Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sadness Beyond Control

It's hard to be sad on Halloween, especially with my guys all dressed up for the holiday, but I found myself so sad the past two days that I found it worse than anything I've felt in quite some time.

I know what started it off...yesterday we were supposed to have plans with friends, and they canceled, which left us with a whole free day.  With birthday parties, and Hebrew school and soccer and football, we haven't had a full free day in a VERY long time.  So, I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to take the kids to the aquarium, since my son is very psyched about sharks these days.  He didn't want to do that.  So, I said, how about the aircraft carrier?  The zoo?  Central park zoo?  No, he didn't like any of those ideas.  Didn't want to go anywhere where there would be crowds...I didn't get it.  And then I just got mad because he said he wanted to buy wood to build himself a custom closet or take the kids to get skis.  Okay, I understand we need to get skis for the kids for the season, but we had a WHOLE day to play...and then my son said he'd rather have a playdate with his friend than go somewhere with me...and then the girls didn't want to go because my son didn't want to go...the day was such a BUST!!!  Oh, and might I add that my husband could have done the closet thing next weekend when I was taking the kids away...and I FREAKED OUT on everyone, especially my husband. 

I just couldn't understand why he wouldn't want to do something educational and outside with the kids on a beautiful fall day...was it me?  I really thought so.  But, I did freak out (I mean slamming doors, yelling, and just being plain mean to my husband who was happily doing his woodwork in the garage, which he rarely does) and finally begged and pleaded with my daughter to come with me to the Central Park Zoo.  And we did have lots of fun.  But I was so nasty to my husband.  And I couldn't bring myself to be nice to him...not then or later...even when we did something as a family with another family.  What was up with that????

And why?  Cause he wanted to do something else for one day?  And then when I started thinking about that, I started kicking myself and I couldn't stop.  Like, what's wrong with me that I am being such a brat?  Why am I so sad?  I actually had to leave an exercise class this morning because I was crying.  And then I came home to an empty house 'cause my husband was with the little one and the older two were at Hebrew School and I was still crying and crying even more because I was trying to stop myself from it just me or has that happened to you?

Finally, my husband saw me crying and I told him that I was sorry for being a psycho the day before.  While he didn't say he accepted my apology (I don't think I would have either) he did say that it was okay to be sad because then you appreciate being happy.  So, then I stopped crying and my daughter came to lay down in my bed with me and held my hand while we watched TV and I wasn't so sad anymore.

So now, I'm still trying to figure out why I was so so sad...could it be that the last 3 years have been really hard and after trying to be so strong and I just snapped?  I don't know but I guess I don't care.  I will just type this and argue with my son about whether or not he's getting a clone gun...and whether or not he'll put his costume back on...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't forget these guys!!!

 Look at these guys!  They are hysterical, drive me crazy with their personalities!  They are all mine and I am so proud of that! 

My mom tells me that if I don't start writing down some of their stories, I'm going to forget them, so I'm going to write a few of them down here for each of them and hopefully continue as the stories keep coming!
 My son, the pickiest eater on the planet.  While he does eat some decent stuff (yogurt, cheese, deli turkey, homemade chicken nuggets, egg fried rice, bananas, apples - that might be the only healthy stuff he eats), he's never met a vegetable he liked.  One night, I had totally had enough of his shenanigans of not trying food.  So, I told him that no matter what, he had to eat ONE green pea.  He cried, he was hysterical, he kept trying to talk his way out of it, he pretended to gag on one of them and spit it out on the I told him no dessert without eating a pea.  I finally got him to put it in his mouth with a huge mouthful of other food...he tried to gag and spit it out, but I made him drink some water and he got it down!  Actually said it wasn't so bad.  He actually said that sometimes he's just afraid to try big brave boy!  Though, he does jump off the diving board at the pool after one summer of really swimming so he can be brave, just not with food or the dentist.  He says he's going to be a shark hunter, or a soldier, or a Jedi, or an archaeologist (how is it he cannot pronounce the word skeleton but he knows the name Giganontasaurus when he sees it???)

He plays sports, but I think he only does that to hang out with his friends.  He'd much rather pretend to fight bad guys with his lightsaber (or a stick, or his fingers as guns) than even have a real battle with his friends.  He likes to laugh and have fun, but he's definitely not rough and tough!  And he likes to give hugs to his mommy still, so I think that's just great!

My little daughter is soooo stubborn.  All she wants to do is be like the big kids, but if she doesn't get her way, she screams like a banshee...she thinks that will let her win.  That used to work with my husband, but even he's caught onto her scheme.  With that one, you just cannot tell if she's really hurt or just being dramatic...most of the time she's just being dramatic.  And to brush her teeth with big kid toothpaste, forget about it!  Though when she screams when you get near her mouth, it does make her mouth open so you can get the toothbrush in for a count of about 20...but she is funny!  We were at the doctor's office the other day, and a woman asked her what her name was.  She said, "Minnie Mouse" as she often does.  The woman said, "Oh, that's funny 'cause I'm Donald Duck."  My daughter said, "No, you're not, you're Goofy!"  Totally straight face!  She is constantly amazing me with her agility on the computer.  When my son was her age, he could barely figure out the up and down arrows...she can navigate to the website she wants without any help.  I should probably set up computer filters now!!!  She can be the biggest cuddle-bug and loves to sing and dance and pretend she's from Star Wars.  Her favorite song is "Thriller" and she will sing it all the time and then do the evil Vincent Price laugh at the end!  So funny!  She thinks she's scary!!!

