Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween - Postponed

Well, thanks to the unseasonably early snowstorm, Halloween Trick or Treating is postponed. Much of our town (luckily not us for a change) is without electricity so I think it's the right decision by the town to postpone. I hope my friends start getting their power back soon. We've gone through it, once for 4 days and we sympathize.

Last Thursday, Bill's work had a big Halloween party known as, Athenaween :-)  Bill worked from home that day and brought her to the kiddie portion in the afternoon. I had told Cassidy earlier that daddy was taking her to a party and she was so excited. Carrying her costume around the house, trying to put her tights on over her corduroys.   So... while I don't have official Halloween photos, I have a little sneak peak of Cass in her duck costume.  Which she loves.  But she won't say Quack.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I think it's winter already

I'm glad Cassidy and I played outside and got a long walk in on Friday because I'm pretty sure it's winter now :-(  It's way too early.

Bill and I had a babysitter for Cassidy last night so we could go out. It's so nice to get out without Cass.  We went to the movies and saw 50/50 which we both highly recommend. Not sure if we liked it so much because of our own fight with cancer but we really thought it was a great movie.

And then we went to dinner and the bushes outside the restaurant looked like:
UGH :-(  It's not even Halloween! It's too early for snow!  Cassidy's reaction upon looking out the window this morning was "OH NO!"   Yup! You called it baby!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My First Fill and all good news

Today we visited the plastic surgeon. We're going to be regulars there for awhile. We saw Abbie the physicians assistant today and she said I look amazing. A few days ago I had noticed that gravity had started to work and my boobs had moved slightly downward. Now, I'm not saying I could hold a pencil with my boob but I didn't feel like they were at my collarbones anymore. 

So I had my first fill, 80 cc's of saline in each. She chose to stop at 80 because she didn't want to push my incisions. And they are back up to my collarbones again ha ha. She said they'll settle down in a couple weeks - just in time for my second fill!  It felt fine - just everything getting much tighter again. And they are obviously bigger.  I'd say close to my normal size.  My homework is to start trying on my clothes and see if I'm happy where I'm at or how much bigger I need to go to be happy.

I think we got lots of good news. I talked to her about how I'm less than thrilled with how I look. She reassured me that implants won't be as round and they have a style of implant called high profile that might be best for me (more projection). So I'm relieved. She was going to look at my before photos to see if she thought that would give me the "old" me look. She thought it will be no problem to have my expander to implant swap surgery this calendar year so I'm all booked for surgery on December 13th!  Yippee! and OMG I've got to do my Xmas shopping before then ha ha!

Lastly, I've had something sticking out of the incision in my right armpit that has been driving me nuts. I was going to ask Lisa to cut it off Friday night but that won't be necessary because that's already been done. I told Abbie and she took a look and it was a knot of sutures sticking out so she cut it and pulled it out! Thank goodness!

I'm feeling pretty hopeful that I can be happy with the new me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good Pathology News

Late Monday the doctor called with the final pathology report. Lymph nodes still clear (phew!). They found a teeny tiny amount of invasive cancer; 2 millimeters or for us Americans who still don't know the metric system,  .07 inches.  TINY! They are setting me up an appointment with an oncologist as standard practice.I asked what she thought the recommendation might be and she said maybe nothing, maybe hormone therapy.  I'm happy to see the oncologist because there is still the question of my (hormonal) birth control implant which is still in my arm.  I suspect I'm going to hear a firm - remove it! but I'll wait until I hear it in person.

If you've done any on-line research on  my diagnosis there are questions on whether DCIS would ever turn invasive. Sometimes it doesn't. It was hard for me to have my entire breast removed for something that may or may not have become invasive. That teeny tiny amount of invasive cancer they found confirms that I did the right thing because my DCIS would have turned invasive.  Not that I'm the type of person to ever regret anything but... I don't ever have to second guess any of my decisions now.

I need to talk to work about when I'm going back but now I have two or three more doctors appointments (oncologist, follow-up with breast surgeon, and then maybe BC Implant removed) so I'm hoping to be able to provide work with a date by the end of this week. It just doesn't make sense to me to go back to work and then have to use my vacation time on doctors appointments.

This past weekend we went to the Franklin Park Zoo. Which we felt was a bit of a rip off since half the animals were gone. It was still a nice day to be outside and enjoying the fall day.

zebras are cool

Bill looks so happy!

