Om Namah Shivaya


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chemo done, Surgery done, Cancer's A$$ Kicked!, Two weeks off and Monday is on the horizon....

I'm excited as all get out that I get to go back to work tomorrow but I must admit I *am* a little trepidatious about how much it's going to wear me out. Oh wow...I bet you *money* I wind up taking a 4 hour nap when I get home tomorrow (and probably every day this week). I'm gonna do what I do, though: push it through, full of energy, smiling away, and all with an a$$-kickin' pair of shoes on. I'm tellin' ya, ya'll at school better notice my shoes tomorrow! Aye! Aye! ;)

Can't wait to see all my kiddos big and small, and all my teacher friends and get back into the swing of things. Yay!

Check in tomorrow for the report :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

the drains have left the building....

Hallelujha! Man those things were pesky and irritating but now they're gone and now, instead, I have two holes in the sides of my body...mmmm...yummy. I tried a burlesque style undressing for Tim in the doctor's office the other day...*laugh*...imagine me unzipping my hoodie to reveal a *SO* attractive "post-mastectomy surgery camisole", whipping out drain bulbs, then wincing as I pull the shoulder straps down (that was attractive). I think at that point, between Tim helping me get out of the thing, the drain tubes, surgical tape, gauze, paper tape, and winces of pain, I had kind of spoiled any mood other than silliness. Hahahhaa....gotta have fun when you can right?

The gal came in and asked what we were doing today, to which I told her the right drain was coming out for sure and I was hoping the left could as well but wasn't sure. SO she went of to check everything out, came back in and told us both were ready to come out! Whooppee!! Now, if you've never had drains before the idea is that they place this perforated tube in the area then run it outside your body into a drain bulb. The bulb has suction on it thus sucking or "draining" off the fluid that can collect in the area, you then strip the tube once or twice a day and empty it twice a day. One of the things I remember in the recovery room was feeling the whole area and feeling this "ridge" under my skin right under my collar bone. I asked what it was and was told it was the drain tube...hmmm...interesting; didn't think I'd be able to feel it.

So anyways, she gets it all prepped up, clips the stitches, tells me to take a big *big* breath in then as I blow it out as hard as I can she pulls the drain right out. *That*, ladies and gentlemen, felt w.e.i.r.d. with a capital W. She did the other side and the look on Tim's face each time was priceless. Poor guy...ha! But! They're gone...thank you baby jesus! This means I can drive again, AND I can go back to work. Whoo!!!!

I'm out. Hot shower time then I'm treating myself to a mani/pedi and a big tall glass of water with my friend Dana. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010


Yep, you heard (or rather read) that correctly. We knew during the surgery that the lymph-nodes that had been removed were negative at that time *but* there was still the regular, in-depth pathology report to run to really *really* make sure which way the arrow was going to go.

Dr. Ryan came in first (*so* reminds me of our friend Hupp) asked how I was feeling, to which I replied "Well, I don't know about you but my happy pills kicked in about 15minutes ago so I'm good to go"...ha!...He chuckled and asked aside from *that* how I was doing, and I really didn't have many complaints. Sure the drain sites in my sides hurt like a son of a b!tch, and the place were I can feel them above my collar bones is not only weird but tender, but other than that I'm okay.

I'm also kept on a good schedule of pain pills so that helps but damn if they don't make me loopy as all get out! I honestly don't know how there are people out there who are addicted to the type of medication I'm taking right now that take it in much higher doses and still yet can function on some level and always need more. I was relieved today when Dr. Connor said I can go down to just one Oxycodone a day and to take it at night so I don't wake up so sore in the morning. Then for just daily pain relief to take Aleve. I still have the others, just in case something happens (like when Buck decided to punch me in the chest Tuesday morning...son of a! that hurt!) or something like that but thank you sweet baby Jesus we can stop the fog inducing, drooling, sleeping, totally out of it pain protocol.

Dr. Ryan hands me a report, which is the pathology, and says "This is the pathology of your surgery, do you want me to go through it in detail or just cut to the chase?"

Ummmm, yeah, I'll just take the quick and sweet version please.... :)

"There is no evidence what-so-ever of cancer, residual cancer, nothing in the report."

