Thursday, November 26, 2009

Barbie boob!

Hey All,

I had the expander surgery almost two weeks ago. It went just fine. I stayed overnight which was a good thing since I got really nauseous and a nurse got to clean me up when I tossed my cookies instead of Mike! Anyway, the first week was annoying because I could only do sponge baths and couldn't drive. I got my sutures out this week, can shower (yay!) and drive, so that's something. The expander is not painful anymore, but it does feel like I have an orange taped to my body. It really does look like I have a Barbie Doll boob on one side too. It's very perky and smooth. Poor Lefty, she's looking a bit droopy in comparison. Thank goodness for underwire bras, at least I look symmetrical in clothes. I get my first fill next week, which means they'll add more saline to my expander. I will be getting two or three of these and then in 3 months or so, I'll be ready for my implant. That's the skinny for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009


I am off for surgery today to get my tissue expander. wish me luck! I'll write again as soon as I am able - probably in a week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


You all know I hated the last MRI I had, so I got a prescription for sedatives for the one I had on the 16th. Mmmm, sedatives! They sure did the trick. I slept through the whole thing. However, I probably should have taken one tablet instead of two, since I was a drugged up mess afterwards. My aunt and sister had to help me get dressed and walk to the car. Aunt Deb said I was making strange faces while I was eating my orange in the back seat, but I don't remember eating an orange! Also don't remember talking to my brother-in-law on the phone later that day. Luckily, my co-worker, Jamie, picked up Connor from daycare for me, but the poor kid had to sit on the bed and watch movies with me, because I was too tired to move much! Lesson learned - one pill should be enough!

The results came in last Friday and they didn't find anything. Yay me!

Monday, October 12, 2009


It's been one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Wow, time just flew by. I just had my yearly mammogram and got the letter saying they couldn't detect any cancer in lefty - yay! I still have to have a breast MRI this coming Friday (bring on the sedatives!), reconstruction, and herceptin until January, but it's beginning to feel like this chapter is closing and I couldn't be happier.

I must say I don't find the "October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month" as annoying as I did last year. I still think selling pink scrub brushes, frying pans, etc. is strange, but I can appreciate the sentiment behind it and if it pays for research that can prolong someone's life, then bring on the pink waffle irons, spatulas, and ribbons. Just don't buy one for me:)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

new hairdo

Told ya I wasn't gonna keep the salt and pepper! It's bright yellow, but I'll have to give my head a rest before I lighten it more. In a couple weeks I should have the shade I am looking for - fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I am having fun with the new color and I feel 10 years younger!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Expanding my horizons

Hello all,

just a quick note to update you. my hair is growing - yay! but it's coming in salt and pepper- boo! so I'm gonna dye it soon. Next time you see me, I hope I will be a platinum blonde.
I also have the busiest plastic surgeon on the planet, so my expander won't be put in until November 13th. This means my implant won't be going in until well after the holidays. I think I am going to look on the bright side - I can enjoy the fall and Halloween without painkillers and I'll be used to my expander by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. It's all good.

This has been a great summer so far! Hope you are all well!

Monday, July 27, 2009

muga and more

I had a follow up MUGA (heart test) on Friday, plus blood work and herceptin. Yippee, my hematocrit is within one point of normal range! Bye, bye chemo-induced anemia. The MUGA went well and the rest of my blood tests came back great, so I don't have to see my doctor for 9 weeks. I will still do herceptin every three and I am going to schedule my reconstruction for the fall, but I feel like I am getting back to normal. What a wonderful feeling! Hope you are all enjoying your summer so far. I am having a blast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

good news

I got a call from my doctor yesterday and it looks like my margins are fine and I won't have to have radiation - yay!! Also, my vitamin D level looks good too. Getting out in the sunshine probably helps.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Follow-up visit with Dr. Rinn

I went with my peeps to get my 3week dose of herceptin and to see my oncologist Dr. Rinn yesterday. She is still trying to figure out if my margins were clean enough to forego radiation. I really, really hope I don't have to. It's not that it's hard or anything like the all day chemo thing, but it does involve daily trips to NW Hospital and that sounds like a drag to me. So anyway, she will talk to my breast surgeon next week and get back to me. On a good note, my white blood count is back to normal - yay! My hematocrit, which is tied to anemia, is still low but up 3 points, so I gotta keep eating my Total with Raisin bran and clams - what a hardship! I am going to get a MUGA (heart test) in 6 weeks, but other than that I don't have any testing for 6 months. At that time, I will have the dreaded MRI. Bring on the valium!

