Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Seroma

It is not unusual to develop a seroma after surgery (fluid buildup under the skin). They took the drains out on Friday and by Tuesday, the day of my doctor's appointment, I had a seroma. When I went in I told the nurse that I was "sloshing" so that he could warn the doctor before she came in. She was worried about my coumadin level - as usual. She finally decided to stick a small catheter in the scar tissue, added a tube and bulb and drained 100 cc. She decided to leave the catheter in and really taped it down. I have another appointment next Tuesday if it has quit draining by then. If not, they will leave it in. I have to be more careful with this one, but I will keep it as long as needed so I can start healing on the inside.

I hate to be a baby about this but I really do miss wearing a bra. I am counting the days when I can get fitted.

"I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."   ~Martin Luther

Monday, June 28, 2010

Reason​, Season, or Lifetime

Pe​ople come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

Whe​n someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty;​ to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.​ They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenien​t time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationshi​p to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievabl​e amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIF​ETIME relationshi​ps teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.​ Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationshi​ps and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.​

~ Unknown

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What comes next?

I had a follow-up appointment on the 17th with my surgeon and she is really pushing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Almost to the point that she is not going to take "no" for an answer if that is my decision. She doesn't know me very well. It is very obvious that she treats breast cancer aggressively.

On the 22nd I had an appointment with my oncologist. My first question was, "What are my options." I was very pleased with the outcome of that visit. He said that I have several options. Chemo which would be four treatments and not quite as aggressive as my last chemo, and/or radiation therapy which he did not feel was necessary unless that is my choice. The third option was anti-hormonal therapy, "Arimidex", a pill that would be taken every day. Number one side effect - "hot flashes" - oh joy!

He was aware that my surgeon was pushing for both chemo and radiation, but as he said, she is not aware of "the elephant in the room", meaning my endometrial cancer which is still first and foremost the cancer that we are most concerned about.

After much discussion he realized that I really wanted to hold off on any decisions until after my next PET scan and CA125 (blood test). I thought that I had to wait until August to get it because that would be six months since the last one. He assured me that we do not have to wait and he wrote the order for it while I was in the office. He did however suggest that we wait about three weeks so I have time to heal. My PET scan is scheduled for July 16th. I will make a decision about treatment after I know the results.

On Wednesday I started driving again. I was off the pain pills except for maybe late in the evening. It was so good to get out without being escorted. I still can't use my right arm for any heavy duty stuff, like changing the sheets on the bed or reaching out to pull the car door shut when I am with someone else. It will come with time. I know I still need to heal on the inside.

On Thursday I went to Idaho Springs with the seniors from church for a picnic. Idaho Springs is one of my favorite, close by, places to go. We sat by the rushing creek and watched the rafters go by one after the other. It was a good day in spite of the fact that they would not let me do anything. Good thing - I was still really tired when I got home.

On Friday I had to get my drains out. This has been a tedious process because I am on Coumadin (blood thinner) and I have to be off of it for four days before they pull the drains. But, they were still draining too much on Tuesday to have them pulled. I cannot keep going on and off my meds to get this done so they went ahead and pulled them on Friday.

This is finally Saturday and I have to admit that I am worn out, so I am hanging low today and Ember is right with me. She is laying on top of the printer as I type. What a blessing she has been - beside me constantly.

This journey has been hard and continues to be a hard journey - so I still take it one day at a time. My attitude is much better than I thought it would be after loosing a breast. It hurts and it looks ugly - and then I think about all the other people suffering from cancer and what they are going through. There are so many, so many. Everyone I know is touched by cancer in some way, family or friend. How can we possibly keep our wits about us except through God Almighty.

"It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day."
~Matthew Henry

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mastectomy

The surgery is over (June 7, 2010). I am still recovering at home. I only stayed overnight in the hospital. VNA (Visiting Nurses) come three times a week to check on me and get my vitals. I now have the same nurse each time. I regained the use of my arm almost immediately, just can’t lift anything heavy. I still have two drains in that are slowing down now so maybe I can get them out on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. There are a lot of variables to this step. However, once they are out, this girl starts driving again.

