Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lots to tell

This is going to be a lengthy post. I thought about splitting it up, but each post would be separate and might get lost since the blog only shows a few posts at a time. So, here goes:

My friend Mell (MariaEugenia Llanca) has been working very hard on a ZumbaThon benefit for me. She wanted to do something to help us out financially with the medical bills, and she LOVES Zumba. (it's a salsa aerobics class for those who don't know) She was reading my blog one day and was really touched and blessed by something on here and God put it on her heart to bless me back and to do it in this way. So, for those of you in the Houston area, here is the info:
Saturday, November 13, 2010
at 10225 Woodedge Dr. Houston TX 77070 (culture shapers/LRC building)
Prizes, give-aways, pink merchandise for sale, FREE Zumba classes for family, kid friendly activities, snacks

She has really worked hard on this, so please come out, even if you don't want to do the Zumba class. There is plenty of stuff to do for the whole family!
(There is also still time to sponsor if you or someone you know owns a business and wants to promote during the event or donate an auction item.)

Call Mell for more details: 281-571-3402

Surgeon Consultation
I had my surgeon consult on Wednesday. It did not go the way I envisioned it. I've mentioned my friend Moni on here before. We have almost identical cancer and are both getting treated at MD Anderson. We are both triple negative and stage 3 and both have lymph nodes affected. The only difference is that she was BRCA positive and I was negative. (This is the genetic testing) Well, Moni is 6 months or so ahead of me in treatments and I guess I figured I would just follow the same treatment plan as her. So far, it has been the same. So, when I went into the appointment my plan and idea was that I would be able to have the skin sparing mastectomy and lymph node removal, followed by radiation, followed by reconstructive surgery at which time they would remove the left breast and get implants in both....same as Moni...

Not their plan. I broke into tears when the Dr told me that they needed to do the total mastectomy on the right side and not the skin sparing mastectomy. Her explanation is because when you have a skin sparing mastectomy, they have to put a tissue expander in place to keep the skin from sagging during radiation. She said it would be harder in radiation to target the proper areas with a metal tissue expander in place. The biggest difference in the total and the skin sparing is the scar left behind. So, instead of just having the nipple removed and having everything removed from there, I will now have a scar from the middle of my chest across to the armpit. The other difference is that instead of leaving behind my muscle, they will be removing it which means that they have to construct the muscle to hold the implant using parts of my stomach or my back. I'm not really keen on that idea, but until I talk to the plastic surgeon, see pics, or get better understanding of the process I will be a little hesitant.

So, the battle wound scar is not so much an issue as the muscle reconstruction. I'm just on the fence about that idea. Everything else was the same as I had envisioned it. I had to do some convincing on my part for her to agree to remove the left breast, but she finally gave in and said she would do it if I still felt that way at the time of reconstruction...which I will. I cannot live in fear factor mode for the rest of my life and run down there to have every lump and bump biopsied. I'm toooo type A for that lifestyle. I'm waiting to hear back on when I get to meet with plastics and radiation and pushing for end of the year appointments before the mastectomy to make sure everyone is in agreement and on the same page. My mastectomy is scheduled for January 25.

Chemo Update
I am currently on day 10 after FAC chemo. I have been told that sometime between days 7 and 14 after chemo, my blood levels would drop and I would feel run down and tired. I'm still waiting on that.... I feel GREAT! Once we got the stomach issues worked out, I've been feeling awesome! Not completely awesome, but as awesome as can be expected in the world of cancer. When I was having stomach issues the other night, I talked to the nurse the following day and described to her my symptoms and told her what had happened. She felt like what I was experiencing was reflux. So, she told me to get some Zantac and take those as directed and ever since, I have been feeling much better. My hunger has also subsided, probably because the steroids have worn off most of the way. I don't feel like I have to eat quite so often. So, basically how I feel after chemo is like I felt when I was pregnant. Reflux, slight nausea but OK if I stay on top of my meds as directed, hungry, tired (but yet wide awake from anxiety), exhausted (but not able to sleep because of my toddler), and also bouts of energy here and there.

So, 3 more of these and I am DONE with chemo! My next chemo is schedule for November 11th. After that, if all goes well and my blood counts don't drop too much, I should be on target for December 2 and December 23 for the last of my chemo.

Team Tiffany shirts
I have a few more Team Tiffany shirts (screen printed and rhinestone) but most people who have expressed interest  in the shirts have already placed their orders. So, as I run out of certain sizes, I will be removing them from the store options. So, if you haven't purchased your shirt yet, be sure to do that as soon as you can because I probably won't be re-ordering since I have to order in increments and not singles.

Ok- so I think that's it. That should bring me up to date. Sorry for the amount of time between posting. I've been busy getting my kids ready for trick or treating, I had to make my daughters costume, and I have been trying to rest as much as possible, so I haven't been on the computer much.