On a fun note, we had a lovely camping trip to Lincoln Rock. The weather was nice, but the water was freeeeeeeezing!! Next up - Michelle's Iron Man in Coeur D'Alene. We'll be taking a side trip to Silverwood, so that should be fun. This is a busy, busy summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Peach Fuzz!

Well, I am getting some hair back - yay! The wigs are stifling in this heat, so I've been wearing my baseball cap or bandannas. Yesterday we walked to Golden Gardens and a little girl asked me why I had no hair. I told her I lost it. She asked me if I have a garage and I told her no, but I have a carport. She said "maybe you should look in your carport for your hair because you look like a boy!" She gave me a good laugh! So, if you seeing me rooting around in my carport....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Done with Chemo - Yahoo!

I finished chemo on Friday the 8th and I feel pretty good going into my second week. I still have to have herceptin every three weeks until January, but that's a piece of cake compared to chemo. I have decided to just enjoy the summer and not worry about getting a new boob until fall. Who wants to be in pain when the weather is nice and there's so much fun stuff going on? My hair should start growing back soon, but be prepared to see "GI Jane" all summer because these wigs I am wearing are getting too hot. I really need to invest in a few straw hats. Anyway, I will post pics and keep you all updated when I get testing done to see if the cancer is gone.

Also, I want to say congratulations to my cousin Lesa, who had a baby girl on May 11th - Mommy and Bristol are both doing well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chemo 5 and I'm Alive!

This Friday I had my 5th chemo and a visit from my pal, Michelle. Aunt Deb and Jen were there as usual, but she just adds a little sizzle to the day! My peeps were worried they were going to get thrown out of the chemo lounge, but I think the nurses appreciate that having a good time while you're there is instrumental in getting through the day. Thanks, Michelle! Also, thanks for the fun new wigs - since they are black and dark brown, they are more alter ego than everyday, but I look forward to creating a great look for each one! That was really nice of you your mom-in-law to give them up, especially since they are brand new and human hair!

Great news on the family front - Aunt Deb is gonna be a great grandma! That means cousin Mike is going to be a grandpa - wow, what an old guy! Congratulations to Drew and Justine!

Counting the weeks until chemo 6 and my summer can begin!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chemo #4 - The end is in sight!

Had chemo #4 on Friday, the 27th and I am so excited that there are only 2 more to go! Today, I have decided to focus on positive things and not talk about my side effects, or how poopy this week is. It will pass and that's that.

A friend of mine who has gone through the chemo thing already, Tracy, came to visit while I was there. It was really nice to see you, Tracy - you look great and you make me realize that this is just a temporary situation - I will get my hair back and I will feel really good soon!

I also had my loyal chemo peeps, Aunt Deb and Jen - you guys are the wind beneath my wings! I can always count on Auntie to have baby oranges for me to eat and my darling sis for warm blanket retrieval. I am so grateful to have you guys there - you take my mind off infusions and put it where it should be - Vegas, baby! I am so looking forward to all the good things that will happen once this chemo is done. Fleetwood Mac in May; camping at Lincoln Rock in June, Gram's 80th birthday party and Vegas in July, Seahawks games in Sept, Halloween in October (already thinking about Connor's costume!) and Elton John and Billy Joel in Nov. - this is what keeps me going. It's not about how quickly my hair grows in or whether I'll have a great new boob this year, it's just about how much fun I'm going to have when I don't have to be poisoned every three weeks. I am counting the days!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Congratulations to Lesa and Neil!

Wow, I just got done kvetching on this blog about my icky day and I decided to check my lovely cousin Lesa's blog. Her news has just totally turned around my day. She and Neil got married on Feb. 28th in a very small ceremony! I am so happy for them. I am sure Kaeden and Baby Bristol (coming in May!) are very happy their parents have become a legal unit. Can't wait for the reception in August!

Chemo #3 - Halfway done!

