Just Musings from Me tonight This post is dedicated to Ms.Wallace

No matter that this Monday March 21 is the LAST CHEMO for me, I’m still anxious and not excited about having to get ONE MORE CHEMO. The side effects are still horrible…I have never gotten over #5 completely. This one has been hard and it was cut back 30 minutes and I just thought I would breeze through it with little or no problems but my energy has been depleted since the chemo has made me anemic and my physician told me that my drugs, my chemicals were very strong and aggressive because my C was aggressive. So at 10am on Monday my friend Mitch and I will be at MDA Green Infusion Room for my LAST CHEMO. My potassium is always low so I’m on major potassium pills right now…in fact I forgot to get them filled and will do so tomorrow and tomorrow I will also start taking the final steroid medication…oh, how we hate the steroids…those of us that suffer with this malady. Its necessary so we don’t get an infection, that is what I’m told. My poor fingernails are numb yet they hurt, are brown, my toes feel like there is something in between them, my nails are paper-thin and my skin is dry and I cannot moisturizer them enough, doesn’t seem to help one bit. My energy and my mood is not so good because basically, I don’t sleep, I’m up at 2:51 am now typing this blog.

Can you believe someone asked me today how much longer I had to live…do you have much time left he said? Shocked, stunned and a little upset, I said, well, I don’t plan on dying too soon. and my friend said to me I didn’t know you had an expiration date….people just don’t think when you tell them or they realize you have cancer.

I did have a wonderful adventure this weekhowever. My friend Deborah who is an excellent photographer, had my makeup done, and had a henna artist do a design on my bald head..well, my hair is coming back white fuzzy and photographed me for a project she is calling “Get Your Sexy Back”. for ladies that have breast cancer…you see, she too is in our club.But a two-year survivor which gives me hope…My brave wonderful friend did not choose to have chemo, she had a lumpectomy and radiation only and is doing fine still taking daily medication to prevent the reoccurred  of cancer. Her medication costs over $600.00 a month… hmmmmmmm wonder how I’m going to afford this, and she has insurance. Well, so much for future tripping, LIVE IN THE NOW SAM….don’t go off somewhere else in your head just yet. LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT…do you have any idea how hard that is for a cancer person…? We are all guilty of doing this….I was told as a child to PLAN FOR THE FUTURE…but isn’t this future tripping? Isn’t dreaming sort of future tripping?

I am scheduled for a mammogram on April 12. I’m having a real hard time thinking about giving up my breast. It is one aspect of this disease that really pisses me off. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that if I don’t, I could just die…would it hurt if I don’t, will the cancer come back in me and will I hurt? The phyisical pain and the emotional pain and the fingernail pain and the lack of energy is a pain, how could it be worse than any of this. We really as humans know we are all going to die but no one knows when our time is up…untimely death  of a loved one is so hard…even when someone is gravely ill or injured or is murdured…I’ve experienced all of these in my life time. My frist husband was murdered…yes…many of you don’t know that about me. I was barely 28 years old…and my last husband died after a long time suffering from a motorcycle accident and a traumatic brain injury….this just happened in 2009 after my care taking of 8 years. I haven’t forgotten him, I still have his ashes but has anyone else remembered him beside me and his Mother? I believe in reincarnation, at least I use too…I feel I have lived before, I have some vague memories of a life which I won’t go into that at the moment. We live and learn lessons and get a rerun…maybe a few times. I guess everyone is reading and guessing what is on my mind tonight…maybe that is why I can’t sleep…I have physical problems that are not pleasant, burning skin, irritation…I’m so weary..so weary…I want to have a job again, I want a relationship again, I make money, have a nice place to live, give parties, go dancing again, listen to music is one of my favorite things, I will ge to do that tomorrow morning…..go to art galleries, be an artist, dance, own a business again…have hair, so much to do so little time…

Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying…what are the rest of the words to this song? Planning and scheming the night away….

I just tired……….Hope you like my photos….I had so much fun sitting for them and my henna head is still causing a stir….thank you My Lovely Friend for everything you have done for me..I am so blessed to call you my Lovely Friend…you are one in a million.i

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7 Responses to Just Musings from Me tonight This post is dedicated to Ms.Wallace

  1. Leslie Sirag says:

    Sam, you are also one in a million, and I feel privileged to be part of this crazy jurney, even at a distance. Finishing chemo is a big milestone, and that it’s worked so well is wonderful. Do they expect the mammogram to show whether there’s still cancer in your system, and/or will the blood tests tell? Having a breast (or both) removed as a precautionary measure is pretty drastic. If there’s no evidence of more cancer can you postpne it but have frequent check-ups for awhile (or forever?)?
    My brother in law, who’s been fine for 3 years, was in the hospital this week for 3 days–apparently he got a cold and his body mistakenly attacked his platelets instead of the cold virus, sort of temporarily giving him hemophilia. After 3 days of hospital treatment his platelets are up enough so he’s going home. His doc says this is sometimes an aftereffect of cancer treatment–your body just attacks one of its own systems. I don’t want to scare you, and he is fine again, but it’s prbably something you need to be aware of. He did have radiation, BTW, and surgery to remove some ribs & I thinnk part of a lung–his cancer was n the outside f his lung, rare, esp for a 40-year smoker. We are of course all very relieved–it was so fast (his blood tests had been fine less than 2 weeks earlier!)and so weird.
    So, as you know, it doesn’t end with the treatment, but apparently the other stuff is easier to deal with.

