Saturday, September 15, 2012

You know its serious when.... hear "can I get a picture of that" from your doctor.Well if you missed the warning in my last blog be aware that the next few blogs are going to be about cancer. No not my typical blogs but the true reality of cancer including pictures. You see most of the time when we think of cancer we think of something that is virtually unseen. Something that you can sometimes feel and sometimes only detect by machines. Something that doesn't hurt. Then there is IBC. Its a very visible  cancer. Its ugly and its painful and for that reason it typically ends up misdiagnosed and miss treated until it too late. In most cases IBC does not have a lump. Luckily for me it did. Otherwise there is no telling how long it would have been before mine would have been detected. While many friends and family were telling us that things would be ok and that my biopsy would come back fine we knew that wasn't going to be the case. No one really understood why we were so sure but when you see these pictures you will understand. My Port-a-cath was put in on September 14th 2010 which was our Tenth Anniversary. The following day exactly two years ago today these pictures were taken in the doctors office. Shawn and I joked with a nurse that at least no one had taken a picture because thats when you know things are really bad. That very second the radiation doc that we were having a consult with walked in and asked if he could take a picture. We laughed but she cried. Anyway, its weird to be posting these pictures but in the end I think its important for people to realize what IBC is, what it may look like, how serious it is, and how extensive the treatment is. One last thing. Keep in mind I was exactly one month postpartum when these pictures were taken. I say that only because that is my excuse for the fat rolls LOL. Make sure you scroll down and look at both because they loaded funny and are very spread out.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Couple of Thoughts and a Warning.

Today marks the 2 year anniversary since I heard the words I had cancer. Its been a long day full of its own ups and downs. Some days I almost forget that I ever had cancer. Some days I'm reminded over and over again. Today was one of those days for a multitude of reasons. It wasn't just because of the fact that it was my two year cancerversary, it wasn't just because I was at the Komen office stuffing packets for the upcoming race, it wasn't because I was sharing my story with other survivors today and it wasn't because I was planning kids activities for race day in exactly one week. It was simply because I hit a wall. Not an emotional wall but a physical one. You see sometimes I forget that my physical body isn't the same it used to be. Ok sure there is the obvious not having boobs thing but that is not what I'm talking about. I tend to take on a multitude of things and keep going, keep working, keep doing...until my body says no more. Today was one of those days. I had an incredible week. There were so many firsts I don't even know where to begin. I got to attend and throw my first tailgate party for my department. It was a huge success and it was so much fun. I even got to throw some balls at our dunk tank and watch a student take the plunge. Apparently I can still throw a ball pretty well. It was fun but the event was also a lot of work. I also ended up getting a photo gig that same night which was a completely unique and fun experience. Then this morning I got to spent time with my church family in some awesome and uplifting worship followed by one of my all time favorite preachers of all times who I have known most of my life.Then of course there is the whole crunch time for Komen. Basically I have been going non stop for weeks with no end in sight until November. I'm not complaining...really I'm was just a reminder today that I have physical limits now that I never had before. Each day I forget that I can't take on the entire world on my own and I try to do it,  then there are days like today when its like a big slap in the face that I can't do as much as I used to. I'll be honest. I forgot this weekend that today marked my 2 year cancerversary because I was so stinking busy. I say that in the most wonderful way. Then I started shutting down, every muscle, every bone hurt just to move or to stand and then when that wasn't enough for me to slow down a migraine started.  Even then I kept attempting to keep going and then somehow out of nowhere I remembered not only that I had cancer but that I needed a break. That I couldn't keep going like that and needed to spend the evening relaxing. So I spent part of the evening watching the girls play on the porch and part of it chatting with the BFF about photo shoots and other fun stuff. I'll be honest I went through the first half of the day without even realizing that it had been exactly two years. I'm glad that my body basically slapped me in the face and reminded me because I was started to take time and energy for granted. I was forgetting to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Luckily I'm nearly through by busy season as far as volunteer work and major planning events for my regular job leaving me more time I hope for things like photoshoots, writing and some reading. I'm reading a great book by one of my favorite authors right now but had to take a two week break because of a lack of time and energy.  Two years ago I wouldn't have had a problem doing all of this. I wouldn't have even thought twice about needing to slow down but here I am curled up on the couch not willing to move for the rest of the evening.
The other thing that I was reminded of this week is how amazing God is sometimes. There are times that he brings people into your life not once, not twice but multiple times all in various and unrelated ways. If he keeps making your paths cross with the same person over and over there is probably a bigger reason for that. I may not always know what that reason is but at least He makes me realize that I should be on the look out for a what that purpose might be.
Well that was my thoughts for today so here is the warning. I have been working on a project for my blog. I plan to take you through my cancer journey in a new and different way. The next few blogs will be about those mile stones both good and bad but will also include pictures of that journey. Why the warning you ask? Because some of these pictures will be graphic. Some may even include pictures of breasts *gasp*! I have been wanting to do this for a while but just haven't got around to it. With this being the two year mark and heading into the Komen race and breast cancer awareness month I honestly can't think of a better time to do this. Not to mention that I have had to work up the nerve to post some of the pictures that will be in these next few blogs. While I struggled to decide weather or not to post them I realized that its important for  awareness, education, and for families that may have to face this. Maybe its not really even for other people maybe its just a selfish way to chronicle what I have been through and where I am going. As I close this blog toast with me as I celebrate an awesome two years of not only surviving but thriving!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Walking in the Spirit

I was recently asked if I would contribute to a blog of a local breast cancer organization called "Walking in the Spirit". They are a really neat organization here in CoMo. They are a faith based group dedicated to promoting education, prevention and awareness to undeserved populations in the area. I hope one of these days I can make it to one of their events. The last one that they held they had someone come in and teach praise dancing. I'm sure this is something I would be terrible at but I think it would be fun to try anyway. Their blog is full of great tips on nutrition and staying healthy which is one of the few things you can control to lower your risk of breast cancer. They also feature medical experts and stories from survivors. You may even know today’s guest! I posted this on my facebook page the other day so if you happen to follow me on facbeook you have probably already read this blog. If you haven't read it already take a few minutes to visit their blog and read my post from August 31st then take some time and read their about me section and check out some of the other blogs. I really hope I can get more involved in this group. They are doing great things here in CoMo!