Update 35

April 10 – Had a great time celebrating Jen’s birthday. Went to a great Italian restaurant and then to Starbuck’s for coffee. We go to the same Starbuck’s each Friday night so know everyone there and we are very comfortable there, too. Brought in a cooler with me and they asked if I had a “liver” in there. At that point Jen didn’t know what was in the cooler either and she told them she thought it was a head! What was in there was a decorated cheesecake with big ole’ #30 candles on it! One of her other friends just happened to be there with a few friends so they all came over to our table (we were outside) and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and she blew out the candles and shared cheesecake! Then she opened her gifts. It was great fun! You are probably wondering whey we did all this at Starbuck’s instead of our house – Harold had to go in to work so after dinner he went back home and changed and met us at Starbuck’s for the celebration.

Bought MegaGel yesterday to see if I can coax some of that Press n’ Place hair to stand up. This stuff is supposed to last through sports activities! We’ll see.

Boob story – found out that I can make them disappear when I am standing up! When I flex my chest muscles really hard – back the boobs go - by my arms!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am quite fascinated by this phenomenon – can you tell????????

Flavia quote (quite fitting after the boob story!): “Laughter and play invite happiness into our lives.”

Did something yesterday afternoon that I feel is a turning point in my recovery process. All the “girls” are now in the closet instead of out on my dressing area counter. They have been out there since last September because they were part of my chemo treatment effects. Very soon, I expect I will be going back out in my own hair and they will be for fun and convenience instead of for necessity. Very big difference in perception! I will feel much more “recovered” when I don’t have any residual, visible from the outside, reminders that I have been through breast cancer. You know it doesn’t actually matter sometimes what the “real truth” is – it is a person’s perception of something that is the “truth” to them.

April 14 – Went to tea today with my friend Patte. She is too funny! She cuts my mats for me and felt I had been working too hard so would not deliver my mats unless I met her for tea! It was wonderful; we whiled away the whole afternoon just chatting and drinking tea.

April 22 – Been awhile since I wrote and a lot has happened. I got back from teaching in Carson City, Nevada on Monday (19th) after getting up at 3 a.m., (could not sleep at all!) and then being in airports all day until arriving home at 8:40 p.m. I left on Friday the 16th and the first thing that happened was that I missed my flight out! People were everywhere! I got to the gate within the last ten minutes and Southwest had given away my seat. Left within a half hour on another flight so figured I might still make my connection in Phoenix. Wrong! That plane stopped in New Orleans, Austin, Houston and finally Phoenix. You can’t get off, you can just change seats and go to the bathroom on the plane. I get there and they tell me they might not be able to get me out until the next day! Well, I was already stressed because I missed my flight and I have to teach in Carson City in the morning so that was not an option. I immediately began to cry. Quietly, but body shaking crying. The customer service gal was a bit shook up too, so I told her I was recovering from breast cancer and this was all about to do me in. I normally can handle situations like that but it just all felt beyond me at that point. After trying a couple of different gates I finally got on a flight to Las Vegas (stand-by) and then got another flight out to Reno (also stand by!) Had gotten up at 3:30 a.m. and finally arrived in Reno at 5:30 p.m. which is 8:30 p.m. my time. By the time the gal picked me up at the airport I was calmed down. Classes went very well thank heavens! I wore Dramatic Drucilla on the plane, can’t do that anymore, she tends to slide down my forehead with the pressure of my head on the seat, Joan Jett on Saturday and Romantic Rose on Sunday. Wore Rose on the plane home and she did just fine. Actually had a morning that my hair did not look too dreadful. I have a lot of it even though it is only about 1” long so I have to dry it with the hair dryer to be able to put on my wigs.

