Tuesday, January 29, 2013

5 More Years...-_-


If aggravation had a picture next to it in the dictionary it would be my face. Lately I have been in a horrendous mood. I have severe insomnia, I don't wake up til like 3pm in the afternoon and when I do wake up I have zero motivation to actively do anything constructive. I am definitely in a crappy slump of nothing-ville and crappy town. I've also been extremely moody and everything seems to piss me off- this includes people, circumstances and my general environment.

I did decide to do a quick video update on my life so if you don't want to read all this just watch this:

nerd-o glasses

Well as of last week, I had my last Herceptin medication through my port. If you didn't follow my blog in my earlier entries,  I had genetic testing done last year and I am HER 2 positive which means I have a likely chance some sort of cancer will come back in 5-6 years time so I have to take a medication to kind of half block it and half control it. Basically... to better explain it to you- the nasty cancer cells grow uncontrollably and they are running buck wild in my body. Herceptin tries to works the surface of the cancer cell to block those gross chemical signals that can make them grow. Kinda like a personal weed wacker.  I have been on this medication for one whole year. So that means every 3 weeks for 1 year after my chemo was done I had to go back and sit there for 2-3 hours while this is pumped into my veins. It was also done at the same time when I had my second half of chemo so it was like I was pumped with nothing but liquid!

I was definitely relieved that this part of it was over. Herceptin doesn't really make you nauseous or feel gross like chemo did but it was just a freakin' hassle to go back and forth to the hospital every month to get it done ....but I have no choice in the the matter. I have to do what I have to do.

Anyhow all this time I haven't had any follow ups with my doctors or any news if all the cancer cells were zapped by radiation so I was starting to get really pissed off and irritated about the next steps. As I've mentioned before my reconstruction surgery has to be 6 months after radiation has ended so roughly in April I'm supposed to have that scheduled but meanwhile I have not had any new CAT scans or MRIs or anything which was strange because in the beginning of my treatment I had nonstop calls of things and people I had to see and do.  My nurse Paula finally made me an appt. with my oncologist Dr. Wulfe for a follow up.

She's a She-Wulfe ;)

When I saw her she was shocked there had been no prior follow up so first thing she told me was that I was almost done with the Herceptin. Fabulous I thought. I'm home free and can just focus on reconstruction surgery. Um but of course-NOT so damn fast. She announces that I should be starting on Tamoxifen now and that this was an optional step but that I could get a shot every 3 months to block the estrogen in my system so it could be preventative for future Ovarian Cancer.....I thought about it for a minute and I asked her how long I had to do both- thinking it was probably a year max....NOPE. it will be:
5 FREAKING YEARS that I had to get a shot and take a pill. I know you are probably thinking "well, what's the big deal, it's only a quick shot and a pill" well let me tell you when you go through breast cancer and you think you are almost done and then all of a sudden you have to start all over again- you just want to slam your head on the door. Think of it like this- you have one last payment on your car but you want to upgrade and trade it in and now you have to start paying off the new car all over again from the beginning. Wouldn't that piss you off? Yeah I thought so. It took everything in me not to burst into tears but I held it in. And I chose to just do both because I wanted zero chance that this will come back again because I don't think I can handle it a second time.  And 5 years down the line my body is not going to be as strong so I decided to not take any chances and just do it. I also didn't mention that while I was on the last stretch of chemo I had THE worst hot flashes known to man and I lost my period for months. It just returned like 2 months ago and now with this new regimen it's going to disappear again and the hot flashes are going to return. FML.

After my appt, I had to go straight to Paula to do the Herceptin. She then tells me we are starting the shot that very day. Um. SAY WHAT? And also she put in my new prescription so I can pick it up later on. Damn Paula, mad skills lol.  I have been  poked and prodded so much in the past year none of this really phased me anymore but now my heart was racing since it has been a few months since I had to even give blood anymore. By the time she came over with the needle I was almost having a mini panic attack. The needle was a big as the ones Dr. Lee used for my fills. I wished I took a pic but I didn't have a second to so I will be sure to take it next time but yeah I was actually getting very nervous. Paula then came over and told me to lean all the way back and that it was going to be done on my stomach. UGH. If there is one area that freaks me out it's my stomach because it's so soft and sensitive. As she came towards me with the needle she told me it wouldn't be injected IN but would be injected to the side of my stomach so it would kinda pierce me like a shish kabob. BOOM! in it went and I felt immediate pain and winced a little. It left me looking like this:

Like Dracula left his mark

Oooh just 5 more years to go. No biggie. At least every time I come, I get this wonderful view of the treatment area:

I'm bringin' sexy back

A couple of weeks later, I was supposed to have a follow-up with my breast surgeon Dr. Houlihan who is awesome and wonderful. This appt was made back in like August but unfortunately she was in surgery all day so they pushed my appt with her senior nurse. I snapped this as I was waiting for her. I also had a nasty cold and they made me feel like I had SARS and made me wear a name tag where I had to "put it somewhere where it is visible" and made me take one of those ugly face masks to "cough into"....

