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Resting for the Cure (aka Lots of Doctor Appt Blathering)


I met with my rheumatologist yesterday. All is quiet on the lupus front. Good. Blood work and urine. The usual poking and prodding.

I’m sure she didn’t even want to see my boobs but I said “So, you want to see them?”

She said “Sure” and I flashed her.

It seems to be the thing I do lately. Show everyone. A friend came over with dinner yesterday afternoon and she was here for a while when Finn said “Mom…show her your breasts.”

The really funny part is I already had.

They just don’t feel like part of my body. I can’t feel anything so why would I care if someone saw them? Peter asked if I was going to post pictures of them on my blog and I debated it. He laughed out loud at the fact that I debated it.  I’m not doing it.

Seriously though, they don’t feel like they are mine.

You know what breaks my heart though? Today Finn asked if he could sit in my lap. I nodded, feeling brave and bracing myself for his wiggling, boyish ways. Plus, he hasn’t been in my lap since surgery, more than 2 weeks ago. He climbed into my lap carefully and sweetly.

I could not feel his body against my chest. At all.

The realization left me sort of panicked for a second.

I leaned in and nuzzled his neck and hair and ears to feel close to him. It was one of those quick, dark moments that sneaks up on me about all of this breast cancer business. It made me terribly sad.

So, I chose instead to change directions and focus on all of the positives. That’s all I can do.


While at the rheumatologist, she tried to persuade me to do Race for the Cure this weekend and go to the survivor’s tent. She kept saying “It’ll be really powerful and there is a free breakfast and you can share your story and you get a pink survivor t-shirt.”

Me being me I said “How do they know you’re really a survivor?” Already thinking that perhaps this is yet another opportunity for me to flash people.

She just stared at me looking really horrified. “Who would lie???”

In my head I’m thinking “People are assholes, lady. And I’m sure someone would lie to get a free breakfast and a free t-shirt.”

But that isn’t the point. The point is she was really reeeeallllly insistent on trying to get me to go.

I don’t want to go. I’m tired and not supposed to overexert myself.

And as far as the powerful sharing?

No thanks.

I do not define myself as a breast cancer survivor.

I don’t know that I ever will.

I don’t define myself as a blue eyed person or a mother or sister or wife or friend or person with lupus or person with allergies or person who hates cruises so why would I suddenly define myself by this? This is just another thing that has happened in my life. This is not me.

I am not, and I mean this with every sincere bone in my body, making fun of people who DO define themselves by their cancer. Many people need that and it makes them strong and I support that.

I’m just saying, I don’t have a need for that type of support. And it’s weird to have people assume that’s what I want or need. It’s like having a membership to a club that you didn’t want to join, forced upon you. People are SHOCKED that I’m not high tailing it to the survivor’s tent to tell my tale of woe.

Anyway….just something I have been ruminating about.  (super secret interesting fact: my mom feels similarly. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

If you do the walk and were thinking of putting my name on your back, by all means DO IT! I love the idea of walking in honor or memory of someone. It’s just all of the other stuff I’m not terribly interested in.


Peter and I met with my oncologist today, who is a woman also(WOO HOO for women doctors!! The only one who isn’t is my plastic surgeon. I’ll let him live. ) and she went over all of the information so patiently with me. I don’t know if I have shared that the original .7mm mass, which was discovered during a biopsy, was actually 3mm once they opened me up during surgery. This is still SO small but it’s bigger than they originally thought. The reason they didn’t detect the entire tumor is that young breast tissue is VERY dense and it is very difficult to detect cancer through it. All of the docs are very pleased they detected this so early. As am I, of course. My choice of a bi-lateral mastectomy was validated by Dr. K, which made me feel calm and in control.

At one point, she said “You are cured.”

I never thought I would every hear someone say those words to me. It was very cool. No chemo. No radiation. No Tamoxifen. Nada. She just wants to see me in 6 months and then do MRIs once a year to be completely proactive about returning breast cancer. There is a 3-5% chance of recurrence.

