Sunday, December 25, 2011


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sorry I haven’t written; my son, Dakota has been in and out of Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia that last two months. He’s fine now, but naturally, he’s really nervous about recurrence. I’ll write more about it later.

Today, I just want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas & to ask that you remember to say a prayer for our troops. Many of them won’t be home today to celebrate with their families. God Bless them!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pink Ribbons/Pinkwashing - There's a Difference

I love pink; it’s always been my favorite color; if it came in the form of sparkly, sparkly jewelry, even better.

And not just any pink, the Barbie pink that’s associated with breast cancer ribbons today. Little did I know all these years that pink would come to mean a whole lot more to me!

I love that women are wearing pink ribbons. To me, that’s a sign of support for me and what I’ve been through. In fact, look at my blog – pink. My twitter home page is black with pink ribbons. So I’m absolutely not adverse to pink ribbons.

I also know that other women support breast cancer, but they don’t wear ribbons. Because of that, does it mean they don’t support cancer? I don’t think so.

There have been some cute Facebook awareness campaigns, but there was also one that was kind of, well, crass. Remember the campaign about putting the color of your bra as your status? Me and others felt that it wasn’t in the best of taste. Think about it – using a bra as a sign of support for women who have lost one or both breasts. Yeah, I wasn’t thrilled about that one; but I knew it was well meaning.

Does that mean that I think the campaigns that women come up with on Facebook, or just about anywhere, are bad? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact, I’m honored that you take the time. It’s truly touching that people want to help you, raise money, cook dinners, clean your house or anything else they can think of to let you know that they’re supporting you. It’s kind of awesome. No, not kind of, it IS awesome.

I believe that it’s in no small part to these campaigns that breast cancer is fairly treatable these days, if caught in time. According to my doctors, I was at Stage 3 with a bullet; it could have gone to Stage 4 any day. As it was, they took 20 lymph nodes, and 13 tested positive for cancer. I was lucky.

We still have a long way to go for metastic cancers, though. And not just metastic, but all cancers.

So here we are in October - Breast Cancer Awareness month. The pink ribbon is everywhere, and companies all over are turning products pink. There’s pink shoes, pink drinks, pink cans, pink handbags, pink shirts; just about everything turns pink for this month. While I know that the idea is to raise awareness, I think that’s been done. I think we’re all pretty aware of breast cancer right now. You’d have to be color blind or living under a rock not to be aware of breast cancer.

Now we need to move on; it’s time to look for a cure. If you haven’t known someone with cancer, let me tell you, the cure we have now is Hell on your body. Chemotherapy has come a long way, but it’s still a horrible way to kill cancer. Add Neulasta shots to the mix, and I was in more pain than I want to remember. I’m still dealing with issues from chemo; I occasionally have memory lapses. It’s a good thing Matt, my kids & Michele are around; they often jog my memory. I also have neuropathy pain, with the worst of it in my feet and on my spine.

Radiation, while it doesn’t hurt, is an exercise in fatigue. Plus, you have to go 5 days a week; in my case for 6 weeks. Think about it; driving 30 minutes each way for a 5-15 minute treatment, back home, and at it again the next day. A lady who was undergoing radiation with me was coming down from the Poconos – an hour and a half each way. 

I swear, I don’t know how women who didn’t have the luxury of working from home managed. Being a writer, I can write whenever I want to; often times, I wrote from my bed. To you ladies, holy cow; you’re my hero. I can’t fathom how you felt during both radiation and chemo. More than that, I can’t imagine how you did it. You’re amazing.

The way we’re treating cancer now is often times effective – but comes at a great price. There’s got to be a better way. And there are people for whom the treatment didn’t work. Again, there’s GOT to be a better way!

I also think of other cancer victims – not just breast cancer. Breast cancer is almost trendy these days, as dumb a statement as that may be. People suffering with other cancers don’t have all this attention lavished on them. Colon cancer, for example; I don’t think there’s going to be a big scary deal made out of it, yet lots of people die from it every day. What about bladder cancer? My mother in law, Gretchen, has it. Do you think there’s ever going to be “Pee for the Cure”?

See what I mean?

I can’t imagine how angry I’d be if I was suffering from lung cancer right about now. As we all know, lung cancer is associated with smoking, but not all cases are directly related. How would you feel if you’ve never smoked a day in your life, but you got diagnosed with lung cancer? People look at you as if you’ve brought it on yourself. And even if you did smoke, it’s still awful; especially since smokers are one of the few groups of people that it’s politically correct to mock. It’s unfair.

Cancer sucks. ALL cancer sucks. I think we’d be making real progress if we made October CANCER month.

I’m also annoyed at some companies who’re making money off the pink ribbon campaign. Everyone is jumping on the breast cancer bandwagon – and making a boat load of money off of people like me, and our suffering.

Commercials are everywhere, with announcers tugging at your heartstrings by saying, “For every $1, a nickel of it will go to breast cancer awareness”. Or something along those lines

What they don’t, no, won’t tell you is that there’s a cap to how much money they’re going to donate. After they’ve reached that cap, all the money that we think we’re contributing to breast cancer causes goes directly into the pockets of the corporation.

According to “Think BeforeYou Pink”,

Many companies place a cap on the amount of money that will be donated. For example, Give Hope Jeans, sold by White House Black Market for $88, donated “net proceeds” from the sale to the organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer. But they’ve capped their contributions at $200,000. This means that once they had reached the $200,000 limit they stopped contributing, no matter how many pairs of jeans were purchased.
In some cases, that cap is a generous amount. In some cases it’s not. But you should know that, whenever there is a cap, your individual purchase may not contribute anything to the cause, depending on when you shop and whether the cap has already been met.

Additionally, which charities that companies are donating your hard earned, well intentioned money to is important. And that’s where Susan G. Komen and their “for the cure” comes in.

At this point, I have to say (I don’t want to get sued by Komen because they sue – oh, do they sue), the following statements are my humble opinion. You can look up the facts for yourself, but, like I said, this is my opinion only.

The problem with Komen is that only 15-17% of all the proceeds raised go into actual research – you know, the only way we’re going to find that elusive “cure”. They take in an impressive amount of money, and pay their executives quite well.

They point to early detection and the fact that they fund mammograms for women who can’t afford them. What they DON’T tell you is that they also contribute to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion provider; LiveAction.Org reported on it.

In fairness, they say that it’s for mammograms, or some type of awareness programs. But, from I’ve been able to ascertain, they don’t mandate that the monies go strictly to mammograms or anything else breast cancer related.

Truthfully, there are a whole bunch of other places where women can get mammograms for free with the help of Komen. Planned Parenthood never was a blip on my radar when it was time for my mammogram. Had you ever considered Planned Parenthood as your breast health provider?

I’ll bet your mouth is hanging open, right?

