Friday, June 24, 2011

Not for the faint of heart

I had my last fill for my tissue expanders yesterday! I'm so glad this is the last one I'm SO SICK OF THESE THINGS!!! And it's starting to hurt more as the tissue expands. And by tissue, I mean skin and muscle. Everyone told me expanders would be a breeze but I've been experiencing a lot of back pain, the same back pain that I had after my mastectomy that caused me to not be able to sleep lying flat. So yeah I've been sleeping in my recliner the last couple nights.  (Or trying to sleep.) I get catches in my side that make it hard to breath. Not to mention just the pain of everything stretching. I googled all these painful symptoms and it sounds like this is pretty common especially with women who were smaller breasted before or thinner women (not saying I'm thin at all).  To get an idea of what tissue expanders are, I'll post a picture.
I love that the woman is an old lady. Mine don't have a tube, you just stick the needle through the muscle into the port of the expander that they find with a magnet. In the beginning I was pretty numb because my nerve endings were cut, but they've started growing back so every time I feel it a little more. It's kinda funny because every time I flinch when she gives me the numbing shots and the injection she gets so happy because I can feel it. I am happy too that I'm feeling more, just, dang, wish it wasn't until after I'm all done. I'll never gain 100% feeling back.
My surgery is July 21st. Jeff is taking that day and the next off and my mom will stay with us that next Monday and Tuesday and then hopefully she'll be able to come down every Friday after for a month. Jeff will take the next 3 Mondays off so that means we just need to figure out what to do with the boys Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. My plastic surgeon said that on a scale of 1- 10 if my last surgery was an 8 this one will be a 2 on the pain scale. BUT I have to be even more careful because there will be more stitching that if it pops I'll have to have surgery again. So no reaching or lifting for me for at least 4 weeks.
Like I said. I cannot wait to get these things out of me. They go all the way under my arms so I have to walk around like a body builder and they're mega hard, like rock hard. I hate them. But if I had to do it again I would because I know it will be worth it in the end.
Then I'll be bathing suit shopping for my new "Scarlet Joe's" ;).
Yeah, right. They wont ever be this big.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I rather liked today's Father's day, it was pretty sweet. So. First, Jeff let me sleep in, (I did let him sleep in yesterday when I had like only 3 hours of sleep and take a nap yesterday), and I got a nap in today! I made cinnabon rolls for breakfast yesterday so there was no breakfast in bed for daddy today. We had breakfast for dinner, home made Belgian waffles! Today they passed out huge cookies for father's day, and callings! Jeff is now a ward missionary. The boys did good going to their classes, from what their teacher's told us.  Ben colored a CTR picture and signed it Bob. I asked him why not Bennett and he said "because I don't know how to spell Bennett". So funny! I love picking up babies from Nursery, I'd say "I love picking up my kids from Sunday school" but by age 4 they're just not as excited to see you. With babies they don't know you're coming back for them so when they see you it's pure joy. Well it is for Casey any way. And yes, I know Casey isn't a baby anymore, but he actually is still my baby.
The day ended with a impromptu family dance party to the song Always by Erasure (see my playlist below) and Jeff put Bennett to bed.
Bennett and Casey's dad rocks. He's so patient with them, he loves teaching them, he always lets them know how much he loves them. He is there best friend. Happy Father's day Pal!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A little bit of Betty Crocker and family

Friday I made some Banana Bread. It was from an old Betty Crocker cook book my mom gave me when I got married. It used to be hers when I lived at home (my dad's mom gave it to her when she got married) but I think I used it more than she did so she passed it down to me. I love it. And not just because it's oh so cool and retro looking. 
The cast of characters. (This is me getting my Pioneer Woman on.)

And my additions to the recipe.

Check out this little miss. I just love the look of this baking powder container, very old school. And I love this color scheme for kitchens (Red, white and blue only not so patriotic - more strawberries, blueberries and cream look). In my dream kitchen I'd have a little nook for reading while I'm waiting for stuff to cook/bake, lots of book shelves for all my recipe books, and the walls would be covered in "kitchen art". The kitchen is definitely my favorite place in a house.
The recipe:
2 medium bananas
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mash banana in the mixing bowl with a fork (should be really ripe). Add everything else and mix. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan 9x5x3 and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until toothpick is clean. The recipe says to just grease the bottom of the pan, but it comes out so much easier if you dust it with flour and do the sides as well.  
Next time I think I'll try a streusel topping.
And the end product. See, half was gone before I could even take a picture! (The outside did get a little crispy because I filled my loaf pan too much, next time I probably just make muffins.)
Then this cutie came to our house to play!

This totally reminds me of a picture I have of my sister and I and our cousin on a couch about this age - only this is such a boy version
... and the girl version. That's my cousin Andrea, my sister Cindy and me on the right.

And the next day we were lucky to have Ryann and her friend over to play, don't know why I didn't get any pics of them. They were so cute dancing along to the Kinect dance party game. 
Then Sunday we went down to Cottage Grove to celebrate Jeff's and his parent's birthdays and because the Schneiders were back in town and we really kinda miss them. Also Sunday my ward announced me as Young Women's Secretary!!!! Holy COW I'm excited! I love YW! I get to go to my first activity tomorrow!!!
Sweet baby Alice

The three amigos
Jeff and Bennett got some fishing in, didn't catch anything though. Next time.

