Thursday, January 9, 2014

Checking in

Hello!  It's been such a long time since my last post.  I wanted to check in to let you all know that I'm doing great!  I still see my oncologist ever 3-6 months.  I've had many scans in the past two years, all of them are clear.  I'm feeling well.  My family is well.  I'm very grateful.  

My sister Mary and I will celebrate our 50th birthday on Monday, 1/13/14.  Um, wait.  WHAT?  50??  Hahaha.  It's all good.  It's just a number.  

My boys are doing well.  My youngest just turned 15 on the 7th.  And my oldest turns 18 on the 25th!  January is a busy month.  Lots of celebrating!

I'm still on Arimidex.  Dr. says I'll be on this for the rest of my life.  I don't notice any side effects.  It's keeping my hormones in check.  I take one tablet once a day.  I've never missed a dose.  

It's been 4.5 years since my diagnosis - ILC, Stage 3a.  I still have not had reconstruction.  I don't plan too, unless FDA approves a procedure that's less invasive.  My one option now is too painful and risky.  So, I'll continue to live my life with a flat chest.  Sometimes I wear my prosthesis, but for the most part, I go without.  The prosthesis are a bit heavy, which annoys me so much.  

Have a Happy and Healthy 2014.  


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'll write more about this sad story later...  Just wanted you to know about this story, in case you've not heard about it.  It's not breast cancer related.  Instead, it's about a young man who was gunned down on his own property by an undercover deputy in an unmarked car.  It's a tragic story.  One that needs attention.  Please consider going to and sign the petition for a fair and unbiased investigation.  There's way more to this story than what the trigger happy deputy says.

even more information:

Spread the word.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Women with big firstborn babies may have higher breast cancer risk

Women with big firstborn babies may have higher breast cancer risk

This study is very interesting.  Both my boys were over 9lbs.  No family history of BC.  TMI fact:  I gained 68 pounds my 1st pregnancy.  My barely an A size breasts grew to a triple-D overnight.  no lie.  Very painful.  They eventually shrunk back down to barely an A around 5 months later.

My dear friend, Marsi White, passed away July 13, 2012.  She battled BC hard.  Tried with all her might to slay the vicious dragon.  Her blog is amazing.  She's documented her journey along the way.  Please go to her blog.  Her words are powerful.  Her husbands words touching and heartfelt.  Please pray for the family.  Send them healing thoughts and loving light their way.  Love you, Marsi White.  You are no longer in pain.  You are watching over your beautiful family and loving friends.  <3 <3 <3  Rest in Peace.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Saw this story on CNN and just had to share. 

I can totally relate to this woman.  We have a lot in common.  However, I'm not interested in going topless at the local pool.  I would feel to exposed.  But that's just me.  When I had my bi-lateral mastectomy 3 years ago, my surgeon said, more than once, that I would have the chest of a teenage boy.  It's true.  My scars are fading.  I'll have reconstruction.  Someday.  There's a new procedure, Stem Cell Theraphy breast reconstruction which sounds like the thing for me.  I'll ask KP if they're doing this procedure yet.

I started a new breast cancer treatment this week.  It's called Arimedex.  It's similar (but far more superior) to Tamoxifen.  I've been on Tamoxifen for 2.5 years.  I tolerated it really well.  This new drug has some possible risks like bone fractures but I'll take that over recurrence!  Here's an article about Tamoxifen and Arimedex.
The new drug sounds righteous.  Perfect for me.  I'll have a bone density test next week, just for a marker.  I expect good results.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Daily Mantra:

"Every day, think as you wake up, "Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive, I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."

- His Holiness The Dalai Lama ~♥ ~

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beyond the Shock

I stumbled on this very resourceful website.  I just watch a few of the chapters and found it very informative.  I highly recommend this to anyone who has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer or if you know of someone that has been diagnosed.

All is well with me.  I visit my oncologist every 6 months.  Next appointment is in July 2012.  I haven't kept up with my blog but I can tell you that no news is really good news.  :-)

I'll try to post again soon.  Thanks for your support.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Doctors Appointment went well

So well, in fact, my doctor doesn't want to see for 6 months!  Instead of every 3 months!  Good news, I think. 

The blood test (tumor marker) results showed no sign of tumor cells - I'm in normal range!!!  Oh, and it's called CA 27-29

My youngest has been sick with a virus for a week now.  I took him in on Sunday b/c his fever came back.  Doctor said his chest sounded clear and ears looked fine.  He suggested we come back on Tuesday if the fever is still present.  Well.  Tuesday morning he woke up with terrible ear pain.  Cough still bad.  Low grade fever.  Off to KP.  They saw us early (9:30).  Nolan started to experiance chest pain prior to his appointment so we arrived a little bit early.  Dr. could not get a clear picture of Nolan's ears so they tried to flush them out.  With no luck.  I found that odd b/c the urgent care doctor we saw on Sunday said his ears looked fine.  What could cause this much obstruction?  We were then sent down for a chest xray.  That's when we learned that Nolan had Walking Pneumonia.  He's now on a powerful antibiotic and should be feeling better any day now.  He's been fever free for 24 hours now so he should be able to return to school tomorrow.  Yes.  He's been out for 5 days.  Poor kid.

