Sunday, November 23, 2008

Four Updates


My plan was to write several posts each about different happenings of this past week. Now even more is happening, and if I don't get something out, it will all go the way of the mythical "Anniversary Post" and the even greater mystery, the "October Post." At least I'm recognizing these terrible habits and making some sort of a change.

Physical Therapy
I was scared to go to my first PT appointment on Friday. I thought I might be told I was totally out of whack, in terrible shape. I thought it would possibly be a scary environment, full of frustrated people trying to walk again, fighting back tears. None of these things occurred. My therapist, Dustin, put me at ease with some initial gentle heckling. I think it's the little sister in me that makes that work pretty much every time. During his evaluation, it was clear that he had a very good understanding of both my old injury (dislocated shoulder) and my new ones (mastectomy & reconstruction surgeries). He was encouraging and thorough, and pointed out a few silver linings.
1) I'm young. This was one of the main reasons I decided to have both breasts removed now. I didn't want to recover from this surgery again later in life.
2) My shoulder is actually in better shape now because of the mastectomy & radiation. The pain I have there is all due to a really loose joint. Both surgery and radiation gave it a little boost of tightening. Because of this, when I've rehabbed it this time, it will be better than ever.
3) All of the stretches he gave me to do at home are what I naturally do already when I have pain. I'll need to do them more regularly, but I shouldn't forget them.
4) My personality is helping me heal. He pointed out that because of the trauma of breast cancer, a lot of women, those that even come in for pt, will not want to be touched and will have a lot of fear related to working with that part of their bodies. Me, I'll take all the attention I can get in order to feel better.

So I'll see him a couple of times a week, stretch & exercise at home, and be good as new sooner than Dustin even thinks. I rehabbed my shoulder in 3 months last time. He's going to be impressed in the near future.

A Very Random Heads-Up
When I met my massage therapist later that afternoon, she gave me an interesting warning. It seems Dr. Ls is going to be doing a reality show with the Oxygen Network. And he wants me to take part. Now I've never seen an Oxygen show, so I have very little to infer from the information I have, other than the term "Docu-Drama" that they're using. Which produces in me a huge YIKES. Most of the decisions I make are careful though, so I'm going to do some research & take my time. I have two competing thoughts right now.
1) Being my own advocate saved my life from something a lot of young people don't think they have to worry about. Having the chance to inspire other women to stay ahead of breast cancer would be a great, great, good.
2) Ah, reality television. Wherein evil puppeteers gain bizarrely intimate levels of access to humans and then edit their every utterance to turn them into whichever character they feel makes for the best entertainment. I think. But really, I don't want to be on any kind of television.

So what do you think? Really, I want comments on this.

The Three Day
First let me share that I learned from Kelley that the Three Day walkers' fundraising pages can be donated through several weeks after the event. So if you forgot or you found $20 in your pocket, you can still help.
Saturday I had planned to meet with my Mom and go see Kelley and Jenny as they walked the Three Day. We got a late start, but that made it possible for Mark to join us and the three of us headed to the South Mission Jetty. I found out Kelley was tearing up the course, making great time after squeezing in a bloody mary with her husband that morning. That put her ahead of us by just a bit. Then we heard Jenny's team was not faring as well. Jenny had a blister under a callus, Erica had SIX blisters, and Claudia was doing the best with bad knees. We decided to wait for Jenny's group. I'd never seen the Three Day in action and it was a good thing we had a bit of a wait before the girls got to us, because there was a lot of emotion to control. We turned into the parking lot among a throng walkers and supporters, lump steadfastly in throat. Music was blaring from two touring motorcycles at the entrance that had been appropriately pinked-up. A couple of tents had been set up with refreshments, crazily themed groups of supporters, and more music. We parked and made our way over to the love-gauntlet that lined the path, and I just hung on to Mark for a bit while we took it all in. I was about gathered when Jenny and her team rounded the bend.

Jenny, Claudia, and Erica, looking fantastic with just a few miles to go on day 2.

Mom, Me, and Jenny's fiancee Shane stopped the girls for hugs, moleskin handoff, and pictures by Mark.

The girls where just a little over a mile from the next pit-stop, and they needed to keep moving, so we decided to tag along. Mark said about 12 times, "We have to do this next year." And we will. I only got a taste of the amazing support crew my ladies had helping them along the way. Even past the designated cheering zone, folks were lined up all along the boardwalk passing out candy and cheering. We even saw a well-placed keg party happening at one of the vacation rentals where the revelers had signs and pink shirts all around. From my tiny little nugget of the three day, the thing I was most touched by (aside of course from the amazing comittment & sacrifice of the walkers themselves) were the many ladies waiting along the route to say simply, "Thank You." Ugh, it gets me now. So much pain, hope, loss, and grattitude, so many stories that we'll never know behind those two words we hear most every day. I can't say it enough, so again, Thank You.

