Monday, November 30, 2009

Bring on the mistletoe

It’s been 7 whole days since my surgery.  I’m still having pain, which is surprising to me.  I’ve had a bunch of abdominal surgeries, & usually by this time, I’m up & around, barely requiring anything more than Tylenol.  Then again, I’m not as young as I used to be.  Oh, boogers, that sounds like a really bad TV commercial.  I apologize, & I’ll understand if you’re upset with me.  I’m hanging my head in shame.

Aside from coming home to be with my family on Thanksgiving, I had another nice surprise.  I met my visiting nurse, Pam.  Here’s her picture:

 Isn’t she pretty?

I think that she & I are going to get along just fine.  She’s funny, & we had a pretty good time when she was here.  She was really helpful in terms of explaining how to change my dressings & do what’s called “milking” the drain tubes (great, now I’m a cow).  You basically squeeze the entire line to keep clots from occurring.  I have three drains, & it’s a bit of a pain in the butt doing it at least two times a day.  It’s either that, though, or back to the hospital.  Call me Bessie.

I DID feel really bad about keeping her from her family on Thanksgiving, though.  Then I had a substitute nurse on Sunday, who, too, was nice.  But now that I think of it, I hope I didn’t scare Pam off already – yikes!

A really odd thing is that I’m semi-numb on my right side.  Yet, I feel like my nipple is itching.  Weird.  Oh, guess what else?  I can’t shave under my right arm for at least a few weeks, due to all these drains!!  EEEEEWWWWW!!!  I’m hoping that by the time I can, I won’t be evicting any birds or small woodland creatures.  Honestly, how do men walk around as hairy as they are?  Hair under my armpit – gross (grumble, grumble).

But, on the bright side, Christmas is on its way, & I won’t (hopefully – keeping fingers crossed) have to begin chemo or chemo/radiation until after Santa comes.  I’m so happy, since I’m a Christmas junkie.

I love everything about this time of year – putting the tree up with sappy Christmas music playing & a fire raging in the fireplace (I even turned the a/c on one year since it was too warm.  But I was having that fire!).  I have hot chocolate & yes, folks, even chestnuts roasting.  I watch every sappy Christmas movie ever made, both real & animated, & no matter how many times I’ve seen them, I cry.

What makes me laugh (as hard as I can right now) is that Matt really thinks that since I’m not ambulatory, I won’t be over spending for presents.  Don’t men make you smile?  It’s called the “internet”, & I’ve been surfing it like Stephanie Gilmore catching a massively rad wave on the first stop to pro surfers’ equivalent of the Triple Crown at Haliewa, Hawaii – dude.  I may not know the intricacies of computers & all their new fangled technology, but I picked up on online shopping – fast.

I’ve got credit card numbers, passwords & security codes committed to memory.  I have my favourite stores in special folders & set up one click shopping.  If you want to know which site has free shipping on what days & for what minimum amount, I’m your gal.  I can be searching for store coupons while in the middle of checking out on three different sites, with a cup of coffee in one hand, the phone in the other, all while wearing my fuzzy slippers & pink super plush robe.

Can’t spend money – silly man.

In all seriousness, though, I know that this Christmas isn’t going to be the same.  I know that my kids are worried, & that they’re trying their darndest to be positive.  It’s a little weird when your mom & dad disappear into another room to empty & milk drains & change dressings; instead of sneaking in a kiss under the mistletoe.  But the fact remains that I have cancer & this year IS different

Still, it’s the Christmas season; a time of peace, hope, joy, love & miracles.  There’s no way that I’m going to let cancer rob me of experiencing this time of year as best I can with those that I love.  I’m going to shop, decorate, kiss, roast chestnuts & watch sappy movies, thank you very much.  We even managed to get The Beast up AND lit!  The title of my blog says it all – Cancer can suck it.

I still have a long journey ahead of me with this stupid cancer.  I also have a whole bunch of things to get accomplished for Christmas.  But, I have my priorities.

Bring on the mistletoe.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Article before the article - huh?

I’m waiting for the visiting nurse, the Eagles are coming on, & we’re trying to decorate the house.  I’ll post about what happened later.  In the meantime, I’ll probably reference what is now commonly called, “The Beast”.  Rather than go off on another completely confusing tangent, you can read about it (thus understanding when I mention it again this month) here:

This isn’t mandatory though!!  I just thought it might give you a better idea of what transpires in my house during Christmas & Christmas decorating.  Adding breast cancer has made it that much more chaotic.

Don’t judge me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just one of those, "I had to" moments - giggle!

Sorry, folks, but this just had to be done!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

With today being Thanksgiving, & I’m lucky enough to be home for it, I’m going to get temporarily serious.  This is most definitely a sign that I’m taking pain medicine!

