Perception

Something I often wonder about is if I’m doing enough “good”. What might my eulogy sound like? Who might write it? Have I given enough of myself? Will my kids know how hard I tried and how much I loved them?

June 12th is my surgery date. I installed a countdown timer on my phone, but, who am I kidding?! I don’t need it.

My surgery will last somewhere around 9 hours and I’ll be in the hospital for 3-5 nights. Recovery will not be fun. It happens to be a particularly busy week that it is scheduled, but I had zero input for the finalization of the date…

My surgeon will be harvesting my belly fat to construct new breasts. As it is, there is no room for implants even if I wanted to.

In the meantime, I plan to make the best of the time I have while I’m not recovering.

I’m hoping for healthy results leading up to surgery date and for no complications.

This September I’m turning 39. I think 40 will be amazing!

Oncology check up!

Today was another big day. Oncology check-up with labs. I absolutely do not miss going to the Cancer Center. It’s a nice enough place, but the cumulative amount of hours spent here is insane.

Luckily, I’m able to zip over here from work and my commute time is about 5 minutes.

I had blood draws, which means waiting about an hour in between appointments. Usually I take that time to go for a walk, but I had some work to do, so I brought my laptop in and got to work.

Otherwise I would have stewed in my potential results. About a half an hour in, I took a moment to look around me and hear some of the conversations. I wondered what stages all of the patients were in and what pains they were currently in. 🙏

My name was called just after about an hour, my vitals were updated and my oncologist came in to go over all of my results (please seriously tell me my results!). Something I don’t think I’ll ever understand is that I am not the first or second person to know my results. I remember when I was waiting on my initial pathology results and I knew that the nurse on the other end of the phone could see them, but she was “unable to divulge that information,” that my “provider is out for the day,” and that I “would have to wait until” my “provider is back in the clinic and has time to review the results.” I ALSO remember that it was that very same time that I exercised my rights and let that woman know that “I don’t give a rip who tells me, but someone is going to give me my results TODAY.” Anyway. Today. My results…. my oncologist let me know that I am very healthy, my blood work is perfect and he is happy to see me smile. ❤️

Quick Clinic

My first appointment non-cancer related was today. And boy, does it suck.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had a day of “nothing” planned. I had been so sick of watching the snow that I wasn’t about to do “nothing” so we tore apart Kayla’s room (with her permission). Trim and all.

I painted the walls a nice blue color, thinking that eventually, B might move down there (he loves the idea today. Tomorrow is a different story). He currently has the nursery, and is starting to outgrow it.

Trim was sanded and stained, ready for a coat of varnish today.

While we were sitting on the couch, watching A Dog’s Purpose, B announced that he had a sore throat. His temp was elevated slightly, and I just knew it was strep. Brad bundled him up and headed over to the quick clinic in town where it was indeed confirmed that he has it. What was the first thing that came to mind? The bite of waffles he shared with me at breakfast.

It didn’t take long. Within about an hour, my throat started to hurt too. So, here we are. Quick clinic for me too.

I happened to walk in just after 4 billion other people, so naturally my wait time would be days and days long. The word “quick” in the phrase “quick clinic” is absolute bullshit.

Just like the weather.

Surgery!

Today was a Big. Deal. Today I had another surgical consultation for reconstruction. My initial one was last July, as I was supposed to be able to have the mastectomies with immediate reconstruction on the same day, but that was all before the metastatic “situation”, as I guess it will be referred to.

It was a busy day with work in the morning, work travel in the afternoon, a quick visit with my mom (those are the BEST!) and my late afternoon appointment. I was glad for the distractions all day as the anticipation had left me sleepless for the last few nights.

My appointment was at 3:00. I arrived at 2:55, was called back at 2:57 and was back in my car by 3:17. In the span of 20 minutes, my fate had been determined. I knew going into this appointment that I would have one of two outcomes.

1. Despite having to wait the recommended 6 months, I could schedule surgery for this summer.

Or…

2. I would have to wait until next summer for reconstruction due to schedules.

There was no wiggle room on this. It’s now or then.

