Saturday, October 27, 2012

2 months and my birthday...

so it's been about 2 months since my last post...
I started getting antsy about being done and so I had 3 fills where we did 75cc on the left and 50, 50, & 25cc on the right. I have been in so much pain the last 3 1/2 weeks since the last one, I think it was too much too quick :(
Let me start over...
I had my 29th Birthday last week!! Yay!!
Except not, and it's not the "oh I'm getting older" problem, it's the "I really thought I would be done by now and I would have a reason to celebrate my last 20's birthday..."
I'm tired of asking friends for help like playdates, and, well, playdates is really the only thing I have asked for. It is still so hard somedays for me to get the kids out of the house because it still hurts so badly physically.
I have a few friends (one that has been amazing and came for 2 visits for a week each time from another state, "we love you A!!"), that said maybe this is God's way of showing you how to ask and accept help. Ok, then why has almost everyone within an hour of me practically forgotten about me?
Hubby has started a new job, one that seriously landed in his lap and hard as we tried to walk away from the amazing offer, they just kept upping the offer until we could no longer say no (on a time resraint, they needed him to start the following week!). He now works there Mon-Thurs leaving at 8am and coming home usually around 11pm. Our Studio project is also gaining momentum and he has been doing 10-14 hour days all weekend except sunday, we go to church as a family so he usually does 6-8 hour days so he can spend a little time with us...
Our goal is still for him to be able to go full time in the studio in the next year and with the way buisness is picking up, it looks like the dream could become a reality!
My parents have been huge supporters, they have their own lives and jobs. My dad works full time and is also what some would call a part time preacher/teacher as well as my personal researcher when he isn't researching and learning for himself or someone else. My mom works 2 almost full-time jobs outside her home but regularly goes into overtime working from home, while also learning and creating her own program and being in buisness for herself, and a Bible school teacher... this is ignoring her being my ear to vent to and most importantly our regular sitter for our kids, and at times our transportation when I hurt too much to drive, and our on-call "helper".

We are still Homeschooling. Butterfly is almost half-way done with 1st grade, beaming about her first "report card" and still chugging along getting 6-10 days done each week even though we regularly only do school 4 days a week!
Ladybug and Tweedle are learning and enjoying the many crafts and science experiments, as well as Ladybug learning her letters! We are planning to start Ladybug in Kindergarten (with a plan to do the lightwork one year and then full work the following year) when Butterfly starts 2nd!
It's been months since Doodle has come to visit, he got braces and is doing well in school even taking some advanced classes. We really enjoyed seeing him last weekend.

Oh and we got a new 2 month old puppy a few weeks ago... housebreaking is still rough but life is starting to feel normal with only 1 animal in the house.

I am falling behind. I am in a lot of pain. I am coming on my self-imposed deadlines with little to no progress to show for it... I'm starting to fight my depression again.. I'm struggling with seeing the next step, much less the way out.

The phone call was 6 1/2 months before my birthday... things moved quickly and we had a plan and things would be hard for 4-5 months then I was supposed to have weeks or months of normalacy between the harsh reminders that I am becoming a survivor... 3 months between surgeries is long enough to recover, have some "normal" time then do prep to get us through the next one.

I am trying to look forward even with the emergency surgery that has set me back, even with our current insuarance issues ( that should be cleared up next month?) and even through the daily pain.
I am trying to create vertical space in my home on a penny budget, so that we can have a home for everything so that I can find order in my home and that alone should help releave some stress.
We have joined a homeschool group and will start attending weekly group meetings in a few months.
I hope to find a few moms to understand and support/help me find a way to feel some control over this crazy time.
Homeschooling, with 2 toddlers, with Hubby working 10-14hrs/day - 7 days/week, trying to re-organize the house, all while becoming a breast cancer survivor... I know it can be done, I've heard of others who have done more.. I CAN do this, I just struggle with making and sticking to a plan.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting back to normal

A quick update, it's been 6 weeks since my urgent surgery from my Left lump popping open...
The skin on that side looks so much healthier now, it looks like the Right side, except that it is still shaped like a football not yet a baseball :(

I had another fill yesterday. We only put 50cc in so I'm up to 200cc on the Left and still 325cc on the Right. I was a teensy bit sore but nothing that a little ibuprofen couldn't handle. I think most of the soreness had more to do with picking up the littles... they are about 30 and 40 lbs now!

Speaking of which I need to get everyone in for well checks next month. This month has been rough, with Hubby's paychecks being smaller after they take out time for him going with me to appointments. So dumb!! We are struggling again right now, but God has seen us through everything else so we just have to keep trusting He will get us through this too.

