Monday, March 17, 2014


Well seeing as I haven't posted in a long long time, I figured I would post a quick update. My blogger account sends me a summary every week of my page views (only because I don't know how to turn it off!) and even after abandoning my blog I still have a lot of people reading!

So its been a couple years since my surgeries and things are going great! No complications or issues! I saw my plastic surgeon about a year ago and he said to come back in two years and if everything is going well then I wont need to keep seeing him. I go to the breast clinic twice a year for clinical breast exams. No more mammograms or MRI's for me! YAY!

Its nice to be able to live my life and not have that fear looming over me. I am completely satisfied with the results and am able to do pretty much anything I want to. My chest is a little tight, most likely from some capsular contractions but nothing bad enough to do anything about. So things like pull ups, push ups, etc aren't very comfortable but seeing as I don't care that I cant do them it doesn't matter! Other than that I can pretty much do anything!

That's about it! Short and sweet! Nothing to report on the health front is always a good thing!

Friday, April 5, 2013

9 month check up

Last time I wrote I was to wait nine months and then go back in and see my plastic surgeon. Well nine months has passed so I went and saw him this week!

Everything has been going really well. I ended up having ZERO healing issues this time. Granted it took a lot longer than a normal person but I didn't need to do hyperbaric and everything healed up just lovely! So I got a gold star and he officially cleared me to go back to eating whatever I like. I've been off the cheeseburger diet for quite a while and am finally to the point where seeing one doesn't make me gag! I even had one for lunch last week but its definitely not a common occurance!

So now I will see my breast clinic doctor in a couple months and then see her every 6 months ( I think ) for clinical exams but don't need to go back to plastics until I am three years out from surgery and then again when I am 5 years post surgery!

So all in all things are going fantastically! And as a bonus they are better than they were before!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Guest Post for Asbestos Awareness Week!

A few weeks ago I was contacted asking if I had considered having a guest blogger. He wanted to share a different side of the cancer spectrum, the side of caregiver. With my blog still getting many hits per day of people stumbling upon it or still following along, it seemed to be a good chance to touch on the role that many husbands play as caregiver and supporter throughout.  His story is below:


My Caregiving Experience: A Painful Time of Growth 

The most devastating moment of my life occurred on November 21, 2005. Heather, my wife, received a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Without any preparation, I was transformed into a caregiver in a moment. Only a few months earlier, we were blessed with the birth a baby girl, and we named her Lily. We could not have been happier to be new parents. We were entering the holiday season, but instead of celebrating, we were beginning down a long, difficult path to beat cancer. The process began in the doctor’s office. We both knew very little about mesothelioma, and we were given a choice of locations to find a specialist. However, Heather's silence spoke volumes; she was in shock and unable to make this decision. We had to choose between two nearby hospitals, which had no discernible programs for mesothelioma, and a mesothelioma specialist in Boston. His name was Dr. David Sugarbaker. I knew that if Heather had any chance of beating this disease, she would need the best care possible. I told the doctor, “Get us to Boston!” Over the next few months, a whirlwind of chaotic activity ensued. Our lives were completely transformed. Instead of being a two-income household, Heather stopped working altogether, and I scaled back to part time in order to keep up with my new responsibilities. I accompanied Heather to her medical appointments, made our travel arrangements to Boston and took charge of caring for Lily. I tried to be strong for my family, but I was quickly becoming overwhelmed and exhausted. I also feared losing my wife and becoming a homeless single parent. The stress and pressure caused me to dissolve into tears on several occasions. However, even in these moments of weakness I never let Heather see me down. I knew she needed me to be strong for her, and that’s exactly what I intended to be.

Over the following months, Heather underwent mesothelioma surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments in an effort to beat this terrible disease. Against all odds, she was eventually able to do just that. Today, seven years after her mesothelioma diagnosis, she remains healthy and cancer free.

I decided to return to school two years after the diagnosis. My time as a caregiver gave me the courage to pursue this dream of mine. I graduated with honors and was given the opportunity to speak at the ceremony. I never dreamed that such a devastating experience could help me change my priorities, manage my time and enhance the quality of my closest relationships. During my speech, I told my fellow graduates what my wife’s journey had taught me – that within each of us is the strength to accomplish incredible things, if we only just believe in ourselves and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

If you would like to learn more about Heather and Cameron's story their blogs are listed below:

Thank you Cameron for sharing your story. It is always nice to hear a story of survival and strength!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Final Chapter

I had my follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon this week! I am now about 3 months post exchange. Things are looking good! Everything is pretty much healed up. I had three stitches that had worked their way to the surface so he pulled those out. The incisions look good and are will be fully healed in a couple weeks once the stitch spots heal over. I was lucky enough this time to not need hyperbaric! What a blessing! I am able to come off my cheeseburger diet once the stitch spots heal up (BIG YAY for that!)!! The fat graft sites are tight still so he said to massage those spots and they should loosen up but they took the fat right down to the muscle so that's why I can feel it so much. And then I asked the big question... "Do I need to see you again???" And the answer.... Not for 9 months! 9 MONTHS!!!! So that means almost a full year without an appointment! I'll also see the breast clinic in about 9 months and then they will continue to follow me for twice a year clinical breast exams and an MRI every 3 years. No more mammograms for me! 