Johnny Angel, how I love him

I forgot how much I didn't like this particular nurse. I had met her months before and I just didn't recognize her new hair. And I'm not just being bitchy. You just get a vibe sometimes from some of the medical staff. She was condescending to me right off the bat and made comments about my hair like "oooh, is that your real hair? I see you like the bright colors.....and OMG I love your purple strand" REALLY? I mean I am a breast cancer patient. Do you really think I grew my hair out to be bright ass red? Ugh.  She just had that fake I'm-just-making conversation-but-I'm secretly-judging-your-life-decisions-sort-of-way. She even pried and asked how my work search was going on and gave me that "well you've had it hard" speech. Gag me. 
She apologized I got lost in the mix and said I needed to get a new mammogram for my right side since "she wasn't aware I was removing the right breast". (I don't know how she wouldn't know since all of this is in my file that she didn't bother to read.) UGH. Not that blasted torture device again. I asked about when my reconstruction day would be and she told me I had to see Dr. Lee since he was all about the reconstruction and that was his call to coordinate. More appts. lovely. As I got dressed she assured me she would tell the receptionist out front to make all the appts for me so I didn't have to worry. When I got to the front desk I was all but over it. The receptionist was nice and was trying to coordinate all the times so I didn't have to come back on 50 different occasions but I got so frustrated with the back and forth that it would have just been easier if I just looked at my own calendar and coordinated myself. But it's all good. In the end everything was booked including Dr. Lee. 

Or course I screwed up and overslept when I was supposed to see Dr. Lee this week. My appt was for 10am and I woke up at 8:30am with every intention to get dressed and get going but I fell back asleep and woke up at 9:50am...yeahhh....I called and tried to reschedule for the same day but he was also off to surgery all day so no dice. I have to wait til next Friday to seal my fate.

All in all I am doing okay but mentally I am having a tough time lately. The job searching is so annoying and I have a semi good opportunity coming up this week that I don't want to jinx or talk about yet so soon as it's over and I hear some news I will share ....Unemployment stopping has really stressed me out but good thing Yong's always have a back up plan. I don't know how I'm staying afloat but it's happening. I also just turned 33 so thank you everyone for all the well wishes :)

Anyhow, I think this entry is far long enough. I am looking forward to making the C4YW conference happen next month. So far with donations I have received about $360 from friends and family so thank you so very much for all the help....The flight round trip will be about $500 so I am hoping to save enough in the next couple of weeks to book the ticket and just get away from Boston for a little bit... ( read my last entry if you are interested in donating or don't know what I'm referring to)

Much love and I'll try to do a video update next time,

xoxox Jen

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Donation/Mini Raffle for C4YW Conference!

Hi Guuuys :)

Last year I was consumed with raising money to be able to do the 3 day Komen walk and I was blown away at how fast and generous everyone was! Within a few short months I was over my goal of $2300 and raised $3000 to be able to walk one month after surgery and to donate the money for research and helping others...
So A BIG lovely Thank YOU for anyone who supported!
I'm not sure if i'm going to take on the walk again this year - I am thinking of maybe scaling it back and volunteering instead since I will have a huge surgery to recover from but we'll see. 

Anyhow, this post is about a short mini goal I am trying to reach on my own. I know I posted about this on fb, but I thought that wasn't really a clear way to explain it so I decided to do a short post about it!

In Feb (next month) there is a wonderful conference in Bellevue, WA. that I really want to attend. It is sponsored by the C4YW ( or Conference for Young Women) (http://www.c4yw.org/)...it's basically a short weekend to be able to meet other breast cancer survivors, stay at the hotel there and attend all these wonderful workshops dealing with recovery and cancer health and basically introducing resources that us gals with breast cancer can learn about and incorporate in our lives. 
I haven't announced this before, but I am also a blogger for their website ( working on my intro blog) and I got ask to blog about the event as well which is super exciting for me...Since I ramble. A LOT. There's also all these other fun on camera events I might be apart of! My boobies are gonna make me famous LOL!