Here's a picture of his Xray. 

Update:  Took Nolan back to the doctors on Thursday, 5/12/11 and the pneumonia had not improved.  It actually got worse.  With the fever present and cough, it was decided that he be admitted to have an IV w/ antibiotics.  That did the trick.  He was admitted Thursday afternoon and was home by Friday afternoon.  Today, he's feeling so much better.  No more fever.  Just a slight cough.  His hearing is almost back to normal as well.  So happy to see my boy feeling better. 

Here's a picture of his 2nd xray:


Friday, May 6, 2011

Hello, it's been so long since I've posted on my blog. . . no news IS good news. I've been a busy mom, just how I like it. My oldest is finishing up his high school track and field season. Can't wait for next year. That kid can run! He has so much endurance. He decided to take a year off from soccer, to devote 100% this summer towards running Cross Country. I understand. I'm sad, but I totally get it. Nolan is playing baseball and soccer. Learning and growing so much. I'm a very proud mama.

My 3 month check up is on Monday, 5/9/11. I don't anticipate any surprises. I'm feeling great. I'll receive the results of my CA125 blood test. Here's a link to learn more about this test. This test will be performed every 6 months. Still not sure what I'm going to do about reconstruction. If it wasn't going to hurt so much, I'd sign up right away. I'll schedule another consult with a plastic surgeon. My hope is that there is a new technology/procedure now, which will work for me. Click here to learn about the current procedures: The Gluteal free flap procedure sounds like a win-win in my opinion!  Hehee.

I'll write more on Monday, letting you all know how well I'm doing. :-)

Have a Happy Mother's Day weekend! I plan to.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year! 2011

I am feeling well and very excited for the new year!  2011 is going to be an even better year!  I have some goals in mind for myself.  After seeing Christi Brinkley on TV the other day, looking like she's in her 30's and hearing my boys say "wow!  she's 57?"  It's time.  I can loose those extra pounds I've put on the past couple of years.  So, where to start?  Tomorrow is the day.  I'm a little afraid (not really).  My friend Stacey is going to be my PT for a little bit, get me on track.  Michelle and I are very excited to get our "core" worked on.  It's about time for me.  I want that buzz/energy/drive you get when you want to work out.  It's going to take some time, but I'll get there.  Christine - call me soon and we'll walk the lake or hike the mountain.  No more excuses from me!  :-)

We had a lovely Christmas.  Spent Christmas eve and day at Jeff's parent's house with his family.  I loved every minute.  Jeff and the boys spoiled me with a pair of UGG boots!  yes!  I've been wanting a pair ever since I tried on Jeanette's at Thanksgiving.  Seriously, I'm not not sure why it took me so long to realized such a good thing.  Mom and dad came down the day after Christmas for a quick visit.  We spend a couple hours at the mall and then we went out to dinner.  Besides being a short visit, it was perfect in every other way.  I love you mom and dad!  Thanks for your love and support!!!!

Everyday, I'm grateful for my family, for my friends, for the house we live in, for the job I have.  I wish that 2011 brings everlasting glow of happiness to us all!  Enjoy your new year, to the fullest!  I plan to.  

"Take time to make a list of all of the aspects of your life that are working and another list of all the aspects that need to change.  Ask the Devine guidance to change the things that you are willing to change now.  Then take action."  Christiane Northrup

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3, 2010

Another anniversary.  Yep.  And this one is huge for me.  1 year ago today, to the minute, 9:30am, I was getting hooked up for my final round of chemotherapy.  The chemo saved my life, and I'll be forever grateful for having it run through my veins.  So, I get in my car this morning and I pressed CD on the radio, just to see what I had in there to listen to . . .was avoiding listening to the news and overplayed hiphop on the radio.  The song that was cued was Hysteric by the Yeah Yeah Yeah's.  This song takes me back to my chemo, warrior mode days.  Brought back a flood of memories of all the support that was (and still is) around me.  I'm grateful for my family and friends that lifted me up in so many ways during my battle.  THANK YOU!!!!  I love you all!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Michelle Nicastro - RIP

I just learned that Michelle Nicastro passed away this week.  After learning of her death, I searched Google wanting to know more about her story.  Turns out that she had a lumpectomy when she was 40.  Was told it was pre-cancer.  3 years later she had pain in her back.  That's when she learned she had Stage 5 Breast Cancer.  Her courage and strength made an impact on me.  Click on the title to learn more about Michelle and her story.

I'm doing well.  I have a new oncologist.  This is my 4th oncologist, in case you're keeping count . . . He wants to see me every three months.  He ordered a Bone Scan and CA27 29 (tumor marker blood test).  Both came back normal/negative!  I'll see him again in January, 2011, at which time I guess he'll decide it would be alright if I go in every six months.  Either way, I think this new oncologist is a good fit for me.  If I can just get use to his really dry sense of humor.  Smile.

My hair is continuing to grow.  Not as fast I had hoped . . . . I'm grateful for what I have though.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Can you believe it?  Seriously, October flew by!  The boys are doing well in school.   Both started new schools this year which was an adjustment.  Tate is running cross country and playing soccer.  Nolan is playing soccer.  Fun times.

