March 31, 2011

Time out

Good day/bad day?: okay

It's just been a long week (even though it's a short week). Happy "Friday" to me. Tomorrow I have my first OT appt, and not a moment too soon, because I'm starting to get some swelling in my right arm. Grrr. But I increased my risk with the spa visit (hot tubs and saunas) and vigorous exercise, so I was pushing it.

Not sure what else I'll do with the day yet. Probably breakfast out, because that makes me happy. Otherwise, I really don't know what's going to feel right until I'm in it. I appreciate everyone that's said they'd be thinking about me tomorrow. I'll see what it feels like to come upon this anniversary now being a part of the club.

Welcome to the world, Vivienne! No doubt you'll be as fabulous as your parents...

Olive got the doorknob to her room to work. Oh boy, pretty soon nothing will be safe...

March 30, 2011

Worn out

Good day/bad day?: okay

Just wearing down. It's been a busy few weeks. I've just been plugging away and withdrawing a little--I've had a horrible time returning phone calls lately! Just too many things to juggle in my head right now, and it feels like I'm scheduled out for months. Oh wait, I will be! Guh. (That's my new written way to sigh today.)

So I'm looking forward to having Friday to myself, and working in more days off during radiation to keep me sane.

Favorite Olivism? Well, we've been teaching emotions. So far mad, sad, and happy. At meals, she cycles through them--mainly mad and happy. Very exaggerated expressions, and the happy is just "Hap!" with a big smile. It's good.

Kind of distracted because I'm waiting to hear about a little baby girl--c'mon out, baby Davis!

March 28, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Good

Hair's on its way back--with a vengeance. I've never been shy about growing hair, anyway. Can I say that I have slightly mixed feelings about it? Basically, it's been kind of my "badge" while I'm going through this. People tend to be a little kinder to me bald, and it's my public reminder of what I'm going through. Sometimes I need to use that extra level of understanding. Don't get me wrong, I'm getting kind of sick of looking at myself like this--I especially miss the eyebrows.

Survived Zumba tonight! It was pretty fun, even if I felt way less coordinated than I hoped I'd be. I'll try to keep at it, though, unless radiation takes a lot out of me. It feels good to sweat out some of the crap--a lot like having a good cry, for which I'm overdue and was on the brink of tonight. I'm in a little weird mood--not bad, just weird.
I have been told to liven this place up with some photos, so here's a start:

Last chemo, just after the PICC came out. Look at that smooth head. It's already got about 100 times more hair on it now.

Olive and daddy stylin' it up with some hats.

This may be Olive's first documented "dress up." Luckily no makeup was involved.

March 27, 2011

Wholesome family fun!

Good day/Bad day?: Good

It's been a good weekend all around, even if my back's killing me! Saturday was breakfast with my dear friend Jolene, who I've missed working with a lot--thank you again! Then, hanging out with Olive the rest of the day while Ben was out, and Julie joined in the evening to help out and hang out & watch a movie. We had gotten so used to hanging out with all the appts/chemo she accompanied me to that I think we just forget to schedule things. Before you know it, it's been a couple of weeks since we've seen each other! She stuck around to watch a movie with Ben & me--good low-key Sat night. Then today was...

...lambing! We went out to a farm south of Madison to catch the last weekend of lambing there and take Olive out to see the animals. It was packed, but fun. She alternated betweeen being a little afraid and being fascinated, and she was all smiles when we left. Good outing before nap time! Then homebody stuff the rest of the evening.

We'll see what this coming week brings...first, trying my first Zumba class on Monday, OT on Friday, busy work week, then the week after that is my first consult with gynecological oncology to talk about my ovarian cancer risk (fun!). And this Friday is the 5 year anniversary of my mom's death. Wow, 5 years. That first year was very long and hard, and the rest has flown by. I was on the fence about taking off that day, but I think I will and decide how to commemorate that in my own way...

March 24, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Pretty good

Still kind of in my funk, though. Yesterday really did me in--just have a lot on my mind, and then I had an evening where I could do no right with Olive. Lots of screaming. At least Ben had some luck. A little demoralizing, even if I know it wasn't personal. Tonight was much better--we even had a smiley diaper change.

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself with expecting bad side effects. Not always easy to do! This is one time when knowledge isn't always power, or I know just enough to be dangerous... As much as they can tell me that a lot of the side effects are rare, it doesn't help that I've seen some extreme examples of them in my work. And I also know that many of the women receiving radiation have only had lumpectomy--they still have breast tissue as a protective layer to nourish the skin as it's getting hit, and I don't have that. I'm expecting I could wind up with some bad peeling, burning, itching, and maybe weeping/blistering. Yeah, it's not life or death, but it's quality of life...

I'm still working through a lot of coordinating and scheduling with all these appts and work. This whole time I'd said to myself that I'd take days off just to rest and take care of myself, and I haven't really done it. I'm going to try to start for the next couple of months. We'll see--at least I'll do it until I run out of time off. That, plus working in daily radiation, OT/PT (not sure of frequency yet, but I have my first appt next week), trying to still have acupuncture, maybe the dentist, also want to start a Zumba class with a friend to get more active...oh yeah, and I should probably still work, be a good wife and mother, etc., etc. But it's not like most people I know aren't leading lives like this, too.

