Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

Good-bye 2014

CV - She ran down the forest slope Time to celebrate the end of my very long month of December Doctor Madness. It was time for my final appointment of the year! look who's celebrating with me...   My final appointment was also my final appointment . It was my last OT visit until I need them again. Basically, I was finished until my arm decided to flare up more than normal or in a way that I could not manage myself. Fingers crossed it won't!!!

The missing gyno appointment

Episode CIV - don't you forget about me *** Really should be Episode CII 1/2 *** I was so busy with my many doctor's I completely forgot to include my doctor's appointment on Monday. I have been so crammed packed with doctor's I forgot I went to the Gyno the day before I went to the Neurologist. I do not even think I know what I have done for the fact that I have done so much. Who am I? Where I am? When is it? Will my craziness end??? So it seems a few days ago, basically the day before my Neurologist appointment, I spent another day at the doctors... picture proof I was up and ready... It was time to go for my annual gyn appointment. Come on... December Doctor Madness would not be complete unless I was poked and prodded in almost every way!

New-rologist... more delusional hope

Episode CIII - I can't control my brain December Doctor Madness might just be turning it to madness! It was time to meet with the Neurologist and go over my MRI results, right?   Wrong!   ready to see what is going on up there... Seriously, what is up with my luck this month????

So Very Frustrated...

Episode CII - never get tired of trying I might need some type of sedative before the week is over. Seriously... can I get a doctor to prescribe me something... and make it something strong!!! Monday I had the rushed MRI at the location I did not want, for what? I never got a call about the appointment with the Neurologist. Since they rushed the process you would assume that an appointment would have been made. Right???

Brain MRI... someone thinks something is there???

Episode CI - insane in the brain... Can nothing ever be super easy or go smoothly? Since the computers where down at my last doctor's appointments I was unable to schedule anything. Not the Onc follow-up, MRI, or Neurologist appointments. The nurses told me the receptionist would call with those. So, I waited and finally got word about my MRI. However, that first call was only the beginning of what was a mess of appointments and phone calls and craziness...

Another round of doctors..

Episode C - Can't Stop This week is suppose to be my last week of appointments until the end of the year. So my December Doctor Madness tour was going to include my OT, Oncologist, & Family doctor. My OT appointments are so standard now that it just seems like my normal routine. Instead, I was really focused on my what my doctors would say. Last appointments of the year... or it was supposed to be!!! First Up... Oncology!

Triappointments... CT/OT/BoneScan

Episode XCIX - I've been looking so long at these pictures of you... My 3rd, 4th, & 5th appointments on the December Doctor Madness tour all happened today and the first one was early. I had to rush everyone in the house to keep on task and to keep moving... we were going to be late! Run. Run. Run. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. 

I'm the 1%... a medical oddity

Episode XCVIII - I'm a weirdo! My 2nd appointment during the December Dr. Madness visits was to the Radiation Oncologist. Thank goodness it was just a follow-up visit. Time to check out my boobs, again! Going to another appointment... The Radiation Oncology group has multiple offices. There is one in the cancer center... it's nice. One at a hospital with valet parking... it's super nice. And there is one in the basement of a medical tower below the actual building... that is where they put me. They want to hide me!!! While the other offices are definitely fancier, I love my group in the basement. We are a bunch of outcasts, misfits, and troublemakers. I fit in perfectly.

Squish goes the right boob...

Episode XCVII - come on and squeeze me... It is the last month of 2014 and I am officially renaming it December Doctor Madness month. It is part bad timing and part my own fault. Since I have spent so much money on doctors over the past two years I wanted any my test scheduled for the first two weeks of January moved to December. I was hoping that because I have already reached my out-of-pocket maximum that I would save myself a few thousands at the first of the year. Bring the madness...

Where did November go?

Episode XCVI - And Time that gave doth now his gift confound... What happened to November? Time just seems to get away from me. A whirlwind of activities have happened this month. I have been going regularly to my OT appointments for lymphedema, I have increased my activity resulting in odd physical reactions, I have visited family for the holidays, and I actually have a real hairstyle...

Time for a GI follow-up...

Episode XCV - Run Away! Run Away! While I would like to be running away, I was going back to the Gastroenterologist. It was time for a follow-up since my colonoscopy. As always, I was not looking forward to this doctor's appointment. You never know what is in store for you or if you are going to have to have some unpleasant exam that involves you dropping your drawers and bending over. Run away! Run away!

