Friday, November 30, 2012

Radiation Done! and Mini Life Updates!

I apologize yet again for my lack of posting in the past 3 months!!! I've actually missed blogging and hate when I fall behind in updating!!!! I've been kinda going through a complete mental block that I can't really explain...kind of like Carrie sometimes does in SATC or maybe even Stephen when you just take such a long break - you don't even know where to pick up and begin again...Or how to write something decent after pouring out most of your secrets!

Partially it's been due to complete laziness and the other half I honestly have just been dealing with a lot of other external things on my plate since the summer ended. I also started a part time job at the Boston Ballet which has been nice since I haven't been too physical or really worked in about a year.  My other real excuse is that I have just been recovering and healing from all the radiation poison that has been zapped into my asian flesh! I have literally been using my couch as a fainting couch and have been hibernating for most of sept-oct....Much like a bear, I only come out to eat my storage of food! 

Anyhow no more lame excuses, let's just get to all the goodies!!!!

If you don't want to read all of this, I made a new video that does a recap of everything with all my updates....sorry for the distorted sound....I recorded it the same way as I always have but for some reason it just sounds gross LOL...Also, please excuse my drag queen eye makeup I was too lazy to fix it and I actually did this video all in one take and just couldn't sit through another re-do again. Hopefully I've minimized my use of the word "um"! 

What an attractive thumbnail! Sexy Beast. Rawr.

Radiation was all very bizarre to me. As you all know I had to go 28 days straight which wasn't a huge deal in the long haul. At first I was all gung ho about getting it over with, but as the days progressed on, it just became tedious and I kind of just got annoyed that I had to physically go in everyday. I mean they couldn't make it easier for me. They gave me a nice parking pass which was in the outdoor lot was was cool and when you went in, all you did was scan your special little card and change into that sexy johnny and have a seat. Next thing you know they call you in, poke and prod you for about 15-20 minutes and then you are done. It's almost like dating...D'OH. I just said that outloud...HAHAHA. 

But all jokes aside, the machine I had to lay on was similar to this picture but not quite: in fact the layout was almost exactly like the room I was in-only my machine was a little more old fashioned and it was smaller and had more gadgets surrounding and the bed was closer to the machine itself. Also there were stir ups for the hands! Kind of like a reverse gyno exam. Ugh.

Typically when you get into the room you are already in your johnny...this johnny really pissed me off ( you all already know my existing hatred of them) because to me, it would make more sense to wear it so the open side faces out so you can just take it off easily when you get into the room, but they prefer you to tie it the other way around and then put ANOTHER johnny on top of it as a robe so while you are sitting  in the waiting room your back isn't exposed.
Anyhow they like for you to come in every day at the same time and use the same machine with the same group of radiologists so once they call you in, there are usually 2-4 Radiologists helping you. One of them is usually outside in the control room watching you. Not in the Phil Collins creepy way, but  there is a camera facing you towards your feet so they can see you the whole time and a speaker so you can hear them....Is it awkward for you yet?
For me, I usually came in and they placed a pillow thing for my knees and they help me get my hands over my head in the stir up things. Again, I had 2 guys that were my age so it's all types of awkwardness for me at least. They are so used to seeing boobs everyday so they are super funny and professional but it's just always weird to have boys your own age like right up in your face, staring at your boobs ( or lack of one in my case) and just measuring and taking pics like we were at the company picnic - all casual and calm like they were just doing math problems in the side hahahahahaha! Occasionally the cuter one would talk to me and ask me things here and there but I get so weirded out and feel so dumb that I don't ever make eye contact because it's just a weird circumstance. The women Radiologists are hilarious. One was really short and spunky and sweet as a cupcake and the other one was all business and always stressed out but she always complimented me on my jewelry. She lit up after she saw my Alex and Ani bracelet and from that moment on all we did was talk about jewelry. The other 2 women that I didn't have as often were equally awesome. Just funny and witty and smart so I really got to enjoy their company when I saw them every day which was nice. I also felt bad since it seemed like they were all workaholics....but it made me feel good that they actually care about their clients and they want to get things right and I appreciate that they take the time to double check things. When I went back for a follow up appt with Dr Nedea about a month after I was done, I said hi to the ones that were working that day and they were so happy to see me and they gave me a hug and it was so genuine I almost burst out crying.

Anyhow, my routine went like this: every week they would take pictures of the breast area for my main radiology doctor ( the lovely Dr. Nedea) to examine so essentially all it entailed was just a click of a button and took an extra minute. The machine just is all set up and calibrated to my measurements prior to my first appt so everything is exact and on point. Every other day was my "spa treatment" or "bolus" as they call it where they basically put a hot towel over my breast area to reduce the inflammation from the felt good but as soon as the towel got wet it was gross! After all of that was out of the way, the machine gave me radiation from 3 different angles. The first from my right side, then over my left side and shoulder/clavicle area, and then the final over the actual breast area. The breast part is where they would measure it out ( since it was close to my heart) , double check, ask me to breathe in and out and mark the area near my tattoos they gave me from the planning phase to mark my breathing and heartbeat. They then place a device over my heart that measures my actual heartbeat which the light beam catches in another machine in front of me. Ah the things you learn. I also thought that this would be a great career path and commendable profession and I wondered why I never thought of it as a job earlier in my life. These are the random things that pop in my head all day!

When that was all set they would leave the room and I would hear a prompt telling me to "inhale....hold your breath...exhale and relax" I swear to god I heard that voice in my sleep! That process is repeated at every step of the radiation. 

And all this took all of 15 minutes.
Also, once a week, Dr. Nedea would see me when I was done to make sure the area was healing properly. 

As two weeks progressed I was starting to feel fatigued from the back and forth. I have heard many survivors tell me that radiation is where most everyone gains weight since it makes you so mopey and tired and I was determined that this was not going to happen to me. Over the summer I was pretty active, went out a lot and started running a little bit and I wasn't 100% happy with my weight but I felt like it was passable for the time being. As soon as the last week of radiation came by. I was EXHAUSTED. I literally would go home, sleep allll day, get up to eat really badly and then spend the rest of the night on my couch and this was repeated the next day...ugh. Next thing you know 2 months have passed since summer and obviously it's getting colder which makes me eat and snack EVEN MORE. The thing is, I knew I was eating badly and felt gross but I just didn't care anymore and kinda just ate what I wanted with no restrictions. Pasta at 2am? Why not. Endless bags of gummy worms? Sure. Next thing you know I totally gained like 8-10 lbs extra since the summer. Ugh. I know I am like obsessed with weight and maintaining a certain number but it also makes me feel totally gross when I don't like the way my clothes feel after I gain weight. Girls just KNOW. And when I gain weight it doesn't stretch out generously to any other body part- it freakin' goes RIGHT to my damn stomach. UGH. I decided I am detoxing ASAP so I can regain control again and look cute for my bday in Jan. LOL... No more sugar and carbs for me for awhile!

