Update 26

January 31 - Very, very sore today. Must have overdone the lifting yesterday by going to the grocery store and Office Max. Tylenol Extra Strength seemed to help. I am so tired of being sore. I have been in some stage of soreness every single day since August and I want it to just stop! I know it will someday, but Geez Louise, I am fed up with being sore! Looks like Complaining Clara is still got a foothold with me!

February 1 - Soreness a bit better today. Shaved my "sideburns" off so the dark area won't show under my wigs. Feeling odd lately. Seems I don't have any direction but then…..I don't really feel like doing much of anything except puttering around my house and garden and taking a nap when I am tired. I guess I am allowed to feel that way; it is just that I used to be a bit crazy with the energy and all I had to do. Maybe that feeling won't come back and I'm not sure that wouldn't really be a "good thing!"

An observation - I know I didn't look pale in my photos while on chemo but realized today that I actually did lose color because I don't have to wear lipstick anymore. My lips were very pale but I didn't realize it at the time. I usually only wore a Chapstick type lip conditioner before and I thought I needed the lipstick because of the red wig but since the color has come back in my lips, I see that was where the chemo paleness appeared. How odd.

February 2 - Ole' Weepy Wanda visited me last night as I went to bed. I am afraid. Next week I go to see the oncologist for the first time since stopping chemo treatments. This will be the first time a test will be run to se if I am still okay. Doubts are trying to sneak in - what if it comes back? What will I do? I know people have handled cancer multiple times but I don't want to be one of them! Where is this coming from??????? I made it through all the really hard stuff and now I try to slide down in the pit of despair over "what if"??????? Don't know that I need Brenda Braveheart back but I do need to pull myself up by the bootstraps and stop thinking like this! Am I going to do this every three months or will I get used to it? Lordy - this is forever that I have to be tested. Every 3-4 months for the rest of my life! On one hand I am truly grateful that someone is watching out for me and testing me even if it is forever and on the other hand I am resentful that I have to do it at all! New persona seems to have taken hold - Whining Whitney!

February 3 - Better today (I'm sure you are all glad to her that!)

Hair report - I have very full (and very short!) hair! The areas I thought were still very thin turn out to be just white!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yea. I have a "skunk stripe" right down the middle of the top of my head! No wonder I can still see pink scalp through! The rest of it except for a few more patches of white is very dark brown. Okay, there is a bright side to this. When I am ready for the red hair dye, I will have "multi-tonal" color without having to do a second highlighting step! My "hair" actually lays over in a pattern that might not be too bad when it is longer. As soon as I can spike it with hair gel and have it look similar to Sassy Simone, I will go out in public without a wig - not before. That vanity thingee in action! When I have enough to compare, I will get out "bag o' hair" from when I was saving it as it fell out and then when I finally just shaved it off, to see if there is a color difference. It was skunk stripe silver and dark before with a blending of salt and pepper but I don't remember the dark part being quite this dark. Eyelashes still filling in but no longer than before - hey, I wanted really long, full eyelashes this time! Eyebrow hair is growing, too, still a bit stiff and short at the outer arcs. And, yeeeeesssss, "other" areas are filling in slowly to, so all is on schedule.

February 4 - Newsy News here! I went for my morning walk with only headphones on my little, now hairy, head! First time I have ventured out of my yard with nothing on my head. My head is dark enough so that you might assume I cut my hair really, really, really short instead of looking like a chemo patient! Progress!

Went to Office Max where I printed 2200 sheets of paper, 265 color copies, bought 400 sheet protectors, 15 sheets of black poster board, 5 reams of plain copy paper (it was on sale!) and 6 sheets of foam core board. Came home, hauled all that heavy paper stuff into the studio (I was careful!) and assembled all the printing into 265 individual packets for my Vegas classes, cut up the poster board into 120 individual sheets, and turned the foam core board into 12 large demo boards! Now I have to basecoat the demo boards, apply the enlarged patterns and pack it all up and get it shipped out of here by Friday! Was just a wee bit tired and extra sore tonight. No surprise there, but not too bad really.