Direct your prayers for me that I will continue to feel good during my last few treatments, and that everything regarding the mastectomy and reconstructive will fall into place and I will feel at ease about it all.

I hope you all have had a wonderful month of October. Breast cancer awareness month is officially over, but remember to check yourself often, and go get your yearly matter how old you are!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rough night

Last night was my first rough night so far during this whole process. All afternoon/evening I was feeling icky. It's really hard to explain. I had this acid feeling in my throat and esophagus but I didn't know if it was heartburn, indigestion, empty stomach, or nausea. It felt like all of them, but it didn't feel like any of them. I know that really doesn't make sense, but that's the only way I can explain it. I wasn't sure if I should eat something or not. It reminded me of those first few weeks of pregnancy when you're hungry, but afraid to eat.... except I really never had that with any of my pregnancies. If I ate, it would go away. I haven't been "sick" in a LOOOOONG teenage years probably. 3 pregnancies and a few stomach bugs and I've never gotten sick.

Not yesterday! I would eat something, and the feeling would go away for about an hour, but return again. I was told to take my nausea/vomit pill (Zofran) around the clock for the first 3 days after chemo whether I needed it or not. Just want to make sure I stay ahead of the nausea. Well, I did that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday, I only took one pill all day and I felt Ok. So, yesterday, I didn't take any. I really didn't feel like the feeling was nausea. It really felt more like empty stomach feeling and when I ate it went away.

I tried to go to bed about 9:30 and laid there tossing and turning until about 1am. I woke Chris up numerous times with all my moving. I finally got out of bed at 1am because I couldn't take it anymore. I HATE more than anything to lay in bad and not fall asleep. It annoys the crap out of me. My stomach was growling (even though I had just eaten a light snack before bed), but it was a weird creaky door sound. Not my usual hungry-rumble-growl sound. This has been going on for about a week...since chemo. It really sounds like a creaky Halloween door opening. Again, hard to explain. I've never had that before. It didn't hurt, it just wouldn't stop. So, I ate a quick Bora Bora bar and took a Zofran, just to be safe.......

5 minutes later.....that came back up.

I don't know what happened. I ate small meals all day, never should've gotten hungry because I ate about every 3 hours, ate high protein stuff, and I didn't think I would need my Zofran this long. The steroids are making me ravishing-starving-hungry shortly after I eat, and I'm trying to focus on small meals....

I'm not much of a complainer, but that was rough. I finally was able to go to sleep about 3am only to be awakened at 5:30 am by my bouncing 2 year old saying " hungwy...peese make me pantakes.... bekfest....peeeeeeese" (I managed to convince him to have "tookie cereal" instead...yes, I gave him Cookie Crisp because he looves his "tookies" and he hasn't been eating breakfast lately)

The only joy I can find is that at least I don't have to hold my hair back out of the way....

Friday, October 22, 2010

FAC Chemo #1

 I had a long day at MD Anderson yesterday. We had to be there at 8am for a blood draw, (stopped in to see Deana while she was in pre-op, she got her new boobs yesterday!) followed by a Dr appt with my oncologist, followed by a small 4 hour period of nothing, then a nutritionist followed by chemo. Well, we ran some errands during that 4 hr break, but still go back around noon, so we went ahead and checked in for chemo. They started me at about 12:30 and the whole process with all 7 bags was just over 3 hours.

They started off with my 3 bags of Pre-meds. Adavan for anxiety, which makes you tired. Dexamethasone steroids for reactions and nausea, and makes you hyper, and Zofran for nausea and vomiting. Normally on the way home from Taxol, I was chatty Cathy but this Adavan knocked me out and I took a nap on the way home this time. Then after a quick flush, they started the heavy duty stuff. Adriomycin (the red devil as it's usually called) and Cytoxan were first. They drip by gravity, so there is no time limit on those. Just depends on how fast your port allows it to go through. The last one is the 5-FU, the big bag. It is infused over a 1 hr period through the machine.

So, while it was dripping, the nutritionist came to visit, Chris watched TV, Moni visited, and I worked on designs. It wasn't bad and it felt like water going through me. As I mentioned, I crashed on the way home because I was so tired. We stopped for a quick bite to eat at our staple "after-chemo" place....Which-Wich. It's an awesome sandwich shop and since it's lighter fare, it sets well in my tummy.

Chris does well taking care of me. He gets me home, gives me whichever prescriptions I need to take and puts me to bed. Last night we got home earlier than expected, so I got to see the kids for a minute before they headed to bed. I was in bed shortly after.

