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Dimpling
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This patient support community is for discussions relating to breast cancer, biopsy, genetics, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, lumps, lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, lymphedema, mammograms, mastectomy, radiation therapy, reconstruction, and self exams.

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Dimpling

I really need understanding.  About 3 months ago I noticed some dimpling on my rt breast around the areola.  It's not painful, there is no swelling, itching or burning.  No lump in or around the area.  Just the dimpling.  Does anyone know about this and what it could be?  I have an appointment scheduled tomorrow with my doctor, but the more I read, the more I couldn't help but do this post.  Has anyone else experienced something like this?  After reading all types of posts - I'm starting to get a little worried.  Anyone? Any information?  Do I have anything to be worried about?

Thank you!
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Ok. This is just an update.  I did go to my doctor and had a digital mamogram (mammogram) and an ultrasound.  I'm now scheduled for a biopsy this Friday.  I'll keep updates coming.
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Oops.  I left out the part that they did find a pea size hard lump.  :-(
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Nothing I or anyone else says will reassure you until you get the results of the biopsy.  I know it is happening very fast, but the doctors are doing all the right things.  Fingers crossed you get a good result.  Keep us updated.
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Thank you so much for your reply!  I'm beginning to feel a little bit over dramatic concerning this.  I am 46 and have never been sick or in the hospital or even had a baby and so being scared is a new concept for me. I keep thinking that it will be nothing - but I'm really not sure and Friday just seems for far away.  Any who, I just wanted to say thank you for replying.  I do not feel so alone now.  
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It is only natural to be scared whether you have been in hospital before or not.  So many women are getting breast cancer these days, but you were sensible enough to get it checked out.  I only wish my friends took my advise when I was diagnoised to go get mammograms.  One of the friends has now found something and has to go for a Mammogram next Tuesday, I am really worried for her.

I'm sure Friday cannot come quick enough for you, but it will be here soon enough.  For your own sake, when getting the biopsy ask the doctor how long it will be before you get the results, at least then you know how long you will have to wait to get the results rather than waiting for that elusive phone call.  Put pressure on the doctor where you can to get a speedy result.  The waiting is the worst.  I hope you get a good result.
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Thank you so much for your post.  I will pray for your friend that all turns out well for her.  AND thank you for the tip to pressure my doctor for a result date!  That I will do.  Many thanks and I will keep you updated.
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HELLO THERE I AM IN THE SAME BOAT AS YOU...THIS WAITING IS CRAZY...I HAVE FLUID IN BOTH BREAST AND MANY LUMPS IN BOTH...I FOUND BY LUMP ON FRIDAY AND THOUGHT I WAS JUST BEING OVER REACTING TILL I SEEN DR ON MONDAY AND SAID THAT I HAD SEVERAL AND FLUID GEZZZZZZZ GREAT I AM GOING TO ANOTHER TOMORROW FOR MAMMO AND ULTRA, SO SAY A PRAYER FOR A STRANGER AND I WILL DO THE SAME FOR YOU....TAKE CARE AND GOD BLESS
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Hang in there!  Like you said the waiting will absolutely drive you crazy.  I know how you feel about the over-reacting part.  I've always been kind of hyper - so, immediately every possibility ran through my head.  I had to tell myself (over and over) do not get too excited.  At least until I know that there is someting to get 'excited' about.  I will pray for peace for you during the waiting time and that all turns out well for you.  Try not to worry and God bless to you too!
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Jazzercise is my twin sister. To Irishgal2, thank you so much for responding! We were not sure anyone was out there. I will also pray for your friends mammogram to have positive results.
To EAST1, I will also say prayers for you and now you are not a stranger:-)
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This reminds of a movie or something....You Are Not Alone.  :-D
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Just a little info on me and my twin - we live 4 states apart.  She lives in Amarillo, Texas and I live in the very NE part of Clarkesville, Georgia.  We live thru the computer and cell phone.  Technology is great!
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Well, I went for my biopsy Friday and they were going to do a core biopsy.  But due to where 'it' is at and how small, they opted to just go in and take out the whole thing.  I will have that done this coming Tuesday and thankfully they will knock me out!  I'm almost relieved that I will be asleep during the procedure AND if it turns out to be something bad, then it's out.  The doctor did say that it was not moving and had ill-defined edges.  He explained the whole procedure and I feel complete peace right now.  It's the opposite of what I have been feeling.  I think I have a whole lot of people praying for me.  Thank you Lord!  I will keep posting to let anyone who wants to know the outcome of this, uh, situation.  Peace to all on this coming Thanksgiving!
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Well, I have received my results.  Not good I'm afraid.  I have Invasive/Infiltrating Ductal cancer.  :-(  I'm going back to the doctor next week to see what my options are.  Right now, it's pointing to a mastectomy or partial mastectomy/lumpectomy.  Unfortunately I have very small breasts and a partial will leave me deformed.

I will give further info as I find out.  Peace to all and Happy Thanksgiving.  I do know that I caught my cancer very, very early, so I'm sure I will be one of the lucky ones.  
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Ah, I'm really sorry you received bad news.  I guess all on this web site hope to hear that one else has been saved the hurt and upset of breast cancer.

I too have small breasts (b cup) and had a lumpectomy.    My lump was not near the nipple. My breast looks normal but is definitely a different size to the good breast.  I insert my implant (I call it a chicken fillet as that is what it looks like) into the pocket of the special bra and it balances me up nicely. I can remember back when I was diagnoised and the reason I did not need a mastectomy was because the lump was just under 2cm and away from the nipple. At the time I spoke to the doctor about reconstruction and if I can remember correctly he said that reconstruction may be easier on a full mastectomy.  However I think you should ask your Surgeon up front about reconstruction as they may be the deciding factor for which option you take.

Let me know how the results unfold and hopefully the other ladies on the site can help you through it.

Believe me there is an end to it, I just finished my radiation last Monday after 6.5 weeks and now I am taking the drug Tamoxifen (anti oestrogen hormone drug).

Thinking of you and sorry it is not a good Thanksgiving for you.
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Hey you, thank you so much for your comforting words.  Despite all, I had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving.  Being with family is all one can ask for.  I still feel blessed, somehow.  I know I won't die from this and all my kids and grandson and husband are healthy.  I actually think it is harder on my husband and twin sister than it is on me.  I know they feel helpless.  BUT  we all have high hopes and are confident that I will get thru this and be healthy and normal one day.

I have done some research on reconstruction and I'm going to ask my doc about the tram flap reconstruction method.  He did say that he would do the mastecomy and the sentinel node biopsy at the same time AND the reconstruction.  All one surgery.  YEA!  Get in, get it done and get out.  :-)
That is if all comes back clear on the lymph nodes.  My consult for a complete 'picture' of the surgery is this Thursday and then surgery next Tuesday.

I'm glad that you have finished your radiation! Yea!  I'm so happy for you!  Would you mind telling me about the radiation...how they do it...how your body reacted to it?  I know I will get the details from my doc Thursday but a woman who has just gone thru it could shed the most light.   What type of cancer did you have?  Was it IDC too?

Hey, how did the mammogram turn out for your friend?  Didn't she have it last Tuesday?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Talk to you soon!
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Hi,

You are normal, maybe ever super normal like the rest of us and let nobody tell you different.  I think my Mam and my husband took the news the hardest.  Like your twin and husband, they too felt helpless.  My mother would have taken my illness in the blink of an eye, sure is'nt that what Mam's do, anything for their child.  She never said how she really felt all along just stayed strong for me, but I could see it in her eyes especially when her little girls long golden ginger locks fell out, it had  always been my pride and joy.  But you know what, my family got through it just like me.  If anything, it made them appreciate me more.  My youngest brother Ed surprised me with a trip to Norway last Monday evening, the day I finished my radiotherapy, to see our other brother Ferg who lives in Trondheim in Norway.  I was really touched.  They would not let me put my hand in my pocket as too my sister in law.  I decided to wait to start my Tamoxifen until I came back on Saturday and I know hot flushes and nights sweats can be a sympthom of the drug and I did'nt fancy having my first experience of this with my 2 brother's beside me - there are some things that they could never understand!!!!!

I had my treatment in St. Luke's hospital in Dublin and I have to say it is the best hospital in the country with the most extradionary people.  Considering it is a cancer hospital, the atmosphere is almost holistic, peaceful and up beat.

I was to receive 5 weeks of radiation to the full breast wall area on my lright side and then a booster of 1.5 weeks to the area where the lump was.  If you are under 50 in Ireland and diagnoised with breast cancer, you automatically receive the booster treatment after standard radiotherapy.

Of  all the treatments for breast cancer, I found this the easiest and least invasive.  I was sent to the same unit (machine) every day for my treatment and therefore had the same team of radiation therapists looking after me.  All 5 of them were very nice and one was a guy called Brendan who was slagged by us all, but he was good fun and I did not feel akward about a guy other than my hubbie feeling my breasts every day! My breasts have never received so much attention!!!

Basically it is all in the positioning.  A few weeks before you start your treatment, you go through the planning stage.  You lie on a bed similar to that for MRI's, bone  scans etc which is moveable and your arms is stretched up behind you on the bed.  You are marked with tiny blue tatoos.  They can be temporary or permanent.  They are literally dots, so I chose permanent ones.  So now you are set up.

The daily treatment took about 10 mins in all max.  The longest part of the treatment for me was placing me in the exact and I do me  mm exact position on the bed.  Once this is done, they zapped me for 30 seconds approx from 2 angles.  You just hear a sound.  The machine moves not you and it  does not come close to you so it is not frightening.  You literally notice nothing but the sound, feel nothing and smell nothing.  You get dress again and then off you go, just like that.  I am very fair and the doctor who saw me weekly was very pleased  with my skin.  The only effect I got on my skin was a large redish square on the breast and breast wall area.  It just looked like mild sunburn.  It was a little sensitive to touch and I did not use any perfumed substances on the area.  I used E45 shower gel and then after two weeks put on E45 moisturising cream on the area at night and washed it off in the morning.  My nipple was a little sore at the end of the 5  weeks as it  stands up and a bit dry but it did not cause me much discomfort.  It was suggested to me not to wear a bra during my treatment which I did not to avoid rubbing.  I then had my booster and by the end of the last session the smaller box area was quite red and a little burn on the top outside near the crease in my arm.  However a few days of aloe vera gel and it is well on the mend.  This is just my experience, it may be different for everyone.  The radiation did not cause me to be tired but rather the 2 hour drive each way Mon to Fri to 6.5 weeks tired me out.  But I have to say it flew by, much quicker than I expected.  I do not know the name of the radiation I received, I think there may be a few different ones, but this was the standard, I know that.  So all in all, radiation over chemo anytime!!

Your lump sounds small, so there is a very good chance that it will not have spread to your lymph nodes, keep positive about this.

My cancer was IDC.  I was stage 1 i.e. 1.9cm lump, Grade 111 cancer, ER and PR positive (hormone sensitive), Her2 negative, no lymph node involvement  and no secondaries.  All round a good diagnosis, but still it is always hovering at the back of my mind, I guess it always will even after hopefully 5 years clear.

My oncologist recommended me for chemo for the following reasons:

- age 39 at diagnosis
- cancer was a grade 111, which is aggressive and fast growing (tends to be so in younger victims)
- pre menopausal.

You may not need chemo, it will depend on your age, menopausal status, receptor status, grade status and lumph node status.  I had 4 cycles of AC regimen.  I will tell you about that if and only if you have to have chemo, fingers crossed you don't.

In Ireland everyone with breast cancer automatically receives radiation, I don't know about the US.

Good luck with the 3 in 1, as you said, get  in and out.  It will be a longer operation and longer recovery time, but all least it will be all over then.  

Let me know how you get on with the Consultant tomorrow.

I am going back to work 4 days a week on Monday, it will be a shock to the system.  I have been working on an off the past 8 months since diagnosis, I could come and go as I please.  Now I will be back to clocking in - help!!!

My friend Rhona got on ok I think, but sometimes she is deliberately vague.  They could see some clarification in her breast, but said they don't think it is anything to worry about, but she is having a biopsy on Tuesday.  The picture does not fit, but I will just go with the flow.  Hopefully the biopsy will confirm that everything is ok.  Her Mam died of breast cancer many years ago.  Thanks for asking.

Talk later.

Annette.
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Hi Annette!  My new friend!  Well, I have a NEW game plan.  After the consult last Thursday, I have found out that Tram Flap reconstruction is what I want.  However, it is really more involved than I first had thought.  They will be using muscle from my abdomen to reconstruct my breasts.  I am a size A so this shouldn't be much to construct.  :-)  But due to the reconstruction they have to do the Sentinel Node Biopsy prior to the mastectomy.  I am electing to have a double mastectomy.  After all research and finding out that I have 11% chance of the cancer coming back in my remaining breast and the fact that you can only do the Tram Flap one time only.  If you do it for the right breast and then get cancer 3 years later in the left breast - I would have to have a different kind of reconstruction.  I have a come a long way in being okay with this whole thinig.  I think that it will be a long road - but in the end, I will be alive and have new boobs. :-)  I really don't think I will have to have chemo or radiation due to several factors:  1.  I'm having a double mastecomy, 2.  Not in the lymph nodes (of course this may change).  3.  pre-menopausal  and 4. Cancer was grade 2 and only 9.0 mm.

So, that's where I am.

Don't forget to tell me how it turns out for Rhona.  Tell her some crazy lady in Georgia, USA is praying for her.  

Best wishes and prayers for you too!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Is'nt it amazing how quickly we can all become experts on things we knew nothing about a few months ago!!  You have certainly done your homework and you sound very confident in your decision, good for you.  The best of luck with the surgery, thinking of you and hope all goes well.

My friend Rhona is getting her biopsy tomorrow and I met her for a cuppa on Friday and she is very nervous.  Thanks for saying a prayer for her.

Annette.
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Hi Annette,

It is amazing how qickly I have become an "expert" on these new things in my life. You are quite right there. Now I'm an expert on SNB's.  I had that done yesterday and I have to tell you, I have never been so scared in my life!  I think I might have read too much info on that subject.  I read such horror stories about the pain of the first 2-4 injections.  I had really worked myself up into quite a little 'mental' mess.  They did not give me any type of topical cream/oitment and as far as the Lydocane (sp) for numbing...I would have to have 4 of them - then there would have been 8 total injections.  Well, my nuclear medicine tech (who was the same age as my youngest, 23) was very comforting and very gentle and in the end I left it up to him as to what to do.  He put the Lydocane in at the same time as the radioactive injection.  So, yes I did feel something - but not for long.  I ended up with 4 injections and 2 of them did sting quite a bit - but only for a short time.  THEN the shots were done!  The rest was non-stressful from there on out.  By the time my tech had wheeled me into the room with the 'machine' to detect where the radioactive stuff was going (maybe 5 mins.) He had already detected 2 nodes!  Yea!  According to my husband, the doc only took out one big node and we should know something soon.

So, enough about that.  How's Rhona doing?  Any news yet?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Stay safe!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Great, one more procedure down!!!  Hopefully you will get good results from the node removed.

Rhona is going back to the hospital for her biopsy results tomorrow she is very nervous.  The biopsy was very tramatic for her on Monday and took ages.  She had to have it under Mammogram guidance.  She fainted during the procedure as there was a lot of prodding, pulling and blood.  Thankfully the next day she was back to her ould self.  Say a prayer she gets a good result tomorrow.

Keep in touch.

Annette
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Nodes are clean!  Wahooo!!!!  Thank you to the Lord!  Prayers do get answered!  Tomorrow I meet with my plastic surgeon, Monday with the oncologist and Thursday with my general surgeon.  We'll probably schedule the "big" surgery on the 13th.  Thanks for listening to my ravings!  I'll keep you posted!

