Saturday, December 29, 2007

A New Look!

So I saw a friend's blog yesterday and loved her layout. It was so much more spread out and everything was larger so she was kind enough to help me change mine. Thanks Jer! Also back to one of my favorite songs, The Prayer. This version is okay but I prefer the one by Celine Dion and Josh Groban. Although I couldn't find one to embed on the blog and have it auto play. A classic in my book! I also stole this survivor counter from another blogger I just met! Thanks Sue! It is up at the top on the header. Hope everyone likes the new blog make over.
More of the same going on around here. Jon had my 2 brother-in-laws that are in town come over today and help him hang dry wall in the basement. After the day they did 1 and a 1/2 rooms. That dry wall is a big pain! But it looks great. I spent the day at my parent's house with the kids and hung out with my sisters. My sister Toni has this game she brought called Ticket to Ride and then my other sister Amy got Ticket to Ride, Europe for Christmas. If you like board games it has been really fun. We have played it almost everyday. They did say that it was kinda pricey like 40 bucks and only found it at a game store in the mall. But I am thinking of looking for it. Jon isn't much of a gamer but maybe I could convince him to play with me sometimes. It's good times.
This evening all the adults went out to eat and we all got babysitters. It was fun to just hang out with my brothers and sisters and parents without kids. We tried out a new babysitter that was recommended, who did fine, the kids loved her but I made the mistake of not asking her in advance how much she charged. So I got home relatively on time to what I told her, between 8 and 8:30, and my house was a disaster. The kids had their toys everywhere, the dishes weren't done, they weren't in their PJs, etc. So a little flustered walking in the door and then asked her what she charged...hold on to your butts....4 bucks an hour per child.....WHAT?!? I must be really cheap but it isn't like she is a licensed day care provider...$12 an hour?!? Holy cow..... For 12 bucks an hour my house better be spotless and the kids put to bed plus my bathrooms cleaned. Yikes. My kids did like her but who can afford to go out and pay a sitter that? Not me. Good thing we were only gone for dinner, less than 3 hours. Wow. Maybe I am way off base. What does everyone else pay sitters?
I also so some friends I knew from high school that I haven't seen since high school. They have 2 kids and are awfully cute. It was fun to be able to see them. I didn't even recognize her until she said something to me, and I'm the one with a different hair style. whoops.
So after picking up the house, doing dishes, and putting the kids to bed I am finally sitting down again. It took us an hour and a half to get back on track for the 3 hours we were gone. Oh well, live and learn I suppose. At least the kids enjoyed her.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fri Dec 28th

It feels like forever since I last posted. It has been an eventful week. Both my out of town sisters came to my parents and will be here through the new year. We spent Christmas eve with Jon's folks and Christmas Day with mine. I made a photo book from for my parents, Jon's parents, and also Jon's aunt and uncle. I think it turned out really nice and it was definitely a fun one to give and everyone loved it. If you want to preview it here is the link:
It's amazing how scrapbooking has changed. This is so much easier with digital photos and I am sorry to say that there is hundreds and hundreds of dollars of scrapbook stuff in my basement that might not ever get used. It is still a fun hobby though even though it is sitting and doing it at the computer.
Jon was gone for work starting early Wednesday morning and and is on his way home now. We had a huge snow storm yesterday so the kids and the dog and I went to my parents house yesterday morning and stayed the night there and just came home this afternoon. There were 15 people staying there between myself and my 2 sisters families, plus my little brother. Now that's a house full! It has been fun spending lots of time with my sisters and there kids this week. I know my kids have really liked seeing their cousins as well.
I am feeling a little better every day and still about the same at night. I started taking Aleve on Wednesday night and last night and that seems to be better at lasting more of the night and not keeping me completely uncomfortable. I still am getting tired very easily and have to be careful about not being up and about for the whole day or I am exhausted. I have another week until my first scheduled fill of the expanders. (next Thursday)
We have also had the kids pass all around this croup cough sickness. Cody lost his voice completely on Wednesday and all the kids still have a deep cough on and off. Hopefully it doesn't make it's way around to Jon and I. I uploaded a bunch of Christmas pictures to my picasa site and have to get the snow day pictures from my sister.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Dec 21