Gotta run.  I'll try to write again soon.  Don't forget to do your monthly self exams!  Love your boobies!

Check out this really cool vlog from Kris Carr - really cool message. 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Words that really touched me

My friend, Marsi, who I have a lot in common with, recently wrote this poem.  I just have to share this with you.  Her words really touched me.  I remember my first shower after my mastectomy and her poem took me back to that moment in time.

Nearly Perfect,
Shower after 12 days of not.
The water hitting my skin,
So steamy and hot.

Undressing carefully,
Recognizing my scar.

Air hitting virgin skin,
Only partially marred.

Breast gone.

Matches right side.

Bravery, not so.

Cancer abide.

Stepping into the water,
Refreshing and scary.

Would it hurt, not sure,
Excusingly sparing.

Routinely lathering,
Not reaching, needing care.

Tender touch to rescue,
Holding hand, tears fair.

Not bothered by scar,
Emotions abound.

Needing that hand,
And the kiss that I found.

Hot water renewing,
Strength coming back.

Cancer is gone,
So different, the track.

Learning so much,
Unrecognizably so.

Needing so much,
OK to let go.

~Marsi White

Thank you Marsi for allowing me to post your poem.  I love it.  I'm sure many women, just like you and me, will find comfort in your poem.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Breast Density & Hormone Theraphy add to BC Risk

Ever since I was 39, when I started having yearly mammograms, I was told my breasts were dense.  That was surprising because my breasts were SO small - how could that be?  I was barely an A cup.  Seriously.  I quickly learned that dense breasts come in all shapes and sizes.

I found this article very interesting.  Two months before I found the lump (aka:  Milk Dud), I had to be put on progestin to stop a very serious menstral cycle.  I was on it for only a week.  Two months later, my milk dud that thrieved on hormones was discovered.  My life changed in an instant.  Remember your monthly self-checks! 

Breast Density and Hormone Therapy Add to Breast Cancer Risk

Categories: Breast Cancer, News, Screening/Prevention Breast Cancer Breast Density and Hormone Therapy Add to Breast Cancer Risk

Postmenopausal women with high breast density are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.[1] This risk increases with the use of hormone therapy.

Breast density refers to the extent of glandular and connective tissue in the breast. Breasts with more glandular and connective tissue—and less fat—are more dense. Women with higher breast density are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Breast density can be assessed by mammography.

In this study researchers examined the relationship between breast density and breast cancer risk based on menopausal status and the use of postmenopausal hormones (either estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin). Previous studies have indicated that postmenopausal use of estrogen plus progestin increases the risk of breast cancer.

The researchers collected data on 587,369 women who underwent 1,349,027 screening mammograms. Of these women, 14,090 were diagnosed with breast cancer. The women in the group were categorized by age, menopausal status, current use of postmenopausal hormones, and breast density (using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System, or BIRADS, to classify density).

The researchers found that breast cancer risk was low among women with low breast density (BIRADS-1) and higher among women with high breast density (BIRADS-4). The risk increased with use of postmenopausal hormones, especially estrogen plus progestin. The data are outlined in the table below:

Table 1: Five-year risk of breast cancer for women age 55 to 59

No hormone therapy Estrogen Only Estrogen plus Progestin

Low Breast Density (BIRADS-1) 0.8% 0.9% 0.9%
High Breast Density (BIRADS-4) 2.4% 3.0% 4.2%

The risk of developing advanced-stage breast cancer was increased 1.7-fold for postmenopausal women with high density (BIRADS-4) who used postmenopausal hormones compared with their counterparts with average density (BIRADS-2).

The researchers concluded that women with high breast density are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they use estrogen plus progestin.

[1] Kerlikowske K, Cook AJ, Buist DSM, et al. Breast cancer risk by breast density, menopause, and postmenopausal hormone therapy use. Journal of Clinical Oncology [published early online]. July 19, 2010.

Tonight pretty much all the networks are airing Stand Up To Cancer. I look forward to watching it with my boys.  In loving memory of my beautiful sister Susan - click on the link below to learn more about prevention and early detection of skin cancer:

Remember this: 
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer - more than 2 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the U.S. and that number is rising. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is the #1 cancer in men and women ages 20 to 29. Sue was almost 40 when she passed away after a 4 month hard fought battle.  Self-examination is key because while melanoma spreads quickly, it can be treated if caught early.

Moles, blemishes or freckles should be checked monthly and any changes should be communicated to your doctor. And remember - skin cancer does not discriminate against skin color, so everyone is potentially at risk.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My new favorite blog!

Click on the title if you want to check out an amazing story of courage.  Jen Griffin is a true warrior.  Jamie from work told me about her recent return to Kabul.  So I just had to Google her name.  Real glad to have found her blog.  What an inspiration!

San Diego is heating up this week.  Love the HEAT!  School starts soon for my boys.  They had a fun couple of days with their Grandpa and Aunt Wendy at Universal Studios.  They came home pretty late last night so I've not had a chance to hear all about it yet.  But the looks on their faces when they got home last night was classic.  They looked so happy as they said "we had so much fun!".  Thank you Gaga and Wendy!