I wish I could tell you there was confetti in the air, balloons and a marching band but there wasn't. More importantly there was a *big* sign of relief between Tim and I; a weight had been lifted. That big "What IF?!" question disappeared in an instant. I was going to be okay; We were going to be okay; It was all going to be okay...Life is going to be back normal most likely by Christmas. What a thing to be thankful for. What a gift. I can't wait to get there and move beyond to what's next because there's nothing that's going to stop us now. <>

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oxycodone, Valium, Vicodin, Aleve, and Senoket anyone?

Sheesh, is there anything they *don't* have me taking right now? Out of all that's listed I've only ever taken Vicodin (after my wisdom teeth were out and the reduction), and Aleve as a general pain reliever. That Oxycodone stuff? Shoot...forget about it. I'm surprised I don't drool on myself when I have to take that and then coupled with the Valium...wowzers. It's like I'm abducted by aliens wen I have to take all those meds cause I lose time. Maybe I am being abducted and just don't know it. Hahahha!

eh-hem...pardon me, it's the oxycodone and valium talking.

Thank goodness there's only a few more days of those fun pills to take. Drains are coming out tomorrow *Hallelujah!* and once that happens my recovery should be very speedy. I fully anticipate returning to school on the 1st ready and raring to go...okay maybe at about 80% but I'll be there!

Okay. The 11o'clock hour has come which means it's time to get up and moving. I'm going to take a walk up and down my street then put some laundry away then I'm sure it'll be time for a nap. Hopefully Tim will get the new sliding glass door finished up today. Yay!

Friday, October 22, 2010

So we're officially a week post-op

and I'm doing okay. It doesn't hurt to take a full breath anymore and the color of goo coming out of the drains is slowly getting lighter. Granted I think we're having a bit of an issue with the left side but Ruth didn't seem concerned about it yesterday and I've called today to ask whether or not I should come in and have received no response so I'm not going to worry about it. Shoot...100 milligrams of Cipro a day should be more than enough to knock anything out of my system.

I've had a procession of visitors and care-takers and it's been a great diversion from the monotony of the days. Granted I am spending a good portion of them asleep and anticipate that to happen for just a few more days as I still have some pain medicine to take. Can't wait to get rid of these drains, that's for sure. They weren't kidding when they said that the place where the drains go in/come out of your side would hurt the most. *Yowza* The flowers are beautiful,
the get well cards are adorning my dining room table, the dog snuggles are bountiful, and Tim is earning his "Husband of the Year" award. :)

Well, the Valium and Aleve are starting to kick in so I must say it's nap time or goodness knows *what* I'll start to say!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

thank you for the lovely flowers...

Thank you to everyone for the beautiful flowers. From 1st to last, RHS staff, my fabulous hubby Tim, RJ & Miranda, Lynn & Megan, the staff at HMJHS, Angie, & Dana. They have brightened up my day and made this whole thing a little more bearable. Thank you.

Four days post-op and I think I'm getting the hang of it...

A few things I've figured out since surgery day...
1) Use your ABS to sit up from bed or the chair, not your chest muscles (owie!)
2) Stay on the schedule of pain meds otherwise it hits you like a sledgehammer in the chest and that's no fun for anyone
3) Wrapping your chest in saran wrap to take a shower might sound funny but it really helps keep that whole area mostly dry while showering
4) Cleaning out the drains is not as complicated as I/we thought it would be
5) Walking the yard a couple of times a day can be quite funny to watch since my sense of balance is somewhat off from the pain meds
6) Letting other people take care of me, the house, and the dogs is very important. It's been a LONG time since I've been "incapacitated" like this and it's always been hard for me to ask other people to do things for me, but I'm getting better at it.
7) Sleeping most of the day is a necessity at least for this first week. After this week I bet I'll be able to stay awake for longer stretches of time but until then I love watching the inside of my eyelids. :)
8) Last but not least I've really learned that I have a fabulous support system around me and am beyond grateful for that.

So I'm healing well and forging ahead. Taking it easy and listening to my body. Thank you for all the well wishes, the cards, and the flowers. Everything is beautiful!

