Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry and Bright

Buddy the Elf was right, "Smiling is my favorite". Pretty hard to wipe the grin off my face the past couple of days. Enjoying the season visiting with family and friends. Enjoying not feeling like Tiny Tim at Church and enjoying full scalp coverage.Grateful for the near 10 months into survivorship.

My chalkboard/mail sorter is adorned with the words Merry and Bright. I would say this season has been exceptionally Merry and Bright. Perspective is a wonderful gift.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Foreigner: The Soundtrack of My Body Temperature

Today started with waiting for the bus in 5 degree weather. The bus was running a little late, for reasons unknown. This led to me pacing around trying to keep my toes warm.

With 5 degree weather, a short sleeve shirt and starting the day with cold as ice toes, I thought it would be a stable internal temperature day. Well that was wrong thought.

This afternoon while doing work, I realized I needed to take my lab coat off. It was becoming urgent.

 I could feel that my feet were on fire. That feeling of being lit on fire from the toes and feeling it go whoooooooosh. I knew my face was red and sweaty. I didn't notice, that everyone could see the hot flash I was having. The charge Nurse looked at me and went and got me a cup of ice and a gingerale. She asked me "How hard are you hot flashing right now?". I then proceeded to knock the cup of ice over. In the ICU. Very graceful. I then attempted to pick up the ice cubes, but ended up creating more puddles because I was so hot at that point. One of the nurses who came over to help me, takes one look at my beet red face and my trail of melted ice cubes and asks "How hard are you flashing right now?" She is not much older than I am and asks "Have the medications they put you on put you into menopause?".  She has watched a lot of her colleagues deal with their hot flashes. I confirm they are from the tamoxifen, and consider pouring the remaining ice cubes down my shirt. "That's awful". I tell her "Yeah, but worth it if it keeps the cancer from coming back." She gets some towels to help clean up the disaster are that I have created. I think she could have used one to clean up the puddle I have become.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I blame Tamoxifen and Christmas

These were the exact words I used in returning a text to my Mother this week in reference to my brain. My memory was not what one would call sharp this week. I forgot my badge for work on day, my water bottle the next. I got only half the spinach I needed for the dip I was making.

I like to see how many things that go wrong, or not usual occurrences, that I can blame on tamoxifen. I know I can definitely blame the hot flashes that plagued me toward the end of the week. (How can it be 15 outside and I still want to take my shoes off?) I like to blame my occasional forgetfulness on it too. Here's the kicker that reads like a bad joke; I keep forgetting to ask my oncologist if that is a side affect. I think I better write it down.

Tuesday's year past chemo celebration continued past shopping and lunch and onto the track. I dressed myself all in some of my finest pink gear and may have taken the opportunity to tell everyone why the day was significant to me, or why I  was trying to run off boston cream pie. One of the middle distance guys was saying "Well, this time last year I was never able to hit these times". Me: "Tell me about it, this time last year was my last chemo infusion. Today I ran 32, 100 m intervals." Kind of a conversation stopper. Got a lot of, "Whoa. Congratulations. That's pretty awesome that your  back here". It is pretty awesome to be back at practice.

Hosting holiday parties is a lot more festive when your not prepping for you last chemo infusion. I've had a cookie swap every year (minus 3 years during college) for the last 17 years. Last year's party was a little down. This year was a great time. It's a lot nicer when your the host and you can freely eat shared food and don't have to segregate your food to a special plate that tell everyone not to touch it. It also goes better when you remember you have frozen spinach in your freezer to make up for only buying half the fresh your need for the dip. Take that tamoxifen!

I also tried to eat my weight in cookies. I'm pretty sure that I got near 2 dozen cookies consumed. At one point I had a pumpkin whoopie pie in each hand. My digestive system was mad at me later, but totally worth it. I'm pretty sure I would have made the blue guy on the left proud.

Cookie Monster & Jeff Bridges - 'Silver Bells' duet from adamflight on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

Today is exactly one year from  the last chemo infusion! A year since I was getting ready for my peach fuzz to fall out one more time. A year since everything tasted weird. A year since I retired my chemo outfit. My F cancer t-shirt is tacked to my bedroom wall. My jeans have since shredded and been thrown out. My hair has since grown back and straighten out some. It's amazing how fast the time has gone.

From here to here:
(Hey listen I've had enough awkward photos of myself on this blog and today I feel like the extra fancy version of myself seen here).

Today is for celebrating how far into survivorship I have come. Today is for taking the day off from work to spend doing Christmas-y things with my constant chemo companion, my mom. Today is for eating my weight in cookies (even if I am still washing things down with maalox). Today is for running track workouts with the running club I missed.

Today is for being happy.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Things Your Friends Say

When your cancer friend finds out that she does not have a second primary cancer, but instead an autoimmune disease, you have a conversation that plays out like this:
"Hey, so guess what, it's not cancer"
Long pause....."Right, we're excited it's not cancer"
"Well, yes. But at least with cancer I knew what I was up against."
"True. Well if it's any consolation the treatments are pretty similar?"
"Whatever, I am still going to run this by my oncologist"

This conversation was classic and screwed up on so many levels, but one that I think lots of cancer survivors understand. The first medical setback you assume that it's related to cancer when you are still within the first five years out. You try to figure out how to deal with things that aren't cancer. You also still run all large medical things by your oncologist to make sure they are ok with it. Not that you don't trust the specialist or anyone else you see, but your oncologist is your go to person.


When you are struggling at track practice, but still really happy to be there and able to get through 9x300 m (yes that says 9!) at a pace that yourself 2 years ago would have been appalled at, sometimes your training partners lift you up.

Training partner, looks around at some of the fast athletes getting their free gear as they earned sponsorship level of our track club. Training partner looks and me and states:
"You beat cancer. How is that not automatic sponsorship? I mean, that's a bigger deal than running a fast time"

Let's just say that fueled me through the rest of the workout.


When you are discussing how your a little mad you had to break you no doctor appointments with your roommate who has been in physical therapy once a week for a year. She earnestly says to you:
"You make me feel normal because you get sick and go to the doctor. Other people I lived with never went to the doctors ever". 

Glad I could help.

