C h e c k l i s t

Check to the end...

          ☑ Chemotherapy
          ☑ Surgery
          ☑ Radiation
          Maintenance Therapy
                     ☑  Herceptin
                     ☐  Anti-Hormonal Treatment

July 29, 2010

Lets get physical...

A little lesson learnt from cancer treatment is that in many ways it is like surviving a punch in the face to only get kicked in the rear. Recover from the toxin blast so that you can be cut up. Heal those wounds so that you can be pulled n tuggged. All this so that you can be burnt some...and so it goes...

So I am at the pulling and tugging phase right now. I have something called as the axillary web syndrome. Basically there is a web like fascia (stringy scar tissue) that has formed in place of the lymph nodes that were taken out. My physiotherapist told me that it needs to be stretched and in doing so sometimes it pops (eeeeeeoooowww!). She saw me cringe and I told her point blank that I was scared and I might never come back to see her again! Well I went back 3 more times after that is another story! To this Dinar says to my PT that "she is a rip the band aid off kinda girl. Just do it and dont tell her."

The problem is that it is not just one pop that is going to break the web. It is a slow process of pressure, pain, pull and twist, and yes again I have been told to breathe deeply. hmmmmmm.....inhale......hmmmmm....exhaleeeee....ouch ouch ouch Jesssssssa stoppppp! And then two more PTs came in to try something new to pop the damn thing. One of them asked me if she could try a new technique and when asked if it would hurt she said "unfortunately, yes". To that I said "may I punch you after that?". I dont know why I was being a badass that day. I had to add that I was joking when I saw her at a loss of words.

Well the stretching and popping is still in process and hopefully I should get my range of motion back soon after all this pain!

Physical therapy also involves taking care of the incision scar and prophylactic lymphedema prevention and care. All in all, this is what is going to get me back to normal.

Also, speaking of getting physical (dont let your minds race, please read on), I walked 2 miles yesterday with Sasha, Tush and some of my silent warriors from the walk for the cure team. Man and I must say that I am sore today! My body is so weak and soft and nothing like it was 2 years back when I used to run, but my mind is strong and will push my body to get strong once again.

And yes my dear Dinar, I want to put a bandaid on your chest today and see if you are a rip the bandaid off kinda guy ;)

Love.Live.Laugh.
Bela

July 22, 2010

My Rock My Hero My Mom

My mother is one tough cookie and our own Florence Nightangle...But she really did not need this in her life. After what she has gone through, I hate the fact that she had to see her child get sick. Now that I am a mom, I cannot even fathom the level of anguish and despair that she must have felt when she first heard the news.


In the past 6 months she has taken care of all of us and has been the glue that held all of her children and grandchildren together. She leaves to go back to India on Sunday and I am feeling so lost. I really dont know what I will do without her by my side. But you know, some day soon, I have to grow up all over again and step back into the real world.

Some of the stuff that my mom and I have gone through in the past 6 months is too private and between just mom and daughter, but we have connected at a different level through my re-birth. I was always close to her, but the rawness of something like cancer, brings you even closer to people you love.

I regret telling her one day that I felt like giving up and did not want to go through this and I wanted to be with my papa. No living parent should ever have to hear this from her child. And I am really sorry for saying this. I want to live more than anything else and I want to live for my rock and my loves.


My mom says that you never stop being a parent even when your child is an adult and has a child of her own. But I just felt that at this point, I should be caring and being there for my mom and that this was just not the way nature intends it to be.

I will miss you mommy, but I know you are one phone call away, one long plane trip away. And yes, please get the mammogram done as soon as you reach Pune. No more excuses.

Live healthy.Love always.Laugh loudly.

Belu

July 19, 2010

No more chemotherapy

The meeting with Dr. Awesome went really well today. No more chemotherapy for Bela. She is getting Herceptin now, of which she will get 11 more cycles. But it was a really good moment when the doctor said - 'We are talking survivorship steps now, no more active treatment for you'.
There are still a few steps to go - radiation, anti-hormonal therapy and lots of monitoring...but its good to know that Bela has made the turn...

July 15, 2010

But doctor will I play tennis again?

