Friday, March 30, 2007

Celebration on the Hill video

I found this cool song and video of the Celebration on the Hill in 2006. I disabled the music on my blog for awhile so everyone can watch and listen to this. If you view this posting when I have music on the blog just go down to the bottome of the blog and hit the stop button on the music video. To watch this just click play in the center of the screen. It might not work if you have dial up internet. It is inspirational! Enjoy!

Celebration on the Hill 2006

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Friday March 30th


Okay if you haven't guessed, I have a new found "project" for the next few months. I went to a community cancer meeting last night and heard all about Relay for Life. Loveland is having their relay for life June 9th and 10th. My friends Amanda and Emmy Anderson told me all about this event. Amanda's husband and Emmy's brother had cancer a few years ago and they have been passionate about the relay ever since. Emmy even started working for the American Cancer Society doing patient navigation at Boulder Community Hospital. She was a great resource of information to me when I was first diagnosed. For those of you that haven't heard of relay their website says it best "At events in 4,800 communities nationwide, teams of families, friends and coworkers join together to CELEBRATE the lives of those who have battled cancer, REMEMBER those lost and FIGHT BACK against a disease that takes too much." It goes on to say "Every dollar you raise makes a difference to people in your community whose lives are touched by cancer. The Society has contributed to almost every major discovery in cancer research. Millions of lives have been saved as a result, including people you may know. For those people and countless others, the research the Society has funded is resulting in better ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.
The American Cancer Society will also continue to exert influence on all levels of government, advocating for stronger policies and enacting legislation that will save lives and conquer cancer." This not only supports breast cancer but ALL types of cancer research. You couldn't ask for a better cause to support.
Amanda told me that the Loveland race will start at 1pm and and go until 8am on Sunday morning. The idea is that cancer never stops and neither will we until we find a cure. Someone from your team must be walking the track at all times. She said that during the day they will have bounce houses and face painting to get the families with small children more involved which is perfect for our family. I am so excited to have not only be participating in relay for the first time this year but to have also formed a team. My team name is "We Cancer-vive" I will put a link on the side bar of my blog to find out more about the relay for life in general. I would love to have anyone join my team and come support not only me but the thousands of people that are affected and touched by cancer. I am hoping to get friends, family, co workers, my other cancer and chemo buddies and whoever else is interested to sign up to be on my team. If you can't stay for the whole relay even just a little bit of your time would be awesome. I know lots of you that read my blog aren't from the area either. Guess what?? You can still help me out by sponsoring me. CLICK HERE This is the main page for the loveland relay for life. On the side bar you can either click "sign up" or "sponsor a participant". To sponsor me you will have to enter my name Eliza Brock. Or to sign up for the team we are team "We Cancer-vive". It costs $10 a person to be on the team and if you are a survivor it is free. You can also personally make a donation in your name if you are a survivor like I did. I hope that everyone will be able to participate by either being on the team or sponsoring me. That is a darn long time to be walking so I hope that I get alot of supporters and sponsors. Expect me to bug everyone about this until it is over :-) I am truly excited to be doing this for my community and to fight cancer!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thurs March 29th

This morning I got up bright and early and spoke to the Junior's seminary class. Seminary is a class that the high school students go to every school day at 6am. During the 4 years of high school they study the four gospels of our church. The old testament, new testament, book of Mormon, and doctrine and covenants. They wanted me to share my about my experience with personal revelation and how heavenly father answers our prayers. Many of my prayers have been answered during my experience with cancer. The ones I talked about were my experience of being led to my oncologist Dr. Medgyesy in the beginning, starting my blog, and my decisions with surgery. I have learned so much through this experience, especially about faith and finding faith in my heavenly father. What a great way it was to start out the day with a spiritual lesson. (although I didn't appreciate it that much when I was a teenager) It was a sweet experience to be able to share my testimony and experiences with the youth. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.
The other crazy thing I woke up to this morning was snow! Wow, it is spring here in CO. The high 60's one day and snowing the next. I know spring is here when my allergies get crazy. I have been taking my allergy meds for the last couple weeks on and off and am waiting for my insurance to pre-authorize my regular allergy med. I must say the insurance companies are getting a bit ridiculous on what they will and won't cover on allergy medication. Give me a break, don't we have better things to be picky about? Oh well, whatever the cost I will pay it since I can't live without it. Allergy season is miserable.
So my kids have really been pushing my buttons the last couple days. It is hard to go day to day with no break when my husband is out of town. Nights with the twins in their toddler beds seem to be getting worse instead of better. Out of bed, talking and laughing at one another, they will even get up and turn the lights on and off. Stinkers. I am not sure what else to do besides close their door (which they hate) and keep putting them back in bed.....Over and over again.
I went for my massage on Tuesday night which was great as always. The girl I go to is in Fort Collins and does it out of her house. Her name is Nichole Crabtree and if anyone is looking for a good massage therapist I would highly recommend her. Just let me know and I will get you her info.
Last night I went to a dinner group that is made up of breast cancer survivors and women currently in treatment. My friend Lanie brought me and it was a great time. It was nice to meet other women that have experienced the same thing as me and are also upbeat and positive with a positive outlook on life. I am really looking forward to meeting with this group again. My mom and dad came over to watch my kids and picked up my house and did all my dishes. It was so sweet of them to help me out. It's hard to keep up with everything and am grateful I am not a single mom.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday March 26th

