Tuesday, May 31, 2011

nonsense and the emotion of the day

Before I get into the nitty gritty of today, I want to talk a bit about the word nonsense. If you have spoken to me, you may have heard me use the word nonsense when referring to my cancer or the trauma that lies ahead. I call it nonsense for several reasons. Even though I know this is all real, it still doesn't quite feel like it is. I am not completely sure it ever will. Or at least not any time soon. It still has an etheral-like quality, almost nonsensical. I also call it nonsense because me getting this crazy disease doesn't make a whole lot of sense medically considering the whole lack of family history part, being so young, etc. I also call it nonsense because when all of this is done, I think it will feel like it was not as big of a deal as it seems today. I know that sounds weird. What I mean by this is that there are days when I feel like it's the end of the world. But it's not. I mean, let's not kid ourselves, it's huge and life-changing. But it is not the end of the world. It's like I said to my mom. It's life-changing, but it's not life-ending, even if it feels that way sometimes.
As for the emotion of the day, the title is silly because, to be honest, it would be more accurate to say "emotion of the minute". It changes that fast. But I'm going to generalize and go with the more prevalent emotion today which is fear in its various forms... And how I conquered it --- at least for now.
The fear is of the unknown. What is it going to feel like when I have my surgery? What is it going to be like to go through chemo? I had my meeting with my Oncologist today. I feel better already. Here are a two sound bites from the meeting that gave me hope.
  • "There is nothing here that tells me we can't cure this for you. We can do this". She said what I have is very treatable.
  • "It wont be a picnic, but it's not as bad as it used to be." Ok, well, that's good... I think.
Well, that's really all I need to know. But the detailed information is good to know too I guess, so here's the more detailed stuff:
  • Treatment will likely start 4-6 weeks after surgery. My next appointment with her to start scheduling is on July 12th.
  •  The only major outstanding piece of information is the Her2 receptor status. (which is something to do with how the tumors grow or something). She got back from the oncology report that my tumors are "borderline". The value to be considered positive is 2.8, mine came back 2.7. She wants the surgeon to get that redone with the samples from the surgery. She said it will most likely be positive.
  •  If it is positive, here is the chemo plan: 6 cycles, each cycle lasting 3 weeks. Plus Herceptin treatments beyond the chemo for a year. Herceptin has minimal side effects compared to the chemo part, so basically, the first 4 and a half months will not be fun, and the rest should be fine. Will have tamoxifen probably for 5 years. may have radiation after chemo that is every day for a month, but no major side effects that will affect my ability to do stuff.
  • If it is negative, the chemo will be 8 cycles, every 2 weeks. no herceptin treatment. tamoxifen and radiation same as above.
As for the hair loss thing, it's probably going to happen. It will likely start to fall out after the second treatment. blah. I guess I need to suck it up and go wig shopping soon. :-/ what color should I go??? So far, I have a vote for blonde, one for red, one for black, and one for a clown wig.
On another note, she was pleased to hear that I chose to go with the double mastectomy. She felt like it was good to go aggressive given my age, type of tumor, etc. She feels like sometimes they dance around it to do the breast preservation, and it only makes things harder and less certain for the future. She said with the course that I am taking, there is no reason I can't be here no until I am 70, 80 or more. So y'all are stuck with me. Suckers!
So I know what chemo does, and I am ready for it to do its job. I want it to kill the fear. The more I take treatments, in someways, the stronger I will become, metaphorically of course. This is how I am looking at it. Even though I know it's going to make me feel sicker than I feel now, it's attacking the nonsense in my body. I need to do that. I am pissed that this stuff is in my body and I am tired of worrying about what it's doing rolling around in there. I want to kill it! I'm viewing chemo like bug spray that takes out a giant wasp or something. I have been known to spray the heck of of something like that. I hate bugs... I hate cancer more.
So bottom line: how do you beat cancer? you fight it with a whole lot of hope and a whole lot of technology!

cancer doesn't make me sick. pollen does.

It's rather ironic that as far as cancer goes, I feel fine. It's my allergies  that are killing me! I feel like crap this morning. And I am going to be really irritated if I end up having to go to the doctor's for this. I really have had my fill of doctor's appointments by now. The last thing I want is to add another appointment to my schedule, especially if it's to get cold medicine. I am relatively sure that my allergies have gone beyond annoying and into upper respiratory infection. bastards! As if I need that on top of everything else!

On a positive note, 21 days until they get the cancer out of me! yippee! I can't lie. I am a little freaked out about the end result of the surgery just because I have grown attached to my body parts. However, I am looking forward to being "free" of the source of the madness. I know that only is the foothill of this climb, but it's an important one.

Here's the schedule for the week:

  • meet and greet with the oncologist this afternoon
  • follow-up with my normal obgyn to fill her in on the latest and greatest details   
  • Hoping not to add a visit to my primary doc for antibiotics. The mere thought of that irks me right now!
Well, at least today isn't monday!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

ahhh long weekends.

I live for the weekends. They remind me of the reasons why I want to live. Especially this time of year. The summer is coming, which means more opportunity to be out in the beautiful weather. More time to be on the beach or boardwalk. More parties with my friends and family... More life.

This weekend is no exception. Today was spent at the beach with some dear friends, and then bbq-ing with family. You know, it's become a bit of a joke with some ofour friends that the Briamonte family always comes up with a reason to party. "Some has a birthday, someone got an A on a report card, some on lost a tooth"... Well, add one more to the list "Someone is going to beat cancer"! That's coming. I haven't fully earned that party, but it is likely about a year out. It might just be a big one!!!

The truth is, all joking aside, my family does like to celebrate things. Focus on the positive and beautiful side of life. There is so much to life and be grateful for. Now more than ever. So many more reasons for me to fight this fight.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The funny thing about rollercoasters...