The physical healing on my skin has also been tough. I didn't see much of a change during the first half of radiation but as soon as the last week rolled around....OMG, my skin all of a sudden was purple, sore, disgusting , peeling and GROSS. I really could not even look at myself in the mirror. Here was where I got somewhat depressed and hibernated a little more. I was just in pain and miserable to say the least. Looking in the mirror was like seeing a messed up deformed part of myself that was hard to accept still today. I know it's all to help me get better and more myself again, but I already feel spliced and I will never really be the same Jen again. 

So I had to say goodbye to the old me to make room for the future new and improved me that I will see someday again.

What I'm about to post is pretty graphic and nasty so if you don't want to look just scroll past it- but it was important for me to document it for my own sake....this is what I looked like after the radiation was done, and what my actual surgically removed breast looks like- or as you may call it - my fake boobie....please be gentle:

After about 2 weeks of radiation this was what my skin was starting to look like....


Then it progressed to this: a little darker and more defined:

yes this is after surgery...gross I know and I have a missing part.

Then it gets even more nasty :(

This was so uncomfortable and painful! 

Then at the worst before it started peeling this is what it finally progressed to:

Bet you don't wish you were me!

Right now, it's almost 100% healed which I'm happy about but I'm sore as all hell:

See, no worries, getting better :)

 I still have to wait 6 months before I can start on any of the reconstruction or resume with the saline fills again(since it most likely shrunk during radiation)...Don't forget I still have to get rid of my right breast so that will be nothing but fun on the morphine when the time comes! LOL I'm sincerely sorry if these pictures grosses anyone out. It is absolutely not my intention nor am I trying to just show off my out of shape gross body.  I know you are all prob. wondering why I would ever post such private pictures of my sacred body (haha!) but like I said, this is my blog and it's a forum to  document my progress- good and/or bad. What would be the point of having somewhere to vent if I couldn't do it 100% ? This is stuff I don't make up folks, this is my life and this is the pain and the ups and downs that I deal with on a daily basis. I merely choose to share it publicly to help those who might be going through the same thing but don't have anyone to relate to. I'm a young survivor and I'm proud of it :) AND anyways, technically I'm not "naked" since there is really nothing to see. HAHA. Trust me. LOL.

I hope all of you understand that there are just so many steps in healing...not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's a totally cleansing of EVERYTHING. 
Breast Cancer was def. not the rocky  road I wanted to travel on but hey,

 I'm still here in one piece, even if it's 8 lbs more of me :) 

*Also, if anyone has an app that can do all my hospital johnny pics and make them into one picture (kinda like all lined up- let me know! )I would love to post it here but don't want to upload all 27 pictures!...I have zero patience as you can probably tell!

"HHHHHHere's Johnny!!!!"

Thank You ALL for the continuing amazing, awesome, 
kickass support!!! <3
Without friends and family, I am nothing.
hugs from ya girl!+ humbled,

Friday, August 31, 2012

Radiation 1+2/28 and Updates on Life

Ceilings. That's all I seem to notice lately. When I went in for my radiation planning and was left to lie on that weird slab of a stretcher/bed thing, I sort of zoned out all the nurses and technicians talking to me and just continued to stare at the ceiling. Each  panel had a different texture. The area where the machine was set up through the ceiling was engulfed by thick pieces of glass and I could semi see my reflection...UGH. The first thing I noticed was that damn hospital gown. Hideous. The tiny flecks of reds and blues mixed in with the blood red laser beams and diamond wannabe shapes bounced back at me -almost mocking me. I cringe. The other part of the ceiling was plain and boring  pale white. Stale. Office-like. The long fluorescent empty ceiling lights flickered back and forth as I blinked and adjusted my eyes to the dimness. I think I also saw those mini black dots and swirls in the design - you know what I'm talking about: the ugly almost fake plaster material made to fool you in thinkiing they were glorious marble-like carvings from magical lands when in reality you could probably crumble it to pieces with one simple gentle touch. Next to that there were also vertical pieces on this ceiling. A Criss Cross of random textures and patches of places were plaster was peeled off and repaired. It was like the ghetto "Sistine Chapel of Radiation". Michelangelo this was not.

Zapping back to realty ( no pun intended of course) the planning portion took forever. It was a lot of poking and prodding, picture taking, tedious breathing exercises and listening to a robotic prompt ( take a deep breath hold...release and relax...repeat.) There were about 3-4 nurses, 1 male technician my age (how embarrassing) and giant expensive humming machines. I almost felt like I was in a Transformers movie and they were all going to come alive and bust me through the walls to fight against the evil Decepticons- but no such luck. I was stuck. I had to lie down in an awkward position on a very narrow stretcher like bed with knees sort of up and head against a headrest. Then both hands were raised up with kind of like reverse stirrups. At least I got a warm blanket. There was a monitor on my right that tracked down all the numbers and my radiologist, Dr. Nedea was in the "control room" in front of me watching everything. I felt like I was an experiment- kind of like the Hulk movies or Frankenstein or anything that involved a lab only instead of double sided glass, I had a video camera tracking my every move. Measurements were made. Rulers were whipped out. Geek speak and the tossing of verbatim from one co-worker to another were exchanged. More breathing was done and then finally the nurse gave me 5 new little "tattoo" dots that they use to line up the machine and to map my body out. Dr. Nedea spoke to me when everything was over and told me it would take a week for planning and that I would start one week from that day...

So I spent all week mentally preparing and trying to just be ready for this next phase in this long ass trifling journey. I worried how this would affect my body and if I would get sick or just really tired. I contemplated having company with me, if I would throw up (hey it happens!!!!) etc. BUT a couple of days before my scheduled appt, they told me instead of actually starting the treatment, I would have to come back AGAIN to do new scans because the ones they had weren't good enough. Argh. I don't think people understand how hard it is to psyche yourself up for something (when you already are not looking forward to it) only to have it delayed. It is a total mind f*&^....but I have no choice so I go back and do this process all over again. Apparently I took such deep breaths that my scans were out of the border of the actual scans LOL.
Of course this would happen to me. And only to me. Grrrrr.....After the new scans were made, I was led back into a patient room where I got the whole lo-down about skin care before and after radiation and I got my parking pass and signed my consent form.