It took me a while to fall asleep, and I slept pretty good, except a 1 hour block that I was awake during the middle of the night. I had to get a snack and take another anti-nausea pill. I slept in this morning and had my friend came get the kids for school. Since my mom was there overnight, she was able to get them all ready for school and get them out the door. She then stayed with Grayson until I woke up. We all had lunch together today before she headed back to her house with Grayson. She is keeping him until Sunday so I only have 2 to deal with so I can rest. She's such a sweet mommy!


 Yesterday, Grayson got sent home from school with a fever. I was so thankful that everyone managed to take care of him without having to call me. Mary picked him up from school, called my mom to meet her at the house and brought him here, found the key I had left, and got him inside and took his temperature. Mom told us about it as we called during chemo, but thank goodness they were able to take care of him and found everything without having to call me. I would have worried myself sick over him. He woke up fine this morning and it was probably just a reaction to his flu shot from the day before. (He calls it a blue shot, so we don't get the blues, I guess) 

The hardest thing throughout this whole cancer process so far has been the guilt. Mostly with the kids. I "feel" fine, so I tend to not ask for help. I am running myself ragged and not resting like I should be, so my Dr scolded me, as did my friend Moni, who had some helpful tips. So, I've arranged a "Personal Assistant" who will be making calls on my behalf to friends and family who have offered to help, and will be having them help, without me asking. I tried to apply for the "Cleaning for a reason" cleaning services. They clean once a month for free, for women in cancer treatment, but go one in my area. So, now my cobwebs in the window and dust on the shelves will just stay....hahaha. We have managed so far to get the basics done, but we don't ever have time to get to the more time consuming stuff. We pick up, vacuum, clean the kitchen, and do laundry. That's about it. Bathrooms get done about once every week if we're lucky.
This regimen I am on is going to make me more tired, which means I don't have a choice but to rest, or I will fall asleep where ever I am....even if it's driving. SOOOOO, I have to rest, and swallow my pride and ask for help....or have Eva do it for me. Chris has too much on his plate and needs a break.
I'm just thankful I have friends in my life who are WILLING to help, and WANT to help. It's unfair having cancer with little ones so young. Arranging the childcare has been the toughest thing, and then making sure whoever is picking up/dropping off has car seats since all 3 kids are still in car seats. I'm gonna have one heck of a garage sale in a few years.....we own 9 car seats! 3 in my suburban, 3 in Chris' truck and 3 floaters.
So, to all you wonderful people who have asked what you can do, send me an email and I'll put you in touch with Eva who can tell you what you can do, based on your "likes" and "dislikes". Let's face it....only people who LIKE doing toilets are going to want to volunteer to clean my bathrooms.....I have a newly potty trained 2 yr old who won't point his pecker down because he refuses to touch it....and he pees straight out in front..... yeah... that's fun!
Me playing around with the "red devil" cocktail, pretending I was a vampire and it was blood. I guess I was in a Halloween mood.....

Until next time......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Addictions and Adjectives

Ok, so MD Anderson has this really cool feature where you can access all your medical records online. You can read all your Dr notes and you can see all your reports (blood work, scans, US reports, pathology, etc). Well, I was looking through all mine and noticed something very weird. Well, not weird so much as a tad bit hurtful and left me dumbfounded.

Let me backtrack a minute and go off on a rabbit trail.... many who know me know that I have battled my weight my ENTIRE life. I always joke that Chris met and married me fat, so I know what my "limit" is before he finds me not so attractive. Seriously, I was 70 lbs above "normal" range on our wedding date. After we got married, I lost 60 lbs and was battling that last 10 stubborn pounds when I got pregnant with Kaylee. When I'm pregnant, I am very lucky and I don't have morning sickness. But, on the other hand, I gain a lot of weight. With each one of my pregnancies, I gained 47 lbs. Yep, the exact same amount with each one. But, I got it all off in between kids, but I never got those last few stubborn pounds off. After I had Grayson, I got closer to my "normal" range than I had ever been. I had 5 pounds to go when I got my cancer diagnosis. Now, this was not 5 lbs to goal weight, it was 5 lbs to normal weight. My BMI was just barely in the overweight column. So, I still wouldn't have been "skinny"...just normal. I'm totally happy with normal! I'm tall and I have a larger frame and broad shoulders, so if I got down any lower, I would seriously look like a walking stick. I just wanted to be a size 10 and 5 lbs would have done that. I was THAT close....

Well, I went into a small pity party/depression when I first got my diagnosis and before I even got to MD Anderson a month later, I had already gained back 8 lbs. Partly because I had such wonderful people bringing us yummy dinners (which was a lot of pasta and casseroles) and partly because I eat out of boredom and depression. Add to boot that we were constantly traveling here and there, all over town, for testing so we ate fast food a couple of times. Probably a few more than a "couple"...more like "stop and get me a diet coke from Sonic on the way....oh....and some cheese sticks". So, when I got to MDA, remember how much I loved the new Dr? Yeah, he was great..... now back to my original story....

