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