Onto my middle child.  She can be sweet, artistic, funny, creative, or you could say she's a compulsive liar.  Let me just throw out a few examples:  Yesterday, she cried at school when they were serving cupcakes for someone's party.  When asked the problem, she said, "I'm allergic to vanilla" (I guess she was given a vanilla cupcake) but the truth is that there's no allergy problem, she just wanted chocolate.

When told it was back-to-school night at school, she said that President Obama was babysitting for her.

She told her teacher she would not be in school the next day because we were going to Disney World (not true).

She told me she had a baby in her belly (to which I said to her, "That's great, I really want to be a grandma someday...but could we wait a bit for that???"  She said okay

She said she went to Iceland with her Papa and bought special sticks (she's never been out of the U.S.)

She told her religious school teachers that she was allergic to honey, milk and nuts.  Guess what?  She is not, but the teachers sure yelled at my husband for not filling out an allergy form!

But she says it with such conviction that everyone believes her.  I tried to explain to her teacher this year that she has a vivid imagination (but I probably should have just said she's a complete liar) I think the teacher believes me now...But she amazes me with her ballet and even more so with her artwork.  She actually drew a picture of a bench looking out on the water that looked like a bench looking out on the water.  She's only 5!  I cannot even do that!

Well, I need to go to bed to get ready for the Halloween festivites at school and afterwards, so with that said, I'm off to bed.

I wonder what these kids will be like in 5 years.  All I can say is that I sure hope they stay as sweet as they are now (no matter how I try to complain about them, they are totally awesome!!!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

What a Day...Can My Description Do It Justice???

Where do I begin?  I'll start with the fact that my youngest daughter, she's almost three, has been sick since Tuesday, I just thought she had a stomach bug, but she was getting a bad cough by last night, so I decided today that I should take her to the doctor. 

So, after the normal antics of trying to get three small kids ready for school, you know, screaming about brushing hair and teeth, getting them to sit down and actually eat their breakfast, fighting about not watching TV before breakfast, am I the only one who goes through this each morning???  Oh, and the two-year old has to fight me on whatever I choose for her to wear and to fight me about changing her diaper...I FINALLY get the 1st grader and kindergartener off to school and I make a doctor's appointment for right then.

I get my youngest to the doctor's appointment on time, and while I'm in his office, my phone rings and it looks like the number for the nurse at the elementary school.  So, I pick it up and the nurse says, "Hi Mrs. N, your daughter is here and she says her ears hurt her.  She doesn't have a fever but she's acting kind of clingy to the teacher's aide and she seems a bit weepy.  I think you need to come get her."  So, I look at the doctor and tell him the story and he tells me to bring her in right away.  Thank goodness I live close to both the school and doctor's office.  So, I run into the school to pick up my daughter, who is acting fine and happy, by the way, and run her back to the doctor's office. 

After a quick check up he determines that she's fine.  So he asks her if she wanted to go back to school or if she thought she needed to stay home with Mommy.  She said she needed to stay home with Mommy, at which point I told her that she was going back to school.  So, after a sticker and some animal crackers at the doctor's office, we go back to school.  In the car ride, she kind of mentions something about a fire alarm, but I didn't really get the gist so I just told her that fire alarms can be loud and send her back to class on her merry way...and she seems totally fine with that.

So, after school, I told the teacher that she tends to be a bit of a Sandra Bernhardt and that she needs to be distracted if she doesn't seem to be acting quite like herself (cause she is one of those kids where if you ask her if her head hurts, not only does she say it hurts, but she then starts to believe her head really hurts!!!)  Then, I just ask whether they had a fire alarm that day, and the teacher said, "Yes, in fact, we did, how did you know?"  Then I put two and two together.  My daughter was holding her ears in class because of the loud fire alarm and she was trying to prevent another one from hurting her ears.  Her ears didn't really hurt, but when asked if her ears hurt, she, of course, said, "yes!"  Mystery solved!