His report said I was "a healthy vibrant young woman who came for a second opinion".... you see why I like Dr. Theriault? He is great! He thought I was normal and healthy.

A month later, I had to see a different oncologist because Dr. Theriault was on vacation and  I didn't care for the replacement guy very much. He felt more like he was feeling me up rather than checking my tumor size, and he was very "put off" by me....I just didn't get a good vibe from him and I was glad he wasn't my regular oncologist. Welllllll ....... he put in his report that I was "moderately obese"......

Seriously? Moderately obese? My BMI falls into the "barely overweight" column....even after gaining back those 8 lbs! MILDLY obese would have been less shocking than MODERATELY! He left me with my jaw open, dropped on the floor!

See how much ONE adjective can hurt some one's feelings? Now, of course I brushed it off because I know I'm not moderately obese....BUT PLEASE don't ever add weight to a woman...especially on paper!

Be careful when using adjectives when referring to overweight people. There is a HUGE difference between mildly and moderately when referring to weight....Plus, we already have a hard enough time battling weight, then you get diagnosed with breast cancer and are told "10-15 lbs is normal weight gain for breast cancer", and then what do you want to do? Yep....drown that sorrow with more food. One single adjective can be taken out of context so easily when it comes to describing someone. Fluffy, hugable, more to love, big boned, normal... all these are adjectives I've used to describe myself over the years.... I've even used the "F" word....yes, Fat, what were you thinking?  Never have I said moderately obese. Because I'm not!

I have addictions. I always have. I think everyone at some point in their life has addictions. You can be addicted to working out, addicted to your spouse, addicted to kissing your child's sweet cheeks, playing computer games, or it can be something more harmful...smoking, food, drugs, alcohol....

Well, mine has been for the longest time, smoking on and off (I'm a professional quitter) and food. I've had some healthy ones too like the ones mentioned above, and thankfully I've never battled alcohol or drugs, BUT a friend and I were talking not too long ago about which addictions are hardest to break... we decided food was the biggest addiction to overcome. Food is everywhere. Parties, get togethers, driving down the road, family's houses. It's easily accessible, not illegal and let's face it... you need it to survive. Not in mass quantities, and some people actually like eating healthy, but I don't. It's a chore for me. I'd rather have cheese sticks than a salad. I'd rather have macaroni and cheese than steamed vegetables. I don't care for a lot of vegetables unless they are covered in cheese, and I certainly don't watch my portion size. I do when I'm on a diet, but at times...the diet has GOT to go and I have to enjoy life. I've lived my entire adult life on a diet. I have far more important things to worry about right now. I try my best, but these steroids they give me before my chemo are making my hungry and if I'm hungry...I'm gonna eat. I don't have the energy to work out, and as much as I'd like to, it just doesn't happen. I pass my treadmill as I head to bed and say "tomorrow"....

Well.....apparently, tomorrow needs to be today. I stepped on the scale this morning....YUCK! Let's just say...I never do anything normal....I'm always an over-achiever! 10-15 lbs is normal? ASS!!! Literally! Looks like I'll be hanging out in my yoga pants with an elastic waist this winter....or I have to go buy new jeans as I'm down to one pair of jeans and one pair of shorts that fit.

Yay me!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Last week, I got to have dinner with a family that is very much into boobies like me. Amy Craig used to go to High school with Chris. I won't bother to mention how many years ago that was....
Anyways, her mother, Mary Cilny, is an 8 yr survivor of breast cancer. We tried to meet up at the Susan G Komen walk, but it didn't happen, so we decided to meet for dinner.
Her Mom is amazing and super cool too. She was very inspirational and I saw a lot of myself in her. We have the same "can-do" attitude, and have felt like superwomen that can accomplish anything.
We had a great dinner and great conversation for almost 2 hours. Amy's sister Heather also got to come. (I am going to nickname her 'eyelashes' because she has the most killer-make-you-jealous- eyelashes!)

It was a great night with great friends. shout out to Amy, Heather and Mary! Holla!
You rock!

I'm done with Taxol!!!!

I had my last Taxol treatment on 10-13-10. It was a great day! Stefanie, my long time best friend went with me to this one.

I kind of have mixed feelings about it being over. On one hand, I'm very nervous about the FAC that starts next week. I'm nervous that I might get sick, or what else may happen during that one. I'm nervous that my immune system will drop so low and I will get sick during this cold and flu season. BUT, I am so thankful that I don't have to go down there weekly now!

