AND THE SAGA CONTINUES……

January 22 2014   Hard bump just above port removal scar…pinching under arm…what’s going on?

A few weeks after removal …I now have a marble size lump where my port was… under my skin. It sticks out more than the port ever did and it is so hard that it actually hurts when someone hugs me.  Showed it to the doctor and he told me is was most likely blood leak/pool that collected from where the port was removed. This morning when I reached for my robe , I got a sharp pinching pain running up my arm from my arm pit.  Feeling that again today.

Also….my left chest is hurting/burning once again….24/7……

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January 15 2014       no biopsy for now

It seems the nodules are too small for any kind of biopsy….so….in three months a second CT scan will take place to let us know if they have changed…grown or not.  Not what I wanted to hear.

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January 2014

       Apt at cancer care this morning to find out about needle biopsy and when it will take place.  I am hoping that maybe it will occur today.  The sooner the better.  My fingers are crossed and I am thinking only positive thoughts….send your energy my way ….I need a bit more of that today!!!

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January 2014

.So it appears I now have 2 nodules in my left chest area…in the lung to be exact.  It has been 7 years since my last cancer occurrence. More doctor apts. and a needle biopsy to follow to find out if the nodules are cancerous.  I took that day to try and wrap my head around the possibility….had my husband pick up pizza for dinner and I curled up with him and my dogs on the couch and just watched some mindless TV.  That was good and now I will keep myself busy until the test and the results.

What really bothers me is that I always said I was keeping the port in…as a kind of good luck charm…and now that it is out…something is going on !!!!!!.  I don’ t really believe in good luck charms and such….but I can’t help but wonder right about now.

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December 6, 2013         Port Removed and Burning in chest examined  with a CT scan that followed….

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My lymphedema has been really acting up with my arm quite swollen as well as my underarm and chest and now my left leg is tingling all the time.  It seems the new meds I began taking 9 weeks ago…for osteoporosis…exacerbates lymphedema and so now I and my doctor are considering that a possible cause for all my discomfort  over the past few months.  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful end to all of my problems.        So now it will just be a waiting game.   I have always hated waiting….my husband will attest to that….so being busy will be the order of the day for the next few

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November 15  , 2013     Burning in chest and port problems

It has been over 2 years since I jotted anything on this page….but I need to write a bit.  My lymphedema has been acting up…possibly because over the summer it was so hot that I never wore my compression sleeve.  Bad,,,Bad girl. I won’t do that again as my arm has become quite swollen and actually aches  24/7.  Not only that buy my affected chest area is also bothering me so appointments have been set up to have it all checked out.  I had my port flushed as usual this week and ….oh no….it did not want to work…..after working well all that time (10) years it decided to NOT!!!   I had said that once it no longer worked I would have it taken out….so I guess…it is time.

You may be wondering why would anyone keep a port in for that long.  I know. A bit insane. But let me explain. Over a period of 7 years I was diagnosed three times and had treatments of chemo two times.  First was with no port ..and .because of that my veins were fried and  receiving treatments and taking blood became difficult…and so… the port was put in after the second diagnosis.  After that I and doctors decided to keep it in just in case it (C) returned .  As the years went by and I went for regular flushings…it just kept working and working to everyone’s surprise.  It kind of became my good luck charm and now I was curious to see how long it would work.  Well this week it finally decided not to work.  I had to have blood taken from my arm and the poor technician had to poke me in a few places before it finally worked.

I am going to miss my port in a strange way….and even more I will miss my regular connection to our local Cancer Care dept.  Hmmm,    I might consider volunteering there in the future to keep that connection

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How does one deal with news of Cancer?…I believe everyone deals with it in the best way they can at the time. For me it was important to listen to my heart…to deal with it in such a way as to have no regrets in the future. I will write about “My Breast Cancer Adventure”  where it took me…and how it affected my life and the lives of those around me. You will find my most recent posts at the top of this page.

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May 21, 2011

Well…the world didn’t end today....as predicted !!  Yea.

…Hmmm…If I had never had Breast Cancer…chances are my life would have gone in a different direction…and I may have never added kayaking into my life.

