I woke up hungry…..

I have been so hungry lately! I have been feeding all my cravings. Tacos, fried chicken, bread, bread with butter, bacon, Chinese food and chocolate cake. I usually don’t give in so easily to my cravings. I have learned to combat most of them, or at the very least learned how to portion control them (except for tacos, you can’t control tacos). Lately I just can’t seem to get enough food.

Yesterday I made breakfast. YES I MADE BREAKFAST!! I made sausage patties with two over easy eggs, sautéed salad with sesame seeds and fresh strawberries. I know, so much food. Yes, I did sample the sausage as I was cooking it, you have to taste test you know. We didn’t eat breakfast until nearly 11 AM. Hubby slept late and I am very slow to getting around at the moment. Later that day we stopped for takeout from a yummy fried chicken place called Ezell’s Chicken. I ordered the 2 piece combo. That includes 2 pieces of chicken, a roll, two sides, I had potato salad and mac and cheese. I also ordered a side of onion rings. I ate it ALL! This took place about 3:30 in the afternoon. We called it linner since it was well after lunch time and way before dinner. At about 5:30 pm I had a large slice of chocolate cake and called it a day.

So tell me, why would I wake up at 2Am starving!!! Seriously my stomach was growling so loud it woke me up. I got up and drank a glass of water and reminded my belly of all the food I ate and there is no way it was true hunger pangs. It couldn’t be.

Today I have decided I really need to get back on the food track. Since I am not able to exercise for at least another week I should make sure I am at the very least eating right. This morning I started with my protein shake. It is full of good for me things. It is a great way to start my day on the right foot. Let’s see how long it will be before I am on my left foot. The struggle is real people.

In other snippet news:

I put out my very first newsletter from my website http://www.Cancercize.com I have determined that I need to hire an IT person or someone who knows what the hell they are doing. I couldn’t rotate any of my pictures, I couldn’t change the font size, I couldn’t figure out any of the edit helps. I know if you follow my blog you have already figured out that I have no idea how to manipulate any of this technology. Big sigh.

I put out a plea on my YouTube site for suggestions of what to do with my hair. It is in that awkward stage of I have no idea what to do with it. Chemo hair is dumb.

Turned in my voters ballot and feel that I should no longer be bombarded by social media on who to vote for. If only that were a thing. I voted so no more advertisements and ‘friends’ plugging their agenda/candidate.

Went for a short fall leaf drive. Hubby drove, I enjoyed being out and about and all the beautiful colors.

I am scheduled to see the plastic surgeon tomorrow. I am concerned that my left drain may  still be pulling too much fluid and she won’t remove it. I cannot, I repeat CANNOT stay wrapped up like this anymore. I am restricted in movement. I itch like crazy I want to breathe easy.

I am restless at night tossing and turning like crazy. I am not allowed to sleep on my side so it is just my head swiveling from right to left frantically. Tossing and turning like this has gotten my girdle in a wad. Not my panties just my girdle. It has also given me horrible neck pain. My neck and shoulders need a professional massage. If I get my drains removed I can shower and clean up enough to go find someone to do that for me. So much pending on getting the drains out.


P.S. I still want more tacos.





Drains, bandages and rashes…oh my….

Hello, my name is Renee and I haven’t showered for a week.

This may or may not gross you out. I know my friend Michelle is freaking out since she is a two shower a day girl. My friend Scott is freaked out because he has to shower every day. Truth is I am freaked out because this is just gross.

I have two drains this time around. My first big surgery I had five drains. Two shouldn’t be such a nuisance, right? Wrong.

Let me first explain what a drain is. It is this long plastic tubing that is imbedded into your body and protrudes through small holes in your skin. The tubing connects to bulbs that collect water, proteins and seepage from your surgery. They like to use drains so that it does not build up in your body and cause swelling and infection.


Aren’t they just sexy?  I have a tool belt pouch apron thing that I carry mine in. They have to be emptied and the fluid measured twice a day.  We have to strip the drains too. That means you take an alcohol wipe and pinching the tubing push the fluid and proteins through to the bulb. It is a lot of fun. My friend referred to hers as an octopus!

My plastic surgeon will absolutely positively not let you shower while you have drains attached. Too much risk for an infection. I do not want an infection, or to create a situation where I have to go back to the hospital for more surgery. I will do as I am told. Even if I am grossed out by my shower less self.

