Archive | April 2014

Back at the Cancer Center

No worries – it’s just my every-three-weeks Herceptin treatment. I had to stash the kids with a friend today because StatsGuy is out of town. It’s a tricky weekend to be out of town because it’s Miss Adventure’s birthday tomorrow. We’ll be having friends over tomorrow and then have the family celebration on Sunday. I baked her cake this morning, and I’ll frost it up tonight. If I remember, I’ll post a picture of the finished product.

I got an email from my Little Pink Houses of Hope volunstar coordinator this week. We head off for vacation in two weeks, which is so exciting. I’m hoping the weather is nice for us so we can spend some time on the beach. While I don’t have a schedule of the activities they have planned for us, I do know that we’ll be doing things like stand-up paddleboarding one day, game night, and date night for the adults. There will also be a professional photographer who will take some family photos. The question becomes what to wear for the photos. I hate the matchy-matchy look, but I don’t want horrible clashing either. Guess I better go through our closets and see what I can come up with.

I started looking at what we will do on the way down to the Outer Banks, and in the afternoons. We’re planning on driving to Williamsburg on the first day, which is right near Fort Monroe. Mr. Curiosity and I just read Iron Thunder (the link leads to my review of the book) which describes the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac near Fort Monroe, so we’ll visit the actual location. While we’re down in the Outer Banks, we’ll visit Kitty Hawk as well. There’s some good history in that area! And we’ll take our bikes so we can do some riding and check out lots of beaches. It should be great fun.

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Mastectomy bras and breast forms

Since it will be six months until reconstruction surgery, I decided I needed to go back to Pennsylvania Artificial Limb & Brace to talk about breast forms. My lopsided breasts aren’t too noticeable with winter clothes on, but it’s harder to hide with summer clothes. So, it was off to try on bras.

The tricky part of trying on bras was when the woman who was helping me asked what kind of bras I like. I don’t know – I found a style I like on Victoria Secret (T-shirt bras) and just buy those when they’re on sale. I just want to make sure the straps don’t go over my port. So, I got measured and then tried on a couple of options with breast forms to see how they fit and looked.

A breast form is a partial breast prosthesis that is put over my existing breast to make it larger to match the expander. The expander is a full cup size larger than my natural breast, so I need a little boost on the left side. The trick is getting the boost in the upper part of the breast, so I need an oval breast form instead of the more typical triangular form. We’ll see what it looks like when the stuff comes in in a week or two.

I did ask about swimming with the breast form as well. I just need to find a bathing suit to hold the breast form. My bikini might actually work, since it has pockets in the breasts, but I’ll check out Lands End and see if I can find anything else. They have mastectomy bathing suits that I can return to Sears if it doesn’t fit.

Happy Birthday to Me

Today’s my 40th birthday. I must say, all the anxiety about turning such a big round number has pretty much disappeared. A cancer diagnosis is much more stressful than any birthday. Instead, I’m happy to have made it to another birthday, and a cancer-free one at that. StatsGuy lamented the fact that there were no “Congratulations! You made it to another birthday without dying of cancer” birthday cards, so he modified one to make a joke about having only real boob.

It’s amazing to think that it’s been less than a year since I was diagnosed. It’s been a whirlwind of doctor’s visits, tests, and treatments. I do plan on having many more birthdays, and all of them cancer-free, thank you very much.

Plastic Surgeon Update

I have been enjoying my first week after radiation. My skin is almost completely healed – there’s a bit of a tan line around the main treatment area, and I’m peeling on the expander. I can still see evidence of all the hives, but at least they’re not itchy anymore.

Even though I didn’t have radiation, I did have a doctor’s appointment. I met with Dr. Kang (the plastic surgeon) this afternoon for an update after radiation. I just wanted to touch base with him and see what the time frame was for replacing the expander with something squishy. We’re talking six months down the road to schedule the surgery. The big delay is to let the skin heal and the tissue relax a bit (everything has tightened and the expander has ridden up a little in the chest wall). I was a bit surprised at the time frame. I had remembered something more like six weeks rather than six months, but I might just have thinking optimistically.

Take home message is I need to make that appointment with the Pennsylvania Artificial Limb & Brace Company (isn’t that just a mouthful – we’ve decided just to call it PALB for short) for a breast form to even up the breasts. I can get away with the unevenness pretty easily during the winter, but it will become much more obvious over the summer. I’ll put it on my list of things to do for Monday, I guess!

Back at the Cancer Center

I just love this place so much, I decided to come back. Actually, it’s time for another Herceptin treatment. Every three weeks I’m back in the chemo wing. It’s an easy half hour in the chair, and I usually run some errands while I’m in Erie. No problems.

I did head back to the radiation wing for a just a moment today in order to donate my Hug Wrap back to the Cancer Center. I could have kept it, but I’m not going to wear it around the house or anything. I’d rather someone else get some use out of it. The nurse had the great idea to put a little note with it for the next patient. I thought that was a good idea and just wrote a couple of lines about hoping the cheery print would provide some smiles.

Last time wearing my Hug Wrap!

Last time wearing my Hug Wrap!

 

Graduation day!

Radiation is over!!!

Actually, it’s been over for a couple of days, and I’ve been glorying in being able to sleep until 7am (when the dog invariably wakes me up) and not have to drive anywhere if I don’t want to. StatsGuy is back to warming the car up for himself. Lucky for him, the winter seems to be over.

I even got a graduation present from the radiation staff:

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It’s a cute little apple pin. Definitely something worth wearing about for a while, to celebrate being done.

Look at the present box:

The last present

The last present

So empty. I saved a big one for last.

The last present

The last present

It was a box full of love from my family. So sweet!

At this point, my skin is peeling (including my ears), and there’s one sore spot under my armpit. However, most of the skin has healed, even of the pinkness. Next, I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon to figure out when to finish up with the reconstruction.

The Last Week of Presents

I am down to my final day, which means I have last week’s presents to acknowledge. I know I didn’t get them up at the end of the week, but I was busy dealing with the allergic reaction. That’s under control (thanks to the steroids) and I’ve moved on to peeling. It’s annoying and slightly painful, especially right in my armpit, but nothing like the itchiness and swelling I had last week.

Anyways – on to the presents!

More snacks - I love Kashi granola bars

More snacks – I love Kashi granola bars

I had a bit of a heart theme going in the middle of the week.

Candy hearts, that I won't be sharing.

Candy hearts, that I won’t be sharing.

A heart tin

A heart tin

A postcard for my Postcrossing collection.

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A pen from my father's business

A pen from my father’s business

I’ve got one present left (I saved a big one for the end).