I glanced up at the ceiling briefly. The ones in the lobby area were more of a blue grayish hue....a step up.

At that point I was told therapy would start 3 days from then.
So officially Day 1 was on 8/30/12 or yesterday.

Listen to all about my radiation /current updates here:

This new Vlog is mostly just a recap with life updates...
 If you want to read more in detail, please continue to read below :)
*Also, I hope you like the new improved angle, I cleaned up my living room 
 and I got the timing down right!*

So I apparently have to do 28 sessions of this crap ( 5 days a week excluding the weekends and holidays )...I guess I shouldn't be complaining since some people have a longer time period...I met an older gentleman in the waiting area who was on 35/44 treatments! He seemed surprised I was there. I get that a lot. I told him he was almost there and he smiled and just said "it just gets tiring going back and forth everyday. I FEEL YOU. It's really a pain to go back and forth 5 days a week just to go in for 15 minutes at a time. Up to this point I've done 2 sessions already but I'm already tired and pretty much over it.

I went alone. A few people offered to come along but I just decided it would be easier if I just got it over with and not make anyone sit in the waiting room since no one is allowed in the treatment area.
For therapy I had to go back to the main bldg and into the creepy weird basement area ( I felt like "people under the stairs" while taking the elevator down). The first day was just a lot of picture taking and lying down  in the annoying position while all of the nurses come in and poked and prodded me some more. As soon as I went in the same young male technician was there. D'OH. More awkwardness ensues...LOL. There were a couple of new nurses. One had the same star tattoo I had on my wrist so we bonded for a few minutes. Another nurse was clearly more bossy one out of the others and she was a control freak and kept double checking the other nurses' work LOL. I loved just listening to them interact since mostly again I'm just lying there staring at the ceiling. The ceiling in this treatment room was actually a really nice horizontal wood paneling. It was almost like I was at a sauna. Only I wasn't getting the happy ending! HAHAHA.
Sorry I am so crass, anyhow, I didn't know this but along with the nurses there is also a physicist (am I spelling this right?) that was also on hand to double check every one's measurement and work. I felt so important....there was a bit of a mis-communication  between the nurse telling me to breathe normally, the prompt telling me to hold my breath and the physicist telling me to stop while she measured my breathing in her own way again. I was getting whiplash listening to all of them and they were giving me conflicting instructions which was getting a bit annoying but after a few minutes it all worked out. They also used a cool little gadget that measured my breathing by just placing it over my chest. Pretty nifty. Every time they start up the machines, they all leave the room and go to the control room in front of me. The radiation beam itself was not what I really thought it would be. I thought about that scene in that movie where Catherine Zeta Jones slowly moves her incredible booty through all the motion sensors and it was clearly visible, but nope- I didn't even see any ray or beam of light on my body. And I wasn't even sure when the treatment was given- whether it was when I was breathing in and holding ( the machine clicked and beeped) or when I exhaled when it did the same again. I was just confused. So they radiated 2 areas. On my breast obviously and then under my arm. I didn't feel the one on my boob at all, but I totally felt the one under my arm. It didn't really hurt but I felt a slight burning or something inserted into my skin...( Oh that didn't sound right! LOL)
It definitely was strange. But after that I was done.

After I changed and got my new ID card, I immediately felt really sleepy and tired. It could be that I have been an insomniac for the past week and having really had a good nights sleep- but I felt like I was straight up HIT by a monster truck. I felt like I was sort of in a trance- and dream like state. It was weird. I should have just went home to go to bed, but I continued to run errands at the mall and later went home and changed to go on a booze cruise and danced all night and then stayed up all night again LOL....

I also took a look at my boob and saw that it was def. all red and sore...EWWWW....they told me I should put sunscreen on it and lotion but I can't even look at it 'cause it is grossing me out...hopefully it will get better soon.

Day 2
Today I had Day 2 of treatment and LET me tell you what a bitch it was. It wasn't even the treatment itself I was in and out 15 minutes today. The new ID card they give me - all you do is walk in, bypass the front desk and essentially check yourself in, change into a johnny and just sit and wait to be called in. The nurse I liked was here today and everything went pretty smoothly. This time there were 2 other male technicians and I wondered if they got tired of seeing boobs all day. The only difference with the treatment was that they put a really nice warm towel over my chest area and told me that from now on every other day they would do that to lessen the dosage on my skin. I felt like I was in a day spa again only minus the cucumber masks LOL.

The bitchy part was actually the echocardiogram I had BEFORE treatment. First off I was about 20 minutes late and I felt really bad but most of the time the oncology dept is really nice and never really care if you are a few minutes late. It really was my own fault for leaving a little late but I forgot it was move in hell hole back-to school season and instead of taking me 15 min to drive there it took me nearly half an hour because of all the traffic. UGH. Anyhow I get in and I could tell there was a slight attitude at the front desk- which is a first. She doesn't mention anything but I can hear it in the tone of her voice when she calls the technician- and the response on the other end as well. Now as you know from my older posts- I basically have to get these done every few months since I'm on Herceptin ( I'm HER2 pos+) and it can affect your heart so they just like to make sure everything is ok.

I get to the waiting area in the back and I see that the technician is talking to one of the patients and all but one seat is taken near her. Since she is talking I move towards the seat to get out of the way but she immediately grabs my paperwork and says "I'll take that and I'm going to have you go into the room now" with extra bitchy attitude. I was not in the mood for this crap. I don't know why but I seem to get all the bitchy, cold unfeeling nurses in this dept. I get into the ugly johnny and lay facing her. She starts doing the probing- this is done by using like a wand like thing that she dips in that nasty gel that is similar to bad hair gel. She starts pressing it REALLY hard near my affected breast area so I say to her "just so you know I just had radiation done" as a hint so you know she could be MORE gentle- do you think that worked? NOPE instead she presses down even HARDER and proceeds to make the most asinine comment of "oh are you sore" GEE, did WINCING in fuckin pain give it away? REALLY?  She doesn't talk to me. Nor make conversation or even ask how the treatment went. At this point I was just pissed off and she then pushes under my breast and ribcage so hard that I almost want to cry. I'm holding it in to be strong and deal with what needed to be done but if I could I think I would have grabbed the goddamned thing from her and smacked her with it. ARGH. On top of that, she had the AUDACITY to say to me "um do you have a fake boob in there or something? I can't get a good picture of it" UM. SEEING I JUST HAD FUCKING SURGERY IF YOU HAD BOTHERED TO READ MY ENTIRE FILE THEN YOU WOULD KNOW I OBV. HAVE A FREAKIN' TISSUE EXPANDER PUT IN. ARGH.Why are people like this allowed to be in the health industry or exist in the world? And NO, bitch I have fake chicken cutlets in there...Again, REALLY?