Another thing you don’t know about is the fact that they claim they own the phrase “for the cure”. In fact, they guard those three words with a team of lawyers. Google, “Susan G. Komen sues”; you’ll get an eyeful.

Some of the money you think is going towards breast cancer awareness, prevention and research is going towards a bevy of lawyers. They go after small mom & pop fund raisers who have the audacity to put “for the cure” in their name. Look up “Mush for the Cure”, or “Kites for the Cure”; Komen has gone after them with a vengeance. Their reasoning? They claim that when people donate money, they should know that they’re donating to Komen. Apparently, you’re too stupid to figure it out.

More than that, why would they care? Isn’t their supposed goal to end breast cancer? If a small group of volunteers raise some money and donate it, why would Komen care? I mean, shared goal and all. It makes you think.

You can read so much more about Komen at the website It doesn’t make me happy to report this, folks. Not even a little bit. In fact, it makes me angry. And from what I’ve read, many other breast cancer survivors feel the same way. 

There’s much more to this organization, that I believe started out sincerely trying to do good. Unfortunately, as they got bigger & bigger, other things have become important.

The point of my little rant here is to be careful. Don’t be suckered into spending money because a company claims that they’re donating money for breast cancer awareness, detection or “the cure”. Find out what their cap is; if it’s pretty small, say, $200,000, your purchase probably isn’t doing anything. I know that figure is a lot to you & me; but when you figure sales can top $5 million, you see where it’s a pittance. There are also tax breaks for charitable donations; that has a lot to do with it as well. So that $200,000 donation is a tax write-off. Isn’t that wonderful; contribute money to breast cancer from sales that you might not have had at all, then get a hefty tax break for your trouble.

To make matters worse, some companies have ingredients in their products that have been shown to cause breast cancer! Komen’s new fragrance, “Promise Me”, has ingredients that have been linked to causing breast cancer! You can read more about it, and the “pinkwashing” of America on USA Today. The article is called, “Komens pinkribbons raise green – and questions”. There’s also a site that I quoted earlier in this post called “Think Before You Pink”.

Are all big companies the boogey man; the macabre folks getting rich on the backs of so much suffering? No; I really don’t think so. A good many do; but I can’t paint all of them with the same brush stroke. In fact, most of the people who’re putting together the drives for their company don’t know about the cap.

So, what’s the point of this post? It’s actually three fold.

First, it’s to acknowledge that cancer affects more than just breasts. Cancer is cancer is cancer; and it doesn’t know which month it’s supposed to strike. Cancer is horrible. Cancer is scary. Cancer is a killer. Cancer sucks. ALL cancer. I hope more than anything that all cancer sufferers, no matter where it strikes, will feel that we care. Our focus needs to be curing cancer.

I know that cancers of the breast and colon are different. However, I believe that once we figure out what makes one cancer tick, and learn how to kill it, a domino effect will occur. There’s GOT to be a way, other than chemo and radiation, to kill it.

Secondly, I ask that you “Think Before You Pink”. Ask questions. Don’t be bullied into buying a can of soup that says, “Supports breast cancer” over the generic one. In these trying times, it’s especially important to a lot of us.

As you may know, my best friend is Michele Buono. She’s always had an issue about the pink ribbon campaign. She calls them the “I care more than you” ribbons. So, don’t feel that you have to sport a pink ribbon during October, or during any month. It’s OK; I’m not mad. You’re not offending me and probably most breast cancer survivors. But if you like the ribbon, wear it! That’s OK, too.

Last, and most important, I want to say a great big ol’ THANK YOU to all of you who’ve been raising money for breast cancer research. It’s because of you that I believe I’m alive today.

Thank you for your prayers, for your kind words, for your support. I’ve been blessed during my journey; I have an amazing family, awesome friends, excellent doctors, and a strong belief in God. And I’ve also been blessed by people that don’t know me personally, but have taken time out of their lives to keep me in their prayers. Although we may not have met in person, you’ve signed my guestbook, and sent me supportive messages. I’ve shared my journey with you, and I feel blessed that you cared enough to read this throughout the past 2 years.

Somehow, thank you doesn’t seem to be enough, but it’s all I have.

I still have reconstruction to finish, and of course, I’ll keep you posted. And you can “like” my Facebook page (that makes laugh – people like me, they really like me – giggle). I have it set up so that you can post your message to me. I’d love to hear your story, your thoughts, or anything that you’d be willing to share with me.

With Love and Gratitude,


The Brunette Lucy

If you'd like to check out my latest, it's called, "The Age of TMI". If you've ever been on your land line, when your cell rings, then your call waiting beeps in, you'll relate to this silliness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mastectomy - the hardest decision (& probably the best) I ever made

I was diagnosed in October of 2009; I had three tumors in my right breast. One was very large and had grown quickly. They also detected something on my left, but it was smaller. So when Dr. Roderick Quiros sat down, looked me in the eyes and told me that he recommended a mastectomy on the right and a lumpectomy on the left, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Matt was sitting next to me, and I could almost feel the wind being knocked out of him as well.

You know, I’d seen ads for breast cancer and at that moment, I remembered watching them, thinking, “that has to be the worst thing for a woman to be told”; never dreaming that those words were going to be spoken to me.

I knew Matt was taking it really hard; not that I would lose a breast, but that I could lose my life. So I tried to be as positive as possible. Dr. Quiros recommended that I get a tissue expander put in at the same time as the mastectomy, so I clung to that. There would be something where my breast had been.

I went online, hoping to get an idea of what I’d look like after surgery. There are many courageous women out there; I wish I could thank them for showing what a woman looks like after her breast, or breasts, have been removed.

Still, that doesn’t prepare you for the real thing.

I can’t say that I’ve never been more scared, because I have. My son isn’t supposed to be alive. He had many birth defects, and out of only 51 documented cases, only he and one other baby survived. That was the scariest time of my life; this came in a close second, though.

The day of surgery was Hell on earth. I thought I was going to go in the hospital, be put out, and wake up with everything done. But that’s not what happened.

The small lump on the left side needed to be identified prior to surgery, since it was so small. I didn't realize how it was going to happen, and looking back, that was a really good thing.

Normal mammograms compress your breast, and it’s uncomfortable, but as soon as they take the image, it’s released. To locate this small tumor, the machine compressed it until it was almost flat. They couldn’t see it. They turned me & posed me in different directions. Each agonizing time, they flattened my breast almost completely and couldn't let the pressure up for 20-30 seconds. Still, they couldn't locate it.

This went on for what seemed an eternity, but I believe it was only half hour. It hurt so bad I was openly crying, and the girls wanted to stop. I wouldn’t let them, though, because I knew it was important to get even that tiny spot out of me; we pressed on.

Finally, they found it, and told me that they were going to stick a needle from underneath the breast to mark it. I had to stand there with my breast almost flattened, while they inserted a long needle inside. And I mean, it was a long needle – a good twelve inches.