Cindy & Susan: Been wrapped up in your fabulous blanket since I've been home. Perfect!

Currently I'm feeling: Sleepy but comfortable. Pain meds are starting to kick in
Procrastinating: hahha, pretty much everything cause I'm not allowed to do anything but rest
Reading: Still looking for a good book
Watching: FOX4 News
Doing to make me smile: Going to get another cup of coffee then nestle back down into the chair and quite possibly doze off

Saturday, October 16, 2010

one night down, maybe one more to go?

So spent my first night in the hospital under the care of some very nice ladies. I am still very sore, but that's to be expected, but at least the grogginess is going away (not sure what I said under the influence of those happy drugs ha!) So, my dear followers and friends/family, I am doing just fine so far. Hopefully I will get to go home today, but if not another stay in this fancy room under the care of fabulous nurses is fine by me! I'm just glad this is part is finished and now I can concentrate on healing and getting my new boobies!

Friday, October 15, 2010

ready or not, here they go...

Well folks, the day is finally here No more thinking about it, no more wondering about it, now it's actually going to happen. So..
Goodbye girls; it's been a fun ride.
I'm sorry you have to go, but it's the best thing for everyone involved.
I'll think of you fondly as the years pass by
and forgive me if I cry.
But I'll be strong, I always am
I'll get through this and come out better on the other side
It's just gonna be one hell of a ride.

See you all on the other side.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pre-op appt; check. Pre-anesthesia appt; check. Post-surgery camisole; check. Knowing that I just *might* be a bionic woman...priceless!

So we had the pre-op appointment last Thursday where Dr. Connor examined me and explained to Tim and I what she's going to do, exactly, on Friday. How long it will take, how I'll feel, ya know; the basics. It's kind of nice knowing that she's going to use the same incisions from the reduction I had so there's not going to be a horizontal line in addition to everything else; that's going to heal nicer I think. She's also going to take away the lumpectomy scar and it's a for-sure I have more tattoos in my future (excited about that one :). We also got to meet the other surgeon who is going to help Dr. Connor with the mastectomy but unfortunately we didn't not get to meet the plastic surgeon again. His nurse came down and answered some of my questions and Dr. Connor filled in the rest so I feel a little better about what I'm going to be seeing when I wake up Friday afternoon.

This morning I went for my pre-anesthesia appointment where they checked me into the hospital so we don't have to do the paperwork Friday morning, a nurse poked me three times with a freaking needle (missed the vein the first time in my left then they had to draw more blood so I got poked again), I talked with the pharmacist (not as exciting as it sounds; she was going over my current med's not any I'll be getting), and got to see my friend Erin who talked to me about the anesthesia (so neat to see her all dressed in scrubs being a *real* doctor!) and highly recommended the "epidural" for my chest muscles. Don't even ask me what the name of that drug has three names and the last one is Blocker, that's all I remember. It's essentially an epidural but just higher up on the back. They'll stick me along the spine with this "Blocker" which in turn will numb my chest muscles completely thus making the whole waking up and the stay in the hospital much more pleasant.!

They drew blood for Dr. Connor to check my blood levels, and chem panel; then the pharmacist wanted to draw more blood to check my INR level because of the blood thinner they have me on (hence the 3 needle sticks). About 2 o'clock today I got a text from Erin that said "Why aren't you exhaused?! Holy Kriminey! Oh and eat a banana, your potassium is low"...*laugh* good to know! So naturally I ask if it's anything that's going to keep me from surgery on Friday cause sweet little baby Jesus knows that as much as I don't want to have this surgery I know it has to happen so therefore the absolutely *LAST* thing I want is for the damn thing to be pushed back. No thank you. Thankfully she tells me that it's nothing that will push the surgery back she just can't understand how I'm not sleeping 24/7 because my hemoglobin is 9 whereas normal is 12. Now, this information doesn't necessarily mean anything to me but it makes me laugh because I'm a teacher; exhaustion is a state of being for me. Ha! I'd LOVE to sleep 24/7 but it's not gonna happen.