Friday, November 29, 2013

How to Jinx Yourself

This past week I learned I can use my blog to jinx myself. While looking forward to stuffing my face with Thanksgiving dinner I managed to pick up a stomach bug/major GERD flare and sadly had to interrupt my month of no doctors appointments. Tuesday night I had stomach pain so bad I put my mother on stand by to go to the hospital. I was sure that I was about to reinact the scene from alien where it bursts out of the guys stomach. Luckily, after some dry heaves and full use of a heated mattress pad the pain subside and I was able to stay in my own bed.

Wednesday, while still sore and with some pain I was able to head into work. I mean, I have done the whole not eating anything, sipping on water still getting my work done thing before. I wasn't able to see my PCP, but they were able to get me in to see an NP I have never seen before. Although, I knew I was probably just being a wuss I wanted to make sure that I hadn't ruptured an ovarian cyst or anything (side affect of tamoxifen is ovarian cysts).

The NP took one look at me, heard my story and said "You have Norovirus, you have to go home and you can't work today or tomorrow". Whoa, whoa, whoa. I proceeded to argue with her that I was missing some very key symptoms of Norovirus, mainly all of them. She reluctantly did an abdominal exam, said "Yup, definitely just a stomach bug. Make sure to follow good hand hygiene" (got her to downgrade it). Washed her hands and headed for the door while letting me know that if my symptoms and right lower quadrant tenderness didn't go away to come back on Friday. Then glances at my med list and says "Do you have breast cancer?". She realized she forgot to check if I was in a active treatment.

Now, I was pissed and slightly embarrassed for being a hypochondriac. I said to her as she headed for the door "I am sorry for wasting your time, but you need to understand that as a cancer survivor you become a little bit of a hypochondriac." This did stop her in her tracks and get her to turn around. She told me I hadn't wasted her time and that it was important to rule out appendicitis and ovarian cysts given the location of pain. Then closed the door and walked out. Her and I will not be friends, but I think I may have taught her a lesson.

Later in the day, I myself got taught a lesson. While chatting with my cancer friend I was whining about missing out on another year of thanksgiving overeating when she told me she may have cancer. Again. A second primary cancer. Well, lets just say swallowing my foot that I had put in my mouth, did not ease the stomach pain. We chatted about her upcoming doctor's appointments and tests, an all to familiar process.  Sending positive thoughts her way today for one of the diagnostic tests!

For the record, my stomach was slightly cooperative for thanksgiving and a small plate of turkey and mashed potatoes with a comically small piece of pie was able to be consumed.

Mom and I were able to continue our black Friday tradition and were happy to report this year was much better than last. It did inspire a lot of "This time last year..." comparisons. Instead of her trying to convince me to not go to work or to take a nap we happily buzzed through the deals with me being the pack mule. Just the way we like it. High Energy Christmas shopping. (For the record I am 75% done now).

Stomach is back to normalish (still a little fiery) and looking forward to my leftover's sandwich. And as the video below says "I love it!"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Month of Grattitude

There is a facebook campaign for people to spread out their gratitude for the entire month of November. People share the items that they are thankful for. Everyday, without needing to post a new "status" I am reminded of something I am thankful for. And most of my gratitude starts with "Well, this time last year...". Everything when compared to getting ready for the 3rd round of chemo lends itself to a grateful situation. It also is a great self motivation technique. Don't want to go to the gym? Remember self, you were only able to run twice in three weeks this time last year. And off I go to they gym. Thankful that I can.

Another thing I am grateful for? Hair cuts. They are still uproariously fun. I mean I giggle like a little kid throughout the entire time. This month, my new hair grew back so thick that I actually needed it thinned. HA! I needed my hair thinned. BC (before cancer) my hair couldn't have been any thinner. My hair has straightened out a lot in the past two weeks. I am still fascinated to see what texture each week brings. Grateful, however, for the full head of hair.

I have said it many times before, but I am thankful that the cancer I had was one of the most treatable and well studied cancers. I am grateful for the response (and utter decimation to cancer) the surgery, drugs and radiation provided. Working in a hospital and seeing the horrible things that cancer can do to people makes your grateful. When a patient from about a year ago, who was starting her cancer treatment around the same time as you, comes back in with a recurrence and metastasis, you are grateful to the point of tears for the way your cancer hand was dealt. When you and the attending physician shed some tears together over the patient's prognosis, you are thankful for everything in your life, but mostly you are grateful for life.  


This year I am working on Thanksgiving day. It's my turn and I am 100% sure that I will feel better than I did "this time last year". Especially, because I will not have had a chemo infusion and nuelasta shot. I am still grateful for my Mom's mashed potatoes and still ready to eat 2x my body weight worth of said potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flashes and foot fire

I am having some issues with my thermal regulation. The drastic shifts in weather this week have been mirrored by my internal thermostat. Thursday morning while at work I found it intolerable to have my lab coat on, spent time using my consult sheet fanning myself and turned a nice shade of purple. The social worker asked if there was anything I could do to stop it/make it less. When I told her take my shoes off, I got a sympathetic "oh". This long burn lasted a good 45 minutes before I froze for part of the day. 

Friday, it was gorgeous out and I enjoyed being sans coat. Mom and I, while at the grocery store had a flashback to a year ago. A bald woman with glasses (right on sister friend you rock that bald head!)was grocery shopping with her mom. This was such a frequent task her and I did together it was surreal to see. Even better was when the cancer fighter's mom asked if she wanted her to pay for some of the groceries. Is it 2012 again? Am I watching film from the Somerville Stop and Shop? My full head of hair says nope. 

Saturday I did not have anymore flashes, what I had was major foot fire. I believe if I were a super hero my super power would be shooting flames out of the bottom of my feet. (We all know my kryptonite is not being awkward). My feet were so hot all day it wasn't until a solid 6 hours were spent sock free that they and the rest of me cooled off. 

Just now a I was able to thwart a flash by getting rid of the blanket I was napping under. Sleep + heavy blanket= tinfoil wrapped baked potato, and your the potato when you are internal thermostat has gone berserk. 

We'll see if I can wear anything but short sleeves this week. Maybe I can put my socks in the freezer... 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Science on Milk is about as clear as Milk

This week I have definitely had my crazy pants on. Pretty much cemented on. No idea why. My main ravenous research focus has been milk and specifically recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). And guess what? I got many of the facts wrong while not fully reading things, but hear is what I learned now that I have simmered down a bit and actually read through some things.

