Storm Log: Day 4

Found the portable charger, right where I told Brad it was. 🙄 My dad went golfing. My mother made brownies. Brad and I are stir crazy. Will went out for a little bit for a change in scenery.

We have debris in the roadway.

And cloud cover.

Somewhere, people mowed their lawns. One of the neighborhood pools was also open.

May have made contact with a potential looter scoping out the neighborhood. Held up a sign that said “if you loot, we shoot.” (Not really, we don’t have a sign, but we will shoot.)

Watched Life of the Party with Melissa McCarthy. So funny. Snacked on chips and salsa and cheese and crackers.

Today’s Soundtrack:

Bad Moon Rising – CCR

We Didn’t Start the Fire – BJ

Bohemian Rhapsody – Q

https://bstjennifer.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/img_5196.mov

The sky at 7:30pm. There was a misty sprinkle of rain while I was recording.

Storm Log: Day 3

I’m calling this day three because our minds went into storm mode on Tuesday, when our area was issued an evacuation order. Mine and Brad’s works both closed, and we’ve been together ever since.

Ever.

Since.

Tuesday.

Hurricane Florence will be Tropical Storm Florence by the time it comes our way. We’ll see some wind and rain and I’m sure trees will be down. This will probably start tomorrow night. I feel like we’ve been waiting forever since things started shutting down on Tuesday. I mean seriously, all the Walmarts shut down on Tuesday!! Publix, BJs, Lowe’s, and Home Depot are still open, but Lowe’s and Home Depot have their employees blocking the entrance of the store and asking you what you want before they let you inside. We turned around and left, even if you had what we wanted (we were looking for battery powered lanterns), we don’t want to have to say some magic words just to get in the door. Either you’re open or you’re not open. Get off your high horse. We hit a small business hardware store instead, Palmetto Home Store. Their staff were nice and helpful, not a power trip to be seen. BJs was even letting people shop regardless of their membership status because of the storm, so I don’t want to hear any excuses from the home improvement stores. A guy was buying a bathtub for Pete’s sakes. What the heck was that emergency??

We stocked up on snacks and margaritas. The margaritas are so I can tolerate Brad. We’ve been together for way more than what should be considered normal at this point. He’s got some kind of whiskey or something, that’s so he can tolerate me.

We were planning to evacuate. We had our eyes set on a hurrication to Florida. But the storm weakened overnight, so we decided to stay and save our money.

So I’m writing and Brad’s watching TV. I’m hoping power stays on, but I’ve got my Kindle and iPad locked and loaded just in case.

Coming at you live from my LAST treatment!

I can’t believe it’s been a year already and I’m done!

All is well on the doctor front. I saw all three of my docs today and everything is great. One more month to see the plastic surgeon before we schedule surgery. Also, it looks like I’ll have drains for the flap removal. Boo! And he’ll be straightening things up around the mid-section, so I’ll probably have a drain there, too. So it’ll be a slightly bigger recovery than originally planned, but it’s all good because it’s almost over!!

I’ll have more surgical info after that appointment, and I’ll share it then. Dr JB will also be there for that appointment so she’ll translate whatever Dr H says. Haha.

So good stuff here!! I’m healing and I don’t have to see my oncologist for three months. I asked him what I’m supposed to do now, and he said “live your life.” Haha, what does that even mean anymore?!?

I guess we’ll find out!!

It doesn’t have me…

I read something a while ago and I may have mentioned it here already, or I may not have.

I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me.

It was one of the mantras that sort of pushed me through everything. Knowing that I was the one in charge, it helped.

This generalizes to other areas of life, you know? Other diseases, disorders, and disabilities. Those Ds are not what define us. We are what define us.

I recently heard someone use the word “autistic,” and I realized in that moment how much I hated that word. I’m sure I’ve used it myself at some point, we all probably have, but ughhhh I hate it.

Why do I feel so strongly about an adjective?

Because adjectives are descriptors. Adjectives are used to help paint a picture of something. My hair is brown. My dog is chubby. This guy is tall.

That boy is autistic.

What exactly are we saying about the boy? We’re using a word, a disability at that, to define him. I feel like calling him autistic is like saying that’s all there is to him.

Yes, for people with autism, it often does define so much of their life. So much of their family’s life, too. But it’s a disorder, and who wants to be described that way?

That boy has autism.

That sentence says the same thing, but I feel like it’s empowering. He has autism, autism doesn’t have him.

It’s probably safe to say that most people who know someone with autism hate the disorder but love the person. So why use that as a descriptor?

Sorry for the rambling, but it’s just something that came to me when I heard that person say that. Maybe it doesn’t make sense at all, maybe it does.

On a side note, for those of you who don’t know, I work as a behavior technician and provide ABA therapy to kids with autism, hence the reason I feel so strongly about it. I’m actually pursuing certification in behavior analysis so I can make a career out of helping these amazing kiddos.

Last infusion is tomorrow, folks! Woohoo!

