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.

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