Me and the boys spent the weekend up in 29 Palms a couple weeks ago.  What a fantastic weekend.  Owen and his family came up as well.  And we brought up my Nephew - Phil.  Here's a picture I took as we were getting ready to leave.  Just took one shot and it turned out great.
from left to right:  Phil and Brewski, Nolan, Me, Owie, Poppy, Nana, Owen, Tate, Jeanette and Harley.

The weather was perfect.  It had been since Thanksgiving since we were up in 29.  Catching up with everyone, enjoying the most amazing night sky was just what I needed.  Now, Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  That's when my entire family will be home!  Counting the days!

If it weren't for this nagging summer cold, I'd be feeling really well.  My hair is growing back in nicely.  My knee hurts only when I bend it all the way.  An MRI confirmed I have a torn meniscus.  I think this injury occurred when my car door closed on my leg while I was leaning inside my car.  ouch.  Plan to have surgery in December.  

Soccer starts this weekend for Tate's team!  And Nolan's the weekend after!  LOVE SOCCER!

Celebrate every relationship you have ever had. For better or worse, our relationships are our best teachers. And on a soul level, we've attracted each and every one of them so we can learn and grow. - Dr. Christiane Northrup

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"You must decide to stay in the feeling of love, prosperity, wellness, or whatever you desire, and let that feeling just flow through you. And remember that you get what you think about, whether you want it or not." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Good morning.  It's already feeling like it's going to be another HOT day in the city.  The boys have a soccer tournament which we're all looking forward to.  And the best part - is they play at the same location!  How cool is that?!  We don't need to run around town to two different fields!  Very fortunate.

A friend from work (Thanks Linda) forwarded me this MSNBC article regarding Avastin.  I was so close to having this treatment as well last summer.  I know this drug has been beneficial for other types of cancers but from what I've read, it didn't improve your chances of survivor for breast cancer patients.  Plus the side effects are wicked.

Mary and her son Erik came over last night for dinner.  We made custom pizzas on the bbq grill (great idea by the Andrews!).  Pesto pizza, Pep, Olives, pineapple. . . yummy.  We had a perfect visit.  I'm sad that my twin is moving across the country.  But I'm equally excited for her!  I mean, to have this opportunity - to live in a new city and all the exciting elements that are apart of that - she's going to be so happy.  Everyone one is going to love Boston.  I've never been and this will be a great excuse to visit.  And thank goodness for the internet.  We can stay in touch everyday!  

Well.  Gotta run.  There's some soccer balls that need to be kicked today.  :-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Checking in

Nolan's All-Star team came in 2nd place!  That was a fun ride!  The boys should be very proud.  We Are!  SC!  We Are!  SC!  SC!  WE ARE!  Now, on to Soccer!

Tate is enjoying running with his high school cross country team.  Plus soccer is keeping the kid really busy!

We had an amazing 4th of July!  So much fun.  We joined in on a neighborhood bike parade which reminded me so much of being a kid.  We decorated our bikes, had patriotic music on full blast.  GOOD MEMORIES made that day! 

Going to see Mom and Dad this weekend along with Mary and her family and Owen and his!  YES!  Can't wait!  I wish Sarah and her family could make it out. . . 

Will post pictures from this weekend real soon.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brazilian Blowout!

I decided to just go ahead and do it, schedule an appointment to have a Brazilian Blowout.  Pam was so sweet to offer to do this for me, at no charge.  I seriously can't thank her enough.  So, what's a Brazilian Blowout?  It's a hair straighting process.  My hair, especially in the back, was growing back curly.  I called it the chemo curl.  It was getting more and more unmanageable as it grew out.  Pam saved the day!  I'm so happy with the results.  I highly recommend this treatment!

So much is new.  First of all.  I had my knee MRI'd last week.  I should hear back in a few days.  I'm not expecting any bad news.  Just want to see if I injuried it. . . But I could not believe how ridiculously loud the machine was.  Wow.  My sister Susan had told me about how the sound was so LOUD.  She had many MRI's.  I hope she was able to use earplugs or something.  I'm glad it's over.  I thought a lot about my sister, and how much she went through in such a short period of time. . .  I miss you Sue!

I had a followup appointment last week as well.  Doctor says all is well.  Wants to see me every 6 months instead of every 4 months.  ummm.  I'd rather be monitored every 4 months.  . . we'll see.  I feel great.  The doctor says there is no sign of any cancer.  YES!

Today marks the one year mark when I had my 1st surgery:  Lumpectomy.  I've reflected a lot about that day last year.  One thing I would change if I could, I would have demanded an MRI which would have resulted in me just having one surgery, I just know it.  Shoulda - woulda - coulda's - SO UNHEALTHY.  But if you're getting ready to have surgery, and you feel that an MRI would benifit your decision making - then I highly recommend you listen to your gut, loud and clear.  My doctor denied me an MRI.  But I learned a lesson. . .  not to take no for an answer when my gut tells me otherwise.  Right?  right.