And while they were fishing I tried getting some updated portraits of Casel. But he refuses to look at the camera! So these were the best I got.

And if he saw me coming he'd turn and run. So I had to sneak up on him.

See, turning and running... or climbing. ;)

Every grandkid HAS to have their picture taken in the tractor. It's a must.
This is Bennett almost 13 months ago.

And what trip to Cinnie and Papa's would be complete with out some sort of frog or snake action?
Happy Birthday to Cinnie and Papa! Sorry you were sick Cinnie Bob. Hope you enjoyed the day anyway. It was so nice to get together with everyone. I love that we are all so tight, and I'm so lucky to have such cool in laws!!! I love you guys and thanks for raising such a wonderful man. Happy Birthday Pal! I love you so much! Thank you for being so supportive and such a great dad and thanks for your sense of humor, it's helped get me through so much crap. I remember when we were in the doctor's office waiting to talk to the radiologist (this was before we had the MRI results back) and they made us watch this "intro to radiation therapy movie" and we just were cracking up the whole time. They had to have heard us down the hall, they must have thought we were crazy. Thanks for that. ;)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The American Cancer Society - 2011 Relay For Life of Albany:

The American Cancer Society - 2011 Relay For Life of Albany:

On June 17th I'll get the opportunity to celebrate surviving with some of my survivor friends and supporters at the Albany Relay for Life. If you'd like to support the relay or light a luminaria in someone's name you can donate here.

There have been great strides in the just the last few years in cancer research with the help of donations. Please remember your loved ones and make a donation.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Growing Like Weeds

It's growing back!!! I have a 5 o'clock shadow on my head now. The loyal hair that stuck with me through all this is lighter than the newbies growing in. After I wash it the elder hairs stand strait up. It looks like if you made a wish and blew on my head it would all float away like one of those dandelion puffs. And it's way fun to touch, so soft! :) This makes my heart feel SUPER HAPPY!

I have so much more energy! I do take joy in housecleaning, most of the time, and getting things done around the house, so it has really lifted my spirits to feel productive and normal again. We've been going to the library, taking walks to the park, lots of yard work...lots. Now I know what our realator meant when she said the previous owners where going for an "English Garden/Cottage" look. Sound's romantic right? That's what I thought. Listen up, it's code for "you'll be weeding in to the wee hours of the morning if you care about how your yard looks."  And playing with my boys in general. I didn't realize how tired the chemo made me until I started feeling better. It's been over a month since my last round. I'm still not 100%, Doc Awesome (Monticelli) said it will take 9 weeks to feel completely back to normal but I don't think it will take that long. I have two more fills for my expanders and then the swap out surgery July 21st. Then possibly a minor touch up surgery a couple months after that if I decide to go that route.

Since it's been awhile since I've talked cancer with all y'all I thought I'd give you this update. Also my test scores came back negative for the BRACA and P53, good news!!! Basically this means it was a freak of nature thing and that cuts my risk of recurrence!!! I start Tamoxifen next week and that's supposed to not have really any side effects except building stronger bones, I can live with that!

This whole "freak of nature" thing actually has deeper meaning for me. The test scores coming back the way they did just solidified for me what this was really meant to be for me in my and my family's life. I know this was a blessing, in an unconventional way. I'm so grateful for where I'm at today and the people that have helped me get here.

Just a quick update on the fam. My boys are getting so big! Bennett looks like a big kid now and Casey doesn't look at all like a baby anymore. Casey is talking so much more, in sentences even. He really loves to be outside, he's a much happier kid if he's had at least an hour of outside play time which makes everyone else happier, yes he's still in his terrible twos. Luckily none of our new chairs have been broken yet.

We got a Kinect for the xbox. It was really nice to see and talk to the Schneiders. We miss them, big time. :( And we chatted with Jodie and Max too. It's pretty cool, technology is amazing! And the other day Jaxon and Bennett played TNMNT on xbox live together which was pretty stinkin' cute. Now all Ben talks about is going to see Jaxon or having Jaxon come over.

Hopefully in July Bennett will start soccer and then in September he'll start preschool! I'm so excited for him, he is going to love school.  We got him a preschool/kindergarten workbook to work on and he loves it and is so smart too! He's really learning his sounds of letters and recognizing which is which. He can spell Bob all on his own :) and his name (Ben). And that's pretty much us in a nutshell right now.

My current obsession

Raising Cain, The Emotional Lives of Boys. Read it, just do it. It's only 258 pages long and it will change how you view and interact with boys. If you have a boy in your life, whether you're a parent, teacher, mentor or friend, you need to read this.
"...But as their manuscript progressed, Kindlon and Thompson realized a simple "how-to" would not do. "In the end," they write, "we found that the best advice we had to offer was simply to understand boys as they truly are ­ rather than as they appear or as we wish them to be. Our deepest wish is to pull aside the curtain boys so tenaciously draw around themselves and offer you a look inside their hearts and minds. If we succeed, we hope that you will see more clearly the ways in which our culture conspires to limit and undermine their emotional lives. We hope you will understand boys better, and above all, we hope you will enjoy them more"
Read an interview with one of the authors, Dan Kindlon, PH.D. here.