Now, back to the child who is actually sick.  After a little nap, Little Miss Monster wakes up.  Now, I mentioned that earlier in the week I thought she had a stomach virus and, as a result, had a pretty nasty diaper rash.  Well, she's been quite the dream to change a diaper these the past few, she's turn into the Exorcist  child.  She screams, kicks and hits me while I am changing her.  I know, I shouldn't laugh at her when she's doing this, and trust me, I'm not laughing maliciously at her, but I am trying to figure out how to change her diaper without getting kicked in the chest or head.  It is quite the challenge.  Tonight, I really thought a neighbor was going to call Child Services on me because she was screaming sooooo loud and our windows were opened.  In any event, I hadn't done the best job changing her diaper and I wanted to make sure her diaper area was clean before putting her into PJs, so I decided to give her a quick rinse in the back, just to clean her diaper area.  But there she was, kicking and screaming and all I wanted to do in the bath was her diaper area.  Quite the challenge, I must say.  So, then I tried to get her dressed.  Mistake number I-don't-know for the day.  At this point, I don't care about her screaming and I didn't even try to put diaper cream on her tush, I just wanted her to not be naked going to bed.  I finally get clothes on her, and she's still swinging her arms at me.  So, to take her off of her changing table, I pick her up but pin her arms under mine so she can't swing them at my head.  So, do you know what she does?  She's so freakin' smart she starts trying to bite me!  I hope you are laughing, because at this point it's comical! 

And my other two kids keep coming up to me to find out what's wrong with the Exorcist child, and then they both try (at separate times, of course) to give me a hard time over something for another.  I let them know, especially as the older and wiser children, that I've spent all of my patience quota for the day on the Exorcist child and they better just get in line 'cause I couldn't be held responsible for what happened but seriously, I just told them she was crazy and I couldn't afford for them to be crazy too.  A little bribery of dessert and a little TV kept them in line.  Exorcist child wasn't allowed downstairs after all of that.  No, I didn't lock her in her room, but I certainly kept my distance! 

Okay, I know, I know, poor baby is sick, but it's not like I was shoving medicine down her throat.  Oh, which reminds me, that the doctor told me that I should give Exorcist child honey instead of cough medicine for her cough.  I thought that was a great idea!  Who doesn't like honey?  Exorcist child.  In fact, she disliked it so much, that after trying to give her a half of a teaspoon full, and smelling that her diaper needed to be changed, she not only refused the honey but proceeded to vomit up all over the changing table.  And still kept screaming...oh wow!

And my husband left me with Exorcist child and two others (who really were pretty much angels when they weren't trying to leave the dining room table and avoid eating dinner or jumping on each other with food in their mouths...I don't live in a barn, I promise you!  I kept trying to get them to sit at the table and use good table manners and eat their food, but tonight just wasn't Emily Post night at my house!)  while he went to services.  So after all was said and done and I spent time making a big dinner for everyone, I still had to clean up...which isn't a big deal, but I just felt like bitching about something else.  I guess I should call this Dali Mamma Lama and the Terrible, Horrible, Not So Good, Very Bad Day.  The End.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carpe Diem

For all of you out there who are Jewish, L'Shana Tova to you and your family!  May this year be a happy, healthy and prosperous one for us all!

I was at high holiday services today, and our rabbi kept talking about how we have to listen better, listen to our friends and families, listen to the world around us, and also to listen to ourselves and not brush aside those ideas that we say we want to do.  The rabbi said that he has heard many people talk about things that they regretted not doing in life, so he suggests that we do those things that inspire us and not just wait to regret those lost ideas someday...

So, as I was trying very hard to continue to listen to what the rabbi was saying, I was trying to think about those things that I wanted to do, that I always talk about doing but haven't yet done and also what I would regret not having done if I died today.  Then, I reminded myself that I needed to listen better, so I asked my husband to remind me to write tonight so I could concentrate on the sermon.

What would I regret if I died today?  Besides the obvious of not seeing my three beautiful children grow up to be adults, I would regret not making them laugh more, not giving them enough hugs and kisses, yelling at them maybe a bit more than necessary.  I would regret not writing down the stories I make up for them every day, maybe not for the public to read, but for them to read someday.  And I would regret that I didn't get to grow old with my husband and nag him forever and ever...that's a joke but I'm not sure he'd see it that way! 

But there are things that I would regret that I have not personally done.  I would regret that I never really wrote down how my husband and I pulled together a wedding in 2 1/2 weeks, we had such a good time and I love telling people the story (whether they want to hear it or not), and I've always said I need to write the story down before I forget it.  Maybe turn it into a book, that would be cool!

I would regret never learning to play the piano.  We got an old piano from a neighbor and I've even had it tuned...I took one lesson 7 months ago, but haven't gone back to it.  Okay, so I had another medical procedure shortly after that lesson, but I've got to figure out how to fit it into mine and my children's schedules...I want to be able to sing all of the songs that I love anytime I want to and entertain people on my piano!

I would regret not having a huge party for all of my friends and family just because they mean so much to me.  I always talk about having a big party, but get caught up and never get around to that.  I want to remedy that one if not this year, then for our 10th year anniversary, just having a big party to celebrate how important people are to me.

I would regret all the times I held back, that I didn't say exactly what I felt or did what I wanted to do for fear I would embarrass myself.  I know that one sounds hokey, but sometimes I think I'm a bit too reserved, especially when I'm not really reserved.  I know, everyone is allowed to be shy once and a while, but sometimes, I think I do it because I'm afraid.  I don't want to regret that...