Bandages oh so many bandages this time. I have a surgical bra on, plus two six-inch wide Ace Bandage wraps around my chest. They start at my arm pits and settle just under my new foobs. I have a very tight-fitting girdle that starts at the bottom of the foobs and comes down just above my hips. I feel like a mummy. Or one of those ladies from the days when they had to have corsets to boost their boobs and make their waist slimmer than what is natural. I struggle getting a full breath. I struggle getting up out of bed. I mostly struggle because I can’t remove it or take a shower. I know, broken record.

The girdle is to support my ‘donor’ area. When you have implants put in for reconstruction surgery a good plastic surgeon will do fat grafting as well. Fat grafting is when they take fat from one part of your body and fill in around the implants to try to make everything symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Boobs are rarely symmetrical so it is rare that foobs will be. Fat grafting is done to at least try. My donor area was my abs/core/stomach area. Hooray! It will not look like I had liposuction done. Boo! It does look like someone hit with me a bat repeatedly on my belly and it is bruised everywhere. At least the part I can see when I lift the girdle up. It has to stay on until Tuesday. Ugh so far away!

The trouble is this. I have been forced into menopause from the chemo and the oophorectomy. That means I sweat all the time. I mean ALL the time! Night sweats, day sweats, meat sweats. I am sweaty. The sweat drips down under the bandages and settles there causing me to itch and squirm. Add this to the no shower and the unsightly octopi hanging out of my body and I am the picture of gross.

Now I am developing bed sores, or more accurately diaper rash. Baby powder has become my new best friend. I apply it too all the easily accessible rash spots. Thankfully it is helping. Thankfully I only have five more days of this bondage, I mean bandaging. Thankfully I do not have a good sense of smell. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t either. Maybe he is just pretending. Thankfully he has helped me wash my hair in the kitchen sink. Thankfully I was able to sponge bath my exposed parts and shave my legs. Armpits are another story, too much bandage, too many restrictions on how high I am allowed to lift my arms. Thankful that this is almost over. IT IS ALMOST OVER!!! I know I still have new meds to start and more scans and tests to be done, but no more surgeries, no evidence of disease to be seen, done.

Then I can start my revenge plans once again!! bwahahahahaha…. I haven’t forgotten them. I was just side tracked or derailed for a moment (a year) I WILL GET REVENGE!!

Until then I sit and stew in my own sweaty juices.


Monday Question: Do You Believe In Yourself?

Always good to step back and reassess. We can all believe in ourselves.

Jay Colby

Do you believe in yourself? This may seem like a pretty simple question and most would answer by saying yes of course. But I would like to challenge you to take a  step back and really analyze your life and the decisions you make or have made. Then think back to those tough decisions you’ve made and how did you decide whether or not to take a chance and follow your passion or dream. Did you have that self-confidence deep inside of you knowing you could do it or did you doubt yourself?

Now some may ask what really does “believing in yourself” mean well simply said it’s the confidence you have in yourself that no matter the situation you face you believe you will  accomplish it. Believing in yourself is important to achieve just about anything in life. If you don’t truly believe in yourself, you can’t get through…

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tacos and labels and cupcakes….oh my

I am still in recovery. I will be in recovery for technically two more weeks and change. Reality is recovery is an ongoing lifetime thing, without pain meds to take off the ‘edge’. Thank goodness for exercise, alcohol and love. Not neccesarily in that order.

Why is it when you are diagnosed with cancer the most immediate question people ask is ‘what stage?’ I have learned through all of this stages really don’t matter. Cancer is cancer. It will affect you forever. Yes, stage four is scary because there are only four stages. Technology is amazing because stage four is no longer a guaranteed death sentence. So why do I have to be defined by Stage 2 B? Why do I also have to list myself as ‘Survivor’? When I clearly am a fighter, and will be until death do us part.

Today it is not supposed to rain. The husband and I are going to bundle up and go for a walk around the block. I need this. Even if all I do is make it to the porch. Outside air on my face will be huge. A breath of fresh air, literally. New perspective. My breast are wrapped up so tight that my lungs feel squashed. Hoping outside air will help.

