It was too soon to wear pants….

and other things I have learned this week….

Saturday I went to a work function just to pop in and give some hugs to friends. I put on a pair of jeans and felt pretty comfortable. I liked seeing everyone, did a little shopping and headed home. I did a little housework and rested on my very worn corner of the couch. After some time I realized that the jeans were pushing too much on my abdomen and off they went. It was too soon to wear pants.

Went in for my yearly check up with my primary care physician. I absolutely adore my doctor. She is a breast cancer survivor herself and she is very big into less prescription medicines and more supplements and nutrition for encouraging our bodies to take care of themselves. During our visit she realized she wanted to do more lab work. Oh no, that means her nurse is going to come in and draw blood. I like the nurse, I really do. It is hit or miss with her though. If she is having a good day she can draw blood like a pro, if it is a bad day she tortures you. Today was a bad day, she ran out of gas and had to be picked up so she was late for work. Sure enough she inserted the needle and it hurt, she spun it around because she missed the vein, no blood. So she takes it out and tries a different spot. Same thing, no blood. She switched to a smaller needle so it would be less painful. It was. Still no blood. I am now nearly in tears. She is now freaked out. The only other option is to try to find a vein in my hand. I didn’t want to do it. Neither did she. So I get to drop by tomorrow and try again. Bleh

I drove for the first time today since my surgery. Parking in the garage was tricky. I did alright. It would have been better if my right arm wasn’t feeling like a pin cushion.

This week I have on my schedule; dinner with a friend, painting with a virtual stranger, coffee drop off to say good-bye to a beloved co-worker, apparently more blood draws and my favorite thing, the mini-spa day. It will be  a great way to train my body into understanding it has to go back to work full-time next week.

Speaking of work, I ordered more yoga style leggings today. I will not make the mistake of wearing pants again.

 

 

 

One hour and 54 minutes…..

….not that I am counting.

Yesterday I had both drains removed. I HAD BOTH DRAINS REMOVED!!! WOOT! This is such a big deal. It really is. It means I no longer have to sleep with my ‘kangaroo pouch’ filled with octopi. My girdle has been removed too. Most importantly it means I get to shower today. I get to shower at 10AM today. I had to wait 24 hours after the drains were removed before I was allowed to shower. It is not that I don’t feel clean. I would wash my hair in the sink, sponge bathe and shave my legs often. But there is something about standing up in a shower with the warm water splashing all over. Being able to use soap on your whole body. Shower.

I am still on restrictions. I am still wrapped up with ace bandages and the surgical bra. I am not allowed to drive or lift over 2 pounds. Still have to sleep (ha! sleep is an elusive dream) on my back and not lift my arms above my shoulders for five more days.

There is a little bit of swelling on the top of my left foob so my bandage is wrapped high up on my chest and rubs on my armpits. It is what it is. If it doesn’t go where it is supposed to by Sunday I am to massage it for a few days to try to encourage it. Other wise I am stuck with it higher on one side than the other. I don’t really care. I don’t want to do anymore surgery. I can hide uneven breasts. Same way I can hide that I only have one nipple.

one hour and 37 minutes……

I think my friend Julie is coming over to collect me and take me to her place today. It will be nice to have a different change of view. I am sure it will still be me sitting on a couch watching t.v. but it will be with different company and a different couch. 

My husband posted the nicest thing about me on Facebook last night. He never posts things about me on Facebook. If he does it is rarely a ‘brag on my wife’ post. He does tell me face to face that he thinks I am awesomeSometimes a girl just needs to see him bragging about her publicly. Just like she sometimes needs to have flowers delivered to her at work for no reason.

“if there is one thing that Renee Breidenbach and I have learned over the past 12 months, it is how much the other one can endure.  #shecantakemore

See, it was nice and a moment where he bragged about me. It must be love.

I was going to post a picture of a clock counting down. Since I am so technology deficient I decided to go with a picture I already had on file. I am waiting for my storm to pass, yet I will be dancing in my shower soon.

I go back to work on November 7th. I am looking forward to it. Next week I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday but more importantly I have a mini spa day scheduled on Wednesday. I am having a spa facial, a posh pedicure and a haircut at my favorite Spa in town. It is expensive. I am worth it. It will be nice to be pampered for a day before I go back to the real world. Side note: my husband has taken great care of me and in a sense I have been pampered by him. He has done the dishes, gone grocery shopping, washed my hair, done laundry and etc. It will just be nice to be pampered in a different manner.

One hour and fifteen minutes….

 

 

 

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.

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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’