Friday, February 26, 2016


Back in January, I stumbled upon the 2016 Reading Challenge over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I haven't done a reading challenge since I was a child, when I used to do one every summer, so needless to say, I was intrigued.  Not only did I find a pretty awesome challenge, I really enjoy the blog in general.  She has a weekly podcast where her and a guest discuss books, which I find so fun to listen to.

And this reading challenge has some pretty cool categories.  There are 12 categories, I'm assuming that's because there are 12 months, and they are:A book published this year

  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book you've been meaning to read
  • A book recommended to you by your local librarian or bookseller
  • A book you should have read in school
  • A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF
  • A book published before you were born
  • A book that was banned at some point
  • A book you previously abandoned
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book that intimidates you
  • A book you've already read at least once

So far I am almost done with the meaning to read book.  For that category I'm reading Lessons from Madame Chic, by Jennifer L. Scott.  I'm almost three quarters through it.  The abandoned book that I am planning on finishing is The Secret Garden.  I'm about halfway through it.  If you have a Kindle, it's free to download.

I have a feeling that the book I should have read in school, the book published before I was born and the book that intimidates me will be pulled from the same list.  I am kinda curious as to what books have been banned in the past.  I'm hoping to find some really interesting books in that list.  I also have a lot of books that I already own, but have yet to read.

These books will, for the most part, be read in addition to the books I read with my book club.  The only categories that may overlap are read in a day and previously read.

I'll keep you posted on what I'm reading and what I've finished reading.  And feel free to share suggestions for any of the categories.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pathology Results and Recovery

The surgery went well on Wednesday.  I have always been super comfortable with my choice of surgeons and the rest of the staff was great as well.  There were some issue with communication, but those were minor and there were also some issues with my hospital stay that were more infrastructure issues.  This makes three times now that I've had to deal with infrastructure issues that really shouldn't have happened (at least in my mind) and if I can ever figure out who to address my concerns with, once everything is said and done, I will send a letter.   I am hoping that my next surgery occurs at a different hospital.

Recovery has been pretty uneventful.  I've bounced back quickly, except for the fact that I have a drain coming out of me.  That has hampered me quite a bit, and has kept me stuck at home.  I will get to go out tomorrow - but only to go to the hospital for my Herceptin treatment.  I do have my follow-up on Wednesday, so I am hoping that it comes out then.  Most of my limitations involve the upper body, I am limited in lifting and I am not allowed to raise my arm above my shoulder.  I am, however, still able to walk.  Yesterday I did 4 miles with a DVD and managed to crack 10,000 steps for the day.  Today I have already done 4 miles, and I hope to do another 2 this evening.  That will put me well above 10,000 steps for today and closer to my pre-surgery goal of 12,000.

I did receive the pathology results.  They did find cancer, but it was DCIS (ductile carcinoma in situ), not invasive cancer, which was what we were praying for.  The DCIS did show changes from the chemo too.  With this result it is now a definite that I won't need radiation and can move on with finishing up the Herceptin and reconstruction.

I am very humbled by the outpouring of support that I've received, both on FB and the blog, and in my regular life.  I have received so many positive notes and cards, and I know so many people are praying for me.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Moving from one stage to the next

I finished my chemo in mid-January, and over the past five weeks the side-effects have slowly left. At this point, I still get the odd, metal taste in my mouth, but it isn’t as strong and it isn’t constant.  I am also still battling swelling in my legs from water retention, and, while the majority of the muscle cramps have gone away, I still have a lot of hip pain.  Now, please don’t think that I’m complaining, I’m not.  I feel very blessed that the side-effects weren’t as bad as some people get.  All and all, I am feeling a lot better and, after a blood transfusion, a lot more energetic.  One funny thing – my eyebrows and eyelashes did great, at least until my last chemo and then they both decided to noticeably thin.  I’m not sure why, but I do find the timing funny.

So that’s the update as to where I am in my treatment.  I’m grateful to God that He provided me with so much strength to get through it.  I’m glad that I entered chemo much more physically fit then I’ve been for probably 20 years.  Other than taking off for doctor appointments and actual treatment, I haven’t had to miss any work.

One thing about my chemo, I didn’t receive it because the cancer had spread.  I received it to help keep it from spreading.  My lymph nodes were clear when I had my first surgery.  However, my tumor came back with the protein HER2, which meant a 1 in 4 chance of a distal recurrence.  To treat for that I am receiving the drug Herceptin which is started with a round of chemo.  While the chemo is done, I still go every three weeks for the infusion of Herceptin and that will continue through September.  It, thankfully, does not have the side-effects of chemo.  Doing this takes my odds of a distal recurrence to 1 in 10.

Next up I surgery, which is scheduled for this Wednesday.  I am having a left-side mastectomy with immediate, two-stage, reconstruction.  The surgery is expected to last 3 hours, 1 for the mastectomy and 2 for the reconstruction and it will involve 2 surgeons, a surgical oncologist and a plastic surgeon.  I have no clue what to expect.  I’m a little nervous, except when I’m really nervous.  Jim has had to deal with a few breakdowns.  The Lord has been gracious though and the verse that I keep focusing on his Psalm 23:4:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for though art with my; thy rod and thy staff

they comfort me.