I’m thankful for my family.  My husband, Matt, has been incredible.  He’s learned to empty the drains that are stitched into my skin, so I don’t have to see them.  By them I mean the three tubes protruding from under my arm that he’s taken to calling my “cyborg” ports.  My visiting nurse, Pam (who I’m sure I’m going to have a LOT to say about.  She was a HOOT) was quite taken by him today & the fact that he’s not grossed out.  He’s keeping track of all my meds & is insuring that I’m taking them when I should.  And, he’s taking care of things here at the house, as well as running the businesses we own.

My kids have been unbelievable as well.  Aubrie pitched in to cook Thanksgiving dinner, complete with pies.  Elyse has been my personal masseuse, assistant & entertainer.  Dakota has turned into the family pack horse, running all the physical errands.  They’ve all done much, much more, but I’m so tired right now (& the pain is a little intense at times), I can barely see, let alone type.

My poor mother in law, Gretchen, has been the glue, as usual, that’s held this family together.  She’s always there & sometimes doesn’t think that the things she does get noticed.  They get noticed, Gretchen.

I’m also thankful for the large grid of friends that have rallied around me.  Of course, any one who knows me knows that my best friend is Michele Buono.  She’s the keeper of my pass words & secrets (& still hangs around with me anyway).  She’s usually right there whenever I’m in thinking about doing my next dumb scheme, & has managed to stop many of them.  And, if she doesn’t stop them, she’s right there with me doing them.  Matt’s convinced that he & Alex (Michele’s husband) will be bailing the two of us out of jail at any time.

I’m astonished at the amount of women who’re lined up to help me; who’ve signed up to come feed my family – even during Christmas.  I can’t believe the amount of women who’ve emailed me & shared their very personal stories.  I’ve been touched by the flowers sent to my room accompanied by notes of encouragement.  Your words, thoughts & prayers have made this experience much easier than it probably would have been.

I’m also thankful for the surgeons that worked on me.  Dr. Quiros is such a sweet, soft spoken man.  Yet, for his quiet demeanor, he’s a freaking rock star in the operating theater.  Dr. Morrissey is more outgoing & has sparks of a pretty good sense of humour.  I think I may puzzle him, though, with my goofiness.  Charity (& all of Dr. Quiros’ nurses) as well as Dr. Morrissey’s nurses have been fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, Sue Folk, Dr. Evil (just teasing, Dr. Sebastiano), & all the ladies at the Regional Breast Health Center have been amazing.  Sue & Dr. Sebastiano called the day after my surgery to let me know they were thinking of me.  I know if I have a question, they’ll be right there to answer it for me.  And, honestly, ladies, if you’re afraid to go get your mammogram, do what I did.  Get it at the Regional Breast Health Center!!  They’re truthfully a great bunch of broads, & you’ll be treated like a queen.  A queen with her boob in a vice, but a queen nonetheless!

I’m not done with my thankful-gram, but it’s about all I can do today.  I’m very, very tired, & the pain is coming back. Thankfully, I have pain meds that put me to sleep.  And sometimes, sleep is the best place to be for a girl!

And since I can only be serious for so long, I’m going to say a little “prayer”.  “Dear God, please let the Broncos win tonight.  It would really make me a happy camper.  And these days, You owe me”.  JUST KIDDING – as far as you know.

Just watch, though, the Broncos will lose BIG TIME as God's response to my sacrilegious prayer.  Remember the guy on top of the roof during a flood, who asked why God didn't hear him?  In similar fashion, He can say to me, "I sent you a wonderful family, gifted surgeons, a plethora of friends, & a whole host of other gifts.  And you were worried about the Broncos??"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Home

Hi, Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I'm home & more comfortable here than I could ever have been at the hospital.  This is NOT due to the staff, though!  I couldn't have been blessed with a more caring group of people.  Dr. Quiros, his sweet, sweet nurse, Charity, & Dr. Morrissey were great.  I couldn't have been in better hands.

Right now, we're waiting on pathology of the lymph nodes, which will dictate whether I'll need chemo, or a combination of chemo & radiation.  You know I'll let you know.  Right now, I don't have to decide anything for a few weeks  I'm going to have time to heal, then have a quiet Christmas.

Thank you for your prayers, your emails, all the flowers, & all the other kind things that were done for me.  I'll be up & running my mouth in no time!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tamara Update

Hi everyone, it's Michele. Just got the phone call that Tam is out of surgery and -- at least a few minutes ago -- was awake and talking. Surgery went well. I'm sure she'll want to tell her own story, I just wanted you all to know she's okay.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Results of the Biopsy!!

Sorry I’m just getting this up!  It’s been crazy between appointments, tests, & trying to cook & freeze for Thanksgiving.  I should be home by then.

Finally, the biopsy was over & it was time to await the results.  Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m a “glass half full” type of girl.  I always try to find the bright side of every situation (because there’s ALWAYS a bright side or something good comes out of everything). 