Jon came home late on Thursday night and was here until this morning. It was so nice to have him home, I wish he could have been here longer though. Friday Jon and I took the kids to a friends house in the afternoon (thanks Colleen!) and went to get some pictures taken of us with bald heads. I saw a show on TV where the lady and her husband did pictures when she was going through chemo that were really sweet. So Jon shaved his head again and we took some pictures. I really like them. I added them as a slide show on the side bar of the page.
On Friday night we went out to eat and to see a movie with Desi and Aislinn. We saw premonition with Saundra Bullock. It isn't a must see, I would wait to rent it, but I don't want to give anything way and spoil the end. At the theater we saw a group of teenagers that were actually dressed up in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes. It was hilarious!! I remember watching those movies when I was a kid and they have another one out now that just hit theatres. But it is known as TMNT, now.....Aislinn and I were laughing.
rained all night on Friday and Jon got up on Saturday and decided he wanted to go four wheeling. He took the twins and Desi and they went up to Left Hand Canyon by Boulder and I think had a good time. He doesn't get to play in his jeep very often so I am sure he had a good time. I love driving it around when it is nice outside and have driven it a few days the last couple of weeks. I have always gotten a kick out of the looks that I get driving that big four wheeling machine. Now I get the looks for driving it and for being bald!! I have pretty much gone without my hat or scarf on for the past few weeks since it has been so nice. Saturday night we went out to Courtnee and Seth's house and let all our kids run around and Bar B Que.
On Sunday we went to church in the morning. It was fast and testimony meeting. In our church we have fast and testimony meeting once a month where members are given the opportunity to stand up in front of the congregation to bear their testimonies. I was able to take the opportunity to stand and bear mine and that is always a neat and spiritual experience. I know that heavenly father answers prayers and I am thankful for personal revelation and being able to know what decision was right for me with surgery. I am thankful for a loving husband, healthy children, an awesome family, wonderful friends, and a charitable ward family. Without this support system I would be nothing. I also have a testimony of paying tithing. It seems that no matter how hard this principal is for us, as long as we have paid our tithing we have always had the money to pay our medical bills and other bills. When ever we have been short, Jon has always had the opportunity to work overtime or money has come from other places. This next weekend is general conference weekend where our prophet and general authorities speak to us. I am grateful for a latter day prophet to lead and guide us. If anyone is interested in learning more about my church feel free to click this link for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The gospel has been key in helping me through this and most other trials in my life.
Sunday night we got together with our friends Brad and Patti. Jon has worked for a few years up until recently. They have twin boys that are 15 months and it is always fun to see them, even though we haven't been able to hang out very often due to every one's busy schedules. We planned some "hopeful" camping trips on both Saturday and Sunday night. We love the outdoors and camping. Hopefully we will be able to get our tent trailer and four wheelers out a bunch this summer.
This morning Jon left again for Montrose. He is there for the next 2 weeks and might be home for the weekend, but we aren't sure yet. I wonder what it would be like to have a husband who worked a regular 9 to 5 job here in town....I am jealous of you ladies with husbands who have that schedule!! My kids sure miss their daddy when he is gone, and me too!! The twins and I sat outside this morning and watched the tractors fixing the asphalt on our street. Cody is obsessed with trucks and tractors and they were right up close on our street so he was loving life this morning. He wasn't going to leave mom's lap though with that loud, huge tractor right in front of him though. It was cute. I went down to the Flat Iron Mall with Aislinn this afternoon. We ventured out with our 5 kids during the afternoon when 1/2 of them should have been napping. What were we thinking? It actually wasn't too bad and we did get some fun window shopping in. I rarely buy anything unless it is on sale, but it is always fun to look.
I have next week jam packed with Dr. appointments. I am going down to Denver to get a 2nd opinion on reconstruction and I need to follow up with some ladies from the Hope Lives support group in Fort Collins on their experiences with it. I have chemo next Thursday and then see the radiation oncologist next Friday. When it rains it pours I suppose. This week I am getting a massage tomorrow night, which I am SO looking forward to! Then on Wednesday I was invited to attend a dinner for Hope Lives and Thursday a community meeting about Cancer in our community and filling needs better with support groups, education, etc. Still keeping busy even though the husband is away. I am still sore from surgery, but getting settled into my new normal of stuffing my bra and being uncomfortable. I hear that it gets better, but takes awhile so I will keep waiting. For this moment I am just happy to feel healthy enough to be out and about and feeling close to normal.
I love this song on my blog. It is so upbeat and has a message I can relate to "When all you got to keep is strong Move along, move along like I know you do And even when your hope is gone Move along, move along just to make it through". Jenn, I double checked the lyrics online to make sure they were singing what I thought! (I am famous for singing the wrong lyrics :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thurs March 22nd

