ClickHERE to view my Avon Walk page and to follow my fund raising progress!
As many of you know, I will be walking in the Avon Walk for breast cancer next May 1-2, 2010, which is just 6 months from now! I must raise $1,800 in order to participate in the walk. The funds raised will go towards helping women in our local community get access to early detection that they might not otherwise get, as well as to raise funds towards breast cancer research and development of treatments.
Having been through treatment myself, I have become aware that the drugs used in chemo therapy have had ot be studies for many, many years and funded in trials before going to market. One of the I.V. drugs I receive took more than 10 years just to gain FDA approval and even 5 years ago was unavailable to women with my type of breast cancer called her2Neu. Back then, these women were given little to no hope of surviving breast cancer. Today I am given an excellent prognosis because of the thousands of dollars raised in breast cancer walks around the country.
I will be walking with Rachael & Curtis, my college son at UVA. Rachael walked for me last spring and I look forward to entering this challenge with her. We are in it TO BEAT IT! Beat breast cancer!
Please click on the above link to be taken to my donation page. Thanks so much! Any amount you can donate is very much appreciated and truly does make a difference!
I am home from the hospital now, after 3 days on IV antibiotics. This was quite an ordeal! After my last post my arm became worse and worse, more painful, and visibly infected. My neighbor took one look at it and was so concerned she pleaded that I go to the emergency room. I did go, and within 3 hours the baseball sized abscess was turning black, the tissues were dying. The pain was acute. They did a cat scan to be sure the infection hadn’t gone into the muscle or bone. Once I was admitted to a private room they gave me Morphine for the pain and began a heavy dosing of antibiotic for MRSA, a very serious form of a resistant staph infection. They did blood cultures and tissue samples.
By Wednesday it became evident that the infection was worsening. They would have to open it up. The swelling had become so severe that the lidocaine to numb the area couldn’t be very effective. My screams could probably be heard down the hospital corridors. I felt like I was going to go into shock the pain was so bad. They began giving me Morphine every 2 hours and by morning the bright red bulls eye around the lesion had nearly gone away. The doctors left the wound open to heal, covering it only with light gauze. A neat and smooth scar is not their concern right now. I have to change my dressings at home now and the first time I did it this morning I must admit I had to sit down I got so light headed just looking at it. It looks like I have been to war!
The surgeon agreed that because the chain of lymph nodes near this site had been removed when I had my node biopsy last October, the drainage system for infection has been compromised and that’s possibly why this boil didn’t heal like the others have. Couple that with the many visits I have had to the hospital in the last 9 months, and germs floating around there, and it became a prime site for the dangerous MRSA to grow.
Hospital food is actually very good but I am glad to be home! I slept much better in my own bed last night. I am trying to manage now with Motrin during the day and reserving the narcotics for night time. I will go back for a follow up with the surgeon Next Tuesday.
Mercy! I finally think we have discovered what has been causing the lesions/abscesses on my neck, abdomen and arm. I developed one last week on my right upper inside arm area (they start out looking like a boil) and by Saturday was miserable with pain, hot red swelling so went to the doctor. She put me on Cipro but by Monday I was in A LOT of pain and the symptoms weren’t any better, in fact they were getting much worse. I drove straight over the the doctor’s office without an appointment after playing phone tag with the nurse all morning. She sent me to an Urgent Care clinic and that is when I met Dr. Al, an Iraqi refugee turned doctor and 15 year breast cancer survivor! She had an amazing story, by the way. Right away she said she thought this was the dangerous MRSA staph infection and because I had gone through chemo last spring (when all of this started) and because I frequent the hospital so much, that I probably contracted it there. She lanced and cultured it and sent me home with double duty antibiotics and instructions for the whole family so that they don’t catch it. MRSA is very contagious skin to skin, and if it enters the blood stream it can be deadly. She did a blood test right then and there and said I was very lucky. I won’t post a photo of my arm, but suffice it to say that my family keeps asking me to cover it up! I would, except that it is too painful to have anything touching it at all!
On a brighter note, this being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I am beading up a storm of bracelets and awareness items for a fund raising event at Walter Reed’s Breast Care Center on the 22nd. I will be trying to raise $1,800 for the next 7 months for my Avon Walk for breast cancer that I am going to do with Curtis’ girlfriend, Rachael. I was just finishing up chemo therapy last May when Rachael walked in my name for two days in the pouring rain. I will post my Avon support page soon!
On this day last year, OCTOBER 1st, 2008, I was sitting in a doctor’s office receiving the news that I had breast cancer. What a difference a year makes! This is <——-me one year ago on my 45th birthday in October. It’s been one year and this is year #1 of my survival, and hopefully the first of many, many more! Most recurrences happen in the first 2 years following diagnosis than in any other time frame. After 5 years of no recurrence, a breast cancer patient has a very high chance of never having the disease again. That is my goal. My hope.
So what am I doing today to celebrate!? I bought myself a dozen pink roses and I went to a spin class! With high powered velocity I sat on that bike next to my friend, a 2 year survivor in her pink tutu skirt, and together we rode our butts off for a full hour! Happy to breathe and breathe HARD and healthy!
I handed out more than a dozen pink ribbons to every stranger I saw and a guy at Panera and told him that real men wear pink! He put it on immediately. Today I also signed up to do the Avon breast cancer walk here in Washington D.C. May 1 and 2nd, 2010 along with my son’s girlfriend who walked it this past year in my name. I pledged to raise $1,800 towards my efforts along with Avon. I have a much greater appreciation for fund raisers for this cause now because I feel like I am a direct recipient of those dollars. The chemo drug that I am currently on took ten years of development and hundreds of thousands of dollars in research. Because of it I have a very good prognosis. Support your friends who are doing the walks and the runs. It counts! AND I started a new web site called Reduce Your Risk in an effort to educate others with what I have learned in the past year. Please pass this site on to all the young women in your life!
Thank you to everybody who stood by me this year and supported me through what was a very difficult year. I love you! And thanks to God for giving me strength to get through treatment and showering me with His love through all of my friends and family. I am blessed!