That being said, I can honestly say that I was worried.  All I could think was that the big mass had become malignant.  I thought I may very well lose both of my breasts, & have that God awful surgery under my arm.  I kept it to myself, though, because like most of you reading this, I’m a mom.  The kidlets come first & this was already stressful enough for them.  My babies are worried that they’re going to lose their mommy (even though they don't tell ME that - they tell their grandmother & dad).

That’s why when I got to Dr. Quiros’ office, I was so relieved!  The large mass under my arm wasn’t cancer.  However, the other site that they biopsied might be.  Here’s the good news, though.  It’s so small & self contained, that even if it turns out to be cancer, they’ll probably be able to get all of it.  And, there won’t be any noticeable change in ol’ lefty’s size.  Well, that is, until the final booby surgery, where lefty will have to be matched up to what we’ve taken to calling, the “Barbie Boob”.  You know, plastic & perky, yet forever perfect. 

After my reconstruction surgery, Matt’s making this t-shirt:

Today, I find myself doing a lot of “this time tomorrow, I’ll be . . . . “  But, I still plan to enjoy the day.  That is, if those dumb Broncos & Eagles don't screw it up for me!  Plus, I can’t wait to get this dumb thing over with & get back to worrying about not saying (or doing) something dumb.  You know, my normal life.

Trust me, though, I’m OK.  I’m one tough old gal & there’s no way this is going to beat me or get my spirits down!  Plus, I’m so very, very lucky to have all of my friends, old & new, & my family rooting me on.  And thanks again for all your wonderful emails & Guestbook comments. 

I’ll write soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Biopsy, Part Two (or, Holy SH** that hurt!)

I’m so sorry!  I’ve been going from appointment to appointment the last three days.  Since there’s a lot to tell, I’m breaking it up.  I promise, though, that things are turning out for the best!  There’s a lot of good news to report, & a little bad.

About 5 years ago, I had a rather large mass removed from under my left armpit.  It was biopsied, but they didn’t know what it was.  The good news was that it wasn’t cancer.  They couldn’t dig the whole thing out, as it went pretty deep.  There was concern that nerves could be damaged, causing me a lifetime of pain.  So, they left a portion of the mass where it was, & told me that the chances were that it would grow back.

Well, apparently, it did.  I began to notice it about a year ago.  Knowing (hopefully) that it wasn’t cancer, I figured I’d leave it alone.  Unfortunately, it showed up on my MRI.  Dr. Quiros, being thorough & cautious, asked for the area to be biopsied.  This led to round two of the biopsy booby dance.  Back up to the Regional Breast Health Center I went.

Before I get into it, though, I have to take a detour (you’re surprised why?).  You know how I’m always telling you that I’m spectacularly inept when it comes to technology?  Well, I proved it, yet again.  I took my new “moron proof” camera to the breast health center.  Sadly, moron proof has yet to meet me.  Until they make something “Lucy proof”, they just haven’t dumbed it down enough.

Apparently, I’d left my memory card in my laptop – at home.  This meant that I could take 5 pictures max.  Add to that the fact that I didn’t check the batteries & I think you’re getting the picture.  I kept trying to take photos of the girls at the Breast Center, but they wouldn’t take.  Dr. Sebastiano (who did my biopsy) looked at the camera, & said it was on timer.  I didn’t even know it HAD a timer, so I have no clue how it got turned on.  Finally, I managed to get two shots of the ladies.

I wanted to include myself in the photo, so I handed the camera to Matt.  It was at just that moment that the batteries died – thank God.  I say that because Matt shared with me on the ride home that as soon as he went to take the picture, my glamorous gown had opened – wide.  My girls were there in all there glory saying “Tah Dah”!  So, maybe dead batteries were divine intervention.

I found yet another problem with my moron proof camera.  I lost the cable that would hook it up to the computer for downloads.  And since the memory card wasn’t in it, well, I wasn’t able to download the two pictures I had managed to take.  After many rounds of debate, it was decided that Elyse (bless her little heart) would take a picture of the tiny photo showing in the view finder.  She did so, & I was able to clean it up – a bit.  Ladies, I promise, I did my best.  So, here they are – the raging (& most amazingly kind) beauties from St. Luke’s Regional Breast Health Center:

  Okey doke, back to “the biopsy”.

Dr. Sebastiano came into the room & put some type of CD player on the counter.  I’d never seen anything like it, but, no big shock there.  I only just begun using CD’s, but only because they don’t make cassettes anymore (there’s a rant in there somewhere).  She told me that she’d be happy to turn on whatever I liked.  But, since I liked the lady’s style, I went with it.  I’m telling you, folks, the doctor was adorable!  She’s the most down to earth person I’ve ever met in my life – and also one of the sweetest.

The first biopsied area was uneventful.  However, when we got to the large mass under my arm, it was pretty painful.  After the doctor numbed me up, she took the first specimen.  I felt it – big time - & about catapulted myself to the ceiling.  No one, including myself, was expecting that.  It hurt so much, it brought tears to my eyes.

