Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5/8 there

This is temporary. Nothing lasts forever. This is a kind reminder to myself and you too. I'm kind of freaking out right now and hoping to get relief from this roller coaster soon.
The second half of chemo began today. The experienced nurse couldn't successfully get the first IV in. Every time this happens, the tears flow from my sparsely eye lash studded eyes despite the fact that they tear constantly for the past two months. The fear of having an allergic reaction was overwhelming, and my body did react. My arm was red in the hand and veins, there was blotchiness on my palms, and my veins hurt throughout the four hour infusion. I was grateful to have my friend drive me in, and two other wonderful women joined us throughout the day even though the tiredness consumed me. They truly made the long day bearable.
Halloween was postponed until tonight due to an executive order by the governor of NJ due to the hurricane. It was another great distraction to be with good friends and bubbly children. I loved dressing us all up. It was good to be outside for a change especially in such invigorating weather.
When we came home, and things went down hill. My heart has been palpitating or having an odd rhythm, which usually happens from the steroids. Although I'm worried that it could caused by the new Taxol drug. The digestive issues I had tonight were debilitating. I'm anxious, and I can't sleep.
Time to put on the meditation. I have a busy day being a mom, and I'll be exhausted from lack of sleep and chemo. There's so much to do- driving Talon to and from school, drawing, voting, taking poor Precious to the vet. Cooking, cleaning... You know busy mommy suites.
Besides, I have so much work planned this week. Why do I do this to myself? I don't know how my body will react or if I can handle it all because of the new drug. I can only hope that this cold will go away and I won't get the serious, painful side effects. We don't have help this week because my mother in law is away because her family member died of cancer. It's difficult not to feel guilty for being unable to work at my full capacity. I guess I do it because I just want things to be normal even though I must accept my new normal. I haven't gotten there quite yet.

Despite the fears that I've faced today, I've intermittently experienced overwhelming bouts of love and gratitude. The support that my family and I have received, today and in the past - the gifts, the care, the kind words, the amazing out pouring of prayers, positive thoughts, and healing energy directed to us by you. Despite the tragedy of having had breast cancer there has been so much good to come out of this. I'm so lucky to be shown, through my own eyes, the amazing abundance of kindness that man can give. I can do this.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halfway to the finish line


What a relief that we're done with the red devil, the Adriamycin and Cytoxan. Even though last time I forgot to take my Neulasta shot, which causes your body to produce a surge of white blood cells since the chemo destorys them, the day after last chemo. My body apparently recovered on its own. My white blood cell count was actually higher than the last time I received therapy and took the shot. Now that this stint is done, I can't stand to see any bright red liquids. If you come at me with red Gatorade, Kool Aid or grenadine colored drink, I might commence puking like Regan from the Exorcist. The image of the Adriamycin being slowly pushed into an IV into my arm, haunts me.

Happy Halloween.

Even though Halloween has been rescheduled to Friday due to Hurricane Sandy, we have a lot to celebrate. We lost power for nearly 24 hours, but there was no damage here at the Beyer residence. The kids were going stir crazy, hence we we're going insane. Yet all of the food and breast milk kept well. We were prepared enough. Through my everyday pain from chemotherapy, physical limitations and more pain due to the mastectomy and having an expander in the right side, I still remember what I'm grateful for what I have. I refuse to let the "have not's" consume me especially through times of natural disaster. Other folks weren't so lucky to be left unscathed. Well wishes and safe thoughts to every one out there who has been affected by this tremendous Frankenstorm.

This upcoming Monday, we move on to Taxol for four treatments. It's a long infusion, 240 minutes. We will be at UPenn all day. If anyone is bored and wants to hang out, let me know or I will be forced to spend the whole day with my husband.

I'm nervous about the Taxol. Although I hear that some people don't experience side effects as bad as the AC, I have heard about other women's allergic reactions during infusion. This isn't the usual hives or sneezing. We're talking about anaphylactic shock. Certainly that's one of my greatest fears. Let's hope that I don't have as many side effects. Right now my list of issues is staggering besides battling a sinus infection, coughing, cold thing. Fingers crossed, the show will go on next Monday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Case of the Mondays


A week and a half ago was chemo treatment 3/8. 3 out of 4 Acdromycin/Cytoxan treatments, the bad ass infusions. Only one more AC, and then Taxol four times. Chemo sucks. At the thought of it, I get nauseous.

