It’s crunch time… I’ve enjoyed my time off…

A little update…

It’s been 7 weeks that I’ve been off work, although recuperating and still not fully healed… I’ve enjoyed it entirely. I’ve baked, taken care of my sick kiddo 24/7, my older kids who were sick, I delivered food to them in bed… I’ve spoiled my husband with a clean house, cooked meals, laundry done….it’s been wonderful. But, I’m ready … more than ready to get back in the saddle. I will begin working again soon! I forgot what having time feels like! It’s amazing and I’ve taken it for granted in the past…

For those of you that didn’t know, I had to say goodbye to my friends and family at Ashley Homestore in Pineville. I took a new position with ADL Delivery out of Florida… they needed a sales executive for NC/SC and I was the woman for the job. I start November 30th and I could not be more excited for this new chapter in my life! I will train in Florida…. so I’ll leave the 30th to begin my training.

During this 7 weeks, I’ve needed every bit of it to heal… I’m still not fully healed. I still have a dime size hole in my backside that we’re packing, that leaks  continuously, that I keep bandaged… I’ll get it checked on Friday to see what the verdict is…. I imagine he may try to sew it up…. I’m not quite sure.

I have a rare issue with my left foob…. 1st my rib keeps popping out, so Dr. Gotro and his fabulous massage therapist Danielle Helms in Indian Trail have been helping me with that…. 2nd… when they removed cartilage from my rib to attach the artery, it caused a nerve to be exposed, so whenever I laid back… or my side, or my other side…. it caused pain. Sleeping was impossible. For 6 weeks, I have not slept well…. scattered sleep, first because of my pain meds and then later, just purely because of pain…. My doctor gave me some muscle relaxers and I’ve been taking ibuprofen around the clock. It seems to be the only thing that helps…. Again, Dr. Gotro used a device that kind of did a jack hammer on this radiated, tissue and it did something….. I feel a good bit better… and just in time! I was really worried about beginning work and being in so much pain. I’d say…  I’m at least 75% better. It still hurts… but it’s tolerable. I think I honestly live with a level of pain that I don’t even recognize anymore.

My healing of my actual flaps are doing great… my right breast is amazing, it feels like a boob… it shakes like a boob…. when I have my nipples done… it will look real. I wish my doctor had told me to tan my backside however, because they are remarkably lighter and it looks stupid…. lol My left foob… it’s another story, it’s tight…. it’s higher than the right…. so they’ll actually lift my right breast on the 2nd phase of this…. to match the left. I’m happy with the size, they look great in a shirt… and I guess that’s the goal. I will never look normal naked. My backside looks great, I do have some indentations where they took the flaps… straight on it looks great… to the side you can tell a bit. I no longer have a bubble butt….  I don’t recognize my body anyway, so it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to be here and be alive…

Mr. G had RSV and I ended up with a throat infection…. both of us on antibiotics… but both of us are starting to feel better now! Just in the nick of time…

Darrell will be a single father for 2 weeks, but thankfully…. they are flying me home on the weekends!

On a real positive note, I’ve been crafty and we now have two elderly neighbors on each side…. one is widowed.. his wife died of breast cancer 😦 And, the other side… they live with their daughter and they bring us chicken salad and things…. so while I’ve had this time, I did a pinterest project, when I made cookies, I didn’t want to just deliver them on a plate…. so I did this project 🙂 Same color ribbon because it’s my favorite…. I feel so crafty. I’m so not… but even I could do this!

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2 year cancerversary tomorrow – GRAPHIC PHOTOS!!!

Last night, Cindy from Cindy’s Hope Chest stopped by with her shadow… a young girl who’s chosen to hear other women’s breast cancer stories…. and so I shared mine, I shared photos… photos that you all have not even seen… and it hit me… my anniversary of finding my cancer is tomorrow. I’ve been super emotional about it… I’ve been through a ton of crap in the past 2 years….

I’m not complaining about it….  but when I sat and told my story, I shook my own head. It’s been a lot!!!

My timeline:

April 2013… I notice bb sized lumps in my left breast… I have mammogram and diagnostic ultrasound and I was told they were cysts, come back in 1 year.