Poor Rhona!  I feel so bad for her!  I will say a prayer for her continued patience and peace.  I'll pray that all turns out well with the results.  Please keep me updated on her situation.  Tell her prayers are being said for her!

Take care Annette,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Must be the day for good news all round.  That is brillant about the nodes, less treatment needed and much better prognosis for you.  Rhona got her results today of her biopsy and all clear too, she is literally jumping over the moon.  Yes I do believe that the man upstairs does listen sometimes and answers prayers.

Good luck with your surgery on 13th and let me know how your appointments go next week.

Take care.

Annette
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Hi;  1yr and 4 mos ago I had a mastectomy (complete) with reconstruction. I am now facing on the other side microcalcifications that I will probably have a partial mastectomy on. But this isn't about me.......
I read your thread and my heart goes out to you. Us survivors all know what you feel, all so well.
I will be praying for you on the 13th.  Please keep us updated.
God Bless..............HE is watching over you and holding you in His hands
Ann
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Hi Ann!  Welcome to 'the thread'.  :-)  I'm sorry to hear about your new complication.  You are now on the continued prayer list.  Keep us updated so that we can say specific prayers.

I want to tell you that all of this?  It's not about me either.  I know it's my body and all - but I'm pretty sure this is about God.  There is someone in my life that God is touching due to this.  Sometimes I have a pity-party and feel pretty sorry for myself...but most of the time...I  know it's not about me, it's about God.  When I read your message, I was struck again that this is not about me either.  When this 'thing' first started my twin sister and me talked at length and the first thing that hit both of us - was that it was not about me.  (Okay, how many times have I have said that in this short message??  Sometimes I just go on and on....:-))

Any who, welcome girlfriend!  Irishgal2, aka Annette, has been my lifeline during this time.  She's the one whose been keeping me sane.  Well, as sane as I was before this.  Now, I may have said it wrong in my previous posts, but Thursday, the 13th is when I sit down with my surgeon and set a date for the surgery.  I wish it WAS going to be on the 13th. That way I could get it over with and start the healing.  Any who, I will let you both know when the date is.  Thank you Annette for being there and Ann, welcome, and thank you too for your kind words,

Have good Mondays!

Judy
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Ah, that's a pity, I thought it was going to be the 13th and you would be home in time to cook Christmas dinner and dance around the Christmas tree!!!  Still, you may be able to do that yet.  Better still, get your Twin to come to your house with her family and cook the Christmas dinner and you can help out when you can, as I somehow don't think you'll be the mad one lazing drunk in the corner.  Bet you'll be sticking your nose into the kitchen.

Anyhow, let me know what date the ops is on so I can light a candle for you.  I have got very good at lighting candles this year and popping in and out of churchs when I come across them for a quiet moment.

I've to go home tonight and find bits and bobs to make a Shephards costume for my eldest Luke (just gone 5 in October).  He is in his class Nativity Play and has 3 lines to say as a Shephard.  He is still wondering who in his class is going to be Santa in the Play, cannot understand why Santa was not in the stable also!!!!!
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You can bet that Judy and I talk multiple times a day. We are just waiting for them to set the date for the surgery and I will come in the day before and stay with her for 2 weeks min. My husband and I are ok with me going to GA for the Christmas holiday. We will have Christmas before I leave and my kids have there kids and in-laws to visit with as well. Judy and I know it's not about her but my husband knew when he married a twin 26 years ago that he would have to share:-) He is my best friend but Judy...well, she is me. And I will be there with her. Yep, gonna cook for her too:-) Don't tell my husband though because I don't cook that much at home! Prayers for all of you from Texas!
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Hey Annette,

That's so cute about your son, Luke!  He'll be the best Shephard in the group!  And, the Santa question?  That's a really good question.  You tell him I said that.  

Joyce (my twin) is coming for the main surgery (as you can see in her post.  She is Jazz2) and will stay with me 24/7 for 2 weeks afterward.  I probably will be the one lazing drunk in the corner.  Of course, it will be pain meds and not eggnog.  (mostly).  I don't want to get so out of it that I can't use the tv remote control OR order Joyce around.  tee hee

Well, good luck with the Shephards costume and I'll talk to you soon!

Judy
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Hi Annette,

Well, after visiting with my oncologist yesterday he is suggesting chemo, AC, 4 cycles and he put me on Tamoxcifen 20mg.  We are still waiting on the ONCOType DX before deciding about the chemo.  Have you ever heard of a ONCOType dx before?  Just wondering.  Now, if I remember right, you are taking Tamoxcifen, right?  How's that going?  I'm in the mind sort that I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure that my bc does not ever come back.  I have decided, 1 year, and that's it.  I will give bc one year of my life.  After that, I'm moving on and I will no longer lose sleep over whether or not it will come back some day.  1 year.  :-)  Okay.  (I'm done with this attitude for today.)

Do you want to hear something really crazy?  I work at North Georgia Technical College in the Presidents' office as a secretary.  Well, there are 2 other ladies here that have also been diagnosed with bc in the past month and half.  What are the odds????  

Well, enough for now.  Talk to you later,

Judy
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You are so lucky to have a twin, I have a wonderful sister but it is not the same.  Joyce will be a great arm to lean on or shoulder to cry on.

Well the Shepards costume is finished but now Luke wants to bring in his Big Rocking Sheep he got when he was 1 years old from his god parents to be beside him in the stable, authenticity of what!!!!

To be honest Judy I have never heard of ONCOType DX before.  I was put on 4 cycles of AC chemo and then 20mg of Tamoxifen.  I have been on the Tamoxifen for nearly a month now and have noticed no sides effects, afraid to say it too loud, but so far so good.

It is actually frightening how many women are now being diagnoised with breast cancer, it seems to be rampent.  The amount of women between the ages of 35 to 46 getting BC is growing in huge numbers.  I keep putting pressure on all my friends to get Mammograms done, but ultimately it is their decision.

Have just arrived into work at lunchtime after spending 2.5 days in hospital with Luke.  He was getting his adenoids (adenoids) removed and grommets inserted into his ears again.  He is a great little fella, the 3rd time for the ears.

Have you to get all your Xmas shopping done before the operation?

By the way, Tamoxifen is for 5 years, so you may have to revise your 1 year plan, but having said that, all the main treatments will be finished in less than a year.

Keep up that good attitude and talk before Christmas.

Annette.
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Hey Annette,

Poor Luke!  I hope he recovered well from his adenoid surgery.  That is soooo cute about the Big Rocking Sheep!  It makes me smile just imagining it.  VERY authentic.  :-D

Okay, I revised my 1 year plan and we are moving forward with my treatment.  I go today for an "echo" and then Monday I start chemo.  Exactly the same treatement as yours.  Right down to the Tamoxifen strength.  Then after all chemo I will have the dbl mast/reconstruction/expanders.  

I DO have most of my xmas shopping done!  Thanks to the help of my 27 year old daughter.  She has really done a lot of it for me.  Except for some little personal shopping for friends at work and Jazzercise.  Of course, for my 3 kiddos, (which are a boy, 23 yrs old, 2 girls, 27 and 30 yrs old and one grandson, 3 this Christmas) (They all live in Texas - which is about a 1,000 miles away), I still have shopping to do for them.  But they are pretty much grown and I'm thinking gift cards.  The easy way out.  They are very understanding though, due to circumstances.  I did put up a xmas tree this year.  Not my big one, but a little one that stands about 2 feet tall.  Yesterday I had the strong urge to pick it up and throw it out in the middle of the front yard and shoot it with the bebe gun until all the bebe's were gone.  And if any squirrels got in the way - they would get it too!  This morning was a new morning and my little christmas tree is still inside, safe and sound.  Just one of them days, I guess.  Today, is a new day.  

How about you?  Have you finished your xmas shopping?  Is Luke doing okay since the hosiptal?

Have a great day Annette!

Judy
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:)
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Hi Judy,

I'm sure someone or something will be shot by the Bebe gun before all this treatment is over, but that is ok, we all have good and bad days and just have to go with the flow.  It is important to "go with the flow", but I'd say there could be some ducking and diving in your house in the future avoiding bullets!!!!  You have done great so far, so keep going.

How come there are giving you chemo before doing your surgery?  Have they removed the cancerous lump yet from near the nipple?  Everyone's case if different.  So are they not going to do the operation until all the chemo is finished which is 12 weeks and counting?  

Christmas this year is a bit flat.  I just want the year over and a new one begun to put 2007 behind us and mark it down as a bad year.  The Christmas tree was put up this morning and decorated, went to Santa yesterday with Grandma, my sister, my two nieces, the two boys and myself.  They then went to McDonalds afterwards and headed back to Grandma and Grandad's house to play all evening and of course wreck the house.  They had a great time.  Today we are going to see Santa in our village as part of the acitivities from the local school.  Luke started this year and will see his friends there. Conor can also go but we have to pay for him as he does not go to school yet.  It's hard explaining all these Santa's.

Luke has recovered fine from the operations, back to himself.  The children's ward was all done up nicely for Christmas and there was a crib there also.  Luke spotted immediately that there was no bed in the crib for baby Jesus and so the hunt was on with the nursing staff and all the other boys and girls to find "the bed" for baby Jesus.  None was found, so the nurses told  Luke they would make one for baby Jesus.  He was happy enough with that.

I am writing this as the kids raid the Christmas goodie box put up on the shelf and have opened a box of Pringle snacks and are literally shovelling them into their mouths at it is only 10.45am!!!!

I have bought all my presents.  In my family we now do Kris Kindle presents for all the adults, too many of us now with partners.  We spend approx 80 euro.  There is always cheating going on and people dropping hints for weeks before Christmas.  I hope my Mam did not get me again.  The first year we did this Mam bought me a swivel washing line, yes you have read this right.  We had just moved into our new house and said I "needed one".  We all had to explained that needing and wanting were two very different things, so to remember that for the future.  We slagged her terribly and we still do to this day.  

My husband's sister, husband and boys are coming over to us from England for Christmas for 4 days.  There are a nice family and we all  get on well.  Aidan's sister and myself always enjoy sitting down having a good ould chat with a bottle of wine each!!!  The lads are used to us at this stage.  Their children are 3 and 1 year old, so a very full house all round.  Loads of laughing, playing, crying and screaming to be heard no doubt.  

Have to dress the kids now to feed our cat and rabbit.  I had to buy a Christmas stocking for the boys to give the cat at Christmas, could find nothing for the rabbit.  

Anyway better go now and get dressed.  Have a good week and let me know the day you are starting your chemo so I can say a prayer for you.  I have a good feeling that you are going to get through the chemo just fine like I did.  

Take care.

Annette
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Hi Annette, Judy started her chemo today. I am so sad not to be there with her but our little sister is there and Judy will be well taken care of. She is at the Chemo clinic/office what ever it is called at this very moment. Say a prayer for her.
I have this strange urge to run to Ireland with Judy and we will all have a wonderfully noisy Christmas with you!
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Hi Joyce,

It must be difficult for you see your twin go through all this upset and pain and you can do nothing to take it away.  I do understand that you feel so helpless.  But I know Judy feels you there beside her today and she has you're younger sister there also.  To be honest, as hard as this day is for her, there will be days in the not too distant future when she will need you more and you can be there beside her.  One bit of advise I will give you is to take the lead from Judy.  She will talk about what is happening to her when she wants to and other times she will want to hear and talk about anything else, so do be prepared for that.  Honestly you do get sick of talking about Breast Cancer and poor me.  When she is up to it try to organise a night out doing something she enjoys.  I regularly organised girls nights out for dinner during my treatment and it was a brillant lift.  I told my friends they could talk BC for 10 mins and then it was down to the gossip.  After a while we all forgot I was sick and had a great night, I was Annette again and that was just the way I wanted it.

If you were closer and lived in Ireland, you could have popped in for a cuppa or a drink, but you would have ended up with an almighty headache as well as remembering what a joy (did I say that!) kids can be!!.

Let me know how Judy is getting on, she may not want to be on the website during chemo, it all depends.

Thinking of her now.

Annette.
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Hi Annette, Judy had her ups and downs that day. She was doing well up until 7:30pm and then the nausea started. Bunny our little sister made a beeline straight to her while I had her on the phone and she made it through the night. They had a very rough night. She went and got her neulestra shot the next day, picked out a beautiful wig and had her hair cut to less than 1". They told her that her hair would start coming out next week. She is doing very well today and is at work.

Her chemo treatments will be over on Jan 30th and she hopes to have her surgery scheduled for early Feb. We already have our "girls night out" scheduled for Feb. Us 3 sisters will all have manicures and pedicures done at a spa first chance we can:-) The spa for all 3 has already been paid for by friends of Judy's!  

Prayers being said from Texas:-)

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It's me!  I'm back!  Phew!  That's some wicked stuff, I tell you.  But, it's gone for now. At least until the next treatment.  1 down, 3 to go!  WAHOOOOO!  Can you tell by Joyce's post that I am very well pampered?  tee hee.  No complaints here.  I got it pretty good right now.  Thank you for all your kind words Annette.  I really appreciate your comments and suggestions.  We will definitly have a girl's night out one day soon.

Well, I don't have much for now.  Will talk more later.

Wishing you a very good day, much respect and warm feelings,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Good to see you in good spirits, long may it last.  How has the nausea been so far?  What anti nausea meds are they giving you?  What helped me during my chemo was going for a walk as often as I could.  Believe it or not, it helped with my nausea and lifted my spirits.  However don't over do it, but do try to get out an about, sitting at home waiting on the next toxic onslaught does no good.  When all is said and done, you must listen to your body and be sensible.  For the first time in my life I had to put myself first during chemo and above all had to be sensible rather than my usual obstinate self.  Oh yeah another thing that helped me was to eat little but often, it does help with the nausea and keep off the spicy food for the moment, better in week 3 when you are back to yourself before the next cycle. I used to have an Indian Takeaway the night before my next chemo cycle and 2 large glasses of wine.  Boy did I enjoy it every time!!!!!

If sounds like you have a wonderful family around you and why should'nt they pamper you.  Believe me they wish they could take away all this cancer and treatment, but that cannot, so there way of helping is pampering you, so let them do it.  Enjoy it while it lasts because when this is all over in less than a year, it will be back to good ould Judy and you will have to beg for this pampering!!

So you are about to join the wig brigade.  My cycle was every 3 weeks and right on cue my hair started to fall out 2.5 weeks after my first dose.  The Oncology nurses were so accurate.  Like you I got my hair cut very short and had my wig ready to go.  I'll tell you what did surprise me and something which nobody told me about was the pain in my scalp and hair folicols.  I found it painful sleeping at night if my hair brushed a certain way.  It was more upsetting for me watching the hair fall out.  So after a few days of pain and my hair coming on in clumps I went to my hairdresser to have what was left shaved off.  He was wonderful and so sensitive with me and made the whole experience easier to bare.  The pain went away, the hair was gone and my wig stuck to my shaved head so much better.  I was no longer paranoid about my wig moving.  This is only my experience, it may not happen to you, but I just wanted to warn you in case it happens as it was a surprise to me.

I got a human hair long wig the same colour as my own and then got it cut and styled.  I have been able to wash, cut and blow dry the wig as it his human hair.  I have to say that my wig is looking fairly **** these days, and I wear a baseball cap most days outside work on top as the wig does not stick to my head anymore as my hair has grown back.

My hair has grown back but the colour is different.  I have a gorgeous ginger golden colour, my pride and joy.  The hair has grown back a fair/light brown colour, but at least it has grown back, is not curly or grey, so I cannot complain too much.  From 1st Jan I will be going natural and the wig will be put at the bottom of my wardrobe.  I have a full head of hair even if it is very short, but it will grow.  Having said that, it is like watching paint dry, it seems to take ages.

Hope you have a better day tomorrow.

Take care.

Annette.