Today I'm taking the kids on our typical grocery shopping trip... but it's the first typical one in MONTHS!!! I'm so excited to be able to try it by myself again!!
We need to get regular groceries and things but also specific things for this weekend.
My parents are treating us with a trip to Cedar Point!! I can't wait to go on some real roller coasters with Butterfly this year :) Ladybug will love going on the kiddie coasters and I'm sure Tweetle will enjoy the little rides too. I really hope that Doodle has fun this time, he says he wants to go but he did not enjoy himself when we went 2 years ago. I hope this time is different.
They are buying Fast Passes so we can skip the lines to ride on coasters, meaning I actually get to ride on coasters this year!! With Hubby!! Yea!!!

So life is starting to find a new normal. Hubby is actually getting some clients into the studio and is starting to make a little money from that. I am doing a whole house overhaul!!
Rooms are being rearranged, cleaned, organized and set up for more funcionality. We are purging a LOT! I want to have a garage/yard sale and the rest will be donated. We need to get stuff out of here but I hope to make enough on some things to get some extra money into the shoe and clothing fund for the kids. They ALL need new shoes!

I think that's it for now, if you didn't catch it yes, I'm cleaning and moving things... I'm doing more around the house!!! Somedays it's really hard and I don't get much done but most days I feel very accomplished at being able to see the progress I'm making.
It's nice to finally be able to do and not need to delegate and wait for everything anymore.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Staple Free!! and L-fill 2

I never got around to updating you last week. I went in for my appt and they pulled out 1/2 of the staples (every other one) or 17... is it weird that I counted my 34 staples??
Any way, my anxiety about getting them out wasn't worth it. It pulled a bit and some tore the skin a tad, but mostly there was pinching and stinging. The stinging lasted the rest of the day, but again I had taken a bunch to help me relax so I collappsed after we got home.

This week I went in and the Dr checked me out and then had the nurse come in and take out the rest of the staples and put 50cc in, she tried to get the fluid around it out and could only pull 30cc out by herself. Since there was still more we decided another 50 in would be ok, so she put the 50cc in and the Dr came in to push and manipulate more fluid out. I was tight and uncomfortable when it was in, but with pulling out another 20cc, I was fine.
(Now L has 150cc, or half of R that has 325cc... I'm starting to wonder if I'm being selfish by still wanting to go up to 500cc or a *C* cup?)

I came home and napped for 1/2 an hour then made homemade BBQ sauce for slowcooked BBQ Chicken, with Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes, Homemade 4 cheese Macaroni and cheese, and Broccoli. It was delicious!! I think I need to start posting recipes again as I'm starting to meld and create again.

The next day I was sore, and today, 2 days out I'm still sore, but again, it's muscle soreness NOTHING like the first round of fills on that side!
On a side note, this week has been interesting with only Lady Bug & Tweedle with me. Butterfly is at her father's for his summer week (actually she's again at his mom's or with his sister, NOT with him...) so she won't be back until sunday. Doodle hasn't been here since before my most recent surgery but is finally able to make it this weekend.This weekend will be a change from normal with Doodle coming but not having Butterfly. Can't wait!!
Next week we hopefully join a local Homeschool group as we officially start Homeschooling Butterfly this year. Here in Ohio the compulsory age is 6, so we have to notify this year but she is already working on a 1st grade curriculum!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Drain!! and plans change...

This week has been another roller coaster...
Monday I went in to my appt and because the drain was pulling almost nothing out, they decided it was more than safe to pull it out (small ouch). Then the staples did not yet look ready to come out, but we agreed to a small fill 50cc, to make sure things are ok before we pull 1/2 the staples out next week.
This fill... I was a bit sore, like a workout. NOT the horrible pains, spasms, and inability to breathe like previous fills on that side!! I'm thinking something was always wrong :(
I had taken some things to help me relax in anticipation of a staple removal, and by the time I came home they were all hitting me full force and I took 2 - 3hr naps and then felt much better. I have a corner of the expander that is poking me in the middle of my chest and causing me a bit of pain, but other than that I'm not in much pain unless I stretch the skin (pulling the staples causes pain and a tiny bit of bleeding).

