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July 30, 2005 – Tammy & Louise are at it again.

I got another card today from Tammy and Louise. This one is a true testament to the times. It said: “Here’s a helpful technique for managing stress during difficult times: First, get one of those glass sno-domes with a happy little snowman and idyllic, peaceful winter scene…, get a hammer.” They also included the recipe for Holy Water – incase you didn’t know, you just beat the hell out of it = ) Thank you once again Tammy & Louise, I’ll have to remember that for the next time I am stressed, but I’m hoping this is the last time it will ever get to be this bad. Next weekend I hope to return home, pending my MRI on Monday of course – which I keep telling everyone is when we will truly find out just how blonde I really am.

July 29, 2005 – Finally relief at last, until no-one shows up to say good-bye.

I finally met with a doctor today to talk about my depression, anxiety, and stress – and unlike the assessment person I spoke with over at Montevista Hospital, he was not judgmental at all. Instead he changed my anxiety medication, and advised me to follow up with someone in Elko once I get home. Then we went off to my next appointment. Luckily I showed up like an hour early for it, because the paperwork I had to fill out was unbelievable! I had to fill out one of those scan-tron test that was 4 pages long, front & back! I was at this appointment for over 3 hours, but he turned out to be the most amazing doctors I’ve seen. He was the pain management doctor. I didn’t notice it, but my husband said he was this big, burly man, and he must have been, because he picked me up and snapped me like a twig. He just twisted me and bended me and yanked me, and my whole neck and back cracked. If that wasn’t scary enough, he then gave me 3 shots in my back of what he called vitamins. Of course there were no shots, or cracking for the other parts of my body that hurt, but he did give me better pain meds. I left there feeling incredibly better, for once in weeks my back hadn’t hurt. So since I was feeling so much better, both physically, and not as much mentally stressed as I had been, we headed over to PT’s where I had made plans to have a good-bye party with my old co-workers. I sent out an email the week before, had heard back from several people, yet once we got there NO ONE SHOWED. I think if Ruben hadn’t been there, it would have been enough to send me back to the edge – but instead, I said screw it and had a nice dinner there with my hubby while we both tried to have a nice relaxing Friday evening. Maybe it’s better no one showed up.

July 28, 2005 – A worried Ruben rushes to my aid.

Ruben’s flight came in this morning just in time for my last lymphedema therapy session. I’m glad he finally made it for one of them, since I will after all be relying on him to help me with massaging my arm. Afterwards we went and picked up a surprised Natalie who didn’t know her Daddy was coming to town and had dinner with gramma and grampa. While there, my oncologist called Ruben and explained to him his worries. He didn’t know Ruben had hopped on the first plane and came to town to care for me. This is when we learned that he’s afraid there might be a tumor in my head. Even though he used the word highly unlikely, it did little to make either of us feel any better.

July 27, 2005 – Help at last, or more fuel to the fire?

Today I started my day by dropping my dog off at the groomers, then going in for some blood tests for my oncologist. Afterwards, I met with an assessment person over at Montevista Hospital. Here I thought I was going to get help, and instead here’s this woman digging into all aspects of my life, not getting really any background info, and making assumptions. This did not sit well with me. Here I am trying to get help for depression, stress, and anxiety – and she mistakes what information I am telling her about my anxiety medication and flat out calls me an addict, all because I take it twice a day. I damn near went off on her because I was so pissed. How dare she judge me? I have been under so much stress and anxiety the last few days, especially with thinking something is wrong with my head, and this woman is doing nothing more than stressing me out more! I left there so upset, I called Ruben and told him what was going on. I didn’t want to stress him out, but I was so freaked out about something potentially being wrong with my head, I didn’t know what to do. So he made a few calls and hopped on the next flight out. Luckily, Ruben’s former boss (now his bosses boss) Russ is an amazing man, and has been very understanding through-out this whole ordeal.

July 26, 2005 – What does too much stress and anxiety get you?

Today I met with a friend for lunch which was nice, since I haven’t been seeing much of my friends lately. Then afterwards, I had probably one of the worst doctors’ appointments of my life. I made an appointment to see my oncologist today for several reasons. I wanted to talk to him about the SSA Disability, why another doctor in the office who does not treat me, would sign off on the paperwork. I also wanted to talk to him about the depression I’ve been feeling and the chronic pain, as well as other side effects I had been experiencing. I wondered if it was just my meds, or if I was just under too much stress and anxiety. He told me that the only option for the chronic pain was to stop the Femara, go on Tamoxifen for 5 years then go back on the Femara. I told him I didn’t want to take 2 steps back just to start all over again, so he suggested seeking a pain management doctor to treat me. He also wanted me to find a psychiatrist to talk to about the depression right away, which I told him I had been trying to do, but had been unsuccessful. But it wasn’t until I started to tell him about my other side effects that made it one of the worst appointments I had been to in a long time. Other than the pain, I had been feeling lightheaded, dizzy, unstable, and sick to my stomach. There have been several occasions indoors and out that I have felt like I was going to pass out, or throw up. Just the look on his face alone scared me, and the words he uttered next were something I never thought I would hear. All I heard was that he wanted a MRI done on my brain STAT, and I couldn’t even tell you what he said after that. How do you tell someone extremely stressed that you think they need to get their head checked, and not stress them out more?


July 25, 2005 – Getting my heart, I mean port cut out.

Today wasn’t a good day. Nothing started off right. It doesn’t seem like anyone seems to understand what it’s like to have cancer, and don’t sit there and tell me about oh your friend or your grandparents or this or that. Face it, you don’t know shit about cancer until you have had it. You don’t know that person feels or thinks. So why would a doctor who has never seen me, who isn’t even my treating physician say that after treatment I should just “bounce right back.” I called my oncologist’s office and I’m going to see them tomorrow to get this crap straightened out, because I am not happy. I’ve made several calls there about my depression, then this other bozo doctor takes my chart and goes and does this, that’s not right. Causing my Disability claim to be denied, and when I talked with the lady at the SSA about it, she was telling me about how she’s had friends who have had breast cancer and this and that and talking like it’s no big deal. Well I’d like to see her get it, then tell me if getting your breast cut off is no big deal, and living with chronic pain, and daily inflammation and swelling in your arm is no big deal. My bones and muscles ache so bad I feel like I have been playing soccer and have bruises on my shins. My back hurts to sit, stand or lay. There is the constant fatigue, insomnia, “chemo-brain” and the inability to concentrate I live with. There are days I can’t even spell things like my name, fifteen, or remember my daughter’s own name, let alone the address and phone number I am at. There are a lot of these side effects that I will have to learn to live with for the rest of my life, and some that will take up to a year for me to overcome before going back to my normal life. But even though I have dealt with the cancer portion of this, from the time I found the lump in January till now for 6 months, and I am on chemotheraphy agents for life, and will deal with lymphedema for life, they do not think this will affect the next 6 months of my life to “deem” me disabled. And here I am still going through active treatment, and haven’t even begun reconstruction. What freaken idiots. All I can say is appeal, and if that doesn’t work then I say lawyer - 1 for Social Security and 1 for the 2 idiot doctors who put me in this condition, because I’d really like to take them for all they're worth. The man that screwed up my hand/wrist and left my fingers with no feeling when he preformed carpal tunnel surgery on me in 12/03, and the man that told me I had to have a radical mastectomy and took my chest wall and all 16 of my lymph nodes, when it was ALL unnecessary.
If that wasn’t upsetting enough, I had to go see the “Fresh Surgeon” today. This time she didn’t get fresh with my mom, she must have just had a thing for Ruben. But I’ll tell you what, 2 shots of lidocaine, and it still freaken hurt like hell. If I would have gritted my teeth any harder I would have broke them. And this was after taking 2 xanax and 2 percocets before going. I saw that sucker sitting on the table, it was huge, bigger than a nickel with a thin tube about 6 inches long. Yes, I wrapped it in gauze and took it, it was mine. It’s for my scrapbook! I don’t know how many stitches I have, because I didn’t look. All I know is how much it hurt. Never again… least I hope!

