OBC – May 12, 2017

Welcome to the second edition of One Boob Chronicle.

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WARNING:  This post, and the accompanying photographs, may be unsuitable for some readers. 

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Today, Friday – May 12, 2017 – was my LAST RADIATION TREATMENT.  I am so thankful this part is over.  I’m so thankful I have survived it this long.

My team at Stephenson Cancer  Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has been SUPERB.  I could not have asked for a better, nor more attentive, group of technicians, nurses, and doctors during this long period of time for treatment of my breast cancer.

My chest is R-A-W!  However, all of the medical staff assure me my skin “looks great”.  If you believe that, well I have a bit of ocean front property in Oklahoma City I would like to sell you.

My burned and raw chest

My burned and raw chest

I had burn cream – Silver Sulfadiazine – smeared all over the red areas.  Thursday after my treatment my chest hurt SO BAD.  My shirt just touching the skin was enough to make me wish I were DEAD!  It was so painful.  Joe tenderly and carefully slathered the entire area with about 50 pounds of the stuff.  Well, not really.  I don’t even have that much on hand!  What you see in the photo above is about two hours after he put the cream on.

My doctor told me today that I have new skin forming within the worst of the burn areas.  She said for me to look for the little “dots”.  Our bodies are AMAZING WORKS!

New skin forming

New skin forming

I had been freaking out about some long, wormy, type stuff on my skin that looks like mucus, or pus.  This stuff doesn’t have an odor.  An infection would have an unpleasant odor.  This stuff is just snotty and gooey.

I have been reassured by the nurses and doctors that this is a normal part of the healing process.  My vessels under the skin have been damaged from the radiation.  They are emitting a fluid as they try to reconstruct themselves and repair the damage.  This fluid mingles with the burn cream and any moisturizing lotion I put on the area to keep it moist.

As the body fluids and the cream dry up little “wormy” things are created.  As they dry out (in the photo above) they turn a green color.  Until they dry, it is an opaque white.

Body fluids and creams create wormy things.

Body fluids and creams create wormy things.

These wormy things are like snot.  Sorry for the gross description.  It doesn’t move like a cream would.  It just stretches and thins out the further it gets pulled.

Ewwwww!  Gross!

Ewwwww! Gross!

According to my doctor, this is totally normal and nothing to worry about.  It is my body doing what it does best.  Fight to keep going under even the worst of circumstances.

I was given a warning today.  In the next couple of weeks…..things are going to get !WORSE! before it begins to get better.  The radiation in my body is going to be working its way out of my system.  Which means I will be extremely uncomfortable. There will come a turning point when all the pain goes away and my awesome body will have won the battle.

GULP!

Here’s hoping for the best, as I prepare for the worst.

Leslie

 

OBC – May 8, 2017 – Dryer Lint

Welcome to the first installment of the One Boob Chronicle, or OBC.

On my list of things to do today, clean out the dryer lint.  Not just in the pull out screen but deep in the machine itself.

When was the last time you checked your dryer?  We rely on that appliance a lot!  Only in rural areas are outdoor clothes lines allowed.  City and urban developments have Home Owner Associations with rules pertaining to clothes lines.  Even where we live, in a mobile home park, lines are a huge NO NO.

When Joe and I got married in 1990 we blended two families.  Where there was once only my daughter and I, laundry was not a huge issue – once a week was enough.  Marrying into a family with three other children and a husband – there was Mount Washmore happening.  Laundry piled up in giant stacks.  Being a stay at home mom I found it difficult to keep up with the amount of clothes and towels, let alone all the bed linen.  The LAST THING that was on my mind was the dryer lint building up in that machine.

Families of today are busy.  School age children being hustled from one event to another after school and late into the evening.  Dance classes and recitals, soccer, football, basketball, baseball practices and games.  Who can keep up with the mounds of daily laundry and the sports uniforms?

Built up dryer lint is not only a fire hazard, it takes longer for the clothes to dry.  Many house fires are attributed to a dryer.  That lint is so combustible, all that is necessary are several static electric sparks to ignite it.