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Hi Joyce,

Thanks so much for the update.  It was great that Bunny and yourself were there every step of the way for Judy, I can tell she really appreciated it.  Good for you organising the girls treat, it is so important to have something to aim for and enjoy and as for Judy's friend paying for the treat, well they are obviously good friends.  Having said that, I somehow think that Judy has probably done more for each and every one of them in the past that they could possibly repay.

I have just re read your posting and I see Judy is in work, well what a gluten for punishment.  I really admire her.  I stayed at home the first week, she is a better woman than I.  Having said that, it will be important for you to be cruel to be kind sometimes and tell her when she is over doing it.  If she is like me, she will try to carry on as if everything is normal.  Wake up call, everything is not normal, she is going throught chemo and the cocktail is toxic and greatly affects your body.  So you my dear and Bunny may have to be the people to encourage Judy to take it easy sometimes.  Dare I ask if she listens or is she as headstrong as she sounds?

Keep being a good twin and sister to Judy.  A spa in Feb is not that far away!!!

I'll light a candle in the church for her tomorrow.

Annette
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Hello Ladies,

I have a good news story for you, yes a Christmas Miracle.  One of my friends lives in Cork, down a the bottom of Ireland with her husband and 3 children.  Alex is the eldest and is 5, soon to be 6 in January.  Years ago he was diagnoised with Dysfraxia, a learning disability.  He is going to a special school and coming on in leaps and bounds.  There was talk of his joining the standard education system next year.  Then at the end of Oct this year they were told he was a diabetic. It has turned out that the diabetic is caused by a tumour, a cancerous tumour.  He has been diagnoised with Neurblastoma (most aggressively form of childhood cancer and also know as the sneeky cancer).  He is stage IV.  The tumour is 14cms in his abdomen, a gland in his chest, a glad in his neck and the his spine are all affected.  Very poor prognosis.  However Alex started chemo about 6 weeks ago now and has just finished his 5th cycle (every 10 days) with 2 more to go.  This week the hospital took scans and more sample bone marrow to see if the chemo is working.  Today Lorraine and Ciaran waiting a home in Cork to get the result.  Today would tell them if their little boy had a chance of a future or this was his last Christmas.  So, we all prayed for a Christmas miracle.  Only in 1 in 4 children survive, all their family and friends have prayed so hard that Alex will be that 1.  Finally God woke up and started to listen and has delivered a Christmas miracle.  Alex is doing great, there has been significant shrinkage of the tumour, he has a good chance now, still a long way to go, but a good chance.  This is the best Christmas present this year.
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First off, Praise The Lord for little Alex!  God is good and he does take care of his own.  What a wonderful Christmas present for this family!  Thank you so much for sharing the story Annette!

I'm not being very good at posting right now.  I feel like I am in a battle with my body - and it's winning.  Not all of the time...just most of the time.  But with my sisters and husband, this too shall pass.  And this is just the first cycle!  AYYYYYYYYYYYYYiiiiyiii! :-)  I can't complain though, I not sick to my stomach and thats huge!  I was sick only for about a day and 1/2 after that first treatment.  They gave me 5 different meds to combat it though, the most helpful one being Zophran and then the Compazine.  Anywho, my husband is waiting for me to go to the store.  Were going to buy a new dress for me for Sunday Church.  I seem to get my way a lot now a days.  tee hee.  I should feel guilty.  

Much love Annette!  Will talk more later!

Judy
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Oh, I think you need two new dresses, you may spill something on one of them!!!!

I was so lucky I never got sick at all, just the nausea feeling.  Hopefully your body will cope with the second dose better, at least your body will know what is happening and it will not be such a shock to the system.  I finish work today for Christmas and can't wait to get home.  A very busy weekend ahead of men.  Keep taking one day at a time and you will get there.

Have a wonderful Christmas and talk to you soon.

Annette
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Oh, I think you need two new dresses, you may spill something on one of them!!!!

I was so lucky I never got sick at all, just the nausea feeling.  Hopefully your body will cope with the second dose better, at least your body will know what is happening and it will not be such a shock to the system.  I finish work today for Christmas and can't wait to get home.  A very busy weekend ahead of men.  Keep taking one day at a time and you will get there.

Have a wonderful Christmas and talk to you soon.

Annette
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Hi Annette,

I was just thinking about my Irish girlfriend.  I hope you are doing well and that you are having a great day.  I know your weekend has probably been very busy with family and all.  Yea for family!  I'm beginning to feel almost myself some days.  :-D  I have decided to take very much advantage of the 'up' times now and sleep off or wait out the 'down' times.  

Today has been good.  It's about 50 degrees and rainy here.  How about there?  Joyce is having a white Christmas with about 5 plus inches of snow on the ground and around 20 degrees temp!

Much love, have a very wonderful and loud Christmas Annette!
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Hi Judy,

Well Christmas is over now and the excitement has died down in our house.  Aidan's sister, husband and 2 boys 3 and 1 were over for 5 days and have just flown back to the UK this morning.  I enjoyed having them but at the same time am glad to have the house back to ourselves.  We literally had to do a spring clean this morning after they had gone.  Can't you imagine the mess with 4 boys running around.  Christmas was cold this year, 2 to 4 Degrees C with frost on the ground but no snow.  Santa was very good to all and I did not poison any of the relations.  Luke and myself are smothering with a dose on us and Luke is on an antibiotics.  Still at least he was not too bad over the Christmas.  Was supposed to go to my parents today with the boys,  but we are not up to it, maybe tomorrow.

Had a nice meal out with my brother who is home from Norway and his wife, my other brother and the two boys on Saturday night.  The boys were very good in the restaurant.

Hope you managed to at least enjoy some of the festive season and eat a few goodies.  When is the next chemo session?

Your attitude is the same as mine, if I felt good I got on with normal things and made the most of it and tried to rest when I had the few bad days.

A very happy New Year to Joyce, Bunny and yourself and I pray we all have good health in 2008.

Annette.
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Hi Annette,

I'm glad you had a good Christmas with your family.  But isn't it great to get back to normal?  Whatever that might be?  :-)  My husband and I had a very nice and quiet New Years Eve celebration.  We stay up till exactly midnight, kissed each other Happy New Year and then went to bed 2 seconds later.  We are such home-bodys.  

Tomorrow is ‘chemo’ day and I’m going to go to chemo wearing a t-shirt Joyce sent me for Christmas.  It’s a long-sleeved white tee that on the front says “Save The Ta Tas!” and on the back is says “Cancer Sucks!”  IIsn’t that funny!  I’m going to take some brownies to my Onco RN, Liz, she’s only 23 and is the most gentle person.  The brownies are for putting up with me and my silliness and my little sis’s, Jackie, questions.  We’re never a quiet twosome when we go somewhere.  We are always talking to everyone and laughing and eating.  It’s kinda like a mini-girls day out for us.  

Anyway, lunchtime here.  I'm trying to eat healthy the day before chemo.  According to 'my books' and everything I've read on the subject, a low fat day the day before and the day of will help with the sickly feeling.  So, this is me trying to be good.  :-D

Much love my internet friend!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Sounds like a cool tee shirts, try anything that makes your laugh and puts a smile on you're and everyone elses face.

You did better than me, I did not see the new year, not really a new year person, like just to go asleep and wake in the new year.  I find it a very depresssing time personally.  We watched the film The Bourne Ultimatium which was excellent with a bowl of snacks and then headed to bed at 11.00pm.

I found all Oncology nurses excellent.  To be honest I don't know how they do such a depressing job, but to them it is not depressing, instead rewarding.  I'm sure Liz will love the brownies although it will most likely blow her New Year Diet plans that most of us have.  I'm sure she is more than happy to answer all your questions, it never ceases to amaze me their capacity for patience.

One thing I always found strange was the upbeat happy atmosphere of the onocolgy day ward.  It was very hard to explain to people who have never been there and hopefully never will.  Never did I go to the ward to be met my a down face either a fellow patient or nurses.  Good luck with the chemo tomorrow.  This is cycle 2?  How is the hair doing?

I was supposed to be back in work today after the Christmas but am still at home with the kids.  I have to bring them to the doctor.  Both have asthma and were very bad with it the last couple of days as they are both smothering with colds.  I need to get them steriods for a couple of days.  My husband also had the flu and was on antibiotics and as with most men when they were sick was a pain in the backside, a big pain, poor them!!!!  My cold never got a look in, I just had to soilder on, typical.

I think the drug Tamoxifen is affecting my mood slightly.  I am not as optimistic as usual or as resiliant.  Things are getting to me quicker at the moment and I do feel a little down.  I am not a moody or negative person by trait so i think I will mention it to my Oncologist on 30th Jan appointment.  Anyway, I'm doing fine otherwise and here is hoping that 2008 is a better year all around for all of us.

Good luck tomorrow Judy.

Annette.
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Hi Annette,

Good to hear from you.  # 2 down!  Only 2 to go!  Wahoo!  I beat the nausea this time.  I think that I have been staying one step a head of it.  Speaking of heads, one thing that does happen are some pretty stiff headaches.  That went away this morning too.  Now, I just seem to have absolutely no energy whatsoever.  But that beats the nausea and headache...so, long story short....I'm doing fine on day 2 of #2.  :-)  As far as the hair?  Well, it's beginning to fall out pretty quick.  Almost humorous the way I look in the sink and bathtub counting hairs now-a-days.   Then I come out and tell Bunny how the tub looked.  VERY funny talks as you can imagine. I couldn't count them all today.  They have me outnumbered.  tee hee.  

Sorry to hear about your mood swings.  I'm sure you're right about it being the Tamoxifen - dang menopause!  Maybe you will never have a period again. That could be a very good upside.   I was hoping that would be my case since starting this but alas, I woke to it this morning.  Yea me.  :-D  (Not!)  Anywho, you hang in there with that optimistic thing - but scream when you need to.  Bunny and I were talking about my bad self on one shoulder and my good self on the other shoulder - both trying telling to what to do yesterday and the bad self won as many times as the good self won.  You know how your friends and family all seem to call on chemo day, because they love you and worry about you, but sometimes I HATE BE CANCER JUDY!  I'm more than that!  You're more than that!  Yes we have cancer, but, but....I just hate sometimes being so dang nice to everyone.  So bad me took over some and I quit answering my phone and made Bun do it for me.  Thank you Lord that I have Bun here with me when my husband's working.  Thank you Lord that Rick has a job with good insurance!  Okay, I think I rambling now.  Any who, let the bad self do it's magic sometime and it makes you feel better.  I bet you knew that before I did, huh?  

On another note, sorry to hear about the boys!  I hope they are doing better today and hey, if you can get out of work, by gosh, get out of work.  :-)  I'm going to try to go in for a little while tomorrow.  Probably go in late and come home early.  :-)  The fatigue  is really amazing and threw me for a loop.  Did you experience that any?

Love having our chats Annette.  Thanks for always being there and listening to me.  I hope the mood swings back to right side for you!  I'll pray for you to be happy!

Have a good week Annette!

Your Georgia friend, Judy
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Hi Judy,

Great that number 2 is finished and you do sound in good form.  I guess the shoulder with the good Judy won when writing this e-mail!!

Bad news Judy, I continued to get my periods during the chemo and it has continued and continued since then. I just gone one the other day.  There was a 2 month gap in the periods after the chemo but that has resumed.  However just because you are having periods does not mean you are ovulating.  I had a menopause status done on me at my request at the end of my chemo and it came back to say I was in menopause status but could not tell me if it was temporary or permanent at the time.  I somehow think that I am back ovulating because of the pain with the last two periods.  Tamoxifen has not affected my period either yet, so I guess I will just have to wait to have a natural menopause after all!  I am getting my bloods done in the next few weeks, so I may ask the doctor to check my meopause status again.

I too hated being "Annette with the breast cancer", I just wanted to be me again. Initially there was a lot of fuss, but I managed to let it die down quick enough so everyone was not ringing me all the time.  I got them to leave it up to me to contact people most of the time and believe me I did. I had loads of nights out which I organised and always a good turn out.  I was always getting text messages so I would answer if and when I was ready, so why not suggest that to friends at least that way they can let you know they are thinking of us.

I did not experience the fatigue per say that you have at the moment.  I was always good for the 5 days despite the nausea and then during 2 of the cycles I was knocked off my feet for the next 3 days.  The kids were always bringing home colds and virus's so I put it down to that rather than the chemo as my bloods would not have been at their lowest.  However mid 2nd week I was doing fine and totally back to myself week 3.

At different times during each cycle I got a bit of diahhorea, heart burn, horrible taste in mouth, weird sensation on tongue and tingling, nausea and fatigue.  There was no pattern really except for the nausea.

My bloods did take longer to bounce back after my third cycle so I was quite tired for most of week 2 also.  Still I did not mind too much as I only had one cycle to go, I was nearly there.

The funny thing with me is that I only had a nice side during all my treatment.  For the first time in my life I was not worrying about everyone else, flying around like a headless chicken or under stress.  Don't get me wrong, cancer is stressful but it was just different.  I changed all my priorities and gave myself time and started back at the gym which I had not got time for for years.

If you do go into work, then a max of 3 hours, no more.  You do need to conserve as much energy as possible but I do understand that you want some normality in your life also.  

On Christmas Day I put my wig in the bin, I am now unveilled!!
My hair has grown back a light brown, no sign of any red/ginger hair, still at list it grew back and is not grey!  It is very short but looks like I got my hair cut very short rather than my hair is growing back after chemo.  It is like watching paint dry it is taking so long to grow, patience is not my best virtue.  I cannot wait to have to flick my hair out of my eyes or complain that some bits are sticking out.  I think when it is longer I may put a few blond highlights in my hair, I have never been blond, I want to see if they do indeed have more fun!

I am back in work now full time and getting on grand.  It snowed yesterday and the boys were going out in the garden this morning with Aidan to build me a snowman, they were so excited.  We don't get snow that often.  I bet one of my scarfs will be missing today and there will be no carrots in the fridge!!

Loads of talk about the US Presidential nominee campaigns on Irish radio and television.  We will be sick of it before November.  All talk this morning about the Caucauses result in Iowa.  Still long way to go.

Many moons ago I was in Georgia when I flew through Atlanta on my way to see my best friend in San Francisco.  Do you live in a city, big town, small town or in the "sticks" as we call the rural countryside?

One day at a time and thank god for sisters!.

See ye,

Annette.

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Hi Annette,

I'm so glad you to hear from you.  Love our chats.  So you ditched the wig? Yea!  I bet your hair looks wonderful.  I have to tell you I'm one of those women that was actually a light reddish mousey brown naturally and I dyed my hair all different colors of blond.  I think that blonds do have more fun - (said the quickly balding middle aged woman, who is probably the only woman to GAIN weight on chemo) but only because we make it that way.  I think we're pretty fun brown too, just nobody notices as much.  I say go for some extravagent highlights and have fun with it.  Right now, my short hair is falling out faster than a shooting star.  My husband is going to go ahead and shave the rest off this weekend.  When I take a shower I can't seem to rinse the hair off.  It's all over me, head to toe and...and it drove me a little crazy.  Just a little, cause I'm mostly there anyway.  (AND that was before bc).  :-D

Yes there are loads of talk about the US Presidential nomiee and the Iowa Caucauses.  I'm sick of it already.  I have my favorite and he's doing good right now.  

I loved San Francisco!  I visited there for a week once with a friend and found it to be one of my favorite memories!  I was disappointed that the Golden Gate Bridge was actually orange, though.  tee hee.  I live in Habersham County, in a little city called Demorest.  It is kind of in the foothills of the Northeast Georgia mountains.  Population around 5,000.  So, I guess you would say I live in the sticks.  We do however, have a Wal Mart close by and a McDonalds.  Life is good in the sticks.  How about you?  Are you a city girl or sticks girl?

