Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And Then There Were 2

Happy Days
My apologies for not giving an update yesterday on my first post-op appointment, but my energy level was pretty much zapped after being at the doctor's office for 2 hours. So without further ado...

First off, I have not taken a pain killer since Sunday. YES, I did say within 3 days of surgery. And I don't think I really needed them on Sunday but it was advised as a precautionary measure. I am still having issues with my upper back and neck area, along with a little soreness where the drains are inserted. The only time when I feel discomfort, aside from the being "milked" is when I laugh. Ok, I'm getting a little off task.

I'm Golden
My post-op appointment went as well as expected and both surgeons were not the least bit surprised. While waiting in my room to see the doctors, I pranced around the room admiring my body in their mirror. I told my mom and Trevor, "Man, my chest and abs look super lean! I'm ripped, and I am going to embrace this time period and love my body." Of course they just shook their heads and said only I would say something like that. :) I even shared this with the nurse who took my vitals, and she chuckled and said I had the perfect attitude. Anyway, my drains are now a clear golden color, which is ideal. Because the drainage was ideal in amount, "utters" #2 and #4 were taken out. Utters #1 and #3 are moving along nicely but need to stay in a little while longer. As for the healing of the chest, my right nipple is supposedly on track and creating adequate blood flow. As I mentioned before, my left side took the biggest beating (physically), so the nipple is still looking a little dusky. My plastic surgeon will not be adding any cc to my expanders for at least another 4 weeks, as he wants to make sure I'm healing properly. **Yep, I'm pretty much a badass warrior. I owe thanks to CrossFit for making my body so tough and strong. I cannot WAIT to knock off some PRs on the big board and knock off some fellow female crossfitters off the leader boards.** :)

Down to 2 utters :)
Now for even better news! My surgeon is basically a Super Hero. He was able to clear the margin and absolutely NO CANCER CELLS were left behind on my muscle or skin. He even admitted he had been a little nervous at the very end of the surgery but felt confident he was able to get it all. Now, I have to schedule an appointment with my oncologist to see if I need an additional treatment plan other than Tamoxifen.

Today, I met with my Complimentary and Alternative Medicine doctor. I will be starting acupuncture on my back to relieve the discomfort in my neck and scapula area from surgery. I am very excited about this integrated medicine and cannot wait to get a treatment plan in line to better my way of living. I also treated myself to have my hair washed by my stylist, and it is ah-mazing how something so simple uplifts your mood. :)

So the healing and recovery seems to be on track, it's "life" that can be a little frustrating at times. A man does not fully understand what a woman's body goes through after such a major surgery, which is expected. I am obviously mentally and physically fine, but what they (meaning a man) DON'T understand is I am not SUPPOSE to be doing a lot of things that I feel I am capable of doing for myself. Little things like opening the car door, getting my seatbelt on, dressing my upper body, carrying a plate of food, opening my prescription bottles, brushing my hair, washing my face, etc. It's all the little things one takes for granted, and the misconception I am more independent than expected. No, I am NOT fully independent. Yes, I need help with the simple everyday things. I can use the restroom by myself, dress my lower body, etc. These things don't involve me lifting my arms past a certain point. It's the nurturing aspect of life a man has somewhat of hard time understanding, mainly because it's in the genetic make-up of most women to carry this trait. I have faith in my fiance. He is a very bright man, and by observing my mom (who knows me the best as her daughter and a woman herself) he is understanding more of my needs.

I also get pretty tired easily, so any activity involving going out of the apartment more than an hour just zaps my energy, and I end up napping a couple hours afterward. I feel once my back is "fixed", I will feel a little better therefor having more energy. Until then, my mom has made sure I get the right balance of activity and rest. Trevor has been ever so gentle and trying  to understanding my body and limits a little more each day. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be on his end, but he is the perfect balance for me and knows exactly what to say to calm me in frustrating times. Sometimes he is caught between a rock and a hard spot when outside people ask favors of him, not really thinking he has a "job" of taking care of his fiance (future wife!) during this important time despite having help from my mother. It's times like this that make a couple grow stronger. I am very grateful for having my mother here helping us. We have laughed. Laughed a lot, which can be painful for me....but it's worth it. Things happen for a reason, and I feel the bond between my mother and I have grown ever so stronger. I thank her daily and let her know how grateful I am of her.

