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 23, 2010


I mentioned yesterday how I am just living life until chemo next week. Most of that revolves around being a mom.

I decided to jump off the potty training cliff.  I have a few days with not much going on, so I can stick close to home with Jean-Marc.  He's totally aware of when he goes, he even goes and gets a diaper when he needs a change.  It was just going to take some focus and dedication from me to get it done. My overall irritation factor has decreased over the past few days, I feel good physically (which may very well change after chemo next week).  So I decided its now or much later.

We've had 3 accidents so far today, but by far we've had more success today.  The key was just having him go without bottoms and having the little potty nearby so he could run to it when he felt the urge.  He even did it for #2!  Yippee!  We are off to a great start.

I've run into a little bit of frustration with Kaiser on two fronts.  First of all, I am always curious to get my monthly "Summary of Accumulation" statements to see how much we've spent thus far for the year and to see where we are as far as our annual deductible ($3,000 for the kids and I), and our annual out of pocket maximum ($6,000).  Last month, we had met the deductible and were $3,400 and change towards the annual out of pocket maximum.   The statement I got this week said we were only $9.74 towards both.  What??  That made no sense.  I called their 800# and had to leave a message with a girl who wasn't usually answering the phones for that department due to "an unusually high call volume."  Gee, I wonder why.  Perhaps they screwed others up as well.  She asked why I thought it was wrong.  I told her, "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June and have been through a mastectomy and 2 rounds of chemo, so I know I've incurred more than $10.  Besides, it doesn't make much sense compared to last month's statement."  After I said the words "breast cancer" I heard her suck in her breath and go, "Oh I'm so sorry."  BAM!  Cancer bomb dropped. Kaboom!

I didn't get a call back, so I sent them an e-mail last night.  This morning, they replied that they had forwarded my message on to the appropriate places as a "formal complaint."  Okay. Whatever.  I don't want to be a complainer, but whatever.  Just fix it!

The second irritant concerns the blood work I need to get done the day before chemo.  To get a lab appointment, you have to call a number and then wait for them to call you  back.  I left the message on Tuesday and finally got a call back after hours last night (Wednesday).  They had no clue because there was no order for the blood work in the system.  So I had to e-mail my oncologist and ask that he order the blood work so I could get it done.  I got an answer this morning from his nurse that he was out of the office until Monday, but she was able to release the orders.  Okay.  So now I'm again waiting for the call back from the lab.

I got thrown a curve ball this afternoon that upset me for a few minutes.  I hadn't been to the gym or done a real kick butt workout all week.  I've walked and done pilates, but nothing that really made me sweat.  If I don't sweat a lot, I don't feel like I've gotten much of a workout.  I was looking forward to going to the gym and doing some hardcore cardio before picking Isabelle up at school.  Thursdays I don't have to pick up at the middle school, so I have time.  My carpool partner called and was stuck at work and needed me to pick up.  Well, of course I'll have to.  But I'll miss the gym!  Waaah!  I got over it, though.  Partly because Jean-Marc pooped on the potty.  But then I realized that I could do my Jillian DVD after I get home with Isabelle today (which I was planning for tomorrow) and I can do the gym thing tomorrow afternoon.  Just swap the days. I get frustrated when my plans get changed by circumstances out of my control.  You would think I would have been able to roll with the punches considering how the cancer thing has totally thrown me for a loop.

Next Thursday is going to be busy.  Lab appointment (eventually), pharmacy pickup for round #3s Cipro, oncology appointment in the morning.  Then at 1 p.m., I have an appointment at the Women's Health boutique to get my foobies and a compression sleeve for my arm.  My measurements were slightly bigger on the left arm on Monday, so the physical therapist went ahead and gave me the diagnosis of "lymphedema" so the sleeve would be covered.  Otherwise, my surgeon told me yesterday that it would have been out of pocket.  Whew.  I just don't want the swelling to increase, so I've been practicing the manual drainage technique each day that I learned on Monday. Something else to add to the daily routine.  Thank you, breast cancer.

My prayer requests:

  • That the potty training go well with Jean-Marc.  That I am able to maintain my patience and sanity over the next several days as we go through the nitty gritty of it. 
  • That the administrative issues with Kaiser be resolved without hassle.  It seems like a pretty clear mistake to me.  Let's pray that they admit it and fix it.  
  • That I continue to feel good and get stronger in the next week so I'm in shape for round 3 next week. That the chemo drugs already in my system do their job. Tomorrow marks 3 weeks since my hair started falling out.  It was 2 weeks from my first round of chemo.  I wonder if the stubble will come out now that I'm at that point in this round?  

1 comment:

  1. Hope chemo goes well along with the battle of potty training.

    I'd love for you to check out the new breast cancer registry that is exploring the social and emotional needs of women with breast cancer. The end result will be improved programs at Cancer Support Communities across the country. To learn more check out http://www.BreastCancerRegistry.org