Posted by: healingseeker | December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and a happy update from Healing Seeker

Christmas Day, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope it has been a blessed day for you.

I realize I have not written in quite some time. My happy update is that I am completely cancer-free. They ran a CT Scan to support this fact. The skin tag on my lower right breast got biopsied. It also proved to be nothing. My blood levels are finally back to normal as well. So, other than getting my port flushed monthly, I now only have to have an exam with my oncologist every two months instead of every month.

If my reports continue to be good, then I should be due to have reconstruction surgery around November of 2011. At that time, they will remove my port as well.

I do have a couple of minor health issues; however, they are nothing to do with cancer.

Issue number one: the CT Scan revealed that I have mild fat on my liver. A lipid profile was run. My cholesterol is good. The other things they test for were fine. So the only cure is diet and exercise. Since my goal is to safely lose 60 pounds prior to having surgery, this is simply extra motivation. The good news is that I have lost 25 pounds since beginning this entire cancer journey. As of this past Wednesday, I only have 53 more pounds to go.

I am working with a dietician to help make this happen. My strong focus has been on working out a life style change that I can live with. This change includes attempting to eat five to six times a day rather than three, following the food pyramid, and striving to lower my calorie intake over all. It also includes visits to the YMCA or working out at home. This is all a work-in-progress where some days go better than others. Some of it requires re-educating myself about nutrition, etc.

The first 17 of those 25 pounds were largely credited to chemo. Some people gain weight with chemo. I lost since because I could not taste food, I did not feel motivated to eat. Now that I can taste everything, I am having a blast cooking, trying out new recipes, and experimenting with things like using a juicer to up my vegetable intake, etc.

My other health issue is that I have laryngitis. I barely can talk with a whisper. It is not a cold; however, my throat does feel quite raw. I guess it is allergies or some such thing. It started December 23rd. I seem to require a bit more sleep with this situation. I’m glad that I was able to spend quality time with my family prior to Christmas when I was still feeling fine. I’m sure it will blow over fairly quickly. If not, I will make a doctor’s visit once the offices open up once again.

I am so grateful that all in all, I can make such a positive report.

Oh, a little comical relief tale to report. From the Reach to Recovery group, I was issued two cloth breasts to place inside my bra. I finally decided to try them out a few weeks back when they were holding an early Thanksgiving celebration at the nursing home for residents and their families. I put on one of my husband’s favorite outfits that had a somewhat low v-necked fitted top. I had to take out quite a bit of stuffing from each little pillow form so that it would fit nicely inside of each bra cup.

As my husband and I sat with my mother-in-law, waiting for the dinner to begin, he pointed out a rather distressing fact. One of the pillow forms had come out of the bra and was down near my waist. The other pillow form was popping out of the shirt. I excused myself to the bathroom, took out both pillow forms, wrapped them in my sweater, and muddled my way through the rest of dinner. So much for trying to look like a woman with curves! Smile!

Fortunately, I was due to meet with my surgeon that week. I asked if there was some better alternative. He prescribed a visit to Oxy-Care. They were able to issue me bras with inserts. I was given a special bra form silicone insert called Amoena Essential. My insurance covered it completely. It has the look and feel of a breast. It is heavy enough that it won’t pop out.

Watch this video for full details:

My computer had glitches in it when trying to play the video. Here’s their website in case you need more information:

This is the bra insert that I have:

The other somewhat comical note is the following. When I had the double mastectomy, if I had decided never to have reconstruction surgery, the surgeon would have made my chest totally flat. Since I did want to have reconstruction surgery, he left enough folds of skin so that the plastic surgeon, a year from now, has something to work with. I must admit that it is NOT a pretty sight; however, it is for a very good cause and for only one year. I finally realized that it reminds me of a Shar-Pei dog – the one with wrinkles. By the way, it may sound like I am putting myself down. I really am not. It is simply my way of having a sense of humor about it. None of this is coming from my husband. He loves me with or without breasts. This is simply me being somewhat blunt, matter-of-fact, and humorous about my current situation.

All in all, I have a heart full of gratitude to be cancer-free aka in remission. What a wonderful blessing that is!

I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and a wonderful upcoming New Year. My expectation is that 2011 will be a much happier and healthier year than 2010. I hope that will be the case for you as well.

Much love,
Healing Seeker aka Debbie

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