Update on my new journey

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by goldenguru, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I appreciate your thoughts ladies!! :)

    I had a bilateral mastectomy on Aug. 20th. The pathology report showed 3 malignant lymph nodes. All other body scans, MRI's, etc. were clean. So this left me at a stage 2 cancer -

    I met with the oncologist today. I absolutely LOVED him. I started crying and he literally got up and sat next to me and held my hand for a few minutes. He wears jeans, polo shirt, and sneakers. What a great guy. Not to mention he has 30 plus years as an oncologist - his specialty is breast cancers.

    His suggested course of action is 20 weeks of chemotherapy. The first 8 weeks will be the 'tough' ones - followed by a less aggressive chemo for 12 more weeks. Then I will have radiation to the axillary area - just to be sure we kill anything left in the lymph nodes. Then I will go on an anti estrogen pill for about 5 years or until I hit menopause. I am praying for any early menopause.

    I have had some normal struggles about losing my breasts. I was very 'endowed' and have always seen breasts as a part of my sexuality and femininity. Needless to say - the mirror is not my friend right now. But, I am making progress.

    I am nervous about chemo - although most women I have talked to get through it very well. There are such good drugs now to combat the side effects. My prayer is that I will not get nauseous/vomity. I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to nausea. I'm OK with losing my hair - I mean heh - I just lost my boobs - what's a little hair. And unlike my boobs, my hair will grow back. LOL.

    I go tomorrow for some routine heart health tests. And then next Wednesday to get my 'port' put in. This allows the chemo to be easily attached every week without further pokes, etc.

    In the midst of all of this - our house - which we had taken off of the market - SOLD!! God's timing is always mysterious. LOL. For us - this is financial freedom. We have bought a much smaller house - and will have 1/3 of our current mortgage. This is such a huge blessing.

    So all in all - things are good. Well things are OK - but God is good.

    Again I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I'll try to do better about updates. But, geesh, having cancer's nearly a full time job. :)

    Hugs to you all.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    God does work in mysterious ways. I am so glad that you are coming through this with your usual sense of goodness and humor. Be strong, and know that we are here any time you need us, and even when you think that you might not... {{{{{Big hugs}}}}}
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Many, many hugs...will continue to keep you in my prayers.
  4. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member


    I understand what you mean when you say that having cancer is practically a full-time job.

    Most docs wil offer you an anti-emetic for the nausea; if they forget, don't be shy about asking for something. That may help get you over the worst of it.

    If noone else in the house prepares meals, plan some simple ones for the days you don't feel well; like a hot to go dinner from the grocery store. If someone offers to help - let them.

    I almost forgot to applaud the fact that your house sold - that has to be a MAJOR relief! Now you can expend your energy where you need it to go most - into healing and recovering.

    You sound very strong and ready to move forward. We're in there routing for you and sending all kinds of positive blessings.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Kelly, I was so glad to sign in and see your post. You sound good; good as can be expected for this early on.

    In addition to you and Chris, I have two other friends who have been diagnosed with cancer this year. They too would say that cancer is a full-time job. There is so much at stake, how could it not?

    I'm so pleased for you that your home sold. What a load off your mind.

    Please keep us posted. We worry about you when we don't hear from you.

  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Losing both breasts must be so traumatic. You have a wonderful attitude which will help you heal. God bless you and keep you safe on your journey.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You sound like you are ready for this fight, and it is a full time job. I'm glad your house sold, that is a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. Sending good thoughts. Come here often, we are here for you.

  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    You are handling this with courage and dignity. A positive outlook is an important part of the recovery process.

    One of my best friends went through the same thing over five years ago and had the same exact course of treatment. She recently celebrated her five years of remission and is doing great.

    I know that you will too.

  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Kelly, I so admire your strength and courage. You are an inspiration to me.

    It never ceases to amaze me how God always gives us what we need right when we need it.

    You have been in my thoughts and will continue to be.

  10. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Kelly, (Hugs) (Hugs) (Hugs)!!!:D:D:D

    It was sooo gooood to hear from you. I do admire your strength and courage. Your attitude is beautiful and so vital.

    An out of town friend of mine just completed something very similar and she posted updates on how she felt at a site called "Caring Bridge." This way she would limit discussions about how she felt post treatment. We all posted our comments on that and she read it at her convenience. She was honest, but positive. It was very exciting when she got to her last treatment!!!