    Meanwhile, watch your mail–a package f pre-wrapis on the way. Word is that it’s very soft, sticks only to itself, but is tough enough so that quilters use it instead f a thimble to avoid getting pricked. I’m hoping it will pad your finger and tenails enough t keep touch from hurting. Can’t stop the interior pain, but at least can try to prevent outside additions.
    Hang in there (like you have a choice!) And remember that bravery is not the absence of fear (that’s often stupidity!) but going forward to do what’s necessary even when you’re afraid.
    I hope this round of chemo will not be as bad as the last–but even if it is, I hope knowing that it’s the end will help. Love you, Sam!

  2. Leslie, and your words have meant so much to me. It’s a journey alright…one that I do not want to revisit…any time soon. I have been pushed to my limits in so many ways and been made aware of things about human nature that have taught me so much. And I love what you said about bravery…not the absence of fear but to go forward to do what is necessary in the face of fear. ….becuase I have been so afraid so many times yet, I stepped right on up to the plate with my eyes wide open.
    Love has carried me through this and I’ve seen people change right along with me.
    Most for the better but having found out who the nasty person(s) was that wrote all that ugly stuff about me on this blog, made me feel sorry and scared for them. I would not want to be walking in their shoes when I have to meet my maker or live down the karma that I created.
    You on the other hand have been such a blessing to me…your words, your thoughtful gifts and look how we met…oh wait, we have NEVER met….we were each others customers on etsy…you are one in a million and I do hope that we remain friends after this is long over with for me. Some day we will actually see each others face in the flesh…I love you Ms.Leslie….Sam

  3. Julia Olivarez says:

    Sam, we only “know” each other through mutual friends, but I’ve been following your Facebook posts and your blog with great interest and concern. My beloved sister gave ovarian cancer one heck of a black eye — for thirty years! — before it managed to take her down two years ago. Witnessing her fight never ceased to amaze and inspire me. You do the same. Goddess bless you; my heart is with you all the way. (PS — You look stunningly beautiful in these photos!)

    • Thanks for your kind words…who is our mutual friend(s)…curious minds love to know…FYI, this cancer is NOT taking me down…I will go when its my time and it is like being in a battle ground…damn it…I’ve had my share of battles but this one by far the hardest one ever……I will be a survivor and have a new birthday to celebrate every year…Thanks for your kind words again….sam

  4. Julia Olivarez says:

    Darned sure right you’re a fighter and survivor, and this isn’t going to take you down! It’s that spirit of victory and unquenchable grace I admire so much. (According to Facebook we have 52 friends in common. Wow!)