Moving right along, I worked Tuesday and Wednesday, have another weekend of seminars this weekend but here in Orlando, still have lots to do to prepare. Harold says lets go get coffee on Wednesday evening so off we went. BIG NEWS HERE! I went with just my own hair to the drug store to pick up photos and then on the coffee!!!!! Harold went in with me and said no one was staring at me, him maybe, as he just shaved his head again, but not me! That is major news, huh! We’ll see how brave I get for going other places. Stayed up late working and when I went to bed around 1 a.m. I had a sour stomach. Lay down and couldn’t sleep……again! Oh great! All of a sudden after about two hours of laying there I leaped up and raced for the bathroom. I have never had such a violent episode of throwing up in my entire life! Then every two hours or so all night long! Then again this morning around 10 a.m.! What the heck was going on???????? I felt awful all day, just like a chemo day! Just absolutely drained. Sat in the recliner the whole livelong day. Feeling a bit better finally, it is now 9 p.m. Harold was very worried but I didn’t feel this was doctor stuff since it contained itself within a twelve hour time frame. Could have been that I was run down with no sleep or very little for three of the last seven days and I got some kind of bug in all those airports and with all those people coming on the planes. Also the lawn guy was here yesterday and sprayed an insecticide on the bushes while I was standing right there, didn’t give me a chance to move. Maybe I swallowed some and it acted like a poison and my body was trying to get rid of it. I am sure my immune system is still compromised, as it has only been four months since my last treatment. I am leaning towards that theory since I felt like I did after chemo and that is most definitely a poison! Needless to say, I will be far away from that guy the next time he comes to do the lawn!

April 24 – Just read some very sad news, an acquaintance of mine from the decorative painting industry passed away from complications from surgery. She apparantly knew that was a possibility since she asked that in lieu of flowers, people donate to the Y Me Breast Cancer Foundation. Really don’t like to read of anyone dying from breast cancer, hits a bit too close to home!

April 29 – Well, it is obvious to me that I cannot travel teach and write! This update has taken almost a month to complete! I found the culprit of my horrific bout with my tummy! The roof guy! He was here before the lawn guy to tell me he couldn’t clean our roof on that Wednesday because his helper didn’t show up. He came this past Monday and was telling me he had such a bad intestinal virus that he had to get a shot to stop the vomiting!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well………….I spoke with him for about 30 minutes last Wednesday morning and then we shook hands!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still gonna stay out of the way of the lawn guy though! The double dose of virus and chemicals could not have been good for me or anyone!

Saw Dr. J on Monday and all is just fine. I am still “soft” meaning that scar tissue has not built up making the Twins “firm.” He says they are lined up nicely with whatever area on my collarbone he uses for reference. He just laughed when I told him he forgot to mention the part about the Twins disappearing or jumping at odd moments! The nipple reconstruction will be in September. He wants me home for at least a month after surgery, just in case of complications since I will be having a skin graft. In case you don’t remember what he will be doing it is this – he will make a circular cut all around the area for the areola, then will make slits every so often from the outside edge, leaving the skin attached right in the middle of the circle. The flaps of skin that were created will be “braided”, for lack of a better word, together into the semblance of a nipple. Skin will be taken from my tummy and run through a machine that will make it a bit bumpy and then it will be trimmed and stitched into place over the raw area left from “braiding” the skin flaps. Will be stitched on around the outer edge and up under the new nipple. I will wait a couple of months after surgery to see if I want tattooing as I am still in the “no bra” mode and do not want the nipple area to show through my clothing.

Fun news while I was there, the nurse from my original mastectomies surgery had sent me a hand made card via Dr. J as they (hospital personnel) are not supposed to have contact with patients after they leave the hospital. She had asked him if he thought I would be offended since the theme of the card was “What Cancer Cannot Do” and he assured her I would be thrilled with a hand made card. She was the nurse who made sure I got my “recipe” for the anesthesia and anti-nausea medicines in the hospital. This got us onto the topic of artwork and guess what???????????? He wants to open an art gallery “for the rest of us” as he put it, meaning those of us who want to show our work and be a featured artist but do not fit into the regular art gallery scenes. Was I excited??????? Will I keep bugging him about that?????????? You darn betcha’ I will ! I told him I would dearly love to be involved in that! My friend Linda told me that I was the only person she could think of that would have cancer and then go into business with her surgeon! Sounds like a plan to me!