You sounded good in your post.  I can almost hear you smiling - especially when you talk about your boys.  I bet the snowman was the best in the neighborhood!

Talk to you later my friend!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Sounds very nice and scenic where you live, I'd love to lift at foot of hills or better still on the coast.  I was born and raised in Dublin, but Aidan and myself moved to a village called Nobber in Co. Meath 47 miles from Dublin 8 years ago.  Oh, the sticks it is but we are only a 5 min walk from the village.  The nearest big town is Navan and that is 12 miles away and I go there for most of my weekly shopping.  Nobber itself is not that bad, we have a primary school, secondary school, church, fire station, police station, Betting Shop, Butchers, small supermarket, 2 pubs, a restaurant, a cafe, post office, chemist, health centre, beautician, hair dressers, football club and antique dealer all in the village.  Navan has the big supermarket and McDonalds, was there with the boys on Saturday having a Happy Meal.

We are still planning on moving to Sweden later this year, probably mid to end Summer.  We think it is still the best option for the family, particularly the boys all round. I will most likely be near Gotenburg or myself it will be Norway we move to, depends on where Aidan gets a job.

With my hair so short now, I thank God that he gave me small facial features, no concorde nose or jug ears.  Everyone says it suits me and maybe it does, but I do like  to have a bit of hair it makes me personnally feel more feminine.  I'm not asking for long golden locks swinging down my back, but to my shoulders would be nice where it was before!!!

My best friend Una is home from San Fran for 12 weeks, it is great having her around.  We are going into Dublin on Saturday for dinner and then the theatre, she has tickets.  We are going to see Great Expectations in the Gate Theatre, it should be fun.  Una and myself like doing some cultural activities, it extends are minds, or what there is of them.  We never appreciated all this literature when we were in school, we were just too young to know better.  

Today went to Dublin with the boys to see the Viking ship in the courtyard of a museum.  The Sea Stallion is a replica Viking ship from 1056 ad build in 2004 and it was sailed by a crew of 100 people from Denmark, via Norway, Scotland, Isle of Man to Dublin last year.  There was a programme  on the TV about it last night, so my husband,  being a boat fanatic, says right "off to Dublin tomorrow to see the boat".  Afterwards we went to the Phoenix Park for a walk with the boys while they cycled their bikes and played in the mucky grass.  A nice day all round.

I was under the illusion that that although I may loose my hair during chemo, I could have the benefit of loosing a few pounds - well eh no, did not happen!!!  The hair vanished all right, but I put on a few pounds instead.  Initially I thought it was what  I was eating, change in routine, exercise etc, but for me it was my thyroid problem that cause the fluctuations.  I have an underactive thyroid which is medicated but with chemo the thyroid function was all over the place and my medication was constantly being changed.  According to my Oncology Nurses, most people put on a few pounds during chemo.  They are at home more and so eat more, eat more sweet and comfort foods, may do less exercise and the meds can also change your metabolism.  Just cut on baking the brownies Judy and other goodies of if you do want to bake, keep feeding your Oncology nurse!  Don't worry too much about the weight, it will all balance out in the end.  I have been a US size 8 for the past 10 years and it is still the same despite the few pounds up and down constantly. I have no desire to be a size 0, but I would love longer legs.  Unfortunately it is an inherited gene, short legs run in our family although I am 5 feet 5 inches.  And there is me going to Sweden to be surround my leggy blonds, am I mad!!!!

So how did you get on over the weekend?  Has Rick shaved the head?  Bet you he is sick of hoovering up the hair!!!  Have you anything fun planned for this week to give you something to look forward to?

Talk later.

Annette.
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Hi Annette,

Reading your post, I almost feel as if I'm there with you.  You are great with words and imagery.  

First off, let's talk about this weight thing.  Ok, starters, I'm 5' 3" and started this thing around 113-115.  I taught aerobics 3-4 times a week plus practiced on my own at home.  So!  Great!  Now, I'm a very ballooned 122 and feel like I'm bursting at the seams in my britches!  I can't hardly stand myself!  Most things do not taste good to me so - I have been eating Taco Bell take out food.  Lots of cheese and sauce.  I know that's whats doing me in.  Also, I as you did, thought that chemo would make me lose a few pounds so I have not been too worried about eating stuff I normally would not.  To top this all off ...  my workouts have come to a screeching halt.  Now, about that thyroid thing, I have been taking Synthroid for over 10 years now (can't remember if it's over active or under active), but it's always been under control.  So maybe that's part of the problem.  To my credit, however, I did not eat any of the brownies I made the Onco Nurses.  :-D  So, any suggestions as to how to get a handle on this weight gain thing?  I may ask my doc to check my thyroid to see if my med for it is off.  I didn't think about that.

Anywho, on a different note.  Rick did shave my head and did a super job.  Not one nick or cut and I'm bald as an eagle.  Very much more comfortable and no worry about hair everywhere.

We didn't do much this weekend.  Went to church for the first time in a couple of weeks and it was great seeing everyone!  I didn't hug everyone as I might have - but it was just so good to be out and singing songs and being in there company.  Loved it.  

I've actually been feeling kind of weird these past couple of days.  I'm sure it's coming down from the 3 days of steroids.  I just feel so drugged up most of the time.  I know that come tomorrow and Tuesday I should start to feel more normal.  Right now I'm struggling about going into work tomorrow.  I just feel so awkward, bald, fat, slow and you know all that stuff.  I may play hookie one more day.  

Your country sounds so wonderful!  Bunny and I were day-dreaming about being there and seeing the lush countryside and all.  

Okay, I just want to say that you at 5' 5" got me by 2".  You're leggy compared to me so stand tall girlfriend and have fun in Sweden and tell me about it afterwards!

Bye!

Judy
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Hiya Judy,

I had just finished a lovely long post and my shagging computer crashed, oh I'm so annoyed!!!

Now to remember what I was rabbiting on about.

You sound so petite.  It is many moons since I was 115lbs.  I think it was when I was 30 years old and loosing weight for my sisters wedding, I am being bridesmaid.  I was going to the gym/aerobics 5 days a week and not eating too much (being in a bad relationship at the time helped this, the only good thing about him!!!).  However looking back at the photo's I think I was too thin as I am a medium frame and heavy bones, so my ears seemed to stick out a bit more than usual and my bum vanished and now I did have a lovely bum!  

122lbs is not much, ok more than you would normally put on, but do get that thyroid checked.  As you said your physical activity has gone right down and your food intake has increased and the quality has gone down!  I remember only too well the horrible taste in my mouth during chemo and lack of taste from food.  I literally used to suck the food to get some taste.  Hence why I ate loads of Indian takeaways and sour cream and onion potato chips, hemmmm, I can taste them now!

Advise.  Buy as couple of pairs of sweat pants for comfort (also you look skinner in them), enjoy your Taco Bell, you will never deserve these junk food more than you do now and maybe do some cardio work in the gym if you can or put on your sneakers and walk for 1 hour each day you feel up to it at the foot of the hills.

It is hard being bald and putting on weight as well, it seems you have no control over your body.  What I used to do was "slap a bit of muck on my face".  This is the Irish slang for putting a bit of makeup on.  It gave me some control back and made me both look and feel a little better.  I was no Hollywood starlet, but at least I look less like a chemo head!.

I would love to loose 10lbs now.  Nobody else notices it but I do in my clothes.  The belt has been opened another notch and there is a little bit hanging over the waist band now.  Long gone are the days of flat washboard tummies - all down to settled married life and having two kids!!

I used to play a lot of sports in my time and aerobics but all that ceased a lot time ago.  I have no cartlidge in my knees and arthritis, compliments of my Granny and Mother!!  So the only excerise I can do is walking and a bit of cycling.  The new plan of action since 1st Jan was that I am going for a walk every day in work during lunch for 45 mins as long as it is not raining.  I started last Thurs and hope to keep it up.  You never know, maybe I will have lost those 10lbs by the end of your treatment.

I'm sure the weight will fall off you once your treatments are finished and you are jumping and bouncing around a floor teaching aerobics again. Tell Bunny to put on some weight too, just to make you feel better.  Maybe Rick even like the extra curves!!

The Sweden move is a permanent move.  I'll fill you in another day on it.  I am not making any decision until after March when I will be having a mammogram, my first one since being diagnoised a year ago.  Last year we were planning on going to Sweden and then BC happened.  I am afraid to say yes we are definitely going again until I please God get the all clear from the Mammogram.

Have a good week and catch up with your later on.

Annette
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Hey Annette,

Guess what?  I've started losing a little weight!  I quit eating fast food and started eating healthier AND I threw in a workout or too.  BUT now I'm really fatigued.  I mean really.  I went to work yesterday and planned on maybe 3 - 4 hours but ended up staying 5 and when I left I was sickly feeling in my stomach and just really weak.  I didn't think just 2 treatments would do that to me.  So today, I'm debating on whether to go in or not.  I still feel very weak and not really up to it.  Hooky day.  It's a day of hooky.  Just made up my mind.  Do you think the Taco Bell was keeping me from being fatiuged?  giggle  You know all that sour cream and cheeses.  :-D  May just have to start it up again.

I bet March can not come fast enough for you.  Maybe you can go in early for myour mammogram?  Just because - just because you want to.  :-D  I'm sure it will be fine.  You did all the right things.  That's one thing that makes me feel better - knowing that you went thru exactly every step I'm going thru and you are in good spirits and good shape.  Well, I will say a prayer from here on out about good results.  (Ugh....waiting for results...)  I'll say a prayer about your anixety too.  Talk to you later!

Much respect Annette,

Judy
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You my dear deserve a slap on the wrist.  I told you, max 3 hours in work!!  I know it is tempting to stay longer, but remember any activity saps your energy much quicker than before.  Good decision to play hooky today.  Someone said to me during my treatment that I should be kind to myself.  Well for once I listened and was kinder to myself.  Think of evey day you get into work at all as a bonus, the norm is staying at homing and relaxing so you are doing brilliantly so far.  

Good food will help with your energy levels and surprising so, so too will a bit of exercise.   However do treat yourself it you want to and the odd Taco Bell is not a bad thing, especially when most food tastes terrible in your mouth anyway.  We need to get some pleasures!!

I was at St. Luke's hospital yesterday afternoon for my first check up since my radiation treatment finished.  Dr. Faul is a very nice Consultant, she has a lovely manner and plenty of time for you.  She gave me a good physical examination of the chest, breast, under arm, lung and liver areas.  She said all was ok and that my skin was in very good condition after the radiation.  I won't have to go back to her again unless I have a problem.  My next appointment is my Oncologist on 30th Jan.  He will be reducing his workloads and so a new Oncologist will be taking over.  A pity really as he is very experienced and respected and have developed a rapport.  I also have confidence in him.  Still, maybe the new people will be just as good.  I will discuss how my Tamoxifen is working, he will do a physical exam and ensure there are no side effects still from the chemo.  My breast surgeon appointment is now changed to mid Feb.  It is he who will organise the Mammogram.  It would be great if he surprised me when I go to see him and order the Mammogram to be done there and then as I am in the clinic rather than having to go back in March.  I think I may ask him, no harm.

No major news over here at the moment.  I got up off my flabby bum last night and went for a walk for an hour in the dark up and down to the village twice listening to my DVD of Gareth Brooks greatest hits.  I felt revitalised after the walk.  The hard bit is putting on the sneakers and jacket and moving out of the warm house out into the cold, but once I get over this, then I really enjoy the walk.

When is the next chemo date?

Good for you loosing some weight and getting back into your exercise, but don't over do it and play hooky as much as you like from work.

How is Joyce and Bunny coping with your illness at the moment?  Poor Rick, I don't even given him a mention, so how too is he doing?

Enjoy the weekend.

Annette.
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Hey Annette,

Well, really good here right now.  I'm going to try to work some tomorrow and Tuesday.  ONLY 3 hours or less, though.  I have learned my lesson really good about over doing it.  So no more of that.  Next chemo is Wednesday.  So then I'll probably be out of work for about 7-8 days after that.  

I'm glad your check up went good!  Yea!  I'm so glad you are doing good!  You know, my last chemo is on Jan 30th.  So, we'll both be in the onocologist office at the same time.  You need to let me know how it goes - ok?

Guess what???? I have Garth Brooks Pink album too!  I actually bought it before I was dx with bc.  I bought it because of the $10 going toward the Susan G. Komen fund AND I really like Garth.  I'm not a big country & western fan, but I do like Garth Brooks.

Today, Rick and I went grocery shopping and then to a sandwich shop for a late lunch.  I wore a pink baseball cap on my shiny head.  It's really funny some of the reactions I get when people realize there might be something wrong with me.  Some, men mostly, will actually stop dead in their tracks and just stare.  Others mostly are so nice and one gentleman even told my husband on the side how cute that pink cap looked on me.  Some ask how I'm doing and most act like I'm normal.  Normal's good.  :-D

Joyce and Bunny and Rick are coping so good right now.  It's as if we all move forward at the same time, we all cry at the same time and we all laugh at the same time.  We're a force to be reckoned with.  (lol)  We all are so attached to each other right now and it's great.  I do not and have never felt alone during this process.  I feel very loved and well taken care of.

Glad you are doing good.  Post me again soon and I will update you after Wednesday.

Much love my friend!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

My God Joyce, Bunny, Rick and yourself sound like an entourage or the local hoodie gang in the neighbourhood, no messing with us!  As Luke would say, you sound like the Power Rangers.

How did Chemo go yesterday?  Hope the nausea is not too bad.

Well misses, you know how to get yourself noticed - a pink baseball cap, dare I ask if it was flurosent also?  It never ceases to amaze me how many people stop and stare openly, have they no cop on.  I though you got a wig?  Have you decided again wearing it, is it not comfortable or only for "good" occasions?

The reason I wore my wig is for the exact situations you mentioned in your post.  I did not want to be Annette with the cancer, I just wanted to be me and go on with normal life.  I know that if I had gone shopping with the boys with a baseball cap on only, everyone would have stared at me as I am a young looking 40 year old with cancer and on top of that I would have had two very young children with me (Luke was 4 at the time and Conor just gone 2).  I could not bear to see the pity in their eyes or be the centre of attention. I also wore a wig for the boys because I still looked like their Mammy and did not have them asking me "why is that man or lady staring at you?"  My wig made me normal and in doing so, made my life normal and therefore the kids did not really notice much.  It is a very personal decision what you want to wear on your head.  I guess I am just not as confident as you and I take my hat off to you, well done.  I'm sure Rick was as proud as always to have you on his arm.

I had a nice night out with my best friend Una on Saturday.  We went for a Thai meal and then to see the play "Great Expectations", an adaption of the novel by Charles Dickens in the Gate Theatre.  The theatre was full and the performance very good.  All in all a lovely night.  We get on so well and have great chats.  I will miss her when she goes back to San Francisco in March.

Grandma and Grandad are collecting the boys today from school and the creche as Aidan is abroad.  The kids are so excited, it is like the Queen is coming!!  Luke had to make a point of telling his teacher this morning that his Grandma was collecting him today.  I have to say, I really do have the best parents in the world and I know Conor and Luke would agree.  They idolise them and Luke is Grandad's "special" grandchild.  He is terrible, he make is so obvious that Luke is number 1 among all his grandchildren, my sisters kids do not get a look in!!

Nothing exciting happening in my life at the moment, but I think I like it this way.  I have had far too much activitty over the past year, everything is on an even keel at the moment and long may it continue.  Work is going fine and I am back into the thick of it.  I'm a busy busy bee buzzing around the office.

I had to go to a grand opening of new premises for a customer of mine, so it was the first outing to a customer without the wig.  I have to say the reaction was really positive.  So many said that it showed off how lovely my face was, ah shucks!!  It is growing, slow, but growing.  I don't feel as much like a BC cancer survivor anymore, I am feeling more like me.

