Archive | May, 2010

I think the dancing did it . . . oops :) . . .

15 May

Here are a few pictures from last weekend. I went out with some friends for dinner (excellent Italian food at Alessa’s in Huntington Beach, I recommend it) and then music and dancing after. It was a really fun night. It was fun and great exercise. Although I think that may have been what caused the expander on my right side to rupture. Who knows. Better now than a month from now or even a week from now – as that would mean a whole separate surgery to replace the expander. Instead, because it happened this past week, I can have it dealt with on Monday – during the surgery for my left side. (And, I presume you all get that when I say “side” I mean my chest or “boob like structure” or whatever this is :)) I know one thing that it is for sure . . . it is something I am getting very tired of.  But, I am moving onto the next thing, reconstruction. And . . . most importantly . . . I am here, and I can dance. Those are good things.

Surgery is Monday, have to be at the hospital at 5:00 am. I am expected to be home by Wednesday night or Thursday.

Please say prayers for me that all goes well and that I have a speedy recovery.

Here are some photos from last weekend.

Love and peace,

Lisa

Friday . . .

14 May

I saw my surgeon yesterday. She confirmed what will be happening on Monday. I will still have the reconstructive surgery on my left side. But, now will have the expander on the right side replaced. That means surgery on both sides. It is too bad that the expander did not last and ruptured. But, I am grateful that at least if it had to happen, it happened in time to have it dealt with in the same surgery on Monday. If it had ruptured a few weeks later, then I would have had to go in for another surgery just to take out the ruptured expander and put in a new one.

I was really glad that this surgery I would only have one side of my body involved – and so, only one arm limited post-op. But, now, since it involves both sides, it will mean both arms are affected like last time. That means no moving either arm for a bit and then just the recovery that is needed is needed for both. Bummer. I was looking forward to being able to do things for myself. Aaargh.

Still, I have to think that the recovery from this surgery is going to be much better, faster, easier, etc. than the last surgery. The last surgery was on the heals of chemotherapy which really had me dragging. I know I am much stronger now than I was back then.

Today I am trying to take care of everything that I can, phone calls, bills to pay, grocery shopping to do, cooking, cleaning and dealing with my idiotic landlord. It is pretty hard to do stuff right now as there is some significant pain from the broken expander. So, I am working at half speed . . . if that 🙂

I still do not have caretakers lined up – but, I hope to get that taken care of soon.

My brother Paul is going to drive me to the hospital on Monday – so grateful for that – as I have to be there at 5:00 am.

Well, wish me luck with everything and please continue to say prayers for me.

Love and peace,

Lisa

Surgery on Monday . . .

13 May

So last night I was cleared for surgery. That is a good thing. The bad thing is that I am not ready yet – I do not have caretakers lined up (not for me or my dog), need to clean, do laundry, shop for food, etc.

And, unfortunately, now I can not drive. I am in some pain now after the problem with the right expander. I can’t really do a lot of the stuff that I need to get done before surgery. It is a bit of a drag. Even the Costco run I was going to do is off – I can’t drive there myself and pushing a gigantic Costco cart around isn’t much of an option either. Last time I had everything laid out before surgery. Things were organized, set. But, now? I don’t even feel close being ready.

Everyday has been hijacked for the past couple of weeks – first the normal pre-op stuff, then hassles with my landlord (including yesterday), hours of phone business – all medical stuff, and most recently this rupture of the expander in my right breast (or whatever it is that you call this structure on my chest, I wouldn’t say I have breasts, but, don’t really know what else to refer to it as, lovely, I know).

I just keep losing every day to unplanned, unforeseen hassles. Yesterday was taken up with getting cleared by a cardiologist and also trying to figure out what happened to my right side. It wasn’t until 8 pm last night that I learned from my surgeon (not my reconstructive surgeon, but, my general surgeon) that I did not need to go into the emergency room, that I could/had to wait to see my plastic surgeon the next day (now today).

So, now today, I will seem my plastic surgeon to figure out how to proceed with surgery (surgery was supposed to be on the left side only – they can only do one side at a time because of the type of surgery I am having and the radiation that I had). Now that the expander has to come out and be replaced – I am uncertain as to what will be done on Monday. Probably she will go ahead with the reconstruction on the left and then a temporary deal on the right. It is definitely not what I wanted, nor what my surgeon wanted for me. Anyway, again, today is another day that I hoped to take care of pre-op errands that is now lost to medical.

I also HAVE to finish a timeline that my attorney needs to assist him in proceeding against my landlord. This is all so crazy. I am not even working, yet, I am working all of the time.

Another thing that changed as of late yesterday is that I now need caretakers for a longer period of time (not that I have anyone lined up yet anyway). I had only figured on needing help for about a week after surgery, since I would still have use of my right arm (since I was not having surgery on the right side). But, now it is pretty likely that I will have surgery on both sides, leaving me, like after the mastectomy, unable to use either arm for a while.

I am so frustrated by this. It is so limiting and, it is painful.

So, I am pretty upset right now. But, what can I do? I just have to somehow figure it out.

My landlord sent two workers over today to take out the illegally installed dryer vent that was put in on my patio. The workers moved my patio furniture and all of my plants (including three hibiscus trees) to do the job. They left without putting any of it back and so now I am stuck with this messy patio that I can not physically clean up. So rude.

Okay, I guess I have complained enough for one day. Sorry, I am just in pain and very, very frustrated that I can not physically just do the things that I need and want to do to get my space and myself ready for surgery.

Ugh!

Much love,

Lisa

Good News . . . “beautiful echo” . . .