For the most part, I am really happy with my life and especially how good I feel after the horrible year I had last year.  But there are these few things that I talk about too much and do too little about.  Maybe this year will be about making those things, I must go write down some stories for the kids, for them to have someday...Carpe Diem!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Herceptin is finished!!! I am done!!!

It has been almost 3 months since my last post. Why haven't I written?  I guess because I've felt so good that I haven't had the time to sit down at the computer and write about my goings-on...but today is a very momentous day, even more momentous than the end of herceptin treatments are finished!!!  I do not have to go back to be poked and prodded every three weeks.  I do not have to have some strange (though helpful) medicine pumped in my veins.  I don't have to explain to my kids where I'm going at 6:30 in the morning anymore...I just don't have to think about it at all anymore!

I find myself crying happy tears because I am happy that this chapter in my life has come to an end.  I find myself crying because I am so proud of how my body has managed to go through hell and back and is working harder every day.  Physically, I am strong.  And my mind is strong, too!

I don't really know how other people get through this.  I've really only met strong supportive women who seem to treat what they've gone through as a daily occurrence and not some life-altering episode.  And while I am reflecting on this whole occurrence a bit more today than yesterday, I know in a matter of minutes my children will bound through the door and I will not have the time to think about what has happened to me.

I thank my family and friends for all of their support throughout this time.  I know I don't thank anyone as much as I should, but the ways people were so helpful and supportive and thoughtful, it means more to me than you all can ever know!

Okay, literally, three kids 6 and under are about to walk in the door.  Time to look ahead, and not behind, and to enjoy all that I have!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paper Mache Anyone???

Today, my oldest child turned 6...I just love the curls!!!  We had a great day today!  I just cannot believe he turned 6!  I'm not wondering where the time went or how I miss him being little, but I am just so proud of hm and what a sweet boy he has become!

This year for his birthday, I decided to have seven of his closest friends over for a playdate birthday party.  Two kids are coming from across the street to organize a kickball game for them (how long could that last???), they want to play war with his 1,000 little plastic army soldiers, they will have dinner and dessert, watch some Tom & Jerry (who doesn't love those guys???) and they are going to do an art project. 

Now, my son is very into Star Wars and I was trying to think of a project where they could spend some time doing an art project that they can destroy afterwards.  So, I've decided to make paper mache Death Stars that I'll fill with some army soldiers and the boys can destroy them after they decorate them and get a prize inside!!! 

Sound good so far?  Well, so far so good, but you cannot make paper mache anything in a few hours, so I'm starting the process of making the Death Stars.  My plan is to have them primed and ready so the kids need only decorate and destroy...but it is not a quick process to make these things!  So, here is Phase I of the project: 

I'll keep updating as time goes on so you can see the progress and finished product.  I know so many friends who will probably think I'm crazy for spending so much time on a party trick that will be destroyed, but I think my son will appreciate it...and if not, I'll kick his butt!  (Okay, not really)  I planned this party for 4 hours.  I just need to make sure I can entertain this group of 5 and 6 year old kids long enough that they don't destroy my house or each other!  I'll bet I can make this art project drag on for at least 15 minutes.  What do you think???

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Did it really not post???

Oy vey!  I was in the oncologists office waiting for a cancer flu shot treatment and I spent alot of time talknig about my dichotomy:  I am so happy to feel good physically, yet, I feel so "ok" with the emotional stuff.  I want to feel good about all of it but I just don't!  I know it is great going to see my oncologist, especially when she tells me how great everything is going physically, but mentally, everytime I'm scheduled to go in for a treament, I freak out!  What's up with that?  I'd like to think I'm doing fine, but after my social worker talk today , I have alot of work to go...even though my surgeries are finished and I have nipples to show the world.  I'm not going to do that, but now I could!

My social worker told me that I'm heading into the hardest part...the part where there is no treatment...I thought I was home free, but my mind is telling me otherwise.  My mind keeps freaking out for nothing, though I really think it's the end of the cyclical treatments I've had.  I can be as smiley as I want to be and as happy as I can be because treatments are over, but I still have these nagging thoughts in my head about being alone in this cancer world. 

I've already gone the route of dealling with cancer once.  I read some womens' blogs about recurrence.  i just cannot imagine that!  But they deal with it gracefully and with strength I cannot begin to imagine...I guess I am just fearful that I don't want to do this again.  I don't know that I can be this strong the second time around...

I love life, I love my kids, I adore my husband, I am so thankful of the things I can do now, but these nagging feelings about the things that have changed in my life drive me crazy!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Support My Fight Against Women's Cancers!

On Saturday, May 1st, I will be participating in the 13th Annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk For Women. You can join me in the fight against women's cancers by making a donation on my behalf. Your donation will help fund
important research into the cause and cure of women's cancers, prevention, education and support service programs. Every dollar will help bring us one step closer to a cure.

To make a donation, click on the link below:

On behalf of all the women and their families who will benefit from your generous donation (including my own), Thank You!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So Maybe It Was Scarlet Fever After All...