F*ck Cancer

This is my super late post I made from the plane two weeks ago. Just got around to posting it. My bad!

I’m on a flight home from New York, typing this post into a Word document because I don’t feel like paying for the in-flight WiFi to connect to the blog. I’ll copy and paste it later. I was in New York for the wake and funeral for my Aunt Eleanor. She was diagnosed with cancer and we lost her quickly. I feel blessed that I was able to make the trip with my parents thanks to my sister’s frequent flyer miles.

It was nice seeing my family. I realized on this trip that it has been too damn long since I’ve seen any of them. And not just my family, but my friends, too.

I got to visit very briefly with my friend Melissa while I was there. She was so gracious to meet me at the hospital where I was visiting my other aunt and spend about fifteen minutes with me. I hadn’t seen her in twelve years. We’ve talked on Facebook and I tag her anytime I see anything that has to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer because that was our thing years ago. Anyway, when I last saw her, she was pregnant with her twelve-year-old daughter, who I got to meet today. It’s crazy.

I’m not really sure what the solution is because I’m not made of money and certainly can’t afford to fly to New York with any type of frequency, and taking off days from work to make the drive just isn’t realistic either.

Speaking of which. Huge shout-out to my job and the people I work with because they are amazing. I mentioned in our group chat that I was going to see if I could find a sub for my Friday shift because I had a death in the family and wanted to see if I could make it out-of-town for the services, and they rallied and texted me before I could even do anything with a solution. Pretty amazing. I mean, I’ve worked at places where there was literally no impact whatsoever if I didn’t show up for a shift and received more grief over taking time off. Just one of the many things I love about my job.

It was really great seeing family, though. I hated that it was because of a funeral, but it was what it was. Maybe the next time it will be because someone got married or had a baby, which was the reason for the last three times I saw my family, which still sucks, but again…it is what it is. My wedding and Kerry’s wedding in 2008, then Kerry’s baby shower in 2012. I might not be able to visit New York every year, but surely I can head up there again in less than six years.

So blah blah blah, cancer sucks. We all know this. It has taken the life of yet another loved one. A woman who I always remember was so incredibly full of life. Always laughing and smiling. A woman who I hadn’t realized helped me learn to swim. This is something that was revealed to me through an old family video shared by my cousin Debbie.

I hate it, and it’s moments like this, when I’m reflecting on someone else’s journey that didn’t end positively, that I realize how lucky I am to have gotten through my cancer. Not everyone is so lucky.

As a survivor, I feel like I need to do good things with my life. Make some kind of an impact. Big or small, I don’t know. Just something. One of the reason I’m doing the fundraiser for Susan B. Komen and why I will likely do more fundraisers in the future. I know I don’t owe anyone anything. I know that. I know I’m not responsible for anything. But losing people you love hurts, and if there’s just one thing I can do to help ease that suffering for someone else, why not do something?

So enough deep thoughts for now. Our trip was crazy, an absolute whirlwind. I’ve literally been on this plane for like 4 hours already and the flight is only like one and a half hours long. We sat on the tarmac for nearly three hours at LaGuardia. Bananas. But we’re almost home now…

One year!

It’s been a year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and time has flown. If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be chilling in bed reading a book in a year, I’d probably have laughed at you. I had no idea where I’d be in a year. Not that I thought I was going to die or anything, I just had no earthly clue what my life was going to look like.

So here I am, one year later. I kicked ass and took names. I met some new people along the way. I inspired people. It sounds weird and selfish to say that, but it’s true, which is even weirder.

So I’m going to go back to reading my book, hopefully dig up a snack here in a little while, and relax.

For those of you who have been reading from the beginning, thank you for your support. For those of you who have just begun, welcome to my brand of crazy. 💕

One month

Quick update because life is crazy.

Saw Dr H on Monday. GH is getting smaller, he said everything is looking good and wants to see me again in a month. So I’m slowly graduating to longer and longer gaps between visits, which is nice. It’s likely that at my next appointment, we’ll schedule the surgery. He didn’t say that, but I’m guessing that. He did say again that he wants to wait for the right nipple area to heal, and the skin is still working itself out over there. So hopefully in a month, that’ll be done and we can get moving.

I also saw Dr YB on Monday. All is good there as well. I got my infusion and my shot. Only one more infusion to go! Woohoo! So things are lining up nicely for me to have the port taken out when I have the flaps removed.

I’ve got a backlogged post that I need to put up. It’s something I wrote this past weekend on my whirlwind trip to NY. I didn’t pay for the WiFi on the plane, so I couldn’t post it then. I’ll get it up in the next couple days.

Overall, I feel good! Still having problems with my feet, but that’s the only place I’m sore. Incision and breast don’t hurt, still pretty numb in those places because of the nerves. I feel pretty “normal” though! So nothing to complain about here.

I’ve got a fighter friend who is having her flap DIEP mastectomy tomorrow! Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks! Best of luck to you, L!

