Pretty cool to be nominated for Best Poetry/Spirtual Healing Post!
I saw this video this morning on Facebook. Below is the article I copied/pasted. Such an awesome video!! Would’ve been fun to do before my surgery, but I can honestly say this was the last thing on my mind as my nerves where outta control!
Facing a double mastectomy with grace takes courage. Facing one with courage and joy is extraordinary.
But that’s exactly what Deborah Cohan did yesterday right before she went into surgery to have her breasts removed. Cohan, an Ob/Gyn and mom of two, held a dance party with her medical team in the operating room of Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco.
This inspiring 6-minute-long video, posted on YouTube, shows Cohan busting some serious moves as she wiggles and twerks to Beyonce’s hit “Get Me Bodied.” Cohan requested that friends and family make videos of themselves dancing to Bey too so that she could watch them during her recovery. “I have visions of a healing video montage,” she wrote. “Nothing brings me greater joy than catalyzing others to dance, move, be in their bodies. Are you with me people?”
They were. You can check out videos of Deborah’s fans shaking their booties in solidarity on her CaringBridge page.
Deborah, we wish you a speedy recovery. And can we go clubbing with you when you’re all better?
Wow….what a week! I’m not sure where to even start with this post. Tomorrow this girl gets to put on her big girl pants and go back to work! I think I’m more mentally ready than I am physically. I’m excited to go back for many reasons. One being that we have some exciting things going on and I can’t wait to get back in the middle of it all! When you’re in marketing no day is the same, so I have no idea what I’ll be walking into. Physically, I still get tired after an eventful day. During my leave from surgery naps have snuck their way into my day! There will obviously be no napping for me once I go back to work. Although I’ll only be working part-time tomorrow and Friday I’m sure I’ll be exhausted come 8pm. I am looking forward to our Friday night as we will be going to a little carnival here in Brandon called the November Fest. I’m such a dork but I truly am looking forward to it. Both Justin and I are nerdy like that. We may love it even more than Gianna. But whats not to love? Family time, memories, rides, fun houses, beer, elephant ears….need I say more??
What else this week? Now to the not so fun parts. On Monday Gianna got an infection again (same one for the second time). She’s doing much better and its cleared up tremendously thanks to antibiotics and some cream that I can’t even pronounce. Staph infections are no joke and this is the second one she’s had in the last two months. We also have a very close family member that was admitted into ICU last night. If you don’t mind please keep her in your prayers. It’s very serious but also lovely to see family come together for the ones they love.
I start radiation next week. On to the next lap in the marathon. Did I mention I got my port removed Tuesday????? I’m so happy b/c it really stuck out on me bad and Florida weather calls for tank tops even in the October & November months!
Sweet dreams-this girl has a career to go on with tomorrow!
On Tuesday I had my post op appt and received what I consider to be the best news we’ve received since this whole C thing became a part of my life. Chemo killed the MFer. There was NOTHING left of it and it has been 100% confirmed that cancer was never in my lymph nodes. So the 7mm of cancer that the doctor saw during surgery turned out to be NOTHING but part of my tissue. Let me say that again, in a different way. I AM CANCER FREE AND THAT IS A FACT. A truer fact than it was last week. Living in the present has never been a thing that comes natural to me, so I had to ask how this all relates to my future and long-term prognosis. His exact words were, “ It has everything to do with it”. My prognosis is excellent and although there is no guarantee that the little son of a bitch will never return, we damn sure killed every bad cell that was in my body. We’ll proceed with some insurance that comes in the form of radiating beams. That starts in less than a month.
Aside from having the most shittiest sleep I’ve ever had-I’m doing ok after surgery. I can’t drive so I’m kinda at the mercy of others but with two drains, (I had 4 but the doc removed 2 of them on Tuesday) going out isn’t at the top of my priority list right now. And going from a DD to a whatever I am now is kinda nice. Justin said I look like an A/B-cup. Hopefully I can get one more fill before I start radiation.
I really appreciate all the emails, text messages, FB messages, flowers and cards from everyone. Hugs and kisses to all of you! XOXO
Its day 5 after my surgery and I must say I feel pretty darn good. I am on some good pain meds and I know that has a lot to do with it-Lol! I wanted to document how I felt the day leading up to my surgery. But first, I have to write about the Sunday before. It was a great start to my surgery week.
Sunday morning I went to church. I went by myself because Gianna wanted to sleep in with Daddy. I know what some of you are thinking—I can’t believe he didn’t go with her! Especially, right before surgery. Listen, I grew up with my Mom going to church most Sundays without my Dad. For me, its normal. Would I love for him to go- absolutely! In time, I believe he will make his way to that 3rd to the last pew in the center isle.