First, rBGH is only approved for use in the US. The European Union, Canada and other countries don't allow it. rBGH is a synthetic hormone given to cows to increase milk production. rBGH increases the cow's milk production by increasing the hormone Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1). The main concern is not rBGH, because as humans we wouldn't use this hormone (we don't have the receptors), but rather the end hormone result IGF-1. IGF-1 is a hormone that helps cells grow, and in some cases helps tumor cells develop. Now here is where the science gets murky. Early studies found a link between prostate, BREAST, colorectal and other cancers, but the strong link has not been repeatable. Some studies have found the correlation to a lesser extent.

IGF-1 concentrations are higher in milk from cows treated with rBGH. IGF-1 is not destroyed by pasteurization. However all people who drank milk, treated with rBGH or not, or those who drank soy milk not cows milk also had higher circulating levels of IGF-1. So it is unclear if there is enough of a direct relationship.However, rBGH milk adds an additional 0.9% (Cancer.org) IGF-1 according to studies. 

So while the American Cancer Society doesn't take a formal position on rBGH, I am going to go with Ben and Jerry on this one. As a scientist it pains me to go with murky evidence, but as a cancer survivor I am going with no rBGH containing dairy. Potential carcinogen is good enough for elimination for me. This means I check the label to make sure it says that it is hormone free on my dairy products or pony up the big bucks and by the organic. Oh my goodness, can we talk about how delicious organic milk is? And how long it lasts. It might be in my head, and I am ok with that.

Because I really didn't want to be this guy:

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/recombinant-bovine-growth-hormone. Accessed 11/12/13.
Epstien, SS. Unlabeled milk form cows treated with biosynthetic growth hormones:a case of regulatory abdication. Int J Health Serv. 1996, 26(1):173-185.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Hair-raising Good Time

This time last year I was bald. I am reminded everytime I put on my favorite hat. Do you know that I still check for hair inside my hat? I know it's not falling out, but I still check because the soft inside used to be filled with hundreds of bits of peach fuzz. Little black specs in the white fleece inside.

In order to celebrate having hair and halloween I did this:
Wearing my shirt that my friend gave me for chemo. I wore the shirt with my pajamas on the day after nuelasta shots. Now it is part of my halloween costumes/everyday wear. Love it.

Everyone has decided that because I used to be the bald girl I should just start doing crazy things with my hair. Faux hawk one day, head full of spikes the next, spray color. It's hilarious. And fun.{and don't worry Mom, I probably won't} Because I never appreciated a head of hair before, but I appreciate my full scalp coverage now.

I think I may have already posted this. But it's just that good. And I sing it in the morning while I do my hair.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Red Sox Fever

I haven't posted in awhile. In fairness I haven't had many thoughts besides this:
Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Halloween Sleep PARADE!

Basking in the World Series win, 'cuz every little thing is gonna be alright.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Think Before You Pink

The color pink to me is a representative of everything that I and other Breast Cancer Survivors/fighters have gone through. I wear the color proudly. However, it does frost my cookies a little bit when companies slap the pink ribbon on everything, especially products that may be toxic/have a link to breast cancer.

Apparently I am not the only one. There is an entire campaign against those companies called Pinkwashers. Those that say the products go to support breast cancer charities without naming the charities or saying how much money goes towards it. There is a whole "Think Before You Pink" campaign led by Breast Cancer Action. Not that I necessarily agree with everything they say, but it was definitely some great food for thought.

They give 4 key things to think about before you pink:
1. Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?
I think it's always important to know the organization that is being supported. If too small an amount is going to the charity and you don't need the product a direct donation might be a better bet. I like when companies are transparent. For example, that is why I loved "Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer" 93% of the money raised goes to charity, mainly Dana Farber. 

2. What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?
I think this question is great because it goes a step beyond identifying that the product is linked to a charity, but also what they do with there money. How exactly are they raising breast cancer awareness? 

3. Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell?
 This to me is digging further into whether a company is using the pink ribbon for advertising. For example when a product says it will donate up to $100,000. Well how do you know? Can you look up where in the donation process they are? 

4. Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?
As well documented on this site, I have really started to dig through chemicals we use every day and how they may be toxic to your health. Secret Deodorant with a giant pink ribbon on it, is what really sticks in my craw right now. Especially because while thousands of woman have to undergo breast radiation they cannot wear that type of deodorant because of the aluminum. Not to mention the aluminum can end up in the breast tissue/cells and mess stuff up in there. 

Interesting points. I will think before I pink. And I will continue to proudly where the color and my ribbon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Middle Name is Grace

Today was the skin test round for the Vaccine Trial. After 6 months of shots they do a skin reaction test to make sure I haven't developed an allergy to the preservative used. I can confidently say, I did not. I have zero reaction. The shots felt like bee stings like the last time and bled a little. Fun.I had a new study nurse and she was overly apologetic about causing me pain. I told her, I signed up for this. In the name of SCIENCE!  I also had to give extra blood this time, only to find out later that because of the government shutdown the study people sent the wrong tubes and I have to give them more blood tomorrow with the right tubes. If only the blood tube shipper hadn't been furloughed! (Ok so I don't know if any of that is true).

At the end of my appointment when I got my appointment summary and I was given my appointment list. For the first time in 14 months (14!!) I do not have an appointment next month. At no point to I need to go to the doctors for a visit, check up, blood, nothing! Moving on up.

To celebrate I decided to go for a little run. I put my Red Sox running shorts on and did my usual 3.5 mile loop. Well about a quarter of a mile from home I noticed that their was a car banging an illegal U turn in the next crosswalk that I was approaching. What I didn't notice was that the cement lifted up about a quarter of an inch. What I then noticed was the fast approaching cement. Luckily, many years of klutziness have prepared me. Hands out, tuck and roll to the left (away form oncoming traffic). Bounced right back up, waved to the lady in the car who had rolled the window down to see if I was ok {she was a little stunned-mouth gaping open} and ran home. Minimal road rash. Tiny road burn on my knee. Was still able to do my planks. All I kept thinking was, good work. The irony of the situation was not lost on me. Celebrating not needing a doctors appointment by almost hurting myself. Oops.

And of course I sang this to myself on the way home....

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little more boobtober and a birthday

Last week I had my sixth month follow up with my radiation oncologist. She was happy with what she saw/felt and let me know that from now on I would see her every April and the surgeon every October. That seemed like a fair deal so I took it. Those will be their annual visits. Getting down to annual visits. Really getting there.