Okay, I'm done talking about my strep, but in 6 weeks, my family of 5 has had 10 cases of strep.  The last time I went to my ENT doctor, he looked at my tongue and said, "Maybe you had scarlet fever after all...your tongue looks like that of a Scarlet Fever patient..."  Are you kidding me?  Well, whatever the case, the rash all over my body did go away in three weeks, as promised, so allergy or not, it's gone.

My reconstruction surgery is looking much better.  Though everytime I saw a doctor, they said the surgery sites looked great, they looked so AWFUL to me I couldn't stand it!  But, today I finally thought they didn't look so bad!  Every day gets better and better, truly it does!

And spring is here and I am finally feeling like myself again.  I have the energy to go run and play with my kids and I'm not afraid to hug them tight as I had been!

I am sure in a few years I will look back and wonder if I really went through what I did, and not think of it every day...don't get me wrong, I don't let it consume me and depress me, but the physical reminders are always there so a day doesn't go by that I don't think about the surgeries...but that's okay because I know this will pass!

Okay, so over spring break, when everyone had strep and I was afraid to bring them in too close of contact with other kids, we went to some museums, zoos, aquariums...we had a good time. Here's a new pic of the cuties

Not the best picture, but we had such a great day!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Would you believe it was only an allergy???

So, just to update you all from my last post, where my primary doctor left me with Scarlet Fever and two ENT doctors to follow up with...well, here's how the story ended:

I went to an ENT on Friday, full itch and now feeling awful joint pain.  The doctor looked at my throat and my rash and told me that I did not have Scarlet Fever, but he did want to run bloodwork to ensure there was no strep in my bloodstream.  Apparently, there are a lot of false positive instant strep tests (did you know that?) but this doctor couldn't conclude that I didn't have strep anymore...he just thought I probably did not.

So, full of rash, I call my reconstruction surgeon's office to tell them I still have a rash and it is spreading to my reconstructed boobs and newly reconstructed nipples.  Thank goodness my mom was with me because they sent me immediately to their office...two more doctors looked at me and determined my surgery was not compromised from the rash, but they wanted me to see a dermatologist in the hospital on the spot. 

This cancer dermatologist who kindly agreed to fit me in, looked at me for 30 seconds (after hearing all of my symptoms) and said I was allergic to Penicillin and if I stopped taking the medicine, he was sure I didn't have strep and would feel all better in two to three weeks.

So, I got the results from my long strep test, and wouldn't ya know it?  Negative!!!  So, I have been having a bad allergic reaction and am finally starting to feel better after 3 days without antibiotics!  Yay!

However, my 4 1/2 year old daughter just got strep again tonight.  I do have someone help me clean the house, but I just spent the last hour disinfecting every doorknob and commonly touched items in the house (light switches, toilet flushers, etc) to make sure it isn't something that easy to fix...I guess I won't be hosting my Passover Seder tomorrow night that I've been preparing for the past few days...who wants to be with a kid recently diagnosed with strep?  I left the decision up to the other families, but who would want to risk getting strep? 

Oh, and my mother-in-law shared a spoon with this child yesterday.  No good!

On the positive side, I am THRILLED with the level of care and attention I receive from my cancer center, Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in NYC.  Everyone from the people who greet you at the doors to the nurses to the doctors to the fact that it is a one-stop shop makes it so wonderful.  If you ever know anyone who wants to talk to a patient about Sloane Kettering vs. other hospitals, I'd love to share my story!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Okay, I can feel a little bit sorry for myself...

On Saturday, I developed a little legs were itching, but I thought maybe I got a little sunburn or something from being at the beach (though I was wearing capri pants and very little leg was showing...) By Monday, it wasn't really any better so I called my doctor and told her about the rash.  I DID NOT want to go see her because I've been to too many doctors appointments in the past month (between strep and nipple reconstruction and Herceptin treatments and seeing my cancer surgeon) and I just wanted her to tell me something over the phone.  She thought that I was having an allergic reaction to an inhaler I was given; so she told me to stop using the inhaler and just use some Benadryl at night to sleep.

By Wednesday (today), the rash was really getting after my Herceptin treatment, I went to the doctor.  Found out I not only have strep throat AGAIN, but I have Scarlet Fever (yay, rash!)  I was totally freaking out that I was immuno-compromised from my chemo treatments in the past.  Well, I spoke to my oncology nurse and she assured me that my white-blood count was totally normal as of the end of February and that I just might be run down from the surgery two weeks ago and trying to recover from that and the strep.

I am just done with being sick and all this other garbage.  Sorry, I am feeling sorry for myself today.  I just want to play with my kids but since my doctor cannot assure me that I will not be contagious after 24 hours of antibiotics (because 2 rounds of it, though different kinds, have not yet cured it) she thinks I need to be careful around kids...ugh!

Tomorrow will be a better day, I am sure of it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Things Aren't Always So Bad...