Ever since my diagnosis I keep asking my NP or Dr. Awesome or Dr. Surgeon Nice if I will play tennis again?
It makes it a funny story because I really suck at the game. I always have, even though I used to take tennis lessons as a kid. So why the question? I dont know, it just comes out.
As recently as my one week post-op visit I asked my surgeon and my surgical NP if I could play tennis again. And my surgeon said "of course in fact it would be good for your arm". I think it also stems from the fact that I have limited range of motion in my right arm and have a great deal of numbness on the right side, some of it permanent. This is from the surgery.
So during my second visit with the surgical NP, she asked me if I was a "pro-tennis" player. I was embarrassed and laughed and my mom told her that it is more of my dream to play tennis, and to play it well. Well it is also my dream to learn golf and to walk a half marathon in the next year and a full in the next 2 years.
My NP (Ms. Rockstar who works with Dr. Awesome) had once said to me that cancer ass-kickers take up stuff that they have always wanted to do and never got around to doing before they get into this mess. And I believe that.
One of my friends told me that life will seem sweeter when I get on the other side. And as twisted as this might sound, I can see that. I have learnt to not postpone happiness, not to keep it on hold, to not hold back compliments and positive words, to not to try to please everyone all the time (such a huge weight taken off my shoulders as I was a complete people pleaser), and to devote time to my own body and mind.

So yes, I will play tennis, swim, play golf, and run, some day soon.


July 11, 2010

Sahil Enjoying the Swimming Pool



July 10, 2010

Two steps forward and one step back....

Do you know the feeling when your husband or your roommate offer to do the dishes and then leave one or two coffee mugs in the sink after cleaning the bulk of the mess?? Drives me up the wall! I love perfect finished product when it comes to everything. Sometimes in order to get that perfection, I get too caught up and spend way too much time on that activity! But that's just me. Keep it a mess or do it right!

So on that note I got my pathology back yesterday. It is 95% good. No "C" in breast tissue, No "C" in 11 of 11 axillary nodes that were removed, No "C" in 2 of 3 sentinel nodes removed, but 1 mm of "disease" in 1 sentinel node. So you see what I mean about that one used coffee mug in the sink.

I was extremely overwhelmed at my visit yesterday. The wait was long, I was lugging around 2 drains, I struggled to get dressed to get there, and more so my husband has been working 14 hour days. To add to it they made me wait in an exam room that looked like a mini-OR. So I thought I was really in trouble! So when the nurse practitioner walked in the exam room I was in tears and I told her the room made me nervous and I was scared that it was going to hurt me mighty when the drains come out!! I can be such a baby at times! But you know what, no matter how many times I have been pricked and poked, it never gets old.That anxious feeling is always there, especially when a nurse says "on a count of three take a deep breath in"! I am taking a deep breath, dear nurse, but my heart beat is off the charts!

So they moved me to a nicer looking room and the NP was very gentle while getting the drain out. They have left the second drain in for a few more days....Now you see the second coffee mug in the sink! stinks!

When my dear surgeon walked in he patted my back and gave me a big smile as he had heard the drama that I had created.  He told me that I was almost there, and in his opinion, the pathology report was very good. Also in his opinion the pathology does not warrant more chemo, but the ultimate decision lies with Dr. Awesome. So there I am hanging by a thread until I meet Dr. Awesome in 10 days!

You know what, I do feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is just flickering a lot right now....

Love.Live.Laugh.
Bela



July 6, 2010

On the road to recovery....

I am off the narcotics and am a lil less woozy. One of the discharge instructions to me were to not sign any important or legal papers in this week. Great tip as we are refinancing our mortgage to take advantage of lower rates!

I decided to go off the oxycodene roller coaster and started taking ibu 800 and seem to have my bearings back and the world seems a lil more normal to me. No wonder people get hooked onto these narcotics! When I was taking them, I would be knocked out and had the most amazing dreams. My family intact (grandparents, dad, mom, bro, and our family dog) and it was always around the dining table. In one of my dreams I was eating Baker's Basket's Black Forest cake (you get this only in Pune)! That is the best cake in the world! And of course I was no older than 15 or 16 yrs. in my dreams.

I think each day after the surgery has been a better day than the earlier one. I would think that is good progress. There is some new discovery about my body and a new normal to get used to,and literally also, finding an EKG sticker left behind on my back or some bulls eye markings with a sharpie somewhere else...

 Also I am waiting for the drains to come off so that I don't have to gaurd myself with a pillow when Sahy is around. The surgeon said they would come off on Friday most probably. That is the day when I will get my pathology report as well...Yikes! That makes me nervous!

These are baby steps to recovery, but I can totally see myself lifting weights and running again someday! On January 13, 2010 that seemed impossible or too distant. I was filled with "would I ever do .....again?" questions then.

Thanks to everyone for your good wishes, keeping me in your thoughts and prayers, the wonderful flowers, the wonderful fruit bouquets, cookies, and food. & thanks for visiting me.

Love. Live.Laugh.

Bela