My Birthday

Birthdays are a funny thing.  We all know they happen once a year, and we all know when ours is coming.  And of course everyone around us makes a big deal over them.  We also all take our birthdays for granted.

When you’ve had cancer or any other life threatening thing happen to you, you realize that nothing in life can ever be taken for granted again.  Kind of takes some of the innocence of birthdays out of the equation forever.  We’re just happy to have them!!

So, I’m a year older, and for someone who has had cancer…we celebrate rather than worry about the number.  My friends, my wonderful amazing friends and family, both those physically and those virtually in my life sent me awesome good wishes.  They kept coming in by phone, email, text and Facebook!  Thank you!  My blackberry didn’t stop pinging all day!  I loved each and everyone.  Made me understand that I am alive, and will keep on living.

 I had Cancer, it did not have me…..life goes on….and so do birthdays!!

The timing of my birthday this year (although it is the same every year 😉 ) has a little more meaning to me than it has in past years. Being on Dec 18th, only 2 weeks before the end of the year, always meant I could contemplate the coming year. Never has that been more significant than this year.  But that’s for another blog…..I’m not sure I’m ready to write about that yet.

Happy Birthday to me….yay!

 

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Hugs

One of the things I love most about Facebook is the ability to feel the love.  It really warms my heart to know there are so many people out there that truly care, and take the time to post something nice.

Yesterday, I was having a bad day.  Nothing at all to do with my health, thank-goodness.  Well, maybe sort of.  iIt had to do with something that happened at work.  Without getting into any details, there are some changes happening which will ultimately be good for me.  But with anytime there is change, there is uncertainly.  This year has already been filled with so much uncertainty, that I just felt pushed over the edge yesterday.

I’m trying so hard to make that transition from “Surviving” to “Thriving”.  One would think it would be fairly easy, after all, I survived breast cancer!!  It’s not so simple.  The treatment part is almost done.  Now it’s my head space I need to work on.  I feel very vulnerable most of the time, and my emotions are so heightened, that what seems like an innocent comment, can literally had me in tears barely able to cope.

I know I should be able to give myself some slack, but it’s a hard thing to do.  I just want things to be like they were.  And I know they never will be.  I have to find that place that works for me again.  I still find it hard to concentrate and stay focused.  I feel like I’m under a microscope at work.  I know I’m not, but it’s how I’m feeling.

I think it’s time for me to find a support group that will meet my needs.  It’s hard to do.  I kept working through my treatment, and most don’t and the groups are not geared to that.  Most seem to meet during the day which is great for those that don’t work, but that’s not me.   I know, one step at a time.  When I see my new Oncologist, I will ask him about a referral. 

Anyway, back to the hugs….thanks you for each and every hug and message!  They really do mean a lot to me.  To be honest, you all are really THE BEST SUPPORT GROUP! 

BIG HUGS TO ALL OF YOU!!!

My bra :)

Well…if the title of this post didn’t catch your attention, I’m not sure what will…LOL!

When you’ve gone through surgery for breast cancer, then chemotherapy, and radiation, there are milestones that make you smile. They might seem crazy to most people, but to all of us that have been through this, I know you will smile and chuckle a little at this post.

I WORE  MY LOVELY UNDERWIRE LACEY BRA TODAY!!!!  AND IT FELT FABULOUS 🙂

No more “grandma” bras because of surgery, no more “grandma” bras because of radiation.

Special thanks goes out to Rhonda at Legs Plus and Bra Boutique on Leslie north of Finch.  Rhonda helped me find a bra I could wear after surgery, and then another bra for during and after radiation.  Most people don’t realize that these are the types of things that we have to consider.  When you have small breasts, its not as hard to find these things as when you have larger ones!

I loved it when the nurses would tell me…oh just go without a bra!!  Well, needless to say, “my girls” need support, so that wasn’t happening in my world.  Plus did I mention that I worked through all my treatment….braless just wasn’t going to happen.  And then they tell you, “get a sportsbra”  again great for the small chested woman…but us more endowed woman, well picture yourself with a shelf for a chest…not a pretty picture….and again did I mention I worked through all my treatment.