Dr. Sebastiano put more lidocaine (numbing medicine) in, & we went for another try.  Yet again, it just about killed me.  There was no amount of lidocaine that the doctor could inject that would calm what were apparently the nerves under my arm.  I felt everything.  That’s when the doctor told me she wanted to stop; she felt awful.  She wanted to recommend that during my mastectomy, they remove the mass & biopsy it afterward.  She really, really didn’t want to continue on.  And poor Kirsten & Tonya were just pale.  Kirsten kept rubbing my leg & Tonya my shoulders.

However, I remember the original surgery that removed the bulk of the mass.  Despite having surgery many, many times, that one ranked number one as the most painful surgery ever in the history of surgery.  Ever.  I’ve never felt like that before in my life & I wasn’t keen to repeat it.

I begged the poor doctor to continue.  I think they all thought I was crazy, but they agreed to continue with what Dr. Sebastiano referred to as torture.  The doctor was able to take the specimens that she needed.  And honestly, the last two weren’t as bad as the first ones.

At this point, I want to point something out.  Biopsies AREN’T painful as a rule!  They’re not pleasant, & you wouldn’t ever say, “Gee, it’s a sunny day; maybe I’ll go have a biopsy”.  However, they numb the living daylights out of you, & the rest isn’t really a big deal.  In fact, it’s the numbing that’s the most uncomfortable.  UNCOMFORTABLE – not painful!

Ladies, if you’ve ever had a baby, then trust me, it’s a walk in the park compared to that.  If you’ve ever had a tooth numbed prior to filling a cavity, then you’ll know what to expect.  In my case, it was the location of the mass that caused me so much pain.  So please, please, please, keep this in mind if you ever get told you need a biopsy.  This was truly an odd location & unusual experience.  OK?  If you have a mass that requires further study, have the biopsy.  It could very well save your life!  Sometimes, us broads just gotta cowboy up.

Up next, the results.  A little bit of bad news, but also some great news.  

Monday, November 16, 2009

Need another biopsy - ugh!

Well, Hell’s Bells!

Dr. Quiros’ office called today.  Turns out, there’s a suspicious mass in my left breast now.  Tomorrow, I have to go for another biopsy – ugh!

Oh, well, on the bright side, I get to see Susan Folk, Nurse Extraordinaire & new friend!  See you tomorrow, Sue!  Oh, please tell me I’m not going to get Skippy the Radiologist!!!  

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Breast MRI or, A Season in Hell

I had to have a breast MRI on Thursday, Nov. 12th.  Dr. Quiros was curious as to why an area on my left breast showed signs of a mass, but didn’t show up on the ultrasound.  The radiologist said that it could be nothing & that it could have been a shadow.  Alternately, hormones can change breast mass.  Still, Dr. Quiros wanted to be 100% sure that he didn’t need to remove it during the right breast mastectomy.

So off we went to St. Luke’s for the MRI (or as I’ve taken to calling it, a season in Hell).  Like at Dr. Quiros’ office, there was valet parking, which is really cool.  That is, until I got back in the car & noticed that the kids had left empty soda bottles, napkins, candy wrappers, & assorted items of clothes strewn about the back seat.  I could have sworn I saw a tiny woodland creature foraging for scraps.  I was SOO embarrassed!  When I got home, I told them that they’ve got a big ol’ project on their hands this weekend – CLEAN THEIR MOTHER’S CAR.  Little monsters.  The heck of it is, Aubrie’s 10 year old jeep is so clean, it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.  Go figure!

I checked in at the MRI desk, & yet again, the ladies were unbelievable!!!  Here’s their picture:

I’m so mad at myself for not getting their names!  If you’re reading this, girls, please drop me a line.  Sign the guestbook or email me.  And aren’t they just the prettiest little things you ever saw?  You are, girls!!

As usual, I had gone online before this test.  I saw photos of breast MRI machines that made them look like I would be lying on a cloud.  Pictures like this:
Ooh, comfy & cozy.

 Just like a day at the spa!

THIS, however, is what I got:

Of course, I’m exaggerating, but it kind of felt like it!  There were no pillows, just a u-shaped foam forehead “rest”.  And padding?  If you call cold plastic comfortable, then yeah, I guess it was just swell.  Here’s the best comparison I could come up with to describe the difference between the pictures I saw vs. reality - like going from an overstuffed recliner to a stool.

First, I had to have an IV, because half way through the test they would be sending some type of dye through my system.  We got it started, then went into the torture, um, MRI room.  As they hooked me up to the saline, it spewed everywhere.  The IV didn’t “take”.  Back to the other room to restart it in the other arm.  Oh, the frivolity!  Finally, we returned to the ancient contraption that was supposed to take pretty pictures of the insides of my girls.

