Posts Tagged With: breast cancer

Breast Cancer … Attitudes, Gratitudes and Platitudes

Arriving at the hospital

 

Pre-op

Pre-op

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My little action hero had breast cancer.  Last week she had a double mastectomy by choice and no longer has breast cancer.  All mothers must know how I felt … fear, anger, depression, helpless, sleepless.  Now I feel:

  • Grateful that she had the best breast surgeon and plastic surgeon in Atlanta
  • Grateful that she was at Northside Womens’ Center, the best facility for women in the southeast US and possibly the entire country
  • Grateful that I did not let the platitudes from well-intentioned people make me crazy
  • Grateful that she is a marathoner; strong and in excellent physical condition
  • Grateful that my daughter was surrounded by positive spiritual, emotional and psychological supporters
  • Grateful that she has a powerful intelligence and a positive attitude
  • Grateful for the phenomenal cafeteria and delicious meals at Northside Hospital, the in-house Starbucks and the comfortable bed I had in her room.  This is truly a five-star facility.  The Bellagio of hospitals.
  • Grateful that the sentinel lymph node was clear of cancer cells
  •  Grateful that I didn’t vomit or faint when the nurse showed me how to maintain her surgical drains, measure and log the outflow
  • Grateful for the caring staff throughout the hospital – the physicians, nurses, technicians & environmental staff
  • Grateful for a loving and supportive family; fabulous friends and wonderful neighbors
  • Grateful for the delicious meals her neighbors organized so I didn’t have to shop or cook
  • Grateful that I am physically able to take care of my daughter, her son and her husband
  • Grateful that I’m retired and can travel and stay with my daughter as long as she needs me
  • Grateful that my son-in-law hasn’t gotten sick and tired of me (yet)
  • Grateful for Percocet and muscle relaxers (for my daughter, not me)
  • Grateful that she has a large husband so she didn’t need to buy anything that buttons down the front – his shirts work great as pj’s or dresses
  • Grateful for the early detection of the tumor; that it was slow growing and treatable
  • Grateful for a sweet and loving 5-year old grandson who will do anything to make his mommy happy and comfortable
  • Grateful that my beautiful daughter has considered herself a cancer survivor from the moment she was diagnosed
  • Grateful for neighbors who babysat my grandson when necessary
  • Grateful that it appears that she made all the right decisions for her surgeries and reconstruction.
One day post-op

One day post-op

Home

Home

And you know what?  She never stopped smiling.  Her breasts look beautiful already and there will be almost no scarring.  Yes, she’s in pain but it’s temporary and we’re looking forward to her next adventure – renewing her marriage vows wearing her original wedding dress.

LADIES – PLEASE PERFORM YOUR SELF-EXAMS AND GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!!

HEIDI7

Next adventure? Renewing marriage vows!

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Categories: Family, Health, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

To My Little Action Hero: We’ll Take This Journey Together

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.” Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

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From one breath to the next, my heart stopped beating and I had to consciously draw my next breath.  When I answered the phone and heard my daughter say hello, I knew something was desperately wrong.

“Mom, the biopsy was positive.”

The diagnosis is infiltrating mammary carcinoma with lobular features. I was in Michigan and she was in Georgia on April 22 when she received the news on her son’s fifth birthday.  I wasn’t able to hold her or kiss her – we could only cry together over the phone.  But, my girl is an action hero not a cry-baby.

Within 24 hours she met with her surgeon and was told that the cancer is very treatable and slow growing with a proliferation rate of 5%. Something about hormone receptors, estrogen and progesterone. The cancer grows through hormone involvement so she immediately made an appointment with her OB-Gyn doctor to have her IUD removed.

Forty-eight hours after that she’d been in touch with her Georgia Corps Nurse Navigator who is available to answer all her questions and help her through the process of surgery, reconstruction, therapy, insurance, etc. and made an appointment with the oncologist pre-surgery so she would be clear headed and understand treatment options.

By April 25th she had studied all her options and eliminated a lumpectomy followed by five weeks of radiation in favor of a double mastectomy.  She wants the cancer out of her body with no breast tissue left for it to attack in the future.  It sounds radical but you have to know my girl.  She is intelligent, objective, and positive.  She’s extremely proactive and confident.  She talked to all her health care professionals and made an informed, unemotional decision.

Although only 4’10” tall and a size 3, my daughter is a marathoner and is in excellent physical condition.  The downside to that is that she does not have enough tummy fat to be used for immediate reconstruction following the mastectomy surgery.  I volunteered mine but instead she will have tissue expanders inserted until the skin of her breasts until the skin is eventually stretched enough to accept the implants.

She has an adoring, supportive husband and an adorable son.  She will do anything necessary to stay with them and is determined to maintain their active, fun-loving lifestyle. On April 25, she and her friends ran the Dirty Girl Mud Race. I arrived in Atlanta in time to run (walk) the Susan G. Komen 5K with her and her friends on May 9 and we drank margaritas to stupification on Mothers Day.

So, all those who love her will take this journey with her step by loving step.

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Categories: Family, Health, Life | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Thanks for the Mammaries

I’ve been to fun, elegant and even black tie fund raisers but I’ve never been to one like The Seventh Annual Barstool Open held in Punta Gorda, FL yesterday to benefit “Dollars for Mammograms“.  I believe I heard every imaginable name for breasts: hooters, ta tas, boobs, girlies, tits … and the names of the teams were hysterical.  There were the “Hello Titties”, the “Doobies for Boobies”, the “Breast Friends”, and my team the “Ha Ha’s for Ta Ta’s”.

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No, we did not take my grand-daughter to any of the nine bars that sponsored the event.  Teams contributed $100 for each foursome and went to every bar for a drink and a turn on their putting green. All the money raised goes to provide mammograms and follow-up care for women who are uninsured or under-insured in Charlotte County, FL.

haha3haha7 The bars were all within walking/staggering distance of each other but there was a trolley for those who chose not to or couldn’t walk.  Each bar designed their own putting green &  the hilarity increased from bar to bar and from drink to drink.  The team costumes were as outrageous as their names and the camaraderie grew as teams kept running into each other and vied for better (or worse) scores … there were prizes for both. The bars had signature drinks for the event as well as special appetizers and meals.

 

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The last event was hosted by Hurricane Charley’s on the Peace River to announce the winners of the various prizes.  We were lucky enough to get a table on the tiki deck overlooking the water just as the breeze picked up and the live music began.  More than 500 people participated in the event and raised over $25,000.  What a fun way for a community to raise money for a worthy cause … the early detection or prevention of breast cancer.

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As the sun set over the Peace River we congratulated each other and tottered home to give our ta ta’s a rest.haha4

 

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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