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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All systems GO!

I went in for my pre-chemo lab work and oncology visit.  Everything looks good.  My blood counts are excellent, even for a non-cancer patient. Thank you Jesus!  I mentioned my "female" issues and we agreed to let chemo take its course and see what happens.  It often will stop women's cycles.  There are drugs they could give me to stop them, but I'd rather avoid more medication if I can.  He said chemo can interfere with ovulation, so basically I get to live with every day as a suprise in that department.  Lovely!  If I was worried about my red blood cell count because of the periods, he said I could take an iron supplement, but my blood counts really didn't warrant that.  Spinach works, folks!  Food is medicine!

I have a new side effect.  It looks like I am in the process of losing a toe nail.  Fortunately, it is not the big toe.  It is the second nail on the left foot.  About a week ago, it started hurting. I thought maybe I had an ingrown nail. I gave myself a gentle pedicure over the weekend and trimmed it.  It wasn't ingrown, but still was irritating.  This morning, I took the polish of that nail and it was turning black.  Apparently, this is a possible side effect of taxotere.  It may fall off, but Dr. P said that would happen when another nail grows underneath to replace it. That is good news.  But it all is a bit ghoulish.

So all systems are a go for tomorrows chemotherapy round.  Round number three.  When I was coming out of the pharmacy with my next batch of Cipro, I ran into the chemo nurse.  I told her, "We have a date tomorrow!"  The chemo appointments themselves really aren't that bad.  At least they haven't been for me so far.

My afternoon was more interesting.  I went to the Women's Health Boutique to get my prostheses. It is funny because you basically get to pick what size you want to be.  I was a B cup before, so we started there.  She measured me and went and got several bras in a 36B.  I tried a couple on, and they just looked HUGE!  Maybe it was because "my" B's were saggier, but these just made me feel conspicuous.  I had brought a form fitting sweater to try on as well to see how it looked.  So we switched to 36A.  Ah.  That looked much better. Kaiser pays for 3 bras each year, and a set of foobs every 2 years.  The foobs have a 2 year warranty, so they only pay for them when the warranty runs out.  Sounds like a car, doesn't it?

Frankly, I've become accustomed to being flat.  Having something up there again feels pretty strange. Maybe its because they don't have any sensation.  I realized I've developed the habit of crossing my arms over my chest.  Now when I do that, I bump into these "things."  It is also kind of strange because you are just standing there nude from the top up and the lady is coming in and putting the bras on and off of you.  It's not that big of a deal...I've lost a lot of any shyness around professionals when it comes to my chest.  Childbirth does it for down below, now this!

The prosthetic "foobies" just slip into the bra.  You fold it up a bit like a taco and slip it in the bra itself.  Then when you put on your bra, you are putting on your breasts as well!  It gives me a new angle each morning getting ready.  Do I want to have a breast-look, or not?  I don't think I'll work out in them, although I could.  They are even waterproof!  Salt water or pool water.  All you have to do is take them into the shower and wash them off.  Wild.  They do have weight and feel of real flesh. I'll weigh them tomorrow and see how much they weigh.

The kids are a little weirded out by the new additions.  I gave Isabelle a hug after school and she stepped back with a quizzical look on her face. She isn't that keen on them at this point. Olivier is going to be weirded out on the whole thing because, well, he is in middle school.  Once again, Jean-Marc is the only one who didn't notice. He even leaned back on them while I was reading him a goodnight story tonight and didn't flinch a bit. 

Praise Report! 
I had asked for prayer about the timing working out for Isabelle's student council speech?  Well the school moved the speech time to 2 p.m.  They didn't really, because my mom got there at 2 p.m. and Isabelle was in the middle of her speech. But because of the bizarre rain storm we had today, they moved it inside to the cafeteria, so the kids had to do the speeches twice to accommodate the number of students.  I got out of the appointment right at 2 p.m. and raced over to the school.  Typical of San Diego, a little rain and people forget how to drive.  So traffic on the 78 freeway was a little slow.  Stress!  I got there as soon as I can, and literally ran to the cafeteria.  I got there with a couple minutes to spare!  I was so happy to be able to be there.  She had been so nervous this morning.  And furthermore...she won!  Here is her speech if you're interested:

Prayer Requests:
  • That I get a good night's sleep tonight.  I'm going to take the sleeping pill because I'm on the steroid now which kind of amps you up.  But still, anxiety could trump that. 
  • That this third round of chemo go smoothly.  That I don't get sick while there.  That I tolerate it well and that it does what it is supposed to do.  
  • That we have a smooth weekend.  Eric leaves on a business trip on Sunday. My plan is to lay low and take it easy this weekend.  I don't want to be tired out from the weekend on Monday when the crazy school and activity schedule starts up again.
  • That the kids who did not win one of the 4 coveted officer spots aren't too disappointed.  Its hard to put yourself out there and fall short in front of everyone.  We've been there too.  

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