Has Taco Bell been kicked into touch still?  You have now successfully completed your third session and now only 1 more to go - hurrah, nearly there.

I'll catch up with you soon again.

Take care

Annette.
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Hey my friend!

I love hearing about your life!  (I've said that before too, but it's true)  I feel like we have been friends for a very long time.  I absolutely love it!

Well.  My 3rd chemo was this past Wednesday and it went soooooo well!  We have my nausea meds under control AND we had the headache meds under control!  Wahoo and praise the Lord!  No nausea (so far) and no bursting headaches – so, long story short, I’m doing great!  Only thing is major fatigue – nothing a little caffeine can’t seem to kick.

This Saturday at the Jazzercise center we are having a Jazz Street Dance class to teach hip hop dance to interested folks.  It's only an hour long and I can't wait!  No, I won't be doing any dancing.  I'm going to go as an instructor but not instruct (should be kinda weird feeling).  I will however, do the introduction and welcome and thank everyone for coming and thank them for their time and donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation - all proceeds from the class will go to this foundation.  By the way, that's where my pink baseball cap comes in.  You know, the Race for the Cure, pink ribbons and such.  I have a lot of pink in my closet now.  It's funny how fast I jumped on the band wagon.  Although, after thinking about it, I was really into Susan G. Komen funding before this.  Also, On February 17th, I will be going to something called a "Jazzerthon".  It's a 3 hour long work out with over 500 other Jazzercisers across Georgia and North Florida.  It will be held in Atlanta and me and my two sis's will be attending.  Each jazzercise center will perform one routine for all participants and we (there are 25 from my center going, not counting me, Joyce and Bunny) will stay until our routine, particpate on stage and yes, I will say an intro about the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and then we'll (me and sis's) probably leave after that.  I'm pretty sure I can't exercise for 3 hours and then attend a special instructor class and then go out with 25 other women for a special celebration dinner.  I will still be bald at this point and I will be wearing my pink baseball cap (not flourscent :-D) (Although, that's food for thought.....tee hee).  By the way, all of us from my center, will be wearing Save The Ta Ta pink t-shirts too.  Isn't that hilarious?!

I'm glad you had a good day out with Una.  It sounds wonderful! Nothing like dinner and a show.  And I bet Great Expectations was fabulous!  Glad you had that night out Annette.

On another note, how long did it take for your hair to get long enough to throw out the wig?  And you are right, I just feel uncomfortable in my wig.  It seems bulky, big, tight, and uncomfortable.  Hats are so much easier.  I did however, buy another wig over the internet yesterday - so maybe it will be better.  They are expensive little dudes!

Well, that's all I got for now.  Always good to hear from you!

You take care too,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Well done on the 3rd chemo, you are doing so well and also sound so upbeat which is the most important thing.

Here was me thinking Jazzercise was your surname, the penny has finally dropped for me!!!  We don't have such centres here in Ireland, well yet anyway.  My God you have a lot of activity coming up now, it is great to have something to look forward to.  I'm sure you, Joyce and Bunny will have a great trip and it will be a lot of fun.  So have you been practicing your presenting skills in front of the mirror yet for all the introductions you have to do?

What exactly is Jazzercise??

After my 2 operations and just before my chemo started my sister and 2 friends did the Womens Mini Marathon in aid of ABC (Action Breast Cancer).  We had our lovely pink tee shirts.  Needless to say we walked the race as do most women.  Approx 30,000 women take part in the yearly race and raise approx Euro 10 million for charities.  Everyone does the mini marathon for a charity it really is an amazing sight to see so many tee shirts.  It is the biggest race of its kind in the world and to be honest I am so surprised that no other country has realised this.  It is a wonderful day for women and the atmosphere is brillant.  This was my second time to have done the mini marathon.  I raised approx Euro 8,000 for Action Breast Cancer, everyone was so generous to me.  My company gave me Euro 2,000 as well as personnel donations as too did all my customers, family, friends and would you believe it, even my competitors.  I was so proud of myself for completing the race and also turning something negative in my life into something positive.  No wonder my surgeon thinks I am a bit nutty, but to be honest, it was the best form of treatment for me.  I bet it will be the same for you.  It really helps with your positive thinking and also most importantly getting the message out there about how prevalent breast cancer is, you are not TOO YOUNG at 39 to get breast cancer even though it is not in your family history and more importantly, early detection is vital to save lives.  

Wigs, oh yes they are expensive.  I got a human hair wig for approx US Dollars 800.  I know it was expensive but it was worth it for me.  I could wash it and get it cut and styled like my own hair.  So maybe look at getting a natural hair wig.  I got one in my own colour and I have to say it was very comfortable.  Don't get me wrong, I felt a bit strange at the beginning and relaxed a bit when I knew it was not going to fall off!!

Hair growing back?  Well, I had my last dose of chemo middle of August, so the 3 week interval was finished at the end of August.  It was from here that I started counting.  My eyebrows had got quite thin but 4 weeks later, they were fully back.  I started radiation at the beginning of October and I had a full covering of hair but extremely short.  However 6 weeks later I had a decent covering of hair by 19th November 2007.  However I kept my wig on until Christmas Day so when I took it off my hair look more like I had lost the run of myself and got a drastic short cut over Christmas rather than my hair looking like it was growing after chemo.  It is now 18th January and I can see my hair growing every week.  It is still very short, but the back is a little longer than on top, so I can style it a bit.  It is like watching paint dry waiting for my hair to grow and be long enough to flick out of my eyes, still I am happy that it did grow back, it is not grey and it is the same quality as before albeit a different colour.

Have a brillant time at your social events and let me know how they go.

Don't forget the pink lipstick for your presentations!!!!

Talk soon,

Your Irish friend.

Annette
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Hi Annette,

Well, a sleepless night it is.  It's about 4 am in the morning on Saturday and snow is predicted for the better part of the day.  I just peeked outside and it hasn't started yet.  Rick and his chocolate lab are still tucked in bed snoring away. (yes, I let the dog on the bed).  We have 2 dogs. A mini-poodle, mine, she's as decrepted as I am.  She's 15, mostly deaf and blind, but bounces around like a puppy most mornings.  She's in no pain and has no idea that she's old.  That's Cleo.  Now Molly, the chocolate lab is about 6 years old and a very good dog, just hairy.  You just look at her and hair falls off.  I'm forever vacumming the house.   Life is good for us all though.

About Jazzercise - I'm always so excited to tell folks about it.  It has been so rewarding for me.  I'm 46 and an instructor and if anyone would have told me 5 years ago that I would MISS going to excercise - I would have told them that they are crazy!  Well, it's come true.  I went one time, one time! with a client - cause it was a client and I wanted to please her - and have been hooked ever since.  Then I took  it a step further and became an instructor.  I got in the best shape of my life and for 46 looked pretty ok.  Husband was very happy with results and Oh!  I could eat anything I wanted and still wear my size 2 and 4 pants!  That's good for a 5'3'' woman!  Anywho, after chemo - you know- I have gained about 7lbs now.  But that's okay, I know I can work it off when I get done with this.  Anyhow, go to www.jazzercise.com to see what it is all about and read testimonials and such.  And also go to our centers homepage and see what we are.  It's  http://jes.jazzercise.com/jes.dll?JCLS:ISFacilityPage:0:FacilityObjectID=3761&SearchObjID=59182&CameFrom=Index

You may have to cut and paste to get that last one in the address link.  Anywho, now you know me even better.  Joyce, 4 states away, went to curves thinking that she could not dance and exercise at the same time and was greeted by a very plump lady with a limp who would be her trainer for the day.  She stayed about 30 mins then made a polite goodbye and went to the nearest Jazzercise in her city.  And guess what?  Now she's studying to be a certified instructor and is more crazy about it than I am.  We're both nuts.  (runs in the family).

Ok, no snow yet.  

I bet you had such a good time with your sister and 2 friends at the women's mini marathon!  What fun it sounds like and what a great way to celebrate life!  We do have something like that here too.  It's called the 3 day Race For The Cure in Atlanta, GA.  And I think it is also 20miles a day.  I can't wait to do it.  We (joyce, bunny and me) are all planning on doing it.  I think it is not till August though.  I'm pretty sure it will not be nearly as big as what your mini-marathon was though.  That was HUGE!  Wow what a great way to raise funds for charity.  And you wore pink!  By the way no pink lipstick in the house.  I'll just have to wear my pink baseball cap and t-shirt.  :-D

Hey do you know that right now 'they' (I think Johns Hopkins Research Center) are doing clinical trials for a breast cancer vaccine?? In Baltimore.  I'm so impressed!  Let's hope they get it right soon so no one else we know and love will be hit with this cancer.

Yes, I have been practicing my opening speeches.  I'm really wondering how I got myself into it sometimes.  I'm not a public speaker at all and I sometimes freeze up under pressure.  Although, I will be on Jazzercise stages both times and I have no problem talking or telling people what to do from a Jazzercise stage.

Well, the dog needs out. So I'll talk to you later.

Signing out in Snowey Georgia,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Just as well the forum is then for posting in the middle of the night, I would hate to think of Joyce or Bunny getting a call in the middle of the night for a chat or RIck getting an elbow in bed to wake up for company - you post anytime you want!!

No now here, quite mild at the moment.  Sometimes I just wish it was either consistently cold or warm,  otherwise virus and bugs are flying around the place.  The kids would love snow again, I'll fly them over to you!!!!!

We have a rabbit called Snowball and a cat called Cattie by Conor (so original!).  Both animals are best friends and despite what people think, the cat does not want to eat the rabbit.  They cost me a fortune on food, especially the cat.  When the cat was a kitten he came into our garden and being the soft touch that I am, gave the kitten some milk on the request of the boys.  The kitten, now cat, has never left and expects to be fed and milked each day.  The boys want a dog now and a horse - not a chance, I have enough to be doing.  Maybe if I was at home fulltime I may consider a dog, but I think the boys are too young, I won't get them a dog until they can look after him themselves i.e. feeding, playing, cleaning etc.

I'll go on that Jazzercise website later and have a look, sounds interesting.

My friend Rhona (who had the BC scare) was supposed to calling in this afternoon with her kids but I had to cancel.  At 1.30am yesterday, by good friend Nicola's Mother died.  She had BC 3 years ago (Her2 positive) and had a reoccurrence 2 years later in the breast bone and lung.  She has been fighting the cancer for the past year with many different chemos, but has just lost her battle.  Although they knew the time was near, it was still a big shock to them.  I have to go to the funeral today.  Our other friend Lorraine (little boy who is fighting cancer at the moment) is going to be there too.  I have to meet her in a hotel.  She is insisting on coming for Nicola and although I know Nicola would not expect her to, she wants to, so I have stepped away.  He little fella had his 6th chemo yesterday but is still in hospital because he had an infection and vomiting/diahhoea virus. He has one more chemo dose to go and then they operate on the tumour beginning of Feb.  The treatment is working so far, but is very severe on the poor little fella.

Anyway on a brighter note, my boys are fit and healthy as we speak.  Rugby is cancelled for Luke this morning because of all the rain, but he is going to his swimming lesson at 1.00pm with Daddy.  The messers woke up at 5.30am and insisted on getting up for their breakfast.  I was mad as during the week they sometimes sleep until 7.30am, but oh no, not on Saturday!!!

I got back to sleep for an hour and am now up again.  So signing off to have my breakfast.

Enjoy the snow if it arrives, be a child again and make a angel in the snow.

Catch up with you again soon.

Annette.

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Oh!  I'm so sad to hear about Nicola's Mom.  Please know that I will be there in spirit with you.  Give Rhona and Lorraine a secret hug for me.   They don't have to know it's from me. sniff.  While you're at it - hug yourself for me.

I'm sorry you didn't get to sleep in either!  But it's so good to hear that your masses are doing good this morning!  All healthy and raring for life.  What a wonderful family!  Maybe you can sneak a nap in sometime today.  (not likely, though, with all that is going on) (but maybe)

When the snow gets here I'll make an angel for you, for me, for Nicola's Mom.

Take care Annette,

Judy

PS.  Pet Cattie and Snowball for me!  They sound so sweet and cudley!  (Even if they eat you out of house and home!)  (Imagine what a 17 lb poodle and 87 lb lab eat!  tee hee)  Bye again!
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Also know that I am praying for Lorraine's little boy that God will hold him gently in his arms today and thru this.  

Just wanted to say that.

Take care,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Thanks for your thoughts and kind words.  Nicola's Mam stayed at home on Friday night in her home.  They had a wake for her.  It is a typically Irish thing.  A person is laid out at home and people come in to pay their final respects to the person that died and the family.  It is always a 24 hour vigil, with plenty of story telling and alcohol.  It is more popular in the rural areas than the city and it also depends on how tragic the circumstances are surrouonding the death.  In the end, it was peaceful for Nicola's mam and she is definitely in a much better place and has no pain.  So as sad as it is for the family, it was also a happy release.  The removal to the Church was yesterday evening at 4.30pm.  It was a brillant turn out for Nicola's mam and the family, the church was packed to the brim.  The priest had a lovely service and then at the end we all go up and commiserate with the family, which everyone dreads.  Nicola was doing really well and was being very strong until until Lorraine and myself stood in front of her and then she broke down.  I spoke with Nicola this afternoon, it was a strange day for them all because the funeral mass is not until tomorrow as no funerals and buriels take place in the Dublin area on Sunday's, so it is really prolonging the agony.  The service was a sureal feeling for me as I thought "there but for the grace of God go I!".

We dropped Lorraine back to the Children's hopital to her husband and son.  They had a long drive back to Cork that evening (4.5 hours drive with a sick child).  I really do not know how they keep going.  On the way out of the hospital carpark a taxi driver crashed into us.  Thankfully there was very little damage but he would not accept responsibility. Boy did he **** me off, so I rang the police as I did not trust the guy.  I got back into the car after I called the police because I would have lunged for the guy and the stupid egit of a Policeman that came on the scene.  It really was just one more stressful thing at the end of an already stressful day.  We went to my parents then, had dinner  and went home with the boys.  Needless to say the boys were having a ball jumping on Grandad on the couch/sofa playing Power Rangers.

Lorraine's little boy has finished his chemo now.  He is due to have the tumour removed early Feb.  Afterwards they will be taking bone marrow samples and giving him a bone marrow transplant.  This will be the most severe of all the treatments.  He will be 6 weeks in the hospital in isolation during this time and will have to remain indoors at home for a few months after, I am assume due to risk of infection.  A long road still to go, but at least the treatment is working so far, so he has a chance and Lorraine and Ciaran are wonderful parents with a very strong marriage which is helping them through this awful time.

Brought the boys to mass in the local church today.  We went on the bikes and it took ages to get there. Normally a 10 min walk versus 30 mins on the bikes!  They were very good in the church and put their hands out to receive holy communion and were not at all impressed that the priest ignored them - Oh it was a million and one questions afterwards, I cannot even remember how I answered them.  I also made the mistake of telling Luke that Nicola's Mammy died and Ben's Grandma died and that I was going to the church.  Angels, clouds, heaven, coffins etc were the buzz words for the day.  Just when I thought I had explained everything to him, another question would emerge.  When he saw his Grandma,  he asked her if she had any pains, was she going to die and would she be an angel.  Sometimes I forget just how much children absorb and how fertile their minds are.  I'll think before I speak next time!!

We brought the boys swimming this afternoon.  They love messing in the water with Daddy.  I was watching today as I have not had a chance to shave the legs and I would be mortified getting in a swimsuit with a forest on my legs, not that they kids would notice.

One child now safetly wrapped up in bed asleep and one more to go.  When Luke is in bed I will put on the walkman and head out for a walk, it has stopped raining now.  