On that last chemo Monday the first nurse couldn't find a vein. I'll learn to stop someone before they stick me if they say something negative about my veins like, "You have slim pickens." Next time I know. It's questionable if my veins are going to make it until the end before I need a port. Perhaps those physical therapy exercises will come in handy to pump them up. They can only stick the left side since the cancer was in the right, and they removed a lymph node a week after the diagnosis for dissection. I didn't want the commitment of a port, but your veins start to retract once you start pumping them with these infusions. The thought of this isn't very pleasing. I have a bruise where they got me last week. That can't be good.

The battle with side effects is driving me nuts. At this point, the hair loss is nothing. The medicine destroys fast growing cells such as cancer, but the whole GI tract from mouth to the bottom can be wreaked in havoc. You will be spared the gruesome details, but let it be known that it's been painful, uncomfortable, and almost unbearable. I was crawling out of my own skin on Monday, the other day. It doesn't help that I contracted a stomach bug for two days of living hell.

Nail growth is at a stand still. They're soft and peeling at the ends. My thumbs are beginning to turn black at the base of the nail. I keep them painted in hopes that no one will see and preserving what's left. They're soft and tender, and they keep on creeping shorter and shorter each day. Gone are the days of strong, long pregnancy nails.

Thankfully I haven't lost taste like most people do. The diet hasn't been my top priority. My body is so uncomfortable that I find solace in food. Eating something that tastes good gives me comfort and a moment of happiness when my body isn't feeling so hot. Green, raw foods don't bring me to that happy place. I thought I would be spared the mouth sores, but I just discovered two in my mouth minutes ago. This could effect the taste, and this could be bad.

It's weird when your mind doesn't sync with your body. You have a list of errands, a thousand things to do because you have a baby and a preschooler, but you're too nauseous to accomplish them. You want to go to work because you love what you, have a list of clients to tattoo, and need to make money to help support your family, but you can't leave the bathroom. Your baby is crying, your son wants lunch and your so unbelievably itchy that you want to scream the F word as loud as you can. Welcome to my world.

Then a good day will come. I woke up and did 1000 things because the baby actually slept 9 consecutive hours so that means I got 8. The chemo fog had lifted so I cleaned, ran around doing errands, cooked dinner for friends, and went to my son's parent teacher night. True happiness and genuine smiles were spread across my face because I was at the bottom of a swamp only two days ago. I can appreciate a day like today because I felt so.... normal.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hair today, Gone tomorrow

We did it. My little friend, Regan, and wonderful hairstylist, Audrey, buzzed the rest of my hair off. Talon had his done first, and then Josh did his afterwards. We spared Joslyn from the shaving party since she already has a short cut. We all match. It was a nice "head shaving party". What a relief since it's been killing me. When you lose your hair from chemo, it hurts. This started happening to me on Sunday. The little kamikaze hairs jumped ship and we're slowly slipping out of the follicules. There was an urge to run my fingers through it to pull it out. It was worse than having a healing, itchy tattoo with flakes of skin coming off of it. It was beyond a tingling, tickling sensation. Now I look like I'm ready for boot camp.

My hair is so thick that no one said they noticed I was losing it, but I can. Normally you wouldn't be able to see my scalp… ever. Not even in a part on my head. That's how much hair I usually have. Now it's Friday, and it's still coming out with a vengeance. It's getting patchy and noticeable so yesterday I got a wig from Martino Cartier Salon in Washington Township, NJ. You might remember that I wrote about him before in a previous blog. He was on Tabitha's Salon Takeover. He started the Friends are by your Side charity that gives hair services, wigs, and extensions to cancer patients. There are approximately 500 participating salon's around the country. He thinks there should be more, and so do I. If you own a salon and want to participate, please go to the link for more information. I love the wig. It's so natural, and now I can rock a feminine look if I want to .

In more hair news, Audrey, the stylist that shaved my head, is running a fundraiser to benefit our family at the salon she works at in Philadelphia called Volume Hair Studio in Rittenhouse Square. She's doing PINK hair extensions in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the proceeds will help to pay off our debt incurred from medical bills and other expenses due to the breast cancer surgery and treatment. Please call ahead to book your appointments She books up fast especially during the weekends.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm losing it


Ugh.... my hair is falling out....

I've been running my fingers through it for the past week more often than usual. The docs told me around day 17 after my first chemotherapy infusion, the locks would start to shed. It's the dose and type of chemo I'm getting. It happens to everyone who gets this type of chemo. Even though I tried EFT and praying and meditating and visualization. It's not coming out by the 3 or 4 strands per stroke anymore. It's way worse than that now.