In other news, my husbands job has been horrible this week! They are removing him from team meetings (making it harder for him to do his job) and told him that he can't take anymore time off this year or he won't get paid... which violates the company's PTO/No PTO policy (basically, as long as you do your job they don't require you to be in the office for 40 hours every week).
So now we are trying to figure out how to make things work financially with our home buisness not yet open and a threat of him being fired hanging over our heads like a storm cloud with no indication of when it will start raining... today? tomorrow?? next week? not until his next review in January?? we don't know but each day it seems to be getting closer and this leaves us with a very uneasy feeling every single day :(

So we are trying harder to trust God and wait for his leading... and yesterday a check came in the mail (a return from our insurance for the same amount that we were concerned about being short on this month!!
For us it was just one more thing confirming that we are on the path God wants us to be on!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"mommy, where you other nursie go?"

Earlier this week I had surgery. My left side was not doing well with being expanded because my stretch marks from my babes had made the skin too thin on the outside and somehow I had an infection on the inside.
Short version I had an area on the lower half of my left lump where the skin had died and popped open, the infection was leaking out and the skin was dying around the open hole as well.
So my Dr gave me immediate surgery to remove all the dead, dying, and infected skin as well as the old expander. He cleaned me out, put in a new expander, another drain and stapled me up... yes, stapled!!
He says its the easiest way to prevent another infection but I'm extremely anxious about getting them removed in a week and a half.
The drain is another story, they don't want to remove it until I get a fill... I can choose to get a fill when they remove the staples, but after my body having such issues with my fills before it would be better for me to wait until 2 weeks later to get my first fill, then have my drain removed after that... so a month with my drain in :(

A few days later I knelt down to help my 2 yr old open her string cheese and she peeked in my shirt (yes I had my surgical bra on) and pointed to my left side, "mommy, where you other nursie go?"
I explained that I had an infection in it, and she remembered that the drain was to take the infection out and make me better. She asked to gently touch my other one then looked at me and smiled, "you getting better Mommy! you nursie is good!" ... atleast she approves of the one I have!

Now for waiting, and slow fills to get that side up to where the other one is already, then we can move forward...
It might take a full year from when I started, but then I believe I will have my MRI every other year and it should be 15-30 years before I will need my silicone replaced.
....I'm looking forward to finding my "normal life" again.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"No boobie should ever pop!'

What a week!!
Butterfly's Birthday Party went really well. We surprised her with ponies that came to give her and her friends rides. Her friends each took 1-3 rides, but Butterfly kept riding and riding until her hour was up :)

Our friends from out of state made it in the night before so we had 4 parents and 8 children in the house. Made for fun bedtimes!! We had fun taking the kids to COSI & the Zoo. Then hanging out around the house. They decided last minute to stay the rest of the week, so we all went to my parents for a cookout and some fireworks.
We hung around the house catching up on sleep and laundry the next day. Then in Celebration of one child's Birthday, we started to get ready to take them all for a trip to the mall. As I started getting dressed, I noticed a nickel sized black spot on my lump where I was supposed to be watching for changes.
A call to the Dr and I was heading into an appt instead of the mall for some fun.
My Husband was able to meet me there and help me calm down as the Dr explained that I needed more fluid removed to release some pressure on that side, then we were changing things for monday. Instead of an appt, I was going in for surgery.
So yesterday: Doodle was at his moms, Butterfly had gone to her fathers house for the weekend, we helped our friends get packed up and they left, then my parents came to get the littles. Ladybug was ecstatic about going, but Tweedle had no desire to leave mommy.
Tweedle and I hung out, eating chips and watching TV. He dropped his cup off the couch and when i reached for it, my left arm got wet. I realized my shirt was really wet, my white bra was wet and yellow, and my soft pad was soaked through. When I pulled it off to see the problem, I had yellow fluid gushing out a small pin hole.
We finally reached the Dr and he said to soak gauze in peroxide and put that on the hole. He doesn't want me to go through emergency surgery if I don't have to so we are trying to keep things under control until my surgery... less than 40 hours from the time it popped open.
The Dr called me this morning to check on me and said as long as the hole stays smaller then a quarter (it is now slightly smaller than a dime), we are fine to wait until tomorrow. I'm still supposed to call him if something changes, but we are hoping to stick with the plan so that he can do the surgery and things go the way we discussed.
We don't want any surprises, but if there are some, he wants to be there so he can take care of them and knows what happened for future planning with my treatment.
This is a rare problem, it doesn't usually happen. So we are pretty sure it won't happen again, but as I have learned time and again the past couple years; Life does not come with any guarantees!

Basically, I'm starting over with fills on that side and this is going to extend the amount of time that I have to wait before getting my final 2 surgeries, but it's not a permanent problem and I can still finish doing what I was trying to do... get to the point where I can live my life without a constant reminder that my body was broken. Just be a mom, wife, business owner... a person that can physically do what is needed and doesn't need constant help.
For now I have to go back to "bedrest" for the next few weeks, and take it easy after that too. We finally have a few sitters that I can trust alone with my kids so I can focus on getting me back to where I need to be and rest when my body needs it, confident that my kids are having fun and being taken care of!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fill 4, & this week is full of bad news all around me...

