PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Friday, September 28, 2012

And another one

So if you read my last post, you know I had revision done a few weeks ago. Well, true to form, I now have a nice shiny infection in my left foob.


I did the whole bury my head in the sand thing, and I finally relented and went to the doctor yesterday. Dr. Cooper said that while she isn't thrilled, she isn't horrified either. Hopefully 14 days of Levaquin and daily scrubs with rubbing alcohol will do the trick. If not... well I'm not allowing myself to think that far ahead.

But now I'm back in the world of weird appetite, unrelenting nausea, and nightly doses of Phenagren so I can sleep. Hopefully all this nonsense is worth it!

Now, on a happier note, you may have noticed the widgets on my website for the Memphis FORCE store. Check it out! We've got tons of products and adding more. The store is in the very early stages so there'll be some good updates coming up, but we are open for business! All proceeds benefit FORCE.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One step at a time

Well I went in Friday for my first revision. It was local anesthetic so I did get to eat and have my coffee (thank the Lord). I'd had to file FMLA paperwork for my job (and I'm still anxiously waiting to see if my doctor's office gets it sent back on time). so I felt like a big fat pain. Apparently my PS's office is in the midst of converting to electronic medical records, so they were all frazzled. I hated to bother them with my paperwork, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

Dr. Cooper came in and looked over my foobs, took pictures and marked me. Her nurse brought me some Valium and Lortab and took me in the surgery suite to lay down. They came in and started working and soon it became apparent that I have very sensitive skin under my arms. When Dr. Cooper got to stitching up under my arms I felt a stick and said "OW" She immediately stopped what she was doing, looked up and said "Ow?" When I told her I could feel it, she gave me more local. And then more, because I was still feeling a little bit. She finally asked if I could stand it because she wanted to save local to go on my left side.
Needless to say, with the cutting of the dog ear (she literally cut a big hunk of loose skin. I saw the was gross and fascinating at the same time) I needed LOTS of local and could STILL feel the pain.

After she was done with the dog ear, she looked at me and said, "Why don't we stop and finish up later?" when I started to protest, her nurse chimed in "Well, if we give you too much local, we could stop your heart." *They are very considerate* Then I hesitantly asked the question that was weighing on my mind. "Can I get tattoos next time?" She looked at me for a second and said "Ok, we can do that" SCORE! We agreed that I'd call when I was ready and get the other side finished and tattoos. YES YES YES! So now I just have to schedule that. I was hoping to have it done before the FORCE Conference in October, but now I'll just be happy to have it done before the end of the year.

For those that are interested, besides trimming the dog ear, she basically lifted my implant. She used heavy-duty stitches (p something cutaneous) and stitched it to the covering of my rib cage. And I was thrilled that she said "And luckily on you I can feel your ribs" YAY I'm not morbidly obese after all :)

After they finished up she sent me on my way with a Lortab prescription (sadly no Valium). And I was back in the world of struggling to find a comfortable position in bed that didn't make me feel like I was being stabbed in the side. *sigh* I mentioned to Mike that I couldn't get comfortable and he suggested I sleep in the recliner again for a few nights. I shuddered, forcefully said "NO" and that it would be a cold day in hell before that happened.

Oh and there's one tidbit I forgot to mention: I have to wear a bra.



So that means that unless I only sleep an hour, I'm stuck in this torture device all the time. What's the big deal? you may be thinking. Well, I haven't worn a bra regularly since my mastectomy. Yes, my mastectomy. That's over a glorious year with no vise like contraption slung over my shoulders.

How long does this torture last you ask? 6 LONG weeks!


The reasoning for this is not to make me curse my doctor's very existence, but to make sure my implants stay in place. Apparently if they are not supported initially, they could sag and have to be lifted up again.

Thankfully, the initial pain is subsiding and I did get to rest on my sides last night for awhile. So maybe this whole over the shoulder, boulder holder thing won't be too bad *knock on wood*

I just need to get past the fear lurking inside me of having something go wrong. I'm checking all the time, making sure things don't get infected, pulled, or otherwise messed up. It's not that I'm a glass half empty kind of person, but I've been around this block a few times.

Things aren't all Lortab and torture devices though. The FORCE group is starting to take off AND Irene and I will be attending conference soon. I'm very excited about that!

There are some major work/school related stressors, but I'm trying to get through them one step at a time. One foot in front of the other..because that's all you can really do right?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Decision Making

I know I've spoken about it briefly before out here in the blog-o-sphere, but I felt the need to talk more about the subject.

Decision making.

I've never been one that's good at making decisions. I have always just went with what made everyone the happiest. Just ask anyone who's ever gone to lunch with me. I hem and haw with "Well whatever you want" or if I get brave enough to actually choose a restaurant I quickly amend my choice by saying "If that's ok with you" and generally go along with whatever the other person wants. However, in my life so far, I've been forced to make a few pretty life altering decisions as of late.