Last night I decided to put a pink ribbon on my new kayak life jacket. I tied one on with pink ribbon and also added a medalion that says…happiness….That is the best way to explain how I feel when in my new kayak!!

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May 5th, 2011

This summer it will have been 5 years since my last breast cancer treatment.….and so…am I supposed to celebrate or something??  For some reason I don’t think I will…as if …if I do…and it returns , I might be thinking…If I never did celebrate…maybe it would not have come back.  Now how pessimistic is that thinking???  Me who prides myself on being as positive as possible in spite of my situation….So…I will stay positive...I will celebrate quietly to myself…and what ever happens , happens…

February 10, 2011

As a three-time Breast Cancer Survivor…Treatment Survivor …or what ever I might be identified as…out there …Breast Cancer is what started me on the path of writing…It all began with a nondescript…black journal.

As my Breast Cancer adventure began…little did I know where it would lead…I started writing in my journal everyday.  I wrote mostly about doctor apointments…what I was told…and about my treatments…how they went…how I felt during those months…my emotions and more. It turned out to be a great place to get rid of my emotions…as if by writing them down … it gave me the ability to better cope with each new chapter…My one little black journal was soon joined by others…To date I must have about 5-6 of them.

I had a few years between 1999 to 2005 when I returned back to work…got busy with other things and set my journals aside.  It was in 2006, after treatments were over…that I took out a journal and began writing more creatively…kids stories…rhyming ones…and I was enjoying spending my time with this new-found hobby.

In 2006, my sister encouraged me to write a story for Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors… They were in the process of accepting personal stories to be published in this book …and so…after a few weeks of thinking about it…I did it.  I wrote a story…sent it in and it was chosen to be one of the 50 stories to be published. I was thrilled.

It was after I had that book in my hand…with my story published in it…that I began to consider taking out my kids stories…polishing one up…and submitting it for possible publishing. In June of 2009 I signed a contract with Tate Publishing…and on May 25th, 2010…Sam’s Weird Afternoon was released!!

And so…”Breast Cancer had brought me down a road…a road I most likely would  never have taken…I consider Sam’s Weird Afternoon to be the  “silver lining”  following the storm.

One dollar ($1)  from each book bought through the site below…will go to my favorite Breast Cancer Organization….

http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61663-005-8

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An Even Better Mousetrap

Cleaning up downstairs one day I noticed my chest mold …from which was used for my radiation treatments…hanging on the wall. . For some reason I had kept it. What kind of mold am I referring to you might ask? A mold they make of you …which they screw down to a table… to keep your body from moving during those important minutes.  Once attached there is no chance of moving that area.

I remember the first time I was placed in mine;… my immediate thought was… “ If there should be a fire, will they to get me out of this?…. “ The staff assured me they would… Funny how our minds work. This mold is made of clear acrylic looking material and is a perfect mold of what ever body part is being treated,… how they do that for testicular cancer I’ll never know..or…want to know… but mine was of my chest and torso…with one flat side and the other with a nicely formed breast..

As I looked at it hanging in my husbands work room,… how to make an even better mousetrap/boob came to me….silicone !!  So off to the hardware store I went, bought a tube of clear silicone…you know… the kind your husband uses to fix things in the house, brought it home and went to work. My thinking was…I could squirt the silicone into the inside part of the form where my remaining breast had been molded …the one I still owned.

Why a better boob???….Well after having a number of different ones…ones that never stayed in place…ones that were too flat…and another that was uncomfortable…I thought to myself..why not??

It would be perfect, I thought to myself …..as the silicone began to fill the empty cavity…. I squeezed and squeezed the handle of the tool. ….The cavity seemed to take forever to fill and when it finally did …I had not a drop of silicone left…. Good thing my cup size wasn’t any larger and… good thing I bought my own silicone… and didn’t think to borrow some from my husbands stash cause it was all gone.

It was not until that moment that…. my sense of smell came alive …and …I became a bit concerned….. I guess I was so busy with the task that I never noticed until I was finished…. Have you ever smelled wet silicone??  …Well …have you ever smelled a skunk?…. It was so bad that I had to leave the room …and… here I thought… I would surprise my husband with my creativeness. I surprised him alright… Had I run this idea by my husband he would have warned me,… but now , when he came home from work…, the whole house stunk? And I thought I was really going to wear this???