Niece #2
Last but absolutely not least we're celebrating the arrival of a new family member. I have very few deails, except that reddish-headed, blue eyed Danielle was delivered just an hour and a half after her parents got to the hospital this evening. She weighed 7 lbs, 4 oz, but might be heavier already as I ear she's nursing up a storm. Her mama is tired but well, and we're all very blessed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pardon My Sneezes

I have been down with a flu for a bit, so it's been very quiet, sleepy, and sneezy around here. Mark was home to tend to me a bit, but it was a sad use of his week off. We did enjoy several good films and a record amount of beautiful sunsets.

Later in the week we made it out to Quail Botanical Gardens and had such a treat in the bursting citrus garden. I took lots of notes and am looking forward to Pink Lemonade lemons and Algerian Mandarins in my future.

Later this week I'll be starting physical therapy. I'm really looking forward to getting back to something like my usual strength after 9 months of pain and inactivity. At the same time, I'm a little nervous about confronting the exact size of the hill I have to climb. At any rate, it should be an interesting week.

Oh, it's also the last week to donate to the girls walking the Three Day in my name. They start their long long walk on Friday. Jenny and Erica are doing great, but Kelley still has a ways to go. If you've come across any lose change, please help her reach her goal, HERE. As a little bonus, Kelley's got possibly the silliest picture of me on her fund-raising page.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Well, that was fast!

Congratulations to Brain-Prism for being the first to donate $500 and winning a flight in a 1943 Stinson. I'm wishing this generous guy a perfect day on which to enjoy his prize, and an unforgettable zip over Temecula.

Maybe if we're lucky, he'll let us know how it went.

There's still time to donate to the 3-Day, and several more dollars needed to reach the girls' goals. I hope you can take a moment to help them out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did you?

Or We Could Just End This Crap Once and for All

A little while back I wrote about how important it is to be aware, of our bodies, our options, and breast cancer as a whole. But wouldn't you rather not? Don't you wish breast cancer was a little more like, say, polio? A disease with which our kids are going to have absolutely no association, no mental image, save maybe a vague impression that it's probably not good?

Every year we learn more and more about breast cancer, but it's not happening fast enough, and we can change that.

This year I have been blessed by many great friends who helped me get through this. With meals, movies, open ears and lots of laughs, you guys have saved me in many ways. My doctors, my husband, family, and myself, we're the reason I'm alive. But you guys, my friends, are the reason I'm still me. And you're not done helping! Two of my girlfriends are participating in their first Breast Cancer 3 Day, a challenging trek to fund a cure for breast cancer, on November 21-23. I hope to be able to join them with even more friends next year. But in the mean time, please check out their pages and consider donating. No amount is too small, and if you were considering any kind of holiday gift to me this year, a donation will absolutely suffice.

Here's Jenny's page, and here's Kelley's.
***Update: Since Jenny's pretty much at her goal, she'd like to ask that you donate through her team-mate, Erica, any funds that you'd normally donate through her.

And, since my dad is AWESOME, he has rustled up an incredible prize to the first to donate $500 or more.

A ride in a completely restored 1943 Stinson Bi-plane over the Temecula wine country. An amazing airplane flown out of Fallbrook, CA, by an amazing pilot, and just in time to prove to your friends on the East Coast that we do get fall color. If you want to win this, donate, then leave me a comment letting me know you have and giving me the name under which you donated and to whom. I'll verify your donation with the appropriate walker and if you're first, get you your prize. Good luck!

For those of you who just cant spare the coin, don't worry. In the future I'll be posting ways you can help without spending a penny, as well as a totally free giveaway.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where Am I?

Hi kids. I'm here. I'm fine. I've been just a bit busy and Mark is off this week, which I'm just realizing usually translates to much less computer time for me. I'm actually okay with that overall, as it also means I'm having more fun than usual. But I do have lots to catch you all up on. Lots of pictures to share. But not today. Mark's parents are here and I just have a sec before I join up with them for a lovely day on the coast. If you're curious about how my little body is doing, here's the latest:
* I scaled a cliff last week, with the help of stairs, but it was the most work I'd done since the last surgery and was actually slightly easier that I'd expected.
* I saw Dr. Ls on Thursday and that went well. He's happy with how mobile everything is staying. If you have questions about why this is a good thing, fire away. I've been downgraded from crazy amounts of gauze and scissor work every morning and can just wear a bra now. Huge step forward for productivity. The only thing I'm keeping an eye on is a big fat suture that's trying to come out and visit (it's supposed to be an innie). That's nothing to worry about and pretty common. I just have to keep it clean and such.

Okay, as I say, pictures soon. Be well everyone, and VOTE ON TUESDAY!