Olive's word? Today, I'll go with "boots". But really my favorite thing right now is a little song she sings to herself while she dances. See, we have the complete Pee-Wee's Playhouse series on DVD. She's maybe seen half a dozen episodes, and now she's obsessed. So everyday now she pulls out the 2 box sets, says "Pee-Pee" repeatedly, and dances and sings her version of the theme song. It's pretty awesome, and freakin' adorable. Just don't try to take the DVDs away from her until she's good & ready.

March 22, 2011

Game Plan

Good day/bad day?: eh

Just wanted to update you after the radiation oncology visit. Today was another visit with the radiation onc MD, a CT scan to map out my chest, also got my tattoo markers. Dang, tattoos hurt on your sternum! They're extremely tiny, and there's 4 of them.

It will take about a week and a half to get the plan done for my treatments--they take time looking at my anatomy from the CT, figure out the best angle to aim the beams, determine dosing, etc. The MD said they'd "obsess" about my plan because I'm young and they want to minimize the extra tissue exposed to minimize the long-term effects. I'm fine with that kind of obsession!

Tuesday, April 5th will be the first day of treatment. That appt will be longer, about 1.5 hrs, and then the rest will be about 30 min. I'll see the MD every Wednesday. 6 1/2 weeks. Today's appt hurt a lot having my arm above my head, and that next appt will be worse, but I'll also be getting PT & OT referrals and will hope to start that around the same time.

I know it shouldn't be a big deal after all that's happened so far, but it just felt more dehumanizing today to be marked permanently, positioned strangely on the table and run in & out of the machine. I am just not feeling strong and am in a bit of a funk. I'll get over it.

Olive's word? She kept saying "dote" and pointing at the fridge at dinner and I had no clue, until she said it and the "pop" she makes for the toaster. That would be "toast", Mom!


Good day/Bad day?: Okay

Yesterday was a partial work day--I had acupuncture in the AM--and that was fine. I'm just having a little tiff with myself. I didn't think twice this weekend about driving up to MN because I've made that trip hundreds of times in the past and kind of enjoy it. What I failed to realize was that I have not driven for a trip longer than 2 hrs since my surgery. Now my arms are making me pay for driving with impunity! That, plus not having done reps with my substantial daughter for 4 days--you can't ease into that, you either pick her up or don't... So ouch.

Today I'll be going for my radiation onc appt to get mapped out via CT, sign consent, etc. I should have more detailed info after that.

Ben is no longer taking his April trip. I won't get into the details beyond his motorcycle being uncomfortable for long rides. I wish he could--he's earned it. We'll make it up to him in the future...

Oh yeah, favorite Olive words?: She asks to sing Old McDonald with a funny version of "E-I-E-I-O", and she is working on "Adios!"

March 19, 2011

Back home

Good day/Bad day?: Good

And now I'm pooped! Had a lovely rest-of-my-time at Sundara, might try to move in there...

Then went on a whirlwind trip to Minneapolis and back to see the lovely Davis family, to be expanding in a week or so! I was very glad to sneak it in before I start radiation and they are getting to know their newborn, but we'll have to bring our families together soon.

Made me think a lot about having another kid. It would be nice if it wasn't so complicated.

Then back home to see Ben & Olive. She was very happy to see me and show me things for a while, and the she majorly cranked out. Ben tells me it's 'cause she loves me most of all, but I have a hard time being flattered by a major meltdown.

I think I may start a new blog feature: my favorite Olive word. Right now, it's "applesauce".

March 17, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Mmmmm

Spaaaaaaaaaaaa. Yes, I'm taking a break from hot tubs to write a post, but I have plenty of time to get back to it. Yesterday was a facial/sinus massage, and today was a body massage with acupressure. Nice, nice, nice. Ben joined me yesterday evening for dinner and a night of enjoying room amenities--2-person whirlpool/riverbath, fancy shower with 6 showerheads, very comfy bed, and cable! And, to class up the joint, he got a 6-pack of Point. He hung out for a while this AM, but now it's all me.

So yes, this getaway is about relaxing and "pampering" and all that, but it's becoming a lot more. It's about reclaiming my body. Today, while I was having my massage, I was reconnected to the fact that I have a body and we need to have a good relationship. Oh yeah, there's my right elbow. That's what my calves are feeling like these days. I'm getting more sensation back in my feet. All these little things to get back in touch with.

It's so different than all the changes that come with being pregnant. Your body is amazing and goes through all these changes and can actually grow a little person inside you. You have this wonderful outcome and pride because of the cool results of having your body taken over for a while. I've been taken over for almost as long, and I don't get to have the same kind of happy ending. Relief, maybe, but even that's guarded.

