you have to say....I'm going to take the EASY road on that one. Plus, you can unfriend me if you don't want to hear cancer rants- this will be my life from now on- Cancer never leaves you, even when it has been eradicated from your body.

From this October 10
To this, October 20


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Commander and Chief

I want to write a little today about the "commander and chief of my Army. Lloyd stays behind the scene and lets the girls take the spot light...but he is the backbone of this organization. I have said this before, I am scared. I know my husband and I know he is too. He isn't going to let me see that, cause he has to be strong right now for both of us, but I can see it in his face. I could tell it when he lost it right before we walked down the aisle, at Kristi's wedding. I looked at him and said, "I made it". The reality at that moment and of the first obstacle, hit him. ...and me!
This man is doing so much for me right now. He his having to be my nurse, my hands (because I can't lift anything), my cook, my maid, and all of this after working from 7 am to 6:30 at night. Plus, he showers me, not only literally, but with care and affection too.
Lloyd, and his wonderful son spent the weekend cooking and cleaning up after 10 bridesmaids, one bride, a mother of the bride and a Kimmie! His balance was only shook one time during this, when he came home from work, to a broken bed he had to fix and dog throw up. Well there is the time during the wedding reception,  when his wife who just had major surgery wouldn't sit down and insisted on being stubborn and dancing! He did shake a little then, but it was more from anger! Ha ha...he knows me by now, so we won't talk about that!
There are so many things to be thankful for right now, but I have to say my husband is truly a blessing and he is at the top of my list. Cissy and Kim saw it when night after night for two weeks, he would come home from work exhausted to get my swinging bed made before I came home from the hospital. Well, it is complete and the love he put into the craftsmanship is so much more than I could ever thank him for! He is my lifesaver...and I could not be doing this cancer shit without him!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dear cancer (battle of the boobs)

Dear Cancer,
I have written you in the past. I am sure you remember me, I told you how much I hated you, when you destroyed my dad's body and spirit. I cussed you each time you have attacked one of my friends. What you don't understand is I am a fighter and I have an army helping me fight. You will be sorry you have messed with this chick. I don't forgive easily, and I never forget. I know my enemies and who are sincere friends. You, are an enemy.
The Battle of the Boobs was last Wednesday. You attacked and I counter punched and did it with aggression. I may be down right now, and I have had to retreat, but I will not hide from you. Sure, you caught me off guard. You attacked when  I was down with my shoulder issue,  I never thought I would have to fight you one on one. Certainly not at 47. I fought against you for others, but it is normal to say, I thought it would never happen to me. That's what I said. That's why I didn't do a monthly self breast exam, that is why it didn't matter that I was late getting the mammogram. I will now shout it from the rooftops that the SBE and mammograms are extremely important. I will not only fight you for myself I will continue the fight to cure you, to banish you. I will team up with the American cancer society and any other organization to kick your ass.
I know I still have more battles to come. I know I have four months of poison to make sure you leave my body, but I will win! In the end, you will lose! 
Battle of the Boob....winner Team Traci!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Well, that was fun!

Today someone posted that I was a warrior. That is how I like to think of myself, with my huge army by my side. But this morning, three days after surgery, I am feeling a little more like road kill. Something that has been run over, gross and kinda stuck flat out to the road. In my case it is the chair or the bed or my swing, that once I get into a comfortable position I can't move and I am stuck. If anyone ever tells you a mastectomy doesn't hurt that it is more just uncomfortable, remember thay are taking heavy duty drugs, and are not in their right mind.
I have to repeat that I am overwhelmed by the love and support. I have been amazed by the love...even from people I have never met. People who are friends of friends, people who don't know me, but have put me on their prayer list. It is so comforting to have this support. I can't thank you all enough!
I know this is just the beginning of a very long fight, but with the army of my supporters, I can climb any mountain!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ready, set

By now, all of you know how important all my "sisters" are to me, my real one and all those I have chosen to be my sisters. But this past weekend, Kimmie (my chosen sister) took me to St. Simons. She is one of the best sisters anyone could pick for themself! We were coming home on Monday, but we decided to postpone our return back to reality. I changed my pre-op appointment with Dr Leake to Wednesday, so we turned around- with the car all packed and promptly went BACK to the beach. As soon as we were all packed and we got into the car, I started having a panic attack- I wasn't ready to come back and face reality. Kim and Lloyd understood that and they both said, " you do what you need to do". I delayed the the panic and told Kim to turn around!
We spent the day at the beach, then we came in and sat on the balcony and talked. About dusk, Kim said, "come on ,we got to go take a drive." We hopped on the golf cart and went over to the Historic Coast Guard House and to the most beautiful beach on St. Simons. My nephew is in the Coast Guard, so I posted that picture on my Facebook page- he promptly responded with the CG motto- semper paratus (always ready or always prepared). I said in response to that, JUST LIKE AUNT T! 
Well, I woke up Tuesday morning having another panic attack, because it was... time. It was time to go back and face reality and to prepare- Problem do you prepare for this? How do you prepare for or get ready to face the reality of Breast Cancer?
I am at a loss- I have read other blogs and tried to take heed. Button up shirts, pj's with pockets for your drains, recliners to sleep in for as long as 2 weeks to 2 months (don't have that yet, but my husband is hurriedly making a swinging bed for my back porch!) Anyway, one week from today I will transform my body. I have had boobs- big ones, since 9th grade. Never really liked them, but they were me and who I have been. Don't get me wrong- I am not having second thoughts about a mastectomy! I want this cancer GONE!! After the surgery, I have a wedding to make sure is "prepared". I will have only 10 days to be back up and ready for my daughter's wedding. Talking about being in panic mode- I rushed out last week and bought 3 more dresses- All of that stuff, I THOUGHT was stressful enough without dealing with cancer too! Now, that wedding sounds like an easy task! On top of the wedding, my daughter has told me she is having to move away after the wedding. I wasn't prepared for that either. I totally feel I am not ready for anything! So after all of that, I will need to be prepared for chemo- 4 months of it! How the hell do you prepare to have red poison pumped in your body? I don't know the answer to that question, either.
So Aunt T- the one who is always prepared- who always is always ready, ready to have fun, ready for shenanigans, ready to be in control, ready to take care of everyone and everything, ready to pull anything out of her pocketbook like food or bandaids, ready to GO, ready for ANYTHING. Aunt T doesn't feel ready for this and that scares me!