That's been the hardest thing about the weekly visits. Arranging childcare, rides for the kids, and remembering what time to be there. Add Chemo brain to boot and it's no wonder I haven't lost my mind. I'm thankful I had a great calendar to write it all down in, but I hope things are WAY easier to keep up with now.

Aside from a few Dr visits here and there, I only have to do chemo once every 3 weeks now. I go next Thursday for a Dr visit with my oncologist, and then I have a nutritionist appt, and then chemo. I'll be down there ALL day next Thursday. Then, I meet with my surgeon the following week to discuss the Mastectomy and lymph node removal surgery and then I don't have to go back until November 11.

So, I will be done with chemo around December 23 now, which means there is only 12 WEEKS TILL CHRISTMAS!!! I better finish my shopping soon.....SO not like me to be un-prepared this late in the game! hahahahaha

Also, for those who have asked: Here is the FAC and what it stands for.....
F- Fluorouracil (also known as 5-FU, or 5-Fluorouracil)
A- Adriamicin (also known as Doxorubicin)
C- Cytoxan (also known as Cyclophosphamide)

Side effects with these 3 drugs include- Mouth sores, Diarrhea, Low blood counts, Sensitivity to sunlight, Hair loss, fingernail and toenail changes, and Nausea and vomiting. Most of these are the same as the Taxol, except on a more crucial and excessive level. The only side effect I got on the Taxol was the fingernail and toenail issues and the hair loss.  This week my stomach has been more fluttery, and a little crampy, but it's hard to tell if that's from the Taxol or my nerves. My nerves right now are really bad.

So, prayer requests for this next week:
1. That my first FAC treatment goes well and I don't suffer from major side effects.
2. That this stuff works and I have a complete response to the chemo shrinking and/or killing off the tumor.
3. That my children continue to avoid this nasty stomach bug out there and will stay well for me!

Thanks guys! Love you all!

Monday, October 11, 2010

More walking, different shoes

Stacia, who is a friend of a friend of mine heard my story and decided to do the Susan G Komen 3-day walk for a cure in Dallas this November. It's her third year to do the walk, but this year her team is called "Team Tiffany's Ground Soldiers". But, she still needs donations before she reaches her MINIMUM amount to be able to do the walk. She needs to raise $2,300 to be able to do it, and she is currently at $1,200, so if you weren't able to donate to mine, but would like to donate on my behalf still, please click on the link HERE or the tab to the left to donate.

Thanks for your "SUPPORT"


Sunday, October 10, 2010


We got to go to the Little Big Town, Sugarland concert tonight! (Well, last night, but I haven't slept yet, so tonight....) It was an AWESOME show! My awesome step-brother, Bobby, got us VIP tickets and arranged a few special things for us. 
 This is our VIP passes. We got to hang out with the band, eat dinner backstage with them and the crew, and go into the greenroom.
 We went backstage where Bobby gave us a quick tour and we got to take pictures of Sugarland's awesome Incredible Machine stage. This drum set was super cool!
 This was us before the concert. Kaylee begged us to go, and little did we know, she was in for a treat...
We got to meet all of Little Big Town before the concert, get autographs, and then they put on an awesome show as the middle act. They were super sweet, talked to us, and were so cool to hang with! Bobby is the production manager (I think that's his official title) for Little Big Town. 
 Then, Sugarland rocked the house!!! I never sat down. I sang, danced, and rocked with them all night long!
 Jennifer Nettles sounds awesome live. Her and Kristian are such an amazing duo! They remain one of my favorite bands of all times! Especially after tonight!

 We got to get up close and personal..... We stood stageside for a little bit.

So, here was our first surprise.....


Kaylee and I got to go to the front row while Jennifer painted the word LOVE on a flag. Then, Kaylee got to carry the flag through the crowd and got to keep the flag.

  It was amazing!

 After the show, Kaylee got to hold up her flag with her "new best friend", Mariah. (She sat at the table with us while we ate dinner and Kaylee chatted her ear off.)

 Then, came my surprise..... after the concert, we went backstage. Sugarland doesn't normally do "meet and greet" so the chances of me meeting Jennifer Nettles was slim to none. Well, Bobby told me he had an autographed playlist for me and he opened the box to this.......

A FREAKING SIGNED GUITAR FROM SUGARLAND!!!!!  Yes, that says "TO TIFFANY"..... that's me!!!!

When we left the greenroom and headed to our car, we got to stop into Jennifer's room and say thank you, give her hugs and get the flag autographed! She was super sweet to meet in person. (of course, no pictures because she had already taken her makeup off and I wouldn't have asked anyways) There was a few ladies in there who asked me about my treatment, how far I was, and gave me some really encouraging words. I am sitting here at 3 am on cloud nine that I had such a wonderful night! I got to meet Jennifer Nettles!!!! EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeee

Kaylee was plum tuckered out after our eventful night! Sugarland, Little Big Town..... YOU ROCK! Thank you for making our night so fantastic! There are no words to express our gratitude to you all! We love you!!!! 