I meet with the plastic surgeon, Dr. B. tomorrow for another saline fill. Ugh. I’m so dreading it. In my head, I keep having these pretend fights with him. Blech. I feel like I look like Dolly Parton already and they want to put MORE in? Oy.


* artwork by Rachelle. I have this magnet on my refrigerator.

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Taking Care

My Dad has been so top of mind lately as I struggle through this murky journey. I said to a friend recently and also to my mom that I feel him with me. I hear his voice in my soul quietly whispering “You can do it. You’re doing great!” It keeps me going a lot of times. And I miss him. Tremendously.

Dad had a dog named Butch when he was little. He was a mutt but a smart one and could do all sorts of cool things.  One of those things was that he would carry my dad’s lunch to school every day in his mouth. The local paper caught wind of it and sure enough, there was a picture of my Dad walking to school (cute as hell) with Butch at his side, paper lunch bag in his mouth. It hangs framed in my parent’s house next to the picture of my mom in the paper at a young age cutting the ribbon to the opening of the new Fon Du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee, WI. I’m a child of celebrities you see. (sidenote: I am desperately wishing I had the photos scanned in so you could see.)

Anyway, this morning as I brushed my teeth, Hadley was holding a toy puppy rattling on about something or other. She suddenly said “Remember Papa’s dog, Butch?”

I nodded. Brushing.

She told the stories of Butch she had heard so many times from Papa as I concentrated on brushing with my busy busy Sonicare.

She asked “Did Butch have a doggy door?”

I shrugged.

She kept going wondering about how the dog got in and out of the  house and what he must have done while Papa was at school.

I continued brushing.

Then she said “I wish Papa was alive so he could tell me how Butch got in the house.”

My eyes instantly filled with tears but I was brushing so I couldn’t say anything.

I quickly spit and said “Me too” and smiled, trying to blink back the tears.

He would be so proud of me I think quite often. I’m doing it Dad. I’m tough. I’m fighting.

Since the saline fill on Thursday, life has been rough. Painful. Grueling. Lots of tears. Lots of encouragement from the ever present Peter.

Yesterday, my mom called while out running some errands and asked if she could stop by. I said I was lying in bed and I would love it.

She came over and crept in bed next to me. We lay on my big white bed side by side, facing each other as the fan slowly turned above us. Just picturing it makes me swell with so much emotion because I love her so much. We lay there for about 45 minutes, talking and occasionally stroking each other’s arms. I adore this woman. My mom, my friend. Her big blue eyes occasionally filled with tears as well as we talked and shared with each other the goings on in our lives.

I was in pain. Lots of it. And I felt defeated. And weak.

Just being with her soothed so many of my pains. Vicodin was a big helper in the situation as well but you get my meaning.

I woke up this morning and felt human. Again, if a normal person were experiencing what I’m feeling they would be alarmed, but for me, feeling this good is a gift and I am the happy recipient. An apprehensive recipient though because I never know how long I’ll have feeling decent.

So, in my mind I am crediting my parents for this pain breakthrough. My Dad guiding me and pulling some strings in heaven and my mom working her mom magic on earth. Whether that is truly the case or not is not important. That is how it will be stored away in the filing cabinet in my heart.

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Ding Dong the drains are out, the drains are out, the drains are out

Those disgusting drains are gone! I am a different person. Still a bit wobbly, still plenty sore but I am not tethered to these disgusting fluid pouches. Oh the freedom!! And! And I get to take a shower tomorrow!!! I have gone the sponge bath route and my sweet husband has lovingly washed my hair but it’s not the same. That shower is going to be the best shower I’ve ever taken.

So, they took the drains out and then added 100cc of saline to my expanders.  I can't feel the needle going in at all because my breasts are numb. It's just like a slow fullness in your breasts like filling up a water balloon. Weird.  It's uncomfortable afterwards though...they compare it to the way after you get your braces tightened. Mkay. I’ve had my braces tightened. I would like to say that would be half ass accurate.

They’ll fill them every week until I say “when”. Then we wait 3 months until they put in the saline implants. I think I’m pretty close to saying “when”. Perhaps a few more weeks. They like to over fill in order to ensure enough space.