So….Rhonda helped me and “my girls” be the best they could with the challenges we faced 🙂

Next stop….back to see Rhonda and get myself a very pretty new wonderful bra!!

woohoo!!

Herceptin #8

Done!

Felt good to just go, get plugged in, spend some time with my fav nurse Manny at PMCC, and then leave 🙂

You meet all kinds of people while in Chemo Daycare, and you realize that cancer really plays no favourites at all.  I was in an area where there were 6 of us.  One gentleman was from Italy, and clearly had not lacked from anything in his life, one man thought he was really funny with his loud comments (he wasn’t) , one young woman was there for her first chemo, and another woman a little older than me, half way through.  You kind of become all one big group sharing your life for the time you’re there.  

I got up to leave, and it was like saying good bye to a group of friends 🙂  They all said…”so soon”…I had to laugh!

After the Herceptin, I went to the One of a Kind show with Nava.  All we did was eat and buy some serving pieces.  It’s what we do.  It was nice to have a day for me.

In January, I get a new Oncologist, Dr. Warr.  When I was at PMCC for my Herceptin, I saw him.  He had a kind face, so that made me smile.  So I’m hoping that a new Oncologist and a new year, are a great new start to 2014.  There was nothing wrong with my old Oncologist, she just split her time between 2 types of cancers, as did Dr. Warr, so now she has chosen to specialize in the other kind, and Dr. Warr is specializing in breast cancer.  So I’m guessing that’s a good thing.

Jeffrey is on the mend.  Needless to say, he’s tired, but he’s taking it all a day a time.

It was great to have my Mom here for a few days, and get caught up!!

I hope you’re all having an awesome weekend!!

hugs

Randy

Catching up!

Wow I didn’t realize it’s been so long since I blogged.  To be honest, I think I needed to get away from cancer treatment for a while, and just re-group.  And I believe I have done that!

Last time I blogged I had 3 rads to go. Of course, now I’m done, and it’s been just over 3 weeks.  It was amazing to have so many people following my count down on Facebook, it really helped encourage me to get through the daily grind of working, going straight to the hospital after work, waiting at the hospital, getting radiated, and driving home, dinner, and bed.  It was a long 6 weeks.  I’m glad it’s done.

Just like they told me, the worst of it would come about 10 days after I finished, and they were right.  I was very burned.  Thank goodness for great creams, and I went through a lot! and Polysporin!  The fatigue just blew me over.  I wasn’t expecting it.  I mean I was told it would happen, but somehow I didn’t believe it.  and POW, did it ever.  There was one day I left work at around 2:30, went to sleep, and slept till noon the next day.  I still get tired really easily. 😦

The burn is much better, the skin has peeled off, and I’m very “tanned” in a square around my breast.  (sorry if this is too much info…I said I’d keep this real!)  I’m still not wearing my “real” bras, just a “service” one with no underwires…kind of like my Grandma bra!  It hurt too much for underwires, and with all the creams and lotions, I didn’t want to ruin one of my nice bras which hopefully I will be able to wear again very soon.

I was asked my UHN to come down and do some filming for them on what to expect when you go to chemo the first time.  They are putting together a video for people that are getting ready to start treatment.  They wanted to use real people, and real stories.  Having been there, I think that would have helped me had I been able to hear real stories instead of what the nurses told me.  It would have been good to hear a balance of both.  Hopefully the video will come out well, and will help others.  It was all done with someone asking me very pointed questions.  Some caught me and I found myself far more emotional about it then I thought I would be.  I guess that will always be with me.  When you go through chemo, it’s just not something that you easily or ever forget, ever.  But I was glad I did it.  In some ways, it was a little cathartic to talk about it in a way that could be helpful to others.