So... I realized that waiting 3 weeks would mean my appointment would land on a day when my dear friend will be here. I can't wait to spend time with her and her family!! This will be the first time in almost 2 years that we will have all our kids together again (including each of our 1 yr olds!).
So I thought about it and felt more comfortable with getting a smaller fill but seeing the Dr sooner because my left side was still concerning me. I went back this past monday after waiting only 2 weeks...

I'm glad I did. The lower half of my left lump isn't doing so well... the skin is thinner than it should be and the Dr is concerned it might be dying. If that happens (there's a whole list of things I was cautioned about) then I need surgery to remove the lower half, they will pull the top down and attach it and I will have to start my fills all over on that side...
I'm concerned. At first I was bothered that after this concern was explained to me the Dr went ahead and wanted 25cc added to each side (this brings me to 300 on L and 325 on R and my goal is 500). My hubby calmed me down and re-explained that he was trying to make sure he had enough skin to pull down and reach the bottom if the worst happened... *sigh*

Now I'm stuck back to doing as little as possible with my left arm so I don't stretch the skin and cause it to burst (that just sounds scary!). We go back in 2 weeks to see how I'm doing, unless I start leaking or scabbing or something before that. If that happens I need to call immediately :(

In other news, the kids were starting to treat me "normally" again even without my "puff" pillows (fake boobs) in my shirt...
Lady bug has brought them to me a couple times and told me,"Here you need these a yook yike my mommy!" ... Tweedle carries them around when he finds them (I have 2 pairs), hugging and kissing them as gentle as he can be, seems they are his new lovies :(
Both littles have refused to come near me unless I have"puffs" in my bra and somedays that's really hard for me to swallow!
Now I have had enough fills that while still smallish, they do appear to be there again.

Then, the cat that used to be my husband's but stayed with Doodle and his mom after the divorce died this week and Doodle is taking it pretty hard. Amazing the cat was 17, but heartbroken for Doodle :'(

Finally, our Niece... (Hubby's 2nd sister died from this disease/syndrome when her daughters were babies, sadly both girls have it too and require surgeries every couple years to keep them alive) was fine a couple days ago and suddenly in the middle of the night was rushed to the hospital and underwent major heart surgery yesterday. Hubby's poor mom, not only did she go through this with her 3rd child, now she's raising the girls as her 5th & 6th kids, and goes through these scares and surgeries with them :(
She is an incredibly strong woman and mother and I can't imagine the daily stress she goes through making sure that she does everything she can to keep the girls alive and well.

So that's my week so far... Last week I was doing meals, dishes, and laundry... this week I'm back to "bedrest" with added worries about myself and my family near and far.
As I try to get ready for Butterfly's 6th Birthday Party this weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My small win & Fill 3, or halfway there?!?

Today has already been a roller coaster. Over the weekend lil Tweetle had a pretty bad fever and was barely eating or sleeping at night.
He really just wanted to snuggle with Mommy, but that requires flopping his head over and over until he falls asleep... which could take hours. I did my best to hold him, we have figured out that if he sits on my foot, I can help him climb up so I don't hurt myself picking him up, but holding him still just hurts if he touches or lays on my chest.

Last night was the worst, almost 2 hours of him crying and screaming and lunging for me from Daddy's arms. So I held him on the couch, in the rocker, the couch again, the rocker again... each time he tried to push up and away like he wanted me to stand up.
Finally I gave in, Daddy (tried to talk me out of it, then) carefully handed him to me standing up so I could keep his weight on my hips... after a few minutes he pushed away still unhappy and I leaned forward holding on to him and stopped him from falling.
Searing pain ripped across the bottom of my right lump. With the help of pain meds, we finally got to bed and got us all to sleep.

This morning we were tired but happy to have a little more time than usual to get out the door since my appt was later than Hubby's usual time into work. I had a small win: I showered by myself, inculing washing & rinsing my hair, drying off and getting dressed and doing my hair.
We dropped the kids off at my parents house and went to my appt.

We discussed with the Dr a bit more about the plan going forward and what amount to try for today... I decided on 100, so hopefully after this I have 2 more times before my next surgery and I can be done with all this. We got 100 in the right, initially it was easier than last time but helped to sit up right after and get my heart shaped underarm pillow.