The funny thing about rollercoasters is this. After you scream your head off as you hurtle towards the ground, something good happens. The fear goes away, and what is left is either calm, a big hardy laugh or a "whoa! what a rush" feeling... So guess what? I am on the flipside of my massive downward rollercoaster spiral, and I am going back up!
In the past twenty four hours, I have recieved two major pieces of good news!
#1. I spoke to the nurse practitioner at my surgeon's office who informed me that the ultrasound showed a complex cyst... while I know that sounds gross and scary, it is a cyst, not a mass or a tumor! i.e. very unlikely to be cancer!!!!! WHEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
#2 (yes there are TWO good news items... I am so loving that!!!). I am BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 negative. For those of you who have not taken the crash course in oncology and genetics that I have recently taken, that means I do not have the known genetic mutation that can cause breast cancer. Which is great for me because it's better for my prognosis AND it means my family is less at risk!! Good news for mom, my nieces, my son, any future grandchildren, my aunt, my cousins, my brothers (p.s. boys, what I didn't tell you is if I had the gene, you would be at risk for Male breast cancer or prostate cancer... See? who's the best sister ever? I do things right! Just call me the lone ranger! I'm it. The rest of you should God willing be fine!!!!!!)
As for those of you who are like my two beautiful cousins who said "well then where the hell did you get this from?" The answer is, I don't know. However, I was given this for a reason. Maybe it's because God's testing to see whether I really am an optimistic person. I always said I could find the good side of anything. Maybe he wanted me to prove it! Again, I would have preferred to find the good in having termites or something less traumatic, but I don't get a vote. Or perhaps to be an example and an inspiration to other women. I intend to make God glad that he picked me to give this to!
So let's recap:
  • I have breast cancer in both, and in a lymph node or two on the left. The right lymph nodes are clear.
  • The tumors are estrogen positive which the good news is, that allows me to get treated with tamoxifen. Good news for long term prognosis of someone getting this monster so young
  • The bones, lungs, liver, etc. are all clear. As of now, not metastatic disease i.e. it hasn't spread, i.e. I CAUGHT IT IN TIME!! Thank you God!
  • The ovary looks like it's ok. I likely will have to deal with it, but it's more than likely benign so just a pain in the ass, but a managable pain. HUGE relief there. Breast cancer is much more doable when the ovaries aren't involved
  • I am BRCA negative... Less chance of ovarian risk in the future... less risk for my family!!!
Shit, aside from the first bullet, I'm doing pretty darn good! So I say, bring on the surgery and bring on the chemo!!!! Survivor rising folks. I will earn that pink shirt!!! (and Helen, since you offered, you have to buy me the shirt when it's time. hahaha! How about this? I will pay it forward to the next survivor in our circle of friends and family.Sound like a plan??)
WOOHOO! the cancer patient is super happy today folks... Imagine that!!!

Reflections on the unofficial start of summer

Remember the days when summer meant days off, jelly shoes, and spending your entire day in a bathing suit? I do. I also remember it being a time when there was no worries. The days were long and spent having fun. Maybe an occasional trip down the shore or to Great Adventure to ride lightning loops or the scream machine, or in some really special years, a trip to Disney.

Oh how I miss those days. This summer will be a rollercoaster ride for sure. The funny thing is, in recent years, I have decided I was too old for roller coasters. They give me a headache. But now I've got my harness on, and it's too late to get off the ride now.

It reminds me of a summer years ago. For those of you who remember lightning loops, first you would have to climb all the way to the top of these ridiculous stairs. Each time a train went out, the stairs would shake, putting terror through your heart. Whose sadistic idea was that? Then you woud wait on the platform for your turn. Then they would strap you in to the ride, and your car would lurch forward and seemingly hurl you towards the ground face first. Then suddenly you would swing around and upside down. Once you got over that, then you did the whole damn thing again backwards. Now compared to the coasters out there now, I know that's nothing. But to an 8 year old, that was as terrifying as jumping off the Brooklyn bridge. I remember Donna convincing me it would be fine and not to worry. I remember thinking myself that I would be the one who was on a fateful ride and would get killed or my hair would get caught somewhere and rip off. Yes, ridiculous fears, I know...

But I am just as ridiculous today. I have similar irrational fears of the unknown. Anticipation of not knowing how I will feel when I am smack dab in the middle of this craziness.

Maybe things haven't changed as much as I think? I am going to be off for the summer. Granted, I won't be running around in bathing suit.  I am going to be a little terrified of this new type of rollercoaster. But I will have my friends and family riding along with me. I hope that at the end, I will say "that wasn't so bad". I doubt I will say "wow that was fun" but I'll be alright.

(T, thanks for the inspiration)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

riding the emotional rollercoaster

I almost feel bad posting this now, but in the spirit of candor, this is the emotional craziness that I live in. I wrote this earlier today, but hadn't posted it yet. Then tonight, I had a wonderful evening with my family and our friends at the beach club. The weather was perfect and it was a simply lovely night. It ended with my child saying "mommy, will you snuggle with me?" Ah bliss.

But the point of the blog is to throw it all out there. To share the experience with others, the good the bad, the ugly. So without further adieu, tonight's blog is about being mad.

Ok, for those of you who were wondering when the anger wave was going to hit, it's here...I am allowed to get mad once in a while, right? Well, if not, too bad! I'm doing it anyway. During the last week or so, I have seen a few random thunderstorms of anger pop up in my mind. I realized that it's more real than I thought when I had two rants last night. So in the name of catharsis, here are the things that are just aggravating me. Please forgive the rant. And please note, if you are reading this blog, you are not likely one of the people who I am venting about. Those people as of the time of this post do not have access to the blog. 
  • I'm mad that this is happening to me and I had no clue it was coming. I was just blindsided. I know that's how life changing events tend to manifest, but it just bugs me. I was thrown one of life's largest curveballs and I didn't even have a bat in my hand at the time. I've accepted it now, but it took a while.
  • I'm furious that as I undergo this trial, I will not be able to be the mom I want to be to my son. I know he will be fine, and I know it's for the best that I plow on through the madness that is ahead, but it's just maddening. I have always loved that child, played with him, hugged him, carried him, snuggled with him. The fact that I know there will be times when I have to say, "No Steven, Mommy can't do that right now" infuriates me. I know in the long run it's for the best, but that doesn't mean it will hurt my heart any less to say it.
  • I'm angry that my family hurts. I'm mad that my mom and dad have been feeling their own brand of fear, anger and sadness. It kills me that my brothers have felt helpless and scared at times. And it really breaks my heart that my beautiful nieces cried because of me. I know that in the end I will make them all proud, but I wish I could do that in a less daunting way. Couldn't I just have won a bake-off or ran a marathon or something less taxing? No? Crap.

