Thursday, November 28, 2013


So much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving,
from my family to yours!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I started radiation this week.  Just wanted to post a little bit about my initial experience and thoughts.
On Nov. 1st, I had to go get "mapped out" for radiation. That basically means that they made a 3-D model of my boobs so they could "program" my radiation.  They laid me down, made marks on my chest with a red sharpie, put tape with a metal wire in it over the marks (and over my incision), ran me through a CAT scan, took pictures of my "girls" (I hope that wasn't his personal camera), and then gave me three dot tattoos (one on the outside of each cupcake, and one on my chest right between the girls).  Then it was up to Dr. K (my radiation oncologist) to make up a gameplan.
I went back in this last Monday (11/12), for a final test run.  This time they laid me down on the actual contraption where I would be getting the radiation.  There were more sharpie marks and graffiti added to my chest.  They used laser levels to line me up on the machine properly.  There I was, arms stretched out above my head, with green and red lasers criss-crossing my chest.  It looked like something from Mission Impossible and I half expected Tom Cruise to repel down from the ceiling over me - which would have REALLY upset me since I DO NOT like Mr. Cruise!  They ceiling by the way, has a beautiful mural of a lake surrounded by pine trees and snow covered mountains in the background.  It's nice, but the image makes you even colder while lying there exposed.  I would prefer a beach scene.  At least then I could pretend that I'm just there tanning!
So, once everything was lined up, they started taking x-rays of my chest (one can never have too many pictures)!  It's hard to explain, but Frankenboob was actually making shadow puppets during the process. I had to fight back the giggles - moving while on the treatment table is frowned upon.  I really do wish I could have gotten pictures of that though.  One more tattoo was added to Frankenboob and then I was all set to start treatment the next day.  Gotta admit, I was getting pretty nervous!
Now that I have my first session done, I can tell you that it wasn't bad!  It was painless and pretty quick.  The actual radiation part only took about 10 minutes. It took almost that long to get me on the table and everything lined up.  I was sure that after 35 of these zap-sessions, Frankenboob would glow in the dark but my mother in-law informs me that it will more than likely "sizzle" instead of glow (she's been through it, so she knows).  I was hoping for some kind of super power or fun party trick to come out of it, but I guess not.  It will be pretty unnerving if I start to detect the smell of bacon during treatment!
I've been told that I will probably experience fatigue towards the middle to end of my "therapy".  My skin will be sensitive one that side of my chest, back, underarm, side, shoulder and neck.  It could get a bit like a bad sunburn.  No deodorant or shaving that pit (yikes!! That could get ugly and I have to lay there with my arms above my head!?! Luckily, my head is turned slightly in the opposite direction!).  No perfume in that area.  Sensitive skin soap.  Pat the area dry.  No necklaces.  Lots of lotion (udder cream). They'd also like me to leave Frankenboob unbound as much a possible.  It's all about being kind and gentle to my skin during this process.  I'm sure it will all become part of my normal routine soon enough.
There you have it.  That's radiation so far.  #2 of 35 this afternoon. It's basically 5 zap-sessions a week for 7-weeks.  My last one is on January 2nd.  I'm kinda bummed because I was hoping to be done by New Year's, but holiday scheduling messed up that plan.  Oh well, onward!

Dr. T

I had my final surgical follow-up appointment with Dr. T on Nov.7th.
He gave me the "all clear" and was once again excited about how I've responded
to treatment and enthusiastic about my progress!  I'm pretty excited too!!
Thanks, Dr. T!! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!

So, I went over to Disneyland for a Halloween lunch with my pal, Angie.  I REALLY missed going to have the caprese sandwich at the Jolly Holiday Bakery CafĂ© while I was on chemo (the whole couldn't have "raw" food at a restaurant thing was rough)!  Anyway.... there we were enjoying a delicious lunch and watching people walk by in there Halloween costumes.  It was great!!  When we were finished with lunch,we decided to walk over to another part of the park and pick up some pumpkin beignets (oh yum!).  On our way there, we passed one of those places that does caricature portraits.  I had seen one of Frankenstein and thought that it would be fun to have one of myself as the Bride of Frankenstein (being that I call my now cancer-free boob, Frankenboob - I know, I'm strange).  So, as we came around the corner, there they were, Frankenstein and his Bride! I knew that I had to do it!

I sat down in the chair as directed by Richard, the artist.  He was studying my profile and asked if I could move my hair back so he could get a better view of my forehead.  I offered to just take my hair off.  He was a bit startled but I could also tell he was curious.  I pulled off my wig and he commented on how much easier it was going to be now that he could REALLY see ME.  There I sat, dome exposed as he began to sketch.  As I sat there, I slowly realized that people were starting to stop and look – at me and at my portrait.  Then I started to panic.  What had I done??!!! I had taken my wig off in the middle of Disneyland!! That was not something I had planned on doing when I got up this morning, but it was definitely happening!
Posing for my portrait (a re-enactment with my wig on)!
After I had been sitting there for awhile, a woman who I had noticed had been watching my "show", came and stood in front of me. She leaned down, smiled and said, "My mom used to have to wear a wig and she would complain about how itchy and uncomfortable it was," and as she spoke, she placed a small Disneyland bag in my lap.  "So, this is for you," she said with tears starting to fill her eyes, "because you look like you're a real fighter." Then she quickly turned and walked away.  I was near speechless!  I reached into the bag and pulled out a sweet, pink, sparkly Mickey Mouse pin!  A stranger, who didn't know me from Eve, stopped to buy a gift for and encourage me. Overwhelmed, now with tears in my eyes.
A special gift.
After that, I didn't much care that I was sitting there "exposed".  Somehow, that word had taken on a new meaning.  Maybe I hadn't been "exposed" at all.  Perhaps it was God's power and love and grace that has been working in me - healing me, changing me, giving me "fight", that had been exposed. I don't know, but I do know that I was just thankful for once again experiencing God's love in an unexpected place, through an unexpected person.  What a blessing!

Me as The Bride of Frankenstein
So, this is my portrait.  I'm not sure how much she actually looks like me, but Richard was definitely proud of his work!  Oh, and I also ran into my sweet friend, Tanya and her family while I was at Disneyland.  Yet another new blessing in my life!  I'm telling you people, God IS good!