Oh, but I did learn one fabulous fact while I was at the doctor today. I lost 11 lbs. in 25 days. That's a total of 22 lbs in 3 1/2 months, and I am back below my pre-pregnancy weight


July 24, 2005 – A Revelation to Happiness.

It dawned on me the other day in the midst of all this. Being depressed, stopping meds, the crying, sick to my stomach, fighting with friends, crying, losing weight, not eating, being sick to my stomach – oh wait I said that already. I just needed to revert back to my prior days. See I have my own set of beliefs. I live life by my own set of rules. My first husband did a real number on me, always calling me fat, and stupid. In just a year in a half he caused so much mental abuse, it took me a long time to get over it, because when you hear it everyday you start to believe it (and at 19 I was not fat, I was 145 lbs. & not stupid). I had a thing for losers I suppose, because years later after I moved to Vegas I dated a guy for a year who, I swear brainwashed me. Once again, this loser did a real number on me. Not only was he a loser, but he was psychotic at that. One time he held a loaded gun to my head and threatened to kill me, and believe it or not I still stayed with him after that. It wasn’t until I was unhappy at my job that he told me, “if there’s something in your life you don’t like, then change it, it’s that simple.” That’s exactly what I did. I got a new job, but I still wasn’t happy. Then I realized, it wasn’t the job making me unhappy, it was him. So I dumped him. Needless to say, he found a new girl as psycho as him who cranked called me till I changed my phone number, then later cut my brake line, and keyed the whole side of my truck so it had to be re-painted, but that’s beside the point. My point is that every since then I have lived my life by this creed - that I do not need anyone to make me happy. I have never cared what anyone has thought about me, and I really could care less whether or not you like me or want to be my friend because this is who I am – like it or not.

Luckily I found Ruben who was not a loser or a psycho and found a love, happiness, and a friendship I never possibly thought could exist. My happiness lies within my heart, and the 3 very special members of my family (1 just happens to be a fuzzy mutt-dog). They are my inspiration for everything that I do, and are responsible for my everyday joys.


July 22, 2005 – Off my meds and loving it!

Once again it was another case of that little warning that you probably never even read that comes on the pamphlet when you pick up your medication. The one that says: Children and adolescents who take this medicine should be monitored daily for any worsening of their condition, thoughts of hurting themselves, or any other sudden or unusual changes in mood or behavior, especially during the first few months after starting this medicine and after any change in the dose of this medicine. If any of these serious side effects occur, contact the doctor immediately. Yeah I think daily crying falls under unusual changes in mood or behavior. So it’s a good thing that when I noticed I was crying so much more than the usual caught up in the emotion thing that I stopped taking my anti-depressant – this happened I think on Sunday night. I had a feeling it had a lot to do with the medication, yeah I still have some symptoms of depression, but like I have said before, with all I have been through this year who wouldn’t? I would think that would be fairly normal. My body has been through a traumatic experience, several times this year alone. So will I still seek help? I’m likely to, but I can say that here it is Friday and it’s been 2 days since I’ve cried, and while some disturbing things have happened the last few days and I’ve been mad as hell, overall I feel fairly good.
Let’s start with the General Surgeon I saw on July 20. She said she would take my port out next week in the hospital. Now while I’m sitting here trying to figure out my schedule for next week, holding off all appointments with friends for lunch, and my lymphedema therapist, and my doctor – I decide to call to find out what the hold up was, because they want me to get a chest x-ray first and they need approval from my insurance for the procedure, but they haven’t even begun, and the scheduler is off till Monday. I don’t understand why it takes them so long when the doctor that put it in got approval in one day from the insurance company. Only one thing to say here – SLOW OFFICE STAFF! So I called the surgeon who put the port in for me, yes the “Fresh Surgeon” (see entry below from April 8th), and I will be going to see her on Monday. Against my better judgment, we are going to remove the port in the office. This doesn’t bode well with me because I don’t do blood and pain well, but they assured me that I will not only be numb, but also not feel a thing. I can also take my xanax and percocet before I go, but I will need a driver for the procedure.

The second thing on my bitch list is FIDELITY NATIONAL HOME WARRANTY. This company sucks major ass! My swamp cooler still has not been fixed, they do not return phone calls, even though my policy states that upon receiving a request for service FNHW will contact a qualified contractor within 3 hours during normal business hours, and 48 hours on weekends and holidays– yeah right. It took them 2 freaken weeks to call my husband back, and the stupid CSR calls to ask if the swamp cooler had been repaired yet. Um, NO, you guys haven’t dispatched a repair tech yet! He called them on Thursday July 8th, and they just called him today on the 22nd, even though I have called several times and left messages for a manager by the name of Anthony Flores and have emailed him several times, and STILL no one has bothered to call! This is just part of my bitch fit with this horribly shitty company. And I’ll tell you what, if it weren’t for others reading this, you’d really know what kind of sailor potty mouth I have, and exactly what I think of Fidelity! When we purchased the house, we purchased additional coverage for the roof, washer, dryer and refrigerator. We paid for this coverage OUTSIDE of escrow, it cost us an additional $250 smackaroos. Coverage that they don’t even have freaken half the vendors for in our area! But did they tell me that when they took my freaken money? HELL NO! Will they give me a refund now? HELL NO? Will they give me a cash out on the swamp cooler, not with out having a licensed contractor look at it first, which will only take about 3 weeks – believe me, I’ve called all around town. Will they re-imburse my expenses for my husband and his friend buying parts and spending 2 ½ hours repairing it? NO, why you ask? Because they are not licensed contractors, that’s why! So tomorrow we are going to contact our real estate agent that sold us the house and get her involved, because it’s more than just the swamp cooler, there’s a roof leak and no roofing vendors, and damage to the roof under the swamp cooler that wasn’t exactly disclosed when we purchased the house. The previous owners told us there had been a leak in the swamp cooler and they had fixed it, only because we had noticed the miss-matched paint on the ceiling, but that is in Natalie’s room and no-where near where the swamp cooler is and the external roof damage that was never fixed.
It makes me miss my old house so badly, the carpet and tile we hand picked. The new garage door and opener we installed. The fresh paint and custom baseboards. How I painted half of Natalie’s room all by myself sky blue, and Ruben hung up the railing, and I hand stamped flowers, ladybugs, dragonflies, bees, and grass. How I stencil kokopelli’s in my kitchen, and Ruben replaced the counter all by himself. How I miss all 4 of my brand new delta and moen faucets, and all the new light fixtures. Our brand new 4 ton A/C gas pack unit. We had that house a home almost before we ever moved in…..and we only had a cold slab leak, a few busted sprinkler lines, a dead tree that took us hours to dig up, and 2 good home warranty companies that never gave us a problem with anything we ever called on. And to think I drive by there now, and it’s all gone downhill, the new tree we planted, DEAD, the grass, DEAD. Such a shame they didn’t upkeep our first house with the same love we did.


July 19, 2005 – Just when you think you’re all alone, the UPS man comes.

Well I didn’t get much done today. Being the insomniac I am, I was up till 4 am last night, then I got up at 8 for a bit, before passing out again. Most of the day was a blur to me as I laid in bed fading in and out of sleep. I finally woke up sometime in the late afternoon and had to force myself to get up; otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to get anything done. As it was I only had a few hours left in the day to make some calls before the doctors’ offices close. First thing I did, was call my regular physician to get the results from my thyroid test. Since I hadn’t heard from them I assumed it was a good thing. Hypothyriodism runs in my family and I try to get mine checked yearly, and since I have been feeling depressed, I thought that could explain it since the two do run hand in hand. But to my surprise my results were all fine. They gave me my ranges and they were all perfectly well within the normal range. Wow, for once I am normal. So I continued down my list of calls. I am still seeking someone to help me with my depression, and once again I couldn’t get anyone to answer the phone. Well actually I take that back. I did get thru to one office and talked to a live person, but as my luck would have it, I found out that the doctor’s on vacation and not taking appointments until August 31st. Great! So what do crazy people do when their doctor is on vacation for a month? I can’t believe this. Why do I always have so many problems finding doctors to treat me? Is it like this for everyone else? Why can’t I just for once have a nice simple life, almost like the one I had back in Elko at maybe the end of November when we were getting all moved in right before my life got so complicated and started going downhill? But Ruben and I knew this was going to happen – well not exactly this, but we’ve figured it out that for some reason on odd years we just have bad luck, bad things happen to us or our families that usually involves miscarriages and/or cancer. So once again, another day went by and no appointment set up to get help. I’m running out of time here quickly. I have so much to do, and so little time to do it in. Tomorrow I meet w/ a general surgeon to see about having my port removed, so I’m sure I will be in the hospital one day next week for that – which I am not looking forward to at all, and I'm still seeing the lymphedema therapist weekly.