Thankfully my Mom and I go to the same church so I knew she’d be there. I sang my heart out to one of my favorite songs, Going Through the Motions by Matthew West. If you haven’t heard it I urge you to look it up-it applies to us all. After church we all went to my parents house for some yummy Spanish food. My Mom loves to cook for her fam & it definitely comes through in the food. By the time we got home from my parents it was around 4. My two BFFs were coming over to spend some QT with me before my surgery. Amanda brought Kendal with her so Gianna was happy to have some company too. Jose Cuervo also made a visit, but I didn’t really entertain him much. We talked, ate, chilled, laughed and before leaving Melissa wanted to say a prayer. I didn’t even think about doing that with all of us and I’m so glad we did b/c I think it was such an awesome, powerful moment. Melissa led the prayer as we all stood in a circle in the middle of my kitchen holding hands. It was me, Chanty, Kendal, Gianna, Melissa and Amanda. Justin’s not much into prayer (I do believe he will be saved one day) but half-way through the prayer he came over and held mine and Gianna’s hand. After “amen” we all hugged each other and cried. I can’t explain it but what I do know is that God gave me the most amazing friends.
The day before surgery 10/8/13
The day before my surgery (Tuesday) started like every other day. I dropped Gianna off at school and headed to work. The plan was for me to work 1/2 a day and then pick up Gia from school early to spend the afternoon together. She was so excited for our mommy/daughter time. I knew I wouldn’t be carrying any big pumpkins soon so I wanted to take her to the pumpkin patch so she can pick out her big pumpkin before things got a little strange for this 4 year old.
Before even making it inside her classroom she was out of her chair telling her friends, “My Mommy is here and I’m going to the pumpkin patch!”. Gianna had been telling her classmates and teacher all day that we were going to the pumpkin patch! Mrs. Ferguson said that she told everyone that Mommy was picking her up early. That seriously made me feel awesome!
At the pumpkin patch she picked out her big pumpkin plus 6 little ones. Afterwards, we went for ice cream at Menchies. She LOVES that place! I didn’t talk to her about what the days ahead were going to be like. That’s not what this time was about. I wanted to make her day and some memories that she would always remember-I mean, how many kids get out of school to go pick out pumpkins and eat ice cream! I don’t really remember much of that evening at home though-I know that’s pretty weird.
On Wednesday (surgery day), we arrived at Moffitt at 7:45am…..15 minutes late. Are you surprised?! The first thing they did was inject me with blue dye. One reason is so the surgeon can see what lymph nodes to take out. Even though my MRI showed no cancer cells there could still be microscopic cancer cells left behind. The surgeon took out 1-2 lymph nodes from each side-they appeared clear of cancer but, we won’t know for sure until I get the pathology report.
After they injected the dye there was nothing left to do but wait. Before going into surgery, my Mom and my best friends Mom Barbara came to see me. We talked a little bit about the stress that Amanda and I put them through during high school. Lets just say we were far from angels. Before going back-we held hands and said one last prayer. Barbara prayed out loud which is a HUGE thing for her. I’m so happy that she did it under these circumstances. Barbie-thank you for being there for my Mom….you are a beautiful person. I know where Manda gets her big heart from.
That’s pretty much all I wanted to document if not for you, for me. I know 10 years from now I won’t remember all the details in this chapter. Some are good some are bad. But these are the pages I want to leave highlighted
Hi everyone! This is Chanty (Jessica’s sister) writing in my sisters blog on how she is doing!
Surgery went great! Whoop whoop!! The doctors removed what was left of the tumor (very small piece), tissue, and two lymph nodes. The lymph nodes looked good by the looks of it but will be sent to the lab to confirm it. The doctor did tell my sister that the fact is she is now cancer free!!! She is recoverying well and will be going home sometime tomorrow 🙂 Today she was able to move around and went walking around the building a few times to help with recoverying. Overall great day
Tonight is a sleepover! Girls night!! about to get crazyyyyy!!
Love you sissy pantalones!!! :))
So I had written this post a few weeks ago and just hadn’t had the chance to post it. Today is the day before my surgery and I feel kinda well…..I don’t know. Some very mixed feelings. I left work early to pick up Gianna and spend some QT with her. We went and picked out some pumpkins followed by some ice cream at Menchies. Her teacher told me that she was so excited that she told the entire class that Mommy was going to pick her up early and go to the pumpkin patch! That really made me feel wonderful. So here’s my post regarding the surgery I’m having tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll feel OK by the weekend to update.
So what now? I’ve completed 4 rounds of the red devil and 4 rounds of the famous Taxol-now what? The next step in treatment is surgery. My surgery as been scheduled for October 9 (originally it was Oct 2). Before going on I’ll define the word, foob. Here’s the definition according to the Urban Dictionary:
Term popularized by breast cancer patients to mean former, future, or fake boobs. Often used during the various stages of reconstruction after mastectomy.“It’s been four weeks since surgery and my foobs are still really itchy.”