Then they tried 100 in the left, as they pulled out the needle, it felt like a geyser. Fluid was coming out of the hole and slightly concerned Hubby that the expander had sprung a leak. The Nurse said it was fine and tried to get it to stop, realizing it wasn't clear she called the Dr back in. He came and looked, pulled 25 out of the expander. Then realizing that I was swollen, pulled another 25 or more of my fluid out by manipulating my lump from different angles... that was anything but pleasant.

Now I'm at my parents too, and while it's nice to be close to the kids, I feel like knives are going through my right side, starting at the bottom (where I aggravated the muscle last night) and going around my lump, through to my back and all down my right arm.

I think from here on out, my max will be 75 until I'm done! We agreed to wait 3 weeks before my next fill instead of 2 like we have been doing.
I'm really hoping I heal fast like last fill.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3m, 2m, 1m, today...

Exactly *3* months ago, I had my first appt with the Breast Specialist to check the lump I had found (on referral from my OBGYN).
We discussed the ultrasound I had had a few days before, the pain and struggle of the past 3 weeks from the large lump in the middle of my chest, and the possibilities of what the lump could be.
Then he looked at it and then decided to try a needle biopsy, OUCH!!

I have a very low tolerance for pain, unless it's "pain with a purpose" like pregnancy and birth.
I was quickly reminded of this, as the Dr tried unsuccessfully to do the first failed needle aspiration...
He kept poking and barely got a few drops of blood to come out.

Fast forward a month...

Exactly *2* months ago...
I had my breast biopsy. After the Breast Specialist had tried everything (more needle aspirations, more ultrasounds, antibiotics, and had me wean my 11 month old immediately) and sent me to meet a surgeon. I had the second surgery in my whole life!
I had my tonsils taken out about 5 years ago, like many people and it was nothing out of the ordinary... besides, I knew lots of other people who had gone through it so I never thought that  much about it.
But a Breast Biopsy?? I didn't know anyone that had gone through one of those!
I had fully convinced myself that it was no big deal, I mean who wouldn't if almost a dozen different Drs had specifically told you "don't worry, we're almost sure it's not cancer!"... So my husband and I didn't worry... until they called me 4 days later with the news.

Exactly *1* month ago...
I went out with 2 of my closest friends. We had a "girls night out" just the 3 of us! We started with Jeni's ice cream before our dinner at North Star. We were all dressed up and had a great time talking and hanging out with no distractions from any of our children (in all the 3 of us have 11!).
It was their way to help me have a great night and not worry about the surgery that was coming up in a few short days. They helped me see that while many people know that I have cancer, I am not defined by having cancer. It is simply a part of who I am now, but I am still a mom, wife, daughter, friend... person!

So here I am *today*.
It's been a week since my 2nd fill and I'm doing the best I have since the surgery. I have loaded the dishwasher a couple times, I have done a few loads of laundry, I can dress myself, take care of my own shower (except my hair still), but can even put my own hair up (with my head down between my knees, lol)!
Today has brought on a new challenge...
My scabs are coming off in clumps with my new bra. I have barely gotten used to the way I look with my scabby scars and I don't feel ready to see what's underneath. I know that I have many more changes to go through before I can start getting used to "the new me" but I hadn't thought to get ready for this, I was focused on convincing myself to go through with another fill so I would only have 2 left after next week...

So now I go from feeling like a scabby monster to feeling like a wrinkly, lumpy monster...
I simply hope that someday I will again feel like a person and no longer feel like a monster.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

managing pain with fills 1 & 2

So last week we had a sitter for a few days that I wasn't comfortable with, but was our only option at the time... she not only took too many long smoke breaks, took too many phone calls, and took a nap on my couch when she was being paid to watch the children... she also took quite a few of my pain pills!
So we are looking for a new sitter!

Last week was pretty tough,
 - Monday I had my 1st fill, they clipped the stitches and my right drain came out that afternoon. I had pressure, pain, then sharp stabbing pain from where the drain used to be.
 - Tuesday I had pain, pressure and sharp stabbing pain.
 - Wednesday was a bit better.
 - Thursday I was moving around a lot and not in much pain, especially after my other drain came out.
 - Friday I was feeling really tired but not much pain until that evening... that night it got so bad, I can only describe it as multiple heart attacks each hour.
 - Saturday when I dozed I would wake up to the heart attack feeling, and it continued all night.
 - Sunday I called the Dr and they suggested Ibuprofen until Tuesday for the "muscle spasms"
 - Monday I was a bit better...
 - Today (Tuesday) morning I was feeling good! Then I went to the Dr....

