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Initially diagnosed June 4, 2009 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage II,Grade II tumor size: 2-3 cm node positive ER/PR postive HER2 Neu - negative Current Diagnosis: Metastatic Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Grade 3 Mets: Scalp/skin, Liver, Spine, Bone ER/PR + HER2/NEU -

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

My First Paid Writing Assignment!

I just published my first paid writing assignment. I am the Fort Worth Little-Known-Facts blogger for examiner.com. Please check out my first published article at the following address and let me know what you think:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tamoxifen Tomorrow

I start Tamoxifen Tomorrow. A little worried about side effects, but hopefully it will go smoothly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

3rd Grade Awards

We went to the 3rd Grade Awards Ceremony today at Katie's school. Here are some pictures I wanted to share:

DONE with Breast Cancer and Bridging

I decided to rename this blog now that I'm DONE dealing with breast cancer! I also put away all my wigs, scarves and other cancer related stuff this weekend. I want to extend a final thank you to all of you who helped us out during this difficult time. Now on to more fun and happy things...

Friday night, my daughter "bridged" up to the next level in Girl Scouts. She went from a Brownie to a Junior. Although me and Jesse were both working during the ceremony (I'm one of the troop leaders, the other troop leader, Dana, was on stage speaking, and Jesse was running sound and slideshows), we managed to get a few still shots, a quarter or so of the ceremony on video(not the greatest, was taken on the still shot camera as an afterthought from the sound booth at the back of the auditorium), and some copies of some of the other parents pictures. The still shots are posted here. The video below is low quality and has been cropped and pieced together to only show the parts that Katie was in. It's real short due to the fact that we were running out of space on the still shot cameras card. I wish we had some still shots or video of the actual bridging, but unfortunately, we do not. If one of the other mothers posts some I'll share them at a later date.

Sunday, May 23, 2010



Interesting... someone is blogging about my comments from the Dallas Morning news add... I disagree with their point of view, because health care reform passed and I'm about to lose my COBRA with no help in sight from the reform.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What Now?

Almost a year ago, in June 2009, I was diagnosed with cancer. Finally, this Wednesday, I reached the end of my journey. One year of my life wasted in treatment for a 2.5 cm tumor. I am now cancer free according to my doctors, but the side effects and the emotional effects will be with me for the rest of my life.

I don't think you can go through this type of thing without it changing you. It changes you physically, mentally, emotionally... And after it's all done you feel a little lost and sentimental. The best way I can describe the feeling you have is to compare it to moving to a nicer home. You put that last box in the car and then go back in for that final look. You know you are moving on to bigger and better things, yet you stare into the empty room and all the memories of it run through your head like a flashback sequence in movie. You see the tears, the love, the events of the years spent there. It's the same for me.

I look back and I see all the wonderful women I have met over this last year at chemo, at radiation. I see the people who were supportive, like my chemo angels, the nurses, the doctors. I see long days in bed after chemo treatments, my husband and my daughter eating on the bed with me. I see the days after surgery, my sister laying on the bed watching tv with me. All the memories of the last year.

And as I walked out of treatment Wednesday, I felt sort of lost. After having an entire year planned for you... with all the appointments and treatments and limitations... I'm suddenly free. I suddenly have more time than I know what to do with and I really don't have a plan. I don't think I can just go back to my old "norm", because I'm not the same person. Cancer changes you. I guess I have to start searching for my new norm now. I don't know what it will be, but I hope to make it more meaningful than my old "norm".
Friday, May 7, 2010

Warning: Living May Cause Cancer

Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk

Do you think that you can avoid cancer by simply leading a healthy lifestyle? If so, think again. A recent report by the President’s Cancer Panel, created in 1971 to address cancer related subjects, claims many carcinogens are in the environment and are virtually impossible to avoid. Without the help of legislation to eliminate these carcinogens from our environment, we are almost helpless to avoid them. We are exposed daily to environmental carcinogens in our homes, businesses, schools and yards. Now that the OFFICIAL report is on Obama’s desk, I’m interested to see what action, if any, he takes to protect us and our families from these toxins.

"For the past 30 years ... there has been systematic effort to minimize the importance of environmental factors in carcinogenesis," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

"There has been disproportionate emphasis on lifestyle factors and insufficient attention paid to discovering and controlling environmental exposures," he said. "This report marks a sea change."

After reading the report myself, it appears to me that with the current situation, we simply can not avoid carcinogens. There are a few suggestions on ways to reduce exposure, but many of the items are in things we can’t avoid like food, water, and air. Many of the carcinogens have been found in the placenta and breast milk of women; so you may have even been exposed to carcinogens before you were ever born! Even those of you who shop at Whole Foods or similar stores where they have naturally raised meat animals and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, and even if you don’t smoke ,or drink alcohol, and use environmentally safe paint in your homes, you may still be exposed to carcinogens daily.

The only solution to the problem, is for the government to enact legislation to eliminate the cancer causing chemicals from our environment, stores, and homes. Even then, as was seen with DDT, the chemicals will still remain in the environment for many years. DDT was banned in 1973 and is still being found in the breasts, breast milk and placentas of women. With data like that, it sounds like the earlier we start the better…

However, nanomaterials can be extremely toxic, and despite their promise, concern is growing about their potential health and environmental risks. Most ENMs are engineered at dimensions of 1 to 100 nanometers (nm), or 1 to 100 billionth of a meter. The width of a human hair is 80,000 nm.

