Cancer Monster

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I felt like I needed some fresh air this morning.

My cousin gets her mastectomy done today. We will find out if the cancer has spread to her sentinel nodes. I asked that her husband to let me know  what’s going on for they live several states away. If money is not an issue, I would fly up there and be with my cousin. But I am still buried in medical bills. I can’t leave my two jobs. Oh well.

I just returned from a fifty minute walk in the neighborhood. Halloween is in the air. Some neighbors already started decorating for the season. They must be happy. The childish mind in me thinks they must not have the cancer monster interfering with their family.

Breast Cancer Gene, Do I Wanna Know You?

This house gets my attention each time I pass it by on my walk to the park. Hidden and serene, sometimes I wanna feel like what this house feels like to me.

I finally scheduled myself for my first genetic testing appointment. We might just talk on the first time. I don’t know. I put it away for months. The thought of finding out if I have the breast cancer gene or not got parked away in the back of my head for sometime. I want to know but afraid of the result. If positive for BRCA (pronounced as BRA-kuh), my oncologist recommends to remove my ovaries prophylactically. Here we go again with prophylaxis. Didn’t I just have my non-cancerous left breast removed last December. Next the ovaries, and then…?

I have been taking walks lately, twice in a day when my schedule and energy allows. Yesterday, I walked to the park twice for a total of seven miles. Imagine that. With my eReader who reads out loud for me and a willing-very-enthusiastic-spring-footed Snowball the poodle, the long walks get more enduring. It makes me feel better than an Ativan pill.

Get your self de-stressed too.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Till next time.

 

Smile, Life Could Be Worse

Walking the Boulder Bolder race ever so slowly. That’s me with the straw hat.

She sat me on the preop chair. She handed me the hospital gown, cap, and blue disposable socks. She asked about the list of drugs I take. It is only one drug, actually because I stopped all my supplements in preparation for my minor surgery– bilateral nipple reconstruction. All the while I had been wondering, “Is she a chemo patient working as a nurse.” I could not see well under her surgical cap–colored scarf-life with soft shades of pink and blue. What I see clearly, though, is her lack of eyelashes and eyebrows.

Since I became bald, I notice more and more bald people around me even the old folks who may have lost their hair with old age. Is he or she going through chemo? What kind of cancer is the culprit?

At work, it happens that we get more and more oncology patient with dangerously low blood counts they have to be admitted in ICU–most have sepsis and unable to fight the infection.

“When did you have your last chemo,” my preop nurse asked.

“Last April 5,” I said. She must have noticed, I have some hair growing.

“So it has been more that two months ago. Maybe I will get mine in August,” she said smiling.

I smiled back. I have some hair. I have good prognosis. I have more and more years to live a healthy life with my loved ones. I am strong enough to care for not only my kids, but my patients at work. I have so many reasons to smile about. Last November when I heard my diagnosis, breast cancer, I thought the world would come crashing over me. Now, I am full of hope. Life could have been worse. Life can be worse. I am here and alive.

I have been chosen as a board member again for another two years in my nursing group. I start my new part time job as a home care nurse visiting homebound patients including oncology patients. I have more responsibilities to do in this world. I hope cancer does not get in the way.

Today, I take my kids to the amusement park. They will play in the water park. I will watch as I can’t submerge my body in water yet. I can’t even wear a bra top yet, too constricting to my newly put together-sutured-nipples. I have this gauze/tape on my chests that shows through when I wear a light top. They kinda look funny ha-ha. I guess I am wearing a dark top today.

 

Hair Growth After Chemo

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Two months after chemo, passed the “fuzzy” peach hair, my hair comes back this month.

My hair makes a real come back this month. YAY. I get to use my razor again, for the summer you know. It’s swimsuit season. For my legs, not for my head. 🙂

The thermometer outside reached 101 degrees yesterday. It happens that I start my home care visit as an orientee today (with my wig in pony tails). Boy, I was hot!  That’s right. I am learning a new job. I figure the physical work load has to be less than bedside nursing that I did part time through the agency where I saw up to six patients a day. Since before my mastectomy last year, I stopped doing that job. It really tired me out. I still do my intensive care nursing in my favorite hospital where I have only one to two patients. I still want to do that. But to make up with accumulated expenses, I have to work a second job still.

My nails still have some dark pigments and bumpiness on them. They are growing out though. When I get tired looking at them, I just paint over them. Little things that annoy me. The dryness on my skin and mouth are significantly less. Last memorial day I walked the Boulder Bolder race and finished 10 K in two hours. I am slowly regaining my strength. My kids did not get disappointed. They only stopped a few times for me to catch up with them.

I had my mole removed on my arm. The dermatologist thought it was suspicious because it was raised and was getting bigger. That blue nevu turned up to be benign.

I am still waiting for my appointment for genetic testing. I finally got the paper work part done. Chance is, if I have the breast cancer hormone, my ovaries have to go because I would very likely get the ovarian cancer too along the line. I don’t need ovarian cancer.

Oh well, I work again on Sunday morning to train for home care. In the afternoon, I will take the kids to the amusement and water park.

I just thought I should update the blog. I am alive and occupied. Till next time!