1- I decided to become Catholic. I grew up Baptist so my decision to convert was not well received. The only Catholic in my family is in my extended family and lives in San Antonio TX (Shout out to my great uncle :D ). So, needless to say, I did not get much support in my decision. I've told this story to several people before- I was driving home from my Baptist church one day with my sisters and we were talking about how we were becoming unhappy in the church. The thought of switching to another Baptist church was an exhausting prospect but I knew I wanted to be in a church I was happy at. We just happened to drive by what would later become my home church. I turned to my sisters and said "What about trying that church next week? I've never been to a Catholic church" and we agreed. The next Sunday at 10 AM we walked into Mass. My sisters were not that impressed but I was in awe. I can't describe, except I could almost see God smiling and nodding in approval. A feeling came over me, and for the first time in my life I heard God speak to me. "This is where you belong." I finally got what I'd been missing in my high school years, when other people my age would talk about God speaking to them. I finally understood. I got the reaction I expected from my family and people at the Baptist church, so I stayed away from the Catholic church for awhile. I remember one Easter morning being at the Baptist church, looking around and feeling so unsettled and uncomfortable. The next Sunday, I went back to Mass, three weeks later I spoke to the priest about joining RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and by the next Easter, I was receiving Confirmation and First Communion. I'm still very grateful to those who supported my decision and came to see one of the most important events of my life. And I've come to terms with those who didn't support my decision, but have come to realize that I'm very happy :)

2- I decided to have my PBM. I was terrified of having a mastectomy, and my stomach would drop everytime Dr. King would suggest it. I thought it was the craziest thing to do, especially when I didn't even have cancer. A mastectomy was something that old women did, not girls in their 20's. But then, I started to realize what my fate was. In the back of my mind, I always thought I'd die from some awful medical problem (morbid but true), so I thought that this was my time and breast cancer would do the job. I mean heck I was living on borrowed time anyway, what with all the brain surgeries and such. But then I realized...I could control my destiny. I could get up and fight back and come out on top. I could outsmart cancer. HMMM... So then, I made the decision. And I never looked back. I've had PLENTY of bad self esteem moments, when I yearn for the feeling I once had in my breasts. When I hear of people talk about breast feeding and realizing I will never be able to experience that. When I'm convinced by some  crazy inner voice that no man can possibly love anyone with fake breasts (I have my irrational moments lol). But then I calm down and realize that everything is ok. My breasts aren't the only thing with nerve endings, I'll actually be around for my childrens LIVES and won't just be some picture that they look at it and their Dad has to tell them stories about Mom..and honestly when has a grown person ever gone back to their mother and said "thank you for breast feeding me." When the time comes I WILL be an awesome, cool, wonderful parent (minus the cracked nipples.) As far as men go...I have a wonderful boyfriend whom I love dearly and I know he loves me too. I'm a very lucky girl :)

3- wait for's my other decision. Life changing, relationship altering (my Dad is going to have a heart attack).....I'm pretty sure I'm a liberal now. Ok I AM a Liberal, democrat, leftie, etc. I've actually really struggled with this. Both of my parents (My father especially) are very staunch Conservative Republicans. My Facebook friends list is riddled with Conservatives (I love you all). This will be the third Presidential election for me to vote in, and I'm kind of sad to say that I voted Republican in the previous two. Not because of what I believe or feel but because that's how my parents voted. Bad I know... but now that I'm the ripe old age of 28, I've started paying attention to what's going on. I've started to form (gasp) my own opinions. How can this be? I have a different opinion than my parents! Without rehashing the issues too much, I'll just say that the Democratic party platform is more align with my own morals, beliefs, etc than the Republican party is. And honestly, I'm uncomfortable with the trend that Republicans have of hating homosexuals. You's easy to hate something that you just read about or see on TV. (And if any of my friends are reading this, and actually know gay people I apologize in advance). I have homosexual people in my life. And they are the sweetest, nicest, best people you'll ever meet. And the love that I see in their relationships and the love they have for their children...I can't look at them and tell them that they are wrong. That they are denied the same rights as a man and a woman simply because of their sexual orientation. I am well aware of what the Bible says, but I also know that Jesus said "Love thy neighbor" PERIOD. So that's what I'm trying to do. Apparently from what I am told, this is a liberal view.

Another liberal view- pro-choice. Over the past few months, I have come to learn that pro-choice simply isn't referring to abortion. Which, by the way, I am strongly against. But, pro-choice encompasses ALL of women's healthcare. And YES women have the right to choose their own healthcare. And the way I see it is this- there is a such thing as freedom of religion. Which means that I cannot force another American citizen to live according to the morals of my religion, since they may not share those same beliefs (this goes for anything not just the abortion issue.) Once again I AM AGAINST ABORTION SO PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ASKING WHY I SUPPORT IT BECAUSE I DO NOT.

There's several other things that I see eye to eye with the "Dirty Dems" (In my Stephen Colbert voice). Obamacare (I think it can be a good thing), Student Loan Reform , etc etc. So there you have it- I'm putting my "official political stance" out there. Let the attacking and de-friending begin (Actually please don't. Once again, nothing but love for you guys)

One thing I've noticed: people get insanely insane about politics. Oh sweet baby Jesus do they get insane. And I've had attacks directed at ME (Well I guess technically not at ME because I happened to see a comment about my status on someone else's status). There are people on my Facebook friend's list who I can always count on for a rousing debate (you know who you are) and unfortunately there are people on my Facebook friend's list who I can always count on to talk down to and bully me or anyone else who has a different opinion.

And dang it I'll just say it. I like to argue..errr debate. I miss "discussions" around our kitchen table, that got very lively and heated. How we could disagree on so much and no one would get mad at the other. So I'm cautiously tossing my hat into the political ring. I'm paying attention to the issues, forming opinions, scouring news websites and actually being a responsible, voting, American.

And I kinda like it :)