Archive | February 2010

First Haircut!

“One year ago I was bald…”

This was how I began my conversation with the hairdresser. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me, missing my long hair and just wanting to look and feel normal again has been a big part of this cancer journey in the last year. My hair came back in curly.  It came back in gray.  The gray I took care of immediately,  but bringing myself to cut off ANY hair was a decision that took a long time to make.  After all, anything I had cut off will have to be grown back all over again! We arrived at something that will allow me to do both grow my hair back out, and still maintain some sort of “style”.

Next week I will have an MRI of my back. It has been numb and tingling for almost 3 months now. X-rays and bone scans have come back negative so hopefully they can arrive at the cause and “fix” me.  It doesn’t hurt. It’s mostly just annoying me to the extent that I would like to get rid of it. Like a foot that has fallen asleep and then you try to stand up and walk, my back on its left side feels this way. Neuropathy is common in chemo patients in the hands and feet, and I do have that in my hands upon waking each morning but it quickly goes away. This feels a little bit like that but I have never heard of anyone having it in their back. Just one more reason to make a trek back to the hospital and this time I get to go at NIGHT! They schedule MRI’s around the clock so my appointment is for 9:30 PM!

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on February 18, 2010. 3 Comments

Another Blizzard!

We were  slammed with another 30 inches of snow here in DC this week! Tim and the kids were off school and work for the whole week while crews worked to clear the roads and highways. It really paralyzed this city! Our neighbors and we finally decided to hire a snow blower we found on Craigslist to come dig us out of our drive since it is not publicly maintained.  It took Tim, Keith and I , 3 hours just to shovel the cars out!

Finally, by Friday the hospital re-opened and I was able to get in and rescedule my appointments all for that one long day.  I had follow up appointments with all my doctors and then was fit in for a bone scan. While waiting 3 hours for the nuclear dye to “take”, I went to the chemo ward to have lunch with one of my friends who is there for treatments every week.  On the drive through Rock Creek I stopped to take some pictures since it was so pretty! I thought I would share some of those here with you.  Enjoy!

 

Keith built an igloo in our front yard

Tim shovels while I drink Starbucks! (Hey! He's smiling!)

Certifiably wonderful!

I spent last weekend at a 2-day training to become a certified counselor with Network Of Strength, a 24/7 peer support hotline for breast cancer patients and their loved ones.

I attended, along with 16 other women from around the country, and shared a hotel room with a woman whom I met at my oncology ward,  who was also in training.  Together we all learned how to help patients who call the hotline to discuss their most pressing issues and emotions while dealing with diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. I learned a lot about various aspects of the disease as well as resources that are available to patients.  I also learned a lot about the social prejudices that often keep wo(men) from seeking screening and treatment, and how to deal with people when they are at the end of their rope and want to end their lives.  It was an intense and packed-full weekend, but one that assured me that this is the direction my life needs to go as I seek to turn my cancer experience into something that helps other people. Network of Strength’s mission is this:

“…to ensure, through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone.”

This week I took my online test and I passed! Starting Wednesday and Friday this week I will begin shadowing calls that come in through the 1-800 hotline, listening to my manager speak with people who call, and then reviewing various aspects of the conversations and what I have learned. Next week she will shadow me as I accept the calls. Within the next few weeks my computer and phone will then be wired to their hotline headquarters and I will begin to be scheduled with shifts to be covered throughout the week while I am at home.

This new position will force me to STAY home more, which I need to do in order to complete everything around the house and with  my business. I thought I would get a breather after the Christmas holiday rush, but things have picked up as much as they did in mid December!  The only way to ensure that I don’t get behind, is to commit to staying home more and filling the orders as they come in.

Good news is that I haven’t had any allergy outbreaks since beginning the daily Allegra last week, and the rest of my blood tests should be in by the end of this week.  Hopefully after the doctor reviews them all she can diagnose what the underlying cause of these are and what can be done to correct it. 

Tonight we have 2-6 inches of snow forecasted, this, following 5 inches we got over the weekend! I think 2010 is now making up for a lack of snowfall we haven’t had in the last 3 years!