Now on to the good stuff. While I may have lacked what you would call caring gestures from some of my friends here, Tammy and Louise are still very hard at work trying to send me cheer. This is something that just astounds me, as I hardly know these women. Yet they have so caringly and warmly try their hardest to cheer me up in the most adorable ways. It must be the Elko way, little town, big hearts. People there actually know how to treat people. Because today I get a package from the UPS man that this time says it’s from Tammy, and it’s addressed to us Navarro “Girls”, so right away Natalie is excited cause she thinks it’s got to have something in there for her. So I open it up to find another little note from Tammy & her mom Louise saying it’s tea party time. They sent a tea party set, kool-aid mix, place cards for me, Natalie, Grandma & Lexie too (that had these cute little animal stickers on them! - it's all in the details!), animal cracker cookies to have with the tea of course, doggie biscuits for Lexie, a Barbie table cloth, napkins, and a bubble blowing kit for Natalie to have a little fun with. It’s nice to know that when you are on the edge of breaking down, there is someone there to save you. Every time I think I get close to losing my sanity, Tammy & Louise come to my rescue and somehow manage to put a smile back on my face. Thank you Tammy & Louise, I really can not thank you enough!
Boy I can’t wait to get home again, where people are nice, there’s no traffic, and people actually stop for pedestrians instead of try to run them over.

July 18, 2005 – No one’s available to take your call at this time.

Well after yesterdays near meltdown, I’ve decided that I have a problem that I’m incapable of solving on my own. I know that I suffer from mild depression, I mean reading this blog, who wouldn’t? I’ve been taking an anti-depressant since I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and I’ve went from a case of mild depression to a case of extreme depression accompanied by a daily sobfest. Even my 5 year old daughter has made remarks about how much mommy cries, and believe me, I’m usually not one to cry – even my husband would agree that once upon a time I had a heart of steel. And you can rule out the whole hormonal chick thing, because I have absofreakenlutely zero hormones, so that is out of the question. So I did a little background research on depression, since there is some history of it in my family, and found that depression is described as involving 5 or more of these signs from this “list” for most of the day, nearly every day, for 2 weeks or longer. I had 13 out of the 17 on the list. Not good. Now while I still believe the anti-depressants I am on now is responsible for the current sobfest, I do however agree that I could be depressed. I mean I have been through a lot. I haven’t had much help or support, and I never really grieved or took the time to heal. So I decided, first thing this morning I was going to get up and find me a therapist to get me some help before I went in this afternoon to pick-up my compression sleeve that finally came in from Germany. So I called my Insurance Company to find out what providers where in Vegas, because really, what do you look under, head doctors, or doctors that specialize in mental illness? I don’t know; I’ve never done this before. They gave me some numbers, and I started my calls. But I wasn’t having much luck. For an office of that nature shouldn’t you be reaching a receptionist or something? That alone was upsetting me. It was frustrating, because here I am trying to call and get help and no one’s answering, yet at the same time I’m having to deal with getting my daughter ready to go with me to run my errands, which meant I needed to give her a bath and dress her, as well as make sure she had been fed and had something to entertain her. So while she bathed, I continued making more calls, and still the same thing, no answers. HELLO, you people are supposed to help those patients suffering from depression, and while I’m not extremely depressed, there are people out there who are and are unfortunately suicidal and need your help right away, but YOU’RE not answering your phone. One place I called, believe it or not had the cheesiest answering machine that they wanted me to leave a message on. Uh, I don’t think so. Get a receptionist or an answering service, not some cheap $30 answering machine from Wal-Mart. When people are depressed they want to be able talk to someone, and talk to them now, not their answering machine. I can call and talk to my parent’s machine. Or my machine at home for that matter. I guess tomorrow, I try again, but not with that doctor. There are two things in life I can’t stand, flakey people and liars – it’s hard for me to forgive either one.
So after we picked up my compression sleeve, we went to go do something that I thought she would consider fun, since the whole time we were at the doctors she kept asking “are we going to do something fun after this?” We headed out to the Boot Barn and FINALLY got her those boots she’s been begging for since she saw the making of the Jessica Simpson video for “These Boots (were made for walkin’). It took me a lot oh reasoning with the stubborn little 5 year old, but I finally got her to realize that red wasn’t the best color choice for her since she doesn’t own a lot of red. She ended up with the pink Durango’s shown – but the outfit is the closest she will ever get to Daisy Duke’s as long as her Daddy’s still alive (and that’s to say she doesn’t give the man a heart attack first!) All I can say is looking like that, she really does look like she does belong in Elko, and all that’s missing is the horse.
While some times she absolutely drives me nuts, she also at the same time is often the only thing that makes me smile (in my daily life here in Vegas) and when I look at her I see a bit of Ruben and remember why I chose to live, and beat cancer in the first place. It was too soon for cancer to take me away from my baby, and it was too soon to take me away from the man I love - AND I AM NOT READY to let anything else come along and screw that up for me, because 5 and 1/2 years just isn’t long enough. But I know for both of their sakes that I must get better SOON!


July 16, 2005 – Just when things go good, they go wrong.

I found out last night that my swamp cooler at home isn’t working and we can’t get anyone out to fix it. Not only does that suck because it’s like 97 degrees today in Elko, and our home warranty company cannot get anyone out to fix it till next week. So I tried taking matter into my own hands, for the sake of my husband, who has a torn ligament in his leg, and upon calling around today I find that all of the A/C repair places in Elko are closed on Saturday’s. Yup that’s right all 9 of them, CLOSED, closed till Monday. Isn’t that just freaken great. Here it is the middle of summer, the busiest time of year for them, shouldn’t they like be open or something. I mean it’s nice that I’m not there cause I can’t handle the heat mixed with the chemotherapy agents I’m on, but it’s not like Vegas is any cooler with it’s 113 degree heat, but at least here I can stay inside the nice, cool, air conditioned house of my mother-in-laws.
But this isn’t the only bad thing to happen today, oh yes, there is more, but I’m not sure which one is actually worse – finding out someone’s been using your mouthwash - OR - Finding out that you and your friendship may not be considered by some to be as valuable and time worthy as their hobby of scrapbooking and swapping. When I asked what the deal was, why the time for all the hobbies and none for me? I was told she didn’t feel she needed to explain her choices. So there ya go, it all boils down to choices, She chose to do those things rather than see me. Next time Joanna let me go with my first choice, because NO, I do not feel better. Would YOU feel better knowing that after 7 years PAPER was more important than you?
All I know is that I am ready to go home. When I first got here I was so excited because I thought I would be with all my friends and family, and now and I’m just ready to close the book on this chapter of my life and move on. The sooner I get home the sooner I can start making new friends in my new home, because I’m tired of being depressed and crying and having like no friends to talk to or shoulders to cry on (except for the few friends that have really stuck beside me all along, and you know who you are!) What’s really a shame is this was the weekend I was originally set to leave, and now I am stuck here for another 3 weeks. Today I am not happy.

But on a good note (I guess you could say), someone gave my mom a picture from Barbara's BBQ on 5.25.05 of Natalie sitting on the steps on the pool playing fetch with Melissa's dog Opie. I had really wanted a picture of the two of them, so I am glad someone not only read that post, but got a picture to me. Thank you so much! Oh, and if the picture looks kind of fuzzy or blurry, it's because I do not have a scanner here and had to take a picture of a picture with my digital camera in order to get it on here.