My surgeon has been great this whole time. He and his nurse went through the process again with me. They explained my surgical options and complications. He listened to me and my hopes and after all was said and done, I told him I would follow his recommendation but I really want to feel whole again. At this point, despite my trying desperately not to, I started to cry with the anticipation of the end of my journey. Then the nurse cried. Then he took my hand and let me know that i was the reason why he does what he does. To make people feel whole again.

Early June. Can’t. Wait.

Nine Months

I have overcome so many obstacles along this journey. From diagnosis to today it’s only been nine months. In these nine months, I’ve had so many things taken from me that I’m getting back. I don’t know how long it will take until I feel normal, or feel like I’m not looked at differently while people wonder if I have/had cancer. I still get second looks, especially at the gym, but I try to keep my head down and push through the discomfort (literally) and move forward.

Last school year, every Friday, I would take the littles to this cute cafe in our little town. B always ordered a cinnamon roll and A usually ordered whatever struck her fancy that day. I would order a beautiful cup of Lavazza and enjoy every moment with them. The women in that café greeted us every time we came in and were always so sweet. Since last year, I’d been afraid to go back. I can’t explain why, as I’m not really sure. Thursday, B asked me if we could “please go back to have cinnamon rolls?”

So, we did.

Radiation Oncology check-up

Today was my first check-up post radiation therapy.

My PA checked on my healing, answered my questions and we chatted about my general health and expectations. Really, my only question now is when can I have reconstruction surgery.

After radiation therapy, reconstruction is not usually talked about until at least 6 months have passed. Otherwise, I run the risk of tissue and healing concerns.

Six months? Thats really terrible timing, and likely won’t work for my schedule (sounds snotty, but it really won’t). So I’ll likely have to wait until NEXT SUMMER.

No thank you!

I also learned about the side effects of my new medications and how many years I’ll have to take them. 10-15 is what it sounds like (FML). I also learned about the grade that I have received now after all treatments are complete and it was an overwhelming amount of awesomeness. The type of cancer I have is incredibly reactive to all of the treatments that are offered in modern medicine. Essentially, if a person was to get metastatic breast cancer, I nailed it. I told you I was an overachiever.

Soooooo, I scheduled an appointment with my surgeon. I’m hoping to convince him to give me the ability to schedule surgery. As much as I don’t want to spend my summer recovering, it’s likely my only option unless I wait for next summer. If I wait, it’s ANOTHER medical deductible and over a whole year that I’ll have to wait. I’m really not good at waiting.

Two posts, one day

I’ve always wanted to be the fun one. The one who the kids want to be around. The sister that was the most extra (new term. It’s what happens when you hang with college kids a lot!).

Every time I see my youngest niece and nephew, I always say, “who is the best auntie in the WORLD?!”. Like clockwork, they respond in unison, “you are, Auntie!” I usually make them repeat it until they cant even remember what is happening… I love it.

Today we celebrated with most of my family. We missed the Harrison clan, but were able to celebrate and have an overall terrific day. My sis-in-law and I started a new tradition of walking around my old town and generally updating each other on life/gossip. It was so normal, so needed and so very welcomed.

Easter 2018 will go down in the books as wonderful.

I even stole a picture with my most favorite brother. He’s one of the most hard working, loyal people I’ll ever know. I’m so proud of him.

Easter

It’s been awhile since we’ve packed up the littles and headed anywhere. It seems that we’ve been playing catch-up for months, now, and I honestly can’t remember the last road trip we had together.

Today, Kayla is at her college home in Duluth, and we miss her more than words can say. For awhile my family was all traveling to me as I was too sick or too weak to travel. I remember taking all of the anti-nausea drugs I could if I knew we would be in the car. The most difficult trip for me (in more ways than ever!) was move-in day in Duluth. I was so sick. My memories of that time are dull, but I do remember the nausea and heartache as we drove to our destination.

Just one year ago, I had Kayla, long hair and breasts. This year, I have none of those things with me today, but I do have my life and a greater appreciation of the people in it.

Happy Easter.