Tate's participating in an Algebra program at his new high school for 3 weeks.  He'll get a lot out of it, I'm sure.  He's running Cross Country and playing club soccer.  Busy guy!  Nolan made the 10-11 Baseball All-Star team!  He's have a lot of fun.  We are too! 

Jeff is doing well.  He is so disaplined with his exercise workouts.  I think he looks amazing. 

Well.  Gotta run.  Just wanted to jot down a few thoughts.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One year has past . . .

Yesterday, June 1st, was a pretty special day.  Although I'm glad to have it behind me.  I've decided, I will celebrate this day in 5 year increments from now on.  So, June 1, 2014 - I will celebrate again.  Have a milk-dud party!  I'll post a picture later of a really clever gift my boss gave me.  She's so thoughtful.  I played the movie in my head, over and over again, receiving the call June 1, 2009 and completely freaking out learning I had BC.  Good things came out of my diagnosis.  I learned how strong I am inside.  I never knew that about myself.  sounds strange, but true.  Jeff was my rock.  He stood by me, with encouragement and love.  As well as my family.  And my friends!  I felt so much love all around me, all the time.  

While I was at work yesterday, I received a call from KP.  Ironically, they want to schedule a sonogram of my "chest wall".  My primary dr. ordered this.  I'm guessing this is protocol.  My appointment is Thursday, 6/3 at 8:30am.  I'm also having my left knee MRI'd June 17th.  It doesn't hurt nearly as bad as it did but I still can't bend it all the way which makes it difficult to do yoga!  smile.  I received a vmail message from Angela, my support angle from KP.  She said "just heard FireFlies (song) and thought of you, hope you're doing well"  I called her back asking if she had it on her calendar to call me on the 1 year mark and she said no.  That's the universe working, I tell you!  Angela called me June 1, 2009, late in the afternoon and gave me some pretty amazing support and advice. 

Life is unpredictable.  Living it to the fullest is what matters.  No shoulda, woulda, coulda's.  

My "number 1 son", Tate, is having a ton of fun on his East Coast trip.  Today, they're heading to Philly!  Lucky kid.  he'll be home on Saturday night, late. . .  Can't wait to hear all about his trip, in depth.  We talk every night.  He sounds all grown up.  smile.  

Peggy, you have amazing strength!  I know I've not seen you in for ever, but I do remember you and your contagious energy.  Stay strong.  Stay present.  Kick some cancer ass, girl!  

Ok.  gotta go.  I'll post a picture later tonight.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Checking in

I had a perfect Mother's Day weekend w/ my boys!  We went to 29 Palms to visit my parents.  What treat that was!  We enjoyed every moment.  I am so blessed to have such loving and supportive parents.  I thank my lucky stars! 

My hair is continuing to grow, at a slow pace.  I'm liking my pixie though.  Today I'm getting it colored.  Not sure what color, most likely brown w/ some highlights.  My toenails have been feeling pretty sore, especially my left "thumb" toe :-).  Half of the nail is black and blue, but it's almost grown out.  I was told I may loose some toe and or fingernails.  It's been 5 months since my last treatment and my body is still recovering from it.  The only time I notice it is when I lay on my tummy in bed.  Ouch.  So, maybe this was TMI?  I know there's people out there that might find this interesting and validating.  My finger nails are fine.  I had white lines going across each nail but those have grown out. 

The weather is gorgous here in San Diego.  The weekend is almost here and I plan to enjoy it!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Online Music Mix As Independent As You Streaming 24/7 - KCRW Eclectic24

Happy Birthday MOM! I sure wish I could celebrate with you.  I'm picturing the most perfect day, mom; filled with fun and laughter (and awesome food!).  ENJOY YOUR DAY!!!!!  I love you!!!!

If you like eclectic music, you may want to check out KCRW Eclectic24's station!  I LOVE IT!!!
New Online Music Mix As Independent As You Streaming 24/7 - KCRW Eclectic24

Monday, April 19, 2010

I develop a positive state of mind.

The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.  Dr. Wayne Dyer

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just wanted to document my hair growth.  It's been 4 and 1/2 months since my last chemo.  I'm ready for a trim and some color.  If I can just find the time to do that! 

Happy Friday!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

14 years ago today, my beautiful and loving sister, Susan passed away.  I honor Susan everyday but especially today, April 15th.  I feel her presence even more; an energy around me, protecting and loving me.  Sue, I love and miss you everyday.  You tought me how to be a brave warrior!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Sue.

Sue lost her battle to Stage IV Melanama April 15, 1996, she was 39 years old.  She was diagnosed December 1995. 

Please light a candle honoring Sue's memory tonight. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Four Month Check Up

Last week I had my four month check up (post-chemo) and it went well. My blood work is showing normal-low readings! I had my hormones checked and I am now in menopause, no doubt. Also had a chest x-ray b/c my back, between my angel-wing bone and spine (near my lungs) was cramping really bad. I was up pretty much all night the night before my appointment. It hurt to take a deep breath. I started getting these weird random cramp attacks mid-way through my chemo. They usually lasted an hour or so but this one would not stop. Dr. Polikoff suggested I go in for a massage. Didn't have to twist my arm. . . smile.  When Jeff was driving me home from the appointment, I sneezed which caused even more pain in my back. So, I went to ZenSpa (Thank you to all the SDPD ladies who gave me the gift certificate!!!!!) and had a full-body massage. Yoyo really worked out the knot in my back. Although it still hurt to take a deep breath, I was feeling much better. I could move my head from side to side and I could lift my right arm. So, Huge Success at ZenSpa! Oh, my doctor also ordered a DVT test, and ruled out a blood clot. He's so thorough!