Rough is the only term I can use to describe the rest of my week. I have been very uncomfortable at night and spend most of the night tossing and turning from side to side to back to try and stay in a position that doesn't cause me more pain. It has been slow going for recovery and I have still had to deal with nausea.
At my doctor's appointment with Dr. Brewster yesterday she removed the rest of my sutures and said I could finally stop taking my antibiotic which I think has been the cause of most of my nausea and just generally feeling horrible. We decided that since I am still uncomfortable and the skin is still tight on that right side that we won't start expanding. I have 2 weeks until we plan to start expanding, which was good news since I am still uncomfortable. Hopefully this will give me a good amount of time to rebound and at least feel a little more at ease. I still get tired very easily and am beginning to feel like I am back on chemo! Let's hope it gets better in the next few days.
My sister Amy and her family flew into Denver yesterday and it has been fun spending the last 24 hours with them. My other sister Toni and her husband Doug and their new baby were supposed to drive here today but the weather has been bad so they are going to driver here tomorrow. Jon got home this evening and I am relieved that he is here to help me with the kids and I can hopefully relax a little. Chasing the kids really takes it out of you, especially when you don't have anything in you to begin with!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Dec 18th

Well it is still slow going here tying to keep on top of feeling better. Seems some days are fine and others are terrible. Saturday I was sick to my stomach for most of the day so pretty much stayed on the couch the whole day. Alex decided to get sick on Friday with a really deep cough. it sounded like croup so she was and still is sick. She seems to feel fine otherwise, she hasn't slowed down at all. The dog also went back into his old habits and got sick again on us on Thursday. When we had him into the vet on Saturday they couldn't find anything wrong with him and just put him on this prescription food that is really bland. He seems to be back to normal now, but hates the food. Hope we don't have continual problems with him! Saturday Jon picked up the new Harry Potter DVD that came out last week so I watched that when I was on the couch both Saturday and Sunday. Alex stayed home from church with me on Sunday and when she woke up from her nap her arms and back were all red and she had these big white and raised areas that looked like welts. Jon took her to urgent care and they put her on an antibiotic and just said to give her benedryl for the rash. It went away within an hour of giving her the benedryl. Strange. Yesterday was a pretty good day. I felt great all day. I cleaned out my bathroom cupboards in the morning and then had to mail something yesterday and stood in line for at least 45 minutes at the post office. It was crazy. Last night Jon's aunt and uncle Clara and John came down to celebrate Christmas with us and Jon's parents came over as well. We exchanged gifts and then went to Red Robin for dinner.
Afterwards we went to Target where the kids all got to pick out a gift from John and Clara and then went back to their hotel and the kids got to go swimming in their pool at the hotel. The kids love to swim so of course had a blast swimming and spending time with family. Alex's mystery rash came back after about 30 minutes of swimming and so we had to call it quits and head home for some more benedryl. It's weird because it doesn't seem to phase her at all. It doesn't itch or anything. Hopefully she gets better soon. Today has been rough again. I woke up with an upset stomach and have been in the bathroom a bunch today. It's a vicious cycle. I stop taking my antibiotic on Saturday and hopefully it will be back to normal after that. By the way, mom did fine when I had my drains pulled out last week. I told her that I had been worried about me and she laughed. She just said she gets like that when she isn't sure what to expect. So no dizzy spells during the appointment, which was great since it sucked for me. I go in for my first fill on Thursday. Hope all goes well and it isn't too painful. I uploaded my recent photos of our puppy, Olivia's winter concert, and our evening last night onto my picasa site.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Dec 14th

It has been a LONG week. Man it is frustrating to be feeling awful and trying to recover. You are never comfortable always in pain or having to deal with nausea. Sleeping is the worst. Of course it is only comfortable to sleep on my back and I normally sleep on my side and then I wake up in pain since I sleep through my 4 hour pain pill cycle. I guess I could go on and on complaining about how much this sucks so I will stop at that. The one up side is looking down and seeing the making of new breasts. Jon managed to get the Christmas tree set up and all our Christmas stuff out this week. We are only getting out the necessities this year. Keep it simple. So the eyrithromyicin does also make me sick so I get to deal with that two times a day with an anti nausea med that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I am also taking vicodin for pain and flexaril which is a muscle relaxer. The muscle relaxer of course knocks you out.