Good news, Jon is finally coming home tonight after being gone for 2 weeks. I don't think he will be home until late but it will be great to finally see him and have the weekend to spend as a family. I took some pictures of the wall display I hung up from Rod Works. Thanks for your help Aislinn! I had to take them from the side a bit since my hallway is narrow and I couldn't fit it all in the picture taking it straight on, but you get the idea. Here it is:

I think that it turned out really cute. Good thing I don't have more than 3 kids, it wouldn't have fit on the wall :-)
I talked to my nurse practitioner today about reconstruction options. She told me that usually when they put expanders in before radiation they have to be filled all the way before radiation begins. Since I didn't do surgery before I started chemo that really isn't an option for me since it takes months to fill expanders and I only have a short window in which I need to start radiation. She did tell me that she would refer me to a great surgeon in Denver that they have worked with before that has done tons of reconstruction surgeries and that would know better ALL the different options that I could do. I thought I might also look into microsurgery which would all consist of transplanting tissue (skin) but not muscles. In this surgery they can take the skin from your buttocks, tummy, back, etc but they have to reconnect blood vessels so it is very extensive surgery. I have also given my name to a support group in Fort Collins, Hope Lives, to see if they have other clients that might be able to assist me. We will see where that takes me....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wed March 21st

Yesterday I had both my Oncology appt and surgeon post op appointment. My oncologist said that she is happy that things are going so well and that I have a 90% chance of being cured.....good odds I would say. She also said that she would have my radiation oncologists office give me a call this week and set up an appointment to meet with them before I start radiation. I will continue with Herceptin every 3 weeks and see the Dr. or her nurse practitioner every 6 weeks.
My surgeon said everything is looking well and healing well. He couldn't feel any spots that filled with fluid. I have my full range of motion in my arm but there are still parts that are pretty uncomfortable. I can do pretty much anything I NEED to do, but can't be lifting the kids up and down all day long. Only up and down from their chairs and things a few times a day. He said that I could start radiation anytime from 4 to 6 weeks post surgery. It has been 3 weeks today. He said that I would only need to see him again if I started to have problems.
Olivia and I did some shopping last night with my mom and sister and left the twins with a sitter it was fun to get out with only her. She is so easy by herself, 3 is just too hard when I am alone. Also I guess it is safe to share, my sister Toni found out she was pregnant last week!!! Her and her husband have been doing fertility treatments for awhile and we are so excited that she is pregnant. Congrats Toni and Doug!
Today was nothing exciting we just hung out at the house. I had spoken with a girlfriend of mine Claude that I met at chemo this evening about reconstruction. I am yet again confused by all of this. I am constantly being told different stories of what you can or can't do with each treatment and have decided that it is just that every plastic surgeon has a different opinion which is a little frustrating. I will be making some phone calls tomorrow to other plastic surgeons about their feelings with radiation and reconstruction. I have heard that some surgeons will place tissue expander's in before radiation and avoid having to do a TRAM surgery. So much research to do, and now I wish that I would have done all this before I had my mastectomy instead of trusting my first opinion. We will see what I find out.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday March 19th