And this is all the energy I have for today. I leave you all with an ever so gentle hug. :)


Monday, June 25, 2012

I Bleed Burnt Orange....Literally

Daisy Love
These past few days of recovery have gone better than I had expected. Despite the random once occurring bloody nose and the stingy-suction feeling from being "milked" 3 times a day, I would have to say I'm moving along quite nicely in my recovery. The most difficult part of this process is actually "needing" help. Yes, as independent as I am, I even need help at times, which can be somewhat frustrating, however, I am enjoying it too.

Let's start from the beginning, my pain has been minimal....well, I've managed to keep it under control with meds. Yesterday, I only took the pain meds twice, once in the morning and once going to bed mainly for preventative reasons. I have yet to take any today, so fingers crossed I can manage the day without any. I still feel like I've done a million push-ups and pull-ups, but it's a soreness my body has become accustomed to since joining CrossFit. The only nuance still comes from my upper back. It is still quite tight and the muscles knotted making movement a little uncomfortable. The area where my drains have been inserted is a little bothersome at times, because of the tape that is used to keep the tubes in place. I think whomever put the tubing in must have mistaken my arms for a tall man, as they are about 3 foot long...without being stretched. Which gets me into my next topic, my utters.

My Utters
Yes, I did say utters, because that is exactly what they remind me of. These "utters" have to be drained 3 times a day, and THIS is what I least look forward to out of this initial recovery period. The drains are meant to remove fluid, avoid clotting, and to prevent infection in the surgery site. I have a total of 4 drains, 2 on each side. It's actually kinda cool (in a weird medical-scientific way) how they work, but I remind you that I am infatuated with medical devices. Anyhow, these tubes are stretchy and have a rubbery grenade looking thing at the end, in which when stretched and pulled creates a suction. This suction obviously sucks the excess fluid and clots out of the surgery site. The first time I was "milked" in the hospital, the fluid was a bright clear red. The goal is that it eventually will turn a clear yellowish color. Yesterday, my fluid was almost the color of burnt orange, which I thought was the best thing ever! (For those of you who don't already know, I am a HUGE University of Texas fan! Hook'em Horns! \m/) I literally was "bleeding" burnt orange!! Surprised? Definitely not. ;) On a serious note, the fact more yellow fluid is coming out is a very good thing! It is a quite uncomfortable at times, as I can feel the suction and a burning sensation when the fluid is being pulled through the tubing to be emptied in the rubber grenade.

I Bleed Burnt Orange
I definitely have welcomed with open arms the help provided by my mom and Trevor. It has been quite tough giving up control of doing things for myself, but I have learned quickly it is ok to let others help me. I don't want to have any complications and want this entire recovery process to go smoothly, BUT I need the help of others to remind me to "slow down" and "relax". My mom has done a great job of making sure I have the right balance of activity and down time to give my body adequate healing time. Each day, I have done a little more activity than the previous day. Today, we are actually going to venture out in the car and head to support group, so she can meet the wonderful group of ladies I meet with twice a month.

Delish Paleo Cookies
Lastly, I am beyond grateful and appreciative of the thoughtfulness of some of my supporters. Your kind-hearted deeds do not go unnoticed. :)

Here's to a positive post-op appointment on Tuesday and a beautiful Monday!

Gentle Hugs,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Victory Wounds

Lucky #4!
6/21/2012: I wake up, take a shower, and mentally prepare myself for battle. My nerves were not due to fear of the surgery, but to the shear fact my body would never be the same. How does one prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for something like this? The possible images kept playing in my head, my game face on, my nerves in check. We arrive at the hospital, I registered, and then they took me to to prep me for surgery. I knew it was going to be a fabulous day, when I noticed they had assigned me to room #4! Yep, 4 just so happens to be my lucky number, so naturally a big sigh of relief came with a smile. My surgeon eventually came to mark my chest where the incisions would take place, then soon after that I was wheeled off too surgery. I was ready to get the show on the road and take this cancer down!