Today I am 32 years old. Happy Birthday to me. People have asked me if I feel weird about turning older. I give them the same answer I started with last year "Happy to have another birthday.". I am pretty sure that side affect of being a cancer survivor will never wear off for birthdays. It's also one of the reasons I love the American Cancer Society's campaign for more birthdays. Seeing as I feel like I have been celebrating since February 27th I kept the birthday celebration low key-a brunch with friends and then watching football with my parents. For the record, Tom Brady had his 32nd comeback win yesterday. I believe in honor of my 32nd birthday. Just saying.

Today I celebrated by going to work, having a flu shot and eating brownies at lunch with my colleagues. Then on Wednesday the celebrating will continue with a follow up with my oncologist for skin testing for the vaccine study. Yup party party party.

However, there was a decision made by me to help make more birthdays, but may make me a little more smelly. I switched back to natural deodorant.  After reading a couple of studies about aluminum from deodorant being found in breast tissue/breast cancer tumors {especially those close to the chest wall} I decided to switch back to what I was using during radiation. I will have to read the studies again (not good to read anything when your in crazypants mode prior to your mammogram), but I don't think I'll be going back to aluminum for deodorant. Oh boobtober your getting in my head.

Usher and I share the same birthday.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Welcome to Boobtober

You know how I celebrated Boobtober last year? I had chemo. This year I decided to fly out to Colorado and visit my cousin and my good friend and her husband to kick things off. After frolicking in fields, hiking, eating, enjoying snow and taking photos like below:

it was time to say good bye to my Rocky Mountain High and face boobtober head on. How did I take boobtober on? I got my squish on!

Yearly Mammogram!
Today, after having a pretty sweet vacation it was back to reality hardcore. I had my yearly mammogram this morning and lets just say by the time I got off the plane last night I put on my crazy pants, shirt, jacket, hat.... I know that I just had a chest CT that was clean (like 2 weeks ago), but knowing that this exam was coming up made me a lot ansy and all over the place. Last night I could not carry a conversation without darting from topic to topic, but I was able to sleep soundly all night. This morning, sans deodarant (it interferes with the pictures) I confidently walked into the mammogram suite. And then felt the anxiety of all the people waiting in there. I smiled at many to try to calm nerves, but I don't think the fact that I was 10 years younger than the youngest person or that I have short (still curly-ish) hair helped.

They finally call my name and then it is squishing time. As I try to become one with plastic vices by moving my arms over here, sticking my butt out there and trying to make my ribs stick out less I have impressed the tech with my high pain tolerance. My favorite part is when she tells me to hold my breath-way ahead of you! We take a couple of extra photos, just for fun (or to see where all of the many metal clips are located). I am sore and covered in red marks by the time we are done. She tells me to go have a seat in the waiting room so they can read my film. In the waiting room is a family (the daughter and sister) waiting for a patient who is having her biopsy. The sister keeps staring at me, and I just smiled back. They are very anxious and I hope all is benign for them. I hope all is benign for the woman sitting next to me who finds out she has to have an ultra sound to further investigate her mammogram. Been there. Hope it's nothing.

Then they call my name again.

There is a constant line of four letter words going off in my head as I follow them into the consult room....................and then they tell me everything was fine. Yeah!!! Couldn't you have spared me the anxiety and told me I can go to my next appointment? That was a little too much drama for a Monday morning.  I happily take off my pink johnnie and my crazy pants.

One Year Follow Up with the Surgeon
Phew...with my clean bilateral mammogram I head up to meet with my surgeon. He is happy with my zero complaints or issues. He is happy with my films. And he is happy with the way the vaccine and tamoxifen are going. I'm pleased too. After a physical exam to make sure there are no new lumps he sends me on my way and says see you in a year! A year! 

This year I am celebrating boobtober by putting more and more time between me and cancer. And the mammogram waiting room always makes me grateful to have gotten here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

When your friend from the 3rd grade gets married sometimes she makes you cry.

And sometimes she makes you cry twice. All happy tears.

I was very fortunate to be in my friend from the 3rd grade's wedding this past weekend. It was a beautiful event that was good fun. I am so happy for her and her husband. However, she made me cry, twice. The first instance was at the rehearsal dinner when she was handing out the bridesmaid gifts and she started to cry while trying to say a few words. This made me cry, stand up and "say, that's enough. we get the point". I'm sure it was very confusing for anyone who did not know that Friday was 7 months cancer free. But, hey, sometimes friends of 20+ years don't need a lot of words to communicate.

The day of the wedding was great. We all got our hair done (p.s. how much fun is it to get a fancy hairdo) and makeup done (new adventure for me), took lots of photos and then got two of my favorite people  married to each other. The bride was beyond stunning. The weather was perfect and the ceremony and reception were at a gorgeous place that screamed classic New England fall. We were all having a grand time when my mother insisted that I go see the guestbook.

If my hyperbole above isn't enough to get you to understand how awesome the couple is (or if you don't remember that my friend from the 3rd grade is the one who would come and run with me through chemo) the below photo should tell you:
Best. Wedding. Favors. Ever.

So seeing that made me cry more happy tears for the weekend. Hard to put into words how grateful I am just to be part of their day.

We also learned this weekend that if you need to take photos where you get a large group of women to laugh at each other you recite the most recent Jimmy Fallon video. #lololololololololololol.....

P.S. No more fainting. Ran 3.5 miles before the rehearsal dinner and danced the night away at the wedding. Guess we really will continue with the "it's just something that happened" theory. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vasovagal Syncope fancy name for Fainting

Officially discharged home and showered. Feels so good after 24+hours with a heart monitor on to not have any sticky pads or wires attached to me. And no more IV in my arm or vital signs every 4 hours (2:30 am, seemed a bit excessive).

Also feels really good to be discharged home with a diagnosis of vasovagal syncope, aka fainting. Cause unknown. Met with the cardiology fellow, the hospitalist, my oncologist and the cardiology attending. My echocardiagram (ultrasound of my heart) showed the same thing as my MUGA scans, ejection fraction 65% and in good condition! Echocardiagrams are ultrasounds where they put more wires and sticky pads on your chest and then take the ultrasound wand and press it inbtween your ribs to get pictures. It is not the most comfortable, but it is fun to watch the ventricles of your heart open and see the blood flow.

Because I am the clinical trial for the vaccine it does have to be reported to the trial big wigs (just like the 4 mm spot on my lungs). Probably not related, but we report it to them and see what they say.

