Friday, December 30, 2011

A Non-Chemo Christmas

We had an enjoyable time on Christmas Eve eating and watching our kids do the nativity play together with friends. I forgot to get out the strawberries. I am allergic to them and can't have them anyway, but I wanted others to enjoy them. Christmas was lovely, going to church, taking the sacrament(the point of my YW Christmas lesson) and seeing people we love, but don't usually see on Christmas. Then taking a nap with Baby in the afternoon. Actually I did that(nap with Baby) on Christmas Eve too, maybe that is why I forgot the strawberries.

I could not believe the difference not being super tired and sick can make in the enjoyment of a major holiday.

An extra fun thing this year has been the Christmas cards, letters, and presents we have gotten after the holiday as well.

Second Expansion

I went on December 23 for my second expansion appointment. I brought with me a present for the doctor and nurse; rice bags. L was making rice hand warmers so I made some large rice bags as well instead of wheat bags. My doctor and nurse gladly received them, asking again what the directions were for heating them up, telling me about their numerous aches and pains (they are both older than me), showed them to others in the office and then having me wait while they hid them in their offices. Then they injected the saline and asked me how it felt. I said it felt like a rice bag on my chest, and they laughed, because now they understood what that meant.

Before they started the procedure, my cell phone rang, and because I was high off the ground reclining, half dressed, the nurse picked my purse up and offered my cell phone to me. I told her I was sorry it rang, I forgot to turn it off, and I did not think I needed to answer it right then. She said it was no problem and I could answer it or call them back if I wanted I so desired. She worried it might be an emergency with my kids. I said I would be sure to call back as soon as we were done and I was able to help. Then we discussed our Christmas plans.

There was very little pain this time. Just some skin stretching the day of the procedure. Overall it was a fairly pleasant experience.

The rice bag experience reminded me of the original wheat bag I obtained. My cousin made it for me at a Homemaking/Enrichment meeting at BYU that I did not attend. In fact I cannot think of any Enrichment meetings I attended while at school. The planners of those meetings I am sure did not think that many years later I would be using the same idea to make something for my breast reconstruction doctor and nurse. They really had no idea of their impact.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cancer Country Songs

L and I were talking about some depressing Christmas songs. That reminded me of all the country songs about cancer. I am sure there are more, these are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

First Expansion

How I was feeling - Very anxious. I brought extra strength Tylenol with me
How Baby was feeling - Super excited to watched by a friend with a dog, two kids, and new toys. She did not want to go home with me. She was ready to stay and play all day.
My husband, and L&C - Hoping it would not be too painful so we could go to the play that night.

What I thought the pain would be like - Very bad, yet I still willing went there. Further proof that I am crazy!
Actual Pain - Not bad that day. We did go the play, and I did not use any pain medication. When I woke up the next day, I was hurting. I took some extra strength Tylenol that did not touch the pain. So I had my husband come in from working outside early and I took some Aleve. The two together took the edge off enough that I stayed with that combination for the next 24 hours.

Unexpected compliment from the nurse - She thinks I am a very young (she knows my real age), but good mom.
Lost in translation - The doctor asked me how I was feeling after he inserted some saline in. I said it felt like a wheat bag on my chest. Neither he nor the nurse had ever heard of wheat bag, and could not understand why I would use one. I am not sure my explanation helped much.
Clarification from the doctor - He told me he had expected the reconstruction surgery to be very painful, because of the strength of my chest muscles. Often the more tone and strong they are, the more it hurts. Strength causes pain - what! My young age and carrying around a child who progressively got bigger caused different muscle tone than if I was really 54.

Future Plans - We can do this again. Knowing what to expect will make it a little easier too.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When I get older, I will be stronger

Of course if I am tired, that means we have DJ Jeni time more often. We like this version of the 2010 World Cup song.

When I get older, I will be stronger
They'll call me freedom, just like a waving flag

Every Little Bit

Usually our holiday season is fairly fast paced. This year, like last year, is slower. I slow things down. We only do what we feel we can't live without doing. L and C put up the Christmas tree, but most of the other holiday decorations are staying in the box. I was not sure if we would do holiday goodies, but my in-laws left all these juicy persimmons who were calling to me to make persimmon bread. I have never made persimmon bread, but it sounded delectable.

I had too many mornings waking up tired and sore. To help alleviate that we moved Baby back to our room. We all sleep better now. Having her closer makes it easier to respond to her more effectively at night. For example, now we do not have to stumble across the house to see that by the time we get to her she has gone back to sleep. Everyone is still very accepting of my
non-energetic state.

I can tell that I am doing the opposite of wearing down, I am wearing up. Maybe not as much as I thought, because I cannot think of the opposite phrase of wearing down. My husband told me there is scientific proof for chemo brain now. I think the first two sentences of this paragraph are scientific proof.

Last year we had a wonderful scriptural/musical Advent calendar, but the papers were much too big for the drawers. This year I had enough energy to reformat the slips of paper much smaller. So a tiny improvement over last year.