  • I am aggravated that random people think they have the right to make me second guess my choices. Choices that I have given a lot of thought to. Choices that they themselves cannot fathom what it is like to have to make. Choices that are the best for my health and my life. Choices that have nothing to do with them. And the kicker is, these people barely know me. If I want your opinion, I will ask for it. There are plenty of people who I have asked for their thoughts and insights because I wanted them. If you aren't one of them, kindly keep your mouth shut. How can they dare suggest that they have any clue what is best for me? I don't think you even could pick my family out of the crowd, how could you know what works for us? You have never taken the time to get to know me, what makes you the expert now?

  • I am enraged that I have encountered people so stupid, so insensitive to think that it is in any way acceptable to make jokes about my health and treatment behind my back in a room full of people! First of all, are we in high school here or are we grown adults? In what world is that ok? Karma is a bitch and I hope that person never knows what it's like to stand in my shoes... Because I while I don't wish it on anyone, I also think that person will never see the kindness, support and love that I have seen while encountering something so devastating because he hasn't earned the respect and loyalty of others. This was never more evident when they all came to me to tell me what the bastard said. Listen, buddy, when you disrespect others in public, people will throw you right under the bus because they don't trust or respect you. Regardless, to that person I have this to say. "frig you and the horse you rode in on!" :-p

  • I'm besides myself that the thought "I really don't want die" ever even crossed my mind. I know that I will beat this. There are so many odds in my favor, and I have the drive to push through this beast and win... But at first, the thought was there. and it scared me, and that really pi$$es me off. Granted, the good news is, I don't think that way anymore. In fact, just the opposite. I see a long future full of pretty amazing things.

  • I am ticked off that my husband has to endure this. He has dealt with enough crap in his life. I was supposed to be the good stuff for him. Now he has to go through this which might even been his hardest hurdle yet. But I am proud of him for handling it gracefully.

  • I'm annoyed that my life can never really go back to the way it was before. Even once we get through this, things are different. they just are. In some ways, I know they will be better, but I really was happy with our old life. I was good with the routine, uneventful, comfortable life. I guess no one gets off easy. Everyone has their cross to bear. I found mine on May 3rd, 2011.

  • I am frustrated that this illness still exists. I wish and pray for a future in this world where no one's inside turn to ice when they hear the words "you have cancer". That is a conversation that shakes you to your soul.

  • Oh and one more trivial thing. I am mad that the flip flops I bought at the outlets today are uncomfortable. dammit!

    p.s. i'm also really ticked that the bullets look weird on this page. when i am in edit mode, they look fine! 


Ok, I feel better. Your regularly scheduled rainbows and sunshine will return tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

what you can do for me

So many people are so kind and generous in offering their time and talents. As I have said, I absolutely appreciate every bit of it and I promise I will be tapping into many of you in the coming months. Sit tight! In the meantime, I thought of a few things that folks can do for me right now. Here goes.
First of all, spread the word of early detection. I am sure many of you are sick of hearing it... but, too bad! You are going to hear it a lot more! My plan is to be a walking commercial for the importance of early detection. I will share again that I found this myself... If I waited until my annual, my prognosis would have been worse. If you are not sure how to do a self-exam, google it. Come on... I know you have googled weirder things, like Charlie Sheen's craziness or the latest on the rapture madness. Do yourself a favor and google something positive and helpful for once.
I am sure that many of you have heard of the slogan of American Cancer Society that says they promote "more birthdays". Well, it's no secret that we Briamontes love a good party ... It's genetic. So my intention is to have a ridiculous amount of birthdays in the future. I hope to celebrate for years and years to come. After all, it's family tradition. I can't disappoint! So please, don't feel weird, tell people about my story so that someone else might have a shot at many more birthdays too!
Do at least one random act of kindness this week! I love seeing people smile. It's awesome. and some of the best smiles come from happy surprises. So, this week, I ask all of you to do something special and unexpected for someone. It can be something big or small. Here are some ideas:
  • treat a co-worker to a cup of dunks;
  • if you see a parked car with a bumper sticker that says "my son is a marine" or something similar, leave them a thank you note on their car (you can stick it under the windshield... won't they be doubly happy when they realize it's not a parking ticket?);
  • reach out to that person who you keep thinking of but just haven't gotten around to calling and just say "hi, I have been thinking of you";
  • if you have a garden, consider bringing flowers to a friend to brighten their day;
  • bake some cookies and bring them to a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen (thinking of my awesome Delta Zeta little sister who runs the "baking for humanity" program around the holidays);
I found this website and think it's pretty cool.
My personal mantra has always been "if not me, then who? if not now, then when?" Please make it happen for me. I want to see more smiles. Cancer is a negative disease. I plan on fighting it with technology, and with putting more and more positive stuff out in the world. Ever heard the expression "kill 'em with kindness"? Well, how about we kill it with kindness. Take that cancer! :-p

quick prayer request times 2

good morning all. I have an ultrasound today to check out the ovary. The doc and I are pretty confident it's nothing to be concerned about, but we want to be diligent, so we are double checking. Please pray that we are correct and that I get more good news in the coming days.

Also, I hope that the person who sent this to me doesn't mind. I learned this morning of a woman who is battling cancer. Her prognosis is not good. The docs say her time is limited now. However, her daugher is getting married in September. Please join me in praying for her that she continues to be strong, and for her family as well. She desparately wants to make it to the wedding. I figure the more prayers the merrier, so please join me in this one.

Thanks all. Have a good day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going global and real heroes

