Monday, May 21, 2012

Intuition Doesn't Lie

It's amazing the connections you make throughout your lifetime. When you meet someone, how you meet them, and why you meet them. I am a believer of the cliche "everything happens for a reason", thus meeting people happens for a reason. Same thing applies to life events. When something happens, how it happens, and why it happens. Although the latter of three we usually realize with time. Then there is a person's intuition. Not many people hone in on their "6th sense", but as I experience life more, I have learned to listen to that voice. Nothing feels so "right" until you have that self-affirming moment. I'm not sure if I'm making much sense, or if I am making perfect sense to you. Now, I'm sure you're wondering if I believe getting this "c" happened for a reason. Yes, I do. Why? It is still to early in the event to answer that question, but it will come with time. How? My intuition strongly sides with one thing, but there is still not enough evidence to affirm at this point. My point is, I am not letting this define who I am, but rather than accept it and deal with it. During this entire journey, I have learned to listen and follow my instincts, because in the end it is my body...and I know my body the best. Stay tuned at a later date for the second part to this "food for thought".

I don't know if it's because I haven't been to work since May 9th, therefor have a lot of time on my hands during the day....or, if I am finally taking much needed time for self discovery....or, if it's the side effects of the different medications and hormones I've had....or a combination of all of the above. I've had a couple good "emotional" moments with reality, particularly when I started back up with my workout routine. I decided on Friday I was well enough (and the effects of 2 rounds of anesthesia finally wore off) to do a WOD ("work out of the day" for you non-crossfitters). Although, I am still limited in upper body activity until the doc clears me, I am perfectly able to perform alternate exercises. I had to scale/modify the WOD to meet my limitations, which was a little annoying being the competitive person I am. I kept hearing words of encouragement and praise from a fellow classmate and the coach during the WOD. In that very moment, reality hit and I was overcome with a unraveling mix of emotions I cannot put into words. It is a very humbling experience for a person to have so many "cheerleaders" near and far. To actually hear these "cheerleaders" while you're trying to push your body to it's limit without compromising it's healing, it's very empowering. This "c' may be trying to take over part of my body, but I am not letting it take over my life. The fact I am part of an elite class of badass women is more empowering.

I leave you with photos of 2 of my incisions a week post-surgery. One of them is a little more "pink" than the other. It is a little more sensitive and irritated mainly because of where my bra hits on my left side. As for the sentinel node biopsy, the cancer has NOT spread to the lymph nodes. So I am still CLEAR of chemotherapy!!

Then, courtesy of pinterest, I found some little words of inspiration rightfully fitted for today's blog. Enjoy! =)

Left arm.

Right arm.

Read them again and let it absorb in that knogg'n of yours. =)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Surgery #2

My second surgery has been scheduled for June 6th. I have my pre-op on May 31st, so I will know more specifics as far as location of the surgery. I know I will be admitted into St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, but that's all the information I currently know.

In the meantime, my incisions are getting a little less sore/painful. Taking a shower is a frigg'n huge ordeal though. OMG, makes me not want to shower...or at least wear a sports bra. Once I was actually clean and able to get my sports bra on, everything was ok. It was the entire process that was exhausting, but Trev did great and helped me (He even washed my hair for me!). It will get easier day by day though. Keeping my eye on the "prize" of be cancer free! =)

June 6th. I will have on my boxing gloves and will be ready for you.


Crossfit Inspiration

Here are a couple breast cancer survivors and their stories that have kept me positive about strength after surgery. As many of you know, my biggest fear is falling out of shape and losing my strength, but these women are an inspiration for me.

"CrossFit. Stephanie is 41 yrs old who raised two beautiful and confident daughters. Stephanie is a cancer survivor! Stephanie also struggles everyday to raise twin sons who have severe special needs. Why do we tell you all of this? Because Stephanie wants other women to know that in the face of impossible odds, you CAN do it. Stephanie LIVES to support women in achieving their goals and dreams." 

"The ultimate piece of my goal was holding this weight overhead 30 times.  This picture signifies a cancer battle won.  It signifies reaching my goals complete with triumphs and tears.  It represents the very end of my recovery.  I have no limitations, my strength is very close to where it was before and nothing is keeping me from doing what I want in the gym.  This picture shows a survivor.  One I am very proud of for getting to where she is today and how she fought her battle."


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Surgery #1

"You have strong veins for the size you are." said the OR nurse. "Dang right I do! I'm strong in more ways than you know." was my response. I don't think I could have found the most perfect team of doctors. I have not had the least bit of anxiety, which means I have the utmost confidence in them. It's nice to find humor and joke around with the doctors and their staff. I definitely am in good hands. =)

My day began at 9:30am and ended at 4:45pm. I was scheduled to have a million different procedures, ok, maybe not really a million, but it felt like it. These were the procedures: left breast biopsy, bilateral subareolar nipple biopsy and nipple delay procedure and bilateral lymphatic mapping, sentinel node biopsy and possible axillary node dissection. Yep. Basically, testing to see if the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes, and testing if the tissue under my nipples will create it's own blood supply for the mastectomy.

Before the actual surgery, I spent 2 hours having the lymphatic mapping done. The tech injected a radioactive die in my breasts, then took pictures with a machine that resembled an MRI machine, only it was quieter and more open. It was pretty cool to look at the images and see my breast glowing. =) I know, I'm weird (or a nerd, which ever you would like to call it), I am infatuated with medical and science devices like this. I though my left shoulder was going to fall off though! I was lying down, but had to hold/lay my arms above my head. Man, my left should flexibility STINKS! Something I definitely need to work on during recovery.