I've not heard back from my Dr. regarding the chest x-ray but I think, in this case, no news is really good news. :-)

I'll see my doctor again in 4 months. He said he normally does not order lab work for every appointment. . . I found that odd. But you know me, I will insist. For sure. I might change my Oncologist, so I don't have to drive all the way to San Marco. The commute sucks and that’s the only reason why I’d change doctors.

So, I finally had the courage to ask my doctor what my chances are for recurrence. Back in July, 2009, he asked if I wanted "numbers", in a “used car salesman” kind of way, I instantly said NO! I wasn’t ready. Here are the numbers: I was at 50% chance of recurrence prior to Chemo and now I've cut my odds in half. I have a 25% chance for recurrence. I’d be happier if my chances were zero percent but I’ll take 25% over 50% any day! I’m grateful!

My hair is continuing to grow! Can’t wait to pull it back into a pony-tail! Maybe the end of summer I’ll have the length to do that!

A friend of mine is having surgery tomorrow. Please send healing thoughts to Marsi!

By banishing doubt and thinking in no-limit ways, you clear a space for the power of intention to flow through. The power of intention is so deficient of doubt that when you’re connected to it you see what you’d like to have as already being present. ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Click on the title "Four Month Check Up" to see what The New York Times has created. It’s a cool and inspiring place for survivors to post their picture and share their story - Picture Your Life After Cancer: Kudos to The New York Times! I’ve not posted a picture yet but I will. I just need to find a good Milk Dud Warrior picture.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I'm in NO hurray to have reconstruction done, that's for sure.  And I now know what my option is.  Backflap and implants.  I met w/ my plastic surgeon yesterday and I like her very much.  She know's I'm in no rush to schedule this surgery.  I'm thinking maybe the Summer of 2011.  This is what I learned yesterday:

Since I had radiation, my chest would not be able to support implants, alone.  In a nut shell. . .My doctor will move muscle and skin from my back to my chest. 

Hospital stay:  1-2 days  Recovery time:  3-4 weeks

This is what I have to look forward to. . . see why I'm not in a rush?  Smile.

What to Expect During a Latissimus Dorsi Breast Reconstruction:

You will not be awake during your mastectomy or reconstruction, so you will have intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Talk to your surgeon and the anesthesiologist about which will work best for you, and be sure he or she is informed of all medications and supplements you are taking. If you are having a mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time (immediate reconstruction), your general surgeon will first remove your breast, sparing as much skin as will be safe to keep.

Getting Ready for Latissimus Dorsi Breast Reconstruction:
Your plastic surgeon will use a skin marker to carefully plan for the incision that will create your skin flap. A pointed ellipse will be drawn on your back, over your latissimus dorsi muscle. This ellipse will become the skin flap that closes the incision for your reconstructed breast. When the incision for the flap is shut, it will be about 10 to 15 cm in length and follow the line of one of your ribs.

Moving Muscle and Skin:
Your plastic surgeon will make an incision on the skin markings, raising the skin and muscle flap. A tunnel will be created under your skin so that the flap can be relocated. This tissue flap will go through the tunnel to the front of your chest, keeping its blood supply intact. This ensures that the skin and muscle will continue to live in their new location. The skin will be positioned so that it fills in the skin that was lost during your mastectomy. If you need an implant, the muscle will be draped over it to create the new breast mound.

Closing Incisions and Starting Recovery:
Your back incision will be closed, and a surgical drain may be placed in it to help remove excess fluid. On your chest, the skin flap will be carefully joined to the mastectomy incision. If needed, scar tissue from your mastectomy may be removed in order to create a smoother skin texture at the new incision. Some patients may need a surgical drain in the reconstructed breast to help prevent fluid build-up and promote healing.

Recovering from Latissimus Dorsi Breast Reconstruction:
You may need to stay in the hospital for three or four days as you begin healing from breast reconstructive surgery. If you have surgical drains, you will learn how to empty those and keep records of the fluid volume. Report pain if you have any, so that it can be treated. Don't go right back to work – plan on taking it easy for three to six weeks for recovery. Be sure to have someone around to help drive you and do any lifting. Be sure to go for your follow-up appointments so your surgeon can keep an eye on your incisions and dressings and remove your drains.

I had a crazy dream last night that I met w/ my oncologist and I forgot to bring my list of questions so I just sat there, didn't say a word.  My list is in my purse.  No way will I forget it.  Jeff will be there w/ me. 

Gotta run.  Will write more later this week.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter All!

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and free-floating—these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything you do. - Dr. Wayne Dyer

Yesterday was nearly a perfect day with my family.  What would have made it perfect is if Sarah and her family could have joined us.  