I was led to the slab & told to lay on my stomach.  I had to get my boobs in the cutout holes just right.  In order to accomplish this, I had to lay directly on my diaphragm & bottom of my rib cage.  I could barely breathe.  I was trying to support myself with my arms & using my back to lift me a little.  This was about as uncomfortable as you can get.

I had to stay still like that for what they told me would be ½ hour, which very well may be the sum total of the actual test time.  However, that doesn’t take into account all the pauses while they checked the images, & started the next series.  It seemed to take forever.  I began to wonder if they were hosting a Tupperware party on the other side of the partition, & occasionally noticed that one of the tests were done.  Of course I’m exaggerating – kind of.  Matt said I was in there for an hour and a half & trust me, it felt like it.

Then, there’s the noise; anyone who’s ever had an MRI can relate to this.  How to put it, how to put it – oh, I know.  Imagine that you’re in a tunnel, & two freight trains pass each other, blowing their whistles & honking their horns.  It’s kind of like that.  They give you headphones, which is nice.  However, once the noise started, they were as effective as giving me a fuzzy pair of winter ear muffs & telling me to hum.

When it was over, I got up & took my first deep breath & nearly fainted.  I honestly felt drunk & light headed.  Thankfully, it didn’t last too long.  When I told Matt about the dizziness, he remarked, “You should be used to that.  You’ve always been a little dizzy, Lucy.”  Ha . . . . . Ha.

But, it’s over now & I know that this test will help Dr. Quiros when it comes time for my surgery, which is scheduled for Monday, November 23rd.  Yup, right before Thanksgiving – which sucks.  But it could be worse!  It could be right before Christmas.

This week will be somewhat busy.  I’m still researching breast reconstruction, as I’ll be meeting with Dr. Morrissey on Wednesday.  I want to be sure I have all my questions written down.  And, no, Filiz, you can’t come with me.

Then Thursday, I meet with Dr. Quiros, & get the results of the MRI.  I’m a little nervous about that, though.  I’d really like to keep good ol’ lefty.  But, if she’s gotta go to save my life, then, “buh bye”.    

On the bright side, this experience has been illuminating for me.  I’m amazed at my friends & how they’re rallying around me.  They’ve organized to bring my family food for at least 2 months.  They’ve volunteered to clean my house & run errands.  They’ve even stepped up to organize homeschool functions for me.  A few creative ones volunteered to donate some fat to reconstruct my boobs.  Nice try, girls! 

I’m also amazed by my family; especially my girls.  They’ve been right there, ready & willing to accompany me on my myriad of doctor’s appointments.  My mother in law, Gretchen, has been a rock; as usual.  She's always been there to take care of the kids & me through more situations than I can share here.  She's been the source of great strength for all of us, & I couldn't be more thankful to have her in my life.  I love you, Gretchen.

And, of course Matt, who’s scared out of his mind.  Matt’s a doer & isn’t good at standing by waiting.  He's been using the time before surgery to go online & look up alternate or complementary therapies to go along with the chemo.  Once the surgery is over with, he’ll probably get all Gestapo on me.  By that I mean, make me sit down & do nothing.  Which for a fidget like me is a big pill to swallow.  Hey, that’s probably how he’ll do it.  He’ll make me take my medicine.  Hmmm.  A quiet Lucy – the two words shouldn’t ever be said in the same sentence.  Shudder.

Thanks, too, for those of you who’ve let me know that this blog has been helpful.  I’m truly humbled by your emails.  Thank you.

Next up, my visit with Dr. Morrissey.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Eyebrows & Lashes & Wigs - Oh My!

Merhaba benim Türkçe okuyucularıma!
(Hello to my Turkish Readers)

The purpose of this blog is to tell the truth about my battle with breast cancer.  I’m hoping that it will also be uplifting, optimistic & sometimes (God willing), funny.  However, whenever I find information that might be helpful to those who’ll find themselves in my shoes, I want to share that as well.  This is one of those posts.

Truthfully, I’m really nervous about Chemo. I’ve been reading about it, & have heard that some women tolerate it very well, & others don’t.  I intend to be one of those that tolerates it - & mocks it!

I knew I’d need to get a wig, but I never even thought about eyebrows & lashes!  This sent me on a quest – to shop (uh-oh; Matt’s nervous).  But, I found some cool stuff & websites that you may find useful, so read on! I’m going to start with wigs.

At first, I thought it would be really fun to go blonde.  Two problems, though, with that little thought.  You need to determine what colour blonde looks good with your skin tone.  I didn’t want to have to order a wig, only to find out that I look like Courtney Love on a good day, have to send it back & start over.  Aw, you know what – that was really wrong, I’m sorry; I take that back.  The only time I’ve ever seen that poor girl, she has looked like one hot mess.  It was really presumptuous of me to assume she HAS good days!  I feel awful (giggle).

The other problem is, I’m the Brunette Lucy. So, that idea was out the window.  I couldn’t go red, because, well, the real Lucy was a redhead.  Sadly, I’m just a cheap imitation. Sigh.  Enough with the silliness, & on to reporting!

