Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who Am I?

What defines you? When people look at you, what do they think? Do you ever get those pitying looks? Ugh! I HATE those looks. I am NOT defined by my cancer. I don't want to be.

I want to be a mommy.
A wife.
A daughter.
A daughter in law.
A granddaughter.
A sister.
A cousin.
A niece.
A friend.
A BEST friend.
A Christian.
A teacher.
A survivor.

But please do not define me as someone with cancer. I am not. I am simply someone who is battling cancer. I was dealt a really shitty hand.

So, the next time you run across someone with cancer, don't say you are sorry, because my response will be, it's not your fault. Don't say, keep fighting, because why would I stop? Just give them a hug and say, awww man, that really sucks! What can I do for you? Chances are, they won't take you up on it, so do it anyway! The best surprise for a cancer patient? Food for their family. Gift cards. Money.

My point is, don't look at me and feel sorry for me. This is what it is. It blows. But oh well. Such is life.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Papilloma

Since the pain in my breast has been slightly annoying, my oncologist at Vanderbilt wanted me to see my family physican. I was not happy, but knew that I needed to get an antibiotic so I really didn't have a choice. So today, amid the billion other things that I needed to get done, I also went to my Dr. Which actually turned out to be a good thing.

What we thought was an infection, actually turns out to be what is called a Benign Intraductal Papilloma. It's just a tiny growth that occurs in the milk duct. How and why this happened noone really knows. Chances are it has been there, growing, for a long time and just now became large enough to feel. I only have one, so it's nothing to worry about, but it will have to be surgically removed. The Dr put me on an antibiotic which will shrink it for the time being.

At this time I am not even going to think about having surgery. It's a pretty minor surgery, at least in comparsion to what I have been through, but chances are I would have to stop taking the chemo. At least for a few days and that is not something I am willing to do. The more you stop and start the chemo, the better chances you have of building of a resistance to them. So, for now, I am going to take the antibiotic, which will hopefully shrink it down a bit, at least enough so that I am not in constant pain and just suck it up. I have (or will have!) an appt with my OB/GYN in January and since she is absolutely fabulous, I will discuss it with her, get her opinion, and discuss my options.

But, if they are going to make me stop chemo, then in my mind, the only option is to suck it up and wait. We know this chemo won't work forever. No matter how much my mommy wants it to, it just won't. Boo, right?! But, it is what it is. So, for now, we wait and pray the antibiotic will shrink down the growth enough to ease the pain and we thank God that it's not cancer!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love This!

Cancer, I did not give you the right, To invade my body and take a bite.

This is my body and with all my might, I will prevail with one hell of a fight.

To the cancer inside, I will battle and kill.

For that is my body's God given will.

To my cancer, these words I do send. Your life is short and near the end.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Card

Trying to get a good picture of my kids for the Christmas card this year was darn near impossible! I did manage to get one, but this one was so darn funny I simply had to share it:)


Happy Holidays from our house to ours!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sense of Humor

I have proof that God has a sense of humor. And that he is a male. For sure a male. A funny, funny male at that.

Let me back up just a bit. I kept the details of some of my cancer a secret. For selfish reasons. For embarrassing reasons really. But the purpose of this blog is to raise awareness about Melanoma. To raise awareness about the dangers of TANNING BEDS and the sun. What better way to convince teenagers NOT to tan, then to tell the intimate details, right?

So here goes....way back in April 2009, goodness doesn't that seem like forever ago? To a person that was given 6 months to live it's pretty amazing that I am still here kicking ass:) Anywoo, way back then when we found out the cancer had come back and we were heading to MD Anderson the CT/PET scan showed that I had 4 tumors. One in my breast, and 3 in my ASS!! Seriously, you ask? Yes, seriously people.

After a couple rounds of biochemo 2 of the tumors disappeared, 2 in my tush remained. After 6 rounds they had certainly shrank but they were still there. They had to be surgically removed. Nice.

Proof that God is a funny, funny man.

One tumor was removed in Sept. The second in Dec. I had hella problems with the second tumor. I have never, ever showed my ass to so many people.

Proof, that God is a funny, funny man.

Now, fast forward to this most recent appt at Vanderbilt. No worries, my ass is fine:) However, the night before my appt I found a lump in my breast. Fabulous. I wasn't going to tell the Dr. Why? Because I like my Dr. I really didn't want to have to show him my boob! But, the morning of my appt I made the decision to tell him about it. I figured there was a reason I found it the night before.