Cost of Cancer

Episode XCIV - If I had a $1,000,000... There is nothing like returning from a vacation to bills. When we went to Florida earlier this month I had the post office hold our mail. I thought I might have some of my normal life bills, a bunch of junk mail, and a few medical bills. I was wrong! A lot of bills can stack up in one week. It was not like I had lovely letters and interesting magazines... I had multiple envelopes and multiple large packages that were all related to my medical life. At this point they do not even send EOBs in business size letter envelopes, they arrive in large catalog size envelopes. And it seems that multiple envelopes in a variety of sizes were delivered...

3 S's - Swim, Sleeve, Shoes

Episode XCIII - swim until you can't see land Between the joint/bone pain, the lymphedema swelling, and the nervous system issues I felt like I was unable to do anything. Everything hurt. Everything was hard. I had to do something... some type of exercise. After discussing it with my OT, she recommended swimming. With an exercise option in place and my family getting me a Y membership for my birthday I was off to the pool. For some reason I had totally forgotten about water exercise. I think I mentally blocked the idea of swimming because it would require me to get into a swimsuit in front of other people. However at this point do I even care??? NO!

The Big 40

Episode XCII - Oh, I'm getting older too Another Birthday... but this one officially says that I am over the hill...


Episode XCI - move along just to make it through Well crap... I am off to do a biopsy!

Follow up on this... I know I feel bad!?!

Episode XC - don't wanna be your monkey wrench It's back to the doctor for another follow-up. I was not exactly looking forward to going back to the Oncologist. Not because he is a bad person. Not because I was worried about what he would say. It was because nothing would be done.

Weekend Get-a-way

Episode LXXXIX - It's the eye of the tiger... Let me just clarify this before I even start writing - I am a UTK fan... go Vols! However, I am the one one in the house... and am overrun by Auburn fans. I also cheer for Auburn, except when they play Tennessee. And I still love going Auburn football games, which we try to make one game each season. I missed last year - cancer treatment - but, this year we were going... even if I hurt!

Help me Family Dr. You're my only hope.

Episode LXXXVIII - one last thing before I quit... I finally had it. I caved and I called the Oncologist. I had spent the past month in so much physical pain I was not really functioning. I barely got my kids to and from school. I would get them there and then get into bed. Anything other than essential care was becoming unmanageable. I was postponing appointments (even my very needed medical ones). There just seemed to be no relief. Since Tamoxifen, I was just constantly fighting pain and fatigue and it was just becoming unbearable. So, I caved and I called to complain (again) last Friday...

Lymphedema Update

In case you haven't read in my previous blog posts, after I finished treatment I realized I had some unusual symptoms in my right arm. I did not immediately notice the swelling, but later found out that I did have swelling and lymphedema. Lymphedema can occur after breast cancer treatment and of course why would it skip me?!?! Since lymphedema has no cure, I have been managing my symptoms diligently. I am going to Occupational Therapy twice a week - or - what I prefer to call my boobie massage (even though it is way more than that). I have been doing my own massages. I have been learning what triggers my swelling. It is another issue that I have to live with, so I am learning how to do it with my crazy up-beat attitude. Learn some of my Lymphedema Tips - Click Here  

Surprises at the Gyno!

Episode LXXXVII - give it away now... Back to the Gynecologist for an ultrasound. After I saw some ovarian cysts noted in one of my reports I had an ultrasound back in June. Today I was going back to recheck my ovaries to see if any changes had occurred since the last visit. I expect to find very boring, non-cysted ovaries...

The beginning of follow-ups...

Episode LXXXVI - don't stop! Time for a follow-up radiation appointment. At least they are usually short and to the point... The first part to any good follow up was to take vitals. So, I did the standard blood pressure, temperature, and weight pre-examination. A note to all nurses: please do the weight after the blood pressure. Seriously, it can create false blood pressure issues or at least in can in my mind! Of course my blood pressure was fine, so it did not happen to me: this time !!!

Say What? Still can't hear you...

Episode LXXXV - (speak into my ear) A quick reminder: I began having bilateral hearing loss six months before I was diagnosed with cancer.  I have pretty much refused to wear my hearing aids during cancer treatment. There were many reason why. First, the cancer cap covered up the hearing aid made the sound crackle. But primarily, it was the general discomfort and not wanting to deal with anything else like hearing aids. Honestly, all of the sounds only amplified my discomfort. It was nice to not wear them... even if it meant I did not always hear what people were saying to me. 

Swollen Adventures

Episode LXXXIV - just when you think that you're in control... Attitude is everything. Attitude is everything. I will continue to be positive... even when things are difficult... I will...