Needless to say, I am very happy to be finished radiation, and now the hard stuff is done.  The crazy part is I’m not ready to celebrate yet.  You would think I would be screaming from the roof…”I’M DONE”  but I just am not ready.  the reality is I’m really not done yet.  I still have another 6 month of Herceptin, which I go for every 3 weeks.  There are no bad side affects other than a drippy nose.  Maybe once that is done, I will feel like celebrating????  I keep planning my Conquer Cancer party, but never send out the invite.  Scared to think it’s real, scared to think its done, I don’t want to jinx anything?  I don’t know.  I just know that I don’t feel like celebrating just yet.

So I’m starting to get my energy back and feel better, I still get tired easy.  I do have trouble concentrating, and that’s made work hard.  Actually harder now than it was before.  I need to get that under control.  They have been really good at work with me, but I know come the new year, there will be an expectation that “I’m good” and let’s get going!  I’m kind of a little worried about that.

Last weekend was a very crazy weekend with too many things good and bad happening all at once. Thank goodness I was feeling better to have the energy to deal with all of it.  First the good stuff.  Carly and Hailey both had their first Qualifier for the Provincial in gymnastics.  They both did amazing! Medals were added to both their collections!  I’m so proud of them.

While at the competition, I received a call from my Sister in Law that my brother Jeffrey, the one that just ran the Chicago marathon, had a brain bleed that caused a stroke that resulted in a seizure.  Needless to say, it was extremely frightening.  He is going to be ok, no paralysis, and he’s home now.  But wow, what a nightmare for him.  The Doctors don’t know why it happened, and the put him on anti-seizure meds and took his license away for a year.  He’s extremely tired and needs time to recover.  As this was all happening, my other sister in law is at the hospital with her father, and he is not doing well.  He passed away the next morning, and the funeral was the past Tuesday.

Life takes some unexpected twists and turns.

Richard and I celebrated our 19th Anniversary on Wed.  Well, we didn’t celebrate really other than saying….let’s hope this next year is quite and uneventful!  We were to be with my Sister in Law as they were sitting Shiva for her father.  

So with so much going on, what do I decide to do….take on something new!!! Ya I know, crazy!  I had seen these beautiful lockets on line, and then my girlfriend started selling them.  and that’s how I got involved!  They make me smile, and they make others smile as well.  The beautiful part is that you tell a story through the locket, so each is very personal, very unique, and they are fun!  Although there are awareness ribbons available, and yes, I have one in my locket, it’s nice to have something that is not specifically cancer related.   I will still be donating back to Princess Margaret whenever someone purchases a locket with a ribbon in it, and that will be on going.  If you’re interested, please check out my website southhilldesigns.com/locketsdirect/default  From there you can order your locket, or host a party for me, or even join me and do this all as well.  The company is new to Canada, as it’s only been here a year, so there is lots of opportunity.  You can see lots of different ideas on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lockets-Direct-South-Hill-Lockets/774270772589810  These lockets make me smile 🙂

Of course I am also still doing www.thinkpinkdirect.com that is something I will never give up.

Oh, I completely forgot, (I can’t believe I almost forgot) I did have something so wonderful happen, so unexpected, and so unbelievable.  I get a email from my friend Judy, and she had nominated me for something on Breakfast Television.  and what happened next was incredible   I really had no idea of what I was going down to BT for, other than what Judy  had written.   Even when we arrived, I still had no idea. It was great to see Judy, and meet the other people nominated and hear all their amazing stories, and felt privileged to be included with them. I thought I would be interviewed and then would be leaving. As I now know, this was BT’s Giveback Christmas show, and they wanted to give back to those nominated that had given to their communities and had done good works. Wow, they gave us all so many fabulous gifts, that it was completely overwhelming! Thank you Judy for nominating me, for your friendship, and for a day I will always remember!!  It was certainly a bright light in a year where there were many dark moments.  Here is the link (I hope it posts properly) http://www.bttoronto.ca/videos/2864616247001/

I think I’m all caught up now, and it feels good to blog again.  I’m going to have to do it more often!

Hugs!