July 15, 2005 – Once again, I’m the younger one!

Today is a very special day. Today is my honey’s birthday. Not just any birthday, but the one that once again makes him older than me. Neener, neener, neener, I’m younger than you! That’s right folks, today’s his 32nd birthday, and while some day’s I may feel 61, I am only 31, 31 all the way up till January 26th. So we still have nearly 6 months to go before we are once again the same ‘ol age. But while I am enjoying the fact that he is older than I (even if only by 6 months), I am not enjoying the fact, that we are separated by nearly 500 miles on his birthday. And I’m sure he will agree with me THAT SUCKS! But know this honey, there’s no amount of anything, (miles home, or mountains to cross) that is greater than my love for you.
Happy Birthday Ruben. I love you with all of my heart.


July 14, 2005 – By George, I think I’ve got it!

I guess it was sometime Tuesday that I noticed that I had this huge unexplainable rise in my number of views on my hit counter. I had no idea how in just a few short hours my page had been viewed by about 90 viewers, and only one of them was a repeat. How was this possible? How had little ‘ol me been found? Sure, my friends and family knew, but even still that’s not enough to generate 90 viewers in a couple hours. So it got me thinking. I started running searches, but even I couldn’t find myself and I knew where to look…but then again, I am blonde, or at least was until I lost my hair. So where’s everyone coming from? Yeah, my blog address is attached to my signature line, but still, I don’t even know 90 people! Then it hit me this morning. I logged on to check my mail before my lymphedema therapy, and to check Cynthia’s blog. Her blog is literally my FAVORITE blog to read and is listed on the side under links, hers is titled “I am a coconut”. That’s when it hit me. Cynthia had added my link to her blog under as “When I grow up I want to be….”
Anyone that scraps and post on Creating Keepsakes Message Board has seen Cynthia (RNJetta) and has most likely been to her site and read it. She generates hundred of viewers a day. Everyone loves to read her antics, and look at her pages! I myself read it almost daily for so many reasons:
I can relate to most of what she has gone through or will be going through because I’ve been there done that. She can express herself freely and creatively. She has so much talent and style (she’s even been published – numerous times!) She is my daily dose of humor and her stories often bring a smile to my face, and that is something I often need when it seems that everyday is practically an uphill battle.

So thank you Cynthia, for not only making me laugh out loud, but for saying that you want to be like me when you grow up, because, I want to be like you! *Ü*

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss


July 13, 2005 – You know you’re old when….

It's sad when your mother sends you email that not only can you fully relate to, but actually describes you! I think I really have kept 26 doctors employed this year alone!
All I want to know is when did 31 become such an old age, was it just when I turned it, or was it always this way - or worse yet, is it all in my head? LOL.
I liked it so much I had to add it to my blog today to share. Have a good laugh – I did, but I really hope this isn't on the kindergarten curriculum this year!

The New Alphabet
A is for Apple, and B is for Boat, That used to be right, But now it won't float !
Age before Beauty is what we once said, But let's be a bit more realistic instead:

Now A's for arthritis;
B's the bad back,
C's the chest pains, perhaps cardiac?
D's for dental decay and decline,
E's for eyesight, can't read that top line!
F's for fissures and fluid retention,
G's for gas which I'd rather not mention.
H's high blood pressure--I'd rather it low;
I for incisions with scars you can show.
J's for joints, out of socket, won't mend,
K's for knees that crack when they bend.
L's for libido, what happened to sex?
M's for memory, I forget ! what comes next
N's neuralgia, in nerves way down low;
O's for osteo, the bones that don't grow!
P's for prescription's, I have quite a few, just give me a pill and I'll be good as new!
Q's for queasy, is it fatal or flu?
R for reflux, one meal turns to two.
S for sleepless nights, counting my fears,
T's for Tinnitus; there's bells in my ears!
U's for urinary; big troubles with flow;
V's for vertigo, that's "dizzy," you know.
W's for worry, NOW what's going 'round?
X's for X ray, and what might be found.
Y's another year I'm left here behind,
Z's for zest that I still have-- in my mind.
I've survived all the symptoms, my body's deployed, And I've kept twenty-six doctors employed!!!


July 12, 2005 – So, I’ve been thinking. My life’s not just a song, it’s more like a jukebox.

The Reason by Hoobastank (posted below on 7.10.05) is only how I feel for my husband. I know I’m not a perfect person, and there has been so much pain in our 5 years that I feel I am responsible for. The loss of all my pregnancies, even though technically I couldn’t do anything about them, the cancer, etc. it’s all been an emotional roller coaster and I feel that I hurt him every day, but he’s the reason I changed my life and became who I am. My husband is the love of my life, and that is why that song brings a tear to my eye....that and knowing how much I have put him though and knowing he has stood by me through it all. I just wish he was here now. As someone else would say, I love love him, and miss, miss him!
But on days that I’m feeling down and depressed, I feel more like my life’s like Welcome To My Life by Simple Plan:
Do you ever feel like breaking down?

Do you ever feel out of place?
Like somehow you just don't belong
And no one understands you
Do you ever wanna run away?
Do you lock yourself in your room?
With the radio on turned up so loud
That no one hears you screaming
No you don't know what it's like
When nothing feels all right
You don't know what it's like
To be like me
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life
Do you wanna be somebody else?
Are you sick of feeling so left out?
Are you desperate to find something more?
Before your life is over
Are you stuck inside a world you hate?
Are you sick of everyone around?
With their big fake smiles and stupid lies
While deep inside you're bleeding
No you don't know what it's like
When nothing feels all right
You don't know what it's like
To be like me
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life
No one ever lied straight to your face
And no one ever stabbed you in the back
You might think I'm happy but I'm not gonna be okay
Everybody always gave you what you wanted
You never had to work it was always there
You don't know what it's like, what it's like
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No you don't know what it's like
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life


July 11, 2005 – Ok, so there was a reason behind feeling desolate….

It’s kind of because we were. Sometime last week some of Ruben’s aunt’s and uncle’s came into town to visit from California, and his mom took time off from work, then Friday it happened. I put Natalie to bed in Danny’s bed like instructed and she woke up alone. She waited most of Saturday for Grandma to come home and she never did. She started crying, which in turn made me cry, especially when she said Grandma broke her heart by not coming home. She wanted to spend time with Grandma and Tia. I tried explaining to her that she is just too young to go to the casino and that is what Grandma likes to do, then it happened again. One of Ruben’s other uncle’s came and picked up Danny. Just when I finally got Natalie settled down, she was upset all over again. Why does Danny get to go to the casino at Stateline and not her? So I had to explain it all over again that Uncle Danny is old enough to wonder around the hotel by himself and go to the arcade, and she’s not. She can’t be walking around by herself without getting lost or a stranger snatching her up. So it was just me, Natalie, and Lexie. All by ourselves, abandoned if you will. Sure Uncle Rudy was still here, but he works 3 – 11, so we hardly saw him. To make Natalie feel better, I told her she could sleep with me, which really didn’t help my sleeping problems! Even poor Lexie was moping around Sunday night sad because Grandma hadn’t been home in several days to give the spoiled dog her hot dog that she gets fed nightly. I tried everything to perk her up, but the poor dog is already missing Ruben, and now with an empty house and no nightly hot dog, is she too suffering from depression? At least when we woke up today we found that Rudy had went and picked up Danny last night – but still no Grandma. If nothing else, at least I am getting a lot of mommy time with Natalie.
On another note, I was thinking last night when I was updating my blog, I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work, then we moved and I could hardly get out of bed by 9, and now I barely make it up by 11…..where’s my life going to be in the next 6 months? I set my alarm, and I still sleep thru it….why am I so tired???


July 10, 2005 - Have you ever felt desolate?