Doctors, art, and other things

Episode LXXXIII - It's times like these... I was back to the Breast Surgeon. It was hard to believe that it had been six months. Wow!!! Really, six months since I had seen him? Off to the surgeons... The visit was exactly what I expected... not much other than a breast exam. I had already gotten my mammogram results at the end of May, so we discussed that I looked good any way. My breast tissue looked like it was healing well. In all honesty, the multiple OT massages were helping break up the scar tissue left from the lumpectomy. Not only were the boobie massages helping my lymphedema issues, they were really aiding in my surgery recovery too. Bonus!

Let's just say, it's a boobie massage

Episode LXXXII - She's lump. She's lump. I had no idea what I was in for regarding Occupational Therapy for Lymphedema. I quickly found out that the lymphedema treatment was essentially a massage that helps to redirect the lymphatic fluid to flow in the direction of the heart. Basically, the massage would help the fluid get out of my arm and back into circulation. And it was not a typical massage. The lymph system is located directly under the skins, so the therapist barely does more than to move the skin. Honestly, the small gentle movements barely qualify it as a massage. It was essentially a gentle touch therapy. However, I call it My 1 Hour Boobie Massage!!!

Seriously... Lymphedema too!!!

Episode LXXXI - Doctor says you're cured but you still feel the pain After my summer family vacation where I probably partook in too much sun & fun I began to feel like my armpit was swelling more than normal. I mean I was constantly having to adjust my sports bra because of swelling. I wanted to ignore it because I did not notice any swelling in my arm, but eventually the other side effects became to bothersome. The numbness and tingling sensation in my hand continued. Besides weakness in my right arm I found an inability to reach properly. I mean holding the cell phone to my head became challenging. It was annoying! So even though I tried to avoid calling the doctor, I finally had too. Of course the oncologist was like, Lymphedema. I figured that, but I was really hoping not to deal with another issue. I mean really - another issue. Come on!!!

Relay x2

Episode LXXX - Tonight's the night... let's live it up My family and I packed up our car and made our way to celebrate in my hometown, Chattanooga, TN, for the Relay for Life event. I knew I was going to have a long, but fun day. By the time we arrived I was already worn out, but found comfort on a sofa at my brother's house... sofa... My mom was busy organizing and prepping for the event. My brother was off to help her. And my husband and sister-in-law got the privilege of taking all the kids to the pool... which we all know means they would be exceptionally worn out later. Not the kids, the adults!!!

Vacation or Foodcation?

Episode LXXIX - In my mind I'm going to Carolina... My crazy crew was off on a family vacation, minus my husband who had to stay home and work. It was a shame he could not make it as he was going to miss out on some crazy family fun. Before we officially were on vacation I had to drive two hours just to get to my hometown, where my parents and brother' family live. From there we embarked on a day long trek to Charleston, South Carolina. I feel like I need to explain myself or at least my super nerdiness. When my kids are going to travel to new places on routes we have not taken I make a collection of historical and fun facts about cities we drive through. I know. I know. Super nerdy.

Squish. Squish. Repeat...

Episode LXXVIII - duh-nu-nuh-nuh-na My boobs were slightly off... literally and figuratively. My left breast was past due for an annual mammogram and my right breast still had a month or two to go. So last visit with the Radiation Oncologist he scheduled my mammogram in between those times, so for the end of June. Mainly that was because post-surgery and post-radiation the mammogram could be more painful than normal. Sweet!

Fight. Laugh. Live.

Episode LXXVII - Are you ready boots? Start walkin'! I left my afternoon Oncologist appointment with barely enough time to make it home and get my family ready for Relay for Life. Of course the people who decided to start roadwork during rush hour did not help me get home on time. Really... Friday... at 5?!?! While I was thrilled with the "looking good" report from the doctor, I was also excited to get out there and walk for the American Cancer Society...

Oncology Update

Good News Alert... I had to go back to the Oncologist to hear my scan results. My appointment was right before Relay for Life so I was rocking my faux-hawk. Me waiting on the Oncologist with my Jimmy Neutron hair...

Scan on this...

Episode LXXVI - Back on the chain gang... Timed to get scanned again. Normally I get a chest exam, but today I get a more thorough view into my body since they are viewing the chest, abdominal, and pelvic regions. I get the full body works - well - mid-body works! My breakfast was the breakfast of scanners... barium drink. One container I got to drink hours before the exam... thanks for the early wake-up time?!?! And the other has to be drunk during the hour before the procedure... thanks for requiring me to drink and drive?!?!?!  