They said that this could happen again and if I feel it coming on (head rush!) to sit or lay down until it passes. Oh yeah, and don't try to walk home if it does. My discharging RN wanted to write that on my discharge paperwork in red marker.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Let's play the rule out game

Man, I thought I was done with hurry up and wait. But, apparently when you lose consciousness after you run to the gym you get to play hurry up and wait some more. 

I woke up, felt fine. Got dressed, took my meds and ran the half mile to the gym. Went to the locker room, took my jacket off and woke up on the floor. Didn't hit my head and would find a little skid mark on my shoulder later. Looked at my watch and realized 4 to 7 minutes had passed. Sat myself on the bench in front of the locker, gained my composure and then did something I have been getting yelled at for all day....I walked home. 

When home I called my parents who took me to the hospital. After a quick trip to urgent care I was sent to the ER. Where I got an IV (in my hand ouch) blood draws and heart monitoring.

My blood work showed a couple of elevated cardiac enzymes. Because one is for blood clot risk and it was elevated and tomoxifen raises your blood clot risk I had a chest X-ray and ct scan. The ct scan was with dye so I got to feel like I peed my pants. Then I went back to the ER where I did have to pee. And the nurse followed me to the bathroom and waited outside the door to make sure I didn't fall. 

Next up came leg ultrasounds to check for clots. This is in fact as glamerous as it sounds. You sit in you underwear and an ultrasound tech follows a cold line of jelly while pressing down on the vein and taking a picture. It really isn't bad except for the upper leg area (groin). That's just a little awkward. The tech however was so impressed with my good veins, she said they look as good as the pictures in the textbooks. And even better-clot free! 

Ok so not clots, then what happened? It was called a single syncopal event. And because of all the treatment I've had in the past year (including xrt to the chest) I am typing this from my hospital room. Yup admitted for monitoring. But it is much quieter in my private room than down in the crazy pants ER.

Just ate some dinner and watching football and waiting for more tests tomorrow.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Of Mullets and Skin Reactions

This week I had my 6 month MUGA (heart function) scan to make sure the vaccine is not doing bad things to my heart (and also no latent affects from chemo). Another radioactive injection and some 38 minutes of scanning and the results are an ejection fraction of 66%. Which is 2% different from the last scan, a non-significant difference. My oncologist said it just means I have a really good heart. Still one of the best she's ever seen. Win!

I had the last round of vaccine shots for the next 6 months. It has already been 6 months of enrollment! Craziness. It was also my research RN's last day. It was nice to be her last patient. She also made sure that my consumption of a whole pizza was in my medical record (and study records). I am quite proud that somewhere in my electronic record it reads "Patient reports she ate a large pizza for dinner. Appetite is good". And then somewhere else it also reads "Patient is employed as a dietitian". Shots hurt a little more than usual and started to puff up a little quicker than all the previous shots. But, I was not expecting what I found when I came home and was changing my pants. My entire thigh was swollen, sore and hot to the touch. Ice packs, advil and benedryl are helping to control the swelling, but the usual for distinct circles are one big rectangle that covers the entire length of my thigh. However, induration-the skin thickening, is only in circles and the are about 8 cm in diameter (within the study limits). I've been walking like I have a peg leg. Still something oddly comforting about having the reaction, like there is not just sugar water in the syringes. [which the control is just an immune booster not sugar water].

My hair doppelganger in the middle.  

Looking forward to getting my hair cut. I currently look like Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink. It's too curly to be Andrew McCarthy in Weekend at Bernies, but it has straightened out some.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Turmor Evacuation Day!

This day last year was my surgery. A day filled with Jello, chicken broth, blue pee and tumor and lymph nodes being cut out of my body. All in all a good day. It seems like yesterday and 20 years ago all at the same time. September 11th has been a solemn day since 2001,but now carries positive overtones for me. It was the day I forcefully removed cancer from my body. My own war against terror. It's amazing a year later I have a scar and still some discomfort while weight lifting, but lets read that last part again while weight lifting. I didn't quite believe the surgeon when he said that a month after surgery I could get back weight lifting. I was thinking about this as I was bench pressing and doing planks yesterday. Planks are offer a little tingling in my arm pit, but steadily decreasing.

How did I celebrate today? By doing nothing special. By having an absolutely normal day. It was glorious and less painful.

Good bye to you tumor, still gone a year later : )

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Painful Reminder

Not everyone is as fortunate as I was in their battles with cancer. This week brought another painful reminder as my mom's cousin, Mary, lost her battle with breast cancer. Mary was diagnosed with Stage IV triple negative breast cancer 8 weeks after I finished treatment and after 4 short months she is gone. Mary tried 4 different chemotherapy regimens during this time and although the last one seemed to be working, it was not meant to be. From the many stories my mother has told me Mary did not need cancer to teach her how to get the most out of life, she squeezed every ounce out of it and had since an early age. She will be missed.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sisterhood of the Traveling Bear Part II

This week came another milestone in recovery. Passing along the bear. Unfortunately, another young woman who works at the hospital is in the midst of her breast cancer treatment and needs the courage and good fortune that the bear has brought through 4 cancer battles. The bear originated with a Nurse, KC, in the MICU who had breast and then ovarian cancer. Both primaries, as she says she was just one of the lucky ones to get cancer twice. She held onto the bear for 7 years until she passed it onto Stacey.  Stacey who was finishing up her herceptin treatments when she passed him along to me. My mother said she had hoped the bear's travels ended with me, but we don't yet live in a cancer free world. Having the bear was so important to me and it represented so much. First, it let me know that I would get through treatment and come out the other end. Second, it let me know that there was always someone who understood exactly what I was going through. Third, it was just so darn cute. He is now passed along with a book. Each of the us wrote a couple of pages about our story and how we got the bear and what it meant to us. He is a physical representation of all of our good thoughts and well wishes and I know he'll continue to spread joy and luck.
 In my head this was what the bear was singing to me as I packed him up. Go get' em Bear! Keep kicking cancers ass!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bumpy Leg Day

I really enjoy this commericial:

and right now I would say I'm happier than a camel on Hump Day.

Today was round 5 of clinical trial vaccine injections! Yes. And the day did not go so well, but still riding the NED (no evidence of disease) high from the clean CT.

