Sunday, July 31, 2011


I wish I could go back to the life I had before January 8 2011.

It was the morning after my daughter's birthday party and Brad and I had just woken up and were still laying in bed lingering.

I was happy. Truly happy, no care in the world.

And then, the lump.

Since then, there have been so many emotions, but fear has been a constant companion through all. And now, that I'm almost at the end of the treatment road, I am expected to be joyful and excited and to start picking up where I left off.

But I can't.

I am joyful and grateful and excited that it's done, but since nobody can really tell you whether the treatment worked or not, I am also fearful.

In my oncologists' words: 'when you die of something else, we know you'll have beaten cancer'.

Comforting, isn't it?

My 9 year old asked me the other day if I'll be teaching her to drive when she's 16, and I broke down into tears. Not that I want to teach her, mind you, but I'd like to be the one who writes the check to the 'Young Driver's' program' for her.

It is my new 'normal' I suppose, living each moment with equal parts gratitude, for experiencing it and really soaking it in now, and fear, that it may be over too soon.

It's been 6 months and fear is my constant companion. It accompanies me in my private moments too, when I sleep, when I dream, when I'm alone, even when I shower.

It is always with me.

I'd like to say that I got used to it, and I guess I have, but it sucks.

I wish I could go to that 'carefree' feeling of before. I've talked to other gals who've gone through it, and it's unanimous.

You cannot go back to 'carefree' once you've had cancer.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Bikerchick gets lucky at the hospital

Bikerchick is me!

Who'd you think it was?
Haven't you heard, I got three tattoos last night in one sitting on my chest area.
If I still had boobs, it'd be soo hot.

Nothing screams 'class' like boob tattoos.

I went to my radiation apt yesterday, they were all very friendly, until they asked me to strip from the waist up and lay on their cold table. It got a bit friendlier once the gentleman brought me a blanket. Yes, they assigned a gentleman to this procedure for me. Perhaps because they knew it'd be less comfortable for me, or perhaps they knew that he hadn't been on the job that long and having one look at my non-boobs would freak him right out.
Or at least teach him not to look.

I'm fine with both.

So we get in to the waiting are where we have to watch a 15 minute video about radiation. We've heard it all before, but it's interesting and we're nice so we watch all the way til the end.

Then it starts over again, and we decide one time is enough for us.

We look for a way out, where the nurse if waiting for us. She brings us into a special room where we can talk about radiation that specifically relates to my cancer.
She draws pictures on an approved 'breast cancer handout' that shows a woman topless. She proceeds to circle the boob and starts shadowing it. "this is where the radiation will go" .

She takes a look at me and pauses. I am not sure what face I made, but she didn't like it.

'Honey what's wrong?' she cares enough to ask.

"Well, you said we were gonna discuss the specifics of me and I don't have breasts so I'm a bit bummed that the cancer handout you're working with shows a woman with breasts."

O ya, I totally said that.

Poor woman proceeds to erase the breasts on this handout but after a while gives up and says 'we need to pretend that they're not there' - at which point I look down and say 'don't worry, I know I'm a misfit' in my best Eyore voice.

It was fantastic. Should'a seen the nice girl turn red. I almost felt bad, but not entirely. I figure the longer we take here, with her, the later I'll get to the part where they will do the CT scan and tattoo me.

Nice girl talked a mile a minute after that, (i bet she wanted us , well me, to leave) and escorted us into the SIMULATOR. (that's what it was called)

I wanted to make a wisecrack about that too but it seemed in poor taste after I had already embarrassed her.

So Brad and I walked in. They asked me if he could wait outside, at which point I replied that I may just faint if you make me do this without him.
Guess what? He got to stay.

He watched them remove my top, stare and i mean REALLY stare at my chest for a long time. I almost felt bad that there was nothing there for them to feast their eyes on. Finally the gentleman asks if he can touch my chest (he needs to position me in a thousand different positions first and then place the laserbeams around me just right so he knows where the tattoos will go.) I say yes, but I think I should've had some more fun with him and told him to ask Brad, who's sitting there in the chair beside me.

(But I don't because I'm not like that. Pffft!)

After they ask me to put my hands up in the most uncomfortable position behind my neck they proceed to inflate some kind of a pillow thing that takes a mold of my back and body and I need to sit like this until I cry out in pain. For me, that takes about 5 minutes, because I feel pins and needles already. The nurse tells me that it's too soon to cry (wolf) and she ignores me.

She sticks me in the CT scan and then all the important people leave the room.
Just me is left. In a dark room with a spinning machine and my own thoughts that are interrupted by the pins and needles feeling every few minutes.

I was in there only about 5 minutes, but it felt like 20.

As they walk up to the CT scan I plead with them to let me move my arms.
They are benevolent and so they allow me that comfort.
Gratitude washes upon me.

Doesn't last long because gentleman comes over with tattoo ink.

This won't hurt you - he lies. I know he's lying because I have 2 tattoos that I've actually gone and paid for and they hurt like hell. So I know when someone tells you that it doesn't hurt, they are lying.

He starts with the first one, incidentally that goes into the lumpy fatty tissue that we've discovered that I have on my chest and he's right.
That one almost didn't hurt.