Anyhow, after half an hour of this shit, it was done and to top it all off, she didn't ask me to take off my necklace and the gel was ALL over me and all over my necklace and she wouldn't give me an extra towel to wipe it off. UGH. I can't even get into how much I hated this woman...It's a shame because every other dept in this hospital has been more than wonderful and this is just BLAH and RUDE to top it off.
Also, she took sooo damn long that I had no time to stop in starbucks to get my iced green tea latte before treatment. FAIL.

But anyhow, the positive thing is that I made it through 2 sessions and I'm feeling okay.
Just 26 more to go.....

I need an iced tea.

One day when I look up at that ceiling, it will be turquoise blue day.

Until then,
Thanks for reading <3
xoxoxo Jen

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boob Fillage, E.T., Donations and Radiation

It's about 5am and I can't sleep. I've been up all night just basically doing nothing but catching up on my yelping, bad t.v and going back and forth to my fridge grabbing various drinks.  So far I drank: iced tea of course, strawberry lemonade, tons of water and some mandarin seltzer. I also had hot mango coconut tea earlier which would probably explain why I haven't been feeling well all day and feel like a nasty hot mess. I have a yucky stomachache and been feeling hot and gross all day UGH.

I really want to do more blogs but sometimes I just feel so unmotivated I can't even bring myself to get my thoughts together to write down how I feel. But I am going to try to catch up and rectify that so I can be a little more consistent.  I know it probably doesn't matter to anyone else but me really- on how often I post but I want to remember certain moments and certain feelings I have with going through all of this shit, so it's important to me to put it into some form of expression. 

Moving on, this entry is all about my boob fillage lately. You will hear all about it in my new video but recapping it quickly- ever since I had surgery I've had my fake saline boob filled with more saline for about 4 times now- each about 2 weeks apart.

Tissue Expanders:
If you don't understand what I'm referring to, I basically have a tissue expander placed under my skin on the left side of my boob where I had surgery:

This is basically what it looks like- hot, right?

The little grey area acts like the cushion "port" area where Dr. Lee injects the saline with the big ass needles you have seen me post. But before you cringe, don't worry, it really isn't that bad and actually doesn't hurt when I get the injections. The area was so numb the first 2 times I had it done I really didn't feel anything. If you are wondering how this is placed in my body, it looks a little something like this:

Sexy, right?

The only difference is that my saline is injected on top of my breast, like above where the nipple would be instead of on the side like the picture depicts. I am usually in and out within half an hr. The nurse I have is really nice. One day when I went in she had henna all over her hands and for some reason that was strangely calming for me. Dr. Lee is always gentle but always firm and directly to the point. He still always gives me a pat and a wink which is also strangely soothing to me. I mentioned a few entries back that initially I felt really awkward disrobing and just being generally naked all the time in front of him since I really have never had a male doctor all my life, but I quickly got over it... he is a great doctor and super professional so I have broke down that awkward barrier!

Most times I look like this during the whole process:

Peek a boo I hate you ugly hospital gown!

One Fish!

Two Fish!
The port on my chest hurt more than these suckers!
Also, I just noticed the random flashlight...WTH?

If you are confused about why I have the tissue expanders placed in my body and for what purpose it serves- it's all because I have radiation coming up in the next week. The tissue expander  acts as a mechanism to stretch and expand my skin so that when I have the real implant placed in - whether it be saline, silicone or my own fat it will fit correctly in the space and also, since the area being radiated is very close to my general heart area, the expander basically pushes my skin away from my chest to kind of protect my heart. Ingenious, no? I didn't really understand that little part since they don't have to put expanders on my right side (since I will be getting rid of that side as well)  but now it's definitely a lot more clear on the process of what I have to do. 

Also, because of radiation, Dr. Lee has to stop doing anymore fills until I am done with all of the radiation. It also shrinks the saline inside so more than likely I will have to wait about 6 months for my body to heal before I proceed with any more fills ( to the size I want) and then I will resume with reconstructing my left breast along with having a mastectomy on my right side and reconstruction on the right side right away. More scars... yay. That was my sarcastic voice...
Currently my boobs are lopsided and they are starting to piss me off:

Left side says hello!

I had about a 6-7 week break after surgery where I let my body heal until it was ready to be poked and prodded on again. And now on Monday radiation will start.  The video kind of briefly talks about the mapping I had this past week to plan for the upcoming treatment but I am going to save the radiation for its own post since it's the next big step in all this bullshit. I basically just went to a consultation where they got me naked, made me raise my arms, awkwardly stuck tape and electric stuff all over me, had a device to help me breathe away from my heart, went into a weird half tunnel thing and then got 5 mini pin point tattoos all with a male technician who was easy on the eyes staring at me and trying to make me feel comfortable, and a female nurse who wanted to know my life story and and with me trying to adjust my weave and not move, and not have my ass slide off of the thing they made me lay down on. UMMM. Yeah. No biggie. "YOLO" I guess. (ugh, sorry I hate that expression too, I just got all fired up!)

But again as always, I digress. I really just wanted to give an update on really just my boobs and what I have been doing for the past few weeks. 

So without further ranting, here is my new VLOG for this week- this time I set the camera on my kitchen table and just used the lights in my living room. Hope it looks a little more steady and you can understand me. I tend to rattle things off in my head since I don't like to be staged and I only had to film this twice so big step in improvement.

Part I:Rambling

I still have to get the timing down since I can never tell when it's about to stop filming so I'm sorry it gets cut off...I made part 2 for your viewing pleasure!

Part II: Donations and Bald Jen
Sorry this is sort of blurry- my camera was running out of battery- THANK GOD I got it all in!