I had a few options as to the what type of surgery I could receive. Let me tell you that having “options” has its drawbacks. First, I was highly recommended by my surgeon to do a bilateral mastectomy (bmx), go through radiation then wait 9 months to have reconstruction. Um yeah, my reaction to that was basically a hell no! That option was just not right for me. The reason this was his first recommendation was because if you start the reconstruction process before radiation there is a higher chance for complications and not so perfect results (looks wise). He went on to explain, how radiation can effect the skin and he’s seen some bad results because of it. After making it pretty clear that this would not be an option for me he said we may be able to do a lumpectomy now, then 9 months after radiation do a bmx & immediate reconstruction. Dr. Kiluk (my surgeon) had to first look at the originally films from my MRI and see if this was even a viable option. Two days later, I received the news that based off of my first MRI, a lumpectomy could be an option. Yeah!!! Decision made, now lets schedule the surgery! After lots of prayer, research and inner soul searching, I started to back away from the whole lumpectomy option. Truth is I have no desire to save my boobs. I actually started to feel very strongly that I wanted to do a BMX as soon as possible.
With this new decision, came some homework. I needed to find a plastic surgeon that does reconstruction even through radiation. This reconstruction process is done over many months time with something called tissue expanders. Immediately following a mastectomy, the plastic surgeon comes in and places expanders where the new foobs will be. The expanders are slowly filled with saline until the desired size is reached. However, since I will be getting radiation I can’t have any “fills” during this time period. I would get a few “fills” before radiation then start them back up a couple months after radiation has been completed. Hopefully my skin won’t be completely fried after radiation. In the case that it is, they will take skin from my back and replace that radiated skin during the swap out. By swap out I mean, taking the tissue expanders out and replacing them with the implants. This all sounds like a walk in the park, huh?
The first plastic surgeon I met with told me upfront that he won’t even touch me until 9-10 months after radiation. He wouldn’t even do reconstruction on me if I just did a lumpectomy! He came highly recommended by one of my doctors but one of the things I’ve learned during this whole process is that each case is different and you have to make decisions based off of YOU-not someone else. I did some more homework on other surgeons and found one that was very upfront with me, but still confident that she could give me the desired results I wanted. The bad thing is that she is out of network. However, I do have out-of-network coverage which covers 60%. Not the 100% that I would otherwise receive, but I know she’s the right plastic surgeon for me.
Even though I decided I would take the chance of having complications with my new foobs, I HONESTLY don’t think that I will be one of those bad cases of radiated skin. I’m fully aware of the risks and complications and I’ve decided to just deal with those when and if they come. For now, take my boobs off and fill up my foobs!
Today started like any other day. Take the punkin to school, work, come home, cooking dinner all while playing “school”, then clean-up, prepare lunches for the next day. Then some chill time…..it was around 8:15pm and I just opened the laptop and put some OC Housewives on. Not 5 minutes into my escape did Gianna asked me, “Mommy do you want to go look at the stars”? You see back “then” bc (before cancer) I probably would’ve told her something like,
“Not tonight baby, maybe tomorrow” or “Not right now, maybe in a few minutes”, hoping she would forget about wanting to go outside.
But life ac (after cancer) is much different. I closed the laptop, grabbed a blanket and said,
“Absolutely, that sounds like a great idea…”
I let Dr. Google scare me for the first few months of my diagnosis (I still let it get to me from time to time). There is so much scary stuff out there about the “c” word! In particular- Triple Negative. It gets a bad and grim reputation out there in internet land. My doctors however had the complete opposite response, which baffled me at first. But the more I educated myself on the subject the more I understood thier reasoning. This is a great blog post about the sensationalized reporting that surrounds triple negative breast cancer. Something that we need to keep in mind while torturing ourselves with the worlds most popular doctor.
Below is a guest post from my bff-Manda!
Soooo… I am the infamous Manda who is so lucky to have one of the most amazing woman I know in my life… since 6th grade. It feels like yesterday we were two little 6th graders that thought we were so grown up and the only worries we
whose house we were going to stay out, or what movie we were going to watch that would keep me awake… (Rocky Horror Picture Show HAHAHA) Now a days, some of our memories, that I wouldn’t say is so much fun, but we made the best of the moments, is sitting with you during your treatments. I didn’t get to sit with you during all your treatments, but the times that I have, have been so memorable. I think we laughed so much that we forgot you were being infused… or at least I forgot. lol No matter what is going on, for the time we are together, we just forget about the world. I love you…. I love US even more!!! XOXO