In the wee hours of this morning, there's significant pieces and possibly clumps of hairs coming out. The question is, what do I do? Do I shave my head like many other women that face this hurdle through chemotherapy? Are we going to have a head shaving party with my husband and maybe son or whomever wants to join in? Invite only. It's my party so I can cry if I want to.

The other option would be to see how much falls out and how long it takes. The docs said bald, but I still hold on to the idea that I could be spared of my luscious mane. I really wish I could. I already cut my mop short. Couldn't this be enough? Perhaps I'll wait and see how much falls out before I go all the way. Let's hope it spares my eyelashes and brows and even my nose filaments because those have purpose. Yet if the down is gone in those unwanted areas, that could be a bonus. Some survivors have told me that my head might start to hurt once a majority has come out. I just brushed it and it's disturbing how much was in the brush.

The nurse practitioner for the oncologist said that she wondered why people were so concerned about hair loss instead of all of the other side effects. She has no idea. She doesn't have cancer nor did she lose her breasts, have an infection, replacement surgery, and finally nothing on her chest at all. She has her hair, her health, and I'm sure she sleeps. It's just easier to talk about then all of the other side effects. The other embarrassing and uncomfortable reactions that arise from this chemical infusion aren't as easy to converse about.

Our society is driven by vanity. That makes it tough for those of us going through chemotherapy to keep up with the Jones'. Two down, six more to go. The last infusion is planned for my daughter's first birthday if all goes as planned. I might sport a wig, a hat or a scarf and apply some make up in an attempt to fit into the mortal world until I'm ready to join in again after treatment has ceased.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Surgery revisited


It's odd how one day you can feel so positive and then the next day a huge wave of sorrow comes crashing down upon you. Welcome to yesterday - a day of sadness, disappointment, and setbacks. A diversion from my great plan that was going so well after the infection had cleared up. I'd adopted a new perspective coming from the depths of bottoming out. For awhile I was on a pink cloud, floating and loving life and enjoying the little things.

The night before I had broken sleep, and I woke up every hour sweating and anxious. Then the morning came. I couldn't find anything. Everyone annoyed me. Perhaps it was some kind of psychic premonition tickling my senses. Something just wasn't right.

It took forever to get ready to take Talon to school. Then when I finally got into the car, I dropped my phone into a fresh vat of vegetable juice with beets. The bloody colored juice sprayed every where, and it appeared as if a gunshot had gone off, killing someone in its path. It stained the whitish grey clothes I wore, me hands, the car, and various other items in the mess called my car. I hope no one noticed that I looked like a violent murderer while I dropped my son off to his hippie school.

Afterwards I got gas, and I even made it to my appointment only 5 minutes late. Things were looking better. My phone even still worked.

The nurse got the saline injections ready to pump my fake breasts up another size. Then the Dr came in unfashionably late over an hour, examined the incision, and broke me the bad news. He mentioned that the expander was exposed and now "colonized" because it was in contact with the air. Well duh.... It was like that a month ago?! What had changed?? The nurses even brought it up to me then. He said, "Yeah but there was a stitch in it."

So.... It didn't count when it touched the air 4 weeks ago? Perhaps you were overbooked and too busy to remember that was a problem and preferred to make me wait 6 weeks to break my bad news and set me back further in my treatment. Perhaps you should spend more than one day in the office with patients so that you can give them the care and compassion they deserve? Or perhaps you're sick of your job and have to keep doing to pay for your extravagant lifestyle - the Prada shoes you wear at office visits gives that away. Why did he approve me two weeks ago to start chemo if the expander was showing all this time?

He said that we had to remove the tissue expander as I lay there on the examination table with my shirt off, my nippleless mounds exposed. I put my hands over my eyes and sobbed uncontrollably. He silently fumbled for a box of tissues and gave me a tissue. I didn't feel much compassion from him... as usual. But I will let him remove this implant. Then it's over.

Dear Dr, You're fired after your remove the damn thing tomorrow. It's not me, it's you. You've had more than enough chances. Good riddance.

Now I'll be flat on one side. As if I wasn/t already challenged with my new self identity with small, nippleless, scarred, wannabe breasts. Now I will become accustomed to one flat and one round bump on my chest. I won't be able to do chemo for some time again. I won't be able to work or hold my baby, drive, or tattoo.... again. I try to be strong like everyone suggests, but it's so hard when I keep getting slapped in the face.

