My final reconstruction post

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Below is a picture of what I was left with after a bi-lateral mastectomy.  Initially I decided not to do reconstruction because my oncologist was saying I probably had a year to live.  I had no knowledge of metastatic breast cancer at that time.  A year passed and I realized there was no expiration date stamped on my head. That was when I decided to do reconstruction.  I didn’t mind being flat chested, but I wasn’t flat chested.  I had indentions on each side of my chest.  My clothes just didn’t fit right anymore.  The next picture shows me in a tank top. You can see the indention the best on the right side.  The third picture was taken during the expansion process.    When that was finished Dr. Swelstad ( his link is below) finished me off with implants.  I chose not to do nipples because I didn’t want another surgery and I didn’t want to have to wear a bra all the time.😁

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October the 17th was my birthday. I’ve almost lived 5 years with metastatic breast cancer! When my mama asked me what I wanted for my birthday I said maybe I should get nipples. So she bought me nipples for my birthday. No surgery, just tattoos. The pictures below are from the day they were done.  They really do look like nipples.  It’s funny, I was so excited when I saw the final result.  Dear Cancer, I got my nipples back.  Of course I’d rather have my own breasts and nipples but, it is what it is.

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Here’s a link to my plastic surgeon, Dr. Swelstad.  He’s in Grand Junction, Colorado.  If your in that area I highly recommend him!

Dr.Swelstad

My areola pigmentation (tattoo)  was done by Mia in Waynesville, North Carolina.  She also does hair, nails and permanent makeup.  I loved her!  Her link is below.

MIA Salon & Spa

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Time for an update and a Happy Dance!!

This has been a month full of scans for me.  PET Scan, hip x-rays and a brain MRI.  All of my results were stable with nothing new.

Time for a Happy Dance!!

Stable doesn’t mean cancer free. It doesn’t mean I feel great, or even good. It just means the cancer that has taken up residence in my body hasn’t grown. I have good days and I have bad. I live with a lot of pain. Still, I don’t let that stop me. If I want to do something, I do it. I may pay for it the next day, but it’s always worth it!

I feel so blessed.  I remember hearing I probably had a year to live over four years ago.  Believe me when I say I don’t take a minute for granted.  The past four years have been filled with new adventures, memories, milestones, family, friends and tons of love.  I’m a Glamma x2!! My Javiee is legal!!  I watched T.J. leave for his first day of high school last month!! (I cried!)  These are the things that keep me going.

Here’s something that touched my heart this week……

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This made me think of a very special person in my life.   When your down, feed the good, share a smile, spread some love, get up….get out…and make some memories!!

I love you guys!💕💕

What Living With Advanced Breast Cancer Looks Like…A Healthline Article

I was in Mexico when this Healthline article came out.  I was one of the women featured and I wanted to share it with you.  I especially loved what Mary Gooze had to say.  It mirrored what I said.  💕

Here’s  the link…..

http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/understanding-and-managing/this-is-what-looks-like

Thank you Healthline for continuing to represent the metastatic community.  I have lost so many friends to this disease.  We need to talk about it.  We need funding for research.  We want to live!💕💕💕

 

My hair after WBR

I’ve had so many people ask me about my hair after doing whole brain radiation.  Hair is so important to most people, it defines you.  I have always had a head full of blonde curly hair.  Those days are gone!  I started losing my hair the second week of WBR.  Instead of waiting for it to fall out I shaved my head.  About three months after WBR it started growing back.  I was so excited!!  About six months later I realized it wasn’t going to come back completely.  I had what I called a “nohawk”.  My hair grew in on the sides and on the back of my head but not on the top.  My oncology radiologist said the radiation skims the top of the head and it may not grow back there.  A year later and no hair is growing on top of my head.  This is what it looks like…….

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I don’t think it’s ever going to grow back on top.  I just keep shaving my head.  I honestly don’t mind being bald.  That’s the least of my worries!  95% of the time I walk around bald and happy to be alive!  I have beautiful wigs and  I wear them if I go somewhere special with my Javiee,   My favorite….

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Here’s a picture of my cousin Teressa and I.  If you see me out and about it’s usually like this…..bald.  I’ve embraced my baldness!

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That’s my hair story.  Thank you guys for all the love you send my way!  I love you all!!! Now get out and make some memories!

MEXICO

I’m so happy to tell you our trip to Mexico was a success!  No hospitals, no doctors, only good times and precious memories.

This is Naucalpan,  where my Javiee grew up and where we stayed while in Mexico.  I imagine it looks scary to some of you.  So many people talk about how dangerous Mexico is.  I never felt that and we visited so many places during our stay.

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This trip was so special to us.  It had been twelve years since my Javiee had seen his family and I had never met them.  I’ll share some family pictures.

 

 

 

Family is a priority in Mexico.  Everyone gathers together in the morning for coffee and bread.  There is no sitting in front of the computer or TV all day.  It’s  family time, work and then more family time.  I think we should all disconnect and focus more on quality family time.

Food is a big deal.  If you visit or have someone visit you, you eat.  They expect you to eat.  That’s exactly what I did.  More pictures…..