Bobby- THANK YOU!!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!

Little Big Town and Sugarland got together at the end and sang a song together. AMAZING NIGHT!!!

Then, Sugarland did "Stayin Alive" and she wore this crazy wig. It was cute!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Taxol # 11, only ONE more to go!!!

Well, # 11 of the weekly stuff, and then I head into the harder FAC chemo. That one is given once every 3 weeks x4 injectons, so I have 12 weeks left after next week. It's hard to believe that I have been at MDA for almost 12 weeks. It has flown by. Before I know it, Christmas will be here and I'll be done with Chemo!!! I'm doing well with the treatments, but I am getting nervous about the FAC. That's the one that you always hear about people getting sick on, nausea, vomitting, etc. I'm really hoping and praying that I do well, but its one of those things you don't know until you try it. I never got sick in my pregnancies, just a little empty stomach feeling, so I've got my fingers crossed.

Chris went with me to this chemo. He will be going with me to all 4 of the FAC ones also, but he wanted to come with me since it was one of the last ones. I have a friend taking me next week. Once again, it was a magical day at MD Anderson, and we had a good time. I took my laptop and chatted on Facebook with my cousins and was also multi tasking and setting up a rhinestone design to keep me busy while Chris watched TV.
I got a little hot this treatment, so I stripped off my hat during treatment. Lately, the past few days, I have not been feeling so good. My stomach has been uneasy, and I've been having more hot flashes. Not sure if it's menopause related, chemo related, or just lack of sleep. Since we got up so early Saturday, and had so many errands to run Sunday, I feel like I never caught up on sleep from last weeks treatment.
So, prayer requests for this week are:
1. Pray that I have as good of a time handling the FAC treatments as I have the Taxol.
2. Pray that all my appointments go as planned with the surgeon I meet with October 27.
3. Pray for good sleep and well behaved children! I know it's a stretch, but I need that bad!

2010 Susan G Komen Race for the Cure

Saturday, I competed in my first Susan G Komen walk for the Cure race. It was fun and emotional! Chris and I got up bright and early that morning, like 4am early! We headed out at 5am to pick up Diana and head to downtown Houston.

Krissy, Crystal, Joyce (team captain) and Stefanie Otto showed up shortly after we arrived with Diana.

My team arrived also bright and early and we met on the steps of City Hall.

Then, next to arrive was Sarah B, and as a surprise she brought Mell and Becky with her. I had no idea they were walking. So, it was nice having them there too!

Sarah K, Renee and Merci showed up right as we were about to head to the starting line.

Downtown Houston was PACKED and it was hard to get around all the people. We happened to be close to the end of the line, but I was totally fine with that. I wanted to bask in all my glory and enjoy the moment. The walk finally kicked off at about 8:30 am.

I had gotten new shoes for this event, so I was sure to take a picture of them also.

I love love love the Pink Port-O-Potties!!! I didn't use them, but I thought they were cute!!!

Stacy and her kids showed up too and they walked with us the whole time. Stacy's daughter is one of Kaylee's good friends, and Stacy is a teacher at their school. Her husband is the pastor at the Cowboy Church in town, but they used to attend our church.

Stefanie and I have been best friends since we were 12. She came out to walk with me, and we had fun walking and talking the whole time. Most of my team got split up so she was one of the ones who managed to stay beside me. With a crowd that large, it's so easy to be split up. I told them to keep looking for my pink cupcake hat.

This is only a fraction of the people who were there. We had more people behind us and more people who had already taken off for the running part.

It took us about 30 mintues before we actually crossed the starting line from where we started at. That's how far back we were and walking like a herd of elephants at a turtle's pace.

After the race, Diana, Stefanie, Chris and I found a comfy piece of grass and ate a bite and visited before heading home.

All in all, it was a great day. The whole "Lets Find a Cure" kind of gets on my nerves because you'd think with the MILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars raised for cancer research, there would be a cure. I feel like there is and the scientists are sitting on it, or hiding it, but that's a whole other post. I'll stay off that soapbox now. I walked the race because I want to promote Breast HEALTH Awareness.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today is October 1st! Today is the official beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Honestly, besides the "pay to wear pink" at my job years ago, I've never really paid any mind to this month being special. things have changed in 3 months. Now, I often remind my friends on "hump day" *Wednesday* to check their lovely lady humps for bumps. Take that...Mrs. Fergilicious!

