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!💕💕💕

 

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!💕💕💕

 

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

 

What you should know before an Oophorectomy

One day after completing 15 rounds of whole brain radiation I went in for my Oophorectomy.  It was an out patient surgery.  My surgeon told me the recovery would be easy.  I shouldn’t be in pain and I should feel ok the next day.  Just take it easy and no heavy lifting.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me.  Don’t lay down after surgery.

I went home and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning in horrible pain.  Not abdominal pain, it was shoulder pain.  The gas that had been used to expand my abdomen during surgery had set up in my shoulder.  I should have slept sitting up in a recliner and I would have felt fine the day after surgery.  I wasn’t told that and I took pain meds and cried with shoulder pain for about five days.  It was bad!  If this surgery is in your future remember that and you should have a fast recovery.  I have four tiny scars from the incisions and they healed within two weeks.

Now for what was hiding in each of my ovaries:

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That’s a picture of a tumor that was in my ovary.  There was one in each ovary.  This is the largest one (2.0 cm).  How did a tumor this size not show on my scans?   The good news here is that we had it tested and it’s still er/pr+.  That gives me hope that the new medication I’m on can work on my bones and lung.

I go in for new scans next month to see if Faslodex and Ibrance are working.  I’m a little concerned because my tumor marker keeps getting higher every month.  Then in October I will have a new MRI to see what all the brain radiation has accomplished.  Until then I’m staying positive and living every good day to the fullest.  I’m also sleeping a lot.  I don’t know if it’s still exhaustion from radiation or my new treatment plan but there are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone that has messaged, called and came by to share their love.  I even received  care packages from Australia (I ♥️You Emma!) and from Arizona (I ❤️ You Sally!)  You all make my world brighter!

Get out and make some memories!  💕💕

 

Back to Cancerland

The past two years have been fantastic.  Zoladex and Femara have served me well, until now.  I ended up in the emergency room on our beach trip with a massive headache.  I was treated for a migraine.  My headache never went away.  I had blood work done at the cancer center when we returned home.  My tumor marker was on the rise.  Scans showed a tumor in my ovary, two on my hip, on my ribs and on my spine. A brain MRI showed it had also metastasized to my brain.

There are no words that can begin to express how devasting this news is to us!  What a change in only three months!  We have cried, screamed and cried some more.  There is nothing left to do but fight this.  My big girl panties are back on. (Thanks to words of wisdom from a dear friend, Anya)

So, what’s next?  Tomorrow I will see a radiation oncologist.  I will find out exactly what the brain scans show and get ready for radiation.  I will be starting a new chemo (Ibrance and Faslodex) next week.  Three weeks on and one week off.  I will be getting xgeva monthly for my bones.  I will also be having surgery to remove my ovaries.  Wow!  This is not what I had planned for this summer!  I will keep you updated.  I’m grateful to have all your support!  You all make my life brighter!💕💕💕

I have so much to share about our Little Pink Houses Of Hope trip.  Life has been crazy!  I will share pictures from our trip soon!

 

Happy Birthday Jaxon!

The joys of being a glamma!  My grandson Jaxon turned one this month!  I felt so blessed to be there when he was born.  I cried like a baby the first time I held him.  I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was to be at his first birthday party!  He is such a happy baby and he has the sweetest soul.  He is the greatest gift and I am so blessed to be his glamma!  Thank you to my son, Kori, and to Emily for making me a glamma.  It is a title I treasure!💕

You know pictures have to follow!

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That’s my oldest son, Kori, Emily and Jaxon.

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This is Jaxon with his cake face.

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Jaxon and his Glamma (me)!

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That’s T.J. my youngest son.

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Grandpa Javiee with Jaxon.

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This is my precious Jaxon! Could he be anymore beautiful!?!