I meet with my cancer surgeon tomorrow. Turns out they found more cancer in my left breast when they were operating. A 3mm tumor. WTF? I’ll get more information tomorrow but it just goes to show you a) science isn’t perfect and b) I made the right decision with the bi-lateral mastectomy. I do have to meet with my oncologist next week though to see what my long term plans are. There are two drugs they like women to take to stave off a return of breast cancer (tamoxifen and another one I can’t remember) but I can't take either one because I have blood clotting issues. We’ll see.

I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal. They felt that way a bit tonight as Peter and I chatted in the kitchen and the kids played. (For weeks, I have been upstairs in bed separated from the normal rhythms.)  Peter and I watched 2 or 3 plays that H&F put on. I love how there is no planning or rehearsing. They’re just wiggling around, yelling things and doing a bunch of random crap as we watch. But we clap at the end of course.

I went into Hadley’s room and we were winding down and about to read books, I told her I had a new band for her. Music is her passion, which delights us to no end. I put in Innocence Mission Glow,  and a smile crept across her face. She bobbed her head and pretended to know the words as we straightened all of the books on her bookshelf and I just felt lucky. Achy and cranky but inexplicably happy and lucky.

“You’re going to be ok now, Mom, aren’t you” she said with a smile.

“Yes I am” I said as I hugged her and smelled her hair.

My sweet rare bird.

A person I adore has sent me a card every single day.

Process that.

Every day.

The latest said “Keep Hustling to Keep Happy”. I love that. I hung it up. Gotta keep hustling.

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More than you ever wanted to know about my twin towers

I find myself thinking about people who go through trauma and don’t have a support system. It makes me sad. And feel extremely fortunate for those around me.

For those of who have left a comment, sent me something, said something, sent a card, cooked a meal, anything…I give you the most sincere thank you. You gladden my heart. Without your support my soul would have withered.

I am doing ok. This is no picnic. It’s scary and painful and incredibly emotional.  The pain is bizarre and it feels like a 300 lb man is sitting on my chest making it harder for me to breath. I do my breathing exercises every day, slowly gaining in my ability to take bigger breaths.

I am trying to be “normal” again and keep getting yelled at by Peter for “doing too much”. I am not supposed to be reaching, or lifting and don’t think I can drive for another week and a half or something.

I walked down to the bus stop today to meet Hadley and was met by the smiling faces of my neighborhood gals. (holla!) It felt good to be normal for a minute. To know that I won’t always feel this defective.

The drains are quite honestly the worst part. They will probably come out on Thursday. (fingers crossed) A 20” tube comes out of my body on each side and has a bulb on the bottom to collect the fluid. We used to have to “strip” (empty) the drain and  empty the bulb and then measure it, on both sides, 3 times a day. Oh, fun times. Now, we just have to do it once a day.

More than once I have stumbled to the bathroom in the middle of the night and forgotten about the drains as I stepped out of bed. I can’t even explain the pain of them falling to the floor, yanking at the sore entry point on my sides. (They tell you to pin them to your clothes but I can’t sleep in clothes so they just lay next to me.) I crumple to the floor and yelp out in pain and try to breath. Then gather up my damn drains and take myself to pee, cursing the whole way. It’s creepy the way they just come out of my body. You can feel them on the inside too. As much pain as this crap has caused, the medical/scientific aspect of it is so interesting.

My breasts actually don’t look too gruesome. For some reason I thought it would look like a wild animal attack or something. But there are just two little lumps with about a 5 inch scar across them. No nipple. They do not look or feel like mine. They just feel foreign and hard and lumpy. Doc says that will change and I’ll be more comfortable with the saline implants. (He will fill the expanders with saline weekly for about 3 months. Then we wait 3 months. THEN he puts in the saline implants.)

I do miss my old breasts. I mourn them occasionally but then try to quickly move on to my “new normal”. This pain won’t last forever.

I am taking so many medications that my darling PGP had to make an excel spreadsheet to track meds and time meds are given. I am also giving myself an injection of lovenox (blood thinner) every day to avoid blood clots.