None of the pictures have me in them because I still cannot hold my child.  Ten more days!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No News is probably good news

Still haven't heard from the doctor on the final pathology. I'd really like to know for sure that the darn cancer hasn't spread!  I'll be crossing my fingers that they call Monday.  On the other hand, I'm using this as an excuse not to set up a follow-up appointment with the breast surgeon, which just delays when I go back to work so that's okay :-)

I drove for the first time in two weeks this morning.  It was okay and worth it since I bought Cassidy a cute hoodie at TJ Maxx for ten bucks!

We're off to the zoo today. I wish the darn sun would come out. I'm starting to think the weather people were wrong for today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Resting and Recuperating

Ahh the lazy days of recuperating.  yeah, I'm bored. I'm digital scrapbooking like crazy and having visitors and lots of lunches out. Which is all good and better than working but I'm just not a homebody. Especially since I'm feeling pretty good. I'm off the pain medicine and just taking Advil.

My lingering problem is sleeping. It's not comfortable to sleep on my side which is my preferred sleep position. So I'm stuck on my back every night. I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Right now I'm just tired but I'm gearing up for tired and cranky by the end of the week. 

So lots of friends and family have been asking me if I've gotten the final word on my lymph nodes, IE. the full pathology report.  They tell me to call the doctor. I remind them I had surgery the Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. They keep telling  me to call. So I called today. I told the nurse that my family & friends are pestering me so I'm pestering her. Funnily she said that is often the case. That the patient is calm & collected and not in a rush but family and friends pester them to call and find out. Well, for all you pesterer's out there - they don't have the results yet. They will call me when they get them. They are behind due to the holiday!  As soon as I hear I will pass along the good news

Cassidy is starting to get sick and tired of Daddy and wants Mama to pick her up but... I can't for 16 more days. Bill is doing all the baths so I took some photos at bath time the other night.
She is fascinated by soap and bubbles. I hug this kid constantly and tell her I love her about a thousand times a day.  She's just the cutest, sweetest kid.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drains out!

I had a happy day Friday! I got the drains taken out! It didn't hurt a bit and it's so nice to be able to reach over my head. I also don't have to wear the super fashionable velcro bra anymore. Thank goodness!  Though there was some issue with finding something to fit the new me.  You'd assume that the new me is smaller but that is not the case. Probably the same size but shaped differently. I have lots of questions for my next plastic surgery visit.  and I'm hoping to god that what's in  my armpits is just swelling.

We haven't done much with all the driving back and forth to the doctors.  I'm running out of pain meds so I'm starting to wean myself off them today. It's going okay and I'll be totally done Sunday night.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Follow-up appointment with Plastic Surgeon

The drainage output sheet they gave to me from the hospital stated that when each drain is producing less than 30 ML in a 24 hour period, call your doctor to have them removed. You can imagine the dancing we did this morning when my quantities for the last 24 hours were 29 and 20!  I dressed in regular clothes (that didn't really fit drains) figuring they will be coming out for sure.  I tell the nurse how excited I am!  She takes the sheet with our measurements.

The doctor walks in and says "I hate these sheets!  You're going to hate me. My rule is less than 20 ML"
So I still have drains in.  I'm hoping and praying that tomorrow morning I'm under 20 on each side. If not my options over the weekend are 1) wait until Monday or 2) Call the on call plastic surgeon at Brigham & Womens and if they don't have too many emergencies they might agree to take them out.  But I might get there only to find out that emergencies have arisen and have to wait 4 hours. 

Option #2 doesn't really work with my life. Though my life is pretty limited with hoses sticking out of me.  I'm really hoping tomorrow works out!  The doctor said that if the drains are the worst part of this it's going really well. She said I look good and I'll go for my first expander fill-up in two weeks!  The doctor did try to put some padding around the drain holes and tape them up so hopefully they don't move around too much and bother me less.

Interesting information -  my sister and I had wondered what was holding my incisions together - stitches? staples?  I looked but couldn't really see anything, turns out, that makes sense because it's glue holding me together!

Friends have sent me some lovely flowers, one had a balloon which Cassidy loves and carries around the house. I also got an edible arrangement! The look on Cassidy's face was pricelss, you would've thought she won the lottery! We had to immediately open it so she could begin eating it! Thanks for helping make our house so cheerful!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday already

You definitely don't have a good sense of time when you're hopped up and nauseous on pain killers. I was released from the hospital yesterday even though I was still nauseous. I wanted to come home. Last night I said "That's It!" to those darn painkillers that made me itchy, sick to my stomach and dizzy and stopped taking them. It was Tylenol only overnight. Bill and Cassidy are at the pharmacy now picking me up something milder that the doctor called in but I'm doing pretty okay on just Advil (which the Dr. recommended over Tylenol).