I started off today's appointments with the longest blood draw ever. We are talking 15 minutes for the 4 tubes they wanted.  And two sticks. First stick in the elbow was followed by a hold on I'm just going to fish around a little. Yup, nothing I love more than needles in my arm fishing around for veins. No luck in the elbow crease so then my least favorite vein of all time was selected. The big one on top of my hand that runs over the middle finger (did refrain from using the middle finger). In fairness to the tech, who was very nice, I ate my weight in pizza last night. Fried eggplant and cheese pizza. For a person who doesn't usually eat that much sodium my veins were not happy. The nice tech did get the hand vein to work and then my blood dripped/trickled out at what my have been a new slowest land speed record for blood filling tubes. She was amazed and asked me if this was the longest it had ever taken for my blood to be drawn. I told her it was. She apologized. I let her know it was my fault (maybe should have stopped at 3 slices of pizza).

Meeting with the oncologist, NP and research nurse was good. Only major side effect from tamoxifen is my face looks like it did when I was 14. Yup, acne. However, unlike when I was 14 it takes forever for a zit to leave my face. I'm talking weeks. I'm pretty sure that I will take acne over muscle pain and joint stiffness and definitely over hot flashes. You know as if I had a choice in the side affects...

I also mentioned to the Research RN that while here colleague was nice enough who filled in for her last time, the engineer in me was really bothered by the lack of symmetry in the 4 shots. She made certain this time to make sure they were symmetrical. It's a small gesture, but when it's your thigh getting intradermal shots I feel like I can let the engineer in me get what it wants. Plus, if I have to measure them with the tool this just makes it easier.

The shots themselves hurt more than they have before. And the last shot hurt the most. Both the RN and I thought maybe outside thigh would hurt less so she did the inner thigh before the outer. But wrong-o. Last one felt like being stabbed with a pencil in the thigh. Went away after 30 seconds, but that was a little new.

Right now it looks like I have 4 (but thank god symmetrical) mosquito bites on the thigh. I am going to blame my heavy legs that I had during my run and weight lifting on the shot (and maybe a lot on the pizza). Last time I had to take some benedryl because these suckers itched like mosquito bites, so we shall see what round 5 brings.

Next up, return visit to the dentist. One of my fillings still isn't right. Part of me wants to use a Ginger Chew just to rip it out, but I'm pretty sure that would be counter productive.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It was a bright sunshiny day

Thursday, when I woke up I was in a great mood and was on a mission. I was healthy and felt the need to prove it all day long.

First up, a 4 mile run. With hills. I picked the least hilly run available but still ended up with 6 or 7 large hills. Thankfully, the first half was mostly uphill and a bit difficult. The second half was mostly flat or easy cruising downhill, kinda like the last year. I wore my favorite hot pink breast cancer gear and ran it in about 30 minutes (really picked it up while going down hill).

Next up, water skiing. A little bit of a rough start, but after some coaching from my Uncle to stay in my crouch longer I ended up with this (I hope you can see the ear to ear grin I was sporting):
Victory! Until the boat needed to turn and then I fell off the wake and wiped out. But, I got back up and went for a nice long (well for a newbie) ski. Another great analogy for the last year.

At 3:30 pm I found myself a year later again sitting beside my mother. This time it was not in a dark room, but out in the sun on a dock at the Lake. At 3:30 pm I played this song for the two of us to listen to:
as we both agreed, the best is yet to come.

Then because my quads were dead from running and skiing, I kayaked down part of the shoreline of the lake. Just because I could.

What a difference a year makes. : )

Thursday, August 8, 2013

365 days ago

August 8th, 2012 at 3:30 pm was the official phone call from the Nurse Practitioner to tell me that I had cancer. The words were foreign and scary. Breast Cancer. A year later and I am cancer free and no longer scared by the word cancer. What a long strange trip it's been.

There are many lessons learns, but first and foremost Andi Dufrane was right:

I learned is that people in general are good. There are a few Sh*theads out there, but the majority of people are kind and generous. I learned that when the chips are down my family and friends rally and give support, even if your not sure what you need. Having cancer has brought me closer to all of them and it's nice to see people who are generally excited to see.

One year later instead of a lump I have a dimple in my right boob. I have a four inch scar with about a cm thick layer of scar tissue. I have a 0.5 inch scar under my right arm pit and a thick tendon that moves around sometimes because there are two lymph nodes missing. When I do any hanging exercises there is still some soreness, but nothing more than a little "hello" from the removed pectoral fascia.  From radiation I have 3 blue freckles, only half my axilla grows hair and some of the sweat glands have still not reactivated (I'll take it). From Chemo I know I have a pretty sweet head shape and now have thick, fluffy hair.  Yes, fluffy.

After being a Cancer Kick@ss Machine for 7 months I have fully transitioned into Recurrance Prevention mode. Scrutinizing everything that goes in my body, on my person or used to clean my environment. I have changed toothpastes, hand soaps and now actively by organic foods for the dirty dozen. I occasionally put on my crazy pants and get into intense research mode and spend late nights on my computer looking at endocrine disrupters. Things I never new about before August 8th, 2012. I continue to get injections monthly in my right thigh that may or may not leave permanent discoloration and may or may not be a cancer vaccine. I will never know the truth on that, but thankfully in the past year I have learned to accept some things. I take tamoxifen daily, my handy little SERM which in reality is daily low dose chemotherapy. I am thankful that the major side effect that I have is calf cramps and not hot flashes or more major joint stiffness.

I am not afraid of recurrance. I am a little more of a hypochondriach, but from my cancer friends I know that that's normal. "What's that ache? What's that lump? Why am I tired? What is that bruise from?" Nothing like a constant internal dialogue question everything that used to be shrugged off as it's probably nothing. I have seen and lived through the other side and know that it's not always nothing. The more time I put between me and cancer the quieter the inner dialogue gets. Eventually, I know that I'll forget (or hope I'll forget) the anniversaries; August 8th, September 11th, December 10th, February 27th. [Diagnosis, Surgery, Last Chemo Infusion, Last XRT-treatment complete]

One thing I don't think will ever go away is taking it personally every single time I hear that someone else has breast cancer. It's a sisterhood and everyone I've met will share their story and we root for those  battling. I have a collection of breast cancer gear and I wear it proudly.

Last year, my mom and Aunts were going to spend time up at Lake Sunapee. A well deserved vacation for all. Instead I filled it with biopsies and anxiety. My mother swore she would never go on another vacation with me. This year, with clean CT in hand, we are headed up to the Lake. No cancellations this year!

