Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Just when you thought it was safe....but at least it isn't the cancer!

Ok, I will admit I titled this post just in a way to make sure people don't panic.

I didn't want to make people think the cancer was back. No reason to think I am anything but cancer-free. Woo Hoo!

With that said, I am still working on being chemo-free. The side effects from the chemo, that is.

In the past few weeks, I have seen about half of my eyelashes and eyebrows fall out. That was more annoying than anything- they keep getting in my eyes. Irritating during allergy season- can't tell what is "allergy-eye" versus what is bona fide "something-in-my-eye". Also not going to try mascara any time soon, that would be both difficult and probably would look very uneven anyway.

Another fun development.... The one side effect I was working hard to avoid seems to have crept up on me.

My nails.

{sad trombone}

I have lost one toenail so far and a few fingernails are lifting from the nail beds. This makes be incredibly sad (hence the sad trombone) and for some reason is just one I didn't want to have to deal with. I suppose we all have our thing, this one is mine. I do have to say, I thought it would hurt a lot more. My fingers are getting sore, but not as much as I thought they would. Time will tell how far they will go- will I lose the whole nail or will they sort of hang on? Will they all pull away?

This is sounding too much like one of those old serial stories- or the original Batman tv show.

Tune in next time for more updates! Same Bat place, Same Bat Channel!

I may be typing with my nose. ;-)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Returning to "Normal"

What is normal, really? Who knows? I don't. But I am working toward finding it again.

I have returned to work full-time. Who knew that those words would feel so good? I missed the routine of work, the challenges, the need for thinking and most of all, my work family. I really missed them during my three and a half months away.

Stamina was horrible in the beginning. Climbing the stairs to my office was more than an effort. Now, it is so much better and I don't even think about it most of the time. By the end of the day, I am exhausted and this week has been particularly tiring working the longer hours, but it is a good tired. I am thankful for it.

We all too frequently talk about our jobs with disdain and wish we could be independently wealthy and not need to work (I am a top offender in this area!). Once I was not able to work, I missed it terribly. I don't want to go there again.

Another area I am working toward achieving normalcy is in my body.

My head is starting to get fuzzy with its new hair growth. I welcome the hair back, although I didn't miss it as much as you would think. I will be glad when there is enough to keep it warm and I won't need to pop a cap on there when it gets cold. I am over these caps. On to other body parts.....


I had the next surgery in my journey of breast reconstruction. This was the one I was looking forward to the most, I think.

During the double mastectomy, tissue expanders were placed and partially expanded. Once my chemotherapy regimen was completed, the expansion process continued until the breasts reached the size I desired. We chose a size that would be much more appropriate for my frame and size than I had been given by nature, which is a great thing as I had always struggled with shoulder, neck and back pain due to the size.

The problem with tissue expanders is that they are 'one size fits most' or in my case 'one size doesn't fit you'. My experience with them is that they are very uncomfortable. They poke the muscles, migrate where they don't belong and are just not a pleasant experience. I was really happy to get rid of them.

The surgery I had just over two weeks ago was removal of the tissue expanders and placement of my permanent silicon implants along with removal of extra tissue and revision of the original scars. This was a much easier surgery than the mastectomies. The one thing I ran into was a problem in that I did feel ok some of the time, so I found myself trying to do things I shouldn't- driving too soon, doing things around the house, etc. My body was quick to let me know it wasn't good to do these things. Also, the left side is much more sore than the right. My scars are large, much larger than I anticipated they would be going into this, each one is around 6 inches in length. I know they will heal and look great eventually but that will take some work and a lot of time.

I am not one to worry about how things look at such a level, but I can see how some women would be horrified by their bodies after these surgeries. I have had the word 'disfigured' pop into my head on more than one occasion. I shove it right back out because I am not a finished product, but a work in progress.

I can't wait to see how this artwork turns out!