So, I went to my appt and told my Dr. Then I showed him my boob.

Again, proof that God is a funny, funny man.

My Dr was worried. We had two options. One was a mammagram, but he didn't think it would really show us anything (and to be honest, he wasn't sure it would even work on me, I, ahem, wasn't really blessed in the clevage area....)the other option was a fine needle biopsy.  I choose that one.

Holy hell did that hurt! A tiny little needle was inserted into my nipple and moved in and out a whole bunch of times. Repeat that times 3!! Holy shit! After everything I have been through I am a pretty tough cookie. I have to be. But oh dear me, that hurt that a son of a bitch!

The preliminary results were back in about 30 minutes (yay for cancer centers that have all the equipment and facilities right there!) and turns out I have an infection in a mammary gland. Odd? yes. But am I complaining? Heck no! It's NOT CANCER! Just a silly little infection in my boob.

So, there you have it folks. I officially have proof that God is indeed a male with a very funny sense of humor.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

True Friendship

Throughout the last 2 and half years I have been through a lot. Obviously! But not just my battle with Stage IV Melanoma, but just in my life in general. Which, to be perfectly honest, everything that I have dealt with lately relates back to cancer in one way or another.

I think people have a difficult time remembering that not only am I dealing with cancer, my children also have to deal with this. No, they don't have to actually fight the battle (thank God!) but they are still dealing it. Every day they deal with it. There are reminders of what mama is going through everywhere.

Yes, lately life is better. Much better. Especially compared to biochemo. It seriously does not get much worse (chemo wise) than that. But Interferon wasn't a real walk in the park either. The chemo I am on now, RO5, is a piece of cake compared to everything else! But, I still have to be gone every month (yes every month-not every other like I was originally told!-I will post about that later-grrrr!) and that affects little kids. Both of my kids are definitely mama's babies. That's just how it is. I hope it never changes.

Both of my kids deal with their feelings differently. E was only 6 months old when I was diagnosed. This is the only thing she has ever known. She deals with it a lot better than K. E is a super happy, easy going, eager to please little Princess. She is friendly, helpful and loving. Everyone that she meets instantly falls in love with her. That is just who she is. Yes, she can be a little stinker, of course, what child can't, but relatively speaking, E is a pretty easy kid. Unless, of course, you take her mama away from her. Then she screams like a wild woman! She does not like being away from me. At all. But, such is life.

K, on the other hand, deals with his emotions a little differently. His involves screaming and crying. He is over the hitting phase (thank goodness!) he rarely hits, but he has resorted to screaming. I think a lot of it stems from the fact that he doesn't know how to express what he is angry about. We have really been working on this at home and I have definitely seen an improvement. He really is a kind and caring kid. I think he just struggles with his feelings. What guy doesn't?! Right?! It doesn't help that people give up on him. We have belonged to a certain program for years. K messed up a few times and he was out. I was not happy. My feelings were hurt and I was beyond pissed. Especially since I was told that day that he had a good day (from the teacher!), only to be called in to a meeting (after we were loaded in the car ready to go!) and be told that K was not welcome back. E could attend the program, but not K. Ummm, yeah right?!

But, given what we went through my eyes have been opened. I have realized that we need to work with K on expressing his feelings appropriately and I have also realized who my true friends are. Your true friends stand by you and support you and your family no matter what. They will express their feelings, they will hold your hand, and they will love you no matter what.

I recently attended the funeral of a friend who passed away due to cancer. Of course the funeral was difficult, but what really shook me up is the thought that it could (and will) be my funeral some day. Hopefully a long, long time from now, but someday that will be mine. I kept thinking about what my kids would be doing. What pictures would they show on the slideshow. What would I wear (PS already picked out). What casket would my husband pick out (PS my besties already know this!) What songs would they play (PS already picked out also) Who would come. Who would speak. Where will I be buried (this one is really tough on me) etc...... My friend had a group of girls whom she was very close to. They had reserved seating and were all brought in right after the family. I really like this idea, however, there are very few that I would include in this special group. Maybe 5, 6 girls that I consider really, truly great friends. I think I am going to have to write down all these directions for my husband. Anyone surprised that I would actually do that? Didn't think so....