    I agree totally about anti-emetic for the nausea; if they forget, don't hesitate to speak up. That feeling is a total bummer and no need to go there.

    Also agree about the self nurturing and the need to speak up and ask for help. My guess is that others wish to help you. You would be getting the vital help you need and also making them feel part of the process by giving each friend a little something to do that would help you.

    With reference to your comment about feminity (hugs again...big time), I'm sure at the hospital they will talk with- you about your options. And I hope that they are providing emotional support for you. Another friend had reconstructive surgery and ended up very pleased with the results...loooooks very nice! Also, if you have a moment, it might be fun to experiment with creams, make up, and lip stick, etc. If your hair is going to be an issue, honestly, I would talk with someone about a wig...perhaps a scarf or a hat. I totally "get" what you are talking about here. But thank goodness, feminity for us gals gives us many things to work with.

    by the way...Just for fun, I once bought a red wig and my husband thinks this is the sexist thing he has ever seen!

    Please feel free to pm me or call if you would like to talk. Please keep us posted as best as you are able.

    Sending positive vibes and prayers!
    Lasted edited by : Sep 4, 2009
  11. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    :D Bless your heart. I'm wishing that the treatment leaves you less nauseous and with more hair than you are anticipating.

    Congratulations on selling your house, I know how tricky it is here in Michigan.

  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    You are an amazing inspiration - you always have been to me - and you continue to be. I am very sure I could not be in the same place you are if I was in the same situation. You are incredible.

    I pray you continue to heal, and remain strong, through something I know you will overcome.
    Hugs and peace.
  13. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    Sending many good thoughts and prayers as you go through all this. It's wonderful to hear your sense of humor still shining through in the midst of all this. Wonderful news about the house selling. I'm sure that's a very welcome load off your plate. Just take care of yourself !

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Kelly, I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this. I am inspired by your attitude and plans. {{{{{Big Hugs}}}}}

    It is hard to have to adjust your ideas of being feminine, but there are so many aspects of our femininity that a little creativity and a small paradigm shift will have you feeling better than ever. I have seen it in all of the women I know who have gone through breast cancer!

    One, a woman of about 60, now says she too can go topless in the summer!!! She, like a guy, has no boobs to need to be covered. So she shocked all her neighbors when she came out with a turban and bikini bottoms on to work in the yard!!! LOLOL!! The way she described it had me ROFLMBoobsO! She even did a walk for a charity without a shirt on! All the guys were doing it.

    I have a couple of practical things to share. First off, if the docs don't give anti-nausea medications there are several to choose from. Compazine is often given to women for morning sickness. Phenergan (promethazine) is also used in pregnancy, or it was with each of my pregnancies. Zofran can be very very effective. I get better results from it than from phenergan. Reglan is also used with cancer patients.

    Sometimes it helps to have the names of some choices when you talk to the doctor.

    The next bit is a bit, well, delicate to mention. When my great granny (adopted) went through chemo things came out explosively from either end. Her bottom would end up being very very sore. Sometimes she cried and cried while using the restroom. Jess was a newborn when this was happening. I took her to see Nanny when she was 4 months old. That is when I heard her crying. I had several kinds of diaper ointment that were given as samples.

    The diaper ointment soothed and protected far more than anything the doctor had prescribed or suggested. Over time we learned that regular desitin hurt because it was so hard, vaseline and zinc oxide provided a barrier but didn't help heal the sore tissues, if there was no open sore patches the boudreaux butt paste was awesome (but it stained clothing badly), and aquaphor was a lot better than plain vaseline.

    We also used a mix of liquid mylanta and cornstarch when the skin got bright read from the acid in diarrhea. It would neutralize the acids and help keep them off of the skin.

    At some points a bottle like the ketchup and mustard squeeze bottle from the dollar store filled with warm water and a dash of betadine took care of toileting clean up better and gentler than using even the toilet paper with aloe.

    Acidophilus added to the diet (with the doctor's approval) helped minimize digestive problems for the duration of the chemo.

    I hope this isn't too indelicate. I spent a week with Nanny and my aunt trying to figure out what would make it easier on her. (Nanny really appreciated it because, in her words, "Losing the boobs is enough. Losing your boobs and your potty training all at once just isn't right!)

    I hope yo have no need of any of these tips. But if you do need them I hope they make things a little less difficult.