I looked at a lot of wig sites & read a lot of reviews.  There are some really inexpensive websites out there.  A few of the least expensive sites are Paula Young, Beauty Trends & Best Wig Outlet.

I thought I wanted a human hair wig, but have since changed my mind.  I found an alternative, which to my way of thinking, is a FANTASTIC compromise!  I found that Best Wig Outlet  (this link will take you right there) offers a blend of human hair & synthetic.  I’m sure other sites sell it, but in my research, this was the only one.  However, I’m always open to your input, to provide the best information possible.  If you’ve found something better, different, whatever, send it to me at  I’ll post it here.  Here’re my findings about the pros & cons of the three options:

Synthetic hair:

This is the least expensive option, with the widest variety of style choices.  There’re European & African American style wigs, short, medium & long.  And, trust me, these are NOT your grandmother’s wigs.  From ordering free color swatches, I’ve felt them, & although they don’t feel like human hair, they sure don’t feel like doll hair.  The cons are that they tend to wear out faster than their human hair counterparts.  By that I mean, they’ll frizz up & get tangled.  However, due to their cost, they’re easily (& inexpensively) replaced.  General cost is less than $100.00 (however, there’re tons for around $50.00), depending upon length.  You can also get some kick ass bargains in the “clearance” area of each web site.

Human hair:

Of course, the pros are that it’s real human hair & as such, feels like it.  It can also be curled, straightened & blow dried.  The cons are that if the original owner of the hair had problems with keeping a style, the wig will too.  Same goes for frizzing in humidity. Another HUGE con is the prohibitive price – they range from $500.00 on the cheap end to $1,500.00 plus on the other side.

My Choice -
Synthetic hair/human hair blend:

This is the one that I chose, because to me, it offers the best of both worlds.  It actually feels like 100% human hair, without the high price tag of the “real” thing.  And, with the addition of the synthetic fiber, the wig will hold its shape.  It can be curled or straightened, if you use the absolute lowest setting available. To avoid any catastrophes, I purchased a straight one & a curly one, each costing less than $75.00 each.  Of course, I bought really long ones, just for the heck of it & I haven’t ruled out purchasing more.  Hey, like Dolly Parton said, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!”

In case you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned “Locks of Love”, it’s because they provide human hair wigs to children under the age of 18.  Since that ship has long since sailed for me, it wasn’t an option.  However, I’ve heard nothing but positive things about them!

On to eyebrows & lashes!

Honestly, I never even thought about losing my eyebrows & lashes.  Guess what else I’m going to lose – nose hair!  Who knew?  Of course I had the option of “drawing” eyebrows on.  My "adopted brother", Ed, told me that a woman at his office did that.  He called her Miss Perpetually Surprised, as they were always halfway up her forehead.  He wanted to see me do that, but only because he’s evil & wanted to point & laugh.  Laugh it up there, Skippy, but don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning without YOUR eyebrows – HA! Enough digressing & plotting, though.

I looked through the wig sites to see if they sold eyebrows as well.  The ones I saw, including Best Wig Outlet, didn’t.  However, there’s a site called, “Head Covers, Unlimited”, that has it all – wigs through eyebrows & on to anything else you could possibly need. HOWEVER, I found that their prices for wigs were about twice (& often times more) the cost of the websites I’ve mentioned.  And since I didn’t see a difference in quality, I wasn’t impressed with them along those lines. 

But, they offer excellent human hair eyebrows, as well as an award winning glue.  According to them, the glue will hold for several days – woo hoo!  Additionally, you can use the glue for false eyelashes, & it supposedly has the same staying power.  I don’t know if these claims are true or not, but, you know me! I’ll let you know what I think.

I purchased a pair, & they look really nice.  I haven’t tried them on – yet.  I was thinking of putting one on above my natural (& currently intact) brow; then, I’m going to take a picture. It should be pretty funny.  I’ll post that later.

The site also offers eyelashes, for about the same price as the ones you purchase at the drug store.  However, you don’t have to pay shipping & handling for those.  Plus, most of the false eyelashes I’ve seen are human hair, so I don’t see the upside in purchasing them on line.  I could be wrong, & if I am, I’ll let you know.

I think I’ve covered everything.  I’m going to take pictures of the two wigs & post them here shortly.  I saw something called “slideshow” for blog spot, & am looking into that.  Of course, I won’t be alone when I try to travel that path.  I have a feeling I’ll be hollering for Aubrie, Elyse or Dakota.

Smells like teen supervision!  

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lucy & Ethel - Smells Like Teen Supervision

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure which blog to post this to.  I decided to post it here, though, since I’d like to get the word out about Care Calendar.  It’s an invaluable resource to groups & churches who schedule providing services for the needy.  Many thanks to Michele for finding it.