The surgery itself took roughly 2 hours too. Don't have too much to report there, except the OR staff had a great sense of humor...before I was knocked out. I did well with the anesthesia again, only I was very dizzy and faint when I woke up, because I had not eaten since 10pm the night before.  Luckily, there is a gas station next door to the surgery center, and I really did scarf down an entire box of saltines. I probably could have gone for a burger too, but I was advised to eat "light". Pssht. I took the surgery like a BOSS...I need to be rewarded with some FOOD. =)

I have been having a combination of soreness, discomfort and pain (which is expected). Last night, my nipples were in pain and my armpits mildly sore. Today, the roles have reversed, but nothing a little vicodin and sleep can't take care of. I was very "loopy" and out of it all evening yesterday, but feeling somewhat myself today...still a little dizzy. Here is a photo of one my incisions on the left side:

As for the mastectomy, still not scheduled. The doctor wants to see how well I heal from this surgery first. I have a follow up with him on May 22nd. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they will be able to fit me in sooner rather then later.

Here is Zoey making sure I'm taking care of myself, by making kitty biscuits on me and making sure she is comforted too. Silly kitty. =)


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Laughing Is Good For The Soul

What a wonderful way to spend the weekend before my first surgery. Definitely a good time was had by all, and we couldn't have asked for better weather, food, and company. We spent the day at the beach indulging on some delicious brownies (thanks Amy!), snacking on some yummy snacks, and topping it off with wine (for the girls anyway). We ended the day with homemade burgers and more delicious treats (thanks Leigh!). We all definitely laughed...a lot...which was quite uncomfortable for me. I was more sore/tender/bloated yesterday than I had been the previous day, but I made the best of it and ended up calling it a night quite early. My body needed the rest. Thanks to all who were able to spend the day with Trevor, Kona and I! And I think Kona enjoyed herself too; she was WORN out from all the received attention. I love being surrounded by laughter, it is good for the soul. =)


Friday, May 11, 2012

And the Boredom Begins

I have no idea how I am going to keep myself from getting too bored during the recovery period in the upcoming month. I ended taking the entire day off work today, because my pre-op appointment took a lot longer than I had planned. Yeah, I would have LOVED to workout, but my lower body says differently. Still feeling quite bloated and tender, so doing any type of exercise involving my legs, etc is out of the question. My boredom kicked in this morning, and I have been picking on poor Trevor all day...I guess he has been dishing it out too (all in good humor, though it is kinda uncomfortable to laugh right now). I guess I better get back on pinterest to look for creative projects to keep myself busy, since I will more than likely have to take a leave of absence from work to recover and heal. Maybe a good book will do too. Any suggestions? I like mystery (recently read "The Forgotten Garden" and "Sarah's Key").

Anywho, going to enjoy my weekend with good food, good friends, and the beach. The perfect combo.  =)


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Best. Sleep. Ever.

Ok, maybe not EVER, but certainly since March 7th. I had my egg retrieval today and all went as well as expected. The anesthesia did wonders, and it was the most sound sleep I have gotten since March. I have at least 3 more rounds with this modern medicine and am kinda looking forward to the restful sleep. Anyway, my doctor was able to retrieve 17 eggs! Makes me very excited about the future, and thankful technology and medicine allows a person to do this. I am feeling quite bloated and a little tender, but feeling very rested and have kept the nausea under control. Since getting home, Kona has made sure I'm "comfortable" by sharing a pillow with me when napping and cuddling with me on the couch. Not to mention, Zoey has done her share of making sure her kitty biscuits are comforting. Calvin gave me gentle kisses on my nose, and Sky...well, he is a little bugger...he ate part of my Kobe beef patty last night. Love my animals and Trevor! =)

I have my pre-op tomorrow morning for my sentinel lymph node biopsy on Monday (I believe I wrote about this a few entries back). Reality is still "slowly" setting in my mind, but I have managed to keep my anxiety under control so far. Strength wins all the time....Right?

More updates come next week!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Strength Wins Every Time

As I near the end of my fertility treatment, I can't help but be excited about the future. For 2 weeks now, I have been giving myself daily hormone injections to prepare my body for "the retrieval". I never thought I would ever have to stick myself with a needle, but I must say, I'm now a professional and no longer have a fear of needles. The injections have me feeling tired, bloated, and a little on the irritable and grumpy side. I am sure glad to be done with that part of the process and ready for the next step. I go in tomorrow morning for the procedure and not really looking forward to coming out of the anesthesia (*here's to hoping for no nausea*).

On a different note, I've already been preparing my mind and body for post-surgery recovery. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been completing benchmarks for certain exercises as a "guide" or "goal" to work toward once I've completed all my surgeries and have healed. I am aware of the possibility of losing some upper body strength, but I want to see exactly how much (if any) I will lose after recovery. I think this is a good little experiment to do and hopefully it will motivate me. So far, I have been very pleased with my performance these past 2 weeks. Despite feeling a lack of energy lately, my strength has surprised me.

Yep, that's me maxing out at 205# for back squat....I really shocked myself on this, although I felt very empowered afterward. Not to mention, I was FINALLY able to string 5 pull-ups together! The beginning of April, I had made this one of my goals to reach before surgery. I think I'm digging deep for that inner strength, which drives my determination to not let something like [cancer] beat me. I'm pretty darn proud of this! =)

Time to hit the shower and prepare myself for a restful nights sleep.