A number of people actually admired my hair yesterday.  I had to look at them twice to see if they were taking the mickey, but no, they were actually serious.  Mind you, I did make an effort yesterday with my make up and clothes for the removal to the Church yesterday.  As much as I want my hair to grow longer, I have to say that it does suit me short also.

How is the fatigue at the moment Judy?  Any date yet for your surgery and how long will you be in hospital?  Have the doctors recommended a double masectomy or is it your choice?

Have a good week and stay away from that Taco Bell.  Mind you,  if you are a size 2 or 4, you can well afford to indulge.

Talk to you later in the week.

Annette.
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Hi Judy,

Thanks for your thoughts and kind words.  Nicola's Mam stayed at home on Friday night in her home.  They had a wake for her.  It is a typically Irish thing.  A person is laid out at home and people come in to pay their final respects to the person that died and the family.  It is always a 24 hour vigil, with plenty of story telling and alcohol.  It is more popular in the rural areas than the city and it also depends on how tragic the circumstances are surrouonding the death.  In the end, it was peaceful for Nicola's mam and she is definitely in a much better place and has no pain.  So as sad as it is for the family, it was also a happy release.  The removal to the Church was yesterday evening at 4.30pm.  It was a brillant turn out for Nicola's mam and the family, the church was packed to the brim.  The priest had a lovely service and then at the end we all go up and commiserate with the family, which everyone dreads.  Nicola was doing really well and was being very strong until until Lorraine and myself stood in front of her and then she broke down.  I spoke with Nicola this afternoon, it was a strange day for them all because the funeral mass is not until tomorrow as no funerals and buriels take place in the Dublin area on Sunday's, so it is really prolonging the agony.  The service was a sureal feeling for me as I thought "there but for the grace of God go I!".

We dropped Lorraine back to the Children's hopital to her husband and son.  They had a long drive back to Cork that evening (4.5 hours drive with a sick child).  I really do not know how they keep going.  On the way out of the hospital carpark a taxi driver crashed into us.  Thankfully there was very little damage but he would not accept responsibility. Boy did he **** me off, so I rang the police as I did not trust the guy.  I got back into the car after I called the police because I would have lunged for the guy and the stupid egit of a Policeman that came on the scene.  It really was just one more stressful thing at the end of an already stressful day.  We went to my parents then, had dinner  and went home with the boys.  Needless to say the boys were having a ball jumping on Grandad on the couch/sofa playing Power Rangers.

Lorraine's little boy has finished his chemo now.  He is due to have the tumour removed early Feb.  Afterwards they will be taking bone marrow samples and giving him a bone marrow transplant.  This will be the most severe of all the treatments.  He will be 6 weeks in the hospital in isolation during this time and will have to remain indoors at home for a few months after, I am assume due to risk of infection.  A long road still to go, but at least the treatment is working so far, so he has a chance and Lorraine and Ciaran are wonderful parents with a very strong marriage which is helping them through this awful time.

Brought the boys to mass in the local church today.  We went on the bikes and it took ages to get there. Normally a 10 min walk versus 30 mins on the bikes!  They were very good in the church and put their hands out to receive holy communion and were not at all impressed that the priest ignored them - Oh it was a million and one questions afterwards, I cannot even remember how I answered them.  I also made the mistake of telling Luke that Nicola's Mammy died and Ben's Grandma died and that I was going to the church.  Angels, clouds, heaven, coffins etc were the buzz words for the day.  Just when I thought I had explained everything to him, another question would emerge.  When he saw his Grandma,  he asked her if she had any pains, was she going to die and would she be an angel.  Sometimes I forget just how much children absorb and how fertile their minds are.  I'll think before I speak next time!!

We brought the boys swimming this afternoon.  They love messing in the water with Daddy.  I was watching today as I have not had a chance to shave the legs and I would be mortified getting in a swimsuit with a forest on my legs, not that they kids would notice.

One child now safetly wrapped up in bed asleep and one more to go.  When Luke is in bed I will put on the walkman and head out for a walk, it has stopped raining now.  

A number of people actually admired my hair yesterday.  I had to look at them twice to see if they were taking the mickey, but no, they were actually serious.  Mind you, I did make an effort yesterday with my make up and clothes for the removal to the Church yesterday.  As much as I want my hair to grow longer, I have to say that it does suit me short also.

How is the fatigue at the moment Judy?  Any date yet for your surgery and how long will you be in hospital?  Have the doctors recommended a double masectomy or is it your choice?

Have a good week and stay away from that Taco Bell.  Mind you,  if you are a size 2 or 4, you can well afford to indulge.

Talk to you later in the week.

Annette.
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Hi Judy,

Hope things are going ok for you this session. You mentioned in one of your posts did I know anything about the topic below. I did'nt at the time but have found some information on the internet for you.  Hope it helps.
The Oncotype DX test is one commercially available diagnostic tool that can predict breast cancer recurrence in women with hormone receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer. If you have stage 1 or stage 2, estrogen receptor-positive and node negative breast cancer, this test can assist you and your healthcare provider in assessing your risk for recurrence and potentially predicting your likely benefit from chemotherapy. You can use the results to make an informed decision about how to proceed with your treatment.

Oncotype DX can be used to analyze your risk for recurrence even when your tissue sample is very small. A benefit for U.S. women is that the Oncotype DX test can be performed on paraffin-embedded tissue. Collecting tissue samples in this manner is standard practice on all surgical cases, making this gene assay more readily available

See you

Annette
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Hi Annette,

Sorry I have not written in a while.  I go thru periods of being really "non-social".  But..today is Monday and I'm going to work for a little while and I'm even interviewing for a permanent position as a Financial Aid specialist at the college I work for.  This means more insurance benifits and more stability in my job.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I did the Oncotype DX test and my came back at 17.  This is the highest low score you can get and it predicts that my cancer has 11% chance of returning somewhere else in my body within 10 years.  After taking chemo - this percentage is cut in half!  Now I have a 6-7% chance of 'it' returning within in 10 years.  Which is great!!!!  The test was really expensive but covered by my husband's insurance and it ... I guess it just made me feel that the chemo is really working and all worth it.  

Oh, by the way, my surgery date will be Feb 26th.  That is when I will have the dbl mast.  My doctor recommended a single.  But my chances and percentages went up for recurrence in the breast left untouched.  So, I opted for a double with reconstruction at the same time.  I will be getting expancers.  I have all my life been a nice size A.  WELL, with this opportunity, due to breast cancer, I will be going for a very full size B.
:-D  I will get this and hopefully some great new colorful, curly, hair out of this.

Now, me and you both go to the doc this Wednesday.  It's my last chemo session!  WHOOPEE!  Bunny and I will celebrate with a hot fudge sundae and sing and laugh all the way home.  Then I will pop a couple of nausea and headache pills and proceed to drink 3-4 liters of water and wash that **** out of my system for good.  :-)  Also you go for your visit to your new oncologist.  I hope you are happy with him/her.  Please let me know how it goes.  AND what she says about Tamoxifen.

I did get my new wig!  And I absolutely love it!  This must be what yours felt lilke.  I wear it everywhere now!  Love it!  My first wig just did not look natural to me and I felt like I looked 'un-natural'.  I was embarassed by the way I looked.  But my new wig FEELS AND LOOKS GREAT!  We, me and my new wig, Raquel, get along great!

Well, I'm off to work.  I hope you have a great week and I'll talk to you after Wednesday!

Take care Annette,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Glad you are back on line, I was worried about you.  It is perfectly ok to feel non social, sure you could feel like that without all this breast cancer saga going on.  You made the right choice to take time to yourself.  I had many days like that where I went through the motions and painted a smile on my face, but really my mind was miles away.  I thought I appeared normal,  but my family could see through it sometimes and gave me the space I needed.  Sometimes you just don't want to talk about it and also want to forget about it all.  How you looks does get you down, it is so natural.  Even thought you may not have been a person who obsessed over their appearance and was a dolly bird, you still want to look like.  You seems to have taken good care of your body over the years only to be violated by the breast cancer.  It used to annoy me to look around and see so many others eating all around them, doing no exercise, smoking like a trouper and drinking like a fish and yet they did'nt get breast cancer.  I guess it made me angry and you know, that was ok too.  I guess the big question was always "why me?".  I did'nt get too much time to focus on my situation because I had two young boys relying on me, so really I had to say strong all the time.  I know that having young children were really a blessing for me when I had the BC despite what people thought.  Sure I had very little time to myself and rest and relaxation was difficult, but it all made me focus and get on with things.  I like the sound of the new wig and I'd say it has given you loads of confidence.  I can hear your humour improving as the mail goes on.  I'd say you are one hot lady at the moment and look as if you walked out of a salon all the time.  Enjoy, greasey hair days will be back soon enough!!

That was a great result from that test.  Nobody even mentioned it to me at the time and to be honest I am now annoyed.  I would really like to have had that test to see  what  my chances of recurrence are.

Roll on Wednesday for both of us, you in particular.  You will feel so exhilerated when you finish your chemo, you will have got to the otherside a better and strong person.

I was at the doctor on Friday as I noticed my 1st and 2nd ribs on the left side stuck out more.  I was so positive during all my treatments, but now I am the opposite.  I am paranoid and terrifed of a reoccurrence.  I think it all came to the fore with Nicola's mam dying, my annual mammogram coming up and also the big decision we have to make about Sweden.  Last time we made the decision, I was diagnoised with BC.  I guess I am just scared.  I am constantly checking myself to the point when I am afraid I may even be doing it at work unknown to myself.  I must look out for strange looks from any of my male colleagues.  I know as time rolls on and I keep getting the all clear, I will relax a bit more.  So now you can see why I would have loved to have had that ONCO test you mentioned.

Good for you going for an interview.  I'm sure with you're new Raquel wig you will knock 'em dead.  You most definitely deserve the promotion.  So what does a Financial  Aid specialist do in the college?  Fingers crossed it all goes well for you.

The very best of luck on Wednesday and be very proud of yourself, you are nearly there and you have done great.

Talk after Wednesday.

Annette.
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Hey Annette!

I'm doing so good this treatment.  Day 2 and I have my nausea and bursting headaches under complete control!  I feel so very blessed!  Yesterday, I got the best onco nurse - 1 stick (which felt like nothing), no rolling veins or bursting veins this time.  I also got my Nuelasta shot at the same time, normally I have to go back 48 hours afterward. (Nuelasta is to get my white blood count to bounce back faster).  Also, my hemoglobin was low - so now I'm in line for a series of 4 hemoglobin shots, which I got the first yesterday.  This will boost my red blood and help with the fatigue.  SO, all said and done...I'm done with chemo!!!!  AND doing so fantastic.  I know that this may not last but it's great right now!

How about you?  How did you dr's visit go?  Tell me everything?  What about your ribs?

A Financial Aid specialist young people in getting that exactly - financial aid.  There are Hope Grants among a list of many other.  I help them fill-out the necessary paperwork to recieve these grants and get them set up with there classes and so forth.  Say a prayer I get it!

Many hugs to you my friend.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Judy

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Hey Judy,

You sound in flying form and sure why would'nt you, chemo is over!!!!  Give yourself a big hug and go out and treat yourself to something nice.  When my chemo was over I went and bought myself a lovely pair of boots and shoes and some new make up.  When I finished radiotherapy I bought myself 2 new sweaters and a trendy top.  So give Bunny a call and ask her to go shopping with you and have a long leisurely lunch and most important thing, get some money from Rick or even his credit card!!!

How did the interview go?

My visit to the Oncologist went fine on Wed.  My ribs are normal, it was just me being paranoid and scared.  I am going to see my surgeon on Friday 8th Feb and they will do my yearly mammogram then and I will also get the results on the day as the clinic is a triple assessment clinic.  I am very nervous but know that is totally normal.  At least I will not have a long horrible wait for the results.  The Oncologist says he expects everything to be normal and does not expect the cancer to come back, but sure if I was unlucky to get it the first time, you can never tell and I most certainly don't take it for granted.

All the family are down with miserable colds and Conor had to be collected from the creche today with Chicken Pox.  Poor mite, but having said that, he is in good form considering and playing up big time to get all the goodie food that he wants!!

My Dad is in hospital since last weekend, more drama.  He is doing fine and in good form but the doctors have no idea what is wrong with him.  He had a colonoscopy and scope of the stomach and thankfully all was clear so it is definitely not a reocurrence of the colon cancer he had 15 years ago.  I can tell you, that was a big relief to us all.  My Dad has a wonderful sense of humour and is just so funny sometimes without even trying to be.  He has the other patients and nurses in stitches laughing.

My Mam got a letter today for her knee replacement surgery on 13th Feb.  She has been waiting 16 months for the operation, so we told her to go ahead with it and not cancel due to Dad.  Hopefully he will be home by then and back to normal.  Mam always put everyone else first, so this time we all insisted that she think about herself.

No major plans for the weekend.  I guess I will travel to Dublin to see Dad in the hospital and have a cuppa tea with Mam.  I think a funny DVD and a bottle of wine is what is on the agenda for tomorrow night.

So misses, what are you going to be up to before your surgery on 26th Feb?  How long will you be in hospital for the operation and what is your expected recovery time?

Have a great weekend, and well done, you did it and in flying form as well.  I'm sure Rick, Joyce and Bunny are so proud of you.

Have you done your presentation yet in the Jazzercise classes?

Talk soon.

Annette.
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Hi Annette,

Well, chemo has got me this time.  Not the bad stuff, just all the little stuff.  Did you have trouble sleeping at night? I've taken to writing things out - I think just to get it out of my head.  I'll probably have to write a book when this is done.  :-D  NOT!

I hope all the colds in the family are drying up!  And Connor, I hope his Chicken Pox is receding.  I tell you, you have really got your hands full!  Is your Dad still doing good?  And your Mom!  Annette, how do you do it!!!??  You are super woman to me!

My interview went fine, but I did not get the job.  :-(  No worry though, it's not like I don't already have a job.  

Well, I'm not feeling normal right now.  Little chemo things seem to be pressing in.  But, in a few days those will be gone too.  

Please let me know how it goes Friday!  I will be waiting to hear from you!  I know that I caught my cancer eary and that you caught your cancer early and that we have little chance of it coming back - but still that thought is always there, isn't it?  Please post so that I know all is well Annette.

I'll talk more later,

Judy

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Hi Judy,

On what a weekend.  Luke is now sick with a very bad cold virus and sore throat and has had raging fevers all weekend.  Aidan also has a cold, but you know the "mens" cold, so much worse that a womans!!!  At times it is like I have 3 kids!.

Went to see Dad on Saturday, his form was ok. I had a good ould chat with the other 2 guys in the room, very nice and funny characters.  They are now testing my dad for TB.  They are also still giving him daily iron injections, he is on oxygen, putting another camera down his tomorrow and gave him steriod injections into the skin for the rash.  Bottom line, they still don't know what is wrong with him and we are all getting very teechy now, no more so that my Dad.  Hopefully they will have a diagnosis soon.  I am been so busy, I have not had time to even think about my Mammo on Friday, maybe that is a good thing.  I don't expect to get much sleep on Thursday night.

Had a parents/teacher meeting with Luke's teacher for the first time today.  He is doing really well on all fronts, he is a bit shy but a good mixed, very obedient and a pleasure to have in her class - she should come to our house some weekend, you know the street angel and house devil!!  To be honest, I was really proud and chuffed.  I told Luke when I came home and he was delighted with himself.

It is a bit of a nightmare trying to work from home today with 2 sick kids swinging out of me.  I will have to go into work early to catch up as I have 2 meetings tomorrow.  It seems so long ago now that I was sick and actually had time to myself.