May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017

I have a set of tools that were purchased, over 10 years ago, from the Flylady site.  I just checked her shopping section and it does not include this set of tools any longer.  An online search indicated Amazon and several other sellers have this or something similar.

Dryer lint cleaning kit

Dryer lint cleaning kit

The cone type brush I use in my normal lint clean out area.  Or the place that holds my dryer lint screen.

Dryer lint brush

Dryer lint brush

I made a big mess using that brush, but I did get quite a bit out.  Next, I used the long and strange hose fixture.  This hose is meant for use on the lint filter, the long one, on the top of the dryer.  Works in this little space as well.

Dryer cleaning hose

Dryer cleaning hose

I went outside to open the vent to use the round brush on, but I don’t have the right doo-wop-it, thingy to unscrew the vent from the side of my  house.  That will have to wait until Joe gets home.  He has the right tool….I just don’t know where it is or I would have used it.  😀

Outside dryer vent

Outside dryer vent

I didn’t have much lint to clean out from the machine itself.  That is the main reason why I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my front loading washer.

Cleaned out dryer lint

Cleaned out dryer lint

It may be a different story when I get Joe to remove the outside vent cover!

So, for today, I have been able to check off nearly all my To-Do boxes.  Had my Radiation Treatment, went to the gym and did my 45 minutes on the treadmill, got the dryer lint cleaned out, had lunch at 1:30…..took my nap at 2:00 pm and didn’t get up until Joe called me at 5:47 p.m.

When I started going to the gym (on April 14th) that 45 minutes resulted in walking about half a mile using the “Heart Rate” feature.  For my weight and age the machine indicates a heart rate of 110 during the actual 35 minutes of exercise.  I have a five minute warm up and a five minute cool down.  Yesterday I did 1.3 miles with a heart rate of 112 average.  I’m getting stronger.  Not losing any weight but I’m physically getting stronger.

I know what my physical capabilities are right now.  ALMOST NOTHING!  Because of that I don’t make a long list of things that have to be done on any particular day.  Especially things that require a lot of physical activity.  Moving that dryer around to get underneath it and behind it to sweep up, then getting the small room’s floor swept and mopped, nearly did me in.

What is on your To-Do List?  Do  you get frustrated when all the boxes aren’t checked or lines drawn through the completed tasks?  CELEBRATE THE ITEMS YOU DO GET CHECKED OFF!  Be kind to yourself and do what you can.  Do a Happy Dance when you can check an item off, or draw a line through it.

Take care of yourself.  Leslie

Getting Real – Breast Cancer Treatments

This has been a long journey.  Next month, June, on the 27th will be one year since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Ductile Carcinoma.  My breast cancer is Estrogen Hormone related, which means the cancer fed off my body’s creation of Estrogen.

For the next five to 10 years I will be taking a pill daily.  Letrozole 2.5 mg.  This tiny pill, smaller than a pencil eraser, is an “Estrogen Sex Hormone” blocker.  This tiny pill has the power to make me stumble around like I’m drunk sometimes.  I have balance issues.  My “Old Lady Beard” is being fruitful.  With the decrease of Estrogen in my body the Progesterone is having a fine old time.

This is my last week of Radiation treatments.  They started on March 28th.  Monday through Friday for about 25 minutes for each treatment.

My Radiation Treatment

My Radiation Treatment

Chemotherapy started on October 12th – 2016 and ended January 23 – 2017.  Every two weeks there was a six hour block of time spent at the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City.  Part of the Oklahoma University Medical complex of buildings.  I went to the Stephenson Infusion Center for each Chemo treatment.  You can read about that HERE.

I’ve tried my best to stay positive throughout this experience.  For the most part, I have been successful.

The human body is one amazing creation.  Each phase of this cancer treatment has been with HIGHLY TOXIC fluids that would eat a hole in concrete, and now radiation that has its own set of dangers.

For months now, my body has been subjected to things that are meant to KILL.  And these things do kill – the cancer tumors and some tissues within the focal area of the Radiation.