The good news was preliminary results on my lymph node was negative! Yippee!  I'll really celebrate when the final results come this week.

The plastic surgeon thought my skin looked so good she put quite a lot of saline in my tissue expanders, 300cc.s - their limit is 500cc's. With that and all the swelling I have some pretty big...   lumps.  Yeah, they look like bumpy lumps. 

The drains are without a doubt the worst part of this. I look like a freak with big bulbs under my shirt.  The one on the left is stitched to my skin right under my super fashionable velcro bra and is the spot that hurts the most on me.  But I can't be too upset because the doctor said it's because I'm skinny that it hurts so much.  I love how they throw that in.  Things hurt more because there's no fat to pad anything.  Like it's a bad thing. haha  

I survived. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More Updates....

We visited Sheryl today at the hospital -- she is pretty nauseous from the anesthesia and all the pain medication and didn't really get much sleep last night.  So hopefully a good nights sleep will help her feel much better in the morning. 

She is moving around great -- and is in good spirits.


Friday, October 7, 2011


For those of you who don't know me I am Sheryl's sister, Lisa...  she asked me to update the blog so everyone would be up to date.

Bill called me about 3 o'clock - she still had roughly 2 hours left of surgery but they did come out to tell him that her lymph nodes had no cancer!  So that is great news.

I will post any more news when I get it.....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day before surgery has been pretty relaxing

My mom, Cassidy and I went to Garden in the Woods in Framingham this morning to try to take Cassidy's 18 month picture (my girl is 18 months old!  when did that happen?).  It was chilly! Fall has arrived (for the day at least). While the garden was more just woods at this time of year, we had many good picture taking opportunities.

Cass kept running away from us and Grammie had to chase her down

My Favorite!

We had a really fun time!

I'd have to be totally dead inside not to be nervous about tomorrow but... I think I'm doing okay. Last night I talked to an American Cancer Society volunteer with the Reach to Recovery program. They matched me up with someone who had the exact same surgery and reconstruction. It was nice to hear what to expect from someone who went through the same thing. I feel like I know a little better what to expect tomorrow and I know I can handle it. The bottom line is, after tomorrow's surgery, I will still be me. A mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a valued employee, an avid exerciser, a dog-lover and a control freak. Real boobs or fake boobs or the kinda-sorta lumps I’ll have for the next few months doesn’t change who I am. 

Digi scrapbooking supplies from Shabby Shoppe

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pre-op appointments

Today I had two pre-operative appointments. 1st with a nurse who took my blood pressure, medical history and reviewed my instructions for Friday.  I answered like 75 questions about my history with all No's.  At 39 years old I can understand how shocking it is that I've never had a heart attack, stroke, diabetes! I'm healthy. Oh! Except for the cancer in my boob!

2nd appointment was with the breast surgeon’s nurse practitioner.  She explained the surgery to me (didn't I know all that before I made the decision?), showed me how to empty the drains (but the nurses will show me that at the hospital too) and attempted to explain when I'd be able to drive, lift things etc. but almost all her responses were "We defer to the plastic surgeon on that so they'll let you know".   Okay then. Why am I here with you instead of the PS then?  Waste of time!

I want to say thanks to all my amazing friends. I have relied on them more, in the past months, than ever before in my life. And they have risen to the challenge. Many kind ears to listen to my poor me attitude and freak outs.  Spa gift certificates, lunches out, a Nook, a pedicure, books, pillows and new shoes (yes, someone bought me shoes) to take my mind off things and help ease the awfulness. I want to say publicly – Thank You! I appreciate you all and will rely on you for awhile longer. I suspect the hardest part is yet to come.

I have to say a special thanks to Bill who certainly has the biggest challenge ahead. Poor Bill.  I’ve held it together pretty well, joking about it occasionally. But Bill got the rawest of my emotions during the last two months. I relied on Bill to hold me through the times I was scared, angry, freaking out and sobbing my heart out.  I married the best guy in the world! 
It’s much easier to face this and stay strong with all of you supporting me. Thank you!
Lots of your friends want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
- Oprah Winfrey for digi-scrapbook papers

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Big E

Friday we went to the Big E (it's a big fair). The weather was perfect (better than the rest of the weekend). We rode the ferris wheel (at Cassidy's request)

We ate fried dough and apple pie (big hits with Cassidy!) and fed goats & donkeys!

Five days until surgery. I'm pretty sure I look calm and collected but on the inside I'm screaming, crying and getting an ulcer.  I'm sure I'll get lots of work done in the office this week. insert eye roll.