Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Liz's Makeup Tips and Update

Do you ever feel like you look a little ghostly? Do you start at your own reflection in the mirror? Do small children cry out at your pale visage?

Well, fear not, I'm hear to help you out so your eyes will pop!

Step One: put some makeup on, dude. Eyeliner & under-eye concealer, especially, can do wonders.
Getting there . . . .

Step Two: We can't all be blessed with Brooke-Shields-style eyebrows. Some of us got it, some of us don't, and some of us had it & will have it again, but in the meantime don't. If you fall into one of the last two groups, then you'll want to apply eyebrow pencil or powder.
Better yet!

Step Three: Put on those falsies!
Go get a glass of milk, crank the 9th Sympony, & try again.

Flutter, flutter!

Step Four: Put on your best wig & go out for a rockin' good time!
Rock and roll!

Further updates:
I met with my surgeon & I have various scans & poking & prodding over the next couple of weeks. Surgery is scheduled for May 27th - outpatient! Well, assuming we go ahead with the lumpectomy as planned. I met with the plastic surgeon yesterday & I'm more confused than ever. First off, he said I had perfect breasts. A plastic surgeon told me that! That's right, fellows, you missed out on a set of perfect boobs - symmetrical & perky! BUT (and isn't there always a but?), he said for this reason, reconstruction after a lumpectomy (if needed) is more difficult than if the boobs were saggy or flat. So with reconstruction, the nipple could ride up, and then he'd have to graft it lower, so it would be level with the other one; attendant with this is possible lack of sensation. And of course, depending on how much tissue is taken out, I could wind up with different size boobs. The plastic surgeon, (being a plastic surgeon), would prefer I just get a mastectomy, so he can start from scratch. Which would mean a lot more surgery than I was prepared for. Also would mean making a nipple from scratch, too (although I've heard there are nipple-saving mastectomies). On the other hand, there's the fact that mammograms post-lumpectomy are harder to read, because of the scar tissue (with a mastectomy I wouldn't need mammograms on that side, anymore). Also, there's the tummy tuck that comes with reconstruction . . . . I don't know. I was happy with the path I chose, but now I'm confused all over again. And there's always the possibility of having the lumpectomy, and the margins not being clear, and winding up with a mastectomy anyway. So I don't know. I have a lot to think about before the 27th.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

All Done (Well, With Chemo)!

Hooray! I am done with chemo! I didn't have very much neuropathy at all since the penultimate chemo, so we went ahead with the last one. My oncologist was very happy at the progress, and said she thinks my surgeon will be pleasantly surprised. I have to admit, I had an odd feeling leaving the infusion unit for the last time - not sadness exactly, but sort of a bittersweet feeling. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be done. I guess b/c all the nurses were so nice, but I really, really don't want to ever have to see them again, in that context. Mom & I made cupcakes to show our appreciation. I hope they enjoyed them!

So at any rate, I am so glad to be done with chemo, though I still have a couple of days of feeling like crap ahead of me. Sigh. Yesterday I was doing ok until mid-afternoon, when I started my slow crash - we went to the mall & got me some under-eye bag concealer (when did I develop such dark circles??) and then swung by Lush real quick for some fun soaps - just a little treat! I got 2 - Figs & Leaves, and Ring of Roses. Yum yum. And since we got back, I've been feeling pretty cruddy. I've taken a couple of 2-hour naps today, and there might be a third coming up before bedtime. We shall see. I figure tomorrow will be a bad day, and Tuesday probably won't be so hot, either. I'm intending to sleep in the rest of the week. The cumulative effect is alive & well!

So to sum up: the good news is, I'm done with the chemo portion of our cancer journey. Next stop: the OR. Again!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

One More Down, One More (Probably) To Go

Last Thursday was Taxol #3. Once again, I got drunk off the Benadryl drip & provided endless amusement for my mom & Nichole. I'm glad the two of them seem to get along, since I spend a fair portion of my treatment passed out. Nichole & I actually started a puzzle this week - there's usually a puzzle started in the waiting room - and it's usually got the easy parts all done, leaving things like foliage, or sky, or open water. This time we got to pick a puzzle & start it! Which means a grand total of probably 10 pieces got put together, since we were just starting & trying to sort the edge pieces out, sort the colors, etc. before the nurse came & called my name. Ah well! It was a painting of the NY skyline (pre-2001).

Friday & Saturday were fun girly-shopping days. Relatively, I mean. Friday, Mom & I went to Sephora & bought me a proper eyebrow pencil & some faux lashes. They are all getting really thin. I will take some before & after shots soon & show them off. I need to get better at putting the lashes on, though. B/c when I embrace the bald look in the summer, I'm going to need something on my face. Sephora has a bunch of fun lashes, too. I wish I had known about that before my wig party! I could have passed off a few hints (matching acid-green? Purple & feathery? Sparkly lined? Such fun!). Saturday, Mom & I went to pick up my compression sleeve. So now I really have no excuse to not start working out again . . . I need to see if there's a breast cancer yoga tape or something. I'm not supposed to put that much weight on my arms, but I'd really like to get back into it. I must do some research. Tips or advice much appreciated! At any rate, I got a hot pink sleeve & gauntlet (glove) set from Lymphediva's. A couple of women with breast cancer or a family history of same started this company to make fun sleeves. They basically said "I don't want to wear an Ace bandage. Why not make some fun & colorful ones?" And so they did. And I've gone with hot pink for my first one. It was a tough choice - they have a lot of fun patterns. I thought the black would look cool, but I also thought it might be bad (hot) in the summer. So hot pink it is! And it is cozy. Now I just need a full-body one!

Today wasn't such a good day. I took one of my oxycodones (which is a higher dosage than I'd had before - I think this is part of the problem) right after getting up, thinking I was going to eat quickly enough that I'd be fine. Besides, I rarely have an upset stomach when taking pills on an empty stomach. Well, after one of my many naps today (every time I shut my eyes, an hour or so would pass before I opened them again - pretty much all day long), I realized it wasn't staying down. So hey, my first bout of hurling. Luckily, though, it didn't last very long - no endless heaving (sorry, TMI!). But I really haven't felt very good since. And now since I napped most of the day away I'm afraid I'll have some issues sleeping tonight. Sigh! But my doctor said that that might have been my last chemo - if I'm having worse itching issues she might think about skipping the last round. If I had to have chemo tomorrow, I'd be rooting for no more. But I would rather complete the full cycle. My doctor upped my anti-seizure meds, and I feel like it might have helped already. I haven't really had any itching to speak of. The big test will be next Friday/Saturday. If I can make it through the weekend without going insane, then I will be very happy.