Monthly Archives: July 2009

My New Discovery

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Remember (how can you forget) how I’ve been complaining about my new “bright white” breasts thanks to the donor site being my lower belly which I guess never saw the light of day.  I think I have my mom to thank for this one since she didn’t allow me to wear a bikini when I was a teenager…  Anyway, I have pondered my options.  First, I have asked my plastic surgeon over and over again if there is anything I can do.  C’mon….with all the beauty procedures out there, there’s nothing to permanantly tan my skin?  Nope, guess not.  So he said go tanning.  I’m not really in to that since I’ve gone through cancer already and my mom has a history of skin melanoma.  So I thought and thought….like all women do about their imperfections and I decided my last option would be a “fake tan.”  Now most of  you know I am pretty cautious about what I put on my skin.  I am a regular reader of a web site called “environmental working group” and I regularly check their cosmetic database for cosmetic toxicity before I buy. 

Of course nothing on the shelves at Target is safe.  I thought a few might be, but then realized they were listed twice in EWG and some of the ingredients had been left off so it looked safer than it was.  But I finally found a product that looked safe, and more importantly, sounded like it worked.   Let me tell you, the sunless tanning products do not have great ratings. 

So I ordered myself a bottle of  “Mexitan Sunless Tanning Spray.”  

I’m pleased to say, that twice a day gives my new breasts a healthy glow….tee hee.  They blend totally naturally and it doesn’t wash off unless you stop using it for several days.  Very cool.  I know this effects no one but Jeremy and I, but it makes me feel better.   Now I have scars but I don’t glow in the dark:)

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One Year Post-Mastectomy

A lot can happen in a year.  Hard to believe that a year ago today I was recovering from a double mastectomy.  It seems so long ago!  Yet here I am, one year later and I just got back from running two miles and have a tummy tuck and a whole new set of breasts.   It actually occurred to me when I was out running that today was the day last year.  

Someone recently told me that it takes a lot longer for them to put them back on than it is for them to take them off.  And I have resigned myself to this truth.  There will probably be several more surgeries over the next year to put the nana’s back together.  None of them as big as the initial of course, but surgeries none-the-less. 

But I am happy today on the anniversary of my mastectomies that I can run, and am physically healthy.   I suppose if you are facing mastectomies, or you are dealing with the numbness, lack of movement and overall physical and emotional nightmare of having just gone through a mastectomy, hearing me talk about running and moving around might give you hope.  I sincerely hope it does.  A lot of the numbness doesn’t go away.  I have numbness on the back of my arm and from my pelvis to my breasts, but it isn’t as bad as it was and it is getting better.  And I have complete range of motion in my arms now.   I still miss my breasts.  I miss them every day.  But I am moving on and I am adjusting.

Oh, and it’s my MIL’s birthday, so happy birthday Kim, who always thanks Jesus for me and prays for my healing and loves me even when I don’t deserve it.

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Spinal Twist Yoga Pose

Here’s another of my favorite stretches after the mastectomies and reconstruction.  It took me a while to be able to lay my shoulder flat to the floor on this one but it felt so good to do this even though it was tight and sometimes even discouraging.  But keep doing it….only till you feel slight stretching.  Don’t overdo it.  Gradually your shoulder and arm will extend further to the floor.

Follow the instructions for Supine Spinal Twist Here.

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A Gift

So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”

If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.”  (Romans 4: 1-5, The Message)

It’s so hard to understand righteousness.  I don’t think it’s really supposed to be as hard as Paul makes it out to be.  He sort of rambles in this chapter, and even this book.  This is why I like The Message Bible so much.  There is just a boat load of theological thoughts in this book of Romans.  In this specific chapter he tries to describe why Abraham was justified by faith.  Maybe he over describes righteousness and justification.  Basically Abraham loved God.  Without seeing, he believed.  And because he believed and had faith that wasn’t seen, he was in favor with God.   He didn’t need laws, his heart was in the right place.  He wanted what God wanted. 

I can give my children rules.  Teach them about traffic and knives, but it doesn’t mean I’ll keep them any safer.   I can try, but it doesn’t always work.  The other day I heard a crash in the back room and found Elijah standing next to the girls dresser, which was now laying on the floor.  He had pulled the drawers out and started to climb it.  We had recently moved the dresser to another location and forgotten to bolt it back into the wall (learned a lesson there didn’t we!).  When the dresser started to fall he had thankfully fallen away from the dresser and it didn’t fall on him.  I found him lying next to the dresser.  I’m quite certain he would have had some serious injuries had it fallen on him.

We can have rules for our kids, but until they understand it’s not about rules, it’s about being safe and wanting to remain safe, we’re going to have little issues that remind us how much they don’t fully understand.   It’s really a heart issue.  They’ve got to want it.   I suppose this is how it is with God.  We think it’s all about the rules.   When really it’s about changing the heart.  It’s about seeking after things that God seeks after. 

If you’ve been bogged down by rules your whole life.  Do this, don’t do this.  There might even be some unsaid rules.  Start thinking about simply living in the presence of God.  Living by faith and simply loving him for what He has done for us, not what we are doing for him.