If you’ve been reading my original blog, “The Brunette Lucy”, you know that two people take turns being the Ethel to my Lucy.  One is my daughter, Elyse, & the other, my best friend, Michele:

It seems that many of my friends have been asking her what they can do.  They want to send food to the house after my surgery & subsequent chemo.  I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I feel to have so many people care.

So, Michele went on line & found a really neat organizer for this type of thing called, “Care Calendar”.  It’s really awesome.  Once you set it up, everyone can go online & find out what’s needed.  They can enter what day they want to do what, such as bring a meal, cleaning, errand running, etc.  They’ve thought of things I never would have!  There’s too much to tell you about here.  Suffice it to say, we recommend using this service – big time!  But unfortunately, in our hands, we used it badly.

We were entering all the information & trying to navigate the calendar, when I hit something on the computer.  The stupid thing wouldn’t let us enter anymore information, no matter what we did.  So dumb & dumber were hitting every key on the keyboard, trying to undo whatever I’d done.  We must have looked like chimps poking at the keys of a contraption they’d never seen before.  Defeated, we knew what we had to do.  Almost in unison, we holler, “ELYSE”!  We started asking questions at the same time, however, we weren’t saying the same thing.  Elyse had to shout, “Mom, Michele – one crazy at a time”.  Then she rolled her eyes, sighed (heavily & audibly) & steeled herself to face her fate.

You have to feel sorry for Elyse, though.  She walked into the world of two twits, who have no earthly clue how technology works.  We understand just enough to get by, but most of it confuses us.  Anyway, Elyse immediately diagnosed the problem (although I can’t remember, or understand, what it was).  And that’s when I said, “While you’re here . . . .”.

I’d given Michele my old digital camera to use until she gets a new one.  Silly girl, she started asking me how to use it.  I pointed out that the reason I had to get a new one was BECAUSE I didn’t know how to use the one she had in her hand.  I’d been given a moron proof one – I think.  And that’s where Elyse was drawn even further into our little world of “crazy”.  Here’s a sample of our sparkling conversation:

Michele:       “What’s this do?”
Elyse:          “It turns it on.  Oh, & the one next to it takes the picture.  Don’t do what Mom always did.  She thought she was taking pictures, but she kept turning it off.”
Michele:       “How do I plug this doohickey into the computer?”
Elyse:          “Do you know what a memory card is?”
Me:              “I tried to find it to give to her, but I don’t know where it got to.”

At this point, Elyse retrieves my new camera, pulls out the memory card & holds it up.

Elyse:          “Mommy, this is the reason you couldn’t find the card.  Michele, you have to get one of these if you want to use the camera.  Then, you take the card out & plug it in here.  To get one, just go to electronics & show them the camera, point to here, & ask for what goes in there.  You won’t even have to remember what it’s called.  They’ll know just what to give you.  Then, when you leave, they’re going to laugh at you.”

Michele:       “What’s this round thing do?”
Elyse:          “That’s the menu navigation.  Don’t touch it.  Because when Mom did, she got confused, claimed that she didn’t do anything, that it was the stupid camera’s fault, & whined until I’d fix it.  If you touch it on accident, don’t do anything; just go get Alex (Michele’s son).”

The conversation went on for quite a while, but you get the general idea.  By the time Elyse was through, she left the room muttering.  We think we heard, “I can’t believe there’re two of them – and they FOUND each other!”

We finally got the calendar filled, two hours later.  It wasn’t because the calendar was hard to work; it wasn’t.  But in Lucy & Ethel’s world, finding the right button to turn the computer on can be a challenge.

On the bright side, at least we have each other.  And on an even brighter side, we’ve got kids who’ll put up with us & fix whatever we just screwed up.  For now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Meeting with Dr. Morrissey

I met with the plastic surgeon Wednesday.  Unfortunately, I’m not a candidate for using my own tissue for reconstruction due to all the abdominal surgeries I’ve had for endometriosis.  So, no tummy tuck – crap.  Oh, well, at least I’m going to have a boob.  So, I’m pretty happy.

Dr. Morrissey was fantastic!  He met & spoke to me, WITH MY CLOTHES ON!  Ladies, you know how dumb you feel when you’re sitting there, meeting a doctor for the first time, with a “gown” on.  Then, he examines you, with your feet in stirrups.  In situations like that, I have to bite my tongue – hard – to keep from saying, “Was it good for you?  Because, honestly, it really sucked for me”.

And couldn’t they come up with a better word for those “gowns”?  Doesn’t the word “gown” usually refer to a glamorous dress?  There’s nothing glamorous about them, nor do they resemble a dress.  I wish I could think of something better to call them.  If you can think of something, let me know! 

After we spoke, it was time for the examination.  I’m not going to lie to you, it was uncomfortable.  Not physically uncomfortable, but, embarrassing.  I don’t think it would matter if it was Mother Theresa doing the exam, it would still be awkward.  He took measurements of my breasts, then he snapped some photos; cheeky fellow (just kidding)!  Then, after he & his nurse had done all the measuring, he told me to get my clothes back on & we’d speak.  Again, Yeah!  Clothes ON before speaking again.