I thought the imaging was done, but it wasn’t. I had to have another imaging procedure. Some type of dye inserted, and I was put in a machine and posed in different positions, holding completely still. With 12 inches of a needle sticking out of me. Finally, after being there for hours, it was time to take me to surgery. At that point, I was actually looking forward to the anesthesia.

Right before they put me under, I remember crying.

After the surgery, it didn’t look too bad. I mean, they’d put the tissue expander in, so it looked like I still had a boob. A small, nipple-less boob, but there was something there. I thought that it might not be so bad after all.

I came home, and set about getting ready for Christmas. There was supposed to be snow on Christmas Eve, and I was really looking forward to it.

On the 23rd, however, I started feeling bad, and began running a fever. At times, it spiked to 104.1. Dr. Morrissey originally thought that it was probably due to the last drain tube that he’d removed. I was in a lot of pain and had a lot of swelling, so Dr. Morrissey wanted to surgically reinsert the drain tube. Surgery was set for Tuesday, the 29th.

When I awoke, the tissue expander had been removed. Turns out, I had contracted MRSA during the original surgery, and the six days of fever and pain were actually a raging infection. Dr. Morrissey remarked that he’d never seen anything like it.

Swell. Not only did my real boob try to kill me, now its fake cousin was giving it a shot!

Due to it, I spent the next two months in and out of surgery. Just when we thought the MRSA was gone, it came back.

Finally, Dr. Morrissey admitted me to the hospital, and left the wound open. I was on IV meds, and they cleaned the wound twice daily. Gotta be honest; it hurt. But it was finally over; it was time to begin chemo.

The thing is, my mind was occupied during those months. I was too busy trying to stay alive, I didn’t notice the fact that not only wasn’t there a little bump anymore, there was actually an indentation. I finally took a good look at myself and it was hard. There’s really no way to explain that feeling, other than, well, horror.

Due to all the surgeries, my scar was about half an inch wide; my breast bone protruded a little, but below it was an indentation. I knew I was going to lose a breast, but I didn’t think I would be concave.

I hated to shower because I could see what I thought of as a mutation. Getting dressed was another reminder; especially putting a bra on. The American Cancer Society was awesome, and they gave me an allowance to purchase a breast form (I didn't hear anything from Susan G. Komen Foundation - but that's a story for another time).

Gotta be honest, though. When I saw it, I had to laugh. The thing was basically triangular, which was supposed to mimic how a natural breast would sag a little. It was weird; and being the dork that I am, I’d whip that bad boy out to show anybody who wanted to see it.

Still, I felt different. Almost like a freak. The thing is, I know that who I am isn’t tied to whether or not I have breasts. And in fact, how shallow am I, when we have soldiers returning from battle missing limbs. They have to deal with learning day to day tasks all over again. And here I am, missing a breast. I’ll bet that women who’ve come home minus a leg would trade places with me in a heartbeat.

The logical, rational part of me knows that; but we women are emotional creatures. It’s a real struggle for me; I wish I could be as self confident as some of the other women whose stories I’ve read. I actually saw a blog where a woman was topless on a beach after having a double mastectomy and no reconstruction. I was blown away that this beautiful woman was so comfortable in her own skin, she didn’t feel the need to undergo reconstruction surgery. I hope I’ll get to that point.

The thing is, though, that had I not had the mastectomy, I might not be alive. In fact, I met several women during my treatments (chemo & radiation) that had lumpectomies, only to find out that their cancer had metastasized. Now they’re in fights for their very survival. They felt that had they undergone complete removal, they might not be in the situation they found themselves in.

Not being a doctor, however, I have no idea of whether or not their decision to save their breast was the reason their cancer had spread. I’m just reporting what I was told; what other women believed.

Either way, I’ve been declared cancer free, and I plan to keep it that way. I’ve also begun reconstruction. My new plastic surgeon, Dr. Neal Topham, is a genius. Dr. Morrissey suggested that I see a micro surgeon, due to all the complications. He didn't think he could do as good a job. To me, that's the mark of a really good doctor - he knew his limitations and wanted only what was best for me.

Dr. Topham did what’s called a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator) flap. What that means is he took tissue, fat and skin from my lower abdomen and created a new breast. We’re calling it my bionic, baby, Barbie boob. It’s bionic since he made it better, baby because it’s so new, and Barbie because it doesn’t have a nipple.

I have to say that the scar is pretty intense, but they say it’ll fade in time. Man, I hope so. Still, it’s much thinner than the half inch scar I’d been sporting for a year and a half!

One of the perks of this procedure is a tummy tuck. If you’ve had children, and especially if you had a c-section, you know that there’s excess skin in our abdominal region. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to get rid of, no matter how much you diet & exercise. So, that was awesome.

However, this is only the first in a three part process. Next up, since Dr. Quiros was taking no prisoners during the lumpectomy, a large part of my left breast was taken, causing it to look much smaller than before. On January 12th, I’m having surgery to both lift it, and insert an implant. My two girls will once again be the same size – woo hoo!

The third part is making a nipple for my bionic, baby, Barbie boob. After they create it, they’ll tattoo it to match ol’ lefty. I should have a complete set this time next year.

I’m also hoping that by this time next year I’ll have gotten over my feelings of inferiority. I hope that I’ll be able to look in the mirror and not cringe at the sight of my chest. I’d say I’m on the way to accepting my new “normal”, but it’s still a process. I’m taking it one day at a time.

The thing is, I can take it one day at a time. I’m alive and I plan to stay that way for a very long time.

Besides, Matt wouldn’t know what to do with himself without me around to annoy the living daylights out of him. He doesn’t seem to mind it as much when I do dumb stuff or spend money on something trivial.

He’s actually happy that he can still say, “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

Friday, August 5, 2011

Complications, complications, complications

More often than not, people use smart phones for really dumb things. I speak from experience.

Before I get started, I have to tell you about another wonderful person that I "met" through eBay. The eBay store is Old Dragon's Bead Lair.

As you may remember, when I was first diagnosed, I'd heard about chemo countdown bracelets. They were fashioned out of elastic and whatever variety of beads you had lying around. You wore one for each round, and when you completed a treatment, you take off one of the bracelets. I set about making myself a set.

This got popular real fast at the chemo ward. And an idea was borne.

My friends & I began to make beaded elastic bracelets, put them in a basket with a note explaining what they were (and that they were free), and left them at the chemo ward. Generally speaking, by the time my next round came about, the basket was pretty much empty. My friends and my sister, Teresa, started buying beads and making more bracelets to donate to the chemo countdown.

As I moved on to radiation, I met a beautiful woman, Corinne. Her 76th birthday was upcoming, and she loved my beaded bracelets. I went online and found a really easy pattern for making a necklace. I wanted to surprise her with something I made myself, and while making it, prayed for her. She loved it.

