About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Holding pattern...but looking good & feeling better

Today's big event was my "Look Good, Feeling Better" session. This is a program put on by a consortium of organizations to help women undergoing cancer treatment to "reduce the visible signs of treatment." For me, it was a way to prepare for what is to come.

I was the first to arrive and sat down at a "station" with a small mirror and some cotton balls. Other women came in and at first it was a small jolt to see women with scarves on their heads. Man...that's going to be me in a few months. But it was good to see that they were mobile, able to joke around a bit and enjoy the session. One woman was very quiet and looked very sad the whole time. She didn't talk much. I sat next to another younger woman who had a baseball cap on. When she took it off, there were just a few strands of hair that she had pulled back into a thin ponytail. At the end of the session, she put on a wig that she had purchased but wasn't wearing yet. It was a really cute inverted bob style. She looked great. I hope she felt better.

The session was led by 3 ladies, one an esthetitian, and one a beautician who specialized in custom hair pieces. They gave us each a big red bag full of makeup, and then we went on to put it all on. A big issue for chemo patients is infection. So there was a lot of talk about sanitation and keeping your cosmetics and tools clean. Another big topic was drawing eyebrows. I guess hair is hair, and it is apt to fall out with the rest of it. (On a side note...maybe I won't have to shave my legs for a looong time??) Anyway, another good part of the session was when they talked about head pieces. The beautician mentioned we could use a wig and basically cut it up and use it to make other custom pieces--sewing a fringe of bangs onto a hat, and so on. Maybe I can use the freebie wig I got last week for that?

We got to take the makeup kit home with us--probably valued between $250-$300. Nice!

In the end, the best part of it for me was being in a room with other women dealing with cancer. I overheard the name of my surgeon and asked about her. The woman across the table is also her patient and LOVED her. She also gave me the name of a good Kaiser plastic surgeon. (I don't know what I'm going to do about that, if anything). I mentioned the name of my oncologist and a third woman piped in saying that she worked for Kaiser and Dr. P has a very good reputation and that I was in good hands. Getting confirmation about my care providers was reassuring. They all raved about the chemo nurses in San Marcos.

I still haven't decided about the surgery, but I think I'm leaning towards bilateral. I haven't seen anyone who has regretted that decision. But I have heard of women who have regretted a single. That's not to say they don't exist.

I'm expecting to hear from my surgeon tomorrow so we can get the surgery scheduled. Her office did call this morning to let me know I wasn't forgotten. She was just in surgery today and wasn't able to call. That was a bit of a disappointment-I was hoping to have a surgery date by now. Our family's plans are all in a holding pattern until we get this surgery date on the calendar. Dr. P's office did call for an appointment on August 5th. So chemo should start shortly after that. Surgery for Jean-Marc's birthday, chemo for Isabelle's.

Not that eventful of a day, but some baby steps were made. I appreciate everyone's continued prayer on my behalf. I don't have any new ones today--yesterday's are still appropriate.

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