You can sit and feel sorry for yourself and your current situation...before I found out I had breast cancer, I would have said the worst thing was that my husband took a package and was not working (but he made enough money to last us through our year plus with cancer without having to THINK about spending), before that, it was my one year old daughter's tip of her finger that had been cut off when another sibling slammed a door with her finger caught inside it (but after a trip to the emergency room and some plastic surgeon visits, you would barely know anything had happened)...I can go on with little things that I used to consider "problems" before the whole cancer thing (oh, and I can say that wasn't so was caught so early, the size of a grain of rice, that it had not grown big enough to feel or to travel to my lymph nodes so a blessing that it was found so early)...

But last night, I realized how lucky I am!  Last night, I was at the diner with my two girls and I saw this boy who seemed to be autistic, though I would never know for sure so I would never say turns out I know the mom.  I had met her 4 years ago, after my middle daughter was born, and we were in a playgroup together.  They were all first time moms and having 2 kids 17 months apart was too much for me to deal with mom's with only ONE kid.  I had juggling to do!  In any event, it turns out this boy who I knew as a baby, and who seemed further along than my daughter, ended up with alot of developmental issues.

Now, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, not even my worst enemy, but when I left there, I really thanked god for three beautiful and healthy children.  Okay, they drive me nuts sometimes, but let me have problems and let my kids grow to be very old and happy and healthy.  I don't care what life holds for me, though I do hope to live a long and healthy life, and I will always be grateful for my three silly, happy, intelligent, beautiful, kind, caring and loving kiddos!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Does it get any better than this?

I live in Northern New Jersey. We just had one helluva storm this past weekend! I'm not trying to compare it to places who get hit with natural disasters all the time, but we had such a huge wind and rain storm after one of the heaviest snowstorms two weeks prior...all I can say is it looks like Armageddon around here. You cannot go down two blocks without seeing at least one one-hundred-year-old tree in the middle of a street (sometimes with a car underneath) and power lines mangled underneath as well.
I guess the trees were so water-logged from the heavy wet snow (where we lost almost an entire Magnolia tree) that the heavy winds were just too much for the trees so they are EVERYWHERE!

Both of my kids' schools have been out the past two days due to lack of power.  Most of our neighbors are still without power.  Or water.  Or cable (god forbid!!!)  We lost power for 24 hours, but we now have everything back.  We did go an hour south of here for the second night (just before our power came back) to stay at my in-laws.  It's nice to have someplace to go...but I'm sure we won't be welcome back anytime soon!  Why, do you ask?

Yesterday my husband and I both woke up with sore throats.  I thought it might be allergies, but wasn't sure, especially since I just finished having strep throat two weeks ago.  Our 4 year old daughter started acting really funny complaining about her stomach in the afternoon and our almost 6 year old son has been very weepy for the past week and has had a very sensitive stomach as well.  Again, I could have attributed these stomach ailments to my mother-in-laws cooking.  They ate it, I didn't.  But last night the 4 year old kept sitting up in her sleep crying out loud.  We knew something was wrong.

This morning, we woke up and our throats still hurt.  So, my husband went to work and made a doc appointment for him and me and I took our 3 kids to the pediatrician's office.  I told them they were all getting strep tests whether they liked it or not...then the doc gave one to me (and my son held my hand so I wouldn't cry).  Fifteen minutes later, we ALL had tested positive for strep.  I kid you not!  Then, I got a call from my husband that he, too, has strep.  Is this a joke????  And this is why I wonder if we'll ever be invited back to my in-laws house!

I guess I was never fully cured from my original strep and then kindly gave it to the rest of my family, but hopefully we will all get better at the same time.  I guess it was good that I was proactive this time and took everyone to the doc together!

I had to postpone my Herceptin treatment, which was scheduled for tomorrow, not because the Herceptin will hurt me with strep, but I could infect patients with compromised immune systems waiting for their chemo treatments.  I just feel badly that I was sick the past week, and didn't realize it, and I was at different doctor's appointments for the nipple reconstruction surgery I had a week ago.  I may have been sick around those same people with compromised immune systems...well, I hope not!

Honestly, as long as I can still go to my follow-up plastic surgeon's appointment in two days, I will be fine.  I just need to know that my nipples really are healing well, 'cause everytime I look at them, I want to barf (but the nurses have insisted that everything looks great).

So, this has not been a great couple of weeks.  I couldn't get out of bed on Saturday because I was so depressed over all of the recovery, having my period, not being able to shower, still feeling sick and not knowing why...but now I know why - I still had strep!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Final Installment - Nipples!

On Saturday, I had my (hopefully) last surgery for this "episode" in my life: I had my nipple & areola reconstruction surgery. I have been looking forward to having my breasts look somewhat "normal" again and not "frankenboobs" as my husband likes to refer to them!

Surgery was easy and very fast! Less than 2 hours! The doctor took my skin graft from my upper inner thigh...the place where your underwear hits the crease in your leg. I was so worried about having yet ANOTHER scar on my body, 3 c-sections and bilateral mastectomy scars were quite enough, thank you! I kept talking to my plastic surgeon and asking him if we could use my c-section scar tissue for the areola reconstruction, but he kept telling me that it would look better with the inner thigh tissue and, since my breasts already looked so good, why wouldn't I just use the tissue that would make my breasts look their best? The doc won.