I had a conversation today with a colleague in Florida. He thanked me for allowing my boss to share my diagnosis with him and others. He said he was glad to be able to lend support and positive thoughts from so far away. That made me think of two comments I have received on my blog. This site started as a way for me to basically "emotionally throw up". It was a coping strategy for me to learn how to get all of the overwhelming thoughts out of my head. The funny thing, is like just about anything cancer related, it has its side effects. However, unlike the nausea, fatigue, hair loss, that comes along with treatment, I am finding the blog's side effects are positive. And better yet, not only are they positive for me, but they are for others as well.
First of all, I do believe in the the footprints concept. For those of you who are Catholic, and especially those who have old Italian catholic blood you have probably seen the footprints prayer somewhere in a relative's house. If you aren't familiar with it, it tells the story of a person who looks back over the course of their life. They see footprints in the sand. Most times, there were two sets. The person pondered why it seemed that there were only one set of prints where he encountered hard times. The answer from the Lord was "that was where I carried you". So basically, I am not going this alone. I have a strong support group, and I have my faith that will carry me when I cannot walk on my own. I already have offers from the team that will be walking in my honor in the Avon 2-day. Thank you!
I am so blessed to know that there are prayers coming from literally around the world at this point. Among the high concentration of prayers coming from New Jersey, I know that there are prayers from Pennsylvania, Arizona, Washington DC, New York, Florida, Wisconsin, several parts of New England, Spain, and France. Dang, that's pretty impressive if I say so myself. I am really convinced that God will be so sick of my name, He will heal me so everyone can finally shut up and go back to their normal lives. haha! I think the amazing thing is that hopefully, for all of the places there are prayers, there may be people learning about this disease, and understanding the importance of early detection. I believe it will save my life. It would be a miracle if my blog would save someone else's life as well.
I have to say, I cannot tell you how wild it is for me to see how people are reacting to the blog! It's amazing. It's beautiful. I'm all about you reap what you sow. So if my writing is making people feel better about this, I hope in turn, I will continue to as well. What is so strange (in a good way of course) is how people are finding me inspirational. To me, this fact is inspirational to me in and of itself. I feel like there are even more people on the list of reasons to life and fight. More people to make proud. It's truly uplifting to me! But I will say this, I appreciate people calling me a hero, but I don't know that I deserve that title. It's an honor that I haven't yet earned. I have only been at this trial for 3 weeks. That's nothing. People have colds that last that long. Please indulge me and allow me to share the stories of a few people I consider true heros.
I know a girl who has fought with physical limitations her entire life. She and I went to high school together. She is now in her mid 30s, and against all odds, she just recently graduated with her Bachelor's degree. She is someone who was dealt a rough card in life, and is so strong. She has been overly kind to me in my journey, selflessly complimenting me. I have never heard her complain about her lot in life. I have only seen her make the best of it.  I wonder if she realizes how amazing she is.
I know a girl who was born too early, and ended up with a lifetime of disabilities and health challenges. I have never seen her without a smile. She is happy, sweet and loving. The world is a better place because of her. I wonder if she realizes how special she is.
I know a woman who faced a different kind of cancer for the better part of 20 years. She fought like the devil. And she kept an amazing poker face when she suffered. She always protected "her kids" as best she could from worrying about her. She endured treatment upon treatment and many surgeries. She always kept a brave face and an awesome sense of humor. She would tell me all the time "eh, what can you do? sometimes you just have to laugh". And she was right. Sometimes her wig was a little crooked while she was going through chemo, but never was she more beautiful. She was my grandmother. I wonder if she knows how much I miss her.
I know a man who worked for the JCFD his entire life. He has seen death, despair and fear. He never ran away from it. On the morning of September 11, he had just come off of duty in downtown Jersey City when the towers were struck. He turned around and went right back. He called me on the phone to tell me what he was doing, and I begged him not to go back. He told me "this is my job. this is what I do." And he went in. I still thank God for keeping him safe that day and always. He is my father. He defines brave. I wonder if he realizes how much of a hero he is...(Dad, after you read this and are done crying and sniffling all over the place, just know I love you. Don't start getting all weepy when I see you next, ok?)
I am not a hero folks. At least not yet. But I will learn from those who are. I will learn to keep walking when the road gets tough. I will learn to be positive no matter what I have to do.I will fight with all I have while staying true to the person I want to me. I will learn to be brave and face that fire head on. If they can do it, why can't I?

Monday, May 23, 2011

S is for...

For those of you who have been around my family lately, you may have heard this little voice say "S is for Steven" occasionally he follows that up with "and Sawyer too" (he's psyched to share the letter with his cousin whom he loves so much). Of course being through this process makes you think and think and think some more about so many different things. Even things like the letter S. Pardon the Sesame Street-esque blog for tonight, but this post is brought to you in part by the letter S!
-S is for Steven, my sweet, sweet child, who drives me to wake up every morning and charge at life. So what if the reason I wake up is because he's yelling "MOMMY!!" from the next room. My Raison D'etre!
-S is for Steve, my amazingly supportive husband, who is getting the test of the whole "in sickness and health" part of this gig. God bless him!
-S is for science. I kind of wish that I paid more attention to it in school. Thank goodness the girl with the dark blonde hair next to me did.
-S is for surgical nurse. Who would have known that a friendship that started in Queen of Peace Grammar school would be something that would one day help save my life? A girl with a nickname of "Sabina" of all things.
-S is for silent. That's the kind of nemesis cancer is. It's sneaky and scary... But it's also stupid. It picked the wrong girl to do battle with!
-S is for support. I had a favorite quote that I read a while ago "a good friend is like a bra: supportive, comfortable and always close to your heart". That fits on a whole new level now!
-S is for smiles. The day after I was diagnosed, it was the sleepy, silly smile that my son smiled when he woke up the first morning of my new life that made me realize life is still good and happy.
-S is for summer vacation! ok, so recovering from major surgery might not quite fit that description, but again looking for that shining silver lining.
-S is for SO Doable! That's what this battle is for me.
-S is for sucky. Well, ok, let's not kid ourselves. It's doable, but it's not going to be fun.
-S is for sisters. I don't have my own official one, but I have so many unofficial ones and I didn't have to share a room or clothes growing up, so the way I see it, I got a pretty good deal. My sisters are my cousins, my ladies, my sisters in law, my friends far and wide, and, in even in a non-redneck way, my mom and her friends and my aunts.
-S is for siblings. Ok, well I don't have sisters, but I have the best three brothers in the world. All three of them would kick the sh*t out of this for me if they could. That's enough to make me fight a little harder.
-S is for sangria... for no other reason other than it's soooo good. ;-)
-S is for sailing the deep blue sea. Steve and I have discussed that when all of this nonsense is over, we will celebrate on a cruise as soon as we can afford it. Seize the day! Anyone is welcome to join...PARTY BOAT!
-S is for schedule. Jackie, this is dedicated to you. On Wednesday, 5/25, I have the ultrasound to double check the ovary. On Tuesday, 5/31, I have a meet and greet with my oncologist... the poison master. The one who is going to kill this crap! On Wednesday, I have a follow-up with my OBGYN... ugh. love her, hate her job.On Tuesday, 6/7, I have the "summit of the surgeons", as I have dubbed it for this purpose. I will be meeting with my surgeons hopefully for the last time before they carve me like a pumpkin and doing all the pre-op test stuff. and June 20th is THE DAY ---- the day they cut the darkness out! YEEHAAAAAAAA! bring it on!
-S is for survivor - the sisterhood I am working so hard to earn membership! the sisterhood I will someday be proud to be a part of!
-S IS FOR SCREW YOU CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! --- See Caitlin, I say still say it's the perfect title for my soundtrack!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

why me? why now?