Monday, September 17, 2012

So far so good

My new doo is courtesy of Martino Cartier at his salon in Washington Township, NJ. His charity is called Friends are by your side. He offers free services, hair cuts, wigs, extensions, to people undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. You might recognize him from the show, Tabitha's Salon Takeover. It was fun to get my hair chopped off. I let him so whatever he wanted. It was a good experience, and I'm grateful to have found this charity during this tough time.

Long hair equates beauty in our society. To my surprise I didn't worry too much about getting my hair cut. I feel cute.

Actually I don't worry much about anything anymore. I'm a new me. Nothing is worth worrying over these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not numb I just don't find things worth getting myself sick over like I used to. I used to worry about this and that. I see people complaining about things on their facebook status or hear them whining, and I really want to say something to help them. I want to say.... "SHUT UP! (in the nicest way) You are fine. Don't waste your time and energy complaining about silly, little things. Don't sweat the small stuff, for real."

Stress is a major factor in your health. I can attest to this. I used to worry all the time. I held things in and stewed over them. Not anymore. If you catch yourself doing this, please stop. Everyone has problems, but you can't obsess over them. Just try to solve them and know that you're working towards correcting a situation instead of dwelling on the problem itself. Don't forget stress trumps all. If you stress it doesn't matter how much you exercise, eat well, pray, or take supplements. All of those other things are important too, though. Teach your kids this too.

So far so good with the side effects. My secret weapon is working thus far - diet, supplements, Iscador injections, EFT, praying, affirmations and of course no stressing (as much as possible). I worked a little this weekend. I tried to do more than I should have, but then I stopped myself. I have to remember that instead of planning too much. I still worry a little, though. It's a difficult habit to break, but I'm trying. That is how I got here in the first place so I must remember. It's time to focus on my well being and not every one else first. That has been the most difficult task at hand. Now is the time to truly keep the balance in life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One down, 7 to go


The First round of chemo went well yesterday besides a slight reaction in my vein so we changed to another one. Afterwards I was tired and slightly nauseous despite all of the nausea meds and steroids.
I have to go back to UPenn to get a Neulasta shot today. This will cause my bones to produce an abundance of WBC's. Because the chemo drugs kill all rapid growing cells in the body, these include cancer cells, and other things like hair cells, gi tract, mouth cells, WBC, hemoglobin, and platelets etc. The Drs want to keep my white blood cells up because of they're too low than I can catch a cold and it will effect me more than a healthy person. It could be potentially deadly.
This year my body has been through havoc after havoc. I've lose a lot of blood this year with the birth of my baby, mastitis with abscesses, 3 separate procedures to aspirate, a breast biopsy, 2 major surgeries, and 1 small surgery besides that. I've been on antibiotics during labor, post partum for mastitis, after bilateral mastectomy, on IV antibiotics during another 6 day bout in the hospital due to a surgical infection in the left, elective side, a strong antibiotic that prohibited many foods and turned my tongue and teeth brown. Thankfully most came off with a vigorous professional cleaning, but I'll be back to see if they can get it all out after treatment is through) ). I'm on yet another antibiotic during the whole chemotherapy to make sure that the infection doesn't come back inside of my breast. My body has been through a LOT this year to say the least. This coming from someone who didn't have health insurance up until I turned 30 years old. Thank God for my husbands insurance.

The list of side effects are staggering. From the neulasta the side effects will be symptomatic like the flu in which your bones with ache and become sore from working over time to produce more white blood cells that the chemo kills. There are more long term effects like bones density loss. Thinking about the impending chemo side effects is enough to make
me go insane.
I'm bringing out the secret weapons in my arsenal to reverse these side effects and let the medicine kill the miscellaneous cancer cells that might have snuck out under the radar and into my body. That's it though. I've been using medidtaion, prayer and EFT to help counteract these side effects. You must check out EFT. It isn't very foods new age. It actually seems very scientific, and I suggest googling it or checking out some videos on YouTube.com.
I'm a different person today. Maybe blame it on the Ativan (anti anxiety anti nausea they give you on chemo). I'm kidding. During the second hospitalization I really hit a bottom. I was poked and prodded so much. I felt like a pincushion. My veins were swollen and blown out from Iv's going bad. They'd take my blood every night at 12:30 when all I wanted to do was sleep. I felt defeated when I found out the expander on the left, elective side had to be replaced. I saw my kids once in 6 days. It was a
miserable existence.
Since being out of there, I can see the beauty in the small things. Nothing is worth stressing out over anymore. I believe that stress is a major factor in disease. It trumps diet, exercise, and supplements. You can't stress. I hear people whine and bitch over little things and think 'I wish I had that problem!'. Don't get me wrong, I love trying to help people moreso now.