I want to eat. Seriously I want to eat everything. Cupcakes sounds so good right now. Fancy cupcakes with pretty sprinkles. I am craving toast smothered in melted butter. Garlic bread with a side of spaghetti heavy on the Italian sausage light on the pasta. Mostly though I am craving tacos. TACOS. Crispy fried corn shells stuffed with shredded beef and lots of cheese. Rolled tortilla tacos with chicken and beef. Bean tostadas with lots of cheese and sauce with a side of crispy beef tacos. Nachos with lots of ground beef and black olives. Tacos.


Hubby is taking a much-needed nap right now. He promised to get me tacos when he wakes up. I have the menu pulled up on an adjacent page so I will be ready to place my order. Giving in to the cravings is a battle I am too tired to fight and can easily blame on the recovery from surgery. Take advantage of it while I can. Soon I will have to workout and eat right again…..

until then I will have my tacos and eat them too.


All I can say…..

Every four hours.

I am taking my pain medication every four hours, even into the wee hours of night. This is how it works.

My husband sets his alarm for every four hours. He wakes up comes into the bedroom. Helps me sit up and gives me my water and my pain med. He then helps me lay back down since I can’t do it on my own yet.

At 3AM as he is helping me lay back down he tells me he loves me.

All I can say is ‘I know’

My last meal…..

When you are preparing for surgery you are advised to not eat or drink after midnight so you don’t turn into a gremlin. Or maybe so you don’t pee or poop on the operating table. I am not really sure, I just know that it means no breakfast, no water and no coffee. NO COFFEE!

Tomorrows surgery is early in the morning so it won’t be too bad. I will just be thirsty for a while and then asleep. When I awake I will be on pain meds and anesthesia so there won’t be any caffeine withdrawal headaches. At least that I will notice.

The hubby and I made a pact last month that we would stop eating out as much. We are trying to lose weight and get heathy. We did eat out once a few weeks ago. It was at the casino after a two-hour Zumbathon. We agreed that the next time we eat out (for reals) would be the day before my next surgery. I get to choose any restaurant I wanted.

Some nights it is a bowel of cereal other nights it was a meal that included lots of veggies. I learned to find enjoyment in prepping food and being spontaneous at meal time. I just use what I have in the fridge and make it into a meal. I have found that since we have not been eating out I don’t seem to crave the ‘going out food’ as much. It has helped my waistline and our budget doing this. I am finding peace in prepping and cooking. I am liking the creativity of it too. Who knew?

A few days ago Keith asked me where I wanted to go. He was surprised to hear me say I wanted to cook dinner instead. After all I had potatoes and parsnips sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.

I decided tonight will be brats from the natural market across the street with garlic and parsnip mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies. Pour myself a nice lemon basil hard cider and enjoy my last meal.

I was so excited, and getting so hungry! When I got out my mixer to mash my potatoes up it wouldn’t start. No problem I will just throw it into my Ninja mixer!! I added some milk and blended it for about thirty seconds. Now to add cheese and the garlic….. that’s when I noticed my mashed potatoes where um, extra blended…. like soup blended. Sigh I wanted mashed potatoes. Oh well I will throw in the cheese and the garlic I diced up. It should still taste good just a different texture. I glance over at the brats and realize they are getting a bit dark on the outside. In fact they look burnt. I take them off the heat and cover them so they can finish cooking in their own steam. Well the veggies seem to be doing okay until I stir them and realize they have been overcooked as well and now have a soggy texture.

In hindsight I probably should have waited to drink the hard cider AFTER I made dinner. So much for a great last meal. At lest the lemon basil cider was delicious and didn’t let me down.

P.S. the potato garlic soup was very garlicky!! I should have thrown the garlic in the Ninja with the potatoes, instead it was in small raw chunks. No matter what Keith has eaten since ,he is burping garlic.

P.S.S. that is a picture of a breakfast I had at a local restaraunt call The Blackbird. It was the size of my head. It was not burnt or garlicky or soggy. Would have made a better last meal.


Catching Myself…..

I often catch myself telling people I am tired. It gets old. I feel old when I keep saying it. I get tired of explaining that it isn’t really a tired I can sleep off. I apologize constantly to my husband for being so redundant. He told me I should just start saying exhausted instead. Maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t. I did decide to Google other words for tired. Here are some of my favorites: weary, worn-out, drained, zonked, dull, boring and routine. I think my absolute favorite is ‘no longer fresh or in good condition’.