We are back from Salt Lake and had a blast! I took the kids over with my Mom to see my sister Toni and her husband Doug. On Wednesday night when I got the mail I had received this care package from a new friend I met in Oklahoma. Robyn had both her daughters Katelyn's and Madelyn's school classes and Katelyn's activity girls group at church write me get well cards. This was so neat. Kids are the cutest. They say the cutest things like your a great gal, cute little knock knock jokes, god is with you, don't be afraid, I love you, our prayers are with you, you're brave. I love it. Oh the faith of a child. I wish we could all be like that. Robyn also made me 2 little scrapbooks that are all decorated, all I have to do is add the pictures. I love them. Thanks Robyn! Thanks to everyone else that has sent cards and well wishes, you guys have really helped keep my spirits up and strong and I love you all!!
We left on Thursday at about 6am and had a long car ride over. After about an hour of turning around every 2 min to get the kids this or that my mom and I had to change places and she catered to their every need all the way over to Utah. I just couldn't keep doing that with all the stretching and just having surgery. Thank goodness for the DVD player in the car. What a life saver! When we got to Salt Lake we stopped to see my grandpa Harris. It was nice to be able to visit with him as I haven't seen him for a long time. I also got to see my Uncle Jim for a bit. It is always nice to be able to visit and see family. We only stayed for about an hour before leaving and heading down to Lehi where my sister lives. When we got there she took the kids over to the park to let them run around. She lives right by the railroad tracks so they also got to see a lot of trains. Cody was in heaven.
On Friday we took the kids to Cabella's in the morning to see all the stuffed animals and their fish tank. They kids enjoyed it and I know if Jon were there he would have been there for hours. (Poor guy has been working for 2 weeks straight and won't be back until Thursday) We also got to see a tiny bear cub that was there from Yellowstone Park. They sure are cute when they are small.

We took the kids home to nap (they had a horrible night) and Uncle Doug watched them while Toni and I went to Rod Works. It is this awesome home interiors store that I love. I wish we had one here. Click the words above to visit their home page. I bought some cute things to put up on the wall to display my kids pictures. I will take a picture of it when I finally put it up. That afternoon we took the kids to the Lehi city center pool. It is also awesome, I wish we had something like that here. They have park equipment in this zero entry pool that is only a foot and a half deep. They also have these foam slides that the kids can go up and down by themselves. If we had a pool like that here I would live at the pool. We met up with my cousin Corrine and her kids. I couldn't swim because of the surgery so I didn't get to visit much with her but it was still good to see her.

On Saturday we went the aquarium in Sandy. They had all sorts of fish, even Nemo and Dori! We also got to touch sting rays in their touch pool. I forgot my camera here so I have to get those pictures from my sister, but it was a lot of fun to see sharks and octopus and all sorts of fish. (I also posted more pictures on my link) After naps that afternoon we went to a place called Farm Country by my sister's house. They keep farm animals and the kids get to walk around and see and pet the animals. They had calfs, cows, horses, goats, sheep, a donkey, ducks, chicken, turkeys, and lamas.

They also got to go on a pony ride and a wagon ride that was pulled by a tractor.

Cody was in such a horrible mood and was throwing a fit the whole time we were there. In fact all my kids were high maintenance there. It was hard to have both my sister and her husband there to help me and have all the kids want me to hold them. We still had fun though. Afterwards we went to dinner at Applebee's. Since it was so nice there this weekend I went without a hat or scarf. It gets old having people stare at me all the time. I feel like they are thinking "Brittany Spears wannabe". I would prefer to wear a sign that says I have cancer, and no I am not voluntarily bald. Maybe I will get a shirt made :-) My sister reminded me of this movie line in The Labyrinth where a statue says "It's VERY rude to stare". That made me laugh. Maybe I will say that to someone sometime.....

We left Toni's on Sunday morning a little before 9am. We had only been on the road for an hour when Alex decided that she was going to get car sick and threw up in her car seat.....yum. Of course we had just past the rest stop and had to just pull over on the side of the interstate to clean her up. I kept having those images from police shows on TV where other cars slam into parked cars on the side of the interstate. Not a fun thing to do, pull over on the side of the road when the cars are passing by you at 75 plus miles an hour. Needless to say we survived and got back on the road. Of course I drove most of the way home again and the kids never fell asleep until about 10 min outside of Fort Collins which is about 30 min from the house. Those stinkers!! I was so exhausted last night that I could barley get out of bed when Cody started crying in the middle of the night. He has woken up on and off the last few weeks with nightmares I think. He always says "choo choos, choo choos", poor guy must be thinking that trains are coming to get him or something. Too bad he can't tell me what he is dreaming about.

