Margot Update 11

October 18 - Well, not so perky as yesterday. Feeling weary today, no walk, just want o sit somewhere. No appetite either (really wish I could hang on to that one!) No inner working movement - again! Took the big guns this morning, Dulcolax - and am hoping for the best. Cannot let that constipation get out of control like last time.

Went to Jen's this afternoon, Harold was helping her put up curtain rods and I was directing. We ordered in pizza as I felt okay enough for that and thought it would help my "problem." Was okay for a couple of hours. Went home and all of a sudden the stomach cramps hit. I figured okay, I can handle this, anything to just get back to normal. Well! Up came the pizza! Then of course, the laxative worked. Oh yea! Now my stomach is in turmoil and I think I may have set off the nausea thingee! Do not want ANYTHING added to my tummy! Must drink to keep system flushed of the chemo drugs. This was not a good turn of events!

October 19 - Feeling pretty crappy today. Stayed out on the patio until it got too warm then came in a plopped my butt in the recliner for the remainder of the day. Again, no appetite and tummy on the unstable side. I think I managed to get enough down to sustain me for the day. Hope we see improvement tomorrow. I go for my fill!

Big news! I have decided to shave off this damn hair! I mean, what am I hanging on to it for????????? It looks awful and is making me feel awful so…………… who actually cares just how long it takes to all fall out?????? I mean…….out is out! Not me, not anymore! When I am out for my fill tomorrow I will stop and buy some clippers and Harold can do the honors when he gets home from his first day on his new job! Passed his class (of course!) and is working for a guy who will let him be off for school and for taking me to the doctors or to chemo! The pay is great, too! Am glad he has something else to occupy him as all this can be overwhelming after a while. I realized how on edge he is yesterday morning. I was in the den and the dog wanted out so I got up to let her out and as I came into the kitchen Harold was on the patio and he leaped up out of his chair, ran to the door and said, "What's wrong!" Poor man, he is holding up very well, but it has to be hard on him.

October 20 -Feeling a bit better today. Feel weak. Appointment with Dr. J is not till three o'clock, it will probably take me all day to get ready! Have a new persona - Hard Rock Hannah. She will be replacing Perky Polly until further notice! I believe Perky Polly will show back up when the expanders come out and replaced with the softer implants. If you should run into me you would just bounce right off! All that is there is skin, chest muscle and rubber! I know the saline solution is in there too but you sure couldn't tell by touching!

Later in the afternoon - Took a walk through my neighborhood and that certainly made me feel better. Ate a half a sandwich and drank some water - progress! Sophisticated Sophia is going with me today to my fill. Wearing all black with touches of black lace - whoo-hoo! Remember that Sophia is bleached blonde with a very messy, flirty style. Will get pics soon, I promise! I think I will even have to wear shoes with a bit of a heel - my suede Birkenstocks are very nice but do not match Sophia!!!!!!!!!! Too bad I have to wear the paper pink vest in the doctors room. The effect of Sophia sort of gets lost from black lace to pink paper! That's okay, the office girls like to see me all dressed up!

Well, I got 110cc in the left (wimpy side) and 50cc in the right. Another 50-100 cc's and the right will be done for now. I told Dr. J about Hard Rock Hannah and he just laughed. things still look a bit odd and he assured me that he would do some "scoring and tucking"………hmmmmmmmmmmm Since my poor boobs are mostly numb I doubt it will make me too uncomfortable! I reminded him again about the no bra, ever - so they need to be a nice enough shape not to need one. He said, Never?" and I said, NEVER, that's one of my perks from all this!" I can't believe I am the only woman to think it will be wonderful never to have to wear a hated bra again in my whole life! I asked him about the amount of skin they left, now seems to be too much, wanted to know if I had chosen not to have reconstruction would they have left as much and he said sometimes they do. I would not have been happy with that so if you know of someone in the same situation or facing this let them know to be up front with the doctors as to how much skin they are going to leave, depending on what the follow up reconstruction will be, if any. He got a kick out of Sophia, too, and I told him about the pink paper effect so he said he would wait and see me for once with my clothes on! He actually did and I had to pose of course and they all laughed. The office girls can't wait to see Romantic Rose - I told them she (Rose) could wear blue jeans but Sophia must always be dressed up! By the way - I pass the pencil test now (you know, if you place a pencil under your boob and it stays, you need a bra - if it falls you don't!).