Long story short (although it doesn't seem all that short, does it?), it started me on a road to making necklaces to give to nurses and patients. To the nurses as a thank you, and to the patients as a pick me up. I know it was just a token, but it made me happy to think that for even just one moment, another woman was able to forget about whatever cancer she was battling. Sounds silly, I know, but I was hooked.

Since I've made a ton of the necklaces, Matt wanted me to sell some of them. His way of thinking was that I should sell some to buy more beads to make more necklaces. And, Michele (best friend – aka “Ethel”) & I plan to go back to making chemo countdown bracelets. But, Matt's idea of selling some so I can keep going made sense. I currently have a few for sale at my Etsy site, of course called, TheBrunette Lucy.

Now, what does the recap of all this have to do with Old Dragon's Bead Lair? Well, another long story short, they found out about the chemo countdown bracelets and thought it was nice. So guess what I get in the mail a few days later? They sent me at least 10 spools of coloured elastic to continue making the chemo countdown bracelets! Holy Cows!

Having breast cancer has sucked really hard. I feel like I've been through the wringer & back. BUT, it's also introduced me to some of the nicest people I've ever met. Remember Dorothy Brandes of “Smiley'sTreasures”? She sent me a free mastectomy bra, and now she & I keep in touch via Facebook.

All in all, things have been difficult, and I'm pretty sure that if I was given the choice between having cancer and not having it, I'd choose not. But, God doesn't work that way; He doesn't ask us what we would or wouldn't like. He knows that the obstacles He puts on our journey aren't pleasant. The thing is, though, he litters the pathway with amazing people who'll help you along. And He puts them in some pretty odd places!

I added a few words to an old saying:

When God closes the door, He opens a window.”

My addition?

Make sure you feel the breeze.”

It feels like a hurricane in my house.

Now, for something completely different. Me grumbling (mutter, mutter).

I've been sporting my new Bionic Baby Barbie Boob for a few weeks. However, the dumb drain tubes they inserted were still putting out too much fluid to take them out.

By the 4th week, I began to run a fever. I called the doctor's office on Monday morning, but didn't hear back. So, I faxed the spread sheet I'd been keeping (detailing the fluid from the tubes & documenting my fevers) along with a letter Monday afternoon. I figured that they'd get it, & I'd get a call in the morning.

I waited all day Tuesday for a call back, but I didn't get it. Getting annoyed, I left another message late Tuesday afternoon.

I finally got a call back Wednesday around 11:00 am. I spoke to a girl, although I can't remember her name, and explained the situation. She asked if I could get down there (Fox Chase – Philadelphia) in an hour. I told her that it takes an hour and a half to get down there, so no, I wouldn't be able to. Since I already had an appointment on Friday, she told me to keep it, which I did.

When Dr. Topham (my booby daddy) got a look at my drain tube spread sheet, along with the swelling and other gross and unnecessary to explain (here) stuff, he gave us the bad news. I had indeed contracted another infection. Yippee!! I had to be admitted to the hospital for the weekend to get IV antibiotics. Swell. So, I spent the weekend in Fox Chase Hospital; ugh.

But here's the really weird part – I was in the same room and bed as when I had the original reconstruction surgery. It was an odd flashback like experience. The good news, however, was that I didn't have a roommate! It was like having a private room, so – that part wasn't horrible.

Bad news – the food still sucked. I mean, really, really sucked. Their cafeteria is closed for renovations, & whoever it is they're using in their stead is awful. For example, scrambled eggs shouldn't be as yellow as Big Bird, and glow in the dark. It takes some effort to make something so easy turn out so bad. I still haven't had scrambled eggs in the two weeks since I've been home.

On Monday, they did an ultrasound and determined that there was more fluid that needed to be freed from my body. Guess what I came home with? A brand new drain tube! Woo Hoo!

Oh, well, I went to Dr. Topham's office on Wednesday. My favourite intern, Matt (just a coincidence) removed it!! So I'm officially drain tube free for the first time in over SIX weeks! You can't see me, but I'm smiling & hollering.

Unfortunately, the infection has inflamed nerve endings, so I'm having some more pain issues. Gotta say; I'm going to be really happy when all this cancer pain stops. I'm sure that I'll get over it soon – I heal well (thanks to Michele for correcting my original post - we work really well together).

The GOOD news is that my Bionic Baby Barbie Boob is looking fantastic! Why call it the big “BBBB”? Well, it's bionic in that they built it better than before. It's a baby because it's only a few weeks old, and Barbie because it doesn't have a nipple yet.

Hence, my Bionic Baby Barbie Boob – the BBBB.

I have to be honest – the BBBB was Matt's creation. Sometimes, he comes up with some funny stuff. . . . . . OK, it happens a lot. We make a good team, too. I'm lucky to have both Matt & Michele. Big time.

Well, happy campers, that's the update. I'll keep you posted as best as I can. Gotta be honest, the column and healing are taking up a good bit of my time. I haven't updated as much as I should have. I'm really sorry.

Don't forget, though, you can keep up with me on Facebook. You can post to my wall, ask me questions, give me your opinions, and whatever else you'd like to share! And if you'd like to read more of my silly drivel, you can read my column here. Finally, if you'd like to contribute to the chemo countdown cause, buy a necklace at my Etsy account.

I'm shameless. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Look, Ma, a new boob!

I'm back from the hospital, sporting a brand new boob. I wish I could say it has that “new boob smell”, but, it just kind of smells like the other one. I wonder if that would be different had they used tissue from my butt area. Just sayin!

I'm still having pain issues – big time. The first hurdle I had to get over was the bed in the hospital. When you've slept on a soft side waterbed for over 30 years, sleeping on a hospital bed is like sleeping on a rock. My back has yet to recover from it.

My actual breast area doesn't hurt all that bad; but then again, I have dilaudid. I probably shouldn't judge. My abdomen, however, is hurting. That's the area they took a great deal of skin, fat and muscle from to make my new boob. An awesome new boob.

I have four drain tubes – which are the antidote for sexy. There are two from under my arm for my new boob, and two from my abdomen. I have to “milk” them, which is basically making sure that the line is open. You run your fingers over the tube, down to the collection bulb. Then, I have to empty the bulb into a cup that has exacting measurements, record the volume and the colour. I wish I could use the word “gross” to describe the colour, but I don't think my doctor would find that helpful.

On the bright side – I'm home! AND, I have an awesome family. First and foremost, I have an awesome husband, who does everything in his power to be sure I'm comfortable.

I also have a daughter who has taken it upon herself to be my personal slave. She keeps track of all my medicines on a chalk board, and like clockwork, she appears with whatever it's time for. She also cooks my lunch, and insists that I eat it in bed on a nice tray. I wish I could say that I'm a really good mom who tries to make her stop. I did give it the appearance of trying to make her stop, so I should get brownie points for that.