A lot of people have said that they can't believe this is happening to me. It shouldn't happen to someone like me. I'm too young. I have a little boy to take care of. Well, I agree. But I also believe this was supposed to happen to me. So here are my answers to "Why me, Why now?"

First, the "why me" part:
  • I come from a long line of special women, women who are fighters in their own right, women with good hearts, but tough when they need to be, women who don't back away from a challenge, and women who have faith.
  • I have my own personal nursing staff. I'm sorry, but I don't think it's a coincidence that my brother married an oncology nurse practitioner. I also don't think it's a coincidence that my closest childhood friend is an operating room nurse who could hand pick my surgical team, or my two cousins have experience in navigating health insurance policies and chemo. 
  • I have always been a pay it forward kind of gal. From my perspective, I would love nothing more than to help others in the future, and I have found a unique way to do that.
  • I really have always wished for a smaller upper body anyway. I will be able to buy button down shirts without an issue! Imagine that!!!
  • I am hoping that I have loved enough people that there is plenty of love coming back to me to carry me through this. I am learning that I may just be right.
  • I have a truly good husband. He's going to have a rough go too, but he's stronger than I think he realizes, and has gotten through plenty of crap before and always makes it through. I have no doubt that this experience will be the same.
  • Unknowingly, we raised our son to be flexible and comfortable with lots of people. I am so grateful he is not solely attached to me. That means his world will not be completely turned upside down while I go through this chaos. One less thing to worry about!
As for "why now?":
  • I have a two year old son who has no idea he's doing so, but is motivating the heck out of me. When people say I can beat this, I say "I know. I don't have a choice." I'm a mommy, and mommies have to keep going no matter what!
  • I work for/with phenomenal people. There were various reasons that this could have been different. But I am where I am meant to be.
  • That wonderful nurse practitioner sister in law of mine only joined the family a month before I was diagnosed. I haven't had a chance to royally piss her off yet! ;-) 
  • My surgery is at the end of June. I do not recall the last time I had 6 weeks of no work in the summer. Better now than the middle of winter.
  • It was no secret that Steve and I were considering having a second child in the not too distant future. Thank God that didn't happen. 
  • We were in the process of gathering what we needed to apply for a variance to build a third bedroom on our house. Thankfully, the diagnosis came just before we moved forward with those plans.
  • My aunt works for a company who has a self-exam aid which helped me to know what I found when I found it, and has been so supportive in their outpouring of well wishes and support to her and to me.
So why me, why now? Because it was meant to be, and because I know I can do this! I am blessed--- crazy though it sounds.

Friday, May 20, 2011


You know, there are several amazing surprises/revelations that I have seen as NWC.

  1. It is amazing how unbelievably kind people can be. I have been just blindsided by the outpouring of love and generosity as we muddle our way through our new life.  I am amazed by the wide-sweeping kindness from random sources.
  2. There are people in this world who I haven't even met until now who have reached out to me to share their love and concern. Just a beautiful testament that people have such goodness in their hearts.
  3. Once you realize that cancer is beatable, life doesn't suck so much. In fact, it is wonderful in many ways than I imagined before. Like Helen, a beautiful survivor has told me, you get to the point where you think "ok, it's only breast cancer" and you realize it's doable. That is the most empowering feeling in the entire world!
  4. I thought I would never sleep again after I heard the news. I found that eventually, you do get tired enough and calm enough to sleep again.
  5. While in many ways, I am adjusting to my new normal, today was the first day that the majority of the day felt like it used to. I had a full day at work where I can honestly say for the first time in 2 weeks, I really felt functional. It's funny how what I used to find normal is now somewhat foreign. Talk about messing with your head.
  6. I never had any clue how many amazing organizations and programs are out there who are a resources for people with cancer. I always knew about the big ones: Komen, ACS... But, I have found young survivor's network, reach to recovery, cleaning for a reason (SO COOL---google that...), and feel good, look better.
  7. While I always knew we lived in a pretty advanced time medically, the amount of technology out there is mind boggling. I cannot tell you how many times I have said "who the heck figured that out?" with regard to a test or a procedure. It's simply miraculous to me. I am SO grateful for the science nerds out there who studied and researched and learned so much. My new motto, "hug a nerd!" I think I am going to have buttons made up. 
  8. It's amazing how a diagnosis like this puts things in perspective. If you told me a month ago, I'd be facing double mastectomy this summer, I'd probably tell you there is no way I could do it. But when I really had to make that decision, it was a no brainer, my aesthetics don't matter. My health and my life matter. My soul matters. The "window dressing" so to speak, doesn't matter. 
  9. The world doesn't end when you think it would (although ask me tomorrow evening which is the supposed rapture day. hey if it happens, the good news is, no chemo for me! see, there is an upside to everything, even the end of the world isn't the end of the world. haha!)
  10. I'm one hell of a lot stronger than I ever thought I could be. I draw my strength from so many places: from my faith, family, prayers, that smiling little two year old, the special other little kids in my life (especially my nieces, who in some ways, part of this battle is dedicated them. I want to show them by example how to be positive, faithful, strong women. I have no doubt they will be some day), all the other women out there who do not yet know that they will be joining this amazing sisterhood (I need to be able to guide them when it's their turn)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

in darkness and in light --- and good news!

With the recent excessive amount of time I have spent around medical technology, I couldn't help but notice something interesting. Today, I had the ultrasound checking out the lymph node on the right side. When I had my initial testing, they couldn't reach it, but they commented that it looked swollen and suspicious. Today, it was normal! It turns out it was likely swollen because the pollen was flying everywhere two weeks ago and my allergies were in high gear. Imagine that, the body doing what it's supposed to do!
While they were scanning around looking for something sinister, a thought crossed my mind. I thought back to the ultrasounds I had three years ago. The ones of my beautiful little boy growing inside of me. What a contrast of emotions compared to now. But then it hit me. When you have a pregnancy ultrasound, what you are looking for is something white and bright. A light. A life. When you are doing a cancer ultrasound, you are looking for darkness. Cancer looks much like a big empty black hole in the wavy grey and white. How ironic.

The good news is, when they looked today, all they saw was white and grey... Light, not darkness! HURRAY FOR LIGHT!