Gray hairs and stripped skin

I remembered what I wanted to complain about on Friday!

My hair is growing in. It’s thick and fluffy and will be back to aggravating me in no time. Well, it’s already aggravating me because my stupid gray hairs are growing back in. Give me a freaking break!? Ugh. Anyway, that’s one of the things I wanted to mention but forgot about.

The second thing is that I am literally pulling my skin off with this stupid tape every day. I stuff my wound with gauze, then tape a gauze pad (or seven, since I’m draining there, too) on top. I try to put the tape in a different place each time so I’m not ripping it off the same skin ever time I change it. I’m running out of skin! Sometimes it even bleeds. This crap hurts. And it’s weird because I don’t have feeling on my skin above the incision line, so I can’t feel it. I can only see that my skin is super red and sometimes bleeding. Below the incision line, I feel, and I don’t like it at all!

Ohhh! And since I hate shaving my legs, I’ll add that it’s quite annoying to have my leg hair growing again.

In other news, it looks like gaping hole is getting smaller. It’s getting harder to stuff the gauze in there. It’s still totally there, though.

What sucks lately

Everything has been pretty good and life is moving along nicely, so I figured I’d throw in a few gripes since everything can’t always be sunshine and rainbows and unicorns.

I’m having trouble falling asleep. I fell asleep early last night (by early I mean 10pm) and that may or may not have been a result of Sleepy Time Tea. I was desperate and figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it. So it was either that or the lack of sleep had finally caught up to me.

My feet still hurt, and no, I still haven’t made an appointment with a podiatrist or anything to get them looked at. They still hurt about as much as they’ve been. No better, no worse. It’s pain on top of my feet, not on the bottom.

I really want some yummy seafood. I want to like pig out on it. Seriously.

The gaping hole is annoying. I’m used to it, but that fact that exists bothers me to an extent.

My shoulder hurts. I think I hurt the muscle, like overstretched it in my sleep or something. I should do some of my PT exercises, but I’d rather whine about it than do something about it at this point.

Seriously though, aren’t there stages of annoyance? Like…you get mad. You complain about it. You stay mad. Then you do something about it. Maybe? I don’t know.

Anyway, I can’t remember the reason I started this post. It’s not one of the aforementioned gripes, it was something else, and I lost it. Ugh.

Oh well. I don’t have any appointments on Monday, so my next doctor related update won’t be until the 20th. This upcoming week may be pretty quiet unless I think of something fun to share!

TTFN 👋🏻

Moving right along…

Yay! So I’m doing well enough that I’m finally graduating to seeing Dr. H every two weeks. It only took three months!

I had my follow up appointment yesterday, I did not need to be drained as I’m still slowly draining out the GH. I really want to share a photo, but it’s so gross looking, so I’m really holding back here. I’ll probably post one eventually.

Anyway, Dr. H said everything still looked good and sent me on my way. Brad came with me to the appointment, as he does whenever he’s off on Mondays, which is how my appointment filled Mondays came to be.

What else is new?? Not much.

I looked at a diagram of the layers of skin, fat, and stuff in the abdomen. I’m kind of wondering if what I see as the back wall of my GH is my stomach muscle, aka my abs, or flabs, as I affectionately call them. It’s kind of fascinating, to be honest. I can actually see layers, I’m just not entirely certain what they all are and I feel like an idiot asking Dr. H.

I’m also excited that I’ve been writing again. Over the weekend, I reviewed something I was working on last year and boom! It was like the floodgates opened and all the words came out. It was quite exciting–it is quite exciting. It’s touches on a tough topic, one that me and many other people I know (and don’t know) struggled with, infertility. I’m eager to get it finished and put it out there!

Umm…ok so non-sterile gauze pads are super hard to find. I need the woven kind, not the sponges. There are random medical supply places that sell them online, but trying to find somewhere local has not been easy. There’s a place in Mt. Pleasant, but that’s sooooo far away. Not really, but traffic sure makes it feel that way. I finally ordered from Amazon, but it’s not Prime shipping eligible, so I’ll see it never. Kidding, maybe Friday, but definitely not tomorrow. Gah, I’m so spoiled by Prime shipping! Brad was able to grab some from me from some criminals operating a medical supply store. I say criminals because they charge like $8 for 50 2×2 gauze pads. I will go through those in less than 3 days. I got 200 at the place in Mt. Pleasant a couple weeks ago for about $4. It’s a shame, really. The cost of medical supplies. I don’t know how people with chronic illnesses do it. Thank goodness for Amazon.

We won first place at trivia Friday night…I missed music trivia the week before, whoops!

Nothing else new to report. Had a cancellation at work today, so I’m hanging out at home, reading and writing, planning world domination. I really want a beach vacation. I had an awesome time at the Outer Banks a few years ago. I’d love to go back. Lots of AirBnB options there.

I’m going to sign off now, I’ll update more when I’ve got more to share. 😊