My other two have taken care of laundry duties, and have been my little gophers – running for everything from medicine to ice cream. Seriously – I saw a commercial for ice cream bars, and thought I'd just die if I didn't have one within the next 24 hours. Those kids got in the car, and I've been sucking back Dove ice cream bars like a kid at a carnival. I should probably stop consider that I'm going to have to return to my workout regime at some point in the future. The eliptical machine we have only supports so much weight. Plus, I don't want to negate my awesome new tummy tuck.

I also have Gretchen, the world's best mom. She went out and got a pillow for under my legs. Plus, she's been praying on those God beads for me. I also have an excellent sister, Teresa. She went to Padre Pio's for me, bought a neat bracelet, and touched it to the healing statue for extra insurance. She's also the one who went nuts making the chemo countdown beads to give away. There's also Michele, the Ethel to my Lucy. She came down with Matt to visit me and of course, made fun of me. Only a best friend will point and laugh when you're lying in a hospital bed - & make you laugh right along with her!

I've also been blessed with a whole big bunch of other family and friends. I pretty much hit the jackpot when it comes to that. I promise you, if you have a support system, it's best to lean on them. They really, really want to be helpful and even though you don't want to be a burden, believe them when they say they want to do something. Please let them; I swear, they want to feel useful. You can tell them until you're blue in the face that their support means everything, but until you let them do stuff, they won't be happy.

Oh, another bonus of my surgery! They took down all the scar tissue on my stomach and under my arms! I'd had a ton of abdominal surgeries over the years – for endometriosis and three c-sections. I had scars running up and down and side to side. That's why when they asked if I'd be upset that I'd have a small horizontal scar that could be hidden by a bikini, I almost peed my pants laughing. I haven't had a thought about wearing a bikini since I was 12.

Also, when I had my original mastectomy, they took out 20 lymph nodes. My underarm was a mottled mess of skin and displaced fat; there were more hills and valleys under there than the Swiss Alps. It's now an actual underarm again. My hills are no longer alive. Yay!

Well that's it for now. I'm going to the doctor this Friday for my follow up. We'll discuss nipple reconstruction and “evening me out”. Old leftie is about a size smaller than my new, proud right boob. They'll sneak in an implant so it doesn't continue on its road to a full blown insecurity complex.

If you're in the mood for silliness, you can read my latest article. It's called, “Try My Product”; which is a Lucy vs. the Video Professor piece. Read it to see who wins – grin!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why did I just do that??

As I've reported, this Tuesday is my big ass TRAM flap reconstruction surgery at Fox Chase in Philadelphia. Boy, gotta be honest, I'm nervous. It's kind of weird, though, that I think I'm even MORE nervous than before the mastectomy. I guess it has to do with having two surgical sites.

For his part, Matt has been watching the actual procedure on youTube. I shouldn't be surprised because this is the man who watched my c-sections. I think he must have been a surgeon in another life.

But here's what I did tonight that was the height of stupidity. I looked on youTube for someone who'd had the surgery. I found a girl. The thing is, she wasn't very uplifting. In fact, I saw the video of her 11 months after surgery, and she sat down and made a list of horrible things to look out for. So now I'm even more nervous.

I have to remember, though, that I've healed quickly after all my surgeries. Possibly, I'm a little more tolerant to pain than she was. All I know is that I prefer to think about positive things rather than negative.

To that end, I probably won't be posting for a few days after my surgery. I'll let you know what's going on as soon as I'm able, though!

I won't be upset if you send me cards or flowers as well (giggle). OK, that was horrible; yet oddly true. I'm hopeless - sigh.

Feel free to write to me, if you'd like. I can be reached at Put something like "cancer' in the subject line so I know it's not spam. Please bear with me, though. I'll get back to you as soon as I'm conscious!

OK, here's the link for my latest column:

My Heels are Alive (and are trying to kill me).

Feel free to run the Sound of Music through your head as you read the title!!

Wish me luck this Tuesday!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 21st; Boobie day

Yay! Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21st. It'll be at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. I'm feeling some mixed emotions though; obviously I'm looking forward to it. But I'm not looking forward to having the pain of two surgical sites, plus emptying drain tubes every day again. Ugh.

Matt had looked up what we thought the procedure was going to be like. But when he described what he'd seen to Dr. Topham, we were informed that the procedure I'll be undergoing is different. Thankfully, it's more advanced than the one he'd seen. I'll be having a free flap TRAM procedure. Basically, they're cutting large portions of my abdomen and moving them up to make the new breast. Then, they'll attached blood vessels to keep the tissue alive. I'll get the added benefit of a tummy tuck. However, with this procedure, they have no way of telling me how big my new boob will be. I told them to take as much fat as they could, no need to be stingy! I'll take whatever size they can give me. Of course, I'll also be thrilled with a reduced tummy, so there's that.

I'll keep you posted after the procedure. I should be in the hospital at least four days, then home to lay around in bed. That'll give me plenty o' time to annoy the living daylights out of you. And, as always, I'll tell you every little thing about the new boob. Lord knows, I don't have a shy bone in my body and if I did, I probably talked it to death.

And now for something completely different.

My column is running in 6 cities consistently, and is picked up occasionally by two others. I'm hoping to expand to other states soon, so wish me luck! In the meantime, here's my latest, “As Seen on TV”. If you've ever watched those infomercials, you'll probably relate to this! Oh, and I've also copied one called “Beep Beep”. It's about all the noises we encounter in today's modern world. Feel free to leave glowing comments about how wonderful I am on the website! Or not; your choice (giggle).