Seeing mom and dad, my brother, Owen and my sister, Mary along with there amazing family was just what I needed.  Everyone looked so healthy and happy!  We had a lot of catching up to do!  It had been since December since I saw my parents.  

I'm continuing to feel well.  My knee is sore but not like before.  I'm only reminded of the pain when try to sit on the floor or kneel down while taking pictures.  Ouch.  My hair is growing in nicely.  Yes!  I have my 4 month (post chemo) appointment with my Oncologist this week.  I have so many questions.  I'll go over what I learn from my appointment on my blog later this week.  My appointment is on Thursday.

My boys are doing very well.  Tate's soccer team is playing in the State Cup tournament this weekend, fingers crossed they advance to the next weekend!  Nolan is enjoying baseball.  

June 6th - can't wait!  U2 Time with mom and dad!  

I'll post more later today.  Happy Easter!  


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aspirin a Day. . .

Well, this is encouraging news.  Warriors who completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer and who took aspirin had a nearly 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence!  I'll discuss this latest study with my oncologist next month.  Click on the title to learn more. :-)

I'm feeling stronger every day.  My skin is pretty much healed.  My hair is growing, but not fast enough, smile.  I'm still wearing hats.  Speaking of hats!  My friend and neighbor, Michelle T. surprised me a couple of weeks ago when she stopped by with some really cute hats and an infinity scarf!  They are super cool. And last week, Julie A. stopped by with the coolest hat!  Oh, I can totally see myself wearing this adorable hat while watching the boys play soccer and baseball!  Thank you, Michelle and Julie! 

A few weeks ago, I went to Dream Dinners (thank you CSC U13 for the gift certificate!).  I spent an hour or so preparing yummy meals for my family.  I enjoyed this experience so much.  Everything I prepared that day was a huge hit come dinner time!  I'm going back this month to make more meals!  

My white blood cell count was at 2.8 last week.  Normal low is 4.  My blood will be rechecked this Friday and I expect it will be in the 4 range.  Doctors think the low WBC is due to chemo and radiation.  Makes sense.  The good news:  I'm not sick, no infection.  My knee pain is subsiding now that the rain (low pressure) is moving out.  Hallelujah!!!!! 



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Extracts of bitter melon 'can block breast cancer'

Extracts of a fruit grown on tropical vines appears to have breast cancer blocking powers, say researchers.  Where can I find this odd looking melon?!  Click on the title to learn more. 

Crazy Sexy Cancer Video - 10/22/2007 - Oprah - LOVE IT!

"Full-Time Job:  Always in the office of healing"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"I am a being of light. Angels are all around me, helping and guiding me at all times. I am safe and I am loved. Everything in my life happens at just the right time, in just the right place and in the best way for my highest good. And so it is".  random daily affirmation

I love this affirmation!  Thanks for posting on your blog Rachelle!  It's been a while since I've seen this affirmation and the timing could not be more perfect. 

I just had my last RAD today!  Time to celebrate!  A friend from highschool came up with a really cool idea that I wanted to share with you.  This is what he posted on my Facebook, thanks Andy!:

"So today is a day for Celebration for our dear friend Nancy! I suggest that we all raise a glass to her and the wonderful woman, mother, sister, daughter, friend and so many other things that she is to us all. How about a synchronized raising of the glasses to Nancy at 5:00 PM Pacific time. Here - Here!"

I love this clever and thoughtful idea!  Cheers!  5pm, I'll be sure to be home to raise a glass in celebrating my journey and I'll be thanking my lucky stars for my loving family and amazing friends who have supported me in so many ways throughout this journey.  I'll also pause for a moment and honor of all the warriors; praying that an end to breast cancer is near.  I'm forever grateful to all the women and men who have paved the way for survivors like me.  And to all the warriors that are in the heat of battle, stay strong!  You'll get through this!  Stay balanced.  Keep a positive outlook. Kick some cancer ass. 

Oh wait, what's that I hear???  Is that my train, Michelle?  My crazy cancer train?  Why yes it is!  It just pulled in the station and it's time for me to disembark!  bye-bye train!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer, by Dr. Marisa Weiss

Another good book to add to my list.  To preview Dr. Weiss' new book, click on the title above.   

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Friday, February 12, 2010

Calling all Warriors!

Bang the drum. Paint your face. Run. Walk. Fight for the cure.
Ford and your Ford dealer are recruiting Warriors to help ramp up the fight against breast cancer. Ford Warriors in Pink can be found at the Komen Race for the Cure® events as always, only now they will arrive as a united front, as one in Warrior gear.

Learn about the special meaning behind the Warriors in Pink symbols or read the published articles about these strong individuals all across America below.

Jolie gave me the coolest tshirt!  It has the Warrior symbol on it.  I LOVE it! 
The Warriors ~ Represent the powerful and the courageous that fight against breast cancer. I know many amazing Warriors!
My tshirt has Doves which represents the wish for a quiet peace during the heat of battle and Hearts which represents those who stand strong with loved ones who battle the disease. 
I'm wearing my new T proudly.  Huge message in a small shirt.  LOVE IT!