I kicked cancer's butt!

Upon waking up in the recovery room, I apparently had a mild anxiety attack from pain. I surprisingly woke up within 20 minutes of being in there, so I was given some pain meds to control the pain. I was told I was a soldier for waking up so soon and, once my pain was under control, I was ready to eat. Yes, I did say EAT! Of course, they are only allowed to give you ice at that time, but I was content with that as I was quite thirsty too. They were again surprised I did not experience any nausea. Once I was taken to my room, I was given some saltines, which I tried to inhale, but made myself a little sick from trying to eat so quickly. But I was happy nonetheless I was done with surgery, and more importantly, the cancerous tumors were our of my body. I kept that smile on my face through it all! I didn't get much sleep that night, due to the fact of nurses coming in the room every 2 hours or so, or either my IV beeping to be change, but when I actually did sleep, I slept hard. By the way, the nursing staff in the oncology unit were all amazing! :)

Peace out breast cancer!
6/22/2012: I woke up to my IV beeping...again. It needed to be replaced, so being it was 4:30am, I decided to stay awake and wait for 7:00am breakfast. My mother was able to stay the night with me, so we just talked, looked over the breakfast menu, and spent quality time together (as good as it can be in a hospital). I was told I needed to be on a liquid diet to prevent getting "sick" in vomiting... from the anesthesia. I seriously looked at the nurse like she was nuts, but I kinda took her advice like the good patient I am. ;) I ordered apple sauce, chicken broth, 1 pancake, and water. Let me tell you, I seriously folded that pancake in half and scarfed it down like it was going to grow legs and run away. I don't even remember if it tasted good, because I ate it that fast. Same thing with my applesauce and chicken broth. I actually ordered 2 more pancakes and another applesauce. And YES, I held it ALL down without any nausea. Like. A. Warrior. Again, I surprised the nurses with my appetite. I had a delicious lunch of grilled salmon and mixed veggies. By the time I was done with lunch, my surgeon had stopped by to check on me. He was quite surprised to hear of my big appetite and how well I was doing with the nausea, and the fact I had done a good job at keeping the pain under control. I told him I am a very determined person, although I do know and realize when I need to "take it easy" for recovery purposes. So, I was discharged. :)

Two out of the four drains
So now what?! My surgery was a success, obviously. My left breast (or the lack of) took a pretty good beating, because of the size and location of the 2 tumors. The tumor located on my chest had actually grown and was pushing on my chest wall muscle and skin (but not attached to either). The surgeon felt like he cleared the margin enough, however he still sent a sample to pathology. The expanders were placed on both sides, however, the plastic surgeon did not add any saline at this time. He said I am so lean, that he did not want to put me in any more pain. My skin in pretty stretched right now, and my muscles feel like like I literally did a million push-ups and pull-ups (Who knows, maybe I did while I was under anesthesia?! lol). I do have 4 drains, 2 on each side that need to be drained about 3 times a day. This is to prevent fluid build up and infection at the surgery site. I have my post-op appointment Tuesday, June 26th. At this time, I will know more if I need some rounds of radiation, in addition to how often I will need to go in for the injections in the expanders.

As far as my mental state, I guess I was more prepared than I had thought. Upon seeing my chest for the first time, I just sighed...a BIG sigh of was done, for I have beat this breast cancer. I am the victor. I have my Victory Wounds.  :)

On another note, I wanted to share a link to a published blog on Brita's story is very inspiring, and I am honored, yet humbled, she chose to mention me in her blog. I highly recommend checking out the stories of some very inspirational women in: It's About Who You Know.

