Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Post-chemo family pictures

I decided I wanted to do family pictures after I was done with chemo and while I was still completely bald.  Breast cancer will never not be part of our family and our family history, so it seemed like the natural thing to do. 

I put together pink outfits for all of us and we went to the photo studio on Saturday, June 1st, 2019. 

We had done family pictures on June 1st, 2018 so we showed the photographer those pictures and recreated them.  I have the side by side comparisons at the bottom of the post.  Since we went two years in a row on the same day, we now have to go on June 1st, 2020 to have three year comparisons. 


If you zoom in on my hand you might be able to see that I have pink ribbon nail polish on two of my nails. 

I look happy and smiley, but this position nearly killed me.  It was another two months before I could comfortably get my elbows all the way down like this. 

We did a couple of pictures with my wig, since that wig has been a big part of my identity for so long. 

Side by side comparisons: 2018-2019

Monday, October 14, 2019

6th Surgery

I worked on Monday the 7th.  I took more pictures of the kids with the pumpkin backdrop, including another one of me.
That evening I cleaned out the pantry. We got rid of a bunch of old water bottles and travel mugs, including this one that I got in 1999 when I was going to school in New Hampshire through an exchange program.  

Ah, Breaking New Grounds.  You were my first real coffee place. I was a regular there for that one semester.

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW did we accumulate all of these marshmallows? 

I have had this broken clock in my office for two years.

I finally bought a new one to replace it and took it to work on Tuesday the 8th.  
I stopped at Stein Mart on my way home from work that day and somehow, randomly, ended up with two pairs of shoes.  

I am having free flap autologous breast reconstruction in December. Autologous reconstruction uses tissue -- skin and fat-- from another place on the body to form a breast shape. The tissue (called a flap) usually comes from the belly, buttocks, or inner thighs to create the reconstructed breast.
The tissue can be completely separated from its original blood vessels and picked up and moved to the chest. This is frequently referred to as a “free flap.” Free flaps require the surgeon to have skill in microsurgery, which involves attaching the blood vessels from the tissue flap to the vessels in the chest area so that the new breast gets sufficient blood supply.

My reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Matatov, is using a combination of belly and thigh tissue for my reconstruction. I had an appointment with him on Wednesday the 9th so that he could mark my stomach for Dr. Chase, the surgeon who removed my ovaries the next day. It would be disastrous if Dr. Chase cut through the vessels in the tummy tissue that Dr. Matatov needs to transplant to my chest, so he marked everything very clearly with black SHARPIE. Not even joking. Sharpie.
I've had so many doctor's appointments this year that I now bring my own robe to them. I went with orange that day because it's a little Halloweenish for October.

I stopped at the Nespresso store on my way home and bought 30 pods.  

Thursday, October 10th was my 6th surgery of 2019. 

My breast cancer was estrogen positive and aggressive, so to reduce the risk of it recurring, I had  my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

We got to the hospital at 11:00 for a 1:00 surgery.  It was after 12:00 before I even got called back from the big waiting room into the surgery prep area. 

Luckily there were therapy dogs to snuggle. 

My surgeon ended up arriving around 2:00.  

I had painted my toenails so they were pretty while I was unconscious.  I had to document it.  

I was released that evening and we got home around 6:30.  
My parents, and Michael and the kids left to drive to the Grand Canyon on Friday the 11th for my uncle's memorial service, so Laura came up from Tucson and spent the weekend caring for me. 

She made us a delicious dinner that evening.  Homemade cream of mushroom soup, salad, and bread. 

Laura drank wine and I took percocet while we watched 90's teen movies.  

On Friday night we watched Can't Hardly Wait and Ten Things I Hate About You.  

On Saturday the 12th we drove to Walgreens to get some more pain meds for me. 

Then stopped for breakfast burritos.  

Nespresso coffee 

Joni brought us food that afternoon that we had for dinner. Chicken salad on avocado halves, and fruit.  

We ordered Crumbl cookies for delivery.  

On Saturday we watched Now and Then, Reality Bites, and The Craft. 

My family returned and Laura drove home on Sunday the 13th. 

But first she did her nails,

And I spent all day in my jammies.  

I am off all of this week on fall break, but really all I am doing is recovering from surgery.  The kids go back to school tomorrow after their fall break, so I have LOTS of time to blog but I'm actually completely caught up!