Excuse Me, Sir

I got my first “sir” at the grocery store the yesterday with Brad. I figured it would happen eventually, and it absolutely didn’t bother me. I almost laughed when the guy quickly corrected himself, but figured that would be rude. Not everyone gets my humor and he was probably more embarrassed than I was. To his credit, I was wearing a band t-shirt. I’m not sure what gave him the first clue that I was a “she.” Maybe it was the yoga pants or the pink baseball hat. *Shrugs.* The whole interaction lasted all of 15 seconds, so it’s a tiny blip on my radar and will probably happen again and again.

I know I’ve made the sir/ma’am mistake before. Everyone probably has. I guess it’s just evidence of how we expect certain people/groups to look certain ways. See someone with short hair, they have to be male! See someone with long hair, they have to be female! And so on, and so on. To each their own.

With all that being said, my hair is growing back. I’ve got about half an inch of growth on my head and it’s making it warmer! Just in time for the warmer weather…yay. And the hot flashes……….🙄 I actually had to shave my underarms! I haven’t had to do that since September. I’m not even lying. Leg hair is still dormant, which is A-OK with me. I loathe shaving my legs. There’s still that little bit of stubble from when I last shaved, the hair that didn’t fall out, but it’s not visible.

Anyway, things are certainly returning to normal over here, and I’m pleased with that! I’ve got some doctor’s appointments today, so I’ll have more information to share later on or maybe tomorrow since I have class tonight. Hopefully things will remain normal!!

State Park, Geocaching, Pokemon, and More!

This is a bit different from my usual posts, but Brad and I had a super fun day today and I thought I’d share about something other than that lousy six letter word to let everyone see that there is fun to be had, even when dealing with the big C.

Anywhoo, I was on a field trip Friday to a local historical site and it reminded me of how Brad and I used to do a lot of stuff like that when we first started dating. We used to get those Entertainment books that schools or charities would use as a fundraiser, the ones with all the discounts for local food and entertainment and whatnot. We would go to the forts and do other touristy things in downtown Charleston. It was one of my most favorite things…playing tourist in my own town.

We had a lot of stuff on our agenda for today. So much to do since we are moving and trying to close down the old house. Well, we decided to take a little detour to Colonial Dorchester State Park on our way, since it’s maybe 10 minutes from home, if that. It’s a nice little park with a very cheap entry fee, and you can bring your dog! Which we didn’t do since we had different errands to run that weren’t all Daisy friendly.

We did the walking tour with the park map, there are posts scattered throughout with “A,” “B,” “C,” etc. that corresponded to a different talking point for the self-guided tour. It was mainly ruins, but it was a pretty landscape.

So what started our random, left turn adventure were a few Summerville Rocks. For those who don’t know, these are small, painted rocks that people leave laying around. The rules are generally that you can take them, but you have to leave them somewhere else. If you want to keep one, you have to make one and leave it somewhere to replace the one you kept. So I was talking to my mom on the phone, trying to figure out the rules because I didn’t want to do something wrong. She mentioned geocaching in our conversation, which reminded me that I had a geocaching app!

I opened the app and voila! There was something at the park! So of course we had to find it. It was fun trying to figure it out. Then we found it and swapped an item in the box for something we had – which is what you’re supposed to do. You can take an item out of the box, but you’ve got to put something back in. This particular cache was in an ammo can, so it had lots of room for stuff.

We decided to leave after that, and as we were walking to the car, we noticed some people were playing Pokemon Go! Brad and I have the app, we like to catch Pokemon when we remember we have the app. We forgot we had the app while we were at the park. Big bummer, because when we realized it, we found that there were like 6 Pokestops at the park. Pokestops are where you can get free things, so that’s super neat because we’re super cheap. Ha. Anyway, turns out there was some Pokemon community event happening at the park and as we were leaving, the parking lot was filling up with Poke-hunters.

Then we did our errands, and on the way home we had to stop at Harris Teeter for some stuff and guess what??? Another geocache!

Anyway, it’s a super fun little thing to do. There are some that are quick park and grabs like Harris Teeter, then there are others where a little more work is required. The app I downloaded is called Geocaching and has a green logo/icon. It uses your GPS location and has a map with the geocaches pinned with dots. Most of them are green, but there are other types that are different colors. It’s definitely something you can spend an entire day doing, or something you can kill a little bit of time with. I think we’re going to plan a day where we can hit downtown Charleston and go crazy. There are a LOT down there. We may even start a few of our own!

Recovery

I realize that I pretty much glazed over my post-op recovery from the lumpectomy. Honestly, it wasn’t all that bad, so I didn’t think much of it.

I took some pain pills the first week, and most of the time it was to help me sleep through the soreness and knock me out enough to not roll around since I had to stay on my back. I’m a side sleeper, and sometimes I wake up on my stomach, and since those positions were a no-go, I wanted to make sure I was out. So I took the pain medication the first couple days during the day, then the rest of that first week at night only.

The incision from the removal of my lymph nodes under my right arm hurt more than my chest did. I seriously couldn’t feel anything in my chest for days. Maybe that was leftover numbing from the nerve block? Not sure. I think I talked about the nerve block and how it was left in, so I had two little bocci balls full of numbing stuff in little sacks to carry around. Brad got to remove those wire catheters from my back and was so grossed out, it was fabulous. Apparently they were a good inch deep.

Anyway, I was surprised my chest didn’t hurt more. Occasionally there was a little zap of pain, but it only lasted a second. It was tender if bumped, which I obviously tried not to do, but I’m certainly not graceful. There’s still the slightest bit of tenderness.