I leave today's blog with a BIG HUG to each of you who have been following my journey. Although, I still have the road to recovery ahead of me, I couldn't have to done it without the support from each of you. Stay tuned for updates, as I will be meeting and beginning treatment with a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine doctor this week. :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keeping Faith

As I mentally and emotionally prepare myself for battle on June 21st, the Serenity Prayer has aided in my faith and hope to cope with the daily stresses (physically, mentally, and financially) involved in this journey. This Tamoxifen is definitely wrecking havoc on my emotions. Even though I may shed a tear due to shear stress, it's my strength that pulls through to say the words "I'm fine". Some days (today being one of them) I don't have as much faith as others, despite the emotional tears I remind myself these things always find their path.  After all, if He brought me to it, I need to keep faith He will bring me through it.

I have, in fact, been given the green light for surgery on June 21st. Thank the Lord! I'm ready to punch Thursday in the face. HARD. I'm not exactly sure how long the surgery will be and if I even will be up for having visitors, but I will be staying the night at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange. I will make sure Trevor has my phone on him should any one want an update on the surgery. Again, thank you all for the prayers, healing thoughts, and supportive words. :)

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity 
Finding the Path
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, 
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr



Friday, June 15, 2012

On Track, Take 2

I had my 2nd follow up in regards to the infamous "healing right nipple" yesterday. Fortunately, there was no more infection (YAY!), however it is healing at its own leisurely pace. No worries though, my surgeon was happy to speed the healing process up. Right then. And yes, I did have a minor anxiety attack, because I was not expecting a minor procedure. He numbed the area, then proceeded to scrape off the remaining tissue, in which he discovered a little fluid built up behind it. This was the culprit behind the infection and slow-paced healing, but nothing a little draining couldn't take care of. He stitched the area up, and VOILA!, my right side is back on track to recovering for surgery numero dos. Just when I was getting into a workout routine again, BAM....stitches. Ah well, it's the nature of this game. I know some of you are wondering what exactly caused the infection. To get things straight, it was nothing I did. It happens. :)

In other news, I've had the joys of feeling a couple side effects from the Tamoxifen. Hot flashes, although they aren't severe, but they seem to usually hit me throughout the night. Lack. Of. Sleep. Also, being plain emotional. Not in a bad way, but the little things that either have deep meaning or can warm a person's heart and soul. Yes, I cried while reading one of my books. Cried looking at one of my ancestors (I will get to that in a bit). Cried after reading a comment on my blog. I'm not exactly sure if this is caused by the Tamoxifen, but anyone who really knows me knows I'm not exactly the type to cry....tears of joy nor sadness. 

Because of my "busy" daily schedule (sarcasm, for those of you who don't know me well), I've been recently inspired by all the historical fiction books I've read. It has spurred my interest into finding out more about ancestors, so I started assembling an online family tree in hopes that someday I could put together a book for my children. It's always interesting discovering the roots to your ancestors, but I definitely have my work cut out for me.

That's about enough rambling I will bore you with today. I end today's blog with an inspiring quote from a book I recently read.

“..the fields might fall to fallow and the birds might stop their song awhile; the growing things might die and lie in silence under snow, while through it all the cold sea wore its face of storms and death and sunken hopes...and yet unseen beneath the waves a warmer current ran that, in its time, would bring the spring.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Article: Rapid Breast Cancer Growth

So this very interesting article was passed out during one of my monthly breast cancer support groups. I thought I would do my readers a favor and pass it along. I've attached the link below the article to further your research, should be a little skeptical of my resource.

"Common Environmental Contaminant, Cadmium, LInked to Rapid Breast Cancer Cell Growth"
ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2012) — Studies by researchers at Dominican University of California show that breast cancer cells become increasingly aggressive the longer they are exposed to small concentrations of cadmium, a heavy metal commonly found in cosmetics, food, water and air particles.

The study by Maggie Louie, associate professor of biochemistry, shows exposure to cadmium for prolonged periods of time can cause the progression of breast cancer to become more aggressive. Her findings were presented April 23, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2012 conference in San Diego.

