C h e c k l i s t

Check to the end...

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

December 31, 2012

The little blue engine that could...

Thank You 2012 for being a quiet year for me personally. It was peaceful, healthful, and filled with good times. Here are the top 12 moments of 2012 in no particular order:
  1. I started work back full-time, and only took a week off for a minor surgery! Yay! Work has had its ups and downs and getting used to the changes that took place while I was out on medical leave. But I feel it to be a personal accomplishment to go back to work with all my vigor and with the confidence to tackle the real world again. 
  2. Sahil turned 3 years old and was a lot of fun all through 2012. Some of the things he says are just simply out of this world. I love his curiosity and want for knowledge. It is such a pleasure to see him discover the world and for us to be a part of his growing world. 
  3. Our new home. We love it, it is perfect and we are looking forward to many happy times and great memories here with our wonderful friends and family.
  4. A brand new niece. A brand new life. Simply beautiful.
  5. Dinar started a new job that he loves and is so well deserved.
  6. Yoga. Om state of mind. 
  7. Zumba. Energy and fun and hope that nobody is watching me :)
  8. The weighing scale moved a bit! Yay!! I hope it keeps moving to the left (well it is a digital scale :))
  9. Sukhu and Amogh moving closer. Love these guys! 
  10. Foobs. Love it hate it, love it. Cant complain it is what it is. My body is unique and is beautiful, I have accepted it.
  11. I saw my oncologist only 3 times this year :)
  12. The feeling that I am moving on, my hair is long, my body a bit more shapely, my mind clearer, and my drive for life back. I feel I will live, yes I will. And this is a great feeling.
Cheers to one and all! Happy New Year! Be kind to one another, be true to yourself. I hope 2013 turns out a super year for us all.

Best

Bela

December 20, 2012

Sometimes you need to just pause and ....


August 17, 2012

Will I have another 35 years to live?


I have not posted for a long time. Since my last post I have wanted to say a few things but not to the point of writing a blog post. Sometimes I think it is a good sign that I am not writing my cancer blog anymore and should perhaps start a “style” blog. But then I am superstitious and don’t want to retire this blog as I always will be afraid of the other shoe falling off some day. Unfortunately that fear will never fade away.
Since the last blog I have a new set of foobies. They look good (clothed) and feel good. I do have some minor aches and pains but nothing worthy of a third thought. Since the last blog, we have bought a new home (or rather are in the process of buying) and all I can say that I am eternally grateful that I have this opportunity to realize another dream. Dinar and I say that this is our final home and we will see Sahil go to college from this home. I believe that. I see lots of good memories being made in this home, lots of happy times, lots of entertaining. 
I turn 35 years old this Sunday. I feel grateful to be alive and grow another year older. I am taking stock of the last 35 years and I feel that it has been a great ride so far.  Even a 70 year old would not have faced some of the challenges I have faced in these 35 years and that in some ways makes these 35 years more eventful.  I still think about how life would be if I didn’t have breast cancer, if my father would have been alive, if I had one more child, or two more, and I realize those are impossible situations.
But then I look at my sweet boy and I feel like this is my biggest accomplishment in life. Nothing else matters. He needs me now and I am there for him now.  I was away from him for 4 days visiting family on the west coast last week and when I got back he was super happy and we spent the whole day together. At night the happiness wore off and he realized that I was actually gone for several days and he started bumping his head on my chin and chest and told me “I am mad at you mommy! You are a naughty gurl! I don’t like you”. This went on all evening. In the morning he wakes up and kisses me and tells me “I miss you mommy. Don’t go to the airport again”. At that moment I thought I can’t die any time soon, my little boy needs me.
The mind games that this disease plays with you are beyond words. You look over your shoulder every time you are happy, celebrating, or content.  This disease is ruthless and has taken lives of several people I know; many of them have their own young ones. One thing I am learning is to live my life in a fulfilling way, to not stick to the troughs and to not doubt the peaks in my life.  If good things happen to us, embrace them without the sense of fear or guilt. Some things are beyond my control and I don’t attempt to control them, like this disease, it’s occurrence, and it’s recurrence, or lack of.
I hate this disease and I feel that we have yet to make any breakthrough progress on reining this disease in. We always thought that HIV/AIDS was going to be the big threat of our times, but turns out that cancer remains the biggest threat.  Some things click and work in cancer treatment, some therapies to treat cancer cause other cancers (go figure), and some therapies don’t work at all. There is plenty of work being done. 90% of my work is oncology related, my husband works in a cancer drug manufacturing plant, but then you still think “is this enough?”  Is enough being done to find a cure? Is there any such thing as a cure?  Is it more profitable to treat a cancer patient than cure a cancer patient? Is there a lucrative economic case here? Have we as human beings stooped down to that level? This is when I take a step back and silence the cynic inside me. Hush time to sip some wine and think about more simple things like “what do we eat for dinner tonight?”  

