Update 14

November 9 - Feeling a bit better today. My tummy is the biggest problem now. Can't decide if I would rather be constipated or have cramps all the time from the medicine to counteract it! What a choice! Will try very hard to be up and about as much as possible because all the sleeping/sitting have made my back and hips sore! Geez Louise, no end to my complaining is there!

Let's talk about sex! Do I have your full attention? Last update I answered a question from a reader about bras, this time I am answering a reader question on intimacy. So glad you are asking questions! I will not go into personal details, as my darling husband would simply die of embarrassment, I will just say as far as I am concerned "All is well!" Intimacy after a mastectomy/mastectomies and during chemo is as varied as how the chemo treatments affect people differently. Much depends on how the relationship was before. How open can you be with your partner as to how you are feeling about all that? How open can they be back with you as to how they are feeling about it all????????? Do you want someone to touch you????? Do they feel awkward about touching or even thinking of intimacy?????? Talk!!!!!!!! This is not the time to play guessing games. Too much is at stake. My body image is probably at its lowest point ever and if it weren't for Harold's wonderful attitude I would be miserable. Instead, I just feel it is a passing phase, albeit a stark one, but I know he loves me as a person not an image. Good thing, as I have never been "body beautiful" in my whole life! God had a plan there, too! I do love sparkle, make-up and fancy stuff. If I had a great body, I would probably have been a Las Vegas showgirl instead of an artist! I have read lots and lots of info on the subject of intimacy and Harold and I watched a tape on it, too. We watched it at the Cancer Library at the hospital and the lady there remembered us because Harold put his arm around me and held me close during the tape and it struck her as so tender that she remembered that scene! Everything I read and saw revolved around being open about your feelings. I know that is very hard to do on a normal basis and is so very, very, important always, but it is especially so during these trying times.

A story here - Dr. J. told us a story one day, about a young couple that had come to him after the wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He explained what he would be doing after the mastectomy as far as breast reconstruction, and when he was finished the husband said, "No one is taking off my wife's breasts." Dr. J. looked at the woman and thought to himself, "Surely you aren't going to let this %*&% determine your future?" He never saw them again and knows that if this woman followed her husband's feelings on her body image to him she was dead. Nice boobs, but dead. Nurse Martha told a story, too, of how a couple came into her office for the same kind of consult and after hearing the doctor's explanation the husband left saying he couldn't handle it any longer. The woman hadn't even had surgery yet! He went home and packed his bags and left her!!!!!!!!! When she was all done and reconstruction was over he wanted to come back to her!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, right! Personally, I feel this has strengthened our marriage and our commitment to one another but it can go the other way, too.

Spent most of the day in the recliner - again. Not too sick feeling today though, just tired. Didn't fall asleep, just pretty much sat there! Ate normal food so am on the mend again. Must go for a fill tomorrow in my leaky boob so must pull myself together at least for a couple of hours!

November 10 - Just woozy feeling this morning. Chemo brain at work here! I forgot to tell you last time that my darling hubby brought me two dozen pink roses for our anniversary which was the day after chemo. Jaime and Jen are sending us to dinner this week in celebration and we have invited Jen to dine with us as part of that celebration. We are having Italian at a little restaurant very reminiscent of the ristorantes we went to when we lived in Italy when Harold was in the Navy and we were stationed there for four years. What a great family I have! Also forgot to tell you all that every time someone wants to cook something I have to go into the den, close the door, turn on the air freshener and sometimes even cover my nose for awhile! Harold made me an egg and ham sandwich and the sandwich was great but couldn't stand the cooking smell!!!!!!! Luckily that passes after a few days.

Also, a kindness I must mention. When Jaime came to visit, she brought me a gift from one of her students. She teaches at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and most of her students are adults going for a second career in the ministry. One of her students brought in a little breast cancer bear for her to give to me to take to my chemo treatment since she knew Jaime was leaving class and going directly to the airport to be with me. Jaime said she herself didn't know the student that well so it touched her also.

