Friday, April 9, 2010

Inflate, Expand, and Count the days!


Why would anyone voluntarily endure the torture of having their breast skin stretched unmercifully just to have bigger breasts? I ask myself this each time my surgeon "inflates" the expanders that sit like small exercise balls inside my once lovely boobs. Of course, I can't deny that I enjoy looking down and seeing a nice cleavage. But, the torture that one has to endure to get it -- hmmm, these babies better be GORGEOUS when this is all done. May 26 the expanders come out during surgery #8, and the implants move into their new home. YAHOO!!!

I returned to work full time about 3 weeks ago. It was a challenge to sit upright 8 hours a day with all the stitches in my back, and the weak back muscles. But I survived.

Something I did not expect, however, was the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that showed itself to me about a week and a half back to work. Over the past months, since early July, I was deeply involved in the process of diagnosis, treatment planning, treatment, a new job, surgeries, surviving chemo, keeping my head warm, keeping my brain functioning as I learned a new job, and just staying mentally and physically strong. You get the idea.

What I didn't really deal with is the big "C" word -- I have cancer. Of course, I was comfortable knowing that my team of health care providers were working with me to do everything possible to get rid of that devil living in side of me (which I am quite certain is gone), and setting me up with the tools to insure that it wouldn't come back. But, that doesn't change the fact that I am now a member of a very unique club -- a survivor of breast cancer. It changes things a little -- our futures are not predictable by any means, and I'm a control freak who has to know what is happening tomorrow. Now, I realize what people mean when they say "live for today, make it the best, and worry about tomorrow when it gets here." I spent about 1 day feeling angry, depressed, scared, and helpless -- what happens if this comes back when I am older and I don't have this same level of strength. The answer: I will deal with it, if and when I have to.

Today I got "good" news -- my cancer tumor had some estrogen positive receptors -- that means that I can add another pill to my regimen if medications, vitamins, and herbs -- Arimidex. Why good news? Because in addition to the Herceptin, which targets the Her-2/neu positive cells which duplicate rapidly, Arimidex works to repress estrogen which could feed estrogen hungry cancer cells. My chances of non-recurrence increase by another 50% (how does one calculate that -- 97% chance of non-recurrence before, 50% better chance with Arimidex).

I'm back to the gym -- and I never thought I'd say "hooray" to the gym! It feels great ... still a little stiff in the back, but I'm doing it.

I'm active at work -- keeping busy during the week handling cases that involve kids and their special needs is a good thing.


I'm back to organizing and planning for the opening of House of Hope - Mer Hooys, in Armenia. See more about this wonderful program at our website.

Even though Armenia has its problems with politics, economy and government, the children of Armenia deserve a chance at a decent lifestyle -- and, if we give them the right training and opportunity, hopefully one day they will lead the country to a better future. We are lucky to be born in this country, and to have a roof over our heads and food on the table. Lots of kids in Armenia aren't so lucky.

Please help me in making a difference in their lives
by supporting
Mer Hooys.