Here are some side effects and the medicines I'll be taking:

First round 4 weeks every two weeks: (start date 9/10)
Adriamycin aka the red devil side effects decrease of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, hair loss, mouth sores, nail changes, discolored urine, severe sunburn with sun exposure

Cytoxan;decrease of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, mouth sores, decreased appetite, taste changes, hair loss or thinning, changes in menstrual cycle, bladder irritation, nasal congestion

The second round of 4 weeks every other week starting week 8:
Taxol Side Effects: decrease of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, allergic-like reaction, numbness and/or tingling to fingers and toes, muscle aches, bone pain, mouth sores, hair loss, diarrhea

So I'm banking on the EFT to help me. If you want to send prayers and Reiki, I'm done for that too. Please take time for yourself daily and don't stress.

Love and light,
Tegan

The medicine goes in:
Meanwhile it's Talon's first day of preschool. I couldn't drive him or pick him up, but I did get to photographs that ham.

My hubby and I made it out for a date night before chemo began. The alst time we made it out alone was 4 months ago!!

My little girl loves to swing. She's my little Angel.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fundraising


I've been unable to work much since my diagnosis with Invasive ductal carcinoma. Life has been consumed with Dr visits, testing, research, surgery, and complications. I've undergone a bilateral mastectomy July 12. I was hospitalized for 6 days on July 30 with a staph infection, was on IV antibiotics, and had the left side cleaned out in the OR and replacement tissue expander surgery a little over week ago. I remain on a heavy hitting antibiotic in which I must avoid certain foods or I can face death! This is a very difficult challenge since my diet is an already a restricted organic, whole foods, vegan diet. Physical therapy starts next week, and I also visit with 3 Dr's concerning diet and supplements. Add weekly therapy visits to help with my mental health. Cancer treatment is a full time job, but so is having a husband, a 7 month old, a 4 year old, 2 dogs, and a hamster. Thank God we have people in our lives to help us out.

People have come out of the woodwork to help us. One of them is Lori who makes these super cool necklaces, something for everyone. Some with profanity, some without. The proceeds go to us, so please buy one. We've already received donations from this, and it helps ease my mind when I do something like go grocery shopping. Thanks Lori and everyone who has purchased these cool pieces of jewelry so much.

If you like hair bows and bands for your little ones, please check out the "breast cancer awareness" bows from http://www.etsy.com/shop/i3abySteps?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_campaign=Share. The profits from the "breast cancer awareness ribbons" also go towards us. Here are some pics.

A friend of ours who passed away recently, Linda Vogel, also was the first one to start a fundraiser for us. She's helped raise over $1000 for us. The necklaces are also beautiful, and you can buy them in sterling and real silver at Human Tribe The picture above is the real silver one. Linda was a beautiful person with huge heart who helped me while she was extremely ill. Her selflessness lives on.

For those of you who want to help with monetary donations, we are fundraising on a couple of sites. My husband began one at Give Forward, and paypal donations are always accepted via my website, www.teganink.com. Thanks everyone for helping us out. It's certainly taken a lot of stress away from me and helped me to focus on getting better rather then worrying about how we're going to pay the bills. Blessings to all.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I love, I love, I love... I love my family.


You can take the girl from Massachusetts, but you can't take the Massachusetts out of the girl. The pace of life for most people up there is extremely fast. Too fast. I've tried all of my life to relax, but I can hardly grasp the meaning of the word. I've traveled around a bit, but its mostly been business trips and not to relax. These days it's tough to catch my breath. I just want to get that good breath, but sometimes it takes awhile before I can get that satisfying, deep breath.

Last night I was worried that I wasn't going to have coverage for the day when my husband and mother and law were going to be at work. I freaked out a little bit, but all I had to do was make some phone calls, texts, and posts. Viola the help was arranged within a couple of hours. I stressed about it, but it's ok now in hindsight. That's the way I feel about this cancer. I don't want to worry that much, and I don't that much consciously anymore. However it manifests itself in anxiety attacks. I suppose that's what they are. Even after we took these pictures and I got to see them, I got that feeling and inability to breath.