November 6, 2013… I noticed from the top view my nipple was pushed to the side… I plunked in front of the mirror… and saw this major dimpling and my nipple turned to the side…

Dimpling

November 11, 2013.. I have biopsy of left breast

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November 14, 2013… I get the dreaded call…. Are you somewhere you can sit down? You have Invasive Lobular and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, you will need chemo and most likely radiation amd your sentinel lymph node was positive.

November 16, 2013… I have MRI to determine size of cancer …. It was 3.8cm and my sentinel lymph node had cancer. They found some suspicious spots in the right breast and needed me to have those biopsied. This was the day of my MRI

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November 18, 2013… I have biopsy of the right breast… they said it was just a cyst and it would aspirate. I watched the needle go in and come out and the doctor was perplexed…. It turned out to be atypia (pre-cancer) and would become cancer. So, we made the decision to have bilateral mastectomy (both breasts)

Stage 2 ILC and IDC, ER+ PR+ HER2-

In preparation for chemo, I cut my long hair off…. and went short…

December 11,2013  – I begin the first of 6 rounds of TAC chemo….

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Within a week of chemo, I buzzed my hair off….

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Within 2 weeks, I was able to rub the hair off with a lint roller…. so it was time to shave it bald… this was that day… Bald and Proud…

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6 grueling rounds of chemo… lots of weight lost, lots of symptoms, such as a horrible taste in my mouth… a metallic taste, like you sucked on pennies…. mouth sores, extreme tiredness….  I’d have my chemo, I’d spend 2 weeks recouperating and around the 3rd week, I’d start feeling myself and it was time to do it again… I had the support of many friends who accompanied me to chemo, who helped me clean my home, delivered meals.. donated money. It was an incredible time…. but also so difficult.

March, 26, 2014…. I finished my last chemo!

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April 17, 2014… Double Mastectomy with Expanders…

I’m upstaged to Stage 3… 8cm of residual Invasive Lobular Carcinoma was left… I had 12 nodes removed on the left… 7 had cancer and several were infiltrating, which means that the cancer escaped the lymph node and could travel elsewhere in the body… this meant, lots of radiation….

Fills and more fills….

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May, 2014 I begin radiation…. ouch… lots of burning… all the way up my neck…

I begin Tamoxifen….

May 30, 2014… 2 weeks after starting tamoxifen…. I ended up having a Pulmonary Embolism…

I have to have zoladex shots to suppress my ovarian function so I can take Aromasin and later have a hysterectomy.

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July 8, 2014…. I ring the bell…. I am DONE with 34 rounds of radiation….

I have to wait 6 months before I can have reconstruction…

Fall, 2014… I develop severe lock shoulder and lymphedema in my left arm…..

February 19, 2015… We had a leak in our kitchen and exposure to mold…

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February 23, 2015… I had my reconstruction and total hysterectomy… but ended up very sick with pneumonitis and residual asthma…

Then, because of so many antibiotics… CDiff and I was sick with that for several weeks…

Then, cellulitis in my hand…

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August 12, 2015…. I had one small area on my radiated breast that would not heal…. and it started to funnel so my left implant had to be removed….

September 6, 2015 My incision ruptured… and atrophied… we packed it twice a day for a month…. with bleach solution… I worked through all of this…

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I needed a skin graft, it would not close… so we decided to do SGAP flap surgery….

October 5, 2015… I had SGAP flap surgery which is where they take the fat/skin from my rear end and create breasts with the arteries from my rear end…. and I’m still recovering from that…. I will spare you the photos…. I am healing, it will be a process….

2 years…. of a lot of stuff to go through…. residual asthma… countless surgeries…. and lots of reminders that I have/had breast cancer.

I now take Aromasin and will for the next 5 years…. I’m in the delightful MENOPAUSE…. but, it’s not too bad. That’s why I keep my hair short, it helps stave off the hot flashes…..

I felt it was time to show some photos…. these are VERY graphic in nature….. so I apologize in advance for anyone who may have a queasy stomach….

Here’s to the next 2+ years….!!!! Keep on praying for me!!!

Update: I went to the plastic surgeon today… 11/6/2015… and I have a seroma and a pocket that collects fluid and a hole about the size of a nickel on my backside…. I have to pack it for the next week… and if it doesn’t heal… I’ll be having another surgery….

The fun never stops!!!

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