I often catch myself crying at work these days. Am I sad? No, it is because I am no longer in good condition.  I had a very hard moment of not remembering. I had to research all my old emails to figure it out. I honestly could not recall taking care of a Canadian shipment but apparently I did. I am glad I still had an email to answer my bosses question. I apologize with tears in my eyes and mutter to myself that this is why I do not feel like I can do my job anymore.

I often catch myself actually looking forward to this next surgery. Mostly because I will get an excused break from work. I know I will be heavily medicated and have to start figuring out how to move again, but I won’t be at work causing chaos or feeling useless. I am almost treating this like a vacation, almost.

I often catch myself being amazed at the strength and skills of my friends. I have a friend flying out early this morning to help with her aunt’s funeral. At the last minute she was told that she will be doing a ‘get together’ luncheon for family. It started as six people and has been bumped up to one hundred people. The moment she lands she will be busy planning, prepping then serving. She is a cancer fighter too. I have no idea how she keeps it all together. I am always impressed by her energy and organization skills and mostly how she just takes it in stride and makes it look easy.

I often catch myself daydreaming. Dreaming of being comfortable in my body again. Dreaming of not having to do a 9-5 job anymore. Dreaming of volunteering more. Dreaming of rest. Dreaming of bread.

I often catch myself talking myself out of the gym. It is too cold. I am too tired. It is too wet outside. Which is a horrible excuse because the gym is indoors. Then I get upset because if I do not workout I have to watch what I eat. I loose five pounds, I celebrate, I find the five pounds. Big sigh. I miss bread.

I often catch myself nesting. I am nesting or prepping for the upcoming surgery. Planning safe things to do while in bed. Having good and healthy foods ready to go so the husband doesn’t have to trouble himself to much. Cleaning house so it is ready for visitors if they want to come over and keep me company. Nesting.

Fears, worries, tears, nests, and bread….yeah that is what is in my head at this moment.



How can I really explain…

How can I really explain it to you if you haven’t experienced it yourself?

I have always been a pretty positive person. Oh of course I struggle with battles in my mind. Always dancing around the edges of depression. Yet I have ALWAYS found a way to find the silver lining or sense of humor in every situation.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was so optimistic and remained positive. I was scared but focused on fighting.  My mantra was: “there is no crying in cancer”. I laughed a lot. I tried to make others laugh more.  I made the people around me smile. I worked hard to be me. I had a purpose, workout through all of chemotherapy. Be an inspiration. Prove that I really am as strong as people keep saying I am.

Then the weekly visits with the doctors come to an end. You’re in remission, chemo is done, the worst is now past you. And suddenly you feel very alone. Alone dealing with the mental part of the disease. Alone dealing with the aftermath of a now scarred and misshapen body. Alone dealing with the hidden changes like fatigue, hot flashes, chemo brain. Alone with the thoughts of recurrence and genetic mutations.

That is when the real demons set in. The aftermath.

I read an article the other night about someone dealing with PTSD after her cancer fight. It hit a little too close to home for me. She was to the point of having panic attacks. I am not there. Fingers crossed I will never be there. Yet I identified with her. I understand the thoughts in her head. I understand. I really struggle with my job now. I panic because I can’t recall half of the things I should know. I don’t retain information from one day to the next. I used to really enjoy it, the challenges, the learning aspect, the people. Now in the aftermath, I only like the people. It has become joyless and frustrating and emotional. I am done. That is my PTSD aftermath.

I have become physically vulnerable. Meaning, I fight so hard to just do 10 minutes of exercise a couple of times a week. Meaning, every ache and pain is now something I worry about being a new cancer or a new side effect of the cancer treatments. Meaning, that I am afraid to lay down at night because sleep will just elude me and I can’t control it.

Many people don’t or won’t understand. It is a very ‘the cancer is gone so get over it’ mentality. The more they see me being “normal” the harder it is for them to understand I am not the same and I will never be the same again.

Cancer can make you stronger. It can reawaken the good in you. It can inspire you to move on to more noble and purposeful things. It gives you the mindset of second chances and new beginnings. Fighting to find that courage to be stronger in mindset and in physical condition and to be good from the inside out is where the fight begins.

I am here to tell you the fight never ends.

I have decided to stop referring to myself as a ‘survivor’. I chose to be called fighter.