Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Final Post

After 108 blog posts and over 200 medical appointments, I happily, respectfully, thankfully, and prayfully write the final post of this chapter in our lives.
It has been almost four week s of “return to work” life and strength training.  And I am happy to report that things are going well.  Those first two weeks were tougher than I ever imagined!  Actually tougher to the point where I thought I wasn’t ready to return.  Tough you may ask? How so?  Well, I actually swelled up across the chest to the point where it was too sore to wear prosthetics and absolutely too sore for physical therapy on the left side of my body.  With creative dressing, laser therapy and acupuncture the swelling subsided and I am starting to feel more normal.  It will be interesting to see how the ol’ body adapts to increased work hours next week.  I will be working every day for four hours for the next two weeks. I still look forward to weekends and tend to sleep a little more now but time will help readjust to the pace of life.

Bobby, Alycia, Mikayla and Robbie still have mixed emotions regarding my return to work….however; it is because I think they were spoiled with hot breakfast, lunch and dinner, baking and laundry on a daily basis. With that said, it was/is time to reclaim some of my former life. Poor Zoe….she seems a little lost when I come home from work.  So far walks and snowshoeing are a priority for us both.

This past year and a bit has given me the opportunity to rethink life, love and happiness…..I am thankful for the awesome opportunity. As this is my final post to “we can with love” I thought I would share my final thoughts and promises:

I promise to be kinder, more patient, and more attentive to myself and to my family.  I promise not to get caught up in work life to the point where it takes over my home and family life.I promise to be thankful for every day….with and without snow and -40 wind chills.I promise to be a good friend, colleague, mother, wife, sister and daughter.
Please continue to pray or send good vibes and positive energy,  to all who are battling cancer  or other diseases and for a cure.
Thank you again for being a part of our crazy journey!

Much love, Shelley, Bob, Alycia, Mikayla, Robbie & Zoe
P.S. I found an App that will convert this blog to a book that I will cherish each and every comment/post and all posts in its entirety.  It will be on our end table when you come to visit! xo

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prayers & (a few) Swears

It has been a busy past few weeks with tests, assessments, physio, exercise.... and, tomorrow marks the beginning of a return to work plan! Waahoo!  I am actually excited about this! The plan involves three four-hour shifts a week for four weeks.  This will allow me to adjust to the new activity and better manage the expected swelling and discomfort of doing things different.  Along side these work shifts, I will continue with physio therapy and strength training.  It will be busy!

My oncologist appointment last blog post was uneventful really.  I am to continue the course of Tamoxifen and Fragmin every day for the next two years.  At which time I will be switched to Letrozole and Warfin/Pradac. Everything else is fine and I will be monitored every four months for the next bit.

Today I will organize my thoughts on things I am thankful for and things that well, just irked me a bit ;)

Prayers....I am truly thankful for....
  • Return to work plan
  • Uneventful oncology appointment
  • Physio therapy with Tracy, Allissa and Karen
  • Strength training with Jenna
  • Energy to get through the day without the burning desire to have a nap (hmmmm, I may have spoken to soon on this one!)
Swears....(just a few)
  • Eyelashes...my lovely long eyelashes all fell out!  There is a bit of growth once again....it could be worse. 
  • Eyebrows....they are itchy but I am scared to scratch them in case they follow my eyelashes to the floor
  • Clothes....it has been over a year since I wore a suit and heels to work.  Finding things to look and feel good in is a challenge
  • Snow....weather is brutal outside!  We are to expect 20cm of snow tonight!  Hahaha! It might be a snow day on my first day back......(like that would ever happen in Saskatchewan!!)
More Prayers.....I am thankful that eyelashes, eyebrows, clothes and snow do not define who I am or limit me in any way. These are little set backs in the grand scheme of things.

Cheers to reclaiming a bit more of my former life with renewed "joi de vie"!

Love, Shelley

The Pink Earth Angels are hosting a pancake/brunch breakfast at The Copper Kettle this coming Sunday from 9:00 AM - Noon.  Tickets are at the doors for $15. 
100% of proceeds go to support women and men dealing with breast cancer.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One year later.....

Wow! Can you believe one year since first surgery is on the horizon?  We remember Dr. Meyers informing us that the recovery from my surgeries and pending treatments would be 8 months to a year.  Both Bob and I thought 8 months sounded reasonable....why wouldn't we? I had no prior medical problems, was fairly healthy....things looked like they were stacked in my favor for a great recovery!  Hahahaha!! How naive we were!

These past few weeks have been sort of a turning point for me.  I finally feel like doing things versus "making myself do" things.  And it truly feels great! With this renewed level of energy of course comes the "return to work" plan.  So it's official, I will resume work with the Ministry of Education on March 4th.  It will be a gradual return to work plan with the hopes of full time status by May.  This is to give my body (and mind) the opportunity to adjust to work life and find the new normal required to adjust.  I am to expected fatigue, swelling, yaddayadda throughout this adjustment period.  It will be important to recognize limitations and pull back when necessary.  Hmmm, this is easier said than done I think! Part of my work plan is to start strength training so that I can "buff" the ol' arms up.....right now they are wet noodles.....hoping to get to "al dente" then the "gun show" ....hahahaha!

I will be posting one final blog after my February 21st oncology follow up..... Happy Family Day!

Love, Shelley xoxo

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wet Noodles & Fuzz Cuts

It's been a while since my last blog.....