We have had a few snow storms this week. Olivia went to school on Tuesday and came home when I had medicated myself into a coma yelling at me that since she didn't wear her snow boots to school she had to stay inside with 1/2 the class from recess. Apparently the protocol is wear snow boots to school and bring tennis shoes in your bag for the class room. Excuse me for not knowing the protocol for kindergarten. Besides Jon sent her off to school that day. Oh the woes of a 5 year old. Jon was back in Colorado Springs working Wednesday through today. He drove back on Wednesday night so we could go to Olivia's winter concert. It was so cute. I wish I had this video thing figured out to upload these videos to my blog. Maybe after my sister is here at Christmas she can show me. (hint hint Toni) With lots of help from my parents I made it through the rest of this week. My mom came with me to my Dr. appointment on Thursday to get the other drain pulled out. Again, this is fun! A few clips of the scissors to remove the sutures and a few yanks. I am so glad they are out but man does that hurt. I have been dreading the experience since I had the surgery scheduled months ago. Dr. Brewster said she was pleased with the healing my body has been doing and would plan on doing my first expander fill at my next appointment next Thursday. Hopefully it won't take to long to get over the expansion each time. I'm sure it will be uncomfortable for at least a few days. She said her goal was to fill an ounce each time, which is 30 cc's. She removed 35 cc's right after surgery on the right side so I guess next week we will just catch up the right side. This should be interesting.
The healing process is slow but moving along. I feel a little better each day then I did the day before. Yesterday I was up and around a bunch because I was feeling better and today I paid for it. I sat on the couch feeling pretty junkie for most of the day. I was sick from my antibiotic both in the morning and this evening. But today was AMAZING in that I finally got clearance to shower after 10 days. WOW that was nice. I stood in the shower for probably 20 min thinking about how awesome it was to shower. Don't get too grossed out I did wash my hair a few times in the sink and have a nice washcloth bath a few times but there is nothing like enjoying a hot shower. It's funny looking back I had planned on getting all my Christmas cards done and working a bunch since I would be forced to sit on the couch. I suppose I didn't plan on being doped up on pain meds and muscle relaxers and feeling like death. Needless to say my short "to do" list never got done and I spent the entire week being worthless and recovering. I know I needed it though and I am glad that I didn't push myself to get a bunch done. Thanks to everyone who helped us out this week by running kids or watching kids and bringing us meals. It was a tremendous help and I really appreciate every one's kindness. No big plans this weekend, hopefully more of nothing and just relaxing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Dec 10th

First and foremost, I missed buddy check 9 day yesterday. I wasn't up to posting after hanging over the toilet for the entire day. So give your girls a squeeze and a good once over for the month!

Surgery on Wednesday went well. It was a little over 6 hours and lucky for me it felt like 2 seconds. The only thing I remember in recovery was thinking how much it hurt. Hurt to move, hurt to talk, hurt to breathe. Of course the whole rest of the day was pretty foggy from medications. I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. I had the expanders in both sides and also drains in both sides and an incision where they removed my port. I look like a battlefield. Although it was kinda nice to look down and see "bumps" in my bra. I couldn't even move without help from someone. It is pretty hard to remember much because I felt like I was either wanting to be asleep or asleep most of the stay in the hospital. Just those painful thoughts of having to get up to go to the bathroom and sitting up to breathe into the inspirometer, which measures your lung capacity and to cough. I swear it was a torturing hospital. Okay not really but I definitely wasn't prepared for the amount of pain that came along with it. That hurt also to breathe so deeply. The first day I barley made it up to 500 meanwhile Jon tried it for fun and can make it all the way to the top at 5000. Ha! I had and still have to think about breathing deeply because it hurts to do that so instinctively I breathe shallow so it doesn't hurt. But apparently can cause pneumonia. I prepared myself for the amount of pain I had at my first surgery and this was 100 times more painful. I couldn't put weight on either arm so had to get up by my nurse or whomever was there with hugging me around my shoulders and pulling me up. My right side (cancer side that was radiated and used Alloderm on) hurt significantly worse than my left side. I seriously couldn't even move my right arm without sharp shooting pains in my right arm pit. Also during surgery my lip was caught between the intubation tube and my teeth the entire time and I woke up with a huge fat lip on the right side. I felt nauseous the entire time which was another bonus. When Dr. Brewster came back to check on me that night and I told her how much pain I was in she decided to drain some of the saline in my expander so there wasn't as much pressure on that side. My mom was there and she uses this instrument that looks like a stud finder to find where the right part of the expander is and then uses a syringe with a needle on it to suck the saline out. She said that with some patients they don't feel it because most of that area is numb from surgeries. Yeah, not me.... Apparently that is what I get to look forward to in getting them filled up the next few months. Needless to say, not a fun experience and then my poor mom had to go sit down afterwards because she thought she was going to be sick from watching. I guess she won't be able to come to my appointments with me to get them filled. I felt a little better after she took some saline out but it still hurt. She came again in the morning to drain some more off of it. So I got to experience that twice in 24 hours. I ended up staying 2 nights because I was still so uncomfortable after the first night. Of course the administration lady came up to my room and said that my insurance doesn't pre approve extra nights in the hospital and will determine if they will cover it only after they have the claim. Super. I can't tell you how happy I have been with my insurance company lately. On a funny note, I was saying how I was so sleepy. I fell asleep on Thursday in the middle of doing my inspirometer breathing with the thing in my mouth, also fell asleep in the middle of eating crackers once with a cracker in my hand, and also a few times with a glass of water in my hands. That would have made a pretty funny picture. I came home on Friday afternoon. My mom came to pick me up and when I got out to the car (she drives a suburban) I instantly thought, how the heck am I going to get into this car? Since I couldn't even stand up by myself, it was interesting. Of course I was in tears after I finally got in the car and had to pull myself in with my arms and the nurse had to lift me in by my arms. Then the car ride home sucked too. I could literally feel the expanders sliding across my chest muscle when we turned a corner. Every time we hit a bump in the road it felt like someone ripping open my skin. My mom tried to slow WAY down to go over the railroad tracks and of course it was still awful. I think I was in tears the whole way home and so was my mom, she felt so bad for me. Much of the weekend was spent on the couch and over the toilet. The pain has gotten a little better everyday but is definitely still there. I went in for a follow up appointment this morning and Dr. Brewster decided to pull out the drain on my left side. These are always fun and memorable experiences. For those who aren't familiar with drains it is a suction drain that collects extra fluids from a wound after surgery and then it empties into a bulb. Click here if you are really interested in what the Jackson Pratt drain looks like. As you can imagine it isn't much fun. There are a few sutures that hold it in place that she cuts and then one large yank and it comes out of your skin. Unfortunately for me, mine got stuck 1/2 way through and had to have 2 big yanks. Double ouch! Dr. Brewster also thought the culprit for my nausea was my antibiotic so she gave me a different one to try. I spent the rest of the day on the couch resting from the 2 hours I was out and about this morning. Jon picked up my new prescription for arythromyacin and I took one with dinner. Now about an hour after dinner the nausea in starting in again. Good times. I was teasing my mom whiles she was here dropping off dinner that it was a good thing she wasn't there to get my drain pulled out today because she would have fainted. Of course then I remembered that Jon would be at work on Thursday for my next appointment and then realized that she would be going with me to get the other one yanked out. I hope she does okay, I am more worried about her! After about an hour I am starting to feel queasy from the other med. Hopefully I don't spend the rest of the night over the toilet. Thanks for every one's prayers, thoughts, and phone calls. Sorry if I talked to you on Thursday or Friday and I was way out of it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Surgery is a Go!!