How have I been affected by all this?  Okay, frankly, almost all of it has had bonuses.

I lost ALL of my body hair.  Showering has been wonderful.  Soap up a wash rag and scrub my head and face (and the rest of my body, too).  I have not purchased shampoo or conditioner for eight months.  My armpits didn’t need deodorant.  Not one minute spent on shaving my legs or underarms.

My eyelashes and eyebrows were casualties of the Chemo as well.  Trying to put on false eyelashes….without a baseline of the lashes…..was tricky to say the least.  Drawing on eyebrows without a starting, middle, and ending point made me look kind of off kilter most of the time.

The worst side effect I have had with all this cancer treatment has been fatigue.  Some days after the Chemo treatment I could not move from my recliner.  The two week intervals for Chemo had me nearly crashed for about 10 days.  The three or four days before the next treatment I had energy and felt really great.

The downside of Chemo is it is nearly impossible to eat.  I didn’t have many mouth sores, as other patients have experienced.  My fingernails felt like they were going to POP RIGHT OFF for several days after the Chemo.  That was uncomfortable.  I had some long bone pain.  My thigh bones, arms, and shoulder blades ached continuously.

Water smelled and tasted AWFUL!  Tap water and bottled water.  And don’t get me started on ice!  I am not a beer drinker.  I have one about every two years.  Let me tell you, I drank a bottle of beer a week during Chemo.  It felt so good on the back of my throat.  It tasted good even.  Normally I can’t stand the smell of the stuff.

Anything sweet, and I love sweets!  Cake, pie, brownies, cookies, candy.  You name it, if it is sweet I love it.

During Chemo….NOPE.  Every sweet thing that I loved – especially CHOCOLATE – once it was in my mouth it was so bad I had to spit it out.  The taste was SORT OF like that awful smell of a decomposing mouse or animal.  That sickly sweet, cloying, smell that screws up your face when you smell it.

Cooking while Joe was home made me hearken back to my pregnancy days, well over 40 years ago.  The smell of cooking meat bothered me.  During Chemo, I frequently scorched or burned things because I would go off in a trance like state for minutes at a time.  I was always so sleepy.

Oh, don’t let me forget the “Chemo Brain” that I continue to suffer with.  I would be talking to Joe and my mind would, quite literally, go blank.  I had no clue what I had been saying, nor what we had been discussing.  I often would find it quite daunting to think of the word or name for something.  Standing in the kitchen one evening, while I was cooking, minutes passed before I could even think of the utensil I needed to stir the soup simmering in the pot.

The total frustration is immense!

Joe and I had a standing weekly date with our neighbors on Thursday nights when we were in town for long stretches of time.  Dinner and a game of cards.  Conversation, laughter, and sometimes conversation got a bit dicey when it came  to political views.  During my Chemo treatment, which usually fell on Thursday at the start, the weekly camaraderie didn’t happen.  When my Chemo was moved to Tuesday I often still felt too ill to participate.  Cook and play cards.  There was one evening I do remember falling asleep in the middle of the card game.

I tried to make an effort to keep up with my YouTube videos.  That was hit and miss.  I received packages from all over the place.  Literally all over the place.  The UK, Canada, Italy, various US States.  The outpouring of LOVE has been such that I cannot even express my humble gratitude for the gifts.  As I felt energetic enough, and was able to put on the wonky fake eyelashes and oddly penciled brows, I made videos of the gifts of love I received.

As the Radiation Therapy has been my most recent regimen the fatigue remains.  I was told I would experience it.  During Physical Therapy after my Mastectomy in February I was told exercise would help with the fatigue and the Neuropathy I have in my hands and feet.

That is one major side effect of the Chemo that I will have for a long, long time.  Tingling and loss of feeling in my hands and fingers.  My finger tips are mostly effected.  They tingle all the time.  I also have tingling on the soles of my feet.  Sometimes walking on the carpet in my home, the feeling is like walking on sharp gravel.  When I go through my kitchen and bathroom, which are linoleum, my feet hurt as the tingling intensifies.