I was informed that I am going to be "Champion of the Week" on the Bill Crews Remission Run website. My day to be featured is today! I kick off Breast Cancer awareness month. Pretty cool huh? Check out my story here and then go check out what the Remission run is, and where the funds go. Bill and Dana-Susan Crews are awesome people! I was elated that my blog and story was chosen, and even more flattered that I was chosen to be the first woman in October to be featured!

So, today's post is going to focus on prevention and statistics. Wow, that really sounded like I am beginning a lecture at a college auditorium.... let me re-phrase that...

Today, we are going to talk about feeling your boobies! There, that's better!

I saw a news story yesterday about how the "US Preventitive Services Task Force" is changing the recommended age for mammograms from 40-50 and it's being challenged and possibly overturned! DUH!!! I thought to myself.... what would have happened if I hadn't found my lump until age 40.... 7 years from now? I wasn't due for a mammogram for 2 more years, and the only reason I was due for one was because my paternal grandmother had breast cancer in her late 60's. (Mine turned out not to be genetic) They wanted me to start mine at 35. I did self exams about 3-4 times a year. I felt myself up every time I positioned my "post 3 children long boobs" into my bra or bathing suit. My husband did his "breast exams" at least twice weekly......and yet we didn't catch my lump until it was stage 3 !!!

Here is a brief synopsis of the article and why I want to slap the person in charge....
"It's not a perfect test. But right now, it really is the best imaging/screening test we have. And last year, the reason the preventive service task force said it might not be so great or even recommended in women in their 40s. It really comes down to numbers. It comes down to statistics. And this study actually was in keeping with that. It showed that, in order to save ONE life, over 1,200 mammograms would need to be done every other year for a ten-year period for women in their 40's. Now, the hard-core statisticians and scientists will say, well, those numbers do not support its use in this age group.

"But, for women who are that one life, emotion comes into play. And medicine is a science, but it's also an art, so you have to take into account science, statistics, numbers; you also have to take into account emotion. There's no getting around it."
I am that ONE life! I don't think they should be advancing the age....they need to be backing it up!!! More and more women are getting diagnosed with higher grade breast cancer BEFORE they turn 40!

So, next topic....
I really believe that the reason I am doing so well, as I have mentioned several times, is because I am taking special nutrients. The stuff I am taking and doing is actually on a higher dosage for ONCE you have cancer, but it can be done in a milder version for prevention. So, here is my daily ritual for prevention... (I would cut back quantities since it's for prevention....I do double this amount daily)

AM- juice 2 organic carrots and 1 organic apple in a juicer. Mine came from costco and was $90...ask for one for Christmas if you have to. I can't say enough about juicing, especially if you're like me and can only enjoy vegetables covered and smothered, like from Waffle House...cheese, salt, pepper, butter....all the "good" stuff. I am a CARB girl, so this is a hard regimen for me, but I stick with it because I see all the goodness from it!

Then, I take that juice, pour it in the blender and add one banana, a scoop of organic wheatgrass powder, 1 TBSP of Benefiber powder, and 1 TBSP of my special powder nutrients.
Blend it all together, serve in a pretty glass to make it taste better and chug!
I use this to take my 10 daily vitamins

Lunch- I make a sandwich with my favorite Boars Head All Natural (they have no preservatives, no colors, and no artificial CRAP) lunch meat. I prefer the Tuscan chicken or Garlic Herb chicken and Colby Jack cheese (YUM). I use bread with UNBLEACHED flour and NOT ENRICHED. Hard to find! Natures Own has a few to choose from. I top with organic mayo and brocolli sprouts. I usually eat a small bag of organic baby carrots for my "crunchy" and sometimes will eat a yogurt or fruit with it for my "sweet".

Snack- Bora Bora bar! Super good! Lots of organic nuts smothered together with Agave Nectar and baked! YUM...available at Costco too! This is usually what I have while waiting in the car rider line in the afternoon. It's also sticky, so I HAVE to drink a whole bottle of water after it to wash it all down.

Dinner- salad with Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Toasted Almonds, Avacado, Boiled Egg, Grilled Organic Chicken, tiny bit of cheese and favorite dressing. Then, on top, I add my brocolli sprouts again. I sprout a jar of them about once a week. Very easy to do, and they have 50 times the cancer fighting antioxidants than a head of brocolli.

WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER! I drink water a lot.

So, that's my "healthy eating habits" and my "daily regimen" for fighting cancer.
I really believe, and this may cause some controversy.... but I believe the reason I got Cancer was because for years, I was poisoning my body with toxins in my food and I...HAD...NO...IDEA!!! Why? because the FDA told us that it was all good...... I am soooo anti-FDA at the moment. I can't stand them, so pardon my soapbox rant. Honestly, who would approve a product like Nutrasweet (aspartame) that has been proven to cause cancer in lab rats and approve it for a human beings consumption? FDA! Who would approve for our animals to be injected with hormones and antibiotics to make them grow faster? FDA! Who would approve for everything to be made from specific soy beans, patented by a particular pesticide company to be in all our daily food products...HIDDEN at that? FDA! Now, they are voting on making a GENETICALLY MODIFIED SALMON! Really??? Let's clone a healthy fish so we can mass produce it in a factory....that's just plain rediculous!