Stopped at Walgreen's and got the hair clippers and the cashier asked me what color my hair was naturally?????? I had written a check and my hair is brown on my license (I've had it a long time - no grey in that photo!) I just looked at her wondering why she asked me that and then said "brown." She then went on to tell me that she was really blonde but decided she wanted to be a redhead for awhile. I finally realized that she didn't know I had a wig on so of course, I had to tell her that actually I had no hair at all and it was a wig. You could tell by the look on her face that she thought I was kidding and then I told her about the chemo and she said, "I never would have guessed." Amazing to me since I think Sophia is the least real looking one I bought. That was fun! On to Publix (my wonderful grocery store with the really nice pharmacy people) and they of course, ooooohhed and aaaaahhed over Sophia but said they still like Sassy Simone better. More fun!

Came home and got Harold to cut it all off. Jen was here, too, for the "unveiling!" He would only use the ¼" blades and when it was all off he said that I had more hair on the ground than he had ever had in his whole life! I had three places where the hair was as thick as usual and oddly enough all shaved it looks like I had a lot of hair left - NOT! It is more evenly spaced than I expected it to be and also discovered I have another of those dreadful purple strawberry birthmarks on the back of my head! Lucky me - actually I am lucky that they are mostly hidden and not somewhere visible! After my haircut Jen and I went in to dust me with baby powder to get rid of all those little hairs. She had the feather duster handy to puff the powder all over my head. Well, I put a handful of powder on the top of my head and proceeded to rub it around. All of a sudden Jennifer burst out laughing and started laughing so hard she had to hold on to her stomach! I just looked at her as that was not very kind! Then she pointed at the top of my head and finally got out the word, "Look!" Apparently I had perspired a bit during the haircut and I still had the stubble/peach fuzz stuff and the powder was just sitting up there like a big white doily. Then we both started laughing hard and poor Harold ran back to see what awful thing had happened because he said he couldn't tell if we were laughing or crying. I must say, it did feel great to laugh over the hair thing instead of cry! Anyway I feel so much better with all that straggly stuff being gone! Hurray! Should have done it a long time ago. So If you have a friend in the same situation, tell them to go ahead and shave it off. Everyone, including Lisa, told me to do it, but I was bound and determined to "see it through!" Now I just look odd but not sick!

Still a bit nauseous - maybe that dratted flu shot is contributing to this, too, but feel better than I did yesterday. Tired of course but not as bad as the first time I think. Haven't needed a long nap since Thursday or Friday. Still taking it very easy on my poor tummy.

October 21- Better today, felt okay then crappy, okay , then crappy off and on all day. Tired, but not sleepy. Was actually hungry for lunch - good sign, ate a normal dinner and am feeling pretty decent tonight. Good. Pretty boring after yesterday, huh! Boring and quiet are very good things right now. Oh, made Harold cut my hair again with the shorter blade! Now I want it GONE! Just peach fuzz. Might have to get a sleep cap - my little bald head got cold last night!

Jaime is coming from Dallas on November 4th, day before third chemo to be here for a few days. Will be so good to see her. She wants to see all of us and to experience what we are going through for herself, instead of always hearing it on the phone. Times like this are when it is hard when your kids live in a different place and it is just too far for them to pop in and visit. She told me that she will be here in two weeks. That is great but made me realize I have only two weeks to get to feel good enough to do something before I feel crappy again! Two weeks sounds very close! Mustn't whine though, I figured up that I will be feeling good and on my way to feeling much better in seven weeks!!!!!!!!!!! Don't you know, I will be counting those days!

Just to warn you, now that I will be feeling better lessons will resume. I will be dealing with "Myth or Fact" about breast cancer. Fact - Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States. The info comes from NABCO - National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations - and I got it from the cancer library at my hospital. they start out with the statement - "Many women have the impression that breast cancer is not about them (that was me), that they don't have to think about it or learn about it (me again!). Some women have the wrong information about breast cancer - they believe that many myths that surround this disease. NABCO wants you to forget the myths and learn the facts." So beginning tomorrow we will start the lessons!

October 22 - Lesson time!

Myth - Breast cancer is preventable. Fact - There is no certain way to prevent breast cancer and the cause of the disease has not yet been determined. Early detection followed by prompt treatment offers the best chance to treat breast cancer successfully (me once again!!!!!). A note from me here, I have been doing a LOT of reading on this subject and I have read over and over that they are thinking that there is a link between being overweight (dense breast tissue) and how early you started having your periods (amount of estrogen produced by your body). I have always been on the heavy side, never been thin but once in my life due to diet pills (and even then I had a double chin!) and started my periods when I was eleven. Just thought I'd pass that bit of info on, too.