I have been going to a local “10 Gym” to use the treadmill for 40 minutes a day.  This has helped with the Neuropathy in my feet.  In the evenings my toes are the only part of my feet effected.  Sometimes my toes feel like they are going to just pop.  That is uncomfortable but manageable.  I am on some medication – oddly for seizures – that help with this side effect.  This medication also has an effect on my balance.  More meds to make me stumble around drunk.

I have a lot of energy in the mornings.  My Radiation Therapy is generally around 10 each morning.  After that I drive right to the gym and do my walking.  I know that if I don’t go right after my Radiation…..”it ain’t happening”.  I’m home around noon or 1.  By 2 in the afternoon is when my body crashes.  Quite literally.  I fall asleep for two to three hours.  Waking up at 5 in the evening, I consider my day SHOT!

I have been concentrating on getting my life in order.  It has been nearly a year since I have done general cleaning in my home and it really shows.  I have made a concentrated effort to make a list of small things to do during this last week of my Radiation Therapy.  I have dragged out my “Happy Planner“….which has been unused since about September of last year.  Time to get with the program and do what I can as I feel the energy to do it.

Next week's plan

Next week’s plan

I have divided my weekly spreads for “Medical Appointments” at the top section; “Home” in the center section; and “Joe” in the lower section.  Keeping track of where he is picking up, delivering, and where he stays the night for our business records.

I purchased the “Home Management” insert for the Happy Planner to not allow my “Chemo Brain” to continually take over my life.

This coming week, May 8 to 14, is “Zone 2” in the Flylady way of house keeping.  I relied heavily on this website for years in the past.  It is high time to get started once again.  I am POSITIVE that I CAN DO THIS!.  Get my life back!

Happy Planner insert for Home Management

Happy Planner insert for Home Management

So….I’m toying with the idea of doing a blog post daily this coming week to reflect on my successes and not so much success.  I’m thinking of calling them the “One Boob Chronicle”.  I’m not ashamed of my physical attributes, or lack there of.  I can’t wear a bra right now because my chest is so raw from the Radiation.  It is evident that I am lacking in the “chesty area” when I go out in public.  So why not just CELEBRATE MY UNIQUENESS!

I have a YouTube video that shows my Radiation Treatment.  Be warned if you watch it.  I show my Mastectomy and the rawness from the Radiation.  You can see it below if you choose to.

Until next time.  Have a FABULOUS Sunday 😀

Sharpie happy team of Radiation Therapy Nurses.

I was always told not to write on myself or the ink will poison my blood and I would get really sick.  Uhm…no one seems to have told my team of Radiation Therapy Nurses.

I have a line drawn down my sternum.  Kind of looks like an off kilter butt crack.

Sharpie mark on my sternum

Sharpie mark on my sternum

I think the nurses are going to be playing a game of Tetrus on my upper belly instead of doing Radiation Therapy as I have been lead to believe.

Maybe a bit of Tetrus being played

Maybe a bit of Tetrus being played

Maybe some drunken pirates couldn’t remember exactly WHERE “X” marked the spot on my map.  I have an “X” in my left armpit and one to the front of my left underarm.  This is where, I’m told, my lymph nodes are that are being treated.  Likely story.

Which "X" actually marks the spot?

Which “X” actually marks the spot?

I have an “X” from last Friday when I went for my initial CT scan on the outside rear of my right side.  A new one was added to the outside rear of my left side.

Rear outside of my left side

Rear outside of my left side

Rear outside of my right side

Rear outside of my right side

No one has even signed their artwork!  Can you imagine that?!

I have been told that I will get a burn, similar to having been outside in the hot sun, before the week is out.  I have been given a lotion that I have to use each night before I go to bed.  The radiation is going to not only burn my skin, it will also dry it out.  Hot damn!  We are going to have some fun now.  I also have a cleansing foam that I have to use on the area being radiated.

Lotion and skin cleanser I have to use during radiation therapy

Lotion and skin cleanser I have to use during radiation therapy

After I got home from my trek to downtown Oklahoma City for my first treatment, I spent a few hours working on my IKEA drawer sets.  I’m liking how they are coming together.  I was not so very sure about the color choices Pantone has put together, but now I do have to say they are quite pleasing to my eye.  The colors I am using are in their “Grand Canyon” collection.