Too often I hold on to things from the past. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to let go. Once with another woman named Tegan on New Years Eve, we made worry dolls from newspaper. Then we lit them on fire. When I put mine in the fireplace, there was a shrieking sound. I felt as if that was a sign that I had too many worries. They weren't all released then.

I believe in the mind/body connection. If the mind isn't well, then body will manifest disease. Of course diet, exercise, environment, and genes have an effect on well being too. There you have it. I must let go of the past and not worry about the future. It's so hard to teach old dogs new tricks. I can do this strict diet, but I still have a difficult time letting go. Perhaps I must do something symbolic again to move on.

These pictures make me so happy because my kids are what make me tick these days. Although the four year old is somewhat difficult when he's over tired or hungry. So I just try and keep him well rested and fed. My son turned 4 years old yesterday, and I was happy to tell him the day before that was his last day he would ever be 3. His birthday, 8/8/8 was one of the best days of my life; and I tell him that from time to time. The first time I told him, the look on his face was priceless. It was pure happiness. It was similar to his lit up face when I brought him his birthday whoopie pie last night with 5 candles in it. In case you don't know one of the very few old school superstitions I use is to put an extra candle in the cake for good luck. His smile beamed and was from ear to ear. Joslyn's birthday was another one of the best days of my life so far. I'll be happy to tell her that when she gets older and can understand it.

As I lay my eyes upon these pictures today, happiness overtook me. I love those kids. I feel beautiful. I haven't felt beautiful for quite some time now. Being pregnant and breast feeding life kind of becomes all about the kids. At least that is how I've known it. I eat, breath, cook, clean, and work to support my family. I lost myself in it. Now I'm taking care of myself. I wanted time for myself , and this is how it manifested itself. I urge you to always take care of number one first. Don't suppress it because if you want it that badly, then it will happen whether you like how it becomes reality or not.

Nothing is forever. In the past two months since the diagnosis, I've lost all the baby weight from both babies. I feel beautiful again. I don't even need anyone to tell me that, however it does feel good to hear it. Chemotherapy will most likely make my hair fall out (and hopefully in all of the wanted areas and NOT my head), but it won't make me lose my desire to live, and I will rock that bald head and wig when I feel like it. Sometimes I might be too weak so maybe you can help me out. I will feel beautiful again or even during. The hair will grow back. Life will go on.

I got a letter in the mail today from a 15 year survivor of breast cancer I first spoke with the night before my surgery. She was diagnosed at age 34. Her kids were about the same age or maybe I'm just getting confused with another woman because I'm connecting with many survivor's that I have so much in common with. Even things like dates are the same. It's uncanny. What struck a chord the most in her letter is "after you move through these initial stages you will arrive at a 'new normal'. The better you become at accepting the new normal, the more successful you will be as you cope. Right now, life and all its demands on you are felt very acutely. As you move out in your survivorship, you shall find yourself being returned to the mortal world little by little, until one day this will be just a distant memory."

Photos courtesy of John Ziomek/Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

ODAAT


As most of you know, I've been in the hospitalized all week. After days of agony at home, I went to the plastic surgeon's office with an infection Monday and was immediately admitted to Jefferson. They gave me IV antibiotics, aspirated and tested the fluid in that they collected from the area. It was a small colony of staph. I really thought that I 'd be done after that, but foreign objects in your body don't respond to antibiotics. I was determined to get it removed completely and be flat chested, but my surgeon wanted to make a decision based on what he saw when he went in there. On Thursday in the operating room they removed the tissue expander, washed out the area, and put another one in.

Boom! Right back to step one on the one side. The pain is back, the drain, the bleeding, the restrictions. I've been stuck so many times, and pumped with strong antibiotics that my veins have given out. They pushed the Iv's out, and then I'd have the IV flushed. Saline would flow into my arm, and it hurt like hell. This happened four times. I've been poked multiple times a day for blood tests. Every night at 12:30pm they check my blood to see if y blood type has changed. It's the law. What a dumb law. My blood type has always been O negative. It will never change because even if I had a blood transfusion, it can only be O negative.

I've run the gamut of emotions. I can only imagine that it's normal to feel this way going through this, but I'm certain some people wished I was acting stronger. Normally I'm not one to cry or blubbering cry or wailing, tearing, sobbing cry. I'm never been too needy. I've always been independent. Maybe they're scared too. They want the old Tegan back. The strong, confident, artistic, hard working, independent, feminist, Tegan back.