It's Friday!  Long weekend ahead of us!  Looking forward to that!  After my 12:40 RAD appointment today, I'll only have ONE RAD LEFT!  Can you believe it? Oh my!  Time to celebrate!  I'm now using a cream that my dr. prescribed.  It's 1% Silver Sulfadiazine Cream.  It stopped the pain, instantly.  Seriously.  Monday this week, I was in so much pain which actually had brought me to tears; not very Milk-Dud-Warrior-Like.  But then, after my 12:30 RAD appointment - I applied the Silver cream miracle ointment and the pain stopped, just like that.  I also will start using Jean's Cream, as soon as I receive.  Thank you Jacki
Valentine's Day weekend – Hope you all plan to do something extra special on Sunday. Me and a few other moms are taking our 11 year olds to see the Tooth Fairy.  Should be fun!

Dark chocolate & Red Wine – the New Chemotherapy? huh?  Jacki found this article that I just had to share. Studies are funny. One day experts say "if you drink wine you may increase your risk of recurrence by 30%" then the next day an article like this surfaces. It's all about moderation. Smile.  Do what feels right.  Don't have regrets.  Live, at peace.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Acupuncture Reduces Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Patients

I've been on Tamoxifen since January 1, 2010.  I know now what a "hot flash" feels like.  I've not had very many of them so far but the few I have had have been intense.  They wake me up in the middle of the night, feels like I have a fever, my short hair drenched in sweat.  It's OK.  I'm actaully releived I'm having hot flashes because now I know that the Tamoxifen is working; it's blocking the hormones that ILC feeds on.  That's comforting.  Reading this article gives me hope.  I'm willing to try Acupuncture.  This will be a first for me. 

Acupuncture Reduces Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Patients

Among women treated with hormonal therapy for breast cancer, acupuncture and Effexor® (venlafaxine) were similarly effective at reducing the frequency of hot flashes. These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The majority of breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive. These cancers are stimulated to grow by the circulating female hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. Treatment of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer often involves hormonal therapies that suppress or block the action of estrogen. These therapies include tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) as well as agents known as aromatase inhibitors. Tamoxifen acts by blocking estrogen receptors, whereas aromatase inhibitors suppress the production of estrogen in postmenopausal women.

Common side effects of hormonal therapy include hot flashes and night sweats. Antidepressants such as Effexor have shown some effectiveness in managing these symptoms but can produce side effects and may not be acceptable to all women.

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that aims to improve health by stimulating specific points of the body.[1] Because acupuncture has shown some promise in reducing hot flashes in breast cancer patients, researchers conducted a study to compare it to Effexor.[2] The study involved 50 women with Stage 0-III breast cancer who were experiencing hot flashes during hormonal therapy. Half the women received acupuncture for 12 weeks, and half the women were treated with Effexor for 12 weeks.

Both groups (acupuncture and Effexor) experienced significant decreases in hot flash frequency. Acupuncture appeared to be as effective at reducing hot flashes as Effexor.

By two weeks after completing treatment with acupuncture or Effexor, hot flash frequency increased in the Effexor group but remained at low levels in the acupuncture group.

Side effects among women treated with Effexor included nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety. Acupuncture did not produce any negative side effects.

These results suggest that acupuncture may be as effective as Effexor at reducing the frequency of hot flashes in breast cancer patients treated with hormonal therapy.


[1] National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Acupuncture: An Introduction. Available at: Accessed January 4, 2010.
[2] Walker EM, Rodriguez AI, Kohn B et al. Acupuncture versus venlafaxine for the management of vasomotor symptoms in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. December 28, 2009.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ~Buddha

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jim Parsons has been nominated for an Emmy for his role in 'The Big Bang Theory' and has a wide and diverse group of admirers. Therefore, it is of no surprise that Jim Parsons plays each and every one of the 30 characters hilariously in the new Stand Up To Cancer video, titled  "Up2 You + Me" that was recently added to youtube.  The video is showing that everyone should stand up to help end cancer. The video was Created by the Selwyn Brothers. Produced, Directed & Edited by Jesse Selwyn and Written & Performed by Zach Selwyn.

LOVE IT!  Thanks Jacki for posting on your blog!
Found this imagine online, just had to post.  Loving the rain today!  

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh my! I found this really old picture of my hat wear'n boys and their cousin Laura w/ her dog Abbey. So cute!
Posted by Picasa

Angry skin

It's Friday! The rain is coming! Just ask my left knee. And I have only 6 more rounds of RAD's left! My skin is pretty red. I have one blister but for the most part, my skin is reacting as one would expect, right on schedule. Monday will be my last RAD treatment at Alvarado. Then I'll begin my Boost treatment at a location downtown. Basically, I'll receive the same dose of Radiation, but the targeted area will be smaller. Mainly targeting my scares left from the surgeries.  The RAD techs told me "you think your skin looks bad?  Just think what your insides look like.  Way worse, for sure."  That's when I realized I'm being cooked from the inside out.  I'm a slow learner.  Smile.  I'm so glad the weekend is almost here.  I plan to catch up on a lot of rest, for sure.  Have a peaceful weekend.  Enjoy some football and rain!  <3