I was also reminded of the beauty of the light when my son got home from school and wanted me to play ball with him. We played and laughed and ran around for a while before dinner. That child is pure joy! (ok, except for when he is throwing a fit because he doesn't like the socks I picked out for him) He is no longer the little light on the ultrasound screen, he is the light in my world.

Ok, so in addition to that, I received some other great news today! The Pet Scan results came back.... YAY! the organs are ALL CLEAR... the right lymph node that they tried to find today was also clear! :-) There was an ovarian cyst (or something like it) that they want to double check. The marker on the report was minor, and hopefully is only a regular old cyst. Since I have been getting them from the age of 17, there is a very good chance that is all it is. Will have more tests to confirm that soon.

Either way, the plan of attack stays the same. Surgery on June 20th, lots of healing, then onto chemo. I love having a plan!!

"There's a fire deep down in my heart, reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Everybody gets a job

I think one of the toughest adjustments for me has been accepting help from others. Most people who know me know that I am pretty independent and am used to taking care of myself and anyone else who comes along. So my first thought when I was diagnosed was, "who is going to take care of everyone while I am sick?" And I started assigning people to buddy up and watch out for each other.

People have told me it is my turn to let others help. I can't lie. That's just weird to me. I remember thinking I didn't know how to do that. In fact, one of my first memories of NWC was Jackie telling me it was my turn to let people take care of me and I said I didn't think I could. But I am learning every day. And I am realizing that I can, and really, I don't have a choice. As much as I like to pretend I am superwoman, I guess I really can't do it all.

So many wonderful people have offered their help. Some have been involved in the early stages of this, and pretty intensely. To those, I say "THANK YOU!"

To those who I haven't yet tapped into, I say "thank you" in advance. Fear not, your day will come to help.

Everyone has a different role to play, and each role will come in at different times. For example, some will make me laugh, some will rough up a few doctors on my behalf, some will plant me a garden (or already have), some will get chauffeur duties, some will cook or clean, some  will be in charge of intense prayers, some will make play lists to inspire me, some will just allow their lives to go on so I can remember that life is good, some with get Steven (and I know there have been a few fights over him already...), some will just love me.

Please know that no matter what you do, even if it's a word of encouragement or a prayer or a full blown meal, it all is appreciated! Even the smallest things mean so much.

Please keep praying for good PET scan results!! I hope to post good news soon. The fighter in me is just ready and gearing up for the big fight. I just want to know my opponent and know I can win!

To cancer, here's what I have to say: "you're gonna wish you never had met me!"

Some blessings

It's amazing how out of something so traumatic, springs a new appreciation for blesssings. Here's an accounting for some of mine that I have recently seen more clearly.
  • I have some amazing nurses in my friends and family who are looking out for me, comforting me, educating me
  • I have the most amazing, wonderful family, both immediate and extended
  • My friends always have let me know I am loved, but most particularly in the last few weeks
  • There are people who have it worse than me. I was reminded of this recently when I learned of someone who was diagnosed with a cancer far worse than mine
  • I work for a company that actually has compassion (imagine that)
  • I have found some of the best doctors, and am blessed enough that they are willing to treat me
  • My husband loves me, is an amazing support system, and has the best frikking insurance! ;-)
  • My son is the happiest, silliest, craziest boy with the best smile and hugs
  • I was born in 1977 and diagnosed in 2011, meaning the treatment for me is practically routine in the medical community by now
  • I have the most inspirational, supportive survivors whose own fight will lead me through this
  • I live in America where medical advances are top notch
  • My faith is still with me, I know I do not walk this path alone
  • and one final blessing: I am able to remember I am blessed, even now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

tired patient = relatively short post

Today was a long day! Left Ocean county at 7:30 am, and returned at 8:30 pm.

While sitting in the reconstructive surgeon's office today (whom I love, by the way), I read this on the wall:
"Peace - it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."  WOW, that about sums it up for me. I strive for peace amidst the battlefield.

The appointment with the surgeon went great. I am very comfortable with her. Well, as comfortable as is possible for someone who was talking to me about dismantling and rebuilding my body parts. This afternoon was the pet scan. If that goes well, surgery is set for June 20th.

Please continue the prayers. They help!

I am just dreaming of the day when I can wear my survivor shirt. To quote one of my special suvivor mentors: "I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me!" I am gearing up for battle folks. I hear my grandfather whistling the battle hymn of the republic somewhere in my mind... Warrior up!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Someday I'll be Saturday night - and a bit of good news.

Today was a good day. I was blessed to receive good news. After much waiting and angst and annoying a few nurses at Hackensack, I finally got the results of the bone scan! All clear!!!! Woooooohhhhhoooooooooooooooo!

That's a big step. Now I just need the same result to come of my pet scan tomorrow. Please please please pray for me. I am tired of the worry. I truly believe that if the pet scan is good and it's "only" breast cancer, all will be doable. When the nurse confirmed what I had been dying to hear today, I felt, if only for a moment, like everything would be ok.

I have a new aspiration in life. To join the elite group of phenomenal women who are called "survivors"! I always knew they were a special group, but I am learning so quickly just how very special indeed. It's a sisterhood that requires one hell of a pledge season. Delta Zeta had nothing on this! (no offense sisters) It's an honor to even be in the preliminary stages of earning that badge. I hope one day to make them all proud and walk amongst them, having earned my title by beating this ridiculous disease with my head held high. I do believe that this is what I am meant to do. I hope and pray I am right.

The worry is exhausting. I thought chasing around a two year old was tiring. That has nothing on chasing my own fear. Trying to shove it out of my mind. The good news helped boost my confidence a bit. I know I sound like a broken record, but I just need one more piece of good news and I'm good.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of the longest weeks of my life. I'm hoping that it also ends up being one of my best. If the news is what I hope for, I am much more assured that I will reach my goal and beat this nonsense!

Tonight's musical inspiration? Bon Jovi: "Hey man, I'm alive. I'm taking each day one night at a time. I'm feeling like a monday, but someday I'll be Saturday niiiiiiiighhhhhtttt!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday night...

Sorry folks, Sunday night's edition of the blog will be about as entertaining as, well, Sunday night. So back to work again tomorrow. I hope I can focus. It's hard being back in the office for a few reasons.

#1. it's a pretty blatant reminder that even though so much has changed, so much more is coming down the pike. I will be on disability soon. That's hard for me. Much of my job depends on being in the loop. Knowing what's going on and who the players are. Being out for a long stretch is tough and a little scary.