Like no one REALLY knows you? Like no one REALLY understands you, what you feel, or what you are going through? Like no one REALLY even cares?
Sure, I have some family that cares and all, but how much do they REALLY understand? For some reason I feel like I have all the sudden entered this downward spiral and I don’t know why. I wasn’t like this before chemo, I was strong and confident. Hell, even my diagnosis couldn’t break me. So what’s my problem now? I believe depression is all a state of mind, it’s all mind over matter. Like when I was pregnant, I didn’t have morning sickness because I told myself that if I thought I felt sick of course I was going to be sick. So if I believe depression is all in your head (or my head) then what’s so wrong with mine now? Don’t get me wrong here people I am in no way trying to be a Tom Cruise, okay. Some things work for some people and some things don’t. I have tried various anti-depressants in the past and after several months it left me in worse shape than when I started (for example I had been taking them for a while because the doctor thought I needed them, and I think it was right around 2/04 I just about had a nervous breakdown because Sex & The City ended. I cried hysterically. It was then I knew I went from a case of maybe mild depression to God only knows what. I quit taking them, and within a week I was fine.) So don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to be judgmental, or tell you to up your meds or stop your meds. I believe that no one knows your own body better than yourself, so you should know what you need to do with your own medication. My problem is that my body and mind are sending me mixed signals. Am I depressed, homesick, is it from not having any hormones, or a side effect from the different medications I’m on? Well, here’s a list of my “symptoms” maybe you can tell me (remember I have no hormones): stressed, acne, pissed off, impatient, irritable, aggravated, sensitive, tired all the time, grouchy, moody, frustrated, enraged, feeling hurt (from my friends not wanting to spend time with me) , I cry more than before, exhausted, I have problems going to bed, staying asleep, and waking up, I have problems concentrating, remembering, and speaking or writing (but I think this is from chemo brain), I don’t really want to talk to people, yet at the same time I do, I want to be left alone, overall a decrease in appetite, except when I’m upset I may binge eat, It seems like all I ever do is fight with people, I’ve noticed over the last few days a weird almost “loss of motor skills if you would” my hands and fingers have become very shaking where I’ve had problems trying to type and use the mouse – I don’t know what is causing this and it freaks me out, it makes me think of Ozzy Ozbourne, to see my hands shake like this. I just think how am I going to get up every morning and take a little girl to school in what 6 weeks, when I can’t even get up tomorrow on time to go to the dealership and take my car in for service for the 5th time? It’s sad that it’s been almost 2 months since I finished chemo, and I still haven’t made the transition back to a normal, regular life.

My life as a song…The Reason (lyrics by Hoobastank)

Have you ever felt like your life had a theme song, or maybe there’s a song that you feel that you can relate just so much to? Well I think that this is it for me. Every time I hear it I get teary eyed and think of my husband; and looking at the lyrics, it's even a perfect fit.

I'm not a perfect person

There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know
I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you
I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with everyday
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
That’s why I need you to hear
I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you
I'm not a perfect person
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know
I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you
I've found a reason to show
A side of me you didn't know
A reason for all that I do
And the reason is you

July 9, 2005 – Mail’s here, mail’s here…

Wow, talk about your surprises! I don’t get much mail here at Ruben’s mom’s house. It’s all either something I ordered online and had sent here, something one of my few friends sent and I know the address, or something Ruben is sending me from home. But when you get something from an address you don’t recognize and it’s not junk mail, it really blows you away, especially when you know it’s a card. So I open the card, not knowing really what to expect, since there’s no name on the return address, and much to my surprise, I find the cutest ‘lil dog card that says “ Some days are just all fleas and no kibble….”ain’t that the truth! On the inside it says “Hang in there!” and was signed by Tammy & her mom Louise. It included a note that said if they had known that I needed a bit of cheer they would have jumped to my rescue sooner, and that by the time they are thru with me I will be begging them to stop already. It went on to say they just want to bring a smile to my face (well Tammy & Louise, not only did it do that, it brought many tears to my eyes as well!) and to see if they could lift my spirits and loneliness. They also said this card was just a start and that they hope that I enjoy it as much as they did picking it out for me, they promise more to come, and remind me that I am in their thoughts and prayers.
I’m not even sure where to begin. I barely know Tammy and her mom Louise. Tammy works for Ruben, and Louise works for another company in the same building, and I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting her once or twice. When I was in the hospital for the mastectomy, the Elko office sent me beautiful flowers, and I’m sure Tammy was behind the organization of it. And now, she and her mother send me this card and this wonderful, thoughtful note. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now. So instead, thank you from the bottom of my bottom – it’s much bigger than my heart. = )

July 8, 2005 – Some Natalie and Me time.

Today I FINALLY got one of my compression sleeves. There was some error, which seems always happens when it comes to me, so my original order never went through. They ordered me one through another vender, while they wait for the other to be custom made and sent from Germany later this month. I took Natalie with me because this was going to be a quick in and out, then afterwards we were going to continue school shopping at the outlet mall so I could hit Big Dogs. While there we rode the Carousel Horse and had ice cream cones. This made her happy. We also began our quest for red cowgirl boots. If you don’t know the story, it goes a little something like this: Sometime last week or the week before I had been watching MTV. I know, I’m a bad influence. But I like to watch shows like Pimp my Ride, Cribs, Laguna Beach. Anyway, I was watching Making the Video, and Natalie came in, and while I shouldn’t have let her watch it, I did. I know, bad parent, you can slap my hand later. This particular episode was of Jessica Simpson making “These Boots are Made for Walkin’”. Like I said bad parent. As soon as she saw those red boots she started screaming and yelling. She’s been asking for cowgirl boots now for months, I just didn’t think she was serious. Next thing I know here she is dancing around, swiveling her hips, shaking her butt, and singing right along to Jessica. While we didn’t find any red boots this trip, we did have fun just us girls.
On a side note, that rash I had a while back on my face, it came back again. Had to call the doctor and pick up more antibiotics today. Only thing in common that I can think of is being out in the sun and the chemo meds. It started the same way, looked like acne, felt like acne, but wouldn’t go away, spread like a rash, burned like hell & itched. All I know is I am staying out of the sun from now on!


Who am I?

I am the woman…
Who was diagnosed at 31 with breast cancer.
Who had no known family history.
Who found a lump in my right breast after a miscarriage.
Who asked her obstetrician about a mammogram.
Who had a 2 centimeter mass of infiltrating ductal carcinoma.
Who asks “Why me”?
Who could be your friend, sister, aunt, or mother.
Who had to have a radical mastectomy.
Who felt her femininity was robbed by cancer on a Tuesday Morning in March.
Who hides the fact that I only have one breast from my 5 year old daughter, even though she knows mommy is “sick”.
Who worries non-stop that one day, she may be diagnosed with this terrible disease.
Who cries quietly in the shower so that my family won’t know the emotional pain that I’m really feeling.
Who worries daily about being a burden to my husband.
Who chose to shave my head rather than allow cancer to take it from me.
Who is fatigued every day.
Who wants my cancer to be a bad dream.
Who understands that I’m one of the “lucky ones”. My cancer is curable.
Who understands that this is temporary.
Who will one day, be myself again.
Who has a great family, wonderful HUSBAND, and few caring friends.
Who has been fortunate to have the best doctors that Nevada has to offer.
Who has great health insurance.
Who refuses to be ill.
Who needs to be a fighter so I can be a voice.
Who will ask questions and challenge injustice due to this cancer epidemic.
Who will be the “squeaking wheel” for those who do not have the strength.
Who will continue to educate myself about cancer.
Who wants to stop the suffering.
Who wants every woman to do self exams and have a yearly mammogram.
Who will figure out “Why me”?
But when you ask me, “Who am I”,
Shouldn’t you ask, “Am I you”?

May you all find the hope, strength, & courage that you need to get you through whatever lies ahead.
Always remember to believe, and never give up hope!

Angi – Survivor since May 25, 2005

(Based partly on Who am I by Survivor Stephanie – Komen Race for the Cure)

I survived and you can too!

I’m still having quite a bit of pain. Other than the pain and soreness, I think I am doing rather well. I am trying my hardest to keep my strength and spirits up. I knew I could beat this, AND I DID, so I did not let it get me down. I wanted to be a survivor, and I AM A SURVIVOR! One day I hope to bring strength to others in their time of need. Once this ordeal is over, I will be putting this journal together in a scrapbook with graphic pictures taken through out every step of the way, and I hope through that I can make a difference, so people will know what to expect. Early detection is the key to saving lives. Remember, doctors may have fancy degrees, but you should know your body, it is yours, you have been living with it your whole life. Listen to it, learn it, know when something is wrong – and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Promote awareness; together we can make a difference!