I loved being alone throughout my life. I've traveled in and out of the country alone, went to movies and dinners by myself. Had long road trips alone. Stayed in hotels by myself. I had fun doing all of thee things completely alone. I lived alone. Yet I never felt alone nor I cared. At least that I remembered. I was empowered. I was wild and crazy and lived life without any fear.

Things are different now. For once in my life I'm scared. Now I wish someone could hold my hand or be close to me throughout the entire process. I'm still here, but I need to be coddled and nurtured and hugged. That's why my kids are great. My son is so cuddly, and so is my daughter even though cuddling to her is pulling out my hair or grabbing my nose. When she sees me, she shakes her limbs, grunts, smiles, and flaps her arms. Now that's raw emotion. I could be asking too much fro the people around me. Maybe I should be stronger. Today I woke up feeling retty good because I get to go home. Possibly to a destroyed version of my house, but i get to go home.

Back to business. I'll have to be on an aggressive antibiotic for a month, which is very strong and scary. I have to avoid many foods containing tyramine and even antidepressants, which is scary because I was going to go on one because of my occaisional fragile mental state. Then once I get cleared by infectious disease Dr's, I have to go on another antibiotic for months down the road.

This has already effected the chemo start date of August 6, and will push it out another month. It's almost as if we're at step 1 again. Well actually step 3, because step 1 was diagnosis. Step 2 was staging via testing and sentinel node biopsy. Step 3 was the bilateral mastectomy. Step 4 would be chemo. I wish it were more black and white like that, and maybe once I can look back on all of this, the steps will be more distinguishable. Such is life though.

Everyone says take things "One Day at a Time". Well sometimes I have to break that up into hours or minutes. And sometimes it breaks it down to the seconds. Right now I'm counting downs the minutes until I can go home.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mastitis again!!!


Well I can't sleep so I might as well update on what's up over here. I have an infection in my left "breast". I brought in a sample to my Dr since I didn't think it looked right. It was cloudy and brownish. She took the tubes out, and a huge gush of fluid came out. It was nasty, and I'd already started a slight fever in the morning before the removal. By the end of the day, I was in misery. I can truly relate to that Stephen King movie after this surgery.

It's been hellish, yet I can find happiness in the little things like my children cuddling me or filing at me, laughing with me, etc. Thanks you to all of you who helped me this week with everything. To all of you who can't be here and want to help, please donate to our fundraiser, make a meal, or gift us with a Wholefoods gift certificate. Here's the link, You can even buy a cool necklace on there to help support my battle and join our tribe.

We're hoping I can work in the fall, but we need help. We're trying to find assistance through charities, but we've found the assistance isn't very much if you get approved. I want to start a local charity when this is over to benefit local people to get a good sum of money to pay their bills, rent, food and not just one utility bill once a year. I hate to complain, but I just hope the money that people that donate to charities actually know that their money goes towards helping people and not the people at the to of the charities. There's so much corruption especially in the larger charities, the CEO's driving extremely fancy cars and making 6 figures. I will post info on that later. It's driving my blood pressure up. My advice is give to where you know your money will be used to it's best advantage like someone you actually know or do you research. I'm pretty sure non profit's have to post what their top exec's make, and it's staggering.

I'm hoping to keep the pain and anxiety under control so that I might heal. I'm now on a z pack to help with the infection. Please pray that it works. I can't start chemo until I'm fully healed. I've been using aromatherapy, Rescue Remedy, breathing exercises, meditation usually from guided ones on Youtube.com, supplements, and drugs. I'm going to keep on top of it so I can live a calm existence to promote healing.

If any of my female friends can get away at night to watch a movie or something, that would be great. Or even during the day. Just saying... I have so many Dr appt's, but only one this week so far. Company is my best medicine. I feel pretty lonely at times. My MIL is working hard to take care of the kids and the house and hubby works so I have a lot of time by myself.

The Dr I'm seeing Monday uses nutrition and supplements to help kill cancer and help with the side effects of chemo. I'm so happy to meet someone and speak with them instead of just reading books and watching documentaries on what I should consume. Although I must be doing something right since I lost 20 lbs since June 6, 2012, my diagnosis date.

The stress is the main thing I need to get under control because I've been told that all other efforts are negated if you're under too much stress. Over and out...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yoga

It's insane that my son has been doing more yoga than I have these days.