Most of the day was just hanging around cleaning up from the trip today. Laundry, unpacking, dishes, etc. Olivia had school this morning and then played with the neighbors this afternoon. Which was nice because I took a nap with the twins. I ran errands this evening and have started doing the grocery game. After I have saved coupons for a few weeks it will really save me lots of money. Except when I went this evening and handed the checker my coupons, I was trying to keep track of 3 kids who wanted to ride the horse. By the time I got back to the house I realized she never scanned the coupons. So I have to go back to the store tomorrow and get refunded for the coupons. What a pain. This guys stopped me on the way out and said "Sorry to bother you Mame but I just wanted to say, keep fighting. You have to stay strong for you kids. You look like a fighter and I wish you luck." Random, so nice. Just when I think I am going to loose my mind because my kids have been at the grocery store too long, heavenly father sends me an angel to remind me that everything is going to be OK, keep your patience a little longer and you will be through this crappiest time.

I must say that I am recovering well and can do pretty much anything that needs to be done. I just can't things for too long. I can pick up the kids for awhile but can't be doing it all day. I am still taking Tylenol or ibuprofen but am feeling better and better everyday. I can't wait until Jon comes home on Thursday. I feel like I haven't seen him for months. Tomorrow I have an appointment with both my oncologist and my surgeon. Hopefully I will find out what the plan is for radiation so I can get that over with. My hair is now growing back all over my head. It has started to grow in all the spots that were bald only a few weeks ago and feels nice to have a little bit of hair covering my head. Only 3 weeks after my surgery I am already sick of stuffing my bra with pads. Good thing I am small breasted and don't have to come up with very much to fill out my bra. It is hard to look at myself in the mirror but I am so thankful that the cancer is gone and I get to be here with my kids, husband, and family. Now I just have to do everything I can to make sure that it stays gone......Darn Cancer!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tues March 13th

Last night Olivia was in her room, the twins were in bed, and I was out in the kitchen checking my email. I heard a door open and shut several times before I called to Olivia and said "What are you doing?" She said she was in her room reading a book and I didn't say anything more. I heard a door shut and open 2 more times. Then said "Olivia stop closing the door!" and she said "I'm not even by more door." So I got up and started walking towards her room and Cody was there standing by his door with it cracked open staring at me. That little stinker had crawled out of his crib and was up messing around. The twins have both crawled out of their cribs for the last 2 or 3 mornings. So today we have made a huge change in our home today. The twins are sleeping in toddler beds tonight. I can't believe we are to that point already. This afternoon I took the twins to Wal Mart to pick out their big kid beds. Alex picked out Dora sheets and Cody picked out Tonka truck sheets. We had been given the toddler beds as hand me downs a few years ago and broke them out of storage and I put them together this evening. I put them to bed at 8:30 and they only got out of their beds twice, but they were up talking until almost 10 before going to bed. Not too bad for their first night. We will see if they stay in bed all night.
These pics are after they are asleep already....

Man my kids are cute....when they are asleep, ha! They still aren't down with sleeping with a pillow quite yet. I went into check on them when I was about to take the picture and Cody was turned sideways and Alex was at the bottom of the bed. Hopefully taking away the pillows they will stay on the bed. We will see I suppose. I posted some new pictures on my snapfish site too. Follow the link on the side bar.

On that note, I do have an extra crib that is still assembled and will probably fit in the back of a pick up that I want to get rid of ASAP. It doesn't have a mattress with it but if anyone needs a crib or knows someone who needs one it is free to a good home. I bought it at a garage sale and have had it for 2 and a half years so it isn't in perfect condition but it has worked for us. It is white. Email me or leave me a comment and come and get it out of my hair!
I have loved the weather here the last 2 days. It has been in the low to mid 70s yesterday and today. I went out and ran errands with the kids yesterday morning and early afternoon and then Olivia and I played outside during the afternoon. We washed my car and her little power wheels Jeep and then when the twins woke up we went to the park across the street. My mom came over last night to help out since I had been out with the kids all morning and was pretty sore from lifting them in and out of cars and carts. I have a hard time stopping and slowing down when I know there are things to be done. Today we also went to the park this morning with my girlfriend Aislinn and her kids. Again, love the weather! I had to go to chemo today since their schedule was really full tomorrow. One of the nurses told me that I should check around with plastic surgeons in the Denver area about the option of expanders and not a tram surgery. She said that she has known patients that have been able to go the expander route after radiation with surgeons in Denver. Good to know.... Afterwards my mom and I went to lunch at Lone Star and I got to see my friend Lauren which was nice to be able to catch up with her. The whole rest of my day and been consumed with this toddler bed thing. My girlfriend Alyssa came over around 9pm and helped me assemble a bookshelf and help me hang some hook racks in my closet to finally get all my scarfs off of my floor and put them "away". She has the skills with a power drill. I will have to take some lessons. :-) We are going to be packing and getting ready to go to Salt Lake tomorrow. We are leaving on Thursday. It will be fun to see my sister for the weekend. My kids are all so excited to see their aunt Toni and uncle Doug. Olivia said "I just love going to Toni's house!"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday March 12