Breast cancer results from the abnormal growth of the cells in the mammary gland. The normal growth of mammary gland epithelial cells is modulated by the circulating levels of estrogen, a hormone produced by the ovaries. The activity of estrogen is stimulated by the estrogen receptor (ER). Heavy metals such as cadmium can act as endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen, thereby disrupting the hormone dependent pathways.

While other studies have shown links between acute cadmium exposure and activation of the ER, Louie's study is one of few to focus on chronic cadmium exposure. "The relationship between cancer and chronic exposures at low levels is important to understand because most people are not exposed to high levels of heavy metals, unless they work in manufacturing plants that deal with such metals," Louie said.

She continued: "Unfortunately, cadmium is all around us -- it is in our food, our water, our makeup and our air. Understanding the role that cadmium plays in the progression of breast cancer is extremely important in order to find better ways to prevent the disease from advancing. Ninety percent of cancer deaths are associated with the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. If we can prevent the tumor from spreading, we have a better chance of treating cancer."

Taken together, the findings of Louie's new study and a handful of others published in recent years show that cadmium plays a significant role in the development of breast cancer. However, Louie's research is unique in that it focuses on prolonged exposure rather than acute exposure at the cellular level. The study indicates that chronic exposure to cadmium can contribute to the development of more malignant characteristics in breast cancer cells.
"Many of us are exposed to very low levels of cadmium from the environment on a daily basis, and our research shows that even small concentrations of this metal at prolonged exposures can cause breast cancer cell growth."

Cadmium is produced mainly as a byproduct from mining, smelting and refining sulfidic ores of zinc, lead and copper. Rocks mined to produce phosphate fertilizers also contain varying amounts of cadmium. Cadmium also is found in rechargeable batteries and cigarette smoke. Cadmium enters the body through consumption of contaminated food, water or inhalation of cigarette smoke.

Louie's preliminary data show an increase in the ability of breast cancer cells to migrate and invade through the extracellular matrix with prolonged cadmium exposure. The extracellular matrix is the outer barrier of an organ or tissue. Increased invasive and migration abilities are characteristic of cancer cells' ability to spread. Louie discovered that MCF-7 cells chronically exposed to cadmium express higher levels of SDF-1, a protein associated with tumor invasion and metastasis.

How specific proteins, including SDF-1, contribute to the aggressive characteristics of the cadmium exposed cells requires further research, and understanding their role in cadmium-induced carcinogenesis will provide further insights to how heavy metals contribute to breast cancer progression.

Louie's research is funded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

About the presentation Abstract No. 7038, "Chronic Exposure to Cadmium Increases in the Metastatic Phenotype of Breast Cancer Cells"; first author, Esmeralda Ponce, graduate student; Program No. 782.10; Poster Board No A291

Common environmental contaminant, cadmium, linked to rapid breast cancer cell growth

Intuition Doesn't Lie: Part 2

Since being diagnosed, I have taken a pro-active approach in surviving this inconvenient "thing" that has taken over my left breast. For those of you who don't know me, I am pretty type A when it comes to my life and especially with my body. I'm not easily convinced, so I take time to do my research before taking action. For those of you newly diagnosed, I cannot begin to explain the importance of taking control of your own body. A doctor can offer their advise based on science, but only YOU can make the decision. You know your own body the BEST, so follow your intuition. I have met so many survivors that did not take control, and were left either abandoned or misguided leading to frustration. In so many cases, the doctors throw out all their medical jargon, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. This would make any person unmotivated to seek out their options. But it is crucial to interview more than one team of doctors.