The next one is on top of my breast bone. I would have braced myself for this one had I known that is where he was aiming. *my head is facing up and my eyes are closed at this time*

Let me tell you that I screamed for this one. And not just a short 2 second scream. It lasted a good 6 seconds. And then I look at him. "Sorry, this one is always more painful, it's on the breast bone' - looks apologetic. Then he says "we need to go over it another time though it's too small" - I swear I want to leave this room and find out where he parks and slash his tires.

I am annoyed.

Breathe Michelle Breathe.

Last tattoo was not bad as well, just annoying again. So all in all I escaped without having to ask for demrol after all. It was hit or miss on that for a while. But I did it naturally!

Aren't y'all proud?

So, having 3 tattoos on my chest (coupled with my tattoo on my back and the one at the back of my neck) definitely bumped me up to biker chick status.

Sooo, now about the part about how this bikerchick got lucky at the hospital.

I went in for my 10 minute procedure.
The surgeon told me I could take 2 ativan since I was very nervous about the whole thing.
This morning, just for good measure I took 3.

Brad was driving, so what did it matter?

We arrived at 11:15am like our appointment card said and we found out we were not due to see the dr til noon. I should've been pissed, but I felt oddly calm about it. And I had started to slur a little so I thought it best I don't speak to much.

We wait. I feel (you guessed it) somewhat calm.

The procedure begins, they get Brad a stool (same thing - he has to stay doctor, otherwise I can't do it without his support) and the surgeon brings the needle out. I ask if it's gonna sting.

She says it will sting AND burn.
I love dual action.

Ready? Here comes the sting. (needle going in)
And now you'll feel a slight burn. (HOLY F*CK - my actual words followed by whimpering and screaming and a bunch of 'i don't like this' in a row)

I trust that she got the hint because finally she backs off with the needle. Pheew.

Then the rest of is is pretty fast, there is a ton of tugging and pulling and then there is stitching back up. I am grateful that we are finished and feel like I should pay her a compliment after screaming her ear off a few minutes ago.

'You must be really good at sewing buttons ' I say. (What? I thought that was appropriate)

She laughs and then we're all done.

She said the clot came out with it. Which is good. I took a picture of the port but it's still got my skin and guts attached to it from when it got removed and so it just doesnt seem right to put it up. But it was a lot bigger than I thought, it's the size of Brad's thum and quite tall too.

Good riddance.

Then I proceeded to escort myself out and immediatly fell flat on my face.

The 3 ativan pills may have caught up to me.

Blame the Ativan manufacturer for any and all spelling mistakes and possible errors in judgement for all the things I say and do for this evening.

Oh and the lucky part??

It really only took ten minutes, and absolutely nothing went wrong with it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's been too long

I can't believe it's been 19 days since I posted. OMG - WHAT have I been doing?

Well, I went to the New Kids/Backstreet Boys concert the day before my birthday -
that was awesome.
It was full of dolled up 30 somethings so I fit right in.
We were in a box (my BFF's company has one and we were allowed to use it) so we watched in comfort. I took my daughter and Brad's daughter - first concert for them both.
They loved it. Fantastic.

I also had my CT scan.
It was my first one, so I was completely unprepared when the 'warm feeling' came ... those who've had them know what I'm talking about, but for the rest of you... when you get the dye injected in you during a CT scan, you start feeling really warm in the back of your throat and in your pelvic area, in fact it feels like you are peeing your pants!
Thank God the technician warned me about that just before it happened, but yowser, that was a weird feeling.

I got my results back a week later, the lump thingy is fatty tissue as they thought (YEAY!!) but they found the reason my port hadn't been working.
I have a 2.7 cm clot attached to the end of my port-a-cath apparently.
They told me to come back in the hospital for a 'small 2 hour procedure' the next day in which they would try to dissolve the clot.
Well, I was there for almost 4 hours, and the clot didn't budge.
It's still with me.
We are hopeful that it will come out with the port removal which is scheduled for this Friday and yes, I will blog about that experience for sure! I'm sure you all remember the ordeal it was to get it in, so I am a bit nervous to take it out. Especially since I'll be awake!!
(I'll have to take a few adavan's before I go in, methinks.)

Our pig roast came and went over the weekend, it was an amazing time.
It rained the whole week before so our dreams of a pool party slowly faded, but we bought tents and tarps and everyone stayed dry.
In fact, during the evening we even had a few sunny breaks, the kids ended up swimming anyway, while the adults watched in disbelief. I cannot believe we had 70 adults and 18 of their children at our place and it turned out so great.

I have to say, we throw a mean party!

This little piggy went to the pig roast.

Brad and I during the pig roast. (I had my long wig on and I made 'pig' tails)

Mmmm...pulled pork.

Finished product. The kids loved the apple in the pig's mouth. So did I actually.

As guests arrived, they stayed dry under the tents.

The kids didn't care as much, and still went in the pool. Brave children.

Tomorrow I go in to the radiology clinic for my 'mold' and 'tattoos' - I have to lay still for an hour and they position me the way they want me and I will have to get 3 tattoos - they are small dots, but with tattoo ink - so that they'll always be able to match up the lasers in the same spots for radiation. I wonder if they'll hurt as badly as my 2 other tattoos? Probably not. But you bet I'll be telling everyone I have '5 tattoos' from now on just to scare them!

Sorry for the cliff notes, things have been so busy and I feel so guilty for not having blogged, you guys are always on my mind.

Wish me luck for my port surgery on Friday, I"ll be back to write about it then :)