Yeah, it’s a big old party around here. It’s like “Drugstore Cowboy” but different. Strangely, lupus has been on vacation during this time. Or at least very very quiet. I’m expecting that bitch to come waltzing back to the party shortly with a cocktail in one hand talking about “Did I miss anything??”

And for those who say “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” I say after this I better be one bad ass motherfucker. I’m talking about being able lift cars and chop cement in half.

One thing that has been making me happier than I ever thought it would is that I rented both seasons of Pushing Daisies. Seen it? Isn’t that the most darling, visually appealing, interesting, quirky, uplifting show you’ve ever seen? It is intoxicating and has been making me happy. It also has been making me want to bake pies and dress like Chuck. And I was near tears when Kristin Chenoweth won the Emmy for best supporting actress. She deserved it!


Still on the daily search seeking out little things that make life brighter and make me smile. I’m proud to have Peter holding my hand every step of the way. He’s been making me laugh a lot lately.  Truthfully, I’ve never been more in love with him than I am right now.

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Joy and Pain

(There’s mostly ‘pain’ and only some ‘joy’ but I had that song in my head….remember that song? Joy and Pain. Sunshine and Rain…..)

I’m home.

Good news is there is no more cancer. No cancer in the lymph nodes. Yahoo!

After they injected the dye into my lymph nodes in the morning and I was to leave for the hospital, one of the nurses gave me this HUUUUUUGE pink, quilted teddy bear with pink ribbons tied around its neck and then an angel made out of a doily pinned to its stomach. It also had a big pink cancer ribbon pinned to it.

I think she expected me to cry and hug it or hug her.

I just said “oh!” as nicely as I could before I set it down. I know the nurse meant well but It made me feel like a child. I am not a child. Better yet, I am an adult with good taste.

I’m not kidding. The thing was the size of a 4 year old child. I tried to hide my disdain but when I went back to the waiting room to get Peter to leave, I gingerly set the bear down on a chair in the waiting room and left him there.

I’m pissy today. I’m done being the patient. Being helpless sucks.

Pain abounds and I’m not allowed to do anything. This,of course, makes me furious. I hate having to lean on people and depend on them. Hate it.

All of the lovely gifts make me feel so loved though, so thank you. Thank you for thinking of me. And thanks for being so creative!

All of the drugs make me sleepy so I must rest now. I just wanted to check in and tell you I was alive. It’s not nearly as gruesome as I thought it would be.

My husband continues to amaze me all the time. The fact that you cannot gross the guy out is very impressive.

The blue eyed devils are doing swell. I call them in to my room for kisses and hugs and they are very interested in all of my various tubes and bandages.

More soon.


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Such is Life

Sorry no posts lately. I just needed time to live. Plus, I got sick for a few days and that sucked. Luckily, today I woke up feeling better and was SO relieved. I can’t imagine if I had to postpone this procedure.

Tomorrow is the day and I’m ready.

I literally am so humbled by and grateful for everyone pitching in and lending a hand. It’s unreal. And I am in awe. THANK YOU!

I am also rocking really kick ass hair in case anyone was wondering. I got the mani/pedi and hair done today and I really do feel I am ready for battle. My darling hairdresser had a bottle of wine and oversized malted milk balls ready this evening for our rendezvous. There was much celebrity gossiping, wine swilling and cancer jokes.

I also got a boatload of magazines to peruse. I’m sure there will be MUCH waiting tomorrow.  I’m going to have to remember my iPod too. Can’t let a moment go by without music pumping through my veins. It’s my strength elixir. (thanks KH for the delicious word) Oh, and I randomly bought bright red lipstick today too. What is that about? Also picked up a bottle of Kiehl’s grapefruit lotion. Deliciousness abounds.


I am ok. I am more than ok. I am strong and surrounded by love and light. I also see all of your little faces in my head cheering me on, which makes me smile.

And in a private note to my boobs, I would like to say thank you for the good times. Thanks for feeding both of my babies, being a pretty good size and all around serving your purpose.

I’m crying now.



I haven’t cried much at all, really and now, when I’m trying to put together a good bye note to my boobs, tears roll down my cheeks.