Seriously though, exhaustion is a state of being for me. I really honestly don't feel any more tired than normal so I've deduced I must be bionic or something, but...see...then again if I really were bionic I would still be doing my yoga at 430am, and exercising after school, among other things, so maybe I'm just crazy...okay, okay, I know I'm crazy ;) I guess I just finally have an excuse or an *answer* as to why I don't have any energy to workout right now...

3 more days...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

what a long but successful weekend

My weekend began with *our* Homecoming rally at school and then the parade/football game on Friday night then Lincoln University's Homecoming and "Battle of the Bands" was yesterday and what a day it was. After a long week at school and a late Friday night I dragged my rear out of bed at 330am Saturday morning; I had to be at school by 430. After getting everyone on the bus with all their stuff packed away and explaining the concept of a "seating chart" to those that this was their first trip with us, we pulled out on the long drive to Jeff City. Many of the kids had taken my suggestion earlier in the week to bring a pillow and blanket along for the ride and were grateful they did (poor Josh forgot his blanket in the band room; when we got back he grabbed it, wrapped it around his body and said "Oh how I missed you" *laugh*). because as the miles rolled by we all got some shut-eye.

We rolled into Jeff City right on time and started the unloading process. As the kids were getting off the bus yawning and stretching, Forrest said to me "That trip seemed like 10minutes to me. I slept the whole way" and I was oddly reminded that the surgery, for me, is going to be much like this bus ride. It too seemed like ten minutes for me as I slept the whole way, and the surgery will seem the same length of time as well. *Weird*

After the unfortunate problems of Mitchell forgetting his uniform (how in the WORLD you forget your entire freaking uniform when it's *right there* in the band room is beyond me), Forrest forgetting his band shoes (wanna march a two hour parade in slip-on shoes?) and blue&black sticks, and Marcel in a dirty uniform (seriously, how many times did we
tell you all to get your uniform cleaned over the week?!?!) we started warming up. I always love that time with the kids; they circle around me and focus their attention inward. Their collective energy and discipline inspire me in that moment. I wish they could be like that more often.

We warmed up and ran through our cadences (to which we drew attention :) then lined up in block formation with the band to get ready for the parade. I checked every kid making sure they looked their best; chin straps, hats, buttons, shoes, jackets, and plumes. With everyone looking as good as they can we fell in step with the rest of the parade. I will give this day one great prop; there is a GREAT turn-out. I absolutely *love* this day for that. The kids get to show-off and do what they do, and they get richly rewarded for it. The major downside to this day is that it is just so LONG. I'm serious. The parade takes 2 hours. We started at 930 and were finished by 1130 and the first hour is a steady incline all the way. Thank goodness the last hour is hips and feet are *still* throbbing.

After the parade we're served a standard college band box lunch; meat and cheese sandwich on white bread, bag of chips, an over or under-ripe apple, and a cookie. Then we settle in for the classic "Hurry up and wait"...*laugh* Some things never change.

After lunch we head over to the unmarked field for the "Battle of the Bands". It's quite the experience really. Most of the bands in attendance march more on the southern side of things. This involves dancing, chanting, singing, and quite honestly a lot of gyrating, on the field. Some of it is impressive to watch (I know I wouldn't want to do some of the things those kids do while wearing a band uniform), and some of it is...well, let's just say it's not something I'm used too. Unexpectedly we took first place in the marching competition. :) That was great for the kids and great for us. Validates our positions and proves that something good can come out of something controversial.

We rounded out the day by getting to play in the stands during the game and watch their band march halftime. It was a beautiful day and even though we were all exhausted by the end, we'll be there next year to do it all over again and hopefully take 1st in the battle AND the parade. ;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Adieu to the Boobies"...saying goodbye to my girls in style

Yesterday's "Adieu to the Boobies" party couldn't have been better. The weather was perfect, the house was clean, the bonfire was beautiful, the dogs were amused by the kids, and the food & laughter were abundant. I am so blessed to have so many great friends and family in my life. As we march inexorably along this path towards the double mastectomy I am secure in the knowledge that there are many people marching down it with me and that I won't be alone in my grief and healing process afterwards (not that I really thought I would have been but you know what I mean). Thank you for the love last night. It was much appreciated.
(Cake courtesy of my sister Romanda. It was beyond awesome)