  5. Cindy Peterson aka Cindy Lou Who says:

    Dear Sam, If you need hope you need only look to me. I know that I told you all of this before but I also know that the shock of diagnosis affects your memory. SO, I will tell you again. I was diagnosed in November “1998” with a stage 3C, very large tumor that was deep and spread out at the base, embedded in my chest wall with “fingers” stretching toward my lungs. It was over 7 centimeters wide at my chest wall and about 5 centimeters deep. Not good. It was very advanced and aggressive and of course it was already in my lymph nodes. I did not get the usual chemo protocol for breast cancer that is “CAT” (Cytoxin, Adriamycin (red devil), & Taxol). I got that in high doses plus a plethora of other very aggressive of chemo drugs using all but 3 drugs that were available at that time for longer than the normal course. I was hammered for 9 months. Basically, I got the protocol they use before they do a bone marrow transplant, only without the transplant. It was not fun, I had all the side effects that you mention and more. I spent many a nite sleeping on the bathroom floor curled up in pain and close to the toilet because despite the good nausea meds I still drove the porcelain bus frequently. As you know, the steroids keep you up for days and make you a giant emotion and if you are on them for as long as I have been they turn you into a big bloated parade float or a “bloatation device”. I had chemo first to try to shrink the tumor prior to surgery. Then I chose to have what they called breast conserving surgery in which they did a very large lumpectomy which they called a quadrant-ectomy because it was 1/4 of my breast….with immediate reconstruction from a piece they stole from my latissimus muscle on my back. I chose that because i thought the recovery time was faster. No one told me that I would have a constant aching where they removed that muscle in my back and that the other muscles would pull me out of whack in a effort to compensate for that lost piece of muscle. My back hurts every day of my life. BUT, I do have a life… 12 YEARS LATER!! I am trying to help you not make the wrong decision that I made because I WAS SO CONCERNED ABOUT A BREAST. Your life is more important. BUT, PLEASE HEAR THIS… YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOSE A BREAST!!! There was a technique developed by a woman doctor at MD Anderson and there was an article on in Time Magazine. It had to be in December 1998 or January 1999 because I had just come home from having the surgery I described above. THIS NEW SURGERY SPARES YOUR CURRENT BREAST APPEARANCE. They cut around your areola and go in thru that hole (skin is remarkably stretchable) and they remove all your breast tissue and any tumor or remaining cancer cells and then they replace that tissue with either implants (saline not silicone) OR they can take fat from your belly and to use as filler. You retain all your skin and the only scars are very minimal around your areola (and if they take belly fat you will have a “bikini” scar there. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you have A BI-LATERAL (double) mastectomy. That way you have the best symmetry. THIS IS WHY I RECOMMEND BI-LATERAL….. they will tell you that your chances of getting it on the other side are about 20%, in the case of a more aggressive cancer those odds go up….they told me about 25%. I stupidly thought that was a low possibility. I WAS WRONG. I finished chemo and then had radiation which ended in September of 1999. LESS THAN 2 MONTHS LATER I discovered a lump in my other breast. I thought, there is no way this is cancer because I just had the most aggressive chemo therapy for 9 months, I thought it had to be scar tissue from my port or something. WRONG, even though it was extremely small, less than a centimeter, it was indeed cancer and had already spread to my lymph nodes. I had to start all over again with more chemo and more surgery. My body was extremely fragile at that point and I dropped weight like crazy and was down to 95 lbs when I had the second surgery. I went thru this crap for over two years and it is extremely difficult and hard on your body. I was so weak that I could not stand up for 10 minutes because I was shaking. By all accounts and statistics, I should not still be on the planet 12 years later BUT I AM……. THIS IS WHY I SAY, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, USE MY BAD EXPERIENCE AS A LESSON IN HOW TO DO IT THE RIGHT WAY THE FIRST TIME. People may tell you that you will most likely not get it on the other side. BUT, what if you do? Then you will be stuck going on the whole ride from hell AGAIN. If you do the bi-lateral, you won’t have to worry about that AND you will look pretty much like you do now…..maybe better….the breasts might be a little perkier and if you choose the belly fat method you will get a little tummy tuck as well. The tummy tuck thing is not easy, the recovery is a little longer, you will not be able to stand up straight for a few weeks but eventually it will be ok. SAM, I know that we don’t hardly know each other but Myrna told me about you for a reason, we talked for a reason, we met for a reason. Please don’t make a bad decision based on your fear of “losing a breast” because it doesn’t have to happen that way. If you talk to you doctor they can get you covered for the bi-lateral as a preventative measure based on the aggressive nature of the cancer. It is sooooo much easier on you psychologically to have the reconstruction done at the same time as the surgery as well, even if you go another route. Let me tell you that if you do the bi-lateral procedure thru the areola you will look virtually the same as you do now. If they only do one side, they can never get it to look just like the other side, you will be lopsided which doesn’t seem to make a hill of beans now but several years from now when you are doing fine, AND YOU WILL BE, you will be self conscious about the the lack of symmetry of your breasts. I have to see it every day. Even though I had a great surgeon and he did excellent work, I am still “a little off” and it impacts my ability to enter into a relationship…..in fact…..I have only given one guy a chance and it was someone that I had known for a couple of years, who’s daughter died of cancer, and who I felt safe with.

    I said all that to say this…. ASK FOR THAT SURGICAL TECHNIQUE ABOVE.

    Love and hugs. Hang in. Look at me, it’s been 12 years….yes, i am going thru a tough time now but even so, my oncologist feels she can get me into remission again with this new chemo pill…..so far so good….no side effects at all…. it’s been 4 days.
    Cindy Lou Who
    (from Whoville)

    PS – the steroids do not prevent infection….they are to prevent allergic reaction to the drugs and also to keep the inflammation in your organs controlled….inflamed organs swell and that can be problematic. (You should take a notebook with you to all appointments with any questions that you think of and also so that you can make notes about what you are being told and who tells you what.)

  6. Pat McWaters says:

    Your pictures are beautiful. I only read your post from today but will read others, too. My life is crazy busy. Volunteered at a golf tournament all morning…stopped by the mission for a while then came home and made phone calls for the medical clinic I monitor on Weds. Tomorrow am is the dental clinic. Then I race to MD for my Pet Scan. On Weds. I see the dr and hopefully get my treatment. After that we will go to my granddaughter’s softball games. Head to Dallas on Thurs. so will not be in the hospitality room on Friday.
    Enjoyed talking to you and hope we can visit again. Writing your blog is a good thing.
    I will keep you in my prayers.
    Hurrah for the last chemo!
    Take care, Pat McWaters

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