Hi All,

I had my third chemo on the 6th of March. I am so happy to be at the halfway point. However, this is day 4, which is my yuck day, so I really wish I was just done with this whole thing. My added intake of iron rich foods doesn't seem to have helped my anemia; my counts actually went down - boo! Oh well, bring on the supplements, I guess. So, I am having a pity party today. My whole body aches and my face and hands are red and swollen and I want my blankie - wah! wah! Okay, that's enough whining for now. I am sure tomorrow will be better and I'll be peachy keen by Friday, when I go in for my weekly Herceptin. It's really nice to be able to do the Herceptin at Ballard. I can just walk over from work and walk back. If only everything was this easy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chemo #2 and Shana's hair adventures

I had my second chemo on the 13th of February and it's been going the same as the first. The 4th day has turned out to be the yucky one and the dizziness seems to be still with me today on Day 7, but it's getting better. I tried a Diet Coke this morning and it still tastes a little off, so hopefully tomorrow or the next my tastebuds will be back on line. As you can all see, I shaved my head as the shedding was driving me completely nuts. I find it hilarious that Mike and I share the same hairstyle. Of course, at work I've been parading a variety of looks around the office. My alter-egos so far: Biker Babs (Do-rag, no wig), Shar (reddish wig- don't know why that name, but it seems to fit for this look), Posh (Mike's favorite, the short, sassy blonde wig), Penelope Pitstop (the black hat and blonde wig together or just black hat. It was Daphne, but I like Penelope better.) I was calling my long blonde hair and pink hat concoction Hannah Montana, but the guys at work call me Georgy, as they don't really relate to the pre-teen stuff and it looks kinda mod 60's. I am sure as I try out different combos, I'll have more names. Everyone knows I love dressing up, so this has been a hoot for me so far. Now, if I could get my beer drinkin' persona back, I'd be in hog heaven.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Taking the Plunge

Well, the hair was falling out in earnest this weekend and I wore a hat to work today. My lovely friend, Erika, came over and buzzed me. Glad that's over! Now it's on to rocking the bald or wigs and hats! Connor prefers me with a hat:)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting Wiggy With It

I went out with friends and family for a fun day of wig shopping and ended up getting a couple I liked. I am shedding copiously now, so may be sporting my new hair soon. I am thinking of buzzing it all off this weekend as the strands of hair everywhere are driving me bonkers! Chemo #2 is tomorrow and I am hoping it goes as smoothly as last time. It wasn't fun, but I managed it and I have felt absolutely great these two weeks in between - fingers crossed that it remains the same! I am terrible at layout, so here's the pics all catty-wampus up top. I bought the bottom two. Thought you also might like to see my rejects - Holy Tammy Wynette and Mullet-head!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gone, Baby, Gone

So, here's the new hair. This picture was taken on Friday and I lightened it considerably on Saturday. All my blonde got cut off and I just couldn't have that! I should have my hair for another couple of weeks, then it's wig-o-rama, or cute hat-o-rama.
I had my first blood draw and herceptin infusion on Friday. My white blood cell count was great and I got to go to the movies on Saturday night. "The Curious Case of Benajmin Button" was really good. Wanted to see Slumdog, but it was sold out. So, 1 of the Best Picture nominees down and 4 to go! I'll have to get crackin if I want to see them all by the 22nd.
I have turned a corner and I'm feeling great this week. I am able to drink my diet coke and my beloved Bud Light - had a couple during the Super Bowl and they were oh, so good!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chemo #1 - the saga continues

I'm on day 6 of chemo and I sure wish I could go back to day one. It's not that I'm ultra sick or achy or anything, I just feel off. My beloved Diet Coke and Bud Light taste horrible, which I was sure would never happen to me! I am able to go to work and for the most part be productive - except during these lovely waves of dizziness I keep getting. Don't worry, that's from the stomach stuff they give me. Speaking of stomach stuff, I can't seem to get enough food in my mouth - it's a strange way to be. I feel completely bloated and full, but need to keep chewing all day long in order to feel semi-okay. Since this is just the first chemo, I'll probably be looking back on this week as a good one - ha ha! Enough complaining, though. I am trying to visualize the chemo as Ms. Pacman and she's eating all the icky cancer pellets. When she gets caught by Inky, Blinky, or Clyde, that's the side effects. I'll eventually get the high score and be worshipped by all, and okay, that's where the metaphor breaks off....