Good Monday morning to everyone! So once again, I have had people reminding me about buddy check 9 nine day. I am totally slacking, sorry ladies. So buddy check 9 day was last Friday and everyone remember to do their self breast exam. For more information you can follow the link on the side-bar of my blog. Remember that early detection is key!!
I had a good weekend. My sister took my kids for me on Saturday morning so I could have some time by myself. I went shopping and went to lunch with my friend Aislinn. Jon had to work nights on both Friday and Saturday so I didn't see him much this weekend. I took the kids to church yesterday. It was good to get out and feel normal again. I am still sore and I forget about it almost since it isn't as painful anymore but I am quick to remember when I do something like throw toys down the hall into my daughter's room....whoops. My arm doesn't quite more like that yet. Jon left for Casper this morning at about 3am and will be there all week. Back to "normal" I suppose. Darn-it!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday March 9th

Today is my baby brother's 18th BD. Happy BD Mason!!!
I am still pretty sore and can't lift my arm any higher than my shoulder without it being really uncomfortable. I am enjoying our "mild" weather. It has been in the high 50's to low 60's this week and it has been awesome. The kids have been to the park about 5 times this week and love being able to get out and run around. Jon's aunt and uncle John and Clara have been here since Thursday morning and are helping me out. It was been great. They took the kids to the park both yesterday and today and also McDonald's for lunch both yesterday and today. They are staying at a hotel and even took Olivia to spend the night with them last night and she got to go swimming at their pool. They are having a blast. The twins are napping and Clara took Olivia to go shopping this afternoon so I have just been able to rest. Yesterday afternoon John and Clara stayed here while the twins napped and my mom and I went shopping for a little while in the afternoon. It was nice to just get out of the house. I haven't been of the house much since my surgery. I also went to Olivia's parent/teacher conference yesterday afternoon. Her teacher Mrs. Miller couldn't say enough nice things about her and she said she is defiantly ready for kindergarten next year. That was nice to hear since she has been a little difficult this last week. I suppose that is to be expected when she has been shuffled around and mom hasn't been able to be very attentive to her.
Jon will be working out of town in Casper next week and it is spring break so Olivia will be out of school next week. I think John and Clara are going to take Olivia for a few days back to Denver with them so that will be nice. I also think the kids and I might be able to go to Salt Lake with my Mom next Thursday through the weekend. We will get to go spend some time with my sister Toni and her husband Doug. It will be interesting to be in the car for so long with 3 kids.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wed March 7th

I took my pain meds last night and was awake until 2am just laying in bed. Tonight I will be sure to take my Ambien before bedtime. I am happy to report that my hair is finally starting to grow. I actually NEEDED to shave my legs yesterday for the first time in months. I hate to admit that I was kinda excited. Also the hair on my head is starting to grow. I had this one match on the very top that never stopped growing all through chemo, so I buzzed it down to let the rest of my hair catch up with the stuff on top.
Jon's parents came over today to help out with the kids. Their cat dude that they have had forever had to be put to sleep this afternoon so they were kinda bummed about that. I took a nap for most of the afternoon since I didn't sleep last night which was really nice. At least I am not exhausted this evening. My mom and dad came over to help me with dinner and my mom is staying the night with me since Jon is working nights.
I painted Olivia's nails this afternoon and Cody was so mad that she was getting her's painted and he couldn't have his, so I just painted his too. Oh well, what are you going to do when you only have sisters to play with? He's so cute!!
Have to go catch LOST. I am addicted to that show!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tues March 6th