Well, we will see how good they look! Right now I still have some bandages on my breasts, which will come off on Friday, but I've also been told that they will still not look great until all the swelling and bruising goes down, in about 6 weeks. Since my breasts are mostly numb, they really don't have any discomfort. However, I am STILL walking funny from the stitches and I guess the glue coating to protect the incision (although it is getting better) and I am still going commando (hurts to wear underwear) but this too shall pass! So will the lack of a full shower for another 9 days...

I want to say more, but I don't know when I am saying too much. Oh well, I am good at babbling anyway. I am totally grossed out today because I just got my period. While that, in and of itself, isn't usually an issue, the first two days of my period are like a flood...I go through a SuperPlus tampon in about an hour...and I usually wear a pad to protect myself, but since I cannot even wear underwear, a pad is totally out of the question. So, I feel even MORE uncomfortable today, so much so that I don't want to leave the house for an extended period of time...oh well, I know this too shall pass, but I just wish that it was possible to take a pass on getting your period every once in a while, like right now, after having surgery.

Oh, and last week, before I had my surgery, I got strep throat and was out of commission for the week. I swear, I am pushing my husband to the limit. He is so awesome and is totally picking up the slack for me, and while I am helping out where I can, he is still schleping the kids to school and after school activities and giving them their bath. I know, I know, it is getting better every day and next year, I'll be able to do this on my own again, but I just want him to go out and work, not have to take care of me and the kids all day. Okay, that's my complaining. Thanks for listening.

It is a beautiful day and I plan to go outside and enjoy some of it, but I just wish I was feeling 100% and not less than that!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The greatest compliment and the person never even knew it

So, I’ve been mentioning these past few blogs about my trip to San Diego by myself, where I tried to do something physically and emotionally satisfying each day, things that I cannot do when I am with my three kids.

All week I had this plan to go kayaking in the Pacific Ocean to look for grey whales that are currently migrating from the Bering Strait to the Baja Penninsula. I figured if my TV debut was off, I was going to make the most out of this trip, come hell or highwater!

I became very discouraged earlier in the week when I was told I might not have a kayak tour because I was only one person, and it wasn’t cost-effective for the shop to send out one guide with one person, and no one else had signed up for a kayaking tour. But, they kindly acquiesced the morning of my scheduled journey and said they would take me alone (La Jolla Kayak was the shops’ name and they were great. Highly recommend using their shop for all types of adventuring out in San Diego, CA).

By the time I was supposed to go out on my tour, a family of four (mom, dad and two teenagers) signed up as well! I was pretty psyched. Family was from Canada and the parents were really nice and very friendly. The mom and I both got sea sick on our trip. She actually voiced it to the guide first, and during the journey, when we had paddled out farther to search for whales, I joined the barf-bandwagon.

When we got back to shore, she told me how brave she thought I was for kayaking by myself. She said she didn’t think that she would have chosen this activity if she had been by herself. I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell her about my cancer diagnosis a year ago. I wanted to tell her that I have fake boobs and sometimes I am still worried about doing physical activity with my upper body, and how proud I was of myself for kayaking for two hours straight, but I didn’t. I am trying not to broadcast to the entire world that I am a cancer survivor of just a year. I don’t want that to define me; yet, I feel like it is still an all-encompassing thought in my head these days.

I hold out hope that after a few years I won’t think about it every day as my defining moment in life, but right now, it is what it is, so I will continue to write about that.

I could not will the plane fast enough…

I just finished a week of being away from my husband and my kids.  I’ve had two mimosas, and could have another, but I only want them to get some sleep on the plane…but I cannot sleep.  I am so excited to go home and see my three kids.  I cannot wait to feel their arms wrap around me.

Yesterday, I was kayaking in the Pacific Ocean. It was an absolutely glorious experience, both physically and mentally.  A year ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It changed my life, literally.  I never thought about the fact that this tumor could kill me, I just thought about how to get rid of it and make my life normal again.  And there I was, a year later, kayaking for two plus hours, battling waves, searching for grey whales and sea lions, and fighting off the sea sick nausea that kept nagging me.  While I was feeling ill, I kept saying to myself, “C’mon, Paula, you’ve fought worse things than this.  Just shake out a burp and you’ll be okay…”  Okay, I know, too much information, but that was all I kept thinking, “You fought chemotherapy, you can handle sea sickness!” 

The good news is that I didn’t barf, much to my guide’s chagrin (he told us if we were going to barf, to let everyone know so they could watch…).  But I am telling you, as I was working my way back to shore, paddling and feeling quite exhausted and queasy, I felt like I was never going to get back to shore.  I thought, for sure, the waves would propel me faster to shore, but they didn't and I just could not get to the shore fast enough!  I just wanted to have my Fred Flinstone car to use my legs to help run me back onto the beach…it felt like forever.  Just like this plane flight to get home to my little ones, and my husband.  I wish I could flap my wings and get us home faster, but I cannot.  I will just sit here and write and not sleep and think about all of the fun things I want to do with my kids when I get home.  And I cannot wait!