But I did finished it, and it was not until four days later that it finally dried solid….. When it did,… the stink was gone. ……Yea !!! Success!!!…. It was the perfect shape and would be a wonderful twin to my real one…and so …with a feeling of pride in my accomplishment,… I slipped it into my bra’s pocket….  I looked in the mirror and thought…. Dolly Parton move aside !!!!  And…it would have been a success had it not been about 3 cup sizes bigger than my real one!!

Not wanting to continue the day feeling the pangs of failure once again…and before my husband got home, …I got out a knife, a razor,… some sand paper…. and…. any other tool I could find that might help me … I worked away at it like some master craftsman….until I had whittled it down to the perfect size…. I glued some foam on it so it wasn’t hard against my body and voila!! …The better mousetrap/boob.

And that old radiation form…which I had kept  for a number of years…was about to see it’s end…On New Year’s Eve…2010/2011…at a large bonfire we attended…it was tossed in….I watched it as the plastic dropped in flames of melted plastic…It was good to see it dissapear..and I hope by getting rid of it…I will never have to be in one again. .

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It was in 2006 that I finished my last radiation treatments.…and I must admit…there are days when actually forget about those days…they seem so far away.  It is important that every once in a while, there is something that reminds me…as I never want to forget.  It might be hearing of another person having to deal with it all…or…on days that my arm swells up more than usual…or…on a day when my underarm is feeling a bit different from yesterday. It is those times that I remember…it is those times that I hope I never have to go through it all again…a forth time….and it is those moments when…I feel so very lucky to have beat it three times.

Those are the  moments when I also think about how Breast Cancer has changed my life forever.

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Superstition and Cancer

If you are like me, after your cancer and treatments were over, there were things you did, or kept or considered to be your lucky charm. Last month I finally got rid of my radiation mold. Now why would anyone keep such a thing?  There certainly will not be a use for it in future…but for some reason I just had to keep it. And then there is my porta cath…the port that was put in in 2003 to use for chemo treatments and has now been in my chest for over 7 years. First I kept it in at the advise of my doctors as they felt it may be needed in future for more treatments. I did have more treatments…radiation…and for 5 years now my cancer has been sleeping (as I call it) and no need to use my port for chemo…only for blood.

For a number of years now I have wondered about getting it taken out, however, I very quickly decide not to. I have this strange feeling that if it ever IS taken out…I may just need it…so…it is my lucky charm. Could you imagine now…how I would feel if I decided to  have it removed…and then…my cancer returned?!!!! So I will keep it right where it is until the day comes that it no longer works. Like the old saying…why fix it if it’s not broken…well…it’s not broken…so it will remain and serve as my lucky charm   :)

So I wonder, are you like me?  Do you have a lucky charm? Has it been working for you?
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Journal Writing

immediately after hearing that I had Breast Cancer…I bought a journal and for then on…I wrote. I wrote about appointments…treatments…my emotions…changes…work…and family. I only wrote bit each day and it was therapeutic in a way. After my third diagnosis…and treatment went a rye…I was so glad that I had written things down. It was so upsetting that I requested investigation by the College of physicians and Surgeons in my province. The required information…and luckily…I had it and more. I was able to detail the days before treatment..what doctors had said..what I had said and was able to send them a fat binder of information to check. Preparing everything for such an investigation is a bit daunting…however…I did it.

So what would I say to others going through it??  Write…write write. You have no idea what the future will bring and in my case…I would have most likely not have been able to request an investigation..or at least…not be able to provide any documentation to assist the College with. .I must tell you that I was not a writer in any shape or form prior to all of this. Take control of your life by documenting your adventure/s .You will find that years later what you remember and what you documented are very different which I found very ….which I shouldn’t with the brain fog the treatments have left me with.  As well… in my case my story was published in Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors after my sister encouraged me to submit it which let me to getting one of my children’s stories published a few years later called Sam’s Weird Afternoon.  (at the end of this year I will be donating $1 from each book sold…to my favorite Cancer organization.