I've been in survival mode for a long time now. I think I've really had a fight-or-flight stress response for a lot of that time. I detached from this body that had to go through so much and has given me so much grief--so many aches and pains and unpleasant sensations. I had to detach. It was just a husk that kept getting remodelled. God, my arms alone have had to carry so much, literally and figuratively, in a weakened state. I hate to say that I feel like my body "betrayed" me, but...kinda. Now it's time to make up and find some forgiveness. Now it's time to try to feel good in my own skin again. Now it's time to trust my body, trust that it's doing everything it can to support me. Sigh. I don't know how to do that. This is a step, but it's going to take an awfully long time. No pep talks needed, just understanding...

March 14, 2011

Brain power

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Today went well--a little bit of work, then acupuncture, then more work, then home. I've actually been productive at work for a couple of days and I got to prove to myself that I can still churn something out when I need to. My thought process certainly isn't consistent, but give me something specific to focus on and I'm okay.

I made an appt for next Tuesday for the initial radiation set-up. Consult followed by CT scans to map me out and come up with their game plan. I told them I'd be looking to start during the first full week of April. I'll wait to confirm that at my appt, but then we'll be putting out the call for help again. Definitely weekend help, maybe meals...I don't think I told y'all yet, but Ben's going out of town for a week April 16th for a motorcycle trip, so that week especially I'll take assistance. We'll work it out.

In the meantime, spa getaway is only a day & a half away!!! Thank you in advance to Kathy for coming to help with Olive while I'm away. She's a busy little bee these days...

March 11, 2011

Decision time

Good day/Bad day?: pretty good

Cough. But maybe getting better?

I've decided. I've been waiting for the authorization for the 3rd (Milw) radiation consult and it's been not moving along swiftly. With more time to think, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to be okay sitting on those recurrence numbers, even if I heard different (smaller) ones from the 3rd MD. I also discussed with the 2nd MD the idea about saving radiation as an option for my arsenal if it came back later--he said that a local recurrence would have likely been from the few cells left behind that were chemo-resistant and not removed by surgery. He said it would be much more effective to irradiate those few cells now than to wait for them to mutate and develop into a new tumor--by the time a growth would be 1cm big, it would have a billionish cells, and the odds of killing all of them with the radiation would be less. Makes sense.

He also didn't minimize what it actually means to irradiate yourself, the side effects. He's the first MD that didn't downplay lymphedema, and he actually sends patients prophylactically to an occupational therapist to learn to deal with it and minimize it. So, I'm biting the bullet and signing up for another 6 weeks of treatment. I'll keep you posted when I know more details...

March 9, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: not bad until this PM...

...but that's another issue between me & the state.

And still, I cough. To the annoyance of all around me. And Olive coughs, but at leasst her fever is gone today. Which makes me wonder, when will I feel healthy again? What will that mean, anyway? It feels like it's going to be years...

March 7, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: alright

Sorry I've been so lame lately--being sick with cancer is even more boring than having cancer alone! Still have the deep chest cough. Had an acupuncture appt today, so hopefully that'll help get things moving. Olive's got another fever, too, and is sleepy and not eating much. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I booked my spa getaway to Sundara for next week--next week?! I've got a sinus treatment/massage one day and a body massage the next, and then you get to do the whole bathing thing every day. I think Ben is also joining me for a night, too. AND, I found a boob-less swimsuit that I think is going to work well, so I'm excited to try it out.

I'm also in a little bit of a weird mood because I'm thinking more about the statement by my oncologist that if this type of cancer comes back, it's usually in the next 3-4 years. (That would also mean it's a fairly agressive cancer.) So I've just had some moments where I've thought about what it would be like to be dying at 38-40. Not easy to do--not because I haven't seen it and worked with it, but that's not the life plan I was on. I have to walk through the worst case and then dial it back because that's how I operate, but it's not what I thought I'd be contemplating at this age. Oh well, we keep moving forward...

March 6, 2011

Winding down...

Good day/Bad day?: mixed

I just can't shake this dang cold. Now it's moved deeper into my chest and is worrying me. Put a damper on this weekend, but I still had a lovely time with Monica and family! Nice adults night out, then morning with her family--it's cool to see how the kids of your friends turn out--then girls' time for the afternoon, then over to Milw to rejoin Olive and the in-laws. It was a busy weekend, and now I'm pooped.

March 3, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: ugh

Trying my best to kick this darn cold/cough, but it's not budging. I'm starting to get a little worried that it's hitting me harder than the average person, felt like I was getting a fever this afternoon. So, after another half-useless day at work, I left early to come home and sleep. But I'm going to try to not let that stop me from going to Chicago tomorrow (Iron & Wine show with Monica)! I can take it easy tomorrow until I start driving--I took the whole day off work. Olive and I will venture down to Milw so she can stay with the grandparents while I continue on southward.

Just feeling very uninspired and unfocused lately...

March 2, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: blah overrated anyway. Right? Another day of cold. I really faded quickly after lunch. I'm going to have to save up some energy for Friday as I head down to Chicago.

BTW, big thanks to Sue for the lasagna (we all gobbled it up, esp Olive!). Also big thanks to Kim for the surprise carrot cake at work--soooo good...

I'm not thinking well, so we'll just call it a night.