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Double-breasted today

I decided it might be a good idea to get myself a new breast prosthetic. At the moment, my shaped Victoria Secret bras do a decent job faking a right breast, but the shaping may eventually collapse and more fitted shirts compress the bra. So, I scheduled a new appointment at the Pennsylvania Artificial Limb and Brace Company. I wanted to make sure and get my stuff while we’re still in this calendar year and my insurance is way maxed out.

As per usual, Julie did an excellent job helping me out. It was a little tricky because apparently, most of her patients have a much larger cup size than I do. It also doesn’t help that I have to keep the straps off to the side because my port is in the way. There were few bras that I could actually try on. We did manage to find one in my size – 34AA. Yes, yes, very sad, but I didn’t like being a B cup. I’m much happier back at my normal size.

My new mastectomy bra

My new mastectomy bra. It kind of feels like a sports bra

The inside cup for my prosthetic

The inside cup for my prosthetic

I was a little leery of this bra because the straps do go right over my port. However, I wore it all day today and it didn’t bother me. The straps are wide enough that they go around the port, and I think I’ve finally gotten used to the port (over a year later).

Here’s my new prosthetic:

photo(36)We ended up going with a size four because I have a bit of concavity in my chest from the nasty expander. With this bra, it squishes it all to my chest and I needed a bit more oomph. I wore it today and felt a bit more balanced. I don’t mind going around without it, but it was kind of nice to have two breasts today instead of just one.

I’ve got another bra on order that will allow me to wear tops with a deeper dip into the decolletage. We’ll see how it works once my size comes in.

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Family portraits

One of the things we did on our Little Pink Houses of Hope vacation in Avon was get family portraits taken by a professional photographer. It was supposed to be done with the Cape Hattaras lighthouse in the background, but the weather was looking quite iffy for that day, so we moved to the fishing pier instead. Daniel Pullen is a great photographer, known especially for his surfing photos. The only problem is he works on surfing time so it would be few months before we should look for the photos.

Well, the wait is over and the pictures finally came. We actually got a CD with all the photos that were taken, and I’m quite impressed with the creativity shown in many of the family photos. Ours look much more traditional, but are still quite lovely. What do you think?

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Bloodwork for Science

Monday was my second to last Herceptin treatment. (Yes, there is dancing in appreciation of this fact that there’s only ONE MORE TO GO!!!) While I was there, I wanted the nurse to draw my blood for the Breast Cancer Risk in Young Women Study I am participating in. I was going to do it the last time I had a Herceptin treatment, but there was a problem with my meds which led to a long wait before my infusion, and I ran out of time to get it done. So, it was time to try again.

I figured it would be an easy process. I needed two vials of blood filled, and the researcher had provided the vials, the packaging, and everything. While I was accessed for my Herceptin, it would take no time at all to fill up the vials.

It’s never that easy, is it. For one thing, this was a bit out of the ordinary, so the nurse wanted to check with the supervisor, who of course was out to lunch. So, I had to wait for the supervisor to come back. The supervisor sent the nurse to the lab supervisor just to check. Usually they charge a fee for drawing blood, but I had paperwork that provided a billing address associated with the project. Finally, she got permission to draw the blood.

Vials of blood all set for mailing

Vials of blood all set for mailing

Once the blood was drawn, it was off to the FedEx Express store so I could get it in the mail quickly, before the blood started to degrade.

All packed up and ready to go.

All packed up and ready to go.

They received my samples today. I know this because I got a phone call from a researcher wanting to do my family history. I had done this for my BRCA testing, but still couldn’t remember all the details on how old my aunts and uncles are or, even worse, my great-aunts and -uncles. I vaguely remembered who had cancer in the family (not much of it), but hopefully it was detailed enough. The next step is to ask my sisters and parents to see if they’d be willing to send in blood to compare it against mine. I’ll ask them the next non-crazy visit we get and see what they say.

One Year Anniversary

So, Wednesday was the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis, kind of. It was the one-year anniversary of my first mammogram where the radiologist told me he was 99% certain I had cancer, but he’d have to do a biopsy to determine what kind of cancer. Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind of a year. Treatment had it tough times, but it wasn’t all a bad year. We had two lovely family vacations (Montreal and Avon with Little Pink Houses of Hope) and got to see Mumford and Sons in concert, among many other lovely smaller events.

We celebrated this year with another bike trip. Last year we took two days while the kids were at camp to bike around the Niagara Peninsula (on the Thursday and Friday after my mammogram. The doctor wanted to do a biopsy on Friday, but I informed him I would be out of town. Cancer was not going to ruin my fun even at that point.) This year, we took three days and bike south of Cleveland, Ohio. StatsGuy and I love touring by bike, although 60 miles is all I can really handle without more training. It’s a good way to celebrate being cancer free. I’m sure we’ll do it again next year.

After biking 160 miles over three days.

After biking 160 miles over three days.

 

Last Day, Late

I didn’t manage to get this post up before we left the Outer Banks. I wanted to get the house packed up Friday night so the kids and I could go swimming one last time on Saturday morning. As I keep telling the kids, finish your work before you play.

Friday was a rainy day. We couldn’t complain too much, since it had been so lovely all week. It was time to find some indoor activities. In the morning we decided to do some beading at a store just across Highway 12 from our road. We actually walked, since the rain had slowed down significantly. It took us a very long time (over an hour at least) to finish. I think the adults had the hardest time. I was always looking for just the right color and size to fit in my pattern.

The finished products

The finished products. I made the bracelet and StatsGuy made the navy/black necklace.