If you are interested in donating to Christina's Dana Farber Half Marathon, please check out her video and her page....her goal is $500! (

If you are interested in donating to Jen's Be Bold, Be Bald page, please check out her page...her goal is $2500 (

It doesn't matter how much you can donate- I am sure both would be more than appreciative for any amount but please know both of these gals (amongst all my other lovely friends) have been super wonderful and supportive during this shit storm of a ride ( and have dealt with my crazy mood swings so I would really appreciate if you helped them out and show your love for them! Thank You so much ladies! <3

OH: And if you love my E.T. shirt, go to target! :)

In other news...
I am starting to get very drained and kind of passive about my recovery. It's not even that I'm not trying to be purposely negative or that I don't care about it but I am in cancer overload and I'm just so tired and over everything . I'm also starting to kind of physically feel like shit again. I've just been eating really bad foods and not caring and snacking on bad crap. This is compounded with stressing out about finding a job and then my complicated every day life where I just kinda feel like I am just not feeling excited or happy or overjoyed at anything. I've just been really passive and just trying to get through the days. Sorry if I sound like a downer but like I said I'm like a freakin' roller coaster of emotions. I have my good days and I have my I-hate-the-world-days but I  think I'm entitled to just be whatever sometimes. 

The worst thing is feeling lonely in your thoughts.

Anyhow it's 6 am now I should really try to get some sleep...I will update about radiation as soon as it starts...

Thank you all for coming along for this daunting  and sometimes depressing journey with me <3

Red hair, don't care :)

Oh- and I will have a full video log about my experiences at the 3 -DAY WALK SOON!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Recovering- Part II

So it has been over a month since I had surgery....sorry it has taken me so long to write the follow up, but it has taken me a very long time to heal and to be comfortable enough to type it all out...but here goes....I am pre-warning everyone that I'm going to post some pictures that are not so pretty so if it grosses you out, I'm deeply sorry but this blog is to track my progress so I have to keep it real! LOL

I wrote the following paragraphs last month and since I just filmed a video I was going to just delete what I wrote but I'm just going to keep it in and link the video after:

When I woke up from the surgery I was in immediate pain and I was THIRSTY as all hell for not being able to drink anything for HOURS and from having a tube inserted in my throat so I was in total discomfort. I was told by my mom that the surgery itself only took 2 hours but that the recovery took like 4-5 hours. EW. I felt so bad for my mom and bro they stuck around all day just waiting for me to be up and to transfer me to my room. I was so thirsty and in pain that the first thing I did when I saw my male nurse was to ask for some water. He seemed to not care about the urgency of how bitchy I get when I don't have fluids and he went to go "see if it was ok", and "to check on my charts"...I started to grab a bottle of water my mom had and she politely scolded me and told me to be patient. BUT MOMMY I WANT IT NOW!

Then slowly but surely the nausea hit me. I didn't want to throw up just yet but I just felt it in the pit of my stomach. I was attached to an IV which had morphine and I had the "pain button" where I am supposed to hit it every 6 minutes but it really was NOT helping at all. I could barely move and the depression was sinking in. And I was still in that ugly goddamned hospital gown. 

The anesthesia is what made me violently sick. When I got wheeled into my room my mom and brother were already waiting for me with the look of a sigh of relief were on their faces. Eventually the nurse came back with water and I took a big gulp. It felt so good to have ice cold water in my mouth and I remember thinking to myself I would never take this moment for granted ever. 

Here is the video about the rest of my recovery:

Oh My! Extreme Close-up!
Just to Clarify: BOTH the anesthesia AND the morphine made me sick!

AHHH! I left you all in suspense at the end, but fear not, here is the progress on how my hair is growing- It's growing more near my ears so it's really annoying me when I'm wearing my weaves because it's starting to poke out! LOL

Also sorry for the shaky camera action- I had to hand hold the camera 7 times and I was getting tired and I know I cut my eyes out in a few shots 'cause it was DAMN hot in my bathroom so I wasn't paying attention...hopefully I can fix it for future posts!

Damn hair, grow faster!!!

Pics after Surgery:

So here is a pic of the disgusting drain I had under my armpit...totally uncomfy!

I ghetto attached it by pin since the adhesive fell off...and yes that is my blood

The big white bandage is where my boob no longer is :( 
I will post a pic of my scar without the bandage later!

Pardon me looking all gross and bloated and disgusting...I was not feeling my best! Most of you have seen this when I posted it on FB: I look so weak and definitely was not feeling great. It was the only real picture I took....

A few days after surgery- UGH

I'd like you all to think of me more this way- the same old jen -
 full of colorful jewelry, makeup and girly-ness :)

one day my hair will really be that long!

Hope you all have enjoyed this post...Remember, Please try to donate to Christina's half marathon she is doing in Oct. She is doing it in my honor and needs to raise $500 to run!!!...Check out her video and all the details here:

She is amazing and rocks and will run her heart out! Please show her the support she has shown me!!!! And maybe next year I can do my own half marathon :)

And again, I couldn't make it through all this without all of your support! 
Thank You EVERYONE again and again a million times over and back again <3


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Surgery, You Suck! ( Part I.)

So: It's been a whole full week since I got my left boob cut I think I'm ready to collect my thoughts on it and coherently write about how the whole experience was. It has definitely not been fun and recovery has been pretty tough on me...but what doesn't kill me only makes me stronger right? :)

I wanted to start off by finally posting a picture of my grandma...I had limited movement but I went through my parents' old photo albums and found this one of me and her:

Look at me all prim and proper!

I kind of remember when this picture was taken. My mom used to make me dress up for all the holidays and this was during Thanksgiving. Grandma had come from the old Greyhound bus and came up with my step-grandfather to visit... Many people don't really know this but my Grandma actually lived and settled in NYC for most of her later adult life right on Canal Street in Chinatown. I used to love visiting her and I think that was my first experience that made me love New York so much today. She would let me stay in her room and she always had old Asian perfumes that were in glass bottles with the little rubbery squeeze things for the spritzer. Every morning I would hear the the various sounds- people yelling, screaming, vendors getting ready for the day and  garbage trucks....come dawn, the city just came alive...I remember thinking to myself someday at some point of my life I was going to live here. She also had an odd window in the hallway that just faced the other building and when you looked down it  faced an alley...When I think of that scene in my head it reminds me of the set design for" West Side Story" and I just thought it was the coolest thing. It was a fun time in life. My Grandma used to take little bus trips all the time and she was pretty active in meeting friends in the city and playing Mah-jong. This was before all that shitty Cancer came and made everything into a big empty black hole of just memories...