August 8th 2013 is a great cancer free day. Not bad for a Thursday.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

No time for Tom Petty this year

This time a year ago I was waiting to have my biopsy. I had had the ultra sound with the radiologist who had zero sense of humor and was attempting to enjoy the summer olympics during my sleepless nights. This year I am not waiting on any test results, I am basking in the glory of being cancer free (with a clean CT) and I am making the most of my free time. Last year while waiting for the biopsy I was the MC at our track club's fundraiser. While happy to have the distraction I know I had a short temper that day and was easily annoyed by anything that didn't go well. This year, I spent the weekend at a Bachelorette party for my friend who ran with me through chemo and am tired from the festivities (and squeezing every last moment of fun out that I can).

Curly Hair
Right now my biggest adjustment is my hair (which I am aware is very vain). I sometimes don't know who the person in the mirror is and I can't get it too look similar from one day to the next. I am very thankful to have hair, however and I think having the 2nd post chemo haircut might help my hair anxiety. But, lets be real, how nice of it a year later and my biggest issue is curly hair? That's straight up awesome.

This time instead of having "Waiting is the Hardest Part" stuck in my head I have this version of the most popular song in America:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clean as a slightly dented Whistle

My oncologist walked into my office to give me my CT results in person. She said she rarely gets to do that with good news. Here is part of the report:

There is an arrow to the point on the CT results where it reads clearing of right nodule. That 4mm bright spot on my lung that was probably from XRT is totally gone!!! The other bullet point on the results says right breast with surgical changes and lots of metal clips. Yup I got a couple of markers in the left and multiple markers from where the tumor was removed in the right. But, thankfully, that is all that is there.

When I finally get my room set up I will have 3 items hanging up: Radiation Oncology Certificate of Completion, Clean Right Mammogram, Clean CT. Some people hang pictures, I like to hang negative medical test results. It's a cancer thing.

To celebrate I did a little baking (which follows a little booty shaking). I came home and baked some cookies while rocking out.

The yellow arrow demonstrates my quality control. It's important to test your work.

For the record, I wasn't worried about the CT scan. I forgot I had it until Sunday night when my roommate asked me what time I would be home from work. I forgot to tell my parents that I even had it done. However, when my oncologist gave me the news I am pretty sure this is how I responded:

Monday, July 29, 2013

O-H-I-O and a C-T Scan

When I last visited my college friend and her husband we went to the Ohio State's Football game. It was a lot of fun. I also noted how often they spell OHIO. The love to do it. The pace of this visit, however, was quite different and wonderful. My college friend has the most adorable 10 month old and we did lots of activities revolving around him. We went to the park to swing on the swings, we went to the zoo and he totally loved the kangaroos (one hopped onto the sidewalk, it was pretty cool), and we just hung around and played legos. It was a fantastic change of pace. We did adult things too, like ate our weight in Jeni's Spendid Ice Creams and go to the AAA baseball game. But mostly we ate Jeni's ice cream. When I was diagnosed with cancer my friend sent me four pints of the ice cream and I ate an entire pint of the salty caramel for dinner. My mother thought this was a sign of depression, but I explained I just have a hard time with portion control and Jeni's. It is a good thing they are only in Columbus or the dreaded tamoxifen weight gain really would happen.

Because I like to schedule my vacations with wake up calls to return to normalcy quicker at the end of the work day I had a follow up CT.  Just checking on the 4mm of inflammation from April to see what it is up to. They have been waiting to see if the follow up could coincide with any other testing in the study to decrease my radiation exposure, but nothing panned out. There was a gentlemen sitting next to me in the waiting room with a PICC line that he needed for his chemotherapy treatment tomorrow. He was not enjoying his mochachino shake. This encounter left me grateful x 2. Thankfully, I didn't have to have any mochachino flavored barium or iv contrast that makes me feel like I peed my pants. It made for a very quick scan. They asked me to hold my breath twice and we were done. Piece of cake. Will get the results tomorrow.

I woke up singing this song today. If you've ever been to an OSU game, in the middle of the chorus they spell out OHIO. No idea why.  I guess I still have Ohio on the brain. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Keeping an Active Schedule

Bon Jovi has a song called "Sleep When I'm Dead" and lets just say that's how the past week has gone and its been pretty awesome. 

Friday night I went with my usual Red Sox game mate to the game. The last time her and I went to the game it was August of 2012, it was Johnny Pesky Day and Jimmy Fund Week. I was in the midst of waiting for my PET scan and every batter was announced by a kid with cancer. I don't remember who won the game, I just remember that it was kinda brutal. I also remember yelling at the two idiots behind us who couldn't figure out why all the Red Sox were wearing the same number or really how the game of baseball was played. 

This game on Friday went much better. The fans were knowledgable and it was Yankees vs Sox and good guys won. "All the Way" May the 90 year old former Rockford Peach was there along with others to throw out the first pitch. 

She was just as spunky now!

Saturday night as the first sentence alludes to, my friends and I went to Bon Jovi! Double Encore-amazing! Totally worth getting home at 1:30 am. If I could add video via my phone I would attach the song.

Sunday I moved. Given they think my cancer was environmental I am happy to change my environment and have a full kitchen. After removing all my furniture I found a lot of hair elastics and barrets. Swept those into the trash! 

Monday was work and further unpacking and Tuesday was work and back to the Sox! This time vs Tampa with my favorite pitcher Jon Lester (fellow cancer survivor). He got the win and Shane Victorino might just have the best up to bat song Bob Marley's "Every little thing is gonna be alright". They cut off the song every time and the crowd would sing " cuz every little thing is gonna be alright". It was pretty awesome. (Who is this positive person I've become I don't even know her sometimes) 

Yesterday was the set of 4th injections for the vaccine trial. I had a different research RN and she was a little slower with injecting and holy batman they hurt. Thankfully only while injecting and today they look like large mosquito bites. Hello induration how lovely of you to come back again. Still not at 10 cm diameter but one of them is about 5 and a little itchy.

Today I am blogging from Logan and about to board this 
Off to visit my good friend from college, her husband and 10 month old! Ohio here I come.