    Many prayers and hugs. Beating cancer IS a full time job. We will pray for you, rattle beads, do regular chicken liver dances and keep good thoughts whether you post or not. We will be here when you have time and energy to update.

    Lots of love,

  15. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Sending many thoughts, prayers, and {{{hugs}}}. You are an inspiration.

    Susie's suggestions are wonderful. If I might add one small thing, in case there should be need ... when trying to lower the inflammation in sore tissues, a short soak in baking soda water (sitz bath) followed by very gentle warm air from a blow dryer to dry and strengthen the skin, really helps healing. Using a moisturizing barrier after that is a good idea. The mylanta/corn starch combination sounds great. If there's any problem with yeast due to immunosuppression, substituting talc for the corn starch may help. (The starch can sometimes promote yeast growth.)

    Lots of wishes for peace, strength, and love.
  16. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    You sound determined and balanced given whats gone on and whats ahead of you. What a strong woman you are!
    I remember a family member deciding between a lumpectomy and masectomy. During her decision process, she was talking with another woman at the oncologists office. This woman had a double masectomy. She told my aunt that the first time she disrobed in front of her husband, she was bald and her breasts were gone. Her husband wept. She instantly thought the worst, until her husband gave her a passionate kiss and told her he'd NEVER seen her look more beautiful or more feminine than standing before him that day.

    I hope that you don't have many side effects of treatment and that the time flies by for you. Treat yourself well and remember to pace yourself on tired days.

    Prayers are going up that treatment flies by and that you do indeed pamper yourself. You deserve it.

  17. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    That one's definately a keeper!!! Brought tears to my eyes!

    I think that any husband worth his weight, loves us (the wives) for US. Especially if you've been together for a long time. We might get a bit fluffy, we may not do ourselves up like we once did, we burp, we fart when we sneeze, we use the bathroom with the door open and yet our men are still here. They see us as we are but at the same time still see the 23 year old they first fell in love with. I can't imagine what it's like to lose the "girls" but if something similar happened to my husband and he lost the "boys" or something similarly vital to what he considered his manhood or man status....I wouldn't care. I would simply be grateful I still had HIM. I suspect that is what the man Mattsmom talked about was thinking. No hair, no boobs...who cares. He still had HER. She was still HERSELF, she was alive, she was cognant, she loved him....nothing else matters. In fact my husband has said something similar to me before. I had a cervical cancer scare that, while it turned out to be carcinoma in situ and easily treated, we of course started the what if game. At that point, I already knew I had fertility issues and I was scared of losing the entire baby factory. At least with infertility, you have possible treatment options. Without the parts....those options are gone. husband flat out told me he didn't care. We were facing the fertility anyway, we always had adoption options and he just wanted ME.

    Anyway..I'm tearing up again so insert change of subject here. LOL

    I'm glad to hear things are progressing in a way that is optimistic. I wish you didn't have to go through this period but it sounds like you have a great doctor and a great plan of action. We do want updates and like to know that you're doing ok but do what you have to do. Update us when you can...we'll wait. Keep your sense of humor up and have fun with what you can. Wild wigs, inventive head wear....whatever. And congrats on the house!!!! What perfect timing and I'm sure it will lessen your normal day to day worries and stress.

  18. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    GG, if you Google "Jewish Headscarves" you can find all sorts of nice head coverings for a lot less than the cancer oriented sites charge.

    When husband went through his chemo we found that Reglan helped with the nausea, but not the total lack of appetite. We found an "illegal" treatment for that that helped a lot.

    Even though he couldn't care less about being bald, he had to cover his head when it was cold out in order to conserve heat.

    Nerve damage from the chemo prevented him from being able to "function" as a man normally does.

    He was quite self-concious about that, worried that I'd want to trade him in on a "complete" man.

    I told him that he'd never traded me in on a "fully functional model" (I'm sterile) and that there was an awful lot more to being in love than the body thing.

    Those last years, though fraught with heartbreak and a lot of pain on both our parts, were in many ways the best years of our life together.
  19. MrsMcNear46

    MrsMcNear46 New Member


    Sending love, hugs and BIG PRAYERS! Don't step off the Rock.


    Mrs. McNear
  20. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I think so often of you these days.

    Am glad to hear your oncologist is such a wonderful caring man for you.
    And wonderful news about the house having sold...especially in this economy.

    Will keep my ears open for further updates from you.
    Sending love, hugs and prayers.