Here is my story from a different perspective than what you have read in the first few blogs. If you have followed my blog from the very beginning, then by now you all are aware of my life mantra of "everything happens for a reason" and the fact I am very keyed into my 6th sense. A very short history about my body: very healthy, no medical issues, birth control since 18 years of age. Let's take it back to September 2010. I was time for my yearly, so I had decided I need to change my birth control. Since I had not been living in Southern California more than a year, I had yet to research a good gyno. I settled for the first one in the alphabetical list (yeah, I know. Not usually the wisest way to choose a doctor). My body and intuition were telling me I either needed to switch my birth control or get off it completely. **Brief note: over the course of the years, I switched my birth control every 2 - 3 years. I had been on this particular one for over 4 years already** I expressed my concerns with doctor, and the only advise she game was "If you aren't having any adverse side effects, then I would not change it." Hmmm, I was not settled with her response, despite my better judgement I didn't question it. In addition she did in fact do a breast examination, felt the side of my left breast. She asked about family history of "lumpy breast", but that was it. Again, my lack of better judgement and trusting my instincts, I did not question it.

Now let's jump to January 2011, a year prior to this "thing" showing up in my left breast. I noticed my cycle was becoming non-existent, not to mention by the end of February I had gained 16 pounds. I had been the same weight consistently for about 5 years, then suddenly is increased in a matter of 6 weeks. A little frustrated, I sought out a different gyno to speak with. He was somewhat helpful in the sense of switching my birth control and ordering blood work to be done, but that was it. No follow up. Nothing. At this point in the game, I decided to take my health into my own hands. I got a copy of my blood work results and went to a gastrointestinal specialist, but everything was fine there. In the meantime, my mood swings were quite a roller coast from the new birth control. I felt I didn't have any control over my emotions, so I started listening to my instincts and body. In May, I took myself off birth control, upped the intensity of my workouts, and tightened up on my diet. By the end of August, I had already lost 12 pounds and my cycle came back but very lightly. I continued my workout regime through the end of the year, then decided I needed more of a challenge.

January 2012, new year, new goals, crossfit, and a lump in my left breast. Joy. The moment I felt the lump in my chest, my intuition automatically knew it was cancerous. Not that I am one of "those" people that think every little abnormal thing that appears on my body is deadly. What's that type of person called? Oh yes, hypochondriac. That's definitely not me. So when the news came to me, I was more upset about being so far way from my family. Ok yeah, and the fact my intuition was affirmed. From that point forward, I learned to listen, trust, and speak up on behalf of my intuition and body. The first set of doctors I met with immediately suggested aggressive chemotherapy and mastectomy (since I have 2 tumors in different quadrants of the breast). Although I genuinely liked the team, I was not settled. I understood and agreed with the mastectomy, there was no way around it. My intuition screamed red flag. I felt I needed to know more specifically about my tumors, and with that knowledge I could form a better sense of my own course of action. Deep down, I was convinced I did not need chemotherapy prior to surgery. So you must imagine my great surprise/relief/excitement when I finally had the self-affirming moment when I actually found and chose my team. 

Now jumping to the present. I have my reservations about the Tamoxifen and its long term effects on the body, thus I have sought out a Complimentary and Alternative Medical (aka CAM) doctor that works closely with my oncologist. I am quite excited about what's to come of this, but I will have to keep you hanging on this topic a little bit longer. So stay tuned for Part III.

Moral of story, please take control of your body and do your research before settling in with a team. Make sure you're comfortable and trust them. Not all doctors are willing to work with you through your concerns. I happen to work with a team of doctors that have a list of out side resources to refer to through out treatment, surgery and recovery. In addition, they have a great volunteer support system during your initial appointment. Be pro-active when it comes to your health and body, and most importantly listen to your instincts...they never lie.

I end this entry with an image "borrowed" from pinterest. My apologies if it offends anyone, but here's to the fellow breast cancer patients and survivors.