I too wrote down what was happening during my treatment, how I felt etc.  I have written 3 chapters of my book and hopefully one day will finish it and get it published.  My aim is to get it published and all proceeds go to Action Breast Cancer.  I am hoping it will not be a tear jerker, I want it to make people laugh as well as cry.  I'm hoping the good ould Irish humour will come across.  Keep writing your diaries, maybe you too will write a book, maybe not, but as long as it helps you then keep doing it.  That was what my aim was anyway, it was my friends who told me to write the book.  Mind you, the descriptions of themselves that they gave to me for inclusion in the book are so over the top and so sex in the city, I really had to laugh.  Legs are have slimmed and lengthened, boobs have been pumped up and at least 5 inches taken off their waists, not to mention the fact that they are all sex goddesses.  It was great fun reading their descriptions of themselves.  As you can guess, all my close friends have great sense of humours.

Chemo seems a long time ago now.  I do not notice any long term side effects now that my hair has grown, except maybe my calcium levels in my blood.  I was told that it could take 1 year to get back to my previous energy levels, but to be honest, I think I am back there already out of necessity. I guess BC will always be at the back of my mind and I have now accepted that life will never be the same again.  I suppose it is a bit like a death, you don't get over it, you learn to live with it.  It feels like that to me sometimes.  And like a death, time will help me deal with BC better, the longer I am cancer free, the more relaxed I will get.  On another note,  I don't want to forget about it either because it is so important to remember what is important in life and I guess BC gave me a rain check and a dose of reality.  I have learned from my experience and want to continue learning.

I'm sorry you did not get the job, but I do believe what is for you will not go by you.  So there is something better for you out there, you may just not have come across it yet.

Heading to bed now for an early night, up at 5.45am to get the show on the road.  I light a candle in church for myself every week, asking God to be good to me and keep me cancer free.  I make sure I do this without fail every week.  It allows me time to remember the past year, take stock, push my shoulders back and stride on in life with my glass half full.  Don't get me wrong, I do get my down days, but thankfully more up days.  

When do you start taking Tamoxifen?

Another week and you will not know yourself.

See ye

Annette
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Oh yay, oh yay I herald good tidings.  Had my first mammo today since been diagnoised March 19th 2007.  Everything is fine, all is ok.  I cannot tell you how relieved and elated I felt to hear those words, the sweet song sang in my ears.  Aidan, myself and the boys went out to lunch to celebrate.  Maybe Sweden will now become a reality, we can start planning.

How are you doing Judy?

From your estatic, jubilant and CANCER free friend!!!

Annette
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Hello my ecstatic, jubilant and CANCER FREE friend!!!

I'm soooooooooooooooo happy for you!  What a sweet relief!  Everything is going to be alright - as we knew it would be.  Thank you Lord!  I'm glad you went and celelbrated!  Some things are worth celebrting everyday for. Well done Annette!  Sweden IS a possibility.  Anything is possible!

I am doing absolutely fantastic.  I have been going back to work full-time and started jazzercise again 3 and 4 times at night.  I do not have the stamina I used to have but it's coming back slowly but surely.  Now, I'm not teaching jazzercise, mind you, just participating in class.  So much fun and so glad not to be sick Judy anymorel.  My surgery is 2 weeks away and I am going to enjoy every minute of it before then.

Hug yourself for me, my cancer free friend!

XOXO

Judy
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Hi Judy,

I'm doing well and have relaxed a lot more after my good news.  I am not constantly checking myself.

Work has been manic the past few weeks and due to continue until mid March anyway.  I am working on a new project due to go live on 10th March and there is just so much work to do.  I have spent the last 2 weeks out and about meeting all the hospital and health board customers and have another 2 weeks of this besides trying to get the project up and running. When it goes live I am going to take a few well deserved days off.  Boys are doing fine thank god, luke is going under an anesthetic for his teeth tomorrow.

Mam and Dad are both in hospitals, different one's at that.  Thankfully both are doing well and they should be released later in the week.  Mam's knee replacement surgery went well, but she is very sore.  Dad got the all clear as well.  He is on steroids for 2 weeks for the rash from the kidneys and oxygen for the asthma attack.  Thankfully they found nothing more serious wrong with him.

My friends little boy with the cancer is having his operation tomorrow at 11.00am so please say a prayer for him.

The 26th is not far away for you know.  I'm sure you are a bit nervous, but I know that it will be just fine.  You keep up your positive attitude but make sure to take a few days off work before you go into hospital to prepare yourself.  I'll speak to you before then.

Any size of hair growing back?

See ye,

Annette.
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Hi Annette!

So good to hear from you.  Hey, tell me about your big project.  I'm not sure if I know what you do for a living.  You sound awfully busy girlfriend!  I hope it all goes well!

Glad to hear all is well with Luke and your Mom and Dad.  Sounds like it might be a little stressful for you - running back and forth between hospitals and working on your big project.  Don't work yourself too hard!

I will definitly say a prayer for Lorraine's little boy.  Please let me know how it goes and how he does afterward.

No hair yet.  Matter of fact, Bunny came over yesterday and when I took off my wig - she asked me if I had shaved my head again.  :-D  I have high hopes that I should start seeing some growing back this next though.  

Well, we went to the Jazzerthon today.  It was such great fun!  There were over 500 women working out.  I did my little presentation and routine with my center and had such a good time.  I just got home from it.  It last pretty much all day.  I am really tired.  I had a hot bath and now just relaxing on the couch watching TV with my sweet husband.

Well, have a great week Annette and I'll talk to you soon!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Well done on the Jazzerthon, I'm sure your presentation went down a treat also.

Mam came home from hospial on Wed and Dad today.  I was up with them this evening making dinner for them.

I work for a Pharmaceutical Distributor (the largest one in Ireland) as a Key Accounts Manager and Project Manager.  We have won a new contract to distribute dressings, bandages etc for the market leader to the hospitals and health boards nationwide directly on a next day service.  This is a totally new model as normally hospitals and health boards would order via our wholesale network, but this is a direct distribution model.  There is a lot riding in this new project with this customer and future business, the pressure is on and I don't take failure lightly!!.  I'll get there eventually.  I am taking the week after Easter off as hols so I can potty train Conor - oh the joys of it.

Aidan has an interview for a job in telecoms next week, so fingers crossed it goes well.

Alex's operation was not as successful as they hoped.  They only removed 60% of the tumour the rest was scattered in the abdomen region and connected to arteries etc.  The remaining 7 little tumours in the abdomen are still live which is worrying.  The plan now is to do radiation on the spine, neck, chest and abdomen.  Although the cancer in all these spots are shrink significantly there is still a cancer presence in all these areas.  They are going to do the bone marrow transplant soon.  There does not seem to be much good news on the horizon for Alex and his parents.  It is heartbreaking, I just don't know what to say.

Anyway, concentrate on yourself now misses, only a few more days to your operation.  The very best of luck on the day and get Joyce to send a posting  on how your are doing.

Nearly there.

Annette.
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Hi Annette,

Well, my Mom and my Aunt and Joyce (my twin) all flew in this past Saturday and we have been having a fantastic time!  Today we are having facials, and hand and feet treatments and then a lunch somewhere at a fancy place. We have been playing cards and going everywhere.  SUCH a good time!

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  I am defintely ready to get it over with.  Joyce will stay with me and Bunny until March 8th.  Mom and Aunt Margie are going home Tuesday.  So far, I'm not worried at all and very pleased with my health.  I will have Joyce keep you informed and updated.

I will continue to pray for Alex!  And let me know how the interview for your husband goes!

Many hugs!

Judy
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Hi Judy,

The best of luck to you today, I am confident it will go really well and it is lovely to have Joyce there beside you also.  Sounds like you had a fun time with all the gals!!

Aidan's interview went fine.  Company waiting on result of a contract tender before there will be an actual job.  Fingers crossed.

Alex is doing ok.  The chest and neck is now clear.  Due to have bone marrow transplant 1st week April and that will be very tough.  In the meantime, the family a going to Euro Disney for 5 days in March thanks to to "Make a Wish Foundation".  They are over the moon.  Alex has been pleading to go to Disney since his treatment began and I cannot think of any child that deserves this treat more than Alex.  It will be a wonderful time for the family.

Enough about me, concentrate on yourself and get over the operation.  The jazzercise class needs their instructor back!!!!

Thinking of you.

Annette

P.S. One of the Mom's who's little boy is in Luke's class came up to me this morning.  Her sister who I met at the birthday party has just been diagnoised with BC on Friday.  She is 42.  They are all in shock.  It is just so common now and the women are getting younger all the time.
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Hi annette,

Sorry for the long delay.  I have been in and out of it here lately.  The pain meds really work good - but keep me asleep most of the time.  The surgery went really well.  The did find some IDC in my left breast, but nothing in the right.  I was in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights and went home with 4 drains comning out of my sides.  Yuck!  I did get to of the drains out on this past Tuesday and hopefully will get the other drains out this Friday.  There is some pain still, but it gets better and better every day.  Joyce and Bunny have been with me the whole time.  Of course, Rick stayed with me in the hospital the whole time I was there as well as Joyce and Bunny.  Any way, it's getting better and better every day.

I'm so sorry to here about the young Mom that has just been diagnosed with BC.  How sad for her.  I'm sure that she will be so apprecative of your knowledge  of BC and hopefully will see you as a friend to lean on thru her ordeal.

Well, turning in for the night here.  Me and Joyce.  :-D  I'm going to so miss her when she goes home this coming Saturday!  Me and Bunny will be all by ourselves again!  

Many hugs Annette,

Judy
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Well hello Judy,

Was not expecting to have you posting again so soon.  Well done, it is over now and you seem to be coping really well as I knew you would.  Is'nt it great that you are getting all this attention, I'm sure the girls and Rick are great support.  Drains, oh yes I remember them, what a nusiance.  Still they do the job and will be all out soon enough.  Have you had a look yet at the reconstruction yet?  Are you pleased with the results?

The young mum diagnoised is not a friend of mine, I just know her sister, anothe Yummy Mummy from the school.  It is just terrible hearing about yet another young woman.

Anyway, good news about the rest breast being clear, you now know they got everything.  Put your feet up, pop as many pills as you want and make sure all the nursemaids (Bunny and Joyce) keep pampering you.

Get some rest now for yourself and talk soon.

A big hug from me but not too tight that I pull out the drains!!!!

Annette
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Hi Annette, my long distance friend,

All is good here.  I did get all my drains out last week and started back to work this week.  2 days down and I am a little tired and a little sore.  But it felt so great to get back to being 'normal'.  I did get the permanent position at the college and really feel good about things.  I know that I'm flat chested right now and have no hair, eyebrows or eyelashs, but you know, nobody died and my husband, children and family are healthy.  Life is still good and the cancer is gone.  I know that I'm not done yet with my expanders and will not be done until about October.  But besides the Tamoxfin, I'll be done!  Yea!

So, speaking of Tamoxfin, how is that going for you?  I hope it is going well and that you are not having too many hot flashes.  I find that I have been having them a good deal of the time.  But, this side effect I don't mind.  I used to be cold all the time.  tee hee

How is everything for you?  Any news on  the big move?

I have to tell you Annette, that you have been a life saver for me.  I will never be able to express to you how much I appreciate you.  You helped me thru the tougher periods.  I do believe that you saved my sanity.  I was feeling so isolated in the beginning and as you know, I did not open up with my family or friends right away and still I try not to act like anything is wrong most of the time.  With you I have always been able to be myself.  Now, my sisters and I are on that same page.  At first I didn't want to burden them and sometimes I still feel like I ask way too much of them and try to not talk 'cancer' to them all the time.  Any who, thank you Annette for always being there!

Oh hey, guess what????  My hair is growing back!  It's kind of looks multi-colored.  Very light in places and slightly darker in others.  Maybe I'll get to be that true blonde I've always wanted to be.  

Well, my best to you!  Let me know how you are doing, okay?

XO

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Great to have you back on line and in such good spirits.  You were there for me too, it worked both ways and I am glad that I could help.  You have always had a wonderful family around you, but I guess a fellow survivor would understand things more than those closest to you, I feel the same.  Also we women told like to place a burden on other people, so tend to keep things to ourselves.  This website has been a great people to release all our worries, concerns and emotions.

I have had a really hectic few months in work, but now the big project is life and so far so good.  I am taking holidays next week so finish up tomorrow until Monday week.  Aidan and Luke are flying down to Waterford to see Aidan's Dad and the rest of the weirdo second family (Aidan's dad remarried years ago and has two younger step brothers - long story........)  Suffice to say I am delighted to stay at home with Conor who I have the great pleasure of potty training next week!!!

My Dad is still not great and poor Mam has not had a chance to rest yet from her knee operation.  She spend the whole time looking after day and worrying about him.  I am going to go up to them for a few days next week to give her a break and clean the house from top to bottom.  My mother was trying to vaccum last week on two crutches, I ask you !!!!!!

The big move to Sweden is still on the cards.  Looks like end July this year.  Aidan will fly over to meet his old boss in the next month just to confirm that he has his job back and then Aidan will look at reserving an apartment for when we go over.  Hopefully after being in Sweden for a few months we will rent a house rather than an apartment, but we have to start somewhere for our move.  We plan on renting our house for a year and then if Sweden is definitely for us, we will look at selling our house in Nobber and buying a hosue in Sweden and making the move permanent.  Barring any disasters, we will be in Sweden by the end of the Summer.

I have been on Tamoxifen since end November and I have been luckier than you, no hot flashes.  However I do notice more fluid retention which I was always prone to, my genetial area is often itchy (another side effect) and I have also put on a bit of weight, say 6lbs.  However that could be due to me eating too much sweet things and not enough exercise because I was so busy in work.  That is all about to change, I am back walking now and trying not to look at the boys numerous Easter Eggs on top of the kitchen press.  Lets hope my will power remains strong next week.

Congratulations on getting the permanent job, nobody deserves it more than you.  That is a very good start for your life after cancer.  Does it sometimes feel unreal to you, that it was actually your story and you did have BC?  Sometimes I cannot believe it happened and that is is all a dream.

Anyway, a very Happy Easter to you, Rick, Joyce and Bunny.  You my dear can afford to eat Easter Eggs so enjoy them.

Take care.

Annette
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Hi Annette,

A very Happy Easter to you and your family too!  I hope it is a fun one.  And I say, go ahead and eat a Easter Egg or 2.  :-D  

Your poor Mom!  Vaccuming on crutches!  She's worse than me on asking for help.  She must be a very strong woman too.  Just like her daughter.

Well the first week of of work went wonderful.  I was, however, glad to see Friday roll around and am enjoying staying home and doing stuff at home.  Rick and I slept in till almost 9 this morning!  Can you believe it?  It was great!

I'm glad all is going well with your big project at work!  I hope it settles down some for you though and maybe it won't be so frantic for you.

Well, back to a little house cleaning.  Rick is out working in the yard.  About that time of year for some fertilizer and new seed for grass.

Much love Annette,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

I did have a nice Easter but sick of chocolate at this stage.  The boys each got about 6 eggs each and there is still loads of chocolate floating around.

Brought Mam out for dinner on Easter Sunday.  Dad is still in hospital and come not come.

Last week was good yet tiring.  I cleaned Mam's house from top to bottom and made her take a rest.  I brought Mam up to see Dad every afternoon in hospital and then I went up to see him every evening and then went for a walk.  Dad is now on his 4th antibiotics for the pneumonia and has been put back on sterioids again.  He would be on the mend when Mam saw him in the afternoon and then come my visit he would have deteriorated and his breathing would be very bad.  I spoke with the Respiratory Consultant and Renal Consultants during the week and left them in no doubt that I was not happy with the lack of progress with Dad.  Dad has also tested positive for MRSA in his nose.  Thankfully he is not post operative otherwise this would be fatal.

It looks like the latest antiobitics are working and he is due another xray on Monday.  Defnitiely there are paying a much closer eye on him since my "little chat" with them.