I thought they were going to check on me with my first fill, make sure my drains were out... nope!
2nd fill!
I was so glad my husband was there to cover my eyes for me and let me squeeze his hand again.

They put 25 in during surgery, 75 in the 1st fill last week, 100 in today... my goal is 500 so I have only 3 more if I can tolerate 100 each time... we'll see, I may make my goal smaller!
Today I was prescribed a muscle relaxer to help with the pressure and spasms...

Overall this time has been easier than last week, I think I knew better what to expect so I didn't freak out as much... as the day has gone on breathing has gotten harder, but still not as bad as last week!
The test will be the next couple nights...

Feeling Helpless...

I don't want pity!
I have gotten very frustrated with myself over the past few years because I am not able to "do it all" and I have needed so much help, but have forgotten how to ask for it.
I am one of those who hates to ask for help, I would prefer to help someone else.
I tried to live by the motto: "If you want something done, you have to do it yourself!"

This has caused a few snowball effects in the past few years...
With everything that has happened to me and to our family since the "kidney stones" in the middle of Ladybug's pregnancy and moving right after that... we still need to unpack and organize.
I feel more often than not that I am just another weight. Especially to my husband, but also to my parents.

As a person, a mom and a wife, the things that are hardest for me right now are:
 - having trouble breathing: sometimes I feel like I'm drowning, or there's an elephant on my chest... recently I've been feeling like I'm having 9-15 heart attacks an hour... these feelings are made worse by my anxiety attacks. I think caused by my feelings of helplessness and seeing those around me already taking on "my jobs" for me. So I do not want to burden them with helping me more, even if it's to sit up because I can't on my own most times.

 - struggling to pour my own drinks, get my own food, open my own vitamins/medicines.

 - not having the strength to carry my own purse/bag

 - struggling to open or close most doors (house and car)

 - needing help to buckle my seatbelt

 - asking someone to help zip my bra, pull my shirt up, or pull my pants up and button them

 - needing someone else to do my hair (washing, rinsing, drying, brushing, fixing)

 - standing/sitting helplessly by, asking someone else to help or hug my kids if they need anything...

 - begging my children to stop touching me because it hurts, while dying to hold them again...

 - accepting help even when it means I won't see my children for the day, just so someone is taking care of them because I have to admit that I can't do it alone right now

 - needing naps, it's a guilty, guilty pleasure

 - financially, I am costing us more right now. We have to pay for what I need to get better, we have to pay for other people to do what I should be doing, and we have to spend more on food because I can't make things from scratch. All this after my goal for this summer was to help us get back on track financially :(

 On a totally TMI personal note... I feel repulsive.
 - I have been trying to gain weight (I need to stay healthy to heal and I dropped weight really fast in the 2 weeks after I was told I had cancer, due to stress and going carb/grain free). So, I feel overweight right now as I am bigger than I have been in over 6 months.

 - I was a "late-bloomer" and I've struggled since my teenage years with my body not looking enough like a girl... right now, I have to add special shaped pillows so the outside world doesn't question if I'm a woman...
My son, Tweetle has been caught hugging, kissing, and carrying my special pillows... for his first 11 months, his only "lovies" were my real ones. I feel more guilty that I took them away from him!
I believe their original purpose is for feeding and comforting babies... I only hope someday my fake ones can again be the comfort my children crave when I can again snuggle them to sleep or help them feel safe.
My little Ladybug has handed the pillows to me and told me I needed them "to look like mommy again"... :'(

 - I can't use deodorant, I struggle to shave the basics, and my large wrinkly scars are still to frightening for me to accept them as a part of me. Just a few more things that make me feel like an awkward monster in my body.

I "knew" this would be a hard and painful process. I don't think I was prepared for this hard or this much pain and struggling.
I want to give up at least once a day, on a bad day it's more than once an hour...

Part of me is still glad that my kids are so little, hopefully even Butterfly will forget this nightmare.

I'm accepting that I need help, I now need to take that help so I can get better and later help others by paying it back or paying it forward.
I hope I always remember to be thankful for little things, because I never want to feel this helpless again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Finding a sitter & my 1st fill appt

We have been looking for a sitter/nanny/ replacement me to be here when Hubby must work...
It has been an adventure. Over 30 people have been weeded through so far, Who would have thought that simple things like wanting them available the hours the ad said we wanted someone, or asking for an interview so we could meet them and they could meet the kids, or asking for their phone number would make so many people decide the job was not for them?
We found one wonderful girl, who was recommended and just isn't available all the time. She came today (first day) and we all love her so when she is free we will gladly have her.
We found a teenager in our neighborhood that will come help after school when she can, and my grandparents were also here today.
They all helped me interview an interesting girl that should be helping the last half of this week, but we all feel I should keep looking for a permanent helper.