Not a TV Star Today...

My friend who is a TV producer invited me out to San Diego for the week to be an extra on one of her TV programs.  I was only going to be used for dramatizations, you weren't actually going to see my face, but still, it was going to be cool.  Oh, but show biz is a tricky lady...the interview was on again, off again, on again and finally off completely, so I was out.  There's the downer of the week.

The uppers are quite cool.  While I spent alot of time by myself out in San Diego, I was away from my kids and my husband and, pretty much, did what I wanted to!  I haven't been away from my whole family for over 5 years (though I have gone on many trips with just my husband).  My husband has been begging me to go away, so when this opportunity presented itself, he was the first to say, "yes!"

I went to a museum by myself and didn't have to rush.  I had a leisurely lunch and read an entire book during the middle of the day (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane).  I had a special tour at the San Diego Zoo where I fed and pet Galapagos Tortoises, Akapis and camels...I saw grey whales spouting water out of their blowholes (from afar), I went kayaking in the Pacific Ocean and saw seals and sea lions in the cool!

While I was here for some of San Diego's coldest and rainiest weather, I still missed the blizzard in New Jersey and dealing with the kids out of school for two days.  I thought my husband was going to lose his mind for two days!

I am ready to see my kids.  I miss them terribly.  I miss my husband terribly too.  

Monday, January 25, 2010

I need an idea

I cannot think of anything to write  I know that is a lame excuse for a post, but my mind is totally blank.  I watched the news and I know there is stuff going on in the world, but all I can think of is the limerick I had to write in 5th grade for a long-term project on Mythology.  So, instead of blabbing for a long time, I'll leave you with this:

Medusa could kill with a look,
And not thirty seconds it took!
She'd turn you to stone
With a hideous groan
By a method not found in a book!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I've taken Ativan the past two days...need I say more?

Why am I my harshest critic? 
Why do I take everything my kids do wrong personally?
Why do I feel so insecure right now?
Could it be my hair growing back but still so short?  Okay, positive note is that I've stopped wearing wigs, but I truly HATE the way I look.  I think I'm going to go buy one of those fake ponytails so I feel like I have long hair...
Could it be that I am a lawyer who stopped working when my 5 year old was born and now I feel like I couldn't get a job if I needed to?  Maybe I shouldn't have stepped out of the workforce to begin with, but I DO enjoy having free-time with my kids...
Could it be that I hate my new boobs and the fact that I feel like the Tamoxifen has made me put on weight that I just feel so unsexy that I haven't gotten my groove back?
I think I need a therapist...oh, and I am not taking Ativan again tonight, so I guess no matter how uncomfortable I have felt, it is not such that I need to take it again...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy New Year - the good the bad and the ugly!

Happy New Year!  What has happened since 2010?

On 1/2/10, I got my period, with a vengance!  Yes, it is back.  I was really worried that I was going to have early menopause (as one doctor said might happen due to chemo and Herceptin, but she was wrong!) and I'm not really sure why, but that was not the case and I am not sad to have it back!  I know, too much information, but for any women reading this who have or are going through what I went through, it is kind of a big deal!

I went skiing out west in Utah with my husband this past week.  I have always been an adequate skier, but to get to the next level, I have been teaching myself how to ski down the mountain.  Very hard to do as an adult, but I am doing that.  I took a lesson out West, and my instructor was pushing me pretty hard.  I guess she worried that I wasn't having fun, but all I kept thinking about in my head was how proud I was of myself for actually skiing after the horrible year I had!  Not two months ago I had surgery for final breast implants, and not four months ago I was sitting in a chair having chemotherapy, and there I was actually skiing some blue trails and not falling down.  I almost cried I was so happy!  AND re-teaching yourself the proper way to ski is pretty hard, so I am damn proud of myself for the hard work!

The negative thoughts in my head are that I really do not like the new boobs.  I might tell you that I'm happy because they will be perky forever, and maybe once I have nipples I won't feel so badly, but the truth is that I don't like at all how they look.  Okay, so I've gained a few pounds and maybe I'll like them more once I start really getting back to the gym, but I really don't like the way they look.  They aren't big enough, they get really cold when I'm out in the cold (like I don't remember ever happening before) , they still have ugly scars on parts of them because they still have not fully healed, and I get some crazy under-the-skin itching that I cannot explain or get rid of, but I know is EXTREMELY annoying!

I hate to start of my 2010 blog with some negativity, but it is true and I guess I won't be happy until I lose some weight or at least get some new nipples!!!

On a brighter note, I have stopped wearing wigs all the time.  My hair is growing back to the point where, while it is very short, it is covering enough of my head where I won't wear a wig anymore.  I still want longer hair, but it will get there!

Happy and a Healthy New Year to all!!!