Where did all my friends go?

Aside from all the pain and frustration I have, I think I mostly just miss my husband. Being apart like this is so hard on both of us, and I want to go home so bad sometimes. I’m at a point in my life where I really need him, his love, his support, and his hugs. I am getting too stressed out over a lot of insurance things and searching for a plastic surgeon – and he is what keeps me centered. He is my rock, and it is so difficult to go through this without him by my side, especially when there are a lot of things that I am upset and frustrated about – insurance, doctors, and the lack of what seems to be most of my friends and their concern and support. It’s bad enough my husband can’t be here with me, but to have people who are my friends, not send emails, not reply to emails, or call to see how I am doing really not only hurts me sometimes, but down right pisses me off! I feel so alone and very frustrated and so stressed and pissed off and it seems like I do not have any friends who want to spend time with me to help me get my mind off things. Trust me, no one understands more than I that life is hectic, but we’re talking about cancer, and while I may not be dying (at least not now, or at any time soon I hope), this is my life from here on out – a major life threatening, life altering illness. It could have happened to any one of my friends, the odds are just the same. According to an article in US Weekly (6/6/05 -pg. 71) a woman in her 30’s has a 1 IN 229 CHANCE OF DEVELOPING THE DISEASE. It just so happens that I was the unfortunate soul left alone with only my family to help and provide support, and thankfully I have them (with the exception of my worthless brother Bobby and his family), but every once in a while, it would be nice to have a girlfriend to talk to, to shop with, or to do something I used to enjoy doing with. I’ve always said that this whole experience has really put things into perspective for me, and it has – not just to not take things for granted, but now I know who my real friends are – those who stood beside me. Trust me, when I look back in my scrapbook, these are not the memories I want to have. I always thought I would be surrounded by friends trying to help, holding my hand, giving me strength. I know no-one wants to deal with cancer, but it’s not contagious. It’s not going to get you. You should embrace it, because as women, we all need to support our boobs, because no-one else will.

My frustration with Plastic Surgeons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As of now, I have two appointments made with the only plastic surgeons I could find who will accept insurance as a form of payment, (but these will most likely be canceled now, and my search put on hold till next summer) but they are not until August. One is early-August (5th), the other @ the end (29th). One doctor supposedly is scheduling surgeries for a few weeks after the consultation (29th); the other is booked till next year (5th). I’m not sure if I will stay in town that long to make them or not, because I don’t want to miss Natalie’s first day of kindergarten on the 29th, and I have to get her home and back to a regular schedule. I am thinking I am going to go home the weekend of July 15th; July 15th is Ruben’s birthday. But Ruben just came to me (7/5/05) and said that won’t work he has to work that week, I think he has inventory to do or something. So I might stay till the first week of August and make it to my August 5th PS appointment, then go home after that…..that way she’ll have at least a few weeks to settle down before school. I am really getting homesick, but I also would like to get my breast reconstructed and every other plastic surgeon I called refused to accept any type of insurance as a form of payment; they only accept cash or credit’ no exceptions! I can’t afford to pay that kind of cash up-front, or take out a loan until the insurance company would pay me back. I don’t even think I would qualify for a loan, I don’t work! Now you can see why I am so frustrated and stressed? If I had hair, I’m sure I would have pulled it out by now!

July 4, 2005 – And the rockets red glare…….

For the Fourth we had a nice little BBQ over at my mom’s house and had some Ribeye steaks, hot dogs, kilbasa, corn on the cob, and baked beans. After dinner we headed up to Mountain Crest Park (Natalie’s favorite little daytime water park) to set off the fireworks we bought, but soon realized we had a wonderful view of all the firework displays being set off by the city all over that side of town at all the various parks. Natalie had a blast, and she managed not to burn herself with the sparklers this year (YAY!), but poor Lexie sat in the truck shaking and terrified! There were also some idiots in the park shooting off the illegal fireworks irresponsibly, and by irresponsibly I mean shooting bottle rockets at cars and such. It was rather annoying!

June 30, 2005 – Going to see the Medicine Man

We met with my oncologist for my final follow-up appointment. Seems I am doing well on the Femara. I told him how my bones are hurting, mostly my shins. He told me that is common of the drug, and that my Dexa Scan came back okay. I need to start taking some calcium supplements to prevent bone loss, since I am at risk for it now. He also said if I begin to hurt too much, he can switch drugs on me, but they all pretty much have the same side effects. But it’s not that bad, I just feel like I’ve been kicked. I also got my laptop back to today. I’m so happy. For two weeks now I felt so disconnected with the world, and now I am plugged back in and rearing to go!

June 29, 2005 – Ding Dong!

The doorbell rang late this afternoon and I let Nat answer it, only to find out it was her daddy! Boy was she surprised! Ruben showed up late today spend the 4th of July weekend us, and we were all so glad to see him. It’s so nice to hug my honey again. Lexie missed him so much she just about pissed herself, but then again, she is a dog.

June 26, 2005 – Vacation’s over, at least for my sister.

My sister and nephew left at 2:15 am this morning, and NO, I didn’t take them to the airport this time. My butt was soundly asleep in bed!

June 25, 2005 – Stampin’ the afternoon away at JoJo's

Joanna’s Stampin’ Up workshop. I dropped Nat off with Grampa and Jake, and Deb, Mom and I went over and stamped some scrapbook pages, a card, and a bookmark. Jan my friend who I used to work with was there, as well as some of my mom’s Red Hat friends. Jo had LOTS of food there, and we had a good time, but poor Jo had to go take care of her broken car. Once again, the people I invited were no-shows, nonetheless, we had fun, but I still would like to see the people I call friends. However, Tanya, aka, the hardest working woman I know, did email me to tell me she couldn't make it. I knew when I invited her she probably couldn't because being in the real estate field she works Saturdays, but to my surprise, she had the afternoon off and was spending it with her daughter. Her husband had plans, so she had babysitting duty. I would never expect to take someone's time away from their child, it is too precious, besides, she get's too little time to spend with her family as it is, as she is the hardest working woman I know.

June 22, 2005 - The Shark Reef

Today, Deb, Jake, Mom, Nat, and I all went to the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. Ruben’s mom got us discounted tickets, and Deb and Jake hadn’t been. This was Nat’s 3rd time there. She loves the sharks and had fun telling her older nephew how to use the listening wand. She just loves being bossy. Hmmm, wonder where she gets that quality from? (That's me, my sis Deb, my nephew Jake, and Natalie my daughter)

June 19, 2005 - Father's Day flight

I got up at 4:30 this morning so I could go to the airport and pick up my sister and nephew when their flight came in at 6:15, then drive them all the way out to my mom’s house. Afterwards, I went home and rested, then got Natalie ready before heading back to mom’s house. This whole week is going to be a lot of driving and running around. This afternoon we went to Joe’s Crab Shack for Father’s Day. I’m sure we’ll hit some scrap stores while she's here this week, and she’s already said she wants to go shopping at stateline.

June 17, 2005 - Sometimes you learn things the hard way

I sent my laptop in today for repairs. This did not make me a happy camper. Shipping alone was nearly $50. Lesson learned, save the box it came in when you bought it!

June 16, 2005 - Somedays I think I am being picked on!