Beep Beep

We live in a world filled with noise. It seems that just about everything emits some type of beeping, chirping, whining, bleating or buzzing.
Years ago, when our daughter Aubrie was little, we'd gone down to the shore. We got into our little room, put our suitcases down and went out to walk on the boards. When we got back, we were treated to a loud, high pitched ringing noise reverberating throughout the room. We searched everywhere, trying to locate the source, to no avail.
The hotel sent the maintenance man, but he couldn't figure it out either. Since there was no way we could stay in the room and the hotel was booked solid, we were relocated. More accurately, we were upgraded to a luxury condominium. Later the next day, the sound began anew, but we finally located it. It was one of Aubrie's toys.
When it comes to noise, phones are one of the biggest offenders. If your battery is low, the phone beeps loudly and won't shut up until you've plugged it in or turned it off. It's kind of weird, though, when you think about it. If the battery is low, isn't the constant beeping even more draining on it? I understand that it's meant to call our attention to the fact that it's potentially dying, but one would hope that it would try to save its strength.
Then there's the beeping to alert me that I have a text message. My kids love to text, even though they know I hate it and have one heck of a time trying to respond. Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought a phone was for having a conversation. Now it houses your entire phone book, is the keeper of your ‘to do’ list, gives you a wake-up call and can even give you directions. Add the ability to surf the web and type messages, and it's pretty much an all-purpose miniature computer.
The problem I have is that even though I have a keyboard on my phone, it was obviously made for elves. The keys are tiny, making it next to impossible to compose sentences that don't have a myriad of typos. Thankfully, the kids are fairly able to decipher my typographically-challenged messages; “bting yonr mu;j” means bring home milk. Or meat. If they don't bother to call and ask for the translation, it's a crap shoot to see what it is they've brought home.
Today's cars are also guilty of contributing to noise pollution. If I don't have my seat belt on as soon as I shut the door, my car begins making an obnoxious ringing noise until I either hit a button or fasten the belt. What I'd like to know is who figured how much time the average person needs between getting in the car and securing her safety belt. It's annoying to have your vehicle judge how long it takes.
Hardly any place has as many buzzers, whistles and alarms as the kitchen. And one morning, it became the scene of the perfect storm.
I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, so I have the coffee machine completely ready so that all I have to do is press a button. Usually, I don't eat anything more than a piece of toast, either; big breakfasts are a weekend treat. I wear contact lenses, so in addition to being barely awake before coffee, I'm also fairly blind.
A few months ago, for some strange reason, I woke up famished; I wanted eggs and sausage gravy with biscuits. And, like every other day, I turned the coffee maker on.
Since the sausage was frozen, I grabbed it out of the freezer to put in the microwave to thaw. I pulled a roll of biscuits out of the fridge and preheated the toaster oven. Fetched eggs and a skillet, and put them down on the counter as I assembled all the other sausage gravy fixins.
And then, the perfect storm hit.
The coffee maker buzzed, or so I thought. When I got close enough to see (translation: on top of it), I realized that it wasn't done, so it couldn't be buzzing. My next thought was that the refrigerator door wasn't closed. I opened it and closed it, several times. Still, the buzzing continued.
Next, I went over to the toaster oven, to see if maybe it was letting me know it had hit its chosen temperature. But that wasn't it either; the ringing was driving me crazy. Then, as if God weren’t amused enough, the coffee maker buzzer went off, right when the microwave began to ring that my sausage was defrosted.
Turns out, God wasn't laughing hard enough, because I was able to identify the next sound – the fire alarm.
I wheeled around to see that I'd turned the wrong burner on. My pot holders, which had been stacked on the stove top, were on fire. There was smoke billowing through the kitchen and down the hall. This sent my daughter, Elyse, running into the room. She helped me throw the fire ball that had, until now, been my pot holders, into the sink.
We poured water on the blazing heap of fabric, which only made the smoke worse. We needed to get the doors and windows open – and soon. Elyse pried open one of the 100-year-old kitchen windows and just as she thought she had it open all the way, it came down and smashed her finger.
I was trying to determine if her finger was broken, which thankfully it wasn't. I grabbed ice, put it in a towel and told her to sit down with her arm up. I have no idea why I instructed her to keep her arm up, but you always see that when you're watching first aid videos. I figured it couldn't hurt.
Matt smelled the fire, heard the shrill cacophony, and came running up the stairs to see what was going on. I gave him the reader's digest version as he ran around opening windows and doors with me.
Next, he tried to shut the alarm off, but the button wouldn't work, so he had to open the cover and take the battery out. All the while he was cursing, wanting to know what in the world had possessed me to make breakfast before I had my coffee and without at least my glasses on, what was Elyse doing holding her hand in the air wrapped in a towel full of ice and why I had put pot holders on top of the stove. And what was that ringing?
By now our son Boy and our other daughter Aubrie had come into the room to see what in the world was going on. They were treated to a screaming woman, angry man, wounded girl circus. I half expected Boy to go get the popcorn.
And that's when the toaster oven beeped to let me know it had reached 350 degrees.
Still, we hadn't located the source of the original ringing. With a grin a mile wide, Boy casually walked over to the freezer and closed it, which turned off the alarm.
It's been a few months, and we've all pretty much recovered. To Matt's delight, I've sworn off any type of creative cuisine in the a.m. Thankfully, Elyse's finger wasn't broken, but she did sport a good-sized bruise for two weeks. To this day, I have no idea if holding your hand above your head makes any difference for a badly bruised finger.
The smell of smoke is long gone, and after a few days of heavy scrubbing, the stove top was usable again. Matt purchased a new fire alarm; one that didn't need the battery removed to get it to shut up. As for Boy and Aubrie? Well, let's just say that they had quite the story to tell their friends for weeks.
But when it gets down to it, buzzers that warn you of impending doom are truly a Godsend. Just as long as it isn't a slow day — and He could use a laugh.

As Seen on TV

As Seen on TV

I've said it before and I'll say it again – I'm a sucker when it comes to televised sales pitches. I can't help it; I really want to believe in new miracle products that claim to make our lives easier, cut the time we spend in the kitchen, or make us look younger. The thing of it is, most of the stuff being hocked is just a twist on an old idea.

For example, there are innovative furniture moving pads you place under the legs of furniture (only $19.99 for 16), making moving furniture a breeze! On TV, it looks as if they're gliding over ice. It made me want to buy them if only to join in the fun; they were swinging those chairs around like they were square dancing.

I wonder if folks knew about the moving pads that I used when I was younger. They were called cardboard, and you went to the grocery store to get it - for free. I will admit, there's a bit of labor involved; you have to cut it up. But, to be fair, they probably didn't work as well.

I was curious, however, about a new fashion break through called “Pajama Jeans”.

On TV, they look just like real jeans; and according to their maker, you can go out wearing them and no one will be the wiser. They're made of an exclusive and innovative fabric called “Dormisoft” that moves and stretches with you for a perfect fit. They had me hook, line and sinker; anything that makes me more comfortable is a must have to my way of thinking. Still, I wasn't sure about buying jeans from a commercial.

Enter the Walmart.

I went there last week on one of those dreary days we'd been having and noticed that there was a section called “As seen on TV”. Is it possible that it had been there all along and I hadn't noticed? No, it must have been new because I can smell a revolutionary, breakthrough gadget a mile away. I'd never miss a cluster of them.

I held my breath and hoped that Pajama Jeans would be there in all their splendor and comfy goodness. As if on queue, the clouds opened and the sun shone its golden rays through the skylight directly above the display. It really was a magical moment.

All I could think was please, please let there be Pajama Jeans.

And they were there; my heart was beating fast as I knew I'd just saved $6.99 in shipping and handling fees. A rush of happiness washed over me as I reveled in my good luck. Then I looked at the price tag and my moment of Zen came screeching to a halt. They were “only” $39.95. Um, what?