Feeling much better today. Thank heavens! New development - nose hair is coming out! I haven't had any problems so far but did buy the AYR gel that was recommended at the chemo seminar so am prepared if the loss starts to bother me.

What a day!!!!!!!!!!! The weather was perfect (remember I live in sunny Florida) I worked out in my garden all day except for the time I sat under the patio umbrella and read a book!!!!!!!!!!!! I even mowed the lawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing how I can feel yukky one day and great the next! My "careful time" when blood counts are lowest and immune system is at its weakest, begins Saturday so any gardening I want to get done needs to be in the next two days or wait until November 3rd! It also amazes me still that no two people seem to experience chemo the same way even when given the same drugs. another interesting fact about mine - I was starving again today just like the last time, always seven days after the treatment. It is like I cannot get enough to eat. I was soooooo good this time though, only snacked on nutritious stuff.

Remember all that whining I did over my straggly hair? I was out in the garage today with the door open with nothing on my head! We live in a subdivision so anyone could have walked by or a neighbor drop in. Harold was really surprised but not as much as me! Not sure I can explain it, must think on this.

October 23 - Lesson time again!

Myth - Only women with "risk factors" get breast cancer. Fact - Over 70 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors that make diagnosis more likely - all women are at risk. Risk increases as a woman ages, if she has a personal or family history of breast cancer, has never had children or as had her first child after age 30 and if has had prior radiation therapy treatment for Hodgkin's Disease. The breast cancer BRCA1 and BRCA2 susceptibility genes are linked with fewer than ten percent of cases. A note from me - the only risk factor I had was age.

I can tell my blood counts must be going down, needed my nap this afternoon. It is so weird, I am fine one minute and then - I need a nap - now! Only an hour or so but out like a light! Then just tired the rest of the day.

Big news! I let someone besides my family see me bald!!!!!!!!!!!!! A friend came over and I was in the den so either we left him on the porch while I escaped or we let him in. He has his head shaved and just saw me on Monday in the grocery store with Sophisticated Sophia so I thought - why not, between him and Harold they both have shaved heads so I will just be part of the group! Is that a complete turnaround from when I was so unhappy with the thin hair or what!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember this in case it happens to someone you know. What a difference it made in the way I feel.

October 24 - Lesson time!

Myth - Mammograms aren't that helpful in diagnosing breast cancer. Fact - Mammograms are currently the best way to find breast cancer at its smallest size and earliest stage, when it is most likely to be treated successfully. A mammogram can detect breast cancer before it can be felt by a doctor or the woman herself. Recommended schedule is once a year beginning at age 40 or earlier as doctor advises if you are at increased risk. A note from me - my tumor was large and only found by the mammogram as it could not be felt by the doctor at my regular checkup. It was soft, it remained soft through the biopsy and until I had surgery and no one could ever feel it.

Watched a very moving program on TV last night. "Women Rock" on the Lifetime Channel. They have it once a year and it is dedicated to eradicating breast cancer in our lifetime. Lots of stars singing movie hits was the theme. One of the performers, Anastacia, is a young woman and was diagnosed in January of this year. One song was dedicated to survivors and all women currently fighting the disease. Well, that opened the flood gates I can tell you! I thoroughly enjoyed the program and just cried when I felt like it. I love rock and roll, like other forms of music too, but rock and roll especially hard rock is my favorite. Take a moment and picture this - I am 90, perky boobs, red hair, full eye make-up and still listening to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts really loud - well by then the loudness is probably out of necessity! Back to my point - Harold was the foreman for the fire protection sprinkler system in the Hard rock Café built here in Orlando. He still feels like it is "his" Hard Rock as he knows the place inside and out (every time we go there we get the guided tour of the sprinkler system!). The program last night was sponsored by Hard Rock International (located here, too) and they had a special pin made in the shape of a guitar that has pink accents and says "Stop Breast Cancer for Life." I like hard rock, Harold has his association with the Hard Rock, they sponsored this great program - I had to have one of those pins!!!!!!!!!!! Darling husband of mine went on the Internet while I was watching the program and ordered one for me. Hard Rock is donating 40% of the retail price back to breast cancer research. If you are interested, the addy is

Was thinking of how hard this journey is/has been (Harold said that last night, too) but am so thankful that I have such wonderful family and friends with me on this journey! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. My protective bubble gets poked now and again but has remained intact thanks to all of you!

Off to do errands today and go to Wings tonight as my enforced "careful time" begins tomorrow. Feeling good so hope the next week will be uneventful.

Love to all,

Margot - a.k.a. Brenda Braveheart and Hard Rock Hannah!

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