I thought about her as I started fasting for my surgery and mentally preparing myself. I don't know how she got to the point where she just accepted this whole thing and just moved on with life and pushed through every tough moment. I'm still pretty pissed off and angry with everything in my life right now and I'm dealing with it the best way I know how, but I give my Grandma huge credit for having the strength and grace to go through all the shit I am going through now. She is one tough New Yorker broad!!! LOL. You have to also realize that when she had the cancer she was much older than I am now. She was already in her 60's and her body could withstand all the battle scars. Amazing. It blows my mind away actually. 

I'd also like to randomly point out that my parents still have those chairs in the kitchen still, and actually not much has changed in the house at all.  Also the table in the picture is now at my apt...:) Some things just can't be thrown away because they withstand all types of  the tests of time. Everytime I eat at that table I think about all the good times I've had over the years with my family and also all the food we ate...! HAHAHA

The day before surgery I went and got a massage. It was a little awkward at first because the masseuse was a nice older Russian woman, and she told me to kind of tie up my hair with this weird headband thing. I just used my secret smart  Asian saavy skillz and just velcro-ed it together and made a knot and turned it into a hair band instead so my hair was kind of half up. I told her I had a port and to kind of avoid the area and she didn't ask any questions about it.I had to lie face down at first so she kinda was moving my hair up some more but she moved it so much it basically was coming off at the back and obviously my secret was out....I told her it's my fake weave and she was like "oh it's ok, no problem" and proceeded to tell me I had a lot of tension on my shoulders...NO KIDDING RIGHT? "It's all this bullshit booby burden I'm carrying" I thought to myself and almost chuckled out loud...rather than make the whole experience weird I just kinda told her I had surgery the next day and that I had Cancer and that I needed something to relax besides drugs. She felt bad and by the end of the massage she told me she would pray for me which was nice. I hadn't had a massage in soo long it felt AMAZING. It made me feel like sweet strawberry jam afterwards HAHA!

Anyhow, I was not looking forward to the fact that I couldn't eat or drink after was more so that I couldn't drink. UGH. I was getting over a bad cold and I am the type of person that goes out and buys the 24 packs of bottled water every week and I drink a ton of bottles a day  along with my seltzers and iced teas so this was going to be annoying for me. My mom was also pressing for me to go to her house after surgery and I was not really looking forward to this. I told you all I like my distance and kind of like just being left alone so the thought of being at my house for a week with mommy daddy and my brother was giving me anxiety. I also like to be in control of what I do so mentally to be reverted back to being a teenager again was going to be challenging. I had a good night before the surgery...after the massage I met up with various friends- had a good lunch, went shopping on my own, then I had a fun dinner and I ate ice cream up until 11:30pm...I got home pretty late and I was dreading packing up a bag for both the hospital and then for my parents afterwards...I kind of just threw everything in the bags and didn't really think of  any cute outfits- I mostly threw in loose fitting sweats and like 10,000 tank tops that would mold to my new non existent boob. 

I had to be at the hospital an hour and a half before the surgery start time of 9:30am- which means I'm supposed to get my butt there around 8am for all the admission and prep crap. I had mentally prepared not to really sleep at all since I am already a certified insomniac so I only got like 2-3 hours of sleep. When I woke up not only was I running late, the weather was totally depressing me. It was rainy cold and wet outside! UGH. I took this as a bad sign and I was immediately in a bad mood. I threw on my sweats, my kicks, my glasses and my hair and  in a few minutes my brother came to help me get my bags and my mom drove us over. I think  got there a little after 8:30 am. I was on edge and afraid they were going to yell at me being late but thank GOD they didn't. The main campus building at Beth Israel always gives me random memories. I was born at this hospital so I found it ironic, but so was my brother. I remember leaving with my family the day we brought him home and my grandma had bought  me a coloring book and crayon set from the gift shop to sort of soften the blow that there was this new YONG in the household. YEAH the crayons didn't cut it but I digress...

I had to check in at the front and it was such a pain in the ass system. They gave me a beeper but then immediately took me upstairs and I had to pass the beeper to either my mom or brother to go next but we couldn't go up together. The front desk person told me only one person can go at a time so I figured my mom would just come first. 

When I got upstairs in the prep area they directed me to my little surgery bed. I threw my duffle bag on the chair and just sat there and took it all in. In a few hours I would be left boob-less. I didn't really know how I felt about it quite yet...I had said my goodbyes to it the night before but it's just a weird thing to part with. I never really LOVED my boobs so I don't have a physical attachment to it but it was more of an emotional attachment. This was something that has been my own for 32 years and now it's going to just be sliced and diced and tossed. It was bizarre to me....I tried to just not think about it too much. Plus I was tired and sleepy and THIRSTY as all hell from not being able to have any water so my attention span was low. The nurse came over and told me to strip everything and put the gown on...UGH. I always hate the impersonal ugly hospital gown. It's itchy, really long and super duper UGLY. If I am going through breast cancer, you can at least make it fucking FABULOUS and give me a hot pink one but whatever. 

My mom comes up within a few minutes of me getting undressed. I thought about wearing my wig to the OR, but the nurse told me I had to take it off and gave me a bag to toss it in. If I hadn't told her she prob wouldn't even have know because if I had my real hair they would just make me tie it up anyways so I didn't see the difference but I didn't argue. They gave me one of those HIDEOUS shower cap things to wear and of course being the vain girl I am, I took a pic for all of you to enjoy:

I'm too sexy for my cap, too sexy it hurts!

I KNOW I look vastly different from when I'm all dolled up with makeup and looking all girly cute to looking like a pale, sick, withering gross Jen with glasses and baggy clothes LOL. I also haven't worn these glasses in months and since my whole glamorous sweat pant and t-shirt outfit had a pink and black theme, I did veer away from my usual purple ones and choose the black ones... I did think about this color scheme and decided to rock my intellectual glasses before going under. HAHAA...these are the things that go through my mind when I am about to have the most important surgery of my life- outfit and glasses...I have great priorities, I know. Ah well.

