"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Better Christmas

The holidays this year have brought me so many mixed emotions.  At times I flash back to last year....living in silence through all the holidays with my breast cancer secret.  It was agonizing.  I don't know how I got through each day.  I was filled with fear, anxiety, bad thoughts and more.  I carried the burden of not telling my family and friends until after the holidays that I had breast cancer.  I had such anxiety over how I would tell people, what I would say and how they would take my news.  I just wanted to scream "I have cancer" to get it over with, but I just couldn't. 

Now I sit back and think about last year at this time and what a different place I am in now.  I am grateful for that.  Life is better....a lot better.  I feel like I am actually getting my life back.  I feel good and have energy.  I am happy.  I never thought I would get here.  I guess I can officially say "breast cancer won't define me" and believe it.  It has taken such a long time to get to this place in my mind and life.  It is well deserved. 

This year I had a better Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Am Anatomically Correct Now

It has been ten days since my surgery and I have been dying to see what things look like under those bandages.  I finally had my post operative doctor appointment yesterday.  It was time to be "unveiled".

So once the bandages came off, I got to see myself "anatomically correct" again.  It has been almost a year since I had nipples and areolas.  I was pleasantly surprised at the results.  Surgeons are really amazing!

The areolas and nipples are healing pretty well.  The nipples are a bit bigger than I want them, but they make them bigger because they expect them to shrink and flatten in time.  Overall, things look pretty good.  I am excited!

Today was the first day I got to shower without the bandages on.  It was really strange looking down and seeing my new nipples and areolas.  I actually felt "normal" again not having "Barbie boobs" (no nipples/areolas).  I just could not stop looking at them.  I guess I didn't realize how much I missed having them until today.  It is good to finally look anatomically correct again.  Though I was sick of surgeries and really wasn't looking forward to this surgery, I am SO GLAD I did it.  I am pretty happy with the results and feel good about myself.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Minutes of Normalcy...Then Back To Reality

This weekend my family and I set out to have some fun.  We went and visited Santa, saw a holiday movie and then headed to downtown Chicago to enjoy the Christmas lights.  We took a horse and buggy ride and went shopping and had a great time.  We then went out for a nice dinner.   For most of the day, I felt "normal" again.  I was not thinking about breast cancer.  I felt like I was living life again.

At dinner though, I got thrown back into reality.  We were sitting there, having a wonderful dinner and then it changed.  My five year old son looked at me and said, "Mommy, I am going to come over and give you a hug".  He got up and came to my chair and just put his arms around me and squeezed me tight.  I asked "why do you want to give me a hug right now?".  He said "because I love you so much".  It hit me then exactly how much he loves me.  I started tearing up and starting having panicked thoughts of not being here for him.  I could feel how much he loves me and needs me.  Breast cancer is so damn unfair.  It just plain sucks.  Back to my reality of never having a care free life again. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Slamming The Door on Breast Cancer

I had what I hope will be my final surgery on Friday.  I was pleasantly surprised at how calm I was.  I did not really get nervous even when they rolled me into the operating room.  I guess I am a real pro at this now after all the procedures and things that have happened in the last year.  I guess surgery is just not a big deal anymore.  Gotta love the breast cancer side effects.

At this point, now what I am done with surgery and it has been a whole year since my diagnosis (it was confirmed 1 year ago today), I am ready to slam the door on breast cancer and move on with my life.  I am tired of living in a breast cancer world.  At this point I want a "normal" life again.  I want to live in the moment and experience joy and happiness, not live in fear of breast cancer.  So in honor of it being one year since my diagnosis I am slamming the door as hard as I can and walking away with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Much Difference One Year Makes

Tomorrow it will be one year exactly since they told me they thought I had breast cancer and did five biopsies.  So much has happened since then.  In some ways I can't believe it has already been a year, but in other ways I feel like it was a long year.  Either way, I am still dealing with the major changes in my life since that dreaded day.

In two days I will have what should be my final reconstruction surgery.  I remember after I found out I had breast cancer and met with doctors I told myself "this crap is going to take one year" to get through.  On my surgery day, it will be exactly 366 days.  Crazy.

At this point I am so sick of surgeries, doctors and even needles!  I am not as nervous as I was for prior surgeries but I guess that is because by now I am a "pro" at this crap.  I can also see how some women get to this point and they just say "screw it" and don't do further reconstruction.  I could easily do that at this point, but I told myself it would be one year so I am just going to do it.  I am not looking forward to it at all....I just want it over with!

So last year for Christmas I got breast cancer,  This year I am getting nipples and areolas.  That is something I never thought I would get for Christmas!  I sure hope they are pretty!  LOL!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The "New" Me

I never thought I would be nervous about going to the hair salon, but I was.  So much so that I put off going to get a cut and style for months.  Had we not moved out of state and away from the hair stylist I had gone to for years, I don't think I would have put this off.  Now that we moved and I had to find a hair stylist that I did not know and go in and explain my hair situation in the middle of a salon with other people there made me so nervous and uncomfortable I just didn't do it. 

I finally just got so sick of my hair.  I have not had a professional hair cut since before I started chemo.  So the last hair cut I had was in February!  Since I used the Penguin Cold Caps to save my hair through chemo, my hair did continue to grow through chemo.  When I got done with chemo I had my sister cut a few inches off once and I had my husband cut some off the bottom another time.  At this point I have been in desperate need of a hair cut and new hair style! 

I found an organic salon in my area and called.  They were so nice on the phone when I explained my situation.  They scheduled an appointment for me with the owner of the salon.  When I arrived the salon was pretty empty as it was the middle of the day which immediately put me at ease knowing I would not have to talk to her about all of my hair issues from chemo with other people in the salon.  It worked out great!

The hair stylist was so patient and kind.  She made me feel so comfortable.  I hated to cut my long hair but she looked it over and thought that if I cut it to the shoulders it would look a lot thicker.  She brought over hair style books and showed me all kinds of options.  She also had a plan to blend in the new hair growing in around my hairline, temples, side burns and nape of my neck (where the cold caps didn't cover so well).  I put my faith in her and let her do what she does best.

So I left the salon feeling like a million bucks!  I felt like I actually looked good too!  My hair is much shorter than I have had in years, but it is a cute, trendy, easy to manage hair style and the best part is, it does not look thin at all!  I am no longer needing to wear hair extensions and I no longer feel self conscious about my hair.  I feel like a new woman! It is just what I needed!