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The Cool Crowd

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.”  Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.”  Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.”  So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
      “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
      Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
      Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.”

This is part of the passage I preached from today at church.  It’s from 1 Samuel 16.  Pastor Mark and I did tag team preaching.  It was fun.  It occurred to me, and I shared some of this in my sermon, that David wasn’t even invited to the consecration service.  They were so sure he wasn’t “King Material” that they didn’t bother to invite him.  They had to call him in from the fields.

I certainly know the feeling of being left out.  I remember feeling left out as a child with the cool kids at school and I know what it’s like to be left out of my chosen career field.  I’d be guessing, but you probably know what I’m talking about here.  At some point in your life, even if you were the coolest of the cool kids, know the feeling of being on the outside looking in.

I’m reminded today that God chooses me.  He chooses me over and over again, just like he chooses you.  He hasn’t left you out.  He hasn’t excluded you.   He is the ever-inclusive cool crowd.

Tonight I’m feeling part of the cool crowd.  I’m in, are you?

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Dance for Breast Cancer

I didn’t happen to see this last night on So You Think You Can Dance but thought it was interesting.  At first I thought…..”oh no, two youngsters trying to re-enact being diagnosed with breast cancer as a dance.”   Like they even BEGIN to know what that’s like!  But you know, it was tender and sweet, and angry and bitter all at the same time and I was drawn their portrayal.  She may not know what it’s liked to be diagnosed but she sure put her whole self in to it.  What is even more touching is the responses from the judges.

Watch it and tell me whatcha think, especially if you’ve been through this dance.

Melissa and Ade dance for Breast Cancer on So You Think You Can Dance

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The thoughts that didn’t make it to facebook…..

Here are all the thoughts I have today that I could post on facebook but haven’t (aren’t you glad):

1.  What sort of magnetism does Dora have over a 2 year old?  My son would watch Dora movies and read Dora books 24/7 if I would let him.

2.  Fried Zucchini, zucchini muffins, vegi-enchiladas with guess what…..zucchini, copy-cat olive garden minestrone soup….with zucchini.  What’s next….chocolate cake with zucchini?  Would something else PLEASE ripen in my garden!

3.  Charis is gone to camp this week and I have forgotten how AMAZINGLY quiet it is with only two children.  Only half the fighting.  It’s been a nice break (even though I miss her!).

4.  What is it about feeling a little under the weather that makes me “smell” chemo.  Is that weird or what?  I have smelled chemo several times today.  Like the Kashi bars I opened for my kids this morning…..I got a huge whiff of chemo…..because that’s all they ate for breakfast when I was sick after chemo I guess.  And then when we walked to the park.  I swear the park smelled like chemo.  I suppose this is like the first trimester of pregnancy.  There are things we will never eat again thanks to pregnancy nausea.  I don’t like the “smell” of chemo.  Brings back too many bad memories.

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Digger Saga Coming to a Close

I’m happy to tell you that digger is finally almost closed.  It’s not visually what I had hoped for.  Dimple might be a nice word to call it, but indentation is probably more like it.  I was hoping it would completely close and fill in, but I guess that’s what plastic surgeons are for huh….lol.  I’m headed back to Northwestern in mid-August and we’ll see what he can do for me if anything.  I really don’t want implants, so unless he can do fat transfer (I’m all about moving fat around ya’know… then I will have an uneven cleavage the rest of my life, which is totally fine because Dr. Dumanian has already made me feel 99% better about my visual appearance.  That 1% still misses my old breasts though.

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Gene In IBC Identified

It’s just good to read the studies that are going on out there for inflammatory breast cancer.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified a key gene—eIF4G1—that is overexpressed in the majority of cases of IBC, allowing cells to form highly mobile clusters that are responsible for the rapid metastasis that makes IBC such an effective killer.”

“….there has been little progress in treating IBC over the past two decades, and there are no drugs specifically for this form of cancer. In fact, IBC has only recently been recognized as a unique, genetically distinct form of breast cancer.”

You can read more here.

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Lanolin: Save the Skin (part 2)

It’s become apparent to me that lots of people are out there searching for relief from the pain of radiation.  The reason being is that my post on “save the skin” gets the most hits of anything I’ve written….lol!  WordPress gives you your top posts daily and that one is the one that gets the most hits usually.  The second one is the boob cake from my “bye-bye boobs party.”  Not sure about that one, but it is what it is….lol! 

So after I posted the “save the skin” post I realized I hadn’t included my very favorite moisturizer that I used regularly throughout radiation.  Even now I use it almost weekly on my reconstruction scars. 

When I was nursing my children I discovered a product that would heal my cracked nipples over-night.  If I was ever getting sore I just dabbed some on and by morning, whatever soreness was completely gone.  Lansinoh is basically pure lanolin.  It’s ultra gooey so I would only put it on at night before bed and I only used it a few times a week.  But it is probably the best moisturizer out there for dry skin.   It’s pretty thick but if you put a glob on your skin and wait a few minutes it will soften from your body heat and then you can rub it in to your sore radiated skin.  Go ahead and do it thick, it will soak in by morning. 

You can get it at Target and it looks like this

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