February 5 - Out to lunch with my friend, Patte, we went to a new tea shop but they were closed for a private party for the Red Hat Society. Must look into society that one of these days, sounds like fun! The owner let us in to look around and it was just gorgeous. We went to Chili's instead and while we were eating and talking Patte was telling me about the woman on the Sex in the City TV program that is going through breast cancer and then we both ended up teary eyed! That kind of stuff hits home when you know someone close to you going through it. She did say that she always compared what was happening there to what I wrote in my journals!

February 6 - Weepy Wanda today, big time, but not for me!!!!!!!!! I have been corresponding with a woman in California and we have been running parallel on a lot of things. Same surgery, as a matter of fact she had her mastectomies on the same day I had my implant surgery. I just found out this morning that she will begin the same chemo regimen as I had on the very day I go for my first cancer check-up! I just wept for her as she begins the next leg of her own journey. I did feel better knowing that she knew just what to expect when going in for the chemo treatments. She had gone back over the BC Journals and then asked if there was anything else she could do to get through with as few side effects as possible. I wrote up a two page listing of what I felt helped get me through and sent it to her and it will also be put on the website under the "Helpful Hints or What I Wish I had Known" section for easier reference. Then another friend sent me an update on "M". She now has to endure an extra two day long chemo treatment and right now she has not been able to go back to work due to the extreme fatigue caused by the treatments she has already had. My heart just breaks for her. The rewards for having surgery and chemo to save your life and give you a future are fantastic but the costs on your body and mind are so high! I pray nightly for a cure to be found soon.

I am still sore! Seems to be just hanging around now. No better, no worse. I imagine I will wake up one day and realize I am not sore anymore - that will be a very good day for sure!

Tried on one of my old bras this morning just to see how it fit. Width wise it was okay but I am so rounded in front and so firm and perky that the tissue does not squish into the bra like before and the very front was empty! And……..it was so uncomfortable!!!!!!!!!! I renew my vow never to wear one again! IF and I say IF in big capital letters, I were to ever buy a bra for whatever reason (cannot think of one at the moment) it would have to be one that conformed to my shape, not my shape conforming to the shape of the bra cups! So………if anyone out there wants a whole batch of Bali 38C Industrial Satin bras, just let me know! Some are brand new because guess what I bought a bunch of just before I found out I had breast cancer? Bras, of course!

Did get all that stuff shipped off, all except the big demo boards, just ran out of time. I can carry them in my luggage though so no problem. Off to Wings and then Starbucks with Harold and Jen for a nice, perfectly normal evening!

February 7 - I know I am late with the Journals this week. So much to do! Will probably be tomorrow before I can finish and send this out.

Went to my painting chapter's meeting this morning for the first time in a couple of years! Have always been out of town or if I am in town, was enjoying being home on a Saturday. Everyone was very glad to see me and I was so very glad to see them again. A friend and chapter member has been keeping them informed of my progress but I know it is good to actually see for yourself that someone is fine. Introduced them to the Twins and made sure that they knew those perky girls were on their own with no help from a bra! Jealousy abounded! Couldn't stay long as I had a birthday party lunch to go to for some other friends with Harold. Had a really good time, the host is an avid gardener himself so I came home with a bag of grapefruit from his tree and some lilies to transplant into my own garden! Came home, went over to Jen's to help her hang pictures on her walls and just chat. Home and now to bed at 9 p.m.! Cannot stay awake any longer. A wonderful, full, completely normal day! I know I must get enough rest so I can keep being normal so am trying to be good about getting enough sleep!

February 8 - Well finally I am finishing up this week's entries. Up at 5 a.m. this morning raring to go! Will finish here with the journals while it is still dark and then outside I go! Supposed to be about 65 degrees today so will be cool but that is just fine with me. I will be outside in my garden! Still wearing my glove on my left hand to prevent any type of infection to prevent any lymphedema from occurring. Remember, that is for always. Lymph nodes don't grow back! I was asked at the meeting yesterday if it really was forever that I would have to be careful of carrying heavy stuff and flying with a compression sleeve. Yup! Forever. All those precautions are truly not a big deal to me, the big deal would be an attack of lymphedema!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, I seem to be okay now with the upcoming oncologist's appointment. It just "IS" and will be another "forever" in my life so…………..onward!

Photo of the Week……………introducing The Perky Twins! You can see Dolly first in the photo and Polly is just peeking out! Are they not perky!

Good health and happiness to you all!



Margot and the Twins


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