Why? Why? Why?

Money! It's all about the Benjamin's Baby!!!

So, in our house, we don't eat anything fake! Nothing genetically modified (GMO) and nothing with artificial anything! No colors, flavors, preservatives, nitrates, dyes, antibiotics, pesticides, bleached, or enriched, and pretty much nothing with more than 5 ingredients to it. If we can't pronounce it, we don't eat it. Let me tell you, organic food has really come down in prices over the years, and it has picked up MUCHO flavor. It doesn't taste like cardboard anymore. By eating organic, and by spending the extra money on groceries, we don't go out to eat as much. We probably go out once a month as a family now, where we used to go out at least twice a week. So, we can justify the extra money for groceries. I am no longer listening to FDA or "government" advice, I am conducting my own research and using my "mommy intuition" and educating myself on food, vitamins, medicine, and prevention the old fashioned way. Now, don't get me wrong, I am NOT anti-Doctor. I LOVE all my doctors! I go see them regularly. I just limit what goes into my body and use it only if the benefits outweigh the risks (hence the chemotherapy)

Here are my facts: I do not fit any stereotype for acquiring breast cancer. It wasn't genetic (proven with a BRCA blood test) and I have had 3 children and nursed them which is supposed to reduce your odds, I ate semi-healthy for the past year or so, I work out regularly, don't drink often, smoked on and off for years but that doesn't cause breast cancer....only lung and throat cancer, never done any recreational drugs, and we have a good healthy sex life which produces melatonin and helps prevent cancer. (Sorry siblings and parents that read that, guess I should've warned you first)

So, the only logical solution in my case is that for years, I was eating TONS of fast food, frozen meals, lots of fried fatty foods, everything prepared (with nitrates and preservatives) and pre packaged, and pretty much anything EASY.....I was a lazy teenager, and then a busy working mom, and then a stay at home budget shopper & coupon clipping mom until about a year ago. I've done tons of research on this subject. For those who don't know, I am the QUEEN GOOGLER! I obtained my degree from the University of Google. Yip, I did. All my research is conclusive.... pesticides, nitrates, hormones and antibiotics in animals are EVERYWHERE and hard to avoid, but do SOO MUCH DAMAGE to the body! It's disgusting to see what is in our food! Watch the documentary Food Inc on netflix if you can get a hold of it. (The government and FDA pulled it off the shelves and off Tv....go figure)

Ok, I'll get off that soapbox now and onto checking yourself!

So, you know the "shower check" that we are supposed to be doing? Well, let me tell you, even after I found my lump, I couldn't locate it in the shower check. So, throw out that card hanging on your shower head and lay down on the bed! Yeah, that got your attention....or at least your husbands....right? Yep, that's right....lay down on the bed! Lean over to one side, just slightly. Prop yourself on a pillow if you need to. Now, poke and prod the hell out of your top boob on the outside and your bottom boob on the inside. Because you are laying slightly tilted to the side, those lovely boobs should be making you look REALLY REALLY attractive now. (be sure your husband is not laying in front of you, especially if you have 3-children-long-boobs like me) They should be hanging down, to the side, looking pretty flat unless you've had them "enhanced" by now. I have not....YET! Then, you flip over slightly to the other side and switch boobs. You're still feeling both boobies, but you're feeling the outside of the one on top and the inside of the one on the bottom. Why does this method work better? In my opinion, and I am NOT a doctor, the breast tissue is moving out of the way giving you better access to an actual lump. I had a golf ball size lump and this was the only way I could find it!

Now, how often should you do this? Well, I say about once a week. Other reports say about once a month, but hell, mine popped up virtually overnight, so I couldn't imagine waiting longer than a week. Do it right before you go to sleep, or right when you wake up. Don't worry.....he won't ask what you're doing.... he'll just ask if he can join you.... (wink wink)

Lastly, go get a mammogram! Request it at your next OB appointment. Studies show that alternating mammograms and ultrasounds yearly is the best and most effective way to catch Breast cancer in its early stages. If your doctor refuses, tell them about me.

I am a Christian.
I am a business owner.
I am a friend.
I am a wife.
I am a sister.
I am a daughter.
But most importantly, I am a mom.
And I am a fighter!
I am 33,
and I have breast cancer.

Do it for me!
Show your support, wear pink and go get a mammogram! Feel yourself up every Wednesday, hump day. Check those lovely lady humps for lumps!!!