This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Last One!

Phase two just about done!  One chemo treatment left!  It is almost hard to believe that I have already completed 15 infusions and yet at the same time it's been a very long process.  This weeks treatment wiped me out. My body is certainly ready for the break.  I had a sweet friend visiting from Colorado who took me to chemo.  That was a special treat to get to spend that time with her.  Not to mention I had two others join me for a while, so again it was a great way to spend that part of my day.  The afternoon was spent with my pillow!  

I got the okay from my Dr. and was feeling well enough to drive over and spend the weekend in Spokane at my second moms house visiting with her, my sister and her husband, and my new nephew, Harvey. I speak with auntie authority when I say he just might be the cutest little stinker around. It was so fun to get to have baby snuggles. I did have to chuckle at the fact that this little guy has more hair than I do, but I think we were equally as soft.

My oncologist suggested that I start seeing if my hair would growing back after 7-8 treatments of the Taxol.   I have been diligently watching.   Around 7-8 it did start showing signs of coming back, but it was pretty splotchy and I am sorry, but I am just not going there.   So I continued to shave it.  Three weeks ago it was lookin pretty full except for the sides so I opted for one more shave and then I would let it grow.  We started to document the regrowth.  Here are a few of the pics to show the regrowth progress.   It is funny because it is so soft.  It really feels like new baby hair and so far it seems darker than before.  It's kinda fun cause who knows what I will look like with the new locks or how long it will take them to fully grow in.  This shows day one, about a week in, a week and a half and then two weeks.  So, I think you get the idea.  It's coming back!!!



I had a very sweet little story to share.   Last week, we had a birthday party at Hovander for Miss Payton. While we were there, a little girl about 9-10 was riding around the park on her bicycle. She rode up to me and said, "I like your hair." I smiled a little suprised and said thank you. She said, "I know you don't have very much, but it looks pretty on you."   I was very touched by her sweet comment and frankness.  People have been very kind about my baldness, but I don't think any comment has touched me as much as this one.   I am not even sure if I can explain why. It may have been the simple fact that it was spoken from her heart.  There was no mortified parent around to correct her and  no one around to coach her on bald woman etiquette.  It made me smile from the inside out.  It was also a great reminder for me to go out of my way to speak kind words to others.  You just never know how much it may impact someone else.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Fighter Worth Celebrating

I am behind in getting this post on here, but wanted to make sure and share this with you. This is my dear friend Holly. I was fortunate to get to meet her the day I went in for my chemo teaching appointment. We got to learn the ropes, the drugs, the ups and the downs and definitely the snack room together. We started around the same time with slightly different treatment plans and we will be finishing up just a few weeks apart. We got to share some very unique and unforgettable experiences that will keep us bonded for life. I am so grateful to have met her. Holly is a fighter and a survivor, and she just knocked out her last round of chemo!!! It was cause for a celebration. We bought the giant chocolate Costco cake that you always hope you have an occasion to buy it for but can never really justify buying it cause it is soooo huge. Oh yah. You know the one. But today there was no question. It had to be the giant chocolate cake. After several long rounds of treatment and recovery days in between, my friend reached the finish line and she did it with great style and class. I am so proud of her.

Gleaning a Distraction

One of the keys to surviving chemo and thriving during this season is to have some really good distractions. Things that allow you and even force your mind in a different direction. Cooking is one of those things for me. This last weekend I went gleaning at the local Gleaners Pantry. It just so happened that it was the right day to go if your someone like me who needed a little distracting. I came away with multiple boxes of some beautiful produce, several bags of bread, and even a red velvet cake for my girls birthday. Now you have to understand, that when I say boxes, I mean large banana box size boxes full. They were loaded with potatoes, onions, leek, peppers in red, yellow, orange, and green, not to mention the hot ones, strawberries, plums, bananas, limes, lemons, brussels, tomatoes, a watermelon, honey dew, cilantro, nectarines, mushrooms, red lettuce, hot dog buns, hamburger buns.... so much food. Now here's the tricky part. It all needs to be used or taken care of cause it certainly won't fit in any fridge that I have. I worked with my mom for the day to chop, mix, cook or freeze all of this goodness. You won't believe what I ended up with.

  2 batches of strawberry freezer jam
3 batches of plum freezer jam
strawberry fruit leather
plum fruit leather
a huge batch of fresh salsa
a batch of hot fresh salsa
a giant potato salad
a giant tomato, cucumber, basil salad
enough bananas for 8 loaves of bread
zucchini muffins 3 loaves of zucchini bread
zucchini and yellow squash with tomato and basil
lime juice for 4 full batches of limeade
sauted mushrooms and onions
frozen onions onions, peppers, and tomatoes for sloppy joes
and still there's a lot of it we are just using fresh.

 It is so fun and amazing to get this surprise amount of food in quantities and varieties unknown before hand and then to be able to take it and turn it into meals for my family. I know it may sound silly, but I love it. It feels so good to turn the boxes of unwanted food into provision and yummy snacks. I thought I would start sharing some of the recipes I use when I get the massive quantities of food.

 For this week it's a very simple one, but by far a favorite of mine. It comes from a friend in California.

 Fresh Squeezed Limeade/Lemonade 

24 oz of freshly squeezed juice in any combination of lime or lemons Limeade is my favorite!!
2 - 2 1/2 c sugar
1-2 c water ice and more water

 Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil to create a simple syrup. Add more sugar if necessary to cut the tartness. Add the syrup to the juice and add water and ice to equal 2 quarts 3 if you like it a little more diluted. It tastes sooo good. We like it tart! Experiment and see what your family likes. If you are fortunate and have an abundance of citrus, juice them and freeze them in 24 oz quantities to use when you need a quick and yummy beverage treat!

Monday, August 12, 2013

So Now What Do I Do? - Tips

The Biopsy results are back and they used the "C" word. Now what?

 There are a few options at this point. The doctors will give you what they feel is the best choice for your situation based on several factors. It may very well involve surgery and then a treatment plan. There are natural options that some people chose. Do some research. Look both routes over unless you already know what you feel is the appropriate course for you. I did some looking into diets and alternative choices. It was not the way to go for me. On the other hand, the day I discussed the full plan with my Dr., I left his office with confidence and complete peace and knew that this was the route I was supposed to take.

 Time for surgery. Yikes! What's this gonna be like? Honestly, like a really good nap. The procedure itself isn't hard. Do your homework and make sure you feel very, very, VERY comfortable with the surgeon. Get opinions from people you know in the profession or who have first hand experience, but in the end it is your decision. Just keep in mind, you will be spending a lot of time in a small clinical room with someone reviewing scans and images of breasts, and repeatedly using the term breast and when this word is used and theses images are observed, it is very often going to be about you and yours. So make sure you feel comfortable.

 One issue that can arise after surgery is fluid in the surgical site. This is particularly true for the lymph nodes. The trick is to keep ice on the area and limit the movement. The more you move around the more the lymphatic fluids build up. If it does build up it can become uncomfortable. It is a fairly simple and mostly painless procedure to drain the fluid, but keep on top of it so that you don't wind up with an infection. The key at this stage is to relax and allow your body to heal. Let your friends and family help and by all means keep that bag of frozen peas handy. It is the perfect size and molds to fit well.