"Until I'm six feet under I don't need a bed. I'll live when I'm alive and sleep when I'm dead"

Saturday, July 20, 2013

For Talia

I never met Talia Castellano. I saw her and was inspired by her like many others on Ellen. We watched her the day after my lumpectomy while waiting to for the decision on chemotherapy. I knew that if this bubbly 13 year old could keep her positive spirit after 6 years(!) of cancer treatment my potential 7 months was a drop in the bucket.

I loved in the 2nd video she did something I did (do) to my mom all the time, sang "Just keep swimming" when asked how she keeps going.

Talia died on Tuesday morning after battling cancer for almost half of her short, but inspiring life. When checking my e-mail at work I saw the news posted on the comcast homepage and made the rest of my office watch the video of her passing that the Today show did. There was not a dry eye in the house. When I showed my mom the video later I broke down again. Despite not knowing the little spitfire, I related to her so much that I am having a tough time digesting the news. Sprinkle in a little survivor guilt and heat and I have been crank-a-saurus Rex the rest of the week. I need to remember to "Just Keep Swimming".

For Talia, who was truly a cancer fighting Army of One.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Feeling more like 81 than 31

The humidity is back at oppressive levels. To be clear, I am done with summer weather already.  Humidity I have found brings a new trick with it; joint stiffness! Mostly in my knees and knuckles. The first 5 minutes of the run to the gym this morning feel like this:
And I am not sure that my form looks any prettier either!

Weight lifting and a couple of miles seem to help ease the stiffness. Also, lots of jazz hands seem to ease the knuckle soreness. Just while typing I have done more than Jack McFarland on the entire series of Will and Grace.

Still working on the dew point to hair gel ratio to prevent the jheri curl, but at least that's getting closer.

I've been singing this first line all day, punctuated with Jazz hands.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Being on the Other Side

Every time I learn of someone else diagnosed with breast cancer. I take it personally and it pisses me off. I wonder if that will get better with time, but knowing my personality I doubt it will. I'm only 4.5 months from completing treatment and 2 people that I know have also been diagnosed. Of course when I heard about their diagnosis I wanted to do a Vulcan mind meld and give all the information and experiences in my head to them. This of course is would be scary and ridiculous. But, what I remember is that the person undergoing treatment is driving the bus. Comfort in, dump out. I can give kind words and contact information and allow everyone to have their on journey like everyone allowed me to have. I can also send out those positive vibes that worked so well for me.

As I grapple with being on "the other side" I also found this to be helpful:

This is a hot pink t-hsirt from under armor titled Power In Pink. They donated money to breast cancer centers and charities (according to the tag). It is the first breast cancer clothing that I have bought myself. I wore it for my workout today. I wore it in support of everyone fighting. I know they are all fighters and this the best way I know to get the vibes out there.

No matter what the battle, I think this song is fitting.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Becoming Heat Intolerant

I have been fortunate to not have had more than the 1.5 flashes since starting the tamoxifen. However, I have noticed that my internal thermostat may run a little warmer. A lot of my shirts for work are sleeveless and basically since it has turned summer I have been nothing but a hot sweaty mess. I never needed a/c before. Now with multiple stretches of hot humid days I need air conditioning. Last summer I was able to get by with a tried and true method of cold shower, fan and tank tops. I was never one who had trouble sleeping in the heat. Well that is all changed. I have had difficulty sleeping in the heat waking up a couple of times a night. Last night was the most trouble I've had in a long time.  I had multiple pajama changes and was awake from 2-3:30 am.  My elaborate stay cool plan failed! Thankfully, I am spending the remainder of the weekend at my parents who have central air. I've already had a nice nap.

Last night I started the evening by getting a giant ice cream cone. The ice cream scooper recommended I take a cup with my double scoop peanut butter oreo, but I decided I would be able to eat faster than it would melt. Former ChemE fail. I made it across the street in the 93 degree heat with the 99.9% humidity before my ice cream started melting. I had melted ice cream and oreo cookie bits covering my entire right forearm, drips down my leg and all over my work bag. My brilliant self only grabbed a napkin. One. After I finished the cone the heat had made the drippings extra sticky so I walked home covered in oreo and brown napkin pieces. Yes, it's the most attractive I've ever been. However, the peanut butter oreo ice cream was super delicious and totally worth being covered in drips.

Also, any reports that my hair might be straightening out have been greatly exaggerated. Holy head of curls.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Revenge of the Chews II

The pink spots on my leg are now just that, pink spots. Induration and swelling gone, just red marks. My teeth however are still a little jacked up. I found that I couldn't chew on the right side and when I flossed I felt like I was ripping my tooth and filling out. You know, that sharp shooting pain that lets you know you are doing it correctly.

12 days after the first filling I called the dentist to let them know something was not right. When the Dental Assistant brought me in she very condescendingly said "So your having some sensitivity to hot and cold?".  I explained to her the problem and wanted to say, no I am here for actual reasons. I did let her know that sensitivity was something I could handle (c'mon lady read my past medical history).

The Dentist came in and tested out the flossing and when his piece of floss shredded and with a little more poking he decided he needed to drill the current filling out and replace it. He said it was for the best and I agreed. He then brought out the Novocaine and made me numb. He had me sit and get numb while he went to finish up with another patient.

Someone in the dental office has a sense of humor, because I kid you not this is the song that came on:
And yes, I was beginning to get comfortably numb.

Apparently redoing a filling is a lot more complicated, or from my novice opinion it would seem that way. The dentist used 4 different drill bits to dig out the current filling and apparently make the hole bigger. Time out was called at one point because it was very important that a 34 be found. Now I have no idea what Big Papi  has to do with my teeth being fixed but apparently the 34 was found. Phew.  At one point I had the metal vice clamp on my offending tooth as well as two sets of metal pliers, two suctioning things and two sets of hands. No big deal. I couldn't feel it, but I am pretty sure that was the breaking point for my lips which decided to split on the corner. On hour later I am a proud owner of another new filling. This time one that I can floss.

The feeling is starting to come back in my face. My lips this time were totally numb. Which means when I came home and drank water a lot of it dribbled out onto my shirt. Sweet. Then I attempted some cereal and lets just say I got some chex and some milk on my shirt. After dinner I changed my shirt. Good thing there were no witnesses.

My new 400m hero is Novelene Williams of Jamaica. She found out she had breast cancer right before the Olympics, ran them without telling her teammates and won a bronze medal in the 4x4 relay. Also, after a double mastectomy she is already back running a 50 point 400m! Read her story here. I will be rooting for her Monday August 12th to bring home the World title!