Because of their structure and small size, they can be inhaled, ingested,
and absorbed through the skin, entering the blood stream, penetrating cells throughout the body (including the brain), and perhaps interfering with DNA processes.

Until then, in addition to the current list of things recommended by cancer foundations like the American Cancer Society have listed to avoid, here is a list of what you’ll need to add to completely eliminate your risk of cancer:

  • being born (mother may pass gene defects or carcinogens to an unborn child)
  • drinking breast milk or cow’s milk (either may contain carcinogens due to ingesting water and food laced with carcinogens)
  • drinking water (from ground, tap or bottle – plastic bottles may have BP and phthalate in the plastic which can seep into the water)
  • eating meat (even organic meat can have carcinogens from animals who consume pesticide run off)
  • eating fruits and vegetables (fresh ones may have pesticides, even pesticide-free ones may have been watered with water that has been contaminated with pesticide run off or chemicals from manufacturing, canned goods have a lining that contains BP…)
  • breathing (it was brought up in the report that many of the nano technology used in hundreds of consumer products including cosmetics, sunscreens, other personal care products, stain-resistant clothing, food storage containers, computers and other electronics, may be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin interfering with DNA processes.)
    Depressing isn’t? Maybe it’s time for us all to write our senators and get something done. The smokers may not be the main cause as many had thought, but rather the greedy manufacturers who are lining their pockets using carcinogenic materials, sloppy disposal procedures, and our children’s future health!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tips for Visiting Someone Who is Sick

I thought this was a really good blog topic. I saw it on Kairol Rosenthal's blog "Everything Changes". Here is her blog article:

In the midst of radiation treatment my home was like grand central station with visitors coming and going all day long. I needed the help and the company, and was grateful to have people stopping by.

But for some patients, having visitors isn’t as easy or welcomed. Many folks don’t want anyone around when they look and feel like crap. Others want privacy and alone time. And lots of guests just don’t know how to behave in the best interest of the sickie. So, I’ve come up with a list of tips for both patients and visitors:

For Patients

- Nobody is a mind reader. Email friends and family about your wishes.
- Think about who you are willing to have see you at your worst.
- Let people know if it is not okay to visit at the hospital or at home.
- Clearly broadcast your energy level and the length of visit you’d like.
- Demand people stay away if they have germs.
- If you’ve got a roommate or partner get clear with each other so if you have different desires you don’t send mixed messages to guests.

For Visitors

- Have awareness. The goal is to be helpful, even it means staying away.
- While visiting, ask what you can do to help out around the house.
- Sometimes help without asking. If the trash is full just take it out.
- Never stop by unannounced.
- Don’t overstay your welcome.
- Silence can be comforting. Offer to sit together without talking.
- Think about visiting with the sick person’s kids, partner, or caregiver allowing the sick person time to just rest

I know I didn't want a lot of non-family visitors while I was going through chemo or recovering from surgery, but if anyone had come over, I think these are good guidelines. It wasn't that I didn't WANT anyone over particularly, it was more that I was embarassed of how *I* looked (bald and laying around in my pajamas with no makeup on) and ESPECIALLY how my house looked. I'm the main one who cleans, and when I'm too sick to clean, my house gets absolutely filthy! I could barely stand being here some days myself. I tended to just stay in the bedroom where I didn't have to see it! Otherwise, it drove me absolutely batty!

One thing that could be added to the list, is to bring food. You might check with them (or their caregiver) to see what things they can eat at the time , though. Also, be sure to bring it in disposable dishes. This is a thoughtful gesture that will save the sick person from feeling obligated to wash and return them.

In addition to that, you could offer to take their children somewhere occasionally(If they have young children). I know while I was sick, I felt guilty that we were unable to take Katie to the park very often. I was usually to sick to go, and Jesse didn't want to leave me home alone. Our neighbor offered to do this when they walked their dog quite often. Christine often would take Katie and her cousin somewhere for the day, and I really appreciated it! Along the same line, offer to take their kids to school/activities if you are a parent and have kids at the same school/activity. I had a neighbor who often would offer to drive her to school for me and a couple at church who would take Katie to her JBQ meets.

Whatever you do, don't avoid people you care about while they are sick. Being stuck at home sick is lonely and boring. While I was sick, I received very few visitors and phone calls. I asked some of them why I hadn't heard from them and they said it was because they were worried they'd bother me/wake me up, etc. I tried to reassure them it was fine, but didn't have much luck. Due to this, I spent a lot of long lonely days, unable to sleep, wishing I had the distraction of a phone call or visitor. When I wanted to sleep, I simply turned off the phone or gave it to my husband to deal with. To those of you who did call, write, email or stop by... thank you so much. You made my day when you did!
Monday, May 3, 2010

Last Full Breast Treatment

I had my last FULL breast treatment today. Starting tomorrow they will only be doing with they call "boosts". Boosts are where they only radiate the area where the tumor was. During full breast radiation, they were treating the entire breast. There were 3 different positions the machine had to move through in order to hit the breast from different angles. During the boosts, I'll only have to sit through one.

I've been fortunate and haven't had too much skin damage or side effects so far. My skin is a little red, dry and sensitive, but no worse than mild sunburn might cause. I'm really looking forward to being done! Just seven more treatments...

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