Fill day for Leaky Louise! Got 130cc's this time, the most I have ever gotten at one time. No pain involved as my chest muscle has apparantly stretched enough to accept the larger amount. The left expander hasn't gone flat, it is just like a tire that slowly loses air pressure and you keep filling it up until you can get a new one!

I cannot believe how weak I am from this chemo! Took me forever to get ready to go to the doctor today, had to stop and rest so often. I went early to my appointment so I could rest after going from the parking lot to the office! I then came straight home and onto the couch. I don't feel bad - just so weak. Even breathing is an effort if I move around too much! Be glad when this wears off.

November 11 - Much better today, only one long coma-like rest period and a few just siting down and being still rests. Tummy finally seems to be settling down. That's a relief!

November 12 - Much better than yesterday! I was out and about today! Harold was off so we went out and did a bit of shopping and had lunch out. He drove so all I had to do was sit there. Of course, I needed two shopping baskets in Lowe's Home Improvement store! They had lots of cool stuff! I bought some neat plants for my garden, must get them in tomorrow or Friday cause then I am under "house arrest" for the next week and banned from the garden! Wings is tomorrow night as I will also be banned from eating in restaurants! I wonder if I should fake being tired so I don't have to cook next week !!!!!!!!!! Only needed a wee nap in the afternoon. It feels so good to be feeling better!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 13 - Feel totally normal except for getting out of breath very easily. I am good about stopping whatever I am doing and resting for a while when that happens, as I want to let my body spend its time healing me not fighting me. Am trying to learn to pace myself - not doing so hot at that, think I am superwoman or something - for now and for later when I am back to "normal." I must learn to do this as I think it will be essential to my future quality of life and that is of the utmost importance to me now. I will admit (just ask my family!) that I was very bad about taking on more than I could handle before all this happened. I WILL make time for my family and friends and for myself, too, from now on - it's a promise!

Leaky Louise report - she is back down to her former self from Monday's fill. At least she is not going totally flat!

I keep forgetting to tell you about my odd craving for pickles. Yes, pickles and the more tart the better! Before all this, every great once in a while I would have a dill pickle, usually a half of one was enough. Well, I could eat the whole jar now! I have to stop because my tongue gets pickled! What is up with that! It did say in my chemo info that tart pickles sometimes would help with the nausea but I don't want them then, I want them after the nausea/queasiness is gone so it is definitely not to settle my tummy! As a matter of fact, I would think a whole jar of pickles might just bring on queasiness but that does not seem to be the case. This craving came about after chemo #2. Just an oddity I thought I would mention.

Was going great guns this morning, decided to work out in the garden for a bit and by the time I got the plants I had bought out to the garden I was breathing like I had run a marathon! Had to go lie down and rest. I know, I know, I just had chemo a little over a week ago so I should not be surprised but I was hoping for a nice full day of "doing something" besides resting. It is really taking a long time to get my strength back this time. I rallied in the evening so I guess I should not count on the afternoons as being productive except for my body healing. Resting is a bit like being in a semi-coma - seems to take all my energy to let my body rest, just sort of lie there. Not complaining, mind you, just documenting the fatigue bit!

November14 - Now I am running on four hours sleep and feeling just fine!!!!!!!! Do not ask me to explain these things. Need to rest occasionally but not sleepy at all. Off to Wings tonight before house arrest begins!

Okay, here is one of the photos you have been waiting for! Sassy Simone in all her glory! Whatcha' think? Those are my own eyebrows and eyelashes. Still intact as of today!

As always, thanks for the caring thoughts and I will see you next week. Will it be Sophisticated Sophia or Romantic Rose that makes her debut? You will just have to wait for the next installment of the BC Journals to find out!

Love to all,

Margot, a.k.a. Leaky Louise (Brenda Braveheart is taking a well deserved rest!)


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