Physio is still going strong at two sessions per week.  We are now in a position to start strength training to try to regain some of the muscle and strength I had.....I am currently operating with two arms that at times feel like wet noodles.  Cutting semi-thawed meats is a challenge at best....one pound weights are as much as I can lift over head...it just takes a little more time and effort.  I can do it though....with love and a lot of patience!  My scar tissue is beginning to move which is also good news.  This will get me in shape for reconstruction ...in about a year's time.

I had my second "fuzz" cut since chemo ended in October.  Jenn actually used a comb on my hair this time!  Lol!  It's still very short and rather grey but is becoming more "salt & pepper" as the days go on. Six months is the recommended wait time for colour....should be interesting!
JAN 2013

As for return to work, I am really hoping that these next 3 weeks give me enough strength to return in March on a gradual basis.  If all goes well I will be back to full time in no time!  It's exciting to think that I can reclaim some of my former life!

My energy level is slowly rising....I can now "make" it through a movie without sleeping!  The kids are impressed! Walking feels like it should....a great work out without a nap.

I will have my first oncology follow up appointment on the 21st and really don't anticipate a whole lot.  The pathology report from the hysterectomy was normal. Tamoxifen and Crestor are keeping me warm at night. (Had a near naked run through the snowy streets the other night....good thing the high winds kept me inside!) So really at the end of the day I must focus on healthy living - eating and exercise, mindfulness and on matters near to my heart....my family and friends like each of you.

With love, Shelley

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January Update

This month has been a bit frustrating at times.  Not only are the cold, cloudy days a bit nerving but my progress on the medical front (or lack there of) is slower than I would like it to be. Actually it isn't all doom and gloom as I really am progressing well... just really really slow.

There are more days of feeling well than not.  That is a good thing.  However, after 2 or 3 "good" days, I am exhausted! And that is without doing a whole lot of extra!  When I am tired, I swell.....yup, good ol' lymphedema rears its head ever so slightly and I sleep.  This past weekend, after grocery shopping, I had a crazy allergic reaction (at least I think that is what it was).....Initially I thought I was having a mega hot flash.  Then I started to dry heave....itch, break out in hives, vomit,....not a pretty picture by any means.  After taking a Reactine and within half hour, the itch and swelling subsided and all returned to normal.  Today at physio, I was more swollen than usual which was attributed to the "allergic reaction".  To top that off, I am still struggling with my impinging dominant shoulder....this has been a challenge since my last surgery.  Not sure if I over did it compensating for all the aches and pains or if I was dropped during surgery LOL! Thank goodness the physio therapists, Alysia and Tracey are fantastic at what they do!  My twice a week sessions are keeping everything at bay.

OK enough "whoa is me".....I am still doing really well!  Bob and I had a great visit with our good friends the Hamms, the Wells, the McCrimmons, the Munns, the Shannons......so good to laugh with great friends! Karen and Rich were down to see us too on the weekend.....aaahhhh! Loved it!

On the 21st Bobby turned 50! So we had a bit of celebrating to do.....very low key mind you but fun. He's been busy traveling North America and ventures off to Europe in February.
Happy 50th Bob!
A young Bob...
thanks Reid for the photo!

And today....it actually warmed up to -17! Waaahooo! Zoe and I were back outside on the snowy trail enjoying the great outdoors.    These past three days of -41 kept us inside.

Onward and upward! .... Slow and steady wins the race! ....Eat, pray,walk! ...  Life is good!

Shelley xo

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's a Long and Winding Road!

This road to recovery is still under construction.

This past week I have caught a bit of a throat and chest infection and it is knocking the stuffing out of me!  I am still walking and going about my business but it seems to take me twice as long to get things done. As the doctor put it yesterday....my body is still battling the effects of chemotherapy, lymphodemia, and now a chest cold all while trying to build healthy cells.  So I am on some antibiotics to help my system  out of this construction zone.

Physio is going well although I have swelled up again on down my right side.  I think this is because of this cold....yeah, I self-diagnosis.... there is a special pump consisting of a jacket with air pressure holes in the vest and down the arms that applies a consistent pressure to help move the lymphatic fluid pooling in the arms/torso that I will be trying out later this week.  Hopefully that will help promote some good healing.

With the holiday season over, kids back at school and Bob on the road, these days are getting a bit long!  I am looking forward to returning to work if and when the doctor clears me!

It's time to get those happy endorphins flowing...so I will bundle up and head outside with Zoe for a morning walk! Hopefully the winds are down from yesterday!

Over all, I am doing well although it's crazy to think this whole process started a year ago (last January). It's been a long and winding road to recovery. Thank you for being with me on this journey.

~ Shelley xo

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Year in Review

2012.....What a crazy busy year!

January - Cancer confirmed
February - Bilateral Mastectomy & DIEP Reconstruction
March - Blood clots, flap removal & Axillary Node Dissection
April - Ottawa Playoff Games (waahoo!); Start chemotherapy
May - Lose hair; Alter-egos Jenny and J-Lo make public appearances
June - Finish 4 rounds of AC; Mikayla writes and performs a beautiful song for her music final
July - Fishing at Emma Lake; Great family visits; Rider games; Begin 12 weekly rounds of Taxol
August - Visit with family and friends; Bob returns to work
September - School start up...finding a new normal
October - Finish chemotherapy; start Tamoxifen; Lose eye brows and eye lashes
November- Welcome back eye brows and eye lashes and a tuff of hair
December - Hysterectomy;  Retire alter-egos Jenny & J-Lo; Celebrate Christmas in a Prince Albert; Recover, find a new normal...Life is good!

2013.....we are more than ready for a New Year!  Happy New Year to all!

Love, Bob, Shelley, Alycia, Mikayla, Robbie & Zoe

Christmas 2012