Today was a rough day anyway.
See, I was starting to feel better last week. Exactly one week after my surgery I felt like I was on the mend! Taking less pain pills, getting outside to watch the kids play. I went to the store to get dance clothes for the girls with my mom & went grocery shopping the next day with Hubby and Tweetle. I was excited to be doing well.
Saturday night, Hubby took Tweetle to bed and then fell asleep himself before I came upstairs (poor guy has been working so hard). I didn't want to wake him so I tried to empty and strip my drains myself... I think I pulled too hard on my Left one, because it started to hurt that night, and its been hurting ever since :(
Sunday I took more pain pills. Today I went to the Dr.
They started by telling me that my incisions are healing well! I was happy, I told them about the discomfort and they decided to cut the extra long stitches from my incisions as well as the stitches on my drain tubes.
They warned me that my tubes could come out anytime now, and if I saw the white part of the tube to just pull the rest of it out.
I then got my first fill. Between seeing large syringes, the talk of using a needle and already being nervous, I all but passed out. Hubby kept reminding me to breathe while covering my eyes for me and holding my hand. (he really will do almost anything for me <3 ). It felt like a small elephant sat on my chest and started growing until I couldn't breathe. They gave me a minute and then did the other side too.
We got the kids from my parents, came home and I took another pain pill...
I started getting used to the feelings in my chest. Kinda strange sensations that were creepy/crawly on my chest, lots of pressure but no real pain except the Left drain tube.
Around lunch time I went to the bathroom, and then adjusted my bra because I had a weird tickle on my right side. I realized I was leaking on my right so the sweet sitter today helped me upstairs. we found that my drain was partially out so as the Dr has said she pulled it the rest of the way out. I have been having shooting pains for the last 4 hours since through my right side.

Now that we have this week taken care of with sitters, and today's is doing great with the kids I wanted to make an update and rest.
The hardest thing for me right now is wanting to be around the kids but being in so much pain when the kids touch me. So for now I rest, but I will try to keep letting you know how I'm doing.

**Thanks for all the support.
If you don't know, my friends have set up a site to raffle off donated items to help us come up with the money we need to pay for the sitter. We have enough money for this week and maybe half of next week already! I am thankful for friends, and all the wonderful people who are willing to help us out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

it wasn't NOTHING....

I’m a wife and mother, daughter, sister, friend… and just like most women I was already overwhelmed with life. I had reached my breaking point months ago with a lot of problems that “Life” had been throwing at us.

In February, we were starting to see the light, many things were coming to a point where they would again be manageable, not likeable, but we were able to breathe again and started actually looking forward and planning some happy moments. Then my (at the time, 10 month old) son had a temper tantrum and threw his head into my chest. One of those, it-was-never-a-big-deal-the-hundreds-of-times-every-other-day but this time it caused a lump in my breast. Over a month of weekly Dr visits that included ultrasounds and needle aspirations, and the only choice to help my pain and get answers as to what the lump was, surgery.

On April 6, I had a routine lumpectomy. Great, they said. We got it all, it’s gone. You don’t have to worry about it any more. WE TOLD YOU IT WAS NOTHING, they said.

On April 10, they called me. It wasn’t “NOTHING” … it was BREAST CANCER!!

I was in Trader Joe’s (a grocery store) with my 3 young children. All I remember after that was not knowing how many packages of hot dogs were going to get my kids through me having Breast Cancer…

I went to more appointments, met more Drs, went to an amazing “Second Opinion Breast Cancer Clinic” that had all the special Drs together in one room to talk to me at once and help me decide the best route for me.

On May 9, I had a bi-lateral mastectomy. I know you have to recover from major surgery… but I didn’t realize at the time all the things I wouldn’t be able to do and how tired just sitting in a chair would make me. A week later I am getting worried. My husband has been working from home, but we can’t afford that next week. He has to go back to work so we can keep our heads above the financial waters that the past 2 years have put us under.

I can’t lift more than 2 lbs for at least another week, then my limit will be 5-10lbs for another 4-6 weeks (depending on how I heal). I have to keep my elbows below my shoulders.

That means I can only get my kids cups if they are not in the cupboard, I can only get drinks if the jugs are less than half full. I can’t put the dog outside on the chain or bring him in. I can’t change my son’s diaper, I can’t help my 2 yr old in the potty. I can’t pull out supplies for the kids to do crafts, get them snacks that are kept in the top of the pantry, or cereal, or hold a pot of water to make pasta, or make mac&cheese, or cook chicken for dinner… the list goes on.