#2. Co-workers are slowly becoming more aware of my circumstances. It's kind of awkward. I prefer that people know. However, it means people fall into one of three categories. Those who know directly, those who have heard second hand, and those who have no clue. Those who know directly have been wonderful. They have been kind and compassionate and supportive. Those who know second hand are probably the most awkward. They tend to say nothing to me, but look at my boobs as I walk towards them. Hey, they don't look any different yet folks. You can't tell they have cancer in them by staring at them. HELLLOOOOO. Ah, it might as well be high school all over again. And those who don't know yet, I feel bad because they do find out and then feel terrible. And it's hard to watch people who are just starting to wrap their heads around the news when I am further down the acceptance process.

#3. Well, it's work. I am extremely grateful to have a job, especially in this economy and in my circumstances. But as I always say, they pay you for a reason.

#4. It takes me closer to important answers. I have tests and results coming this week. If they are good, then I want them. If they are not, I don't want to know. I want to stay here in this Sunday night where everything is doable.

On that note, I'm going to get some rest. I am certain this will be another long week. I'll sign off with lyrics from a Kenny Chesney song I love:

The Preacher told me last Sunday mornin'
"Son, you better start livin' right.
You need to quit the women and whiskey and carrying on all night.
Don't you want to hear him call your name when you're standing at the pearly gates?"
I told the Preacher "Yes, I do, but I hope he don't call today." Are you ready?

Everybody wants to go to Heaven.
Have a mansion high above the clouds.
Everybody wanna go to Heaven, but nobody wanna go now.

Said, Preacher, maybe you didn't see me throw an extra twenty in the plate.
There's one for everything I did last night,
and one to get me through today.
Here's a ten to help you remember, next time you got the good Lord's ear.
Say-I'm comin' but there ain't no hurry
I'm havin' fun down here. Don't you know that-

Everybody wants to go to Heaven.
Get their wings and fly around.
Everybody wanna go to Heaven 
but nobody wanna go now.

Some day I wanna see those streets of gold.
Get my halo.
But I wouldn't mind waitin' at least a hundred years or so...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

birthdays, bracelets, and liv... (yes, that is spelled correctly)

A few thoughts to share tonight. First off, my son stole my pink bracelet. (Jami bought me lots of the pink cause bracelets with my name on it for everyone---woohoo!!!) He wanted it because it had letters on it. I told him that the bracelet meant that mommy loved him very much. He is currently sleeping with it under his pillow. I hope it brings him sweet dreams. If I could have one wish or prayer answered, it would be for that little boy to be nothing but happy his whole life! and for me to be here to share in that happiness with him and Steve. (ok that might count as two, but who cares).

When he first took it, he was laying in bed holding it, and singing happy birthday. I assume that this was because we just sang happy birthday to Rick earlier today. But it struck me in another way. I guess because I feel like I am celebrating a different kind of birthday--- a rebirth so to speak. NWC has arrived, and she's doing alright (See Frank's comment on my earlier post - "NWC" is nicole with cancer). p.s. sorry Stup, didn't mean to hork your birthday! ;-) 

Secondly, I have heard from so many people that the blog is helping them, inspiring them, and making them laugh. I am so thrilled to hear that! It has been my therapy. It's the place where I can organize my thoughts, make a few boob jokes and spread the word about early detection. And it's my rally spot. It's my place to get myself psyched up. I'm so pleased to hear it does the same for others as well. I appreciate every comment shared, whether here, on facebook, or in person. Please know that positive begets positive and strength begets strength. Let's keep on building each other up. Suddenly, the old Jackie Wilson song "Your love is lifting me higher" pops into my head. Sing along everyone... If you are going to get a song stuck in your head, it might as well be an inspiring one! hahaha.

Finally, in my mission to educate people, I want to focus a little bit on the Liv which I mentioned in my earlier post. I have gotten a few questions on it, and I figured best to share this enmasse. I hope I get the details right. 

My Zia Sandy shared the Liv with me probably about 7 months ago, sometime in the fall. It's a product that is used for self-exams. Her company makes them. It makes it easier to feel weird abnormalities when they pop up. When she showed it to me, she demonstrated on this sponge which had lumps in it to demonstrate what I should be looking for during a self-exam. Guess what? That's how I knew I had to get checked out. I never got around to buying the Liv from her because I thought there was no way I was ever going to really need it. I mean after all, young chicks like me with no family history don't get breast cancer, right??? WRONG! 

So even though I never actually bought the Liv, having tried it out, I knew when my hand found that crazy little thing, I had to take action. Thanks again Zia!!! Love you. 

Keep the prayers coming... Here's the schedule this week as it stands today.

  • Work on Monday, Wednesday, Friday - hurray for normacy
  • Tuesday - Meeting with the reconstructive surgeon, and pet/ct scan... PLEASE SEND PRAYERS!!!! If that goes well, my confidence and strength will go through the roof. 
  • Thursday - one more ultrasound and biopsy for good measure. God I hate those. Blah! 
My mantra: Start strong, finish stronger! (thanks again Helen!) 

My new life is good too.

In the last week and a half, it has felt like I am living in an alternate universe. A lot of things are familiar to me, but it's still all feels weird and new.

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to test a few things out. I tried listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Random yes, but it has some of the most fun music around. And guess what. It still makes me smile. Score! Try it if you are feeling down. If there was song or a cd that made you smile in the past, it will still do so. Trust me. Oh and it's even better if you find a song that my son likes because he might sing it to you. If that doesn't make you smile, well then you have it worse than I do and I feel sorry for you.

I went to the park this evening with my son and husband. I can still run around like a kid, and my butt still knows how to slide down a slide. Ok, that's a good sign too. And I even tripped once or twice for good measure.

These are two little things, but they are important nonetheless. Sometimes the little things are even more important than the big things. They are still more glimpses that connect me to NBC (for those who haven't read the old posts, NBC is "nicole before cancer"). There are some more tests that I still need to try. I definitely need to go to our favorite restaurant Jules and have my usual. There may be a few others.

I also look forward to a day when my body and diagnosis is not on my mind incessantly. Will that ever happen? My ability to think clearly is not really strong because thoughts that fall out of the realm of cancer don't stand a chance right now. All of my energy and thoughts are there.  I know most of my friends are family are pretty consumed as well. I know it will never be completely gone from my thoughts, but it would be nice to be able to have maybe a moment alone without cancerous thoughts.