Recovery is going slow and steady. I seem to be doing a little better every day. I have had family and friends over every day to help out with the kids. Lifting still hurts and I am still very bruised so even having my arm by my side is uncomfortable. Jon has been working nights this week so I had my mom stay over on Sunday. My sister Amy left on Monday night. I was so glad that she was able to come out with my niece Marnie and help out. It was so nice to get to visit with her and have her be there. I miss her so much living so far away.
Yesterday afternoon Alex was sitting on my lap and elbowed me pretty hard and then at dinner Olivia accidentally ran into me. It was defiantly a set back. Today I went to the surgeon's office for my post op appointment. He took off the steri stripes and he also removed the drain. OUCH is all I have to say about that. It only took a few seconds but man it hurt. I was holding my side on the dressing putting pressure on it the whole rest of the night. I also loaded up on the pain pills again. It does feel good to have it out and not pulling on my skin but now it hurts. My incisions otherwise seem to be healing nicely. I am really bruised though. It looks like someone colored all over my chest with a florescent yellow highlighter. Dr. Chiavetta said it would be okay to shower before I went to bed tonight without having to worry about covering up my surgery site. I had to peel the gauze off the site where they removed my drain today because I was holding it so tight all evening that it healed to the gauze. Now it is hurting again. What a process. The surgeon also said that I should try to move my arm around to get my full range of motion back even though it is uncomfortable. He said that since I didn't have to do a full lymph node dissection it should be too long before I have my full range of motion back. All I can say is that it defiantly looks like a battle ground on my chest. It is a good thing that I am small breasted so I won't have to worry to much about looking uneven or buying an expensive prosthesis.
Yesterday I read this autobiography that my fellow breast cancer fighter Shari Robinson had let me borrow about one of her relatives. I started reading it last night and couldn't put it down. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought it and was fine for a few years and then they found cancer in her ovaries. It was so interesting to read about her journey and all the things that she did to try and fight this awful disease. She did so many trial studies and flew all over the world for treatments. What a brave women. She was fighting for her life and what an amazing example of courage her story is to me. I am so glad that I am doing everything in my power to fight this and hopefully it won't return anywhere else. Thanks for loaning it to me Shari!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday March 4th

It is finally over! I am happy to say my mastectomy surgery is at last behind me. Thanks to everyone who sent encouraging thoughts to me. They helped out tremendously.
I went into the surgery center at the hospital on Wednesday morning at 8am. Jon and my mom both came with me. I went into pre op about 8:30 to get ready and change into my really hot hospital outfit that drowns my body and get my IV started. I was told at my pre admission appointment that they wouldn't be able to use my port which was frustrating. Then the nurse told me that they could use it but it would take awhile for the "IV team" to come and tap it. I should have just had them do that in the beginning but the nurse made it sound like such a pain I went ahead and let her start an IV in my hand. It hurt from the beginning. She said oh your hands are small and the IV is hitting the "y" in your hand so they had to keep pulling it out/in when giving me my meds. I was also told on the pre admission appointment that I shouldn't take my Ativan (anit anxiety med) before coming to the hospital and that they would give me something when I was there and admitted. I of course asked the nurse about this right away and she said when we get you down to radiology they can give you something. The nurse even wrote the word yes on my right side so they were sure that they did the surgery on the correct side. Kinda funny. Here I am waiting for our trip down to radiology.