I had to wear a surgical bra. Picture the most unattractive sports bra on the planet made of a heavy cotton gauze. Sexy! A few days ago, I finally bought a few front closure, wireless sports bras that are pretty loose. They came up when I did an Amazon search for surgical bras. Surgical bras came up, too, but they didn’t look as comfy. So I’ve converted to the sports bras. 24/7. Twenty-four seven.

Sigh.

My chest still looks like Franken-boobs. It’s healing, but it takes time. There’s still scabbing, but at least the steri-strips are gone (I may have ripped them off in the shower at 2 weeks post-op because I felt that was long enough, they looked gnarly (mostly because they had marker on them from Dr H’s artwork), and they were already half hanging off. I don’t think the scarring will be too bad, but by the time this heals, I’ll be prepping for the next, so there will be new scars, scabs, and steri-strips!

What else?

I still have some neuropathy in my toes, and I’ve had some swelling in my feet and ankles. Both happen more when I’m sitting a lot – so at a desk on office work or school days. I’m trying to be conscious of keeping my feet up when I’m planning to sit for long periods of time. Surprisingly, the days spent playing with kids and running around doing errands are the better days because it keeps my circulation going. Brad bought me some copper socks for the swelling, but I forget to put them on until after I’m already swollen. Ha.

I think that’s pretty much is it as far as recovery goes. It really wasn’t that bad. I was driving a week later and moving around just fine. I feel fantastic and am so glad I don’t have anymore chemo to make me feel crappy again. In a little more than a week I’ll have my next Herceptin injection and find out the date of the mastectomy. I might not have anything to say until then, but I’ll try to think of something!

Chemo & Weight Loss

I think a lot of people associate chemotherapy with weight loss, or cancer with weight loss, I know I did. For me, it was because I’d known someone or seen someone with cancer or going through chemo who had lost weight. I think I applied that experience across the board, which is one of the reasons I was so concerned about being able to eat in the beginning.

So, one thing I’ve learned and talked about is how chemo and cancer are not a one-size-fits-all experience. There’re different kinds of cancer, different kinds of chemo, and different kinds of people.

The last few days I’ve been dealing with swollen ankles and feet. It’s been annoying. I think it’s because I was horizontal for so long, and taking things slow, and now I feel good and am being more physical, staying on my feet for longer periods of time, sitting upright…so gravity is doing what it does and pulling fluid down to my feet. Once I put my feet up, it dissipates.

Anyway, the swollen ankles have made me think about how I didn’t lose weight with cancer and chemo. I did lose 10 lbs the first week of the first cycle because of the taste/texture issues I was having. Once I took the nausea meds and found ways around those taste/texture issues, I gained that weight right back and didn’t lose anything again. I may have even gained weight, but I’ve only ever been weighed on the doctors’ scales through all this, and I swear those things are on a whole different frequency.

So yeah…I could stand to lose a few pounds, and now that I’m well, I’ll definitely be heading to the gym. But I don’t want to lose too much weight in my mid-section, because they need that fat to refill my chest after the mastectomy! Pretty cool deal. 😉

Fun fact: there’s a Billy Joel channel on Sirius XM…30…I’ve often prided myself in being able to name Billy Joel songs within the first few notes. Turns out I can name them before they even get played, too! He was talking about the story behind the song and I guessed the title, and I was right!

This weekend Brad and I trekked to Baltimore, MD for a book signing. I had a great time seeing my sisters and book friends (Hi Jennifer!), making new friends, and going to the movies. We’re actually driving home as we speak. It’ll be nice to be home! I’m sure Daisy missed us (not!).

That’s all for now!!

Hey there

Sorry it’s been a few minutes since I’ve updated. I really haven’t had much to say.

I did see my oncologist the same day as the surgeon. He sent me for a bone density scan, or a dexa scan. The reason for this is because he’s considering a shot or a pill to battle out that little bit of cancer that stayed behind. He guessed that what didn’t go away was estrogen fueled, and my treatment was geared a little more towards progesterone. Or something like that…it’s been a little while and I don’t quite remember now. Anyway, because the add-on treatment would be more hormone stuff, he wanted to check my bone density.

So that wasn’t a difficult scan. I went to the same place I went for my mammogram. I laid on a table, they scanned my hip area and lower spine. There was something shaped almost like an arm that arced partway over the table, and that’s what scanned me. I’ll know those results at my appointment on the 26th.

My only side effect of the Herceptin this cycle was hot flashes. I hate them so much, but it was lovely not having to deal with anything else, and to be feeling progressively better day by day. I swear I’ve been making up for the flavor/texture challenges by eating anything and everything. Ha…not much change there. I did have a couple days of heartburn, but that was probably a result of my wonderful diet, not my treatment. I haven’t taken medication in a long, long time!!

I feel…dare I say it…normal!

Seriously, aside from my leg muscles being so sore from lack of use and my feet being swollen, I feel great! It’s wonderful.

I’ve been to both of my classes two weeks in a row. I don’t think I’ve done that since September! I’ve been working, too. I subbed a couple sessions with some great kiddos today, and I’ve been doing some contracted/as needed office work for an old boss, too. I finally feel like I’m contributing again (or will be once I get paid), and it feels nice! It’s also nice to feel like I have a little bit more purpose.

Things are kind of quiet over here, so I won’t bore you. You’ll probably hear from me next on the 26th, after my next appointments, unless something exciting happens between now and then.

Oh! I’ve got peach fuzz on my head! 😁 I wonder what my hair will be like when it grows back…