Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Breast Cancer Chronicles : The Poking Edition

As I got out my phone to film the week's edition, I realized that I completely missed posting an update last week. It was a rough one! 

My final expansion was last Tuesday.  Woo hoo! I am stretched enough now. That meant that we could set a date for the second surgery. Unfortunately, it also meant that a rash of hives broke out on my left breast. It was weird. It would get bad, come back, then get worse, and start all over again. I could live with in the beginning because it was in the part of the breast that I can't feel, but Monday it got much worse and sent me to the doctor early. I took pictures if it over several days, and I am so glad I did! The doctors were able to see the changes and pinpoint what the cause might be. 

I will tell you that after two days of urgent doctor's appointments, hospitals, and tests I have been drained, incised, excised, and pierced. I have five holes in my upper torso in such a configuration that regardless of in what position I sleep, there is a spot that hurts like Hell! More meds, here I come.

The second surgery will be the morning of October 27th!!!
 Hopefully it will be the last. And guess what! We scheduled the surgery for after the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Saturday, the 22nd of October. That means I will be walking with Amy's Army! If you have yet to sign up to join us or to donate to our team's goal, here is the link to make it happen right now. Amy's Army is Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.  We'd love it if you would wear one of the Gloves Up t-shirts on October 22nd. If you have yet to order one, this is the place. Gloves Up t-shirt orders. We will walk #glovesup together to end breast cancer.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. You all mean more than you know. 



Monday, August 8, 2016

The Breast Cancer Chronicles : The Stop Overthinking It Edition

I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to overthink things. If you know me I'm sure this comes as a complete shock to you. (Go ahead and laugh now.) Anyway, I do. I am mid-way through my fifth week post-op and have been away from work now for six weeks or more. Our students start next Monday, so this week seemed like the right one to get back into the proverbial saddle. I was terrified! I was worried I wouldn't even be able to walk up the stairs. I was worried that my bald head would scare people. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to last more than a few minutes. I was worried about making sure I had everything with me that I needed. In short, I was worried about everything. Apparently I'm a worrier.

I should have known better. I did know better, but it was still scary until I stepped onto campus. Immediately I knew I was home again. I was surrounded by love, and hugs, and smiles, and offers to help me carry things. I was with family, and I was happy to be there. I only stayed a couple of hours, but at least I made it. And I will go again tomorrow and stay a little longer. I can do this. I am stronger every day, and I am surrounded by people who are willing and eager to help. I am so very, very lucky and so very, VERY grateful.

It bothers me that I still let overthinking take control. I know that I should be better about it by now, and sometimes I am, but not always. Nothing is ever as bad as I am afraid it will be. Imagine all of the stuff I could accomplish if I could get out of my own way!  In the immortal words of Cosmo Kramer,"Serenity now!" is what I seek. More mindful meditation, yoga, and Buddhify is clearly what I need.

Is it just me, or do you build things up in your head until they are far bigger than they need to be?


Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Breast Cancer Chronicles: Sometimes You Just Have to Sleep (Five Weeks Post-Op)

Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep is awful. I think we can all agree on that, regardless of our politics. Yesterday I woke up around 4:00 am. I thought I would go right back to sleep, but I didn't. I couldn't. I fought with myself about taking something, but I didn't think I was hurting badly enough to need it. I tried reading a book, reading the news (big mistake), listening to relaxing music. I finally gave up and downloaded the first season of Outlander. I didn't have a chance after that! I was hooked! Midway through the second episode, Mom texted and we went to explore the new art store in town.

Welcome @blick_tampa
We had a blast tinkering with all of the tools and toys for artists! I, of course, couldn't resist picking up some new goodies to create my trees! When I asked for test paper, Dave, the guy helping us, asked me to draw something which turned into a sign welcoming them to Tampa. I'm told it will be framed and hanging the next time I am there. What fun! Give them a follow on Instagram @blick_Tampa if you are into art or crafty things.

New pens = new trees! 

So, of course, I had to try out all of my new goodies when I got home. This tree has a long way to go, but I am enjoying seeing how it develops. I also learned a valuable lesson yesterday. After YEARS of hunting for yellow ball point pens, I found a set that included yellow last week at the dollar store, which I used to begin this tree. I also found some more expensive ones at Blick, but I left them in the store until I could try the first ones. Now I wish I had bought the fancy ones. The cheap ones work, but they leave globs of ink all over the paper. Lesson: sometimes cheap pens aren't worth the price. At least I know now, and can now save up for the good set at Blick.

After waking up way too early yesterday morning, and running around more than I had in weeks, I knew sleep was imperative. To help, I decided to search some post-mastectomy yoga videos on YouTube last night. I tried a couple of very slow and gentle practices, and they helped me relax enough to sleep. I guess I needed it more than I realized.

Thank you for all of the input on the videos. I hope they are getting a little better. Today's was a struggle for a multitude of reasons, all of which can be summed up by the words Operator Error. Learning new things is so much fun, isn't it? Welcome, once again, to my world. It may not be pretty, but this is the way it is today.

I misspoke on the video about how long I have been off the estrogen. It has been about eight weeks now. Still flashing, and not fun! Sorry for the mistake, but I simply could not record this AGAIN! LOL.

Oh, big news! The wristbands are in again! Thank you to everyone who took one the first go-round. If you would like an Amy's Army #glovesup wristband, please send us a message and we'll make it happen. If you would like a bunch, let us know. The new Gloves Up t-shirt order is up on the Gloves Up With Amy FB page, so check that out and we'll put in an order with the printer asasp.

Thank you for all of your love, support, encouragement, time, energy, and thoughtfulness. I am still the luckiest girl I know, and I am thankful to all of you every minute of every day.

As always, like, share, comment, tweet, message, whatever works for you as I learn this blogging and video blogging process.

Be well. Be happy. Be kind.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Breast Cancer Chronicles: The wanted to stay in bed edition

Some days it is hard to get out of bed. Some days I hurt a lot and just want to sleep. Today was one of those days. But instead of staying in bed I got up, took a shower (That helped a lot!), had lunch with my parents, and then drove myself (HUGE!) to see my puppies at their sleep-away camp. What a treat it was to see them for the first time in over a month! They are doing great, being well trained and well taken care of while I heal. If you have a dog that needs training, check them out here.

Inghram's Sit & Stay

I forgot to take pictures while I visited puppy camp, I was too busy loving on my babies. Got caught in the storm on my way to the car, and came home to a very unhappy completely soaked kitty on the back porch. Cat trapped now, as I type. The rain didn't ruin my hair, so that was cool!

Cat Trapped under a sodden Bitty Kitty
Trying to get back my strength so I can start working again soon.

Thank you for all of the love, support, and encouragement.

Peace, love, and #glovesup