Oncology check in...

Episode LXXV - I'll be back! I got to walk back into the cancer center after months of being away. Not sure if absence made the heart grow fonder... but I was back! Bringing smiles to the office... I checked in and made my way to the blood work area. The office was crazy crowded. I was sad to see so many people waiting for blood work and to see the doctors. I was still the young one in the room. I gave a few smiling nods to the bald chemo patients, as if to say - yep, you will be looking like me soon.

Weekend Update

What to do on Mother's Day weekend? It was my first Mother's Day post cancer treatment... what should I do? Go to Disney? Have a party? No, for me it was time to lose the mullet... Hair mullet growing here... The family went out for hair cuts and then for food. It would not matter what we did, as I was here and alive to do it with these two crazy kids of mine. Post hair cut lunch with the kids... I am so lucky to be standing here and able to give love, hugs, and occasional fussing. They may drive me crazy, but I love them like crazy too!!!

Back to the doctors again...

Episode LXXIV - I'm Back! I had a few months off - sort of - and now it was time to get back to the cancer doctors... Time to get checked... I made my way back to the hospital to visit the Radiation Oncologist. It was nice to see my techs again. They were all happy to see me with hair. They all said I looked younger... being off treatment helped with that! It was awesome to just visit with them and not there for them to blast me with radiation!

Colon-bend-over-and-take-it Day!

Episode LXXIII - Oh you gonna let it all hang out... Nothing says good morning like more colon prep juice. I was back holding my nose and drinking some funky lemon-lime mixture right after I got the kids off to school. Rather than re-hash an hour long drinkfest... I think my previous blog entry covered that concept at nausea!! My mother was on her way into town to take me to the procedure and having had multiple colonoscopies in the past gave, she gave me some good advice - make the drink slightly earlier and put it in the fridge to help with the taste... at least for a while. By the time she arrived, I had pretty much emptied out my system. The only fluid coming out my backside was pretty clear. On a positive, I was not hungry. Going to the bathroom that much made the idea of food repulsive. Before we left I got to open a wonderful surprise gift from one of my mom's friends... a Dammit Doll. They are hysterical, check it out here . I got a few swings in before we headed o

Colon Prep + Tornado Warnings

Episode LXXII - Howdy Ho... Well it was finally time for the dreaded colonoscopy prep. I had spent the past few days limiting my food to a specific list which was basically designed to be items that would be less likely to get all caught up in the digestive tract. Boring! I even went to the awesome local arts festival and had to restrain myself from red beans n' rice... my favorite!!!! Really, I seriously could have gone for some red beans n' rice. So, I had managed to eat minimally for the past few days and now I was resigned to my clear liquid diet. More Boring!

1 Year Later...

Me and cancer... Sill fighting. Still laughing. Still living. Last year on April 17, 2013 I felt a lump in my right breast. I went to the doctor the next day and by April 24th was diagnosed with cancer. What a year it has been! The past year has felt both short and long. I cannot believe that I have done what I have in a year. Wow, I have been through a lot! However, it often feels as if more time had to happen because so much went on during the year. On the other hand it could not have been a year...

New day. New doctor.

Episode LXXI - They send a camera up your uh-oh... I am going to start collecting doctors... really. I should have some weird collecting cards for all the different medical genres that I have been to during the past year. Today, I went to the Gastroenterologist... meaning nothing fun can come from the visit!

Spring Breakers

Episode LXX - Girls, just wanna have fun It's time for spring break. My son was off in Texas, my husband was hard at work, and we (my daughter and myself) were headed east to Tennessee! Time to visit some family... and do fun touristy things. I had not driven very far since treatment, so I was slightly concerned. I mean the trip to the store 30 minutes away made my back ache. I could not imagine what hours would do. But I was up for it. I was up to it for my sweet little girl. She was desperately wanting to do something fun for the break, but I knew I was only up for fun with help from my mom.

What the Tamoxifen?!?!

Episode LXIX - ... maybe we'll find better days... Really Tamoxifen... really?!?! The first day I took the pill I was fine. I took it the afternoon I got it and went about my day. The next day I took my pill and was fine until that evening. However, as the day progressed I had an achy feeling. I thought, man I am sore today - I might need some Tylenol or something. I felt a little off. By that evening I had felt as if I had taken the Neulasta shot again. BAM! WHAM! HOLY MOLY! The bone pain was almost unbearable. I was completely shocked at how much I ached. It was like I ran smack into the pain wall all over again. I was hoping it was just a bad day...