Now, I understand that they're made of a new and wondrous fabric called Dormisoft, but almost forty dollars for one pair of “jeans”? On the other hand, it was the most comfortable pair of jeans I was ever going to wear in my life, and I wouldn't know how I managed to live without them. Well, that's what the commercial said and we all know I believe just about everything that comes from the wise soothsayer that is the television. I threw them into my cart, when something else caught my eye.

Robostir; it stirs your pots for you.

Have we really gotten too lazy to stir a pot? Well, yeah, I kind of have. Wait, I should amend that – I've been lazy most of my life; so the thought of a robot stirring my pot was appealing. Besides, I've scorched my fair share of spaghetti sauce in my time so if Robostir saved just one batch, it was worth $10.99. And again, I'd saved on the shipping and handling; I'm so clever.

I continued to search this new display of “As Seen on TV” retail genius.

On the other side of the rack, I found a brand new product called “Easy Feet” - no more bending to clean your feet! You put them into a pair of what looks like slippers while over 1000 rejuvenating bristles clean and massage your feet. I pondered that one, but put it back on the shelf as I didn't think I could justify the purchase. I could just hear Matt asking me if I was really too lazy to bend down and rub soap on my feet (sadly, we've established that I kind of am).

I rifled through products that would grow an entire garden in one small space, found lids that were supposed to fit any pot in your house, and saw a pillow that fit the contours of your neck and cradled your head. It was a good thing we'd just bought new pillows or I probably would have been putting that claim to the test.

The next thing to catch my eye was something called “Spray On Foundation”. It's face makeup meant to even your skin tone and cover discolorations. I had to know what miracle I was holding in my hands; I was already imagining how it was going to magically transform the look of my middle aged skin.

According to the packaging, you shake the bottle, close your eyes, and spray a mist of color that will make me look like my face has been airbrushed. Now, really, there's nothing bad about that. If I didn't buy it, I'd never know the joy of going twelve hours looking fresh; like I'd just put my makeup on. It joined the Pajama Jeans and Robostir in my cart; I couldn't wait to try my amazing products.

When I got home, Matt took a look at my booty of wonder products, shook his head and said, “They see you coming. You know that, right?”

Well, I'll show him.

He'll eat those words as I prance around in jeans so comfortable I could sleep in them. Then, thanks to Robostir, I was going to make the best spaghetti sauce he's ever tasted; after I'd applied makeup that would make me look like a 25 year old.

Then reality blew in like a storm in Kansas.

I put on those jeans and boy were they soft. The thing is, they looked nothing like real jeans; at least not to my untrained eye. They looked like, well, pajamas. Worse, they were so form fitting, you could see my panty lines. Not willing to admit defeat, I decided that I probably just needed to break them in; I carried on.

Next I sat down at my mirror, opened up my spray on foundation, and sprayed my face. And my hair, the wall behind me, the shirt I was wearing and the chair I was sitting on.

I'm sure with practice, I'll be able to apply that makeup and look like a model. Until then, I'll use my hands to smooth the streaks running down my face.

It was time for dinner, and since one of the excuses, I mean, reasons, I'd bought Robostir was to avoid burning spaghetti, I assembled my ingredients. I put my AAA batteries in old Roby, positioned him in my pot, and just as Matt walked in, I turned it on.

Turns out, you're supposed to start on low, then graduate to high.

There was spaghetti sauce all over Matt, me, the stove, the ceiling, the floor, and the refrigerator. I seemed to be having a field day when it came to flinging products through the air. Revolutionary, breakthrough products, I should say.

So there I stood; makeup smeared on my face and in my hair, spaghetti sauce all over my shirt, and pajama jeans riding up my rear end, wondering what else in the world could possibly go wrong.

That's when Robostir almost launched himself across the room.

I could tell Matt was ready to laugh out loud; until he saw my face. I don't usually swear, but that day I yelled curse words I didn't even know I knew. They came tumbling out of my mouth like molten lava from a volcano, and were pretty much as unstoppable. Matt stood as still as a statue, probably in fear for his life.,

After my hissy fit, I put my chin up, marched right around Matt, went into the bathroom, and got in the shower – clothes and all. I stood under the warm spray for 20 minutes, peeling off my pajama jeans, and scrubbing makeup and sauce out of my hair. Then, I went into my room and watched my favorite show – TV infomercials and wondered if that foot scrubber would have come in handy after all.

I never learn.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My "addaboobtome" is growing near!

Before I launch into what's coming this Friday, here's what's been happening in my "real" life (life outside of cancer).

My article, "That Darned Cat" is up in several cities – woo hoo! But guess what other bone headed thing I'm doing? One of my editors, Josh, thought it would be really funny to send me up to the Iron Pigs with a camera crew!  I guess after I annoyed Scott Palmer at the Phillies, he figured he could send me to the minors to see what kind of trouble I can get in. Oh, brother, we all know what kind of trouble I can get into!!

The article that gives the details is "Ask a Question, Win a Hat". The thing is, it's being read all over the place (Josh can keep track of the hits); I mean, tons. But here's the problem - no one is asking a question! I'm like, really? I guess if I knew for sure that Chase Utley was going to be there (according to our sports guys, there's a possibility he'll be here for a short time while he rehabs), people would be sending questions left & right. Even though I don't know baseball, I thought that Domonic Brown guy was supposedly going to be the next big thing. Sigh. 

I'm sending links to the article to local schools & colleges. Kids are usually more curious than adults, and probably have more knowledge about the team. But it was pretty weird; I sent it to my alma mater, Upper Perkiomen. As I was looking over the staff directory, it hit me that I know very few of the teachers. 

And now I feel old and am going to go sulk in the corner.

Please ask around & see if anyone has a question they'd like me to ask. If I don't get more questions, I'm going to actually behave like a real reporter. You know me, that's not fun even a little bit. But now you know why I've bothered you with this whole rant.

Crap. Wish me luck! Wait, I should probably say, wish the Iron Pigs luck.

 And now, for something completely different.

This Friday, Matt & I are heading to Fox Chase to meet with Dr. Topham. Hopefully, we'll be scheduling my addaboobtome. I'm really looking forward to that; well, not the surgery, cause it's supposed to hurt like a bear! It's the having boobies that I'm looking forward to.

I'm really nervous, but it's time. I mean, when you consider that the original mastectomy was November 2009, it's been a year and a half. I've been speaking to several friends, since I'm sure we'll be discussing size. I'll let you know what I decide on. I don't want them too big, although I've always wondered what Dolly Parton looked like. Then again, I don't want to have to part them to get a look at my feet. This ought to be good!

Oh, and my hair is really coming in now. It's about 2 inches up top, and between 3-5 all over because the top was the last to start growing. You've heard about womens' hair growing in a different colour, right? Well, that's not the problem. Mine is still dark, but it's much curlier than it was. Still, the top took forever to grow in. I began to think I might end up looking like a curly headed female version of Dr. Phil. Yeah, that's attractive. 