April 26, 2012

Get comfortable!

I have been uncomfortable since my first mastectomy. I just felt that my surgical incision was too tight, the prosthetic breast too inconvenient, and I had too many reminders each day while looking in the mirror. After my second mastectomy last summer,  I had expanders on both sides, and I spent several days looking like a flat-chested boy. Then came the expansion process where I would see them fill the little magical expanders with saline each week and I started blossoming into a young girl again. LOL! The expansion process turned pretty painful towards the end. And ever since I have been uncomfortable with the feeling of everything being too tight, too hard, too rigid. I wake up in the middle of the night wanting to take the tight bra off and realize that these are the damn freakin expanders! I run they don't move, I do yoga and they don't lie quietly in the room with me, I lift weight and they are dead weights already on my body, I mean who doesn't like to move while doing Zumba! Get on with the program girls! They are in my way wherever I turn and go!
I am happy that I can wear V necks again and this summer I wont be wearing a prostheses in my swimsuit, but I am the happiest that these rocks are getting replaced by soft squishes. I want to swim, run, swim, run, swim, run....freely! You get the picture, right?
I have to be careful about being more modest. I have lost it all, partly because I open my hospital gown and sit bare-chested in front of so many doctors and nurses, but also because I really am like a man now! I don't have breasts and I could actually walk around shirtless, but the point is that people will care! They will think I am crazy! And so I need some of my modesty back. May be I will get a bit more feminine with the squishes. This whole breast cancer journey has made me a lost soul. I am trying to redefine myself. I am trying hard. I have accepted I am not the way I was meant to be. I am different, my path is different, my journey is different. These obstacles in my journey are not common are not easy, but I will get past them. One obstacle at a time, one hard rock in the chest at a time. I have to put one foot in front of the other. I have to answer my son's questions "What are these mom?" Me: "These are your nipples" Sahil: "Then why doesnt Diego or you have them mommy?" Me: "Do you want to eat some fish crackers?". I will be better prepared to answer this question next time, and this is another reminder to get my modesty back!

Medical Update: Exchange surgery on 5/3/2012. Recovery is about a week. Hoping for a good outcome so that I dont require a revision.


March 29, 2012

Keep my lovies safe and healthy, that is all I want.

Last month has been very stressful and I felt that the stars were just not aligned in my favor. We just kept getting one bad news after the other concerning close family and friends and then we heard that someone separated few degrees apart was ill or some other friend met with a terrible accident,  then we had to call 911 and take Sahil to ER in an ambulance (he is fine now it was just scary at that moment.). As more bad news  kept coming,  I kept trying to lift myself out of the funk.

My uncle, my father's brother, was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks back. When I heard the news I was mind numbed, I immediately wanted to fix it. It? It as in the stupid cells multiplying without reason or code in my uncle's liver. I was desperate and I still am. I am praying for the chemo to work. I feel it has to. Chemo has no choice but work.

You know I have completed multiple questionnaires at the oncologists where they ask you to rate stress in your life, at work, and it always makes me wonder, can anyone really lead a stress free life? I have definitely eliminated certain obvious, avoidable, stressors in my life, but life by no means is ever stress free. However, I have learnt to just pause, breathe, and then carry on. Some situations in life just out of your control and all you can do is accept.