No thanks to blue cross of CA, I will be able to go forward with my surgery as planned. My surgeon is beyond frustrated with my insurance company for their unwillingness to cooperate and provide me with the product that is necessary for me to be able to complete this surgery. They basically told her that their standard of care doesn't ever include providing this to their patients. The surgeon from my insurance company that she did her peer review with even admitted that their standard of care is below par and not up to date. When she was explaining that surgery and especially plastic surgery is always cutting edge he admitted that they were not up to date on their standard. This is so frustrating to know that they are denying people the right to have the use of alloderm when it is medically necessary. That should be for your surgeon to decide not some insurance company. Unreal. Dr. Brewster told me if I wanted to pursue litigation or write letter she would be happy to sign whatever I need her to. I am for sure going to be looking into do this possibly during my down time. At least I would be helping the next person in line get this. So due to the generosity of the company alloderm for donating the product, my surgeon for donating her time to sew it in, and the surgery center for donating a time block I will be able to proceed with that part of the surgery to use the alloderm which is necessary to help strengthen the radiation area. So tomorrow I will go in and have my surgery to do the mastectomy on the left side, get my port removed, have the alloderm sewn in on the radiated side and then the tissue expanders placed on both sides. This time I am having it at the Harmony surgery center rather than Poudre Valley Hospital. I am not sure if I will be there 1 night or 2 nights. I didn't do well coming off of anesthesia last time so I had to stay 2 nights. I guess we will see. I am really nervous and really just want to get it over with.
On another note my weekend went well and was busy as always. Jon ended up working both Saturday and Sunday so we would be okay to take off a week for me to recover. On Saturday night we went to my girlfriend Alyssa's surprise party for her husband who is 40. It was a blast. She did this amazing video slide show for him of pictures of his life put to music, it was really neat. She also made up these hilarious lyrics to the friends theme song, The Fireman by George Strait, and YMCA that fit with his life and that evening. It was Alyssa, myself, Aislinn, and Michelle that performed the skit/song and it was hysterical. We had someone video tape it so I will put it on my blog when I get it. The puppy is doing much better. We had him at the vet on Monday and he had a parasite. After a day of antibiotics he has done a complete 180 and I am feeling much less overwhelmed with him and actually starting to like him, a little. (ha!) Now I am trying to get my house in order and all the last minute things done. I will blog again this weekend and let everyone know how I am doing. Thanks for every one's support and make sure you keep me in your prayers...I am really nervous about it. :-(