Although having a little boy, I should be used to no privacy EVER!  I rarely even get a chance to use the bathroom interrupted. I often see little fingers trying to get under the door followed by that precious little voice saying, "mommy, what are you doing?" Maybe that's just another reason why he is here and helping me. He prepped me for the concept of never having a moment to myself. Although being interrupted by that cute little face is much more pleasant than by fear, questions, thoughts of a hairless me. Ugh.

But I refuse to get mad about all of this. First of all, I know my brothers and Steve had done enough of that for me. Thanks guys, one thing I can check off my to do list. Second of all, I do believe this was a path I was meant to walk. And I pray that it is a path I can walk for many many years. In some strange ways, this diagnosis has been the most amazing thing that has come my way. I am seeing love and generosity being poured out in such unbelievable ways and even from some unexpected sources. I am learning much about volunteering by being a recipient, that perhaps I will walk away from this with a new calling. The survivors in my life (you all know who you are) have been truly inspirational and are constantly giving me hope. You have lifted me up in a unique way. Maybe I someday will be a survivor who can give others hope and comfort! Now that would be amazing and a blessing for me. And that's just one more reason to fight the fight: to be a woman for others.

Life's not perfect, but it's still good. Even with cancer. Now that's a shocker!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A public service announcement, a few thoughts, and "I had a dream too"

Before I get into it, Happy 30th birthday Stup! (my baby brother)
Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled blog.
I have gotten several questions and have been happy to answer them, but for those who haven't asked yet, I think there is some really important information that I need to share with all of you. Please please please learn from me! These are that facts as I know them about my breast cancer.
  1. I have very little genetic history to link me to getting this. My mom's first cousin had it. that's it. One model showed me as being only 5% risk... Why can't I win with those kinds of odds playing the lottery?
  2. I am under the magic age of 40. Mammograms are not routine for people like me... People who are "less likely" to get it... again, maybe I need to play mega millions.
  3. My mom had a history of finding benign things. I assumed that is what I had. But I thank God that I went to the doc's anyway. Don't assume anything and DO NOT self-diagnose!
  4. I found it myself. I was not super diligent about monthly self-exams, but would do them once in a while. I went to the docs pretty quickly. I'm so glad I did. If you find something, you are not being paranoid by having it checked out. You are being smart. If I waited until my annual to bring it up, it would be 6 months from now, and my prognosis would be much worse! Thank God for once I didn't procrastinate. (those who went to college with me know how unusual this is! nun-tac-toe anyone?? J, I'm looking at you!)
  5. Early detection is SO critical to saving lives. I didn't realize how important....I am praying and hoping that I am early enough to have caught mine in time. So far, it's seeming positive, but I don't know for sure just yet. The next week or two should let me know for sure. In the meantime, pray for me.
  6. Sometimes, breast cancer can be hormonally driven, and pregnancy can contribute to that. If you are a new mom, you are not exempt from breast cancer risk!! I had Steven 2 and a half years ago. My type of tumors are the hormonally driven ones... and guess what's raging in your body after you have a child? bingo! I was practically feeding the things with fish food!
And here are just a few extra thoughts. People have told me they feel awkward laughing reading the blog... Don't feel awkward. Laugh! I am. That's very much the point of some of what I write. Cancer is serious enough on its own. It doesn't need me to add to its seriousness. Keeping my sense of humor during this madness is a critical coping technique for me.

Also, people have been asking about the level of privacy. At this point, privacy is right out the window. More people have seen my body parts in the last two weeks than in my entire adulthood. While I will not share any crazy details or photos, one does lose a certain sense of privacy during this whole thing. I'd rather people are educated, inspired, and maybe a little entertained by me in the process. If I can inspire someone to check themselves out and maybe aid in someone else's early detection, then that will make me so proud!

Please educate yourself people. There are many great resources on how to do self exams. There are even amazing products like the Liv that can help. I can share info with you on this if you are interested.

As for the dream, while it pales in comparison to Dr. MLK's dream, I took it as positive. Last night, I dreamt that I was looking out the window. I noticed what looked like a horrible storm cloud rolling in across the sky. It was very dark and ominous looking. Then I looked closer. The storm cloud was actually just a grey awning being rolled out over the window... So perhaps things aren't as scary as they first seem... That's how I am taking it.

the "oh Sh*t" face

This post is dedicated to my brother Chris who found my description of the face entertaining.

Before I describe today's events, let me explain what the "oh sh*t" face is. When I was sent for my mammo and my ultrasound, the tech doing the ultrasound had a look on her face that let me know she was not happy with what she was seeing. As she was scanning around with the little probe thing, she knew she was looking at exactly what she was trained to look for, and that it was not good. Although she didn't say a word, her face said it all: clearly "oh sh*t"! And I knew then that things were going to get ugly fast.

So today was the bone scan... They inject you with radioactive stuff, you wait two hours, and they scan you to see if there is anything bad going on in your bones. It wasn't so bad. Here's how the day went.

First off, Donna and I want props for the fact that we were actually early for the appointment. Neither of us is ever on time for anything! I wonder if two late people cancel each other out...

Anyway, we got there, and they took me back to inject the isotope or whatever you call it in. They hook up the line, and wouldn't you know it, blood spurts all over. Gross, I know. Poor Donna. She went white as a ghost and almost passed out. The funny thing is when they try to get my veins to take blood, I'm like a pin cushion. They stick and stick and can never find the damn thing. This time, when something was going in, it was like a fountain... ew!

So after Donna regained consciousness, we had time to kill. We went to the diner, since I might as well enjoy food now since it will taste horrible during chemo. This was a good idea until I laid down in the scanner thing, and thought I was going to barf. Word to the wise folks... If you need to lay flat, don't cram a bunch of greasy food down your throat first... Not my smartest move.

During the scan, I was watching the techs face intently. Searching for the "oh sh*t" face. I know the techs can't say anything to me. But I want answers, so I make them up. I think they were trying to hint that things looked ok. And at least while they were facing me, they didn't have the "oh sh*t" face. So either, that is awesome news, or they can always be good poker players if their career in the medical profession doesn't pan out.

Here's hoping because really, I'm not a fan of the "oh sh*t" face. I much prefer the "whew! thank God" face. just saying....

So say lots of prayers... This is the first of two big tests. If I pass them both, the rest I can handle!!!