I need help.

I need to hire someone to be my kids stand-in SAHM until I can be again.

We figure 5 weeks, 5 days a week, for 10 hours while Hubby is gone, = 50 hours/week.

$8-9/hr is $400-$450 a week, $2,000-$2,250 that we just don’t have.

So I have a friend who is trying to help me raise that money so my kids can get through this difficult time too.

Because as a mom, my first thoughts are getting my kids through this. If I can have help to get them through, then I can get myself through.
Then our Family can again start looking forward to planning some happy moments :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fighting is bad... except when it's good

Let me start by saying I love my children.
Like most mothers, I didn't know the extent of the powerful love that comes when you hold your child in your arms for the first time. During pregnancy (or adoption or however you become a mother) you start to love the idea, and you may start to love the child... but the moment you hold *your* child, the love is almost overwhelming.
When Butterfly was born, it was a horrible experience in terms of having any support. My ex-husband and his family wanted things to go smoothly... for them. For me to raise the baby so she doesn't wake them or annoy them with crying, don't do anything out of the ordinary because when you have to explain your choices, its annoying... you know as long as she & I fit in this "perfect" mold, then everything would be ok.
Only it wasn't... I wasn't perfect and they didn't think she was either. Within weeks I learned to start thinking that maybe I was strong enough to make decisions that might be different from what they wanted. Then I started acting on them. By the time she was a few months old there were serious fights (mostly verbal and emotional) about what should be my decisions because I was the only one who had to put the work in or deal with the consequences.

When I found my voice and fought back to do what I truly thought was best for my baby, it tore things apart. We continued to fight about who was right and who was wrong for months after he packed my bags and I left.
We agreed on a dissolution when she was 2 1/2, right after I met my husband, then I was married, Butterfly turned 3 and then my ex-husband decided to start using his time to see Butterfly. I could only fight to help her through the changes, not to fix it.
But then he blew up one night at the end of a visit, about wanting her more and drug her into it, and I found myself fighting to not have my daughter hate me for what he was telling her. I was fighting for my child to believe me that I wanted what was best for her, I felt that I was fighting for my daughter to still love me.

He took me back to court and for a year and a half I fought. I fought to make sure that he was going to have to be responsible when he had her. I fought that he would feed her real food and not junk, with the backing of the pediatrician. I fought that the counselor was right and Butterfly had stress-induced anxiety. I fought that she needed help coming out of her new shell, that homeschooling was best for her, that I was still trying to socialize her. I fought that nothing else was wrong with her, leading to me fighting to prove she did not have autism, just too much stress. I fought that the stress was not all my fault. I fought that me adding a baby sister and baby brother was equally as hard as him adding a baby brother to her life. I fought until there was nothing reasonable left to fight. Now with a final court order I hope there is no more to fight but to help her through the back and forth of a more typical arrangement.

During this time I fought through 2 pregnancies as well. My pregnancy with Ladybug led us to fighting through my husband getting a new job, that required travelling. I was really sick during her pregnancy and had to fight the urge to move in, un pack, and settle in to our new house because fighting to get through each day was more than enough. I fought to keep friends for myself and for Butterfly. I fought the hopelessness of the post traumatic stress from her pregnancy that just got worse when I found out I was pregnant again and then the court battle started.

All the appointments and phone calls and time I had to spend looking things up and typing things out and keeping records. All the time I spent trying to find more ways to pinch pennies so they we could afford to keep up with the appointments and therapies, as well as to get through court and keep the attorneys.
Everyday I had to fight the guilt, I felt like I was missing out on my children s lives.

So I started looking forward to this summer, summer of 2012. I was going to have my kids help me plant a garden and start doing projects around the house. We were going to start a much more fun Home school curriculum with science experiments and projects. We were going to have at least one field trip a week and hang out more with friends. We were going to NOT FIGHT...

Then in February, something happened. In March the court battle ended as I entered a fight to find out if I was going to be okay. In April I had surgery, and it seems the stress has gotten to me and my body couldn't handle it. So now I am fighting this summer. I am fighting in hopes that I will have the rest of my life to enjoy not fighting anymore. So I just had major surgery to remove the rest of the problem and now I am looking down a long road of recovery. One that includes me fighting myself and my own feelings because a major part of the recovery process includes doing something that is going to be a discussion point with my daughters and I with me being on the side against what I am doing.

Fighting for your children is right, fighting to have your children is right, fighting for better quality of life is good, and fighting for what you believe in is right... so for my family, my children, and myself, I will keep fighting this fight.