Potty training was mixed last week.  Conor would be doing great and then all of a sudden an accident.  Having said that he is doing quite well, but suffice to say that I bought a new mop today in the shop for washing pissy floors!!!

Luke had a ball down in Waterford, did not want to come home at all.  So many animals and horses with the inlaws.

Had my first hair cut in the hairdressers yesterday.  He cut it dry as it is easier to see how much is coming off the length.  I have to say that he took just the right amount.  It is getting there and I hope  I will have a nice style and a few copper highlights just before we head to Sweden.

Back to work on Monday, the holiday just flew.

Great that you settled into your new job.  Any size of hair appearing on your head yet?  How long before you can go back to jazzercise?

Take care, have to go now, Conor has had a potty accident!!!
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Hi Annette,

Glad to hear that your Dad is doing better after the 'chat'.  And it is so good that your Mom has you to take care of her house and drive her back and forth to the hospital.  How tired you must be some days.

Wahoo on your first haricut!  I bet it looks wonderful!  My hair has started growing back about three weeks ago and quite fast I might add.  It is salt and pepper with more salt than pepper.  So, I may end up a very young gray haired lady.  At this point, I would love it if it came out purple.  :-D

The doc says that Jazzercise is out of the question until I am done with absolutely everything, surgery wise.  I will have several more visits for my expanders and then the surgery to replace them with silcone implants and then the surgery for the nipples.  Hmmmmm....personally, I do not think it will take till October.  I'm thinking more like June or July.  Of course, I have always been overly optimistic.  So we shall see.

Good job on potty training Conor!  My little grandson who is 3 years old has been potty trained and now whenever they go on long trips he lets them know when he has to potty.  Now sometimes he does not give his Mom much notice and one time in a rural area she had to pull over to the side of the road and he happly did his business.  Number 1 of course.  It is a very laughing matter sometime.  After his first camping trip in 2007 he learned to potty in the woods and a few days after that decided that it was ok to potty in the front yard.  :-D  One time he brought his poop to his Mom in his hand wanting to show her he had pooped.  lol.  So, having said all this, I know you have your hands full with Conor right now.  

Well, back to cleaning the house.  (just a little bit)  I hope you have a good Monday Annette.

Take care,
Judy
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Hi Judy,

I had to laugh at your grandson, they think there are being so helpful and good.  Conor does not always tell you when he wants to go.  You have to bring him to the toilet and potty and put it out there.  We are a large garden and Luke has a tendency to wee beside the trees, being one with nature and all that.  Last week I looked out the window to find Luke with his willie out and helping Conor gets his out.  The two of them stood there exposing themselves, pants down by the angles and fountains of wee coming out.  They both looked very happy with themselves.  Luke them helped Conor with his trouser and closed his jacket for him again and then both of them went back to digging in the muck!!!  I only wish I had the camera to capture it.

Dad will be in hospital for another week.  He does not have pneumonia but a condition called Henoch Schonlein Purpura.  It is more common amoung children.  He has the rash on his lung.  Remember about 10 weeks ago Dad was in hospital for 4 weeks when Mam was in getting her knee done with poor breathing and the weird rash, well this is related but now they have ruled out the kidneys which is good, but it is still on the inside of the lung and causing the lung to bleed a bit.  He is on a treatment of a blood transfusion and steriods.

Mam got good news today.  Her surgeon is very happy with her progress and she can reduce to one stick now and then in another week no sticks if she feels confident enough.  He is also going to let her drive which is great for her independence.  He said he has one SUPER patient every year and that Mam was his SUPER patient for 2008, her progress has been brillant - must have been all the rest I gave her last week!!!!

Back to work today after the holiday and all went fine.  Due to visit the Oncologist on 23rd April for my 3 month check up.  There is a new guy taking over in my hospital and I have heard reports that he is good.  Hopefully I will never really need his services.

I have a Hen party on 11th April in Dublin.  Carmel is my friend since we were 12 years old.  She got married last August in South Africa to a guy from the Congo.  They only knew each other a couple of months and he is 10 years younger.  We were all dubious at first but I have met him and he seems like a really nice guy and she is just so happy.  So the Hen party is very belated but she deserves to have one.  We are going to a Japanese restaurant and Karoche bar.  Now Judy I do have many talents, but I can assure you singing is not one of them.  I suppose if I have a few bacardi's I'll probably get up and sing anyway.  In some ways cancer liberates you, I just don't care about silly things anymore and am not as self conscious, so what if I am rubbish and people laugh, at least I will be having fun.

They are having a wedding party on 19th April in a hotel near Dublin airport.  There will be a family meal first and then a party with food and a disco, lets boogy on down - I can feel the knees aching already!!!  There will be about 60 to 70 people at the party and we will be bringing all our partners.  Normally they only meet each other at weddings as we tend to have girls nights out for a good ould gossiping session and well, men just get in the way.

Hope to call up to Dad on Wed after work and then I am meeting my friend Paula for dinner.  I have not seen her since end Nov last week.  We have arranged to meet countless times but I had to cancel all the arrangements with  Mam and Dad being in and out of hospital.  I think we'll go Italian!

I think purple may be a bit dramatic, how about platinum blond, you said you like being blond.  I hate to be nosey but because I did not have reconstruction, can you explain what expanders are etc and what is involved in the operation.  I thought they took muscle from another part of your body to fill  the breast area?

Some brillant new now.  My brother Fergus and his wife Vigdis in Norway gave birth to their first child yesterday, right on time.  His name is Patrick Brovold Farrell and weighted  in at 8lbs 2oz's.  He has a full head of black hair.  They are both over the moon, they wanted it for so long.  They have had numerous miscarraiges and tried IVF and thankfully the first cycle was successful albeit it the last embryo.

So on that note, I will bid you good night and have a great week.

Your friend

Annette

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Hi Annette,

First, congratulations on being an Aunt!  I bet little Patrick is beautiful.  Good for your brother and wife.

I'm also so glad to hear that your Mom is doing so good. Yea! And your Dad sounds like you are now having progress on his end.  At least they now know how to treat it.  I will continue to say prayers for both your parents.

The 'hen' party sounds like so much fun.  I know that you will have a blast and look great showing off your new hair do.  I have always thought it was fun to dress up every now and then.

I went to the doc again today and had another 'expansion'.  :-D  It is really quite a laughing matter watching the procedure.  When I had my double mastectomy it left me totally flat.  The plastic surgeon came in right behind my general surgeon and put in what is called expanders.  They are a hard mesh plastic .... pouch.  Empty.  3 weeks after my sugery I went and being that the skin over the area had healed well and 'relaxed'
some, my plastic doc put in 150 cc in each expander.  Walah!  I had a good A (maybe large AA) .  Well, I waited 2 weeks for my skin to once again relax after that expansion and went in today for my 2nd expansion and received another 100 cc's in each exander.  Now, I am a small B.  lol   It looks like a balloon being blown up.  He simply inserts a needle into a certain place in the expander and injects saline solution.  When I get to the size I desire, I will have outpatient sugery and replace the hard, sometimes uncomfortable expanders with silicone implants. Which should be much more natural looking and comfortable.   2 months after that surgery the doc will graft a nipple for me and then a couple of weeks later tatoo it to make it, shall I say, life-like.   The injection area is 90% numb due to the mastecomy surgery, but my doc deadens the rest before the injection of saline solution.  That's it.  The reconstruction that you referred to was for people who have a little more stomach than me.  I was not a good candiate for that reconstruction, tram-flap reconstruction, due to being small.  That's it.  I'll probably be done with everything around August.

Any who, I hope you had a good day today.

Hugs,
Judy
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Hi Judy,

Not a good week, I am so stressed out.  I have pains in my shoulders and neck and twinges in my chest from stress.  Dad is not well at all, his kidney's are failing and he is trying to go AWOL.  Mam is having a horrid time trying to keep him in the hospital.  Today the Renal Consultant told Mam and Dad that his bloods via kidneys was not good.  They need them to go up (don't have more info).  They have given Dad a few blood tranfusions already.  They will be doing loads of blood tests on Mon and Tues and if there is no improvement he will be put on dialysis.  The doctor told Dad he was a very sick man.  Dad was so upset at the thought of dialysis and Mam was in shock.  They also told them Dad's heart is weak and Dad is still on constant oxygen for the lungs.  The only good thing is that he was not coughing at all today.  Dad is convinced he is dying and is very upset, having panic attacks and basically loosing it.  He has not eaten in 3 days or slept.  He is afraid to go asleep in case he will die on his own.  This is deja vous, like my Grandmother.  My sister went up with Mam this evening.  Dad was sitting in the corridor insisting on going home.  After much negotiation with the nurses he agreed to stay and take a sedative but only on the condition that Mam stays with him all night.  So my 72 year old mother who is just over surgery herself is sitting in a chair with her legs up on a stool besside my 79 year old Dad all night.  My sister Babs is going back in the morning for 8.00am to relieve her.  They are allowing Dad home for 2 hours tomorrow to help give him a boost as my parents only live a 2 minute drive from the hospital.  I am bringing the boys up to see Dad at home and Babs is bringing up her girls.  It is going to be very hard tomorrow as I know Dad will get emotional and as will all of us.  The worry is then getting him back into the hospital.  Mam cannot sit with him all night every night.  We will need to speak to the doctors urgently on Monday.  Dad has given up all hope and wants the family around him on Sunday in the hospital to pray with him.  He will not leave the rossary beads out of this hands.  It is really heartbreaking to see.  I have always been so close to both my parents and guess being the eldest, I am Dads pet. So please say a prayer for my Dad.

We have had 27 stressful and crappy months, full of stress, worry,  sickness etc.  Just for once I want our luck to change and get a chance to enjoy life stressfree for a while.  I wish the tide would turn.

Any hope enough self pity.  Lets be optimistic and think of where we are going to celebrate Dad's 80th birthday party!!.

Take care Judy,

Annette
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Annette, I am saying prayers for your Dad and for you and your family!  I will pray for strength for you and grace and peace for your Dad during this time.  Please keep me updated as to his progress.  I have also passed this situation on to Bunny and Joyce for more prayers.  

Prayers from Georgia,

Judy
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Hi Annette,

Just me checking in with you.  I hope things are better than when last I saw.  Prayers continued to be said for your Mom and Dad and for you and your family.

Many hugs,

Judy
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Hi Judy,

Just a quick note to say I am doing fine.  I have an oncologist appointment next week, my 3 month check and my Dad came out of hospital on Tues and is improving slow but surely.  He has to go back to the hospital every day next week for an injection for the kidneys but the man is delighted to be home.  Has been a bit manic lately so I will write more during the week.

How are u doing?

Your friend

Annette
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Hi Annette,

Good to hear from you.  Also good to hear that your Dad is now home.  Let me know how your 3 month checkup goes!

All is good here.  My hair is coming back, slowly but surely.  It is salt and pepper.  Also, my reconstruction is going really good.  I am now a nice size B.  :-D

On another note, my husband's company has transferred him to Texas.  So...here we go.  He will move there the end of May after my last surgery and I will move most likely in July after all my 'stuff' is done.  When  I'm down to the 3 month oncologist visits, then I'll follow him home.  Bunny is really sad and Joyce is really happy.  Even though we will live about 5 hours away from Joyce, I'll at least be in the same state.  BUT I have to leave  my little sis, Bunny, here in Georgia, 17 hours away.  It's a sad/happy thing.

Glad to hear from you Annette.  Chin up about the visit next week - I'm sure all is well.

Take care,
Judy
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Hi Judy,

So you are moving to Texas, is that where you originally hail from?  It's a pity especially after you getting the permanent job in the local college.  How do you feel about the move yourself?  Could Rick not get a new job locally?  How is the hair coming along and the new boobs?

I had my 3 month appointment with the Oncologist this week and all was fine, thank god.

Work is really busy at the moment and I have had to travel to the UK a few times.  Dad is getting better slowly but surely.  This sickness has really knocked his confidence and health.  He has lost about 1stone in weight.

Luke got his moulds for his hearing aids.  He is due to be fitted with them in a few weeks.  I was really upset initially but then I think of my friends little boy and realise things could be a lot worse.  Luke was born with perfect hearing, but the ear infections and constant build up of fluid has damaged his hearing permanently.  It is quite unusual especially as we got every ear infection addressed immediately and he had grommets inserted into his ears twice and also adenoids (adenoids) removed.  He is just one of the unlucky ones. Luke speaks fine, can hear fine and has not problems in school.  However from a distance his hearing is not great.  He will get the hearing aids for school and then it will be up to himself if he wants to wear them after school.  I somehow think he will as I am sure he will notice the difference.  Thankfully Luke is a confident and well adjusted child and is taking it all in his stride.  One of the boys who plays rugby with him has a hearing aid.

As he gets older he can get an hearing aid into the ears so it will be hardly noticeable.  Sweden is very good for hearing problems, so another bonus for us to go there.  We are going to Sweden for 7 days holiday at the end of June.  We still plan to move end August.  Have you any holiday booked?

Talk soon,

Annette

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Annette,

Sorry for the delay in responding.  It has been really crazy here these past weeks.  We put our house on the market and it sold in 2 weeks.  Rick moved to Texas.  He is negotiating a house there right now.  It's our busiest time right now at work and I'm preparing for my last surgery.  My pre-op was yesterday and after blook work, chest x-ray and EKG I'm ready and set to go for June 25th.  Then after that I will move to Texas on July 18th.  I remember when I was going thru chemo and surgeries that time seemed tp stand still - now it feels like an all out race.  :-)  But, I can not complain.  I am cancer free.  My wig is in a box on my closet shelf and my husband is happy in his new job.  The kids are looking forward to us moving back to Texas and I can't wait to get to know my grandson better.  OH!  On top of all of that we did take a little vacation to a nearly deserted beach and rented a beach house for 4 days in Cape San Blas, Flordia.  Life was and is good.

I'm glad to hear about your good report for your 3 month check-up.  My first 3 month check-up is July 7th.  I feel sure it will be a good report.

My hair has come back and I now look very fiesty in my new short do.  It has come back very wavy, grey, black and white.  I am absolutely in love with it.  My other two favorite features are fantastic!  I think I have the best plastic surgeon ever!  They really look good and I know they will feel great once I have my permanent silcone gel implants in.  Soon!  Tamoxifin (tamoxifen) seems to have been making me somewhat high-strung here lately.  Easly irritated.  That's menopause for you.  

Sounds great about Luke's hearing aids.  I'm sure he is a well-adjusted young man - he has a great Mom!  Yea for you having a little holiday this month.  You'll need it before the big move to Sweden.

I'll try to check the post more often Annette.

You take care,
Judy
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Hi Judy,

I was wondering about you and just decided to put your name in the search field to see if you had responded to my last post and you did, I'm so glad.

You sound in great spirits and life is taking shape again for you.  Hope the move to Texas went well and you have settled in to a routine.  Have you found a job yet?  How did the implant surgery go?

My hair also grew back with a bit of a curl, more like a kink really.  I thankfully have no grey, well abou 6 hairs, but my hair is darker than before.  It is come on grand, but it is like watching paint dry watching the hair grow.  I have had about 4 hair cuts and due another one end November.  I am growing my hair into a bob and should be there by Febraury, although I will still have a good few layers.

I am due back for a check up end November, I always get nervous, but I believe everything will be fine.  How did your check up go?

Aidan and the boys are fine and Sweden is still on the agenda for next year, bare anything else happening.

I am off to Italy for 4 days with my best friend Una who lives in San Francisco.  We fly to Piza, stay one day there and then we go to the Cinque Terre region for the remaining 3 days.  This area is part of the Italian Riveria, a 20 mile stretch of cliff faces with 4 villages perched on the cliffs.  Looks gorgeous and really looking forward to it.

Say hello to Joyce, Bunny and Rick and how you continue to thrive.  Are you still doing Jazzercise?

Take care.

Annette
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