I have a wonderful surgeon. She tells it like it is but with a sense of humor. I like it when people are direct with me. She also clarifies information that I have researched on the Internet. This is heavy stuff I am going through and the humor is vital for me. "We need to laugh every day - and I do."

My good friend, Laurie, bought me a post mastectomy camisole today. (She is the one that spoiled Mario and gave him a wonderful home!) She wants me to come to her house for a cook-out on Sunday and she knew that I would not leave the house (except for doctor appointments) without a bra on. Six weeks - ouch - before they will write the prescription for a fitting at Nordstrams!

Once again, my best bud Rebecca, has been with me through all of my doctor appointments and my surgery. I am going to owe her a truckload of gas. (She has a convertible!!!) I can not wait until I get these drains out so we can go to the mountains. It needs to be sooner than later or my sanity may be gone by then.

Other wonderful friends have been bringing me meals and one young lady with 4 small children is going to clean my apartment for me and change my bedding. She has already done my laundry. The beautiful flowers on the table lift my spirits. In the past I have not been able to have flowers because the cats ate them or knocked them over. It must have been Mario because so far Ember has not touched them. Cannot forget my good friend Shirley who stayed all night with me in the hospital - with a very bad sprained foot/ankle - on crutches. What wonderful friends I have. So many phone calls and cards. I feel special. Too bad I am able to take care of myself again.

There is good news and bad news. Why does this always come in pairs? The good news - the margins were clear and only 2 of the 20 lymph nodes were positive for cancer. The bad news - I will be meeting with my oncologist next week to determine the next round of chemotherapy. (Please Lord, it has to be better than last time.) I really like this doctor also but the sense of humor is not there. Chemo, of course, is a tuff subject to deal with. Once again, I will take one step at a time and make a decision on radiation after the chemo is finished – if I can make it through this time. I will still take quality of life over quantity of life any day because I know what lies beyond this life.

I am feeling good I just don’t like what cancer has done to my body. I guess my mind will heal as I continue putting my faith in God. And meanwhile, I continue to hold on to Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I am celebrating 2 years of survival from this dreaded disease and I know in my heart that it has been because of all the prayers you have sent up to the heavens for me.

My love to all of you and may God Bless you and your family with good health.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day 05-31-2010 - Did not end the way it should have.

My life is full of excitement - it seems. This kind of excitement I could have done without. By no means is the building that I live in "top class", however I do like living here, especially with my view. The high-rise is a cement building and is very safe - much more so than the newer buildings that are going up.

The article below will give you a clue to what happened that evening. Not everything that was reported on TV or in the paper is correct. Many news reports kept saying the building was evacuated - it was not - only the 10th floor and some on the 11th floor and those that left their rooms.

This building does need to become a non-smoking building and apartment checks need to be done at least quarterly to alleviate hoarding. And yes, we do have smokers that are on oxygen.

I am sorry this happened but maybe now changes, for the better, will happen.

Smoking May Have Been Factor In Fatal Denver Fire
The assisted-living high-rise (The assisted living building is not a high-rise.) where a 79-year-old woman died in a fire has been cited for failing to conduct the quarterly fire drills required by city code.

Denver Fire Department spokesman Phil Champagne said the scene was chaotic at Francis Heights Apartments, 2626 Osceola St., on Monday night, and residents failed to follow instructions given by firefighters over the building's public-address system.

Firefighters had the fire contained to the woman's 10th floor apartment, and other residents were instructed to stay in their units until they could be assisted. Instead, they opened their doors, letting more smoke flow into their units as they wandered into smoke-choked hallways, Champagne said.

Firefighters then had to turn their attention away from the fire and pass their oxygen masks to residents to immediately evacuate them. Four residents were treated for smoke inhalation.

"What happened on the 10th floor, it could have been catastrophic," Champagne said. "People were out in the hallways; they left their doors open." (Our doors shut automatically when you let go of them.)

On Tuesday, firefighters checked with managers at the senior and assisted-care center and determined they've not been conducting fire drills.

The fire started in the apartment of Mary Ann Vezina, who was identified Wednesday by the Denver County coroner. A cause of death was not released.

Champagne said the victim's apartment was cluttered with stacks of newspapers 5 feet high and other flammable materials.

"It added to the fire load," Champagne said. "In a high-rise, the consequences could be dire."