Such is life.

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Fancy Love

I laugh out loud every time I see this ad for Jessica Simpson’s new perfume, Fancy Love. I know it has been skewered by all of the funny people on the interwebs and for good cause.


I just really really really wish I could have been in that meeting, wherever it was, when this idea was thrown out on the table. (Were there WORSE names? I’d love to see the castoffs….)

Were there audible sniggers? Did anyone roll their eyes? SOMETHING had to have happened when she tossed her hair to the side and said “I want it to smell pretty and I want to call it Fancy Love.”

Seriously, someone had to laugh out loud.

Doesn’t it sound like a phrase a repressed, slightly crazy young person would use for sex? (as in “oh making fancy love is for married people only.”)

I have spent way too much time thinking about this.

I’m laughing now even typing. It makes me want to blurt out “FANCY LOVE!” randomly.

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I Gotta Feeling

(Funny side note: I use Windows Live Writer to post to my blog. In the space where you put your Post title it says “Enter a Post title”…looking at it this morning I swear it said “Enter a positive title”…Freudian. In a good way. Positive pervades these days.)


On Monday we met with the plastic surgeon to go over everything for surgery and sign a million papers. On one hand, it was good because I like paperwork, directions and to do lists. That makes me feel in control. And plus, I heart my doc.

On the other hand, it was a little bit frightening because legally, they have to go over everything that COULD go wrong. Oy. I tried not to focus on that so much. I chose instead to bond with Dr. B’s awesome physician assistant, who had amazing skin, great style and perfect curls. She was very cool and kept saying things like “You’re going to do great!”, which fueled my confidence.

Still on the positive positiveness train. I’m not Pollyanna. I do have moments of fear and darkness but they are fleeting and I push past them. (Remember the mantra? I am strong. I am surrounded by love and light.)  Fear is destructive and unproductive. Instead I focus on all of the great things.

Also, helping me is the fact that I’m referring to my mastectomy as “the dinner party” in my head. You know when you have a dinner party you do a ton of things to get yourself ready and your house ready? That’s how I feel. I’m cleaning, organizing, making lists, etc for the house. For myself, I had my eyebrows waxed, eyelashes tinted, am getting a haircut and color the night before surgery, am getting a mani/pedi. I’m getting my “armor” ready. I’m going to feel awful after surgery. I may as well try to have everything else in tip top shape.

Side note: I was getting my hair cut and colored when I went into labor with Finn. Being my second child, I said calmly “I think I’m going into labor but keep going, I’m fine.” My hairdresser at the time’s husband worked there and ignorantly said “You’re not going to gush water all over, are you!?!?!?” I calmly replied “No.” She finished my hair, I drove home, called Peter and he came home and we went to the hospital. The whole thing was so civilized and calm. There could have been soft music and passed hors d’oeurves. I told anyone and everyone at the hospital that my hair was looking good for childbirth. I’m sure I’ll do the same this time. As if they’ll say “Wow, she’s the most well groomed gal we’ve ever had in the OR!” Although, secretly you know I hope they do.

The doc had to take “before pictures” and so there I am topless with leggings on, standing against a bright blue background. The whole thing felt very “American Apparel” ad campaign a few years ago. I awkwardly mentioned that fact and the doc was silent. He said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oh, ok, then. Awesome. Never mind.


You know what I’m talking about, right? Google American Apparel ad and you’ll see what I mean.  Here is an example of some of them. The models heads are sometimes cut off and it’s just a topless girl in leggings or something.

Anyhoo. Just an image that has stayed in my head and made me laugh.

I went to get pre-op blood work done yesterday so that is checked off my little list. I’m set. Friday cannot come soon enough.

I’m listening to lots and lots of music. It makes me feel strong and happy. My latest love is the poptastic, cheesefest that is Cobra Starship’s Good GIrls Gone Bad (feat. Leighton Meester)  Lots of Mika lately and that song “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas is on constant rotation. The kids called it “guinea pig song” because it was in the movie G-Force.

Do something nice for someone today. It makes you feel good.

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