It has been eleven days since the life altering amputation.

Recovery has involved a swollen arm, constant medication, my mother visiting, husband giving me shots in my abs, doctor visits, stripping lines, measuring drains, and lots of medicating. Did I mention the medications?

When I go to the plastic surgeon she fills my temporary implants. Yes they are temporary and deflated and held in place by a piece of cadaver.

We walked into the office and my husband saw this tray with lots of things on in it. Including two needles the size you would assume an elephant would receive. They are about 7 inches long and about 2 inches around. Each has a very fine needle attached. My husband asked if she was a veterinarian. Dr Hathaway just laughed and poked one straight into my boob. She filled about 100 cc each side.

I have had two drains removed, three to go (hopefully next Monday) and I think two more fills. When all the drains are removed I will be allowed to shower, thank heavens! and sleep on my side if it is comfortable.

A week after I get my last fill, I think February 22nd I will be allowed to wear a sports bra. A bra! I am so excited.

I asked the doctor when I will be allowed to jog again. She simply laughed at me and poked a needle in my boob.

I think it will be a long while before I can jog or teach Zumba again. Nghh.




The Silver Chair.

There is a book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis called the ‘Silver Chair’ In the story two humans from our world and a marshwiggle from the world of Narnia are sent on a mission by Aslan himself to find a lost prince.

Aslan gives them several signs or rules to not break in order for their safety and success. Of course, the adventure unfolds because of forgetting or ignoring the simple rules/signs.

Eventually they make it to a deep underworld city. Where they meet the queen and her knight. He worships her and does all that she says. She seems kind and happy in her world.

As the story continues the children and marshwiggle are asked by the knight to stay with him during his bewitching hour. He must be tied to a silver chair during this time. He just wanted some company but asked that no matter what he says do not release him from the chair.

Well as you can imagine, when the hour arrives he starts begging to be released, demanding it. Claiming to be Prince Rillian. Not until he demands to be released in the name of Aslan do the children jump up and do something. They attack the chair and release the prince. The story then becomes a new adventure from there.

My current state of being made me think of this story. I take my meds and go into a suspended stupor of supposed sleep. At best I get somewhat comfortable and lay in one place motionless. Yet every night around 1 A.M., my bewitching hour, I awake and am hysterical. I can’t breathe, I can’t move, I want to cry. My husbands waits patiently for this  to happen. He comes to the bed, sits me up, gives me my meds, rubs my left arm, resets my pillows and lays me down again begging me to rest.

I can not wait for the time when we can ‘break the chair’ and destroy this moment of suspended time. Today marks one week from the surgery. Yes, I have been making good strides. Yet, I seem so far away from being strong enough to get to the other side of this adventure.

I think I need to find my boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia and read them again, for at least the 20th time.



Hello, long time no blog. Well it feels like a very long time. In fact if it weren’t for the small white board in my bedroom that I write the day on I wouldn’t even know it is Wednesday, January 20th.

Let’s start with last Thursday. I worked half a day then went to the plastic surgeon to get marked up, get my pre-op and post-op instructions. I found out that I was going to lose my left nipple, that I was a high risk for blood clots and have to get shots at home for a week in my stomach, and that I will now have five drains to wrestle with for weeks. I was shocked to hear about losing the nipple. I thought I was going to be able to keep both, but since the lymph nodes came back with cancer I guess they couldn’t save it. I was terrified at the thought of having to get shots, daily, at home, either given by myself (not going to happen) or by my husband (I gave him no choice) Left the office with purple lines everywhere and a bit more frightened. Broke the news to Keith. He doesn’t seemed to thrilled about it either. My beautiful sister came out for the surgery we go to a nice dinner to forget about the next battle. I couldn’t find  shirt to cover all the purple, I chose a dark light restaurant.

Friday: 5:30 A.M. Check into hospital. Same hospital as last week, so pretty smooth process. The ink hadn’t dried yet from the week before. I held my breath when they checked the billing. When I came in for the outpatient Sentinal Lymph Node Surgery last week I was presented with a bill for $1187 out of pocket expected right then and there. Always a fun thing for the people checking you in I am sure. I paid for it. Years ago I had signed up for Aflac cancer plan through work. Because the thought of cancer in my life seemed inevitable. It was a relief to know I have this extra insurance. I have a one time policy that will give my $10,000 cash. At least that is how the rep explained it. In actuality they feel my cancer isn’t that bad of one so only gave me $1000. After the second and third cancers I have petitioned for more but so far have been denied… matter I was thankful at the moment I had the $1000 so I could actually pay the hospital then and there. Since the surgery was only 7 days apart the charges hadn’t had time to post so no out of pocket this time. Whew. Surgery started at 7:30 A.M. The mastectomy took about 2 and 1/2 hours. The reconstruction took about 5. I am placed in a really cute binder that makes my chest feel so tight. I had to do breathing treatments to avoid pneumonia from the binder on my chest. Keith gave me my first shot while in the hospital under the nurses supervision. On Saturday the doctor came in an taught him how to strip my lines and empty my drains. Then I was released. Released! I had an amputation and only stayed one night!! It is so bizarre to me. This is insurance at work ‘controlling’ costs. It is an odd world anymore.