P.S. For the new people joining my blog, THANK YOU for taking the time to follow my journey. Should you feel inclined to leave a comment, please do so. I have changed the settings to where anyone can comment, however, if you aren't a google member, please sign your name at the end of it. =)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So Close, Yet So Far Away

I met with my team of surgeons this morning and my surgery has been postponed until June 21st. One of my incisions on the right breast has not healed and is a little infected, which is supposedly not "abnormal", but a little surprising considering my great health. It's the last & farthest place the blood flows to on the nipple. It has not received an adequate amount of blood supply yet, so a layer of the skin is dying. This increases the possibility of losing a little pigment in that area. I do not fear this in the least bit, as my health is far more important than losing color in an area on my body that is covered on a daily basis. The surgeons want to hold off until it is completely healed in order to prevent further complications during the mastectomy. In the meantime, I have been ordered to begin tamoxifen to prevent growth of the tumors in my left breast. No worries though, I am making the best of the situation, continuing living life, and focusing on being cancer-free. =)

I have also done extensive research and have explored an additional route to treatment post-surgery. I will go in further detail at a later date, so "stay tuned".

I apologize for my shortest update yet, but this is all the time I have today since my family is in town from Texas.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Resurfacing "Me"

As my surgery date nears, I can't help be filled with a series of emotion and feeling. For one, a little bit nervous due to all the information I received during my pre-op appointment. Not only did I receive an overwhelming amount of information and forms to initial, but I was advised to fill 3 prescriptions to have ready for my return home. Not just one, but THREE! Oh well, it is what it is, right? One less thing to take care of after surgery. Eagerness is the next emotion. While I understand and have complete confidence in my team of surgeons, I am eager to get this show on the road. I am ready to punch this thing in its core and move forward in life. However, I understand the importance of allowing my body to fully heal to prevent further complications before surgery. Of my current incisions, one is giving me a hard time and not wanting to heal properly, thus I have made every effort to aid in its healing by taking the adequate dietary and lifestyle precautions. NO junk food or working out. Yes, NO WORKING OUT! This is when "frustration" takes place. For those of you who really know me, know how obsessed (for the lack of a better word) I am with my fitness level. I have lost 23 pounds of fat since a year ago, and have gained quite a bit of muscle, in addition to, my strength being at its prime at the age of 33. Which leads me to  determination. I am determined to get through this surgery and healing process safely, so I can return to my daily routine. Keeping up with proper nutrition and dietary habits is key, in addition to, keeping a positive attitude. I am fully aware the recovery takes a while, but being healthy and cancer free is more important. After all, my muscle-memory will get back into the swing of things with a little patience and commitment on my part. Excited would have to be the next emotion. To put it simply, I am excited about the future! Last, I am very humbled by the large network of support near and far I have surrounding me. I know I have mentioned this on several occasions, but I honestly cannot thank each and every one of you enough.

Every breast cancer survivor has their "thing" that aided in their fight and recovery. That "thing" for me would be all of the words of encouragement, support, prayer, good vibes that have come from each of you. It sets a part true friends from those who just care about "socializing". It brings about the raw meaning of friendship. The fact each of you have taken a couple minutes out of your day to reach out to me in your own way, it means the world to me. I try my best to respond to each of you, but sometimes time slips away from me.

Since my time off, I've slipt into an old, but good, habit of reading books again. I've made myself turn off technology and dive into a good book. I have read 5 books in 10 days (YES, FIVE!). I forgot how much I truly enjoyed reading! A side of me that has been dormant for far too long has finally resurfaced....and I am liking it. =) Yes, that means I am getting in touch with my more softer side (if that's hard to believe). This takes me back to my life motto of "everything happens for a reason". As cliche as it is, it's true. 

**The above "pins" are courtesy pinterest**

As much as I would love to ramble on about the thoughts and emotions going through my mind, I must get back to the novel I am reading. I leave you with a fun photo from today's adventure with a dear friend, whose mom is actually a breast cancer survivor. She was able to take off work to attend a special charity bridal event with me, Brides Against Breast Cancer. I don't want to take too much time to go into detail about the cause, but I have posted the link below for your viewing. It's a great cause with an amazing group of supporters. =)

If the healing of the one "pesky" incision has progressed, I am tentatively scheduled for surgery on Wednesday, June 6th at 1:00pm. I will make sure to keep everyone up to date if anything changes. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy my weekend and so should you! =)