The nurse then asked me if I had other family members around and I told them my brother was still downstairs. ( My dad couldn't make it he had to work and would come visit me later that night) She was really sweet and nice and she told me they usually only let one member of the family stay but that she would let it be okay for my brother to come up right before I go in. My mom went to go get him so it was nice the both of them were there before I was going to be drugged I mean induced to sleep...:)

Time was now moving fast. I got all the anal nurses up in a tizzy because I was supposed to have all my piercings out and I did take them all off at home including my tummy piercing and all my earrings but I had one earring on my right side of my ear where the backing was locked and would NOT budge. Literally 5 nurses tried to get it off of me. I hardly think this little earring would give me an infection but they were hell bent on trying to get me to remove it. One nurse started gossiping to another like I was some Jezebel of the operating room.... hahahaha!!! It made me feel like I was having a child out of wedlock in the South and now I can no longer particiapte in my coming out ball. Oh why I DO DECLARE!

A few minutes later my awesome tumor surgeon- Dr. Houlihan came and she told me I was doing great and to not worry and that everything was going to turn out fine. I was so used to her being in dresses and makeup and  jewelry that I almost didn't recognize her in scrubs. The nurses mentioned my earring to her as I rolled my eyes and my Dr. was like "oh, PLEASE let's not even worry about that, it's on the opposite side anyhow...I'll just put a piece of cotton behind it in case we have to tilt her head and it will be fine...I know you guys are just trying to be preventative, but who knows why we do HALF the things that are so called protocol, anyways?"....
DAMN I respected her even more after that and then all the nurses shut up their bitchings and whisperings and left me alone...LOL

An IV was then place on my right hand. UGH I hate hand IV's sooo much. They freak me out and it always HURTS like a BITCH. Never mind I have a fucking port so why don't you use it?!!! They told me it wasn't allowed or something.  Then the short, unattractive anesthesiologist came over and did his song and dance...blah blah blah you might get sick after and have nausea and blah blah blah your throat might hurt from the tube we stick down your throat, etc. I kind of didn't like him. He seemed nervous, jittery and gave me weird vibes like he wasn't confident in his speech and actions- which is NOT a good vibe when you are about to go under the knife. I also thought to myself : IF I'm going to be brought to life after being drugged/poisoned/accidentally killed/etc. I'd take any of the Disney princes, a vampire OR werewolf or even the Snuggle Downey bear to wake me up with a magical glorious kiss- but HELL NO, not HIM, so I droned him out for most of his lecture. Sooner or later like an annoying gnat, he buzzed off. BUH-BYE.

Oh yes Prince Eric please take me away to your castle!

Also, I didn't get sick when I had my port placed back in November so I didn't think much about the anesthesia at all. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to feel or see any of this crap but BOY was I wrong, but more on this later. 

I don't think I have QUITE enough saline in my body! UGH

At this point my mom was on my left side sitting in the chair and she began to cry all of a sudden. SHIT. I felt so bad and I couldn't tell if it was tears of pain for me or tears of joy that surgery was helping me get one step closer. During this whole Cancer thing I have never seen her cry. I mean I know I don't live at home anymore and I don't see her daily so maybe she does at home, but I knew all of  it obviously upset her and she likes to express it by being overbearing and overprotective which drives me CRAZY, but she has never cried about it to me in person. I didn't even know what to do. Dr Houlihan immediately went over to her and consoled her and told her not to worry and that she was in good hands and that all would be well. :) 
My brother Darren was like :
"Come on Mom, don't cry, Jen is the one going through this and even SHE isn't even crying" so that made me feel like an even tougher bitch inside and that I was going to get through this goddamned surgery and get through to the next step.  My mom nodded and patted me, and pulled herself together and gave me a half smile. 

Don't Cry for Me. Argentina! :(

Dr. Houlihan then marked me with a sanitized marker and initialize where she would operate. Then a few minutes later Dr. Lee came over to do the same very briefly. Unlike Dr. Houlihan, he is not as touchy feely, talkative or emotional. TYPICAL MAN! LOL...He barely said 4 words to me and kind of glanced at my brother and then patted me for like 3 seconds. One might think he was stand-offish and stuck up, but I really just think he's aloof and just not good with people skills. Some doctors are just like that- you have the super compassionate ones that act like they are your mother or you get the ones who know their shit and just keep to themselves. I have no problem with either....However, he looked like he was running late since he was dressed normally and not in any scrubs. I said my final goodbyes-for nows to my mom and Darren and adjusted myself on the bed....and enjoyed what little freedom I had left.
Then they started to sedate me and injected some meds into my IV....the last thing I remember is being pushed into the operating room....

To be continued.....Part II soon. 

Thoughts in my head as I was being pushed into the operating room? 

I can't wait to get a freaking unsweetened iced tea because I am fucking thirsty!

I'm a Fighter, Bitches! <3

Also, I know Grandma Yong was there rooting for me in spirit :) 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pre-Op Jitters/Remembering Grandma

So... after 8 months of  dealing this trifling bullshit called stupid Breast Cancer, I am FINALLY scheduled for of this glorious event: Next Wed, June 13th at the crack ass of dawn.  Am I happy? Yes and No. I'm more nervous than anything but I have been waiting for this day for a very very very VERY long time. And I just want to begin the muther effin' healing process already!

If you don't understand what a big deal this is to me, allow me to break it down for you.  I have endured my body through 16 fucking long ass chemo treatments. ALL of them over 3 hrs long at a time. The first 4 chemo sessions which were 2-3 weeks apart were THE most disgusting  I've ever had to ever endure and deal with in my life. Not to mention all this other shit: The switching of health insurance, losing my pretty well paid full time job of over 5 years, a shitty breakup and relationship crap, the addition of a port to my body, the stress of finding a new treatment center, the nausea, the constipation, the insomnia, the drugs, the loss of appetite, the weight loss, the days in bed, the day right AFTER chemo when I would have to drag myself out of bed to get a shot to control the white blood cells in my body...the horrible hair loss, the tears, the pain, the frustration, the loss of my menstrual cycle, the difficult hot flashes... THE FUCKING MOVING of APTS that I had to do in between feeling like shit...the back and forth general bullshit....being sick at Thanksgiving, being sick in the hospital after Christmas, missing New Years and lying in the hospital bed depressed that this was happening...and then during the second half of Chemo- worrying about the constant nausea, the steroids that make you gain weight, the ultrasounds, the catscans, the constant drawing of blood, the going to the hospital every fucking week for MONTHS, and now the continuing of going back every 3 weeks for one fucking year. All the doctor appointments- including the surgeon, the plastic surgeon, the social workers, the oncologist,  radiologists, my 2 PCPS- dealing with constantly driving back and forth to the FREAKIN' Shapiro building....the 50 times I had to pay for parking. UGH. Are you exhausted just reading all of this yet? Besides all the times I've had friends come and the occasional parent, I did this shit ALL ON MY OWN. Drove there when I was sick, Drove back when I wanted to shoot myself.