12 May

Okay, I have good news – my heart is functioning just fine. Today’s EKG was normal AND, the EKG I had last week was ALSO normal. Even though the report stated: “Significant rhythm and ECG contour changes” . . . apparently this was just some computer gliche? That is what the nurse practitioner told me. She said that sometimes the computer reads the data incorrectly and generates false information. Great.

So all that worry, over nothing, thankfully.

The nurse practitioner also went over my echocardiogram results with me – these were all normal, she said, “you have a beautiful echo”.

So, I am cleared for surgery. I feel good about meeting with the nurse practitioner. She was very good and seemed to know what she was doing. So, I am comfortable with her decision to clear me for surgery.

As for my right “boob-like-structure” (the expander under muscle and skin), I don’t know what is going on. Except that it does seem to have ruptured.

It is quite painful. The fluid in the expander is saline. So, it is not dangerous really. But, it burns and stings and my arm and side are all numb. It is as much a creepy feeling as painful . . . okay, it is pretty darn creepy.

My surgeon is supposed to call me this evening (her nurse has been in touch with me). The nurse told me that the expander will have to come out and “isn’t it great that you are having surgery on Monday”. The only problem is that the surgery on Monday is supposed to be just the left side, not the right yet (as I have to wait until I am further out from radiation before having surgery on the right side). But, I am not sure what will happen now as they will have to take it out and put a new one in? Not even sure about that. I can’t have reconstructive surgery on the right until it is re-expanded. My surgeon was going to start re-expanding the right side after surgery on the left side. But, now I am not sure what she will need to do.

All in all though, I think it is very good that I have a surgery date for this Monday.

Oh, they just told me I have to be there at 5:00 am, surgery is scheduled for 7:30. I was originally told to check in at 9:00 am for an 11:00 am surgery time. But, I am glad that the time has changed and that it is earlier.

I am happy about this. Although, I am sure whomever it is that is going to drive me is probably not going to be happy about it. That is awful early.

Well, I am relieved about my heart, so relieved. If I had to choose between having a problem with one of my expanders or with my heart, well, you certainly know which I would pick. Of course, I would rather not have a problem with either. 🙂

Thank you for your prayers. And, Sandy, thank you for calling me to offer me a lift today, that was so sweet! My folks appreciate your offer too!

Much love and gratitude,

Lisa

Oh Brother . . .

12 May

Well, just when I thought I had enough on my plate (okay, more than enough, thank you. I have all the helpings of “enough” that I can tolerate) I just discovered another little gem.

I was getting ready to go into my cardiologist’s office to have another EKG and I discovered something that is not right. I have expanders that were place when I had the mastectomy last year. These are to remain until I have breast reconstruction. Well, it appears that one has ruptured or broken inside. I don’t know what the technical term would be, but, it isn’t so good.

I called my surgeon’s office to let them know that something isn’t right. It is on the radiated side. I hope I am wrong, but, it doesn’t seem good.

I have been having pain and swelling down my right side and under my right arm. I think it is fluid that has escaped from the expander. Ugh. I have heard this can happen, although it is not supposed to.

I don’t know what is done if the expander ruptures. I presume they have to go in and replace it, but, can they? Crap.

Well, please say some prayers for me, I really need it.

Much love,

Lisa

Dance, baby, dance . . .

12 May

It is now almost 3:30 in the morning, haven’t slept yet . . . unfortunately, sleepless nights have been a pretty standard occurrence for the past year and few months. I am tired of being tired.

But, perhaps the most tiresome is the constant dance that this disease makes you do . . . cancer is that cruel cowboy that fires a gun at your feet and says, “Dance”!

I have clear scans, something I am so grateful for, so grateful. And now I am supposed to have reconstructive surgery next Monday. However, I am not cleared for surgery yet – my pre-admission screening included an EKG, chest X-ray and bloodwork. The chest X-ray and bloodwork came back fine. The EKG did not. Scary. I also had an echocardiogram. I do not know the results of that test yet. Hopefully the echocardiogram is fine.

I am very worried about the abnormal EKG because herceptin has the potential to damage the heart. I recall not feeling well the day of the EKG. I was definitely feeling some distress. But, I did not expect what I felt to show up on an EKG. And, I don’t know if that has anything to do with it anyway.

I am just worried. Anyone who has to undergo chemotherapy worries about simply surviving the treatment. I am hoping, of course, that all is well. I have just never had an abnormal EKG before.

Tomorrow I will see my cardiologist’s nurse practitioner. She will conduct another EKG and she should be able to tell me the results of the echocardiogram. I just hope that the results are good. My appointment is at 4:00 pm. So, I guess I will know more soon.

Please say some prayers, I greatly appreciate it.

Love and Peace,

Lisa

Make juice, not war, unless it is a war on cancer cells . . .

11 May

Nowadays I eat to keep cancer away. Some of the very basics of doing that (keeping cancer away and preventing cancer – listen up everyone – this is for you) are: avoiding sugar – in particular refined sugar and processed foods that quickly turn to sugar in your body (like white flour, pasta that is not whole grain, etc.), and eating a diet that is rich in fresh, RAW fruits and vegetables (especially the vegetable part).

Also, to help keep your blood sugar low (this is important to maintain a healthy, low inflammatory diet – helps prevent diabetes, heart disease, and, yes, cancer) include cinnamon and green tea in your diet. Cinnamon and green tea naturally lower your blood sugar (so too do foods that are rich in magnesium, yes, I have been reading a lot this past year plus, you would too if you felt like your life depended on it).

Here is what I fed my juicer this morning . . .

I apple, 1 orange, celery, carrots, broccoli (all organic)

And, here is what my juicer fed me 🙂 This is one of my favorite drinks, super food, super delicious!

Same glass, different view. I mix it up before I drink it.