Lunch was at Dirty Dick’s Crab Shop, which was very yummy, and then we went to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. It’s one of North Carolina’s maritime museums, focusing on all the shipwrecks that occurred on the shoals off the Outer Banks. I should have taken a picture of the building, because it was such an interesting shape, but I was distracted by the rain. It’s not a very big museum, but I was pleasantly surprised at all the cool displays, including something on the Monitor, and even an Enigma machine off a German U-Boat. It’s not necessarily worth a special trip, but if you’re in the area you should check it out.

By the time we got back to our house in the afternoon, the rain had stopped so we went down to the beach. I thought it was too cold to swim, but the kids went and played in the waves. It really wasn’t bad (considering all the wind we’d had), so I was sure to swim the next morning before we left.

Some pretty impressive waves

Some pretty impressive waves

Then it was time for our final dinner. Everyone was sad to leave and we all promised to keep in touch, even the kids.

A crazy group photo

A crazy group photo

It was truly a delightful vacation, full of good people and fun activities and no worries. It’s sad to have to go home and back to work and cancer treatments (I’m sitting at the Cancer Center getting my every-three-week Herceptin treatment right now), but we will go home refreshed.

Fishing and Pirate Attacks

We decided to participate in Thursday’s Little Pink activities instead of doing another day of lots of driving for potentially little reward. The morning started with family photos on the beach. It’s a little tricky doing outdoor photos, considering everyone’s got transition lenses on their glasses, but we tried to keep them from going dark. A professional photographer came in and took everyone’s photos in multiple combinations – whole family, parents, kids, me and the kids, and just me. I’m excited to see how they turn out – I’ll post the best ones when I get copies.

After the early photos, we came back to our beach house and went swimming. The wind had picked up overnight (a storm was coming), so the waves were really crashing in. The water was much colder as well, so I wasn’t tempted to go in. The kids delighted in feeling the waves crash over them.

Little Pink had several morning activities planned – a beach-side devotional (we skipped that), Yoga (also skipped), and fishing on the Avon pier (we did that one).

photo(53) photo(52)

Both kids managed to catch a fish (different kinds, even), so the morning was a success.

For the afternoon, we went back to the Cape Hattaras lighthouse to actually climb it, all 248 steps.

They're painting the lighthouse.

They’re painting the lighthouse.

The view from the top was quite impressive – you could see Buxton and Avon to the north, the end of Hattaras Island to the south, and Diamond Shoals in the ocean. The wind was also impressive. StatsGuy elected to stay on the ground and check out the little museum on the premises. He’s not so fond of heights.

Our final activity of the day was a pirate cruise. photo(56)The first mate told some pirate stories, and then gave out squirt guns to all the kids to defend the ship. After running around and squirting each other (and the adults), another boat drew up alongside and attacked.

Can you see the buckets of water they have?

Can you see the buckets of water they have?

They had buckets of water to throw at us and even the hose. Some of the water even made it across to our ship, and the kids were drenched. The adults elected to move to the other side of the boat and stay mostly dry.

Soaking wet, slightly shivering, gloriously happy children.

Soaking wet, slightly shivering, gloriously happy children.

A great time was had by all! We’re all sad that Friday is our last day. We’ve had such a wonderful time, it’s sad to see it come to an end.

Stand-up Paddleboarding and Waiting

Last night was a late night out, so I didn’t get a post up before heading to bed. That just means I have two days to record.

Yesterday morning’s Little Pink activity was stand-up paddleboarding. It wasn’t ideal weather because the wind was blowing at a good clip. The kite-boarders were out in force, which the instructors commented usually meant it was a no-go for paddle-boarding. But, it was the only day the instructors were up, and at least the wind was blowing on-shore. We didn’t have to worry about being stuck out in the middle of the sound if we got tired coming back in. I must say, the paddleboarding was so much fun for everyone. Even the kids enjoyed themselves. The first time out, I was a little shaky, but every time was easier. The trick was getting out far enough into the sound to make it fun surfing back in, but not so far you got in the way of the wind surfers.

The afternoon was quiet back at the beach house. Mr. Curiosity is still pretty sunburned, and I didn’t want him to get a lot more sun. Besides, the evening activity was putt-putt and go-karting. Everyone needed to be rested up for evening fun!

Go kart fun!

Go kart fun!

We tried all the fun – go karts, bumper cars, and putt-putt. Sadly, StatsGuy beat me once again. I beat him on the front nine, but blew up on the back nine. One of these days I beat him. Both the kids got to play with their friends, which was nice for all.

Today we decided to skip out on the Little Pink morning activities and take the ferry to Ocracoke Island. Things did not work out quite as planned, mainly because we had to wait for the ferry. Oh, we got there just fine, but the UPS truck and giant tour bus got the priority lane and took up half the ferry. Not just on the way there, when we had to wait an hour to get on the ferry, but on the way back. That was only a half hour wait, but we were missing the kids’ pirate party/parents’ date night! Then, the ferry took an hour to make the crossing, not the advertised 40 minutes. We were starving by the time we got to the town of Ocracoke! Lunch was at the marina. It was tasty, but slow. Essentially, we had a half an hour to wander about the island before it was time to get back in the ferry line.

The ferry dock

The ferry dock

We did make it back for the evening event. Dinner out was delightful. We didn’t have to worry at all about children complaining they didn’t like anything on the menu. StatsGuy got a local fish dish. I went with the steamed variety plate. I really wanted blue crab, but they were out. This was the next best thing – snow crab legs, crawdads, mussels, clams, shrimp, and oysters. It was so yummy! The kids had a blast at their pirate party as well – they were chattering nonstop on the drive back to the house.

Tomorrow’s schedule has changed for us. Originally we were going to drive to Kittihawk, but we didn’t want another day of driving with little being done. Instead, we’ll do the Little Pink fishing off the pier. We’ll also get our family photos done, since Friday’s looking like rain. Should be fun!