Flavia quote (very appropriate!): “You have gifts within you that have yet to waken. Set free your wings that yearn to fly.” I am desperate to learn to do watercolor in this second go round with life!

Aside from a cough I can’t seem to shake (pollen is dreadful here this year) and tiring easier than before I feel really good. I taught a two day seminar in Reno, Nevada, flew in on Monday, got sick, got well and taught another two day seminar here in Orlando and was still standing after I was done! I was tired but I would have been tired after that under normal circumstances. Things are total chaos around here and I am sooooooooo far behind in everything that I am a bit stressed but as soon as I can get organized again I will be fine.

Hair report – I went out and about a bit yesterday sans wig! Only to a friend’s house and then I put Joan Jett on for the remainder of my errands. My hair is curly and still very short but I do not look so much like a cancer patient now. It actually has a bit of style. Of course, I have to dry my hair with a hair dryer and coax those cow licks to stand up and then quick - use industrial strength hair gel to move those stupid cow licks into some semblance of order but the overall effect is not too bad. Good thing, too, it is getting very hot here! Trust Dr. J to tell me the truth – he asked how my hair was coming along (I was in Joan Jett – he didn’t know who that was – he’s too young I guess, so I had to explain) and I asked if he wanted to see, he said yes, so I whipped off the wig and rubbed my hair to get it off my scalp and he said it looked kind of cute but that I must do something about the color (salt and pepper) as that did absolutely nothing for me! I am waiting to get the final approval from Dr. M the oncologist about coloring my hair. I see him and the general surgeon on May 11th and 12th. Then I shall go to the drug store with Sassy Simone in hand and pick out my “new” hair color – red of course! I figure that as much gray as I have I will have a nice variation of reds without any extra effort!

“Cat fur” is now normal. Hot flashes are back in full force so I guess hormones have settled in finally. No other lasting effects that I can tell from daily living. Expect good results from my upcoming doctor’s visits, not nervous at all this time about seeing them.

Life seems a too chaotic to me so I have to take stock again and decide just how I want to spend my days.

Bunch of Flavia quotes, they all got away from me!

  • “Love with abandon and let your heart be fancy-free.”
  • “Love is a gift, a healer, a teacher of beauty and grace that changes our lives forever.”
  • “If rainbows can fill the skies after even the darkest storm, then we can believe in hope.”
  • “Within your heart there is strength and courage, and a wondrous beauty you have yet to discover.”
  • “We are each a part of one another, connected by the sweet mystery of life.”
  • “Inspiration is always within reach. It is life’s way of reaching out and inviting you to dance.” (I just love that one!)
  • “Miracles come in all shapes and sizes and happen to those who believe.”

April 30 - I just noticed I have no other persona (except for Joan Jett and that really doesn’t count!) in this update but me! I guess I can finally deal with everything now by myself! Now that is real progress!
I have errands to run today and tonight is Wings and I am doing all of it with no wig! I will be going into my regular haunts today, post office, bank, grocery store, and they always check to see who I am that day. Maybe I should be Interim Ida until I color my hair? Well, so much for no other persona in this update! Now the hair issue is getting to be fun instead of so depressing. Now, that really is progress for me!

How is life right now, nine months after the dread diagnosis? Absolutely wonderful! I have such an appreciation for it and hope to never take it for granted again. I am so grateful for many things, I have a great family, wonderful friends, I live in a house that is nicer than I ever expected, I have been places in the world I never thought I’d get to, I have risen in my chosen field beyond my expectations and I am alive after breast cancer with a great prognosis and perky boobs. What more could one woman ask for?????????

On that cheerful note I will add a garden picture. I am so glad to be home for a while, haven’t been out in my garden for weeks! I am definitely feeling the need to make contact with the earth to renew my energies! This is my wonderful statue that Harold surprised me with one year. At night, she is lit softly and it is very romantic out there in the garden. Click on the picture for a close up view.

Till next time – no telling how long between updates now, things have settled down nicely, so until then,

Love to you and good health,

Margot a.k.a. Perky Polly, keeper of the Twins and Interim Ida

After reading through the updates,
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