I want to explain that I DID get approved for a partial travel grant- which equals to about $350- which is awesome, ( and I tried applying for a bigger grant that has a bigger travel expense but waiting to hear back from them this week)  but unfortunately for both grants,  it has to be reimbursed months later. This would be fine if I had a job, but this is difficult for me since  I have been struggling looking for a full time job while trying to maintain my health insurance WHILE waiting for surgery. My unemployment also unexpectedly ended as of Dec, so trying to save and find the funding (while living on my own ) to go has been challenging. The flight is not cheap and although the hotel is at a discounted rate, I still have to book that as well. 

But.... I will try my best to kind of raise some money of my own in the short month I have! Always gotta think positively in any circumstance! :)

Anyhow, to make a long story short, I would appreciate any donations big or small. I hate asking for donations esp- personal ones but this is something that is important to me and if you can help I will forever love you! :)  I mainly want to raise enough for the travel and the hotel expenses ( that is my main focus) so if I could even raise $500 it would be amazing! Anything I raise over my travel expense amount, I will donate to a breast cancer organization of my choice! I have saved some spending money for this!

I decided I am going to do a mini raffle as incentive to donate . The lovely Stephanie donated 2 beautiful pink necklaces she made for me last year - these were supposed to be used in raising money for the Komen walk, but since I made the goal, I kept these aside for a rainy day!

For every $5 ( I stole this idea from Jim Roller's Blanket auction for the walk this year and thought it was great!) you donate , I will put your name in for both of these necklaces and next month, I will draw out the names and send it out to the 2 winners. If you are not in the area, I will ship it to you free of cost.... don't you worry :)

So $5= 1 entry, $10= 2 entries etc. $15= 3 entries, etc! Donate away!!!

Here are the pictures of the pretty necklaces, both are on leather cords and have genuine stones. One has cute little silver balls ( yes I just typed that out loud) and the other one has a dangly design.  Both will come with the cute pink pouch and an extra special SURPRISE gift from me :)

Steph is an amazing designer so please check out her store on etsy as well (VivalastephieDesigns)- everything she makes is handmade and one of a kind- only using real stones!!! If these go over well, I will buy another one of her pieces for the raffle!

I may add more things to the raffle later, (thinking about a gift card for a restaurant for the non jewelry lovers) but thought these necklaces would make any girl happy...
a sister, a gf, a wife, just as a gift, whatever your heart desires. 

To donate, please click on the donate button below and it will take you to my direct paypal donation page!

Thank You So Much! And Good Luck in the Raffle! 
And as  always, thanks for always supporting me! I'm a lucky girl...Hopefully I'll see WA soon :)


Friday, January 18, 2013

Random Komen Event Pics :)

From the 2012 3-Day Komen Walk
I did the Komen walk one month after I had a left side mastectomy along with Vicky...together we raised over $4600 to walk- we had a great time camping and meeting other lovely ladies in pink! One of the best times over the summer!

Start of the walk!

With the am amazing Pink Angels!

Our friend Doreen came to cheer for us!

Our Thank You shirts!

Me and Vicky at the 40 Mile Mark!
Team Pippi's Longstockings!

Vicky and a supporter!

Men with Heart!

With Captain 3 Day! :)

At the Finish Line!

I got to raise the remembrance Flag!

Beginning of the walk w/ Vicky!

Almost done!

With Dr. Sheri Phillips!

The Komen/ John Cena/WWE/Rise Above Cancer Event

I got to meet John Cena at a private event with friends/family and also watch the WWE match live with amazing floor seats...we also got to wear his new "Rise Above Cancer" shirts :)

VIP Event at WWE

John Cena! and His "Rise Above Cancer" line

with WWE wrestlers

With fellow Survivor Patricia

How awesome was my seat?

Survivor Angela :)

Survivors Patricia, Me, Angela and Joanne :)

Cena in Action!

Cena Vs. CM Punk

Defending the Title!

The ladies from Komen!

Survivor Event with Joanne
During the Cena event, I met Joanne who was organizing a survivor appreciation event. She asked me to be a speaker ( along with my breast cancer survivor friend Andrea) and my brother got to do magic for a bunch of wonderful older survivors :) I was a bit nervous with the speech but winged it! :) Joanne is also a survivor and is a tough cookie! 

My brother Darren and my Mom at the event!

Me and Andrea were speakers! :)

the cute restaurant and me speaking up front!

my cute parents!

Me and Andrea!

Magician hard at Work!

my fabulous pink handbag

earrings gifted by Andrea 


rockin' the new earrrings!

Me and Vicky!

Andrea and Vicky!

Me and Vicky!

Boobie Survivors!

Angela! We meet again! :)

pink ribbons everywhere :)

Joanne, Host of the Party on the left :)

Fun with the Ladies!

Hope you Enjoy my trip down memory lane...More Later! <3