We were sent down to radiology at about 9am. When I asked the ultrasound lady about my anti anxiety medication she said, who told you that we would do that? I thought oh here we go, everyone is passing the buck off so they don't have to be the one to tell me that I don't get to be drugged up for the procedure. We waited for about 20 min and then they did have someone come down to give me something to calm my nerves. During this procedure they have an ultrasound technician mark 4 places that they were to inject the nuclear medicine. This medicine would travel through the breast tissue and drain into my lymph nodes. They use it to identify the sentinel lymph node during surgery. The sentinel node is the 1st one of the lymph nodes that drains the breast. This is the node that they want to remove to test and see if cancer has spread. So the procedure consisted of the radiologist giving me 4 shots of lidocaine or whatever it is they use to numb you up, and then 4 shots of the nuclear medicine in the same spots. After this we were wheeled back down to the pre op area to wait. I was supposed to go into surgery at noon but they were running a little late. I met my anesthesiologist and he was asking me all these questions about being under general anesthesia and then asked if I wanted some more of the anti anxiety med. I paused for a min and then he said "I am not stingy with my medicine so just tell me if you want some. " From that moment on I was wondering, "Is this man single? I think I love him." Of course I opted for more. Jon pointed out that he was wearing a wedding ring and that I was already married. Jon was being a smarty pants and the doc had said "We need a catheter for this gentleman in the corner." It was funny. It seemed like everyone Jon, my mom, and I joked around with that morning were all very straight forward and not having any of our joking attitudes so it was a relief after met him.
I went into surgery right around 1pm and when I woke up in the recovery room I remember asking what time it was and they said 3:30. The next little while was a blur. I remember that they people wheeling me from recovery to my room were training on how to push the hospital beds. The guy was instructing the girl on how to take the corners wide. I then remember getting to my room and them wanting me to move into the other bed and thinking there is no way that I can move myself. They were quick to point out that they had a "slide" that I had to roll over on and then they would lift me into the other bed. Thank goodness. The nurse was the first person I noticed because I used to work with her at Chili's. Her name was Lacey. She was so nice. I loved all my nurses. Jon, my mom, and his parents were all in my room within minutes. Also there were a few nurses that came in with several flowers and a cookie arrangement. They were all so pretty and everyone that came into my room over the next few days said is smelled so wonderful in there. They hooked me up to a morphine pump that I could control when I felt sick. When my mom and Jon's parents left I got up to go to the bathroom and was really light headed and ended up getting sick. They weren't sure if it was the anesthesia or the pain med. It was a long night. Jon left at around 7 or so, I think. They gave me some anti nausea med and also an anti itching med. The anti nausea med just made me pass out.
When I woke up in the morning I was still feeling pretty nauseous. My surgeon Dr. Chiavetta came to see me and said, it didn't look like I would probably be released that day since I wasn't tolerating the pain med very well and my blood pressure was really low. He did say that the initial biopsy on the lymph nodes were clear and no cancer was found in them. They would get the biopsy report from the breast tissue later that afternoon. My friend Laine came to see me that morning and then Jon brought Olivia up to see me around lunch time. They ended up changing my pain med to perkacet at lunch time and I seemed to feel somewhat better. Karen also came to see me that afternoon and then my brother came around dinner time. I ended up getting the runs after dinner time which was surprising because I had been told the pain meds always seem to plug you up so I was taking stool softener. My girlfriends Aislinn and Alyssa came to visit for awhile in the evening. The surgeon came back again to see me Thursday evening and said that they did find cancer cells in the breast tissue. They found Ductal carcinoma in situ. I asked if it was only in the area that they would have taken out in the lumpectomy and he said that he wasn't sure. He said that they cancer they found was probably the beginning stages of my cancer. This wasn't invasive cancer yet, so the chemo had killed the cells down to the point that it was contained to the milk ducts. Dr. Chiavetta did say that this cancer was very hard to get clear margins on when they do lumpectomies so if I had decided to do a lumpectomy there would have been a good chance that they would have had to go back and do a mastectomy anyway. All in all he said that he felt very confident in the route that I took for surgery. I felt so awesome that I followed the personal revelation that I had received telling me to do the mastectomy. Thanks for everyone's support on that decision.
They left just in time to miss me running back and forth from my bed to the bathroom for the next couple of hours. I also ended up throwing up again that evening. They were thinking that again I wasn't tolerating the pain medicine very well. I ended up switching over the Vicadin the next morning and felt much better. I was loaded up on the anti nausea med Friday morning again. I almost fell asleep in my breakfast. Powerful stuff, but I really needed the rest so that was nice. My parents came to hang out that morning and just ended up watching me sleep. My mom ended up staying with me until I was released and learned out to empty my drain. I have a a 5 inch incision across my right breast, and a 3 inch incision under my arms where they removed my lymph nodes. I also have an opening on my side about 6 inches under my armpit where my drain is coming out of my body. The drain itself is pinned on my shirt so it doesn't pull against my skin.
When I came home I saw this huge banner hanging up in my window from the Activity girls at my church. It was so nice.
Olivia and the neighbors Pam and Ann that watched the kids on Wednesday also made me these posters.
What a nice welcome home. I had a bunch of flowers and a couple different cookie bouquets.
Olivia stayed the night with my friend Aislinn on Friday and was able to play with her daughter Bella. Friday night went okay. I am so sore from only laying on my back to sleep. Jon took all the kids and went down to the boat and RV show in Denver with Aislinn and Desi and also his parents. It was nice to relax round my house. My mom came over in the morning and my sister Amy who is in town hung out with me in the afternoon. My Dad brought us lunch from Chilis. It was my Dad's birthday yesterday. Thanks for spending your Bday taking care of me dad. Happy Birthday. My girlfriend Abbey stopped by for a bit yesterday afternoon to say hey and my sister Heather brought us a yummy dinner. Our friends Tommy and Sheri and a few of their kids came over to visit us last night and the girls played with the kids and helped us get them into bed.

Last night was a little more bearable. Jon helped me set up the pillows so I could at least lay on my side. My parents came and got the kids and took them to church this morning and just planning on relaxing some more and taking it easy. Here is a pic of me this morning holding tight to my ice pack!