I wanted to thank you guys for emailing your recommendations for hair stylists. Hopefully, in the fall, I'll be good to take you up on your suggestions! And, I'll try to take a picture of my hair the way it is now. Wait, I'll have Elyse take a picture of me; we don't want another flash bulb blinding incident (Mascara's Magic Wand)!

I'll post as soon as I get my surgery date! 

The next time I get on an elevator with 4 or more strangers, I'm going to turn to them & say, "I'm sure you're all wondering why I called this meeting."

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Before I begin to complain, here's my latest article, "Going Somewhere?" It's about driving, & bossy GPS systems!!

My last post discussed trying to find a place to get my still very short hair styled. I'd been considering two places; Joseph's in Boyertown, & Lord & Ladies (L&L). Well, L&L had an online form you could fill out; which I did. HOWEVER, they haven't gotten back to me! I'm quite annoyed. I'm thinking that one of the reasons may be that I didn't give them a phone number - which they said was "required".

I'm sorry, but I don't give it out! I especially don't want to give it to a business, who may begin calling me periodically to find out why I haven't made an appointment. Seriously, what's up with that? Do YOU want to give your home phone number out to businesses you've never dealt with? So, I'm not a happy camper with those folks.

Sorry if I seem cranky tonight. I'll be more upbeat the next time I write.

Teaser alert - do you like the Phillies' minor league team, "Iron Pigs"? I'm going to make an announcement about taking my film crew up there soon. Keep an eye on my home page, "Hellertown Patch". There's prizes involved - woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My hair's growing back in!!

Before I get going, my latest article is called, "You might need spring cleaning if . . . ". I hope you like it! Bonus, I'm getting picked up in more cities - woo hoo! And, look for exciting news about my upcoming visit to the Iron Pigs at the end of my update.

My hair is coming back in, & it's super curly. The thing is, it's long on the sides and back, but the top is taking FOREVES to grow in! Sooo, I'm in the process of finding a salon.

My very good friend, Susan McClure, recommended a salon in Boyertown called, "Joseph's". I'd also seen a salon called "Lords and Ladies"; they have several locations. So, I'm writing to each one, to see if they do extensions, or I might just go totally short, as in a pixie cut. The thing is, I've had long hair for so long (well, before I lost it), I don't know how I'll like a short "do". The girls have these clip in extensions & said I can use them.  I've got a lot of thinking to do.

And, as always, you know I'm going to tell you all about it. I'll let you know who I choose, & how it worked out. Photos to follow.

My cyber fair is coming up Friday, & there's going to be all kinds of press there. If you can make it, please come! I wrote about it for Examiner, so you can get the details here, "Update, Cyber Fair". Come out & say hi!

My booby daddy appointment is May 20th and I'm getting nervous/excited about it. I'll keep you posted about that as well.

Finally, we (Josh, my editor at the Patch) got the green light - we're having our contest & details will be coming in the next week. I'm actually going to see the Iron Pigs, and I'm going to be on the field interviewing them.


However, since I know next to nothing about baseball and pretty much everything about getting myself into trouble, I'm going to need y'all's help. I'm going to ask you to send me a question to ask one of the Pigs - and there are a few that are playing temporarily until they go back up to the Phillies. Everyone who asks a legitimate questions will have their name entered into a drawing. The grand prize will be a Pigs game hat, and second prize will be a visor. BUT, you can't send your questions to me to be eligible for the contest. You'll have to submit them from the link on the paper. I'll post that as soon as it's up. Start thinking about what you want me to ask!!  Oh, and keep your fingers crossed that I don't inadvertently injure one of the players - with me, it can happen.

OK happy campers, that's it for now. Thanks for keeping up with me. You really don't know how much I appreciate all your comments and emails. This has been one long, scary journey and I thank you for coming along with me. Bless you all.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More stuff that's rolling around in my head

Before I begin, I posted a few more articles for Patch. One is called, "I'm not remotely interested", where I tell about remote control over load in our home! I can't even turn a TV on anymore. Another one is called, "In this corner, the Easter Bunny". Self explanatory. Okey doke; on to what's going on!

You might want to check out Breast Cancer Action on Facebook. They're shining light on the fact that many companies are profiting from breast cancer. Did you know that Susan G. Komen only spends around 17% of the funds they raise for research?

You may also be surprised at how companies that supposedly support breast cancer research are actually profiting (big time) from it, and how little of the proceeds of their product goes to research. They can legally say, "20% of the proceeds goes to breast cancer research". What they don't tell you is that there's a ceiling of how much they plan to donate. Often times, that ceiling is relatively low, like a mere $20,000. Once they've reached that amount, all of the proceeds go directly into their pockets. Kind of pisses you off, right? Another blog that's putting these companies in the spotlight is "Think before you Pink".

Another thing that annoys me is the stupid Facebook trends. Seriously, how callous is it to use the colour of one's bra to "raise awareness"? Do the women who start these things stop & think that someone like me no longer wears a bra! Or that I have to buy special bras to accommodate my prosthetic.

Don't get me wrong; I know that the intentions are genuine, and that women, by our very nature, want to help. The thing is, everyone's pretty much aware of breast cancer by now. Could we possibly turn our attention to finding an actual cure?

OK, I'll get off my soap box! On to the update.

I go see my new booby daddy on May 20th. We'll hopefully be scheduling surgery that day. If I'm being honest, one part of me is freaking out excited. The other part, the part that doesn't like pain, is nervous.

The cool thing is that the doctor in Philadelphia says he can do a "TRAM" flap reconstruction. That's where they take tissue and skin from my abdomen & move it up. I'll get a tummy tuck from the thing - woo hoo! 

It's supposed to take about 4-6 weeks to recuperate. Yikes!  That doesn't bode well in the pain department. But I'm really looking forward to not having this feeling of tightness where my right breast was. It's a 24 hour reminder of what happened to me. So, I'll suck it up. And of course, tell you all about it.

And now off the subject – again. Guess what Matt bought me? A freakin' Blackberry!! It's kind of like handing me the keys to the space shuttle & saying, "Let's see what happens". Nothing good can come of this.

I managed to hook it up to Facebook & my email. The only reason I was able to do so was because there was a step by step tutorial about it online. The only problem was, every time I got an email or if someone commented on my Facebook, the phone would chirp some type of noise or another. I was going crazy, and actually turned it off. Then my editor, Josh, showed me how to fix it so that it only makes noise when someone's actually calling me.

You know what? I think there's an article in there somewhere!

If you feel like it, you can "like" my "Brunette Lucy" fan page on Facebook. That makes me laugh really hard – fan page; I have all of 33 "fans" (giggle). Sounds dumb. But, apparently, it's the way of the world, so I did it.

OK, happy campers, I'm off to play with my Blackberry! Wait, I should amend that - I'm off to be laughed at by my Blackberry. Technology is so cruel.

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