Close up view of the paper covered drawers

Close up view of the paper covered drawers

Unfinished drawers at the bottom still

Unfinished drawers at the bottom

I’m going to keep working away on this project.  I probably should be putting some things in the drawers as I get them finished.  There are some drawers with contents inside, I just can’t remember what is in them right now.  I may have to put some kind of fixture on the front with a label to remind me.

Well, off to my second radiation therapy session.  I wonder if there will be more drawings made with the Sharpie?

Leslie

IKEA Moppe Collection and Pantone Color of the Year

I have just about got everything put back into my room.  In order and organized.  I have done a lot of purging.  I have a pile of stuff that I will be giving away either on my YouTube channel or here on my blog.  Once I get that mess sorted into something more than a pile that is threatening to become an avalanche, that is.

My room needs some color…other than stark white.  I have a set of wooden drawers from IKEA.  When I bought these….in about 2003….they went by a different name.  Today they are called MOPPE.  These cubes are unfinished wood.  Check out Pinterest to get some ideas for your storage needs.

I am using the Pantone Color of the Year.  I am choosing the papers to cover the drawer fronts from the “Grand Canyon” collection.  Deep earthy tones ranging from rich browns, deep purples, blue gray, dark peach, and greens.  I can do this from my recliner.

As you can see, by the photo below, prints don’t matter in this case.  Just use the color range if you have the vast array of paper scraps as I have.  Good Lord!

IKEA Moppe collection

IKEA Moppe collection

Hey, look a bit further down on the wooden drawer fronts and you will see that I had made an attempt to cover the drawer fronts years ago.  The great thing about this IKEA set of drawers….there is another side of the drawer if you don’t like what you have done.  Just like our paper when rubber stamping.  Make an “Oopsy”, flip the paper over and try again.  😀

I’m using papers that I have on hand in my various scrap paper bins.  The purple drawer, you see in the photo below, is using a 12 x 12 piece of Halloween paper I’ve had for a number of years.  One side has glitter and the side I chose has circles.  I had to piece the paper together to get it long enough.  These wide drawers are more than 12 inches.

Purple and green on the first set of cubes

Purple and green on the first set of cubes

I’m using a mix of text weight paper and card stock.  Whatever has the color I want to use and that will fit.

I keep the Pantone colors open on my iPhone as I go about the color selection.  The actual colors from the site and the papers I have in my stash don’t necessarily match each other.  I am using it as a guide to introduce me to being bolder in my paper choices.  Meh, failure just means I’ve learned something.  And I do have the other side LOL.

Pantone site on iPhone

Pantone site on iPhone

Once you choose the paper for your drawer front, check it for fit.  I hold it as firmly as I possibly can.  Press along the edges of the drawer front then use a pencil to draw along the drawer.  Include the finger notch.  Then cut along the inside of the pencil lines.

Fit the paper and press along the edges

Fit the paper and press along the edges

Using a pencil, draw around the drawer front, including the finger notch

Using a pencil, draw around the drawer front, including the finger notch.

Apply glue of your choice to the drawer front then smooth out.  Check to make sure you don’t have any voids or dry areas.  Especially along the edges.

Add glue of your choice

Add glue of your choice

Smooth it out and check for voids

Smooth it out and check for voids

Apply your paper and press well to adhere.  Use a brayer or a credit card to get out air bubbles and seat the paper well into the glue.

Apply paper to the glued surface

Apply paper to the glued surface

Use a brayer or a credit card to work out air bubbles

Use a brayer or a credit card to work out air bubbles

My radiation treatments begin today.  This afternoon I will start a five to seven week regimen which will be Monday through Friday.  Wonder if I will glow in the dark by the time it is over.

Never fear, I will be back to making video tutorials.  Hopefully next week.  This week I will finish editing the videos I have made for the wonderful and loving gifts I have received.  Watch for those.