Today like most days started out just fine and quickly turned to shit. I had my afternoon appointment to have my Dexa Scan done, and all went well with that. Afterwards I got gas, and my oil changed, and that’s when I noticed that I had a huge screw in my tire. So I drove around for a while searching for a place that could fix it, and it luckily turned out to be nothing – this time. I stopped and picked up my film from Wal-Mart, and they screwed up 5 rolls of it, so I only had to pay for 1 (only cause I bitched a fit!). I get home to put I of the picture discs in my new laptop, and this is where it all went downhill. All I hear is this clicking sound. The drive wasn’t reading the disc. Naturally, I thought they screwed up the disc and didn’t put pictures on it, so I put a movie in. Still only clicking. My laptop is only 2 months old, now I have to send it in and be without it for 2 or 3 weeks, but what’s worse is that I have to find a way to save all my files and take out my memory stick. I don’t dare try to remove the memory stick, and I have no-one here to do it. It says on the manufacturer’s web page not to send it in with any upgrades because you might not get them back. That’s just freaken lovely. And if that weren’t enough, my mom called in the middle of my crisis to tell me that her friend Barbara found out today that she has cervical cancer. I am so freaken tired of hearing the word cancer. I just wish it would go away. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to save this and live without a computer till it’s fixed!

June 15, 2005 – Crying in Wal-Mart

Have you ever stood in a middle of a Wal-Mart aisle and cried? Well let me tell you, today I did, and at that moment, I don’t think I could have been at a more perfect spot. All that was missing were the pajama pants, slippers, and hair rollers. Oh wait, I have no hair. Of all places to be at while crying on the phone. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I was on the phone. Ruben had just called to tell me that he’s not coming down for Father’s Day after all. Guess it’s a good thing I hadn’t told Natalie yet. Although part of me wants to blame him, it’s not his fault. Really it’s not. He has business he has to take care of on Monday and cannot take the day off, really, truly, honestly, I swear. Trust me, he’d rather be with his girls. I’m just upset because I was really looking forward to it and I miss him so! All in a days work of being an area supervisor I suppose. Instead he’ll come down for the 4th of July.

But on a good note, I went shopping at a scrapbook store (yay!) and I got a card in the mail today. I was expecting the pictures from my friend Sonia, and with them she also sent a card saying sorry she hadn’t been able to spend any time with me, and that she hoped the pictures brought a smile to my face – and they did, but not as much as the card! Thanks for the card Sonia, but to be honest, I'd really rather see you. I know, at least the card gave me something to be happy about today. But as Ruben is convinced, I'm not happy unless I'm bitching.

To compromise or not?.........I don't know why I have such high standards for the people in my life - I guess because they are the same high standards I hold myself to when presenting myself to others, I just have come to expect the same. Guess after all I have been through with my brother and all my friends, it's time to lower some of those standards....or should I?

June 14, 2005 - My sister's going to visit!

My mom called today, my sister Debbi and my nephew Jake are coming to visit! They will be here on Sunday. My brother in law Syd couldn’t come though, he has to stay at home (in Hawaii) and work. Between you and me, I think I’d rather be in Hawaii! Oh, I finally talked to my oncologist’s office today too and got the whole thing straightened out with my Dexa Scan test. I have to go in on Thursday 6/16 for that. I’m still trying to decided whether or not I am going to stay till August 5th to see the one plastic surgeon or not. I just can’t seem to make up my mind!

June 13, 2005 - I'm free, I'm free!

Not only am I without husband, I am also without child! I dropped Nat off this afternoon before my doctor’s appointment to spend a whole week over at gramma and grampa’s house. This couldn’t have come at a better time because I really needed a break. I’ve been so stressed from all this crap lately I’m starting to break out again with acne. But anyway I saw the therapist today for my lymphedema. She massaged my arm, both manually and with this sleeve that pumps full of air. She’s going to see if she can’t get my doctor to write an RX for the sleeve/pump and have my insurance pay for it. This time it wasn’t just my upper arm that was swollen; my wrist had gotten bigger too. Now that Nat’s not at home, I can spend some time without my prosthetic on and see if that helps any with the swelling. Sometimes it is very difficult trying to constantly hide it from a 5 year old!

June 11, 2005 - Back to school shopping sucks!

My mom and I took Natalie shopping for some back to school clothes. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Here in Vegas it is still hot as hell out, and we need clothes that will not only fit her but keep her nice and toasty warm come winter – which will come not far after school starts. Last year after we moved up there, we had our first “real” snow the 3rd week of October. Of course by then it had snowed in September. Matter of fact, Ruben called last week and said it snowed, and here it is JUNE for Christ’s sake! I also found out that even though she may seem like she’s really tall, she’s not, not in proportion to the rest of her body. That’s what made it so hard to find her clothes. Whatever would be big enough to fit her waist in a couple months was like two feet too long for her! UGH! And to think I thought I liked shopping! At least we got her a few things. The rest will have to wait, and we’ll make a trip to Salt Lake or Twin Falls.

June 10, 2005 - When it rains it pours!

While I was waiting for the groomers to finish up with my dog, I called the elementary school to find out what supplies my daughter will need for when she starts school this fall. I thought school started after Labor Day. Boy was I wrong! I found out school starts on August 29th, the same day as one of my plastic surgeon appointments – the one who is supposedly booking surgeries a few weeks following his consultations. Well I can’t very well miss my baby’s first day of school. We’re talking about the one day she has talked about non-stop for the last year of her life, the one day that is going to break my heart. I still remember my first day of kindergarten, I was all dressed for school, with my backpack on and rearing to go and my mom stood me in front of the refrigerator and took a picture to commemorate the big day. She also did another outside the school. I want to be there to take pictures of my child’s first day too. So now I am second guessing myself. Should I even bother staying for the appointment I made with the plastic surgeon on August 5th? This guy isn’t even scheduling surgeries until next year! I can’t pull my child out of school for something like this. Can you see why this is so frustrating! And if this weren’t enough, I come home and find I have mail from my husband. He gets mail that he thinks I should have, so he sends it down to me, like all of my insurance explanation of benefits and stuff. Well, one of the items I got was a referral from my oncologist doctor’s office. After my last appointment, one of the ladies there had called me to say Dr. Jean wanted me to go ahead and have a Dexa Scan (bone density scan?) done now and she wanted to know if I wanted her to make an appointment and when would be a good time. I told her afternoons, and just to let me know, but never heard back on it, just that my medical records were ready to pick up. Well as I said, one of the items I received TODAY was a referral from his office to Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging Centers stating that my appointment date was for 6/8 @ 2:24 pm – which was 2 days ago!!!!! The form listed my local phone number on it, yet no-one from either office called to tell me the appointment had been made (cause I already had a pre-existing appointment for that day scheduled to be fitted for my compression sleeve!), no-one called from either office to confirm my appointment and remind me that 24 hours prior to the test I cannot have calcium or multi-vitamins, and they sent the referral form to Elko knowing I am here in Las Vegas! When I called the doctor’s office to find out what the hell happened, no-one knew. I left a message, but no-one bothered to call back either, so I have to wait till Monday 6/13 to call back and find out what’s going on. Just when I think I am about to really crack and lose it, I get an instant message online from my friend Joanna. She hadn’t read my web pages yet, hadn’t had time with work and all, but she sincerely wanted to check up on me and see how I was doing, and about the stamps she ordered. I told her she didn’t want to know. I was in a foul mood, and if I could drink, I would get plastered. I’m at the point that I am pissed off at the world. For once (in a long time) an old friend offered an ear and a shoulder. We took our daughters to the park, we talked, she listened, and it wasn’t even at all necessarily about cancer, doctors, or insurance. I looked through scrapbooks of her daughter. Took pictures at the park of all of us, and we just had fun….and no, alcohol wasn’t even involved. Finally a friend reached out to me in my time of need, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was literally just what the doctor ordered! Am I still pissed off about everything else? Hell yes, but at least I had a good time tonight, and for a while, I didn’t have a care in the world. Thanks Joanna, you saved and made my day!

June 8, 2005 - Finally gettin' fitted for a compression sleeve!

I called my doctor today regarding the blood I threw up. They basically just told me to quit taking the Coumadin I was on to thin my blood to keep my port from clogging. I was on the lowest dose, but now that my chemo is over, they won’t need to access my port anymore. They also recommended having the port removed, and taking Zantac for now just to settle my stomach. I also went to a durable medical supply for to get my compression sleeve – hopefully this will FINALLY end my lymphedema problems, I hope! But as I found out, I cannot get an off the shelf one, they took measurements again and had to custom order one. I should get it in about 2 weeks. I also started taking my Femara today. My doc wanted me to wait until all the chemo was somewhat out of my system before staring the regimen. Hope the side effects are mild!