Getting my hair cut off this Thursday and all I can think about is the disastrous haircut Julia Roberts gets in Steel Magnolias. Please Lord, don't let me look like that! Anyway, Erika is no Truvy, so I'm sure it will be as hip as can be for the couple of weeks I'll actually have it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

CHEMO - Round One

Hi All,

Got back from chemo around quarter to 4. My aunt Deb, sister Jen, and I got there at a 8am, so it was quite a long day. I had lots and lots of drugs administered, some of which took 90 minutes a piece. Next time it won't take so long. The Benadryl they put in the IV is lovely and I was able to nap quite a bit. I have every type of anti-nausea medication they could give me, so I'm hoping that will be one thing I don't get. I feel pretty good right now! I'm on steroids, so they make me a little hyper. I got 4 hours of sleep last night because of them, but I have a sleeping pill to take tonight - woo hoo!

The results of the CT Scan, Muga, and Bone Scans were all good. No problems with my liver, so bring on the Bud Light! Dr. Rinn was quite pleased with the lack of any cysts or irregularities as that is pretty rare - so yay me!

They changed my herceptin schedule, so I will be doing that every week instead of every three, but after the next two, I can switch over to Ballard and get this when I do my blood draws. I am so lucky I have such a great workplace where everyone is so supportive of all this time I take off.
Is it no wonder that I love my job?

Anyway, off to give Connor a bath. Night, Night, All!

p.s. I thought of a new nickname for me last Saturday - "Half Rack" or "Lefty Half Rack" - kind of sounds like a country western singer, right?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Port and I

Hi All,

I got my port on Thursday. I will take a page from my sister Jen's book and substitute "barnacles" for swear words. So, holy barnacles that port hurt the first day! It's day 4 now, so the pain is subsiding, but I swear getting the boob lopped off hurt less. Also, the day after the port I had a Muga (heart) test, bone scan, and ct scan of my liver, abdomen, etc. The solution they give you to drink is absolutely disgusting - like liquidated vanilla chalk and I had to drink 2 bottles of that barnacle! So, hopefully the test went well and I'll have no problems getting the chemo this Thursday.

I went out this Saturday for my last hurrah before the chemo starts - it was so much fun! Thanks to Kelley for planning it! Thanks, Alissa, for the cool bandana, too! I'm sure I will get a lot of use out of it. Now, I'm not saying that was the last Bud Light I'll ever drink because my doc said I could have beer if I felt like it, but I won't be having 5 in a row for quite a while. She actually thinks I won't want it because everything is going to start tasting funny. Oh well, I can still hang out with you all while you're tossing them back! It'll be like when I was pregnant.

The week after chemo I have decided to go get my haircut really, really short, so the next time you see me I may either be "rocking the baldness" as my brother-in-law would like or have the Heidi Fidanque-type do, at least.

ciao for now!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No boob for you!

Well, Righty 2.0 is being pushed back until after chemo is done. After talking to the plastic surgeon on Monday the 5th and then the oncologist on the 9th, it's the best decision. There's just too much risk if I get an infection while my immune system is lowered. I am truly okay with this, foam booby seems to work just fine. I haven't heard any whispering behind my back, so I must be looking fairly symmetrical:)

By the way, Edie and I have decided to invent a boob "purse" - basically, it will be a neoprene-fiberfill form with a hollow middle for holding dollars, keys, what have you - might as well make the boobless side work for me, right? See what drinking at Bleachers will inspire one to do!

My first chemo starts on January 22nd and I will have to go every 3 weeks for 6 rounds and also have herceptin infusions every 3 weeks for a year. I liked my oncologist a lot, so I've decided to get the chemo at Swedish on Capitol Hill, since she doesn't travel to Ballard. I may change to the Ballard site when I'm just doing herceptin and I can get blood draws in Ballard too. So, my last chemo will be at the end of May. Yay, just in time to go camping! If all goes well, I'll get my expander put in in June and then have the implant done in August or September. I may be putting the goods in the window at Halloween!

And yes, for all who are wondering, I will be losing my hair. Dr. Rinn says it will fall out 14-21 days after my first round of chemo. I'm planning on getting my hair cut really short before then and then buzzing it when it starts to come out. I will be wig shopping too, so those of you who love costume shopping can come with me and help me pick out something groovy.

Next week is gonna be fun, bone scans, heart scans, blood tests and port placement, oh my!
Can't wait to get out with my peeps next Saturday for a little fun before the real work starts!