And so as this journey comes to a close (and so will this blog), I've taken some time to reflect back on my decision and my current progress. In the past year, I have known a few people who were diagnosed with or relapsed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Every time I hear their story, their struggle, it reaffirms that I did the right thing and feel so blessed that I had a choice. I was able to know my risk and make the right decision for me. Having already had bone cancer and going through chemo, radiation, BMT etc. then, I knew what I would be in for if I developed breast cancer and with two little kids I just couldn't take that risk. I've been able to network with others who have had the same surgery as I have and we have helped each other through this process. I've been able to answer the questions of others who have been contemplating this surgery as well and give them insight to my journey (always with the disclaimer that my complicated healing path is not the norm and that it was my previous radiation that caused my issues). I've been able to reassess our life and determine what is most important to US and to use that to guide our life choices.

So where do I go from here..... Well I have a stack of 36 bras that will never be worn again!
I'm sure my cholesterol is through the roof with a year of cheeseburgers and my arms are weak from the surgeries so I'll be working on getting in shape more (I'm not a big work out person so we'll see how that goes). My goal is to do the Dirty Girl Run next August (2013)!

And most importantly I've got two lovely little kids who even though they may fight sometimes,
(photo compliments of Bliss Photography)   they really are best friends.(photo compliments of Bliss Photography) 

They are the loves of my life (along with hubby) and so we will move forward living life Choosing A Future and leaving behind the fear.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Back on Cheeseburgers!

Well I saw my surgeon today for my 6 week follow up visit (its actually 7 weeks right now) and things look good. I am officially his slowest healer! I always seem to be an enigma when it comes to medical things which isn't usually a good thing. The way I see it... Boring, is good!

So the end of one incision still had a tiny scab on it, well he cut that off. The other incision has a thin pink area at the end of it and he wants me to watch that but I am pretty sure it is just the way the scar is healing since its been there the whole time. I asked if it was something to be concerned about, he said, "no, but with you everything is a concern". So if it changes at all I am supposed to go in but I don't anticipate it changing at all since it looks the same as it has!

So I am back on cheeseburgers and high protein for a while until everything is for sure well healed.

Otherwise he was very pleased that we have avoided hyperbaric so far and that things are going well. So I will see him again in 4-6 weeks for a follow up and hopefully by then he will cut me loose!

I did ask about things like can I swim? He said after this corner heals (in a week) he said it would be fine. I did tell him that I want to swim in a lake on the 4th of July and he was totally fine with it and said by then it would be fine so that's good news since we are going up north!

Well, most likely I won't have much for updates over the next few weeks but I will definitely post after my next appointment and hopefully will be signing off!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Bras!

I have always hated bra shopping. I've never been able to find any that fit quite right. Pre-prophlyactic bilateral mastectomy I was very uneven, flat, and just never could find one that was flattering at all. I would try on 20 and find one that was acceptable. So today, now that the swelling is gone and I am at my new size, I decided to brave the mall and hit up Victoria's Secret since I have some gift cards to use!

I lucked out and got the nicest worker! (Insert Relief Here) So I got measured, told her what I was looking for and what my challenge with bras are. My crumpled rib cage is much more square so finding a bra with close enough cups is hard. So I tried on about 12 and found one that was great! So I got a black one and a white one.... pretty awesome I know! Unfortunately they don't stock much in my size so I'll have to go online to order more fun colors! I'm a 32C now! A big improvement from my 32A Petite.

It feels very official to have boughten  real bras that actually fit  (yes I know boughten isn't a real word but I like it!). It feels complete. Like this journey is coming to an end. Like I can move forward. It's interesting, I am 5 weeks out from my exchange surgery and it feels like it was forever ago. Rarely do I even think about my boobs anymore. They seem normal, real, like they have always been there. The incisions are almost closed just a small area on each end still healing. I've got a week left on my cheeseburger diet (Thank God)! And then I can go back to eating real food! I can start lifting things and doing things again in a week so that will be really nice. I will admit I have broken my restrictions a couple of time (eek) to pick a kid up, move a table, carry a box. It's hard when you feel good and don't hurt so that you instinctively do something and then after think, oh crap I shouldn't have done that!

I can't wait until my next appointment! Hopefully they cut me loose and don't need to see me again!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Signing off soon!

Well things are going fantastic! I've got two more weeks on my cheeseburger diet and then I can eat real food again! My incisions are almost healed. My sides are feeling way better, just a little pain when I reach. Work is going well. I get to do 8 hour shifts starting on Friday then in two weeks back to the real world! All of the swelling is gone. No complications to be seen! I've still got a full freezer full of food. Summer is on its way. The kids are doing really good with me not being able to lift (although I have had to cheat a couple times so it will be nice when I am off lifting restrictions).

WOOOOO HOOOOOO! This journey is almost completed!

My next appointment is at the beginning of June and then I will be signing off! There will be no more updates to write, no more complications to keep people posted on, and a healthy long life to live to the fullest!

I will return to my normal (ok as normal as my life can be being me!) life and will return to actually keeping our family blog up to date (hopefully!).

Stay tuned for an update after my next appointment and hopefully some bra shopping soon as well!