June 7, 2005 - One helluva bloody bad day!

Today was just one bad day. First off I went to take a relaxing bath after a day of nothing but stressful phone calls, and found that I lost a BUNCH of hair. I thought I was over this. It was very depressing! UGH!!!! Then as I was getting ready for bed just after I took my meds I threw up. One of my medications tastes awful and dissolves quickly. Sure enough the taste alone made me sick. I’ve been very lucky to not have been extremely sick through-out this whole cancer ordeal, but tonight was a scary one. For the first time ever, I through up blood, and I’m not sure why. I actually through up quite a bit of it too – more than ¼ cup of blood on top of the pills, there was something that appeared to be some kind of flesh. My stomach was empty since it had been hours since I had eaten dinner and I was getting ready to go to bed. I’m hoping that maybe one of the larger pills scratched or damaged the back of my throat or something. Since I had thrown them up, I had to re-take them all, and the second time around I had no problems, but that time I took only 2 at a time and with a piece of toast. I just hope I didn’t do permanent damage.

June 3, 2005 - It's Ladies Night

I FINALLY saw a specialist for my lymphedema. We didn’t get much time to go over managing it or manual lymphatic drainage, which is what I need in order to keep the swelling down. The swelling is killing me – the pain is almost unbearable. I will start some type of weekly therapy for this. After my therapy, my mom & I attended the 5th annual Ladies Night Out at MJ Christensen Diamond Centers. Paula Francis from KLAS Channel 8 News was there, along with the Chippendales, and Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. It was all to benefit The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. We had a lot of fun, even though we didn’t win any of the jewels they raffled off. But the free food and champagne was nice, even though it wasn’t a $5000 diamond encrusted watch!

June 2, 2005 - Endless disability forms

I finally finished signing & filling out the rest of my forms for the Social Security Office, I took my original birth certificate, W-2, marriage certificate, and other miscellaneous documents down to the local office, so that they could get the process moving along. It could take up to 6 months for them to make a decision. Cross your fingers. In the meantime, I am contemplating suing the general surgeon, I’ve just heard from too many doctors that a radical mastectomy was totally unnecessary, and I feel like I have been mauled – robbed of a breast. And now that I am battling to find a plastic surgeon to do reconstruction who will accept insurance, I am infuriated by the fact that I lost a breast and am having such a hassle just to get it back.

June 1, 2005 - Cancer free, problem free

I had my follow-up appointment with my oncologist today. He ran my labs and they all came back great once again. He gave me my next phase of medication to start, the aromatase inhibitor Femara – This is the drug I will be on for the rest of my life, and may cause bone loss, so I have to have yearly bone scans in addition to my other tests. I found that I lost another 7 lbs. since my appointment on 5/26 – WOOHOO!! That was more of a highlight to my day I think than being cancer free, j/k = ) I don’t follow-up with the doc till the end of June to see if the Femara agrees with me, then after that I just do yearly exams which he said he is writing detailed notes in my records so any doctor in Elko can refill my RX and order my mammogram, chest x-ray, and bone scans when needed. I would only need to come back if there is a problem. Dr. Jean has been a wonderful doctor!

May 31, 2005 – The BS with the PS.

I met with my first plastic surgeon today for a consultation. Needless to say I was very disappointed in what he had to say and in general did not like the guy. He was old, smelly, and shaky. He told me that I wasn’t giving him sufficient reasons for him to even consider doing the type of procedure that I wanted, which made no sense to me. As long as I am a candidate, and you are capable of performing the surgery, what difference does it make why I want the procedure? Plastic surgery is an elective procure anyway, it is something I have done to make me happy, not him. So I left there and am in search of others who accept insurance as a form of payment. As I am finding out, most only accept cash or credit. It is very frustrating!

May 27, 2005 – Who invited the flu to my party?

I had my Stampin’ Up workshop party today to celebrate the end of my chemo treatments. We made this cute little album with sunflowers and ladybugs on it. Of course only 2 of the friends I had invited showed up, most didn’t even respond. It’s funny how these things work out. Since being here, I have spent more time with my mother’s friends enjoying myself with these sassy Red Hatter's who are twice my age or more, than I have with people who are supposed to be my friends! But such is life I guess - everyone has more important stuff to do than to see a friend who just survived breast cancer. -BUT – On a brighter side, I received a care package from my sister Deb, her hubby Syd, and my nephew Jake in Hawaii containing several varieties of Hawaiian mac cookies, mac toffee popcorn, a lei hat band, a squishy aloha pillow, honey roasted mac nuts, chocolate covered mac nuts – even a candy lei for my daughter Natalie – but this is also the day that I got sick and threw up (only once) and spent the rest of the day feeling nauseous, as well as the whole Memorial weekend. In fact, I was still queasy when I went to the doctor’s appointments on both 5/31 & 6/1. Fun way to spend the weekend, but luckily, Natalie got better much faster than I. She was well by Sunday, but come Monday, my mother, and brother-in-law Rudy were sick, later to be followed by my other brother-in-law Danny, and my mother-in-law Maria. (Top picture from Stamp Party is; me, Joanna, Jan, & Melissa. The other picture is me in the Hawaiian Hat Band Lei that my sister sent me for my "pretty bald head" and Nat wearing her royal crown.)

May 26, 2005 - My last injection, thank goodness!

I went today to get my last Neulasta injection, and I am ever so thankful! These shots have really started to make my bones ache over the last few weeks. At times I feel twice my age. But I got good news when they weighed me in, I lost 4 lbs. since the 17th. My daughter got sick today, she began throwing up after dinner. The poor child threw up 5 times. I was worried I was going to have to take her to the hospital, but luckily she did manage to drink lots of water.

May 25, 2005 - My 4th and FINAL chemo!

Well I did it. Today's the day, my FINAL chemo treatment YAY! I made it. Although I am more excited than words can describe, I am also so nervous. So nervous because this is it, I now have to transition back to a normal life and I am worried that I will forever have cancer on the brain. At least with chemo, I knew I was safe, but how do I return to the life I once had without constant fear getting in the way? After my chemo, mom invited Nat & I to crash on her Red Hat BBQ over at Barbara’s house. This is the second time now that I have spent an evening with these ladies, and they are just so warm and caring. Barb didn’t care I crashed her party. They just treat me like one of the “girls”. Who would have thunk I would have so much fun with these “old” ladies as I like to call them. They are old, but sassy gals. I hate to say it like this, but these ladies have spent more time with me while I'm down here than my own friends have - and these are my mom's friends! How sad is that? But then again, I do relate better to them I guess, beings that I am in menopause and all. Maybe that's why none of my friends want to be around me...I'm a 60 year old woman trapped in a 31 year old's body!

This is Natalie and my mom's Red Hat friend Diane (Nat LOVES her!)
I wish I had a picture of Melissa's (Barbaba's daughter) dog Opie. Nat loved that dog and played with him all night; and I swear, if Lexie weren't fixed, he'd be the dog I would mate her with.

May 23, 2005 - Maybe I should live at the airport?

Here we are again, back to the airport. Ruben left today to go back home to Elko. We don't really know when we'll be seeing him again or when I'll be going home yet. These days I am beginning to feel like I live here. But so far I have managed Ruben leaving and not puking, YAY! So Wednesday I have my final chemo, then later this month I meet with a Plastic Surgeon to discuss reconstruction. I am still searching for a Lymphedema Specialist who can help fit me for a compression sleeve. There is just so left to much to do, and so little time to do it in. Thankfully, I just finished my on-line application for disability for social security – that only took me about 2 weeks to complete! Now I just have to take the legal docs down to the local office, ugh! I just need more time and more energy!

May 20, 2005 - Another weekend with Dad!

I picked Ruben up for another weekend this time before he heads home to Elko on 5/23. This weekend the 3 of us went to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner, as requested by one super excited 5 year old! I remember a time when Chuck E. terrified her. They grow up so fast!