I have a routine now. Get up, breathe in the plastic box, get a shot, take meds, eat, take a lap around apartment, sleep. Repeat several times a day. Keith has been exhausted but still being strong. I know I must smell because no shower until all drains are removed. My hair, well the  hair is just gross. I only have 3 more days of shots and then I may get to remove two drains on Monday.

I go and the surgeon on Friday and find out if I have to do radiation of the cancer in the nodes. I am hoping a fat NO on that. But I am learning that cancer throws curveballs, almost daily. It is expensive and tricky and scary and tiring.

I picked the cute picture of the cozy kitten because I am jealous he gets to sleep anywhere he wants. I am stuck on my back for at least another week.

Just FYI I wrote this while under the influence of Percocet and Soma. It is probably riddled with spelling and grammar issues. Oh well… this is what cancer does to you too.


The more you know…



The last “normal” work day I will have in a long time

Remember to shave the visible mole hairs that only bother me.

Frozen pizza and wine, because the damage is already done.

Remind myself to vasoline my armpit tomorrow night to remove glue from previous surgery.

How am I going to wash my hair?

Do I say goodbye?

Hug everyone, twice.

It is not the end, just a different beginning.


The last “normal” day of my “normal” life in my “normal” mind.



Things you think of while preparing for the “big” surgery:

Pre-moistened body clothes since you can’t shower until the drainage tubes are removed.

Toothpaste, mostly for your mom and sisters visit. The tube was ‘almost’ empty. I could have made it last.

Extra sheets and pillowcases and lots of quarters for the laundry since you can’t shower for sometime.

Pencil sharpener for your colored pencils that you are using on your adult coloring book. (by the way, it truly is calming)

Figuring out if you have enough pillows to prop yourself in a comfortable enough position to get some “sleep”.

Shake mix, saltine crackers.

Pay the phone bill, order coffee, get retirement gift, drop off paperwork for the donations you usually handle for the theatre.

Zip and button up shirts and hoodies to be able to dress yourself with.

Clean house since your sister and mom are coming to stay with you.

Pretend that everything is all right at work for the next three days.

Drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Have a book and journal next to the bed so you can access it easily.

And I am sure there are hundreds of things I did not think of or have missed.

As soon as I can I will be walking the stairs to keep my butt looking like my butt. I will be blogging and plotting revenge once again.

Friday feels so far away, yet it is so close.

Can you ever truly be prepared?




I was warned by the surgeon and the nurse ahead of time that my urine will be blue and that maybe I will have a blue nipple as well. I joked around and called myself a smurf thinking of it.

What I wasn’t prepared for is that lack of a bowel movement. Now in my past life I worked as a certified pharmacy technician for 18 years. I know that pain meds can cause constipation. What I didn’t know is that the surgery will also lend a helping hand in that department. I haven’t pooped since Wednesday!

I wasn’t too concerned on Friday because I was still on the pain medication. I wasn’t really feeling any ill effects of the lack of movement.

Saturday it has become a thought that I need to be aware of. They told me to take Milk of Magnesia if I am still constipated. I thought I would try my own laxative first. COFFEE!! Usually coffee pushes all my stuff out first thing in the morning. No such luck. My husband “made” me go shopping and walk around yesterday, hoping for some type of response. Nope. So I went and bought the dreaded milk of magnesia.

I have a friend whose mom literally drinks this stuff everyday. How bad can it be?

It says no more than 4 tablespoonfuls in a 24 hour period. It could work in 1/2  hour up to 6 hours. I was done going out for the day so let’s get this party started. I drank 2 tablespoonfuls to start. UGH!! This stuff is disgusting. Good thing they recommend 8 ounce of water after taking it!!  I needed to wash the taste away. Now I wait. I throw on a movie and hang on the couch. I wait and wait. It is now morning and I still haven’t gone. Having more coffee now and will take another dose soon. Maybe, I think we are going to go to the mall so maybe if I take it and plan on going out and about it will hit me all at once in a public place. Yeah, that is how my life usually goes…. it just might work.

Good news though, I finally get to shower today.


Love in action.

I don’t know what I did to deserve such love.

The night before the Sentinial Lymph Node Mapping surgery I was justifiably anxious. I had trouble sleeping. I laid down in bed around 10. And was restless. Finally I got up and went to the living room to sit next to my very wide awake husband. He went and got the cot and laid down next to me on the couch. We were up watching t.v. until about 1:30.

He eventually went to the bedroom to sleep (I snore loudly) but when my alarm went off for work (yes, I worked for 3 hours before I went to the hospital) he came and woke me up. Remember, I couldn’t eat or drink water and worse no coffee!! He let me rest a little longer since I didn’t have to get up and eat and make lunches.

Then he drove me to work, came back and got me. Sat in the hospital the whole time with me. 11 AM until we left at 6:30 PM last night. Then made sure I was comfortable so he could go and get my prescription filled.

He checked on me periodically throughout the night. Then got up and went to work (after arranging for someone to come sit with me)

I am very lucky. They say that cancer makes a marriage stronger. It has definitely made my husband stronger in his concern to care for me. It has defiantly made my heart beat harder for him than it ever has before.

I don’t know how or why he picked me, but I am very thankful he did.