Leslie

This is what happens when my creative space looks like

A bomb went off.

All the cupboards and drawers vomited everything out.

I’m in hiding in case there is a film crew heading for my front door to do a “Hoarders, Buried Alive” series featuring me.

My craft room has become a "Crap" room!

My craft room has become a “Crap” room!

I can't even get in my craft room.  The floor is piled up.

I can’t even get in my craft room. The floor is piled up.

Forget about trying to use my desk.

Forget about trying to use my desk.

When my creative space is like this, what do I feel?

  • Guilt
  • Disgust
  • Disrespecting the gorgeous hand crafted gifts mailed in packages of LOVE from you all.
  • Procrastination, big time.
  • Frustration.

I have been working on this room for five days now.  I pulled everything out and proceeded to dump it on our kitchen table, in the living room, and on kitchen counters.

The Chemo treatments that I had gone through – the last one was January 23, 2017 – still linger in my body.  Plus I am taking a drug to block my Estrogen Sex Hormone which I will be taking for the next five to 10 years.  This drug makes me dizzy, stagger around like I’m drunk, lose my train of thought, and my energy levels are way down low.  I’m talking near the floor down low.  Like about ankle  height, low.

I am so blessed to have Joe as my husband.  He is so understanding and helpful.  We can’t use the kitchen table for our meals.  He is okay with having our meals in the living room….in our recliners.  Those are the two surfaces I have not piled high.

I need my recliner to nap in during the day to recuperate from the work I have been doing.

I have finally found the “Kathy Orta style Envelope Mini Album” project I started and had not finished.  So I can get to work on it……as soon as I get my crap room cleaned up and organized.

Here is a sneak peek.

I can get in my craft room!

I can get in my craft room!

So, in case you have been wondering where I have been for the past week.  Wondering if I am still alive.  Yes, I am.  And I’m kicking butt.  Although I can kick the butt of an ant or a beetle.  I’m still kicking.  🙂

Leslie

15 minutes at a time will get the job done.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Renae Bergstad.  Thank you Renae for your AWESOME creation.

Created by Renae Bergstad

Created by Renae Bergstad

I have been so very blessed by you guys sending me cards and gifts in the mail.  Your wonderful things were piled on the floor against the wall and on my table.  Not the best way to take care of tons of love.  😦

Terrible way to honor love

Terrible way to honor love

I went to Michaels yesterday afternoon to purchase two storage boxes.  One is called a “Photo Box”.  This box holds all the beautiful cards you have made and sent to me.  Now in one place instead of scattered everywhere.

Your cards are in this box

Your cards are in this box

I had to purchase another box, a pretty box, to hold your gifts that I can use in my crafting.  I’ve put your things together in baggies instead of just dumping the whole bounty inside the box and not knowing who blessed me with what.

Box for bounty

Box for bounty

Each baggie has the name of the giver and holds the gift

Each baggie has the name of the giver and holds the gift

Not much has changed in my craft room.  It is still quite a mess but I hope to be able to get another 15 minutes in there today to make a larger dent in that mess.

The current state of my craft room

The current state of my craft room

Michelle Birdsong had posed a question to me more than a month ago.  She had received a large gift of craft supplies from someone.  In the bounty was a set of Flock.  Michelle wants to know how to use the stuff.

Flock

Flock

This coming Monday – February 27, 2017 – I will be answering that question on my YouTube Channel.  So if there is anyone else that has this same question, then stay tuned.

Flock….quite a number of you will remember what that is.  Wallpaper and lamp shades had this velvety raised stuff.  Mostly the images were a form of brocade.  Black flock on white background was a particular favorite in many homes.

Brush up against the wallpaper and some of the flock would come off on your clothing.  High traffic areas would find the flock rubbed clean off the design.

These little bottles of Flock from Doodle Bug Designs, which can still be purchased today, may seem skimpy for content by many standards.  This stuff though is like glitter.  A little goes a long way.

So come join me on Monday, February 27th while I answer a Subscriber Question.  Now I’m going to get the “Flock” out of here.

Leslie

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