 

 

 

I loved the street markets!  A definite must if your visiting Mexico.  The difference in the size of the produce is crazy.  It’s all so tiny compared to the produce you get at your local grocery store.  It will make you think about what’s in the food your buying here!  More pictures…

 

 

Here are a few pictures from one of my favorite days.  I climbed the sun and the moon pyramids!  I told my Javiee I deserved a Wonder Woman shirt after accomplishing that!

 

 

Here’s a few more of my favorites… I took so many pictures!  If you want to see more you can find them on my Facebook page.

 

 

Why the picture of me coming out of the bathroom??  Because you have to pay to use the bathroom.  Then you tip a lady inside the bathroom for toilet paper. 😂 Keep pesos handy if your visiting Mexico!  That was lesson number one for me!

I loved Mexico. I loved meeting my Javiees family.  It was all about love and family.  Life in the United States is so fast paced.  Slow down and make time for yourself and your family.  Share a cup of coffee and a doughnut with someone special today.  Life is short!  Get out and make some memories! I love you guys!💕💕💕

Brain MRI Results

I have to tell you I was anxious while waiting for these results.  I spent last summer doing brain radiation and I was really excited to get out and make some memories this summer! I’m so happy to say my MRI came back stable!  There’s nothing new!  Thank you all for your love, good vibes and prayers!  I feel so blessed to have you all in my life!💕

So what’s next for me?  Mexico!  I was going no matter what my results were.  I’m just happy they were good and I can go worry free!  My Javiee has worked day and night to make this trip possible.  I’m so ready to spend some quality time with him and meet his family!  It’s been a long time coming!

Get out and make some memories! 💕💕💕 I love you guys!

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Scan Results

There are a few impressive words on my scans this month.  My favorite is STABLE!  It says I have widespread bony metastases that show NO PROGRESSION since 02/06/17.  I’ll take it!

So where are my mets?

In my T3, T5, T6, T7, T11 and T12 vertebra.  There are multiple mets in my lumbar spine.  L3 is the worst and it hasn’t grown in the past three months.  There are multiple mets in my sacrum, iliac, pubic rami and my right femur.

Are they painful?

Yes.  Some more than others.  There is one on my spine that causes shooting pain if I move a particular way.  It’s close to a nerve.  I take hydrocodone and get on with life.

I also had brain mets and I have a brain MRI scheduled the first of June.  My last brain scan was clear.  I’m praying for the same result!

Remember the tumor in my lung?  Well, there is stable scarring in the left upper lobe.  No evidence of lung metastasis! Wow!

The pea sized knot in my neck seems to be my immune systems way of dealing with allergies. Good News! Gotta love it!

It’s always good to hear stable and nothing new!   What’s a girl to do?  I’m off to Mexico soon with my Javiee.  He’s working two jobs to pay for our trip (imagine not seeing your family for 11 years!).  Our tickets have been purchased and we’re going no matter what my brain MRI shows.  Time to make some memories!!    I love you guys!💕💕💕

 

Everlynn Skye….Our Newest Addition!

I remember saying years ago that I wanted to live to be a Glamma.  Well, God is good! This week I became a Glamma for the second time.  I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel.  She is perfect!  Here come pictures…

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This is me holding her for the first time.

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This is her big brother (my precious little Jaxon) giving her kisses.

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This is Mom and Dad before delivery.

I’m so proud of these two!  They have a beautiful little family and Kori couldn’t have picked a better mommy for my grand babies.

Kori,  Take care of them, love them and do whatever it takes to keep your family together.💕

You know life isn’t always easy.  We all have our issues, our good times and our bad times.  In the end all that really matters is family.

I love you guys!  Thanks for sharing my joy with me!!

Get out and make some memories!!💕💕

 

Tracking My Rising Tumor Markers

I’ve lived with metastatic breast cancer for over four years now.  My CA-15-3 has always indicated when something was awry.  It was 22.8 in December 2015.  In June of 2016 it jumped to 169.8. For this reason we started checking my tumor markers monthly.  I’ll share from that point on below:

July 2016                  267.6   This is when we found brain mets.

August 2016            565.0

October 2016          694.0

November 2016     691.5

January 2017          167.0  This was after WBR/Cyber Knife.

February 2017        132.2

March 2017             159.2

April 2017                172.2

May 2017                  183.0

We weren’t concerned with the first rise.  It can happen for many reasons.  After two more months of higher numbers we decided it’s time to do scans.  I had a chest and abdomen CT Wednesday (results next week).  I also have a brain MRI scheduled for the first week in June.  It’s another wait and see!  I have to tell you I Feel Good!!  I go on that.  It may sound strange but I don’t even worry about results anymore.  I just get on with life until result day arrives.  Life has been good to me lately!  Wait until I share what I was blessed with this week (for those that don’t follow me on social media)!!!!!!!  That will be my next post. Until then I’m sending you all love!!!!💕💕

Get out and make some memories!!!!!!

 

Thank You Healthline!

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Today I was notified that my blog was chosen as one of Healthline’s Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blogs of 2017.  Thank you to Healthline for recognizing my blog and The Metastatic Breast Cancer Community.

Find other metastatic breast cancer blogs here:  http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/metastatic-breast-cancer-blogs