Aubrie & Elyse were in the waiting room, so I asked if they could come in when he discussed what would probably be happening.  I say probably because he stressed that they won’t know what will happen until they actually do the surgery.  But, Dr. Quiros & his staff had faith in him, & after meeting him, so do I.  I’m trusting that he’ll do the best job for me.  I know that he’ll do whatever he can to make me feel “normal”.  As normal as one can in this type of situation.

Dr. Morrissey was so sweet to explain to both me & the girls about what I could expect.  I didn’t feel as if he was rushing me, nor did I feel like I was just another person he had to see on his rotation.  Honestly, I think that other doctors could take a lesson from the doctors & staff that I’ve been meeting.  They’ve all been fantastic, supportive, & caring.  I know I’m in good hands.

I’ll be meeting with him the Wednesday before my surgery (November 23rd), so he can answer any other questions I may have.  I’m really grateful for that, as I’m still researching reconstruction.

If I’m being honest, though, Matt is always afraid about what I can do with a little knowledge.  He feels it contributes to my “Luciness”.  Translation:  I usually screw up & say the wrong thing, especially if I think I know something.  I seem to be lacking that editing button that most folks have between their brain & their mouths.  My mouth seems to always win in that fight.  Heavy sigh.


I'm sorry I haven't put the account of my visit with the plastic surgeon up yet.  Today, I've been so tired, I've been walking on my knuckles.  Plus, I've been dealing with insurance & playing phone tag with them.  Goodness, the actual surgery & chemo will be less stressful than that!

I'll put it up tomorrow.  I had a very positive experience, yet again.  I swear, people who deal with cancer patients are cut from a different cloth.  In the meantime, here's Dr. Morrissey's picture.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Did you know?

Did you know that in PA, insurers, by law, have to cover reconstruction surgery??  No, really!  Plus, they even have to cover the boob that isn't cancerous, in order to keep symmetry.    I'm thinking maybe I'll go get me some big ol' Dolly Parton sized boobies.  Well, maybe not that big, but you know what I mean.  Might as well get some honkers out of this!

I'll let you know what happens at the plastic surgeon's office tomorrow!

Back to the Bright Side!

My sister saw my post about her email.  She sent me a lovely apology, which I have accepted.  She had thought she was being silly, as I am known to be.  I misinterpreted the meaning, & I appreciated her apology very much.

Now, back to optimism! I don’t like to spend too much time on negativity (if you’ve read my other blog, you totally get that).  I meet with my reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Morrissey, tomorrow.  Here’s his picture:
I’m nervous but excited.  I’m dying to find out how he’s going to fashion a new boob.  OK,boys, don’t read this part!  What I mean is, I’m dying to find out how they do a nipple.  Dr. Quiros said that when this guy is done, even he couldn’t tell which one was which.  That’s pretty good, because I’d truly miss “Ol’ Righty”.  I’ve read that there’s tattooing involved, which weirds me out a little.  But, “it’s always better to look good than to feel good, darling” (Billy Crystal as Fernando on SNL).  

My daughters, Aubrie & Elyse, will be coming with me.  I’m not going to allow them into the examination, though, cause that would be a little creepy.  However, we’re going out to lunch afterwards, & then will go shopping.  They’re going to help me pick out a new robe & slippers for the hospital & for themselves.  If possible, we’ll all three get the same one, because originality isn’t in the Kells family motto.  It’s going to be a “girls day out”. 
Although, whenever we venture out together, something always happens – usually pretty comical & sometimes, well, dumb.  When we get back, Matt usually goes through a list:

û       Did anyone get hurt?
û       Was there an accident?
û       Did you say or do something to the doctor/check out lady/insert  correct title here, that I should be aware of?
û       Did you knock anything(one)over?
û       Do I still have any money left?  (Of course, we fib.  Then, when he gets the bill, he bellows, “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do).

On another note, have you SEEN the paperwork you have to fill out before a visit to a surgeon?  “Are you responsible for this bill – if not, who is?”  “If those who are responsible for this bill expire before bill is paid in full, I decree that my children, grand children, great grandchildren, their successor & heirs, will be held liable.”  “If my successors do not meet the obligations of this bill, you may take their first born child.”  “In the event that there are no successors or heirs, the debt collector may reach me in Heaven (or Hell, whatever the case may be) for complete payment in full”. 

In doctors’ defense, however (& this is not a political blog), if we had tort reform, we more than likely wouldn’t have to deal with this plethora o’ paperwork.  Just saying.

I’ll let you know how the meeting with Dr. Morrissey goes!  AND, I’ll tell you how he’s planning to make my new nipple.  Wish me luck!  And, while you’re at it, you might want to wish the same for the doctor & his staff.  Really.

Don't forget - "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"

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