But most of all - it's the emotions that run in my head daily. I know it's easy to say to someone, "Oh you'll get through it, and you are strong" but this has really tested my fucking strength and endurance. I am still amazed I have not thrown up fucking ONCE. You are talking to a girl that if I even had 2 shots or 1 alcoholic drink, I would throw up. And yet I had the most disgusting mix of cocktails of ALL, and my body took it like a goddamned CHAMP. It's crazy.

Besides having mini emotional meltdowns, and trust me, I have felt suicidal and fucked up at various stages of this, 

 I am a firm believer that all things in life happen for a greater reason- whether happy, sad, or both. I know I have said that in a past post, but it's totally true- in the end it just makes you think about things in a different perspective and it just makes you much stronger. Never in a million years would I have thought that at age 32, I would have to deal with such a life changing illness. There have been many times in my life where I would wish I was sick to get out of doing something, or have like a broken leg to just see how it would feel like. I know this will sound sadistic, but when I was a kid, I used to pound my nose to give myself nosebleeds just to see if I could make myself bleed and then see if I could stop it... I am a truly sick and messed up human I know, LOL, but I wished Cancer was that easy to stop- 'cause TRUST me- I'd like to give it several big freakin' POUNDS with both fists. Repeatedly.

Emotionally, secretly I have been a super wreck over various shitty things in my life that I am unable to control - People not being there, broken promises,  temporary happiness, glimpses of things that could be, but can't at the moment.... restless nights and half filled days, but those are things that I can't change overnight. 

And I NEED TO FOCUS ON ME. In order to heal in all areas, I just have to say FUCK IT. And just DO ME. 
karma is my bitch. And it will rear its head soon. You really see who is there for you and has your back when you go through shit like's almost like it weeds out all the selfish self absorbed assholes and lets you see the light.

Above all, I need to clear my head mentally from all the bullshit. I have to. If I don't, I will forever let these feelings of negativity drag me down. But I am the first to say that I don't ever want to deal with this again. I know that there are no guarantees in life and this will always be a part of the rest of my life from now on, but I REALLY do not, and CAN NOT have this re-occur in my life again. I think I will completely be fucked up if it does later in my life. I'm serious. I will do everything in my power to have a better outcome in the long run. I have seen Cancer slowly drain the life out of my once happy healthy grandmother to someone spending the last days of her life trying to breathe from a tube and looking thin, frail and not the wonderful happy grandma I knew. 

And it scares me. I remember the last time I saw her. It was right around Christmas. Almost about 10 years ago. I never really dealt with death well and I knew my grandmother was sick for a long time. Instead of always being there for her, I pushed  all her sickness away like it didn't exist and  until it was too late. My parents sensed that she was going to pass soon so before Christmas, we all went to the hospital to see her one last time and give her some gifts. I remember I was just frozen in the doorway just staring at her. She just looked so small and sad and covered with blankets I almost didn't recognize her. And it made me feel so sad inside. My dad yelled at me to go into the room to see her closer. I really didn't understand what cancer really was back then and the effect it had. I was just completely clueless. My grandmother had breast Cancer first (then later Ovarian). From what I can remember she only had one side removed but she recovered with flying colors . In fact, instead of having my dad drive her to and from chemo, most times, she insisted on taking the shuttle from her apt (where she lived alone) and handled most of that herself. I remember she was always weak and tired but she still pushed herself to do normal things like  cook us her amazing dinners and try to do family nights with us.  These are the things I remember...and that is how I want to remember her. She was pretty damn amazing. 

But back to that day, at the hospital. I wanted to cry. Somehow it didn't come out right. She saw me and I could see that she wanted to say something to me but because of the tube she couldn't utter the words and struggled a lot. She just smiled at me and blinked at me, but I knew what she wanted to say. I felt paralyzed and guilty that I should have done more instead of being the selfish teenager that I was at the time. I know she wasn't mad at me but I was mad at myself for a long, long time over that. 

A day later, after midnite, the hospital called us to tell us she had passed. (She had Ovarian Cancer and was recovering but it came back  and various other issues so her body had shut down) I heard the entire call but I pretended I was half asleep because I was in shock. I used to leave my room door half opened because I liked the shadow it made against the wall and I could always see a flash of light when my parents passed my door to get to their room, but that night my mom's shadow lingered as she creaked open my door to tell me that yan yan was gone.

I also have never seen my father ever cry in my entire life and that was the first time. 
So did my mom. My brother was really young at the time and he was super attached to my grandmother (she helped to raise him and had a special bond with him)... I remembered that they wanted to soften the blow so they told him in the morning. It was heartbreaking to see my brother so devasted.  It was a tough time. 

I know my grandmother is always with me in I said I am very much like her and I know she is looking out for me and protecting me so far because I feel her presence at times. I often wonder if she would be proud of me if she was still around today. I hope so. I know she was super close to my brother and she would be sooo delighted and happy to see that he followed his dreams and does something he is passionate there really isn't a time where I didn't wish she was here to share in all he good times we've had and to see us grow up into young adults.

Anyhow, I know this is an emotional post but these are the thoughts that are in my head before surgery. The next time I write I will probably be home from surgery and going insane at my parents house....I don't really talk about my grandparents a lot because I don't have any that are still alive and I didn't really know any of them but my grandmother. 

Anyhow.... please give me strength to get through this surgery. I am having my left breast/tumor removed and a tissue expander put in so I can start the radiation a few weeks later then have reconstruction then the right side of my breasts removed as well. Baby steps :)

I will try to be extra strong for you, Yan-Yan/ Grandma Yong <3 I know she would be cheering me on, and remember, I'm stubborn like her, so I will AS SURE as HELL come out of this in one piece....I am, of course a YONG, and we don't ever give up! :)

I wish I can put in a pic of my her here but I don't have any pics at my apt...All our pics were before camera phones and digital cameras so I will post one soon when I find one of her and me :) A project for when I'm home...

X Marks the Spot X