On my health side, I met my plastic surgeon, and we are in the process of scheduling my exchange surgery. It will be a day surgery where they will remove the hard rock like expanders and put in silicone implants. I will most probably not have any drains and they are going to align the incisions with my previous scars. This is definitely Step 3 of the reconstruction process and hopefully if the outcomes are good, I wont require any revisions. The final step would be to get bulls eyes grafted or tattooed once the foobs settle. Yes I am talking about fipples. For now I am a barbie doll without any fipples. I will tell you at the end of the day all it is, is a very expensive boob job!

February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday My Darling!

I think I can be sappy on my blog, I am not sure about FB!
Happy Birthday Sweetie! I love you! Always!
I can see some real good times ahead for you and for us.
XOXO,
Your wifey :)

February 6, 2012

Oh crap!

I have lymphedema in my right hand! Yes I forgot that I had to be careful while doing yoga (for the first time since surgery) and while jumping in a bounce house with my son! I forgot that nothing about me is normal anymore! I let myself forget that I am a damn cancer asskicker and think that I was just a woman wanting to do yoga and just a mom wanting to play with my son.
Hate you cancer!
I am waiting for the PT to call and for them to see me. Until then I type with swollen fat fingers!
Worse things could happen so trying to keep it in perspective. Nevertheless this blows.

January 30, 2012

Celebrations!

We celebrated our friends Michelle and Sachi's wedding on Saturday. Michelle has been a great friend all through my cancer journey and I am happy to have the honor to share one of the happiest days of her life. It is good to laugh and be happy together too! I wish Michelle and Sachi a very happy married life.

On a personal note, it felt good to wear a sari and be surrounded by people I love. It also felt good to have one too many cosmos after a long time and dance my feet off! :)
You live just once. Make it memorable!
Love Always
Bela

January 13, 2012

Two Damn Years

Two years back on this day in January, the breast surgeon called me and I heard the three words that changed my life forever. These two years have been physically, mentally, and emotionally very hard for me and my loved ones. I struggle even today to adjust to all the changes that this disease has brought in my life. Two years back I started redefining my life. I decided to live with more purpose and happiness, to include the ones who matter, and leave behind the ones who bring you down.
Today I am happy, healthy, and strong. Today I am a fighter and will always remain for the rest of my life. I would not change the past and I cannot control the future, but I am trying to make the most of today.
I love each one of you who have loved me, cared for me, and supported me. I would not be here today without any of you, especially without my family, my mother and my husband. My mother has had to bathe me, dress me, pat me to sleep all over again at the age of 34 and she has done that unflinchingly. I would do the same for my child always. I learn how to be a mother from my mother, and I hope I can be half as good as her some day.
My husband is another story. He is made of rock and steel from the outside. It is hard to break him down and open him up, but he has been through so much as a co-survivor, often not getting the support that I got. I always looked at him with "why? why me?" and he would say "I dont know but we will get through this". I love my rock, sometimes I wished he had a crater in the middle that would open up a bit so that this would be a bit easier for him.
My brother and my sister-in-law have been our pillars of support, loving uncle and aunt to Sahil. I didnt have to think about a babysitter even once in these 2 years, be it my treatment or recovery. I cant imagine what we would have done, how we would have coped, had they not moved closer to us.
We all made it through 2 years and I hope the scars that are left behind lighten, and we slowly forget the details from these two gruelling years of our lives.
Medical update: We met with my oncologist on Jan 13th and she said that her shoulders have dropped a little now that I have reached the 2 year mark cancer free. She told us to go and celebrate and we said we didnt want to celebrate and jinx anything. I also got  my second Zometa infusion after my veins being shot 3 times to start an IV!! I didnt have any reaction for 36 hours and then the aches hit my bones. Oh well just 2 more to go and I get a break as it is every 6 months.
Truly live happily, love deeply, and laugh and sneeze loudly.
Bela