One Day At A Time

This is a copy of my private Facebook journal of the healing trek…

God mornings are soo hard. The pain meds have worn off by then and I awake in agony. I have exercises I do three times daily to stretch the abused skin and muscle but in the morning I feel as though I have to start all over again. The meds dull the pain only but do make it so that little by little I can claim bits of myself back. The day that tylenol does the trick is going to be a good day.

As a person in recovery I am uncomfortable with taking narcotics but the truth is right now it is the only option. I will heal better and sooner if the pain is treated.

It is still probably 2-3 weeks before I can drive so my independence is compromised. Dressing myself is limited to things that button in front. Can’t lift more than 15 pounds but that feels too heavy. Can only lift my arms half way to my shoulders so this makes everything from combing my hair to scratching just about everywhere almost impossible. Grabbing, pushing, pulling, certain actions are a no-no.  Lifting my arms over my head, assuming I could actually do it, is verboten. Sleeping on my back doesn’t really allow me to go as deep as I like…

It does at least look like the drains will be removed this Thursday and that is cause for joy. I must be so careful not to pull them, I must be so cautious. It will feel like a major milestone of healing achieved.

Sort of complaining this morning as I’m eager to do just one arty thing and pain makes me a bit crazy. But I will be satisfied with a shower and a short walk in the sun and a visit from Mr. Furnace.

One day at a time can be so DAILY…


This little bump is a pain for sure. Buried under my skin, it is a pipeline to one of my major veins. It will make it easier for my body to eventually accept large doses of chemo therapy. It has a “port” with ridges that they can lock/connect a contraption to for long hours at a time. Like my drains it will make the whole process easier for me and the doctors but I find it creeps me out considerably. It hurts like hell and makes me sick when I consider what it’s going to look like when I am in chemo treatment. Like my 3 hanging drains, this is just gross to me and yet integral to my healing and so I welcome it!

Just one of the indignities I must accept. The moment they say they don’t need it any more and remove it will be another of those joyous days.

The Damage Done

Here I am sitting in my hospital bed. Minus my breasts and several lymph nodes. Starting to come out of shock but this is a brutal test no doubt about it.

I’ve temporarily shut down the Etsy Shop as I couldn’t possibly ship anything right now

I’ve received a lot of good support from many places and it touches me greatly.

I am exhausted and can’t have visitors but I am trying to stay connected when I can. Not responding to emails or calls either. Just gotta heal this quite injured body.

Peace and love and I’ll let you know when I have some vigor back.



Sorry gang, I know it’s Christmas but I finally have the gumption to write a post. I’ve been sleeping a lot and just laying really low as I process the last week. It’s been intense. Come back and read later if you don’t want sad news.

Well friends, the jury is in.  Breast cancer that has spread to a lymph node.  The good news about that is that it is non-metastatic.  But boy howdy.

I went in for the biopsy and got a bit of a surprise. They weren’t looking at my big lump at all. There were two areas that looked like they might be DCIS and the lymph node wasn’t looking good.  They had a terrible time getting a sample of the suspected DCIS because my lumpy friend was in the way.  She said it was like trying to get through a brick wall and in 20 years she’d never experienced anything like it.  Evidently I’m a Trooper.  We started laughing about super heroes and she said maybe my lump was kryptonite.

She managed to get a decent sample of the suspected DCIS by coming at it from another angle. Yay? I insisted that I had the stamina for a biopsy of the lymph node. Told them that no way could I go home worrying about it not being tested.

These two procedures are not for the meek or shy.  I won’t go into the details but jeebuz.

So I got the results Friday just as I was leaving work for the long weekend.  The Winter Solstice. *sigh* CANCER.  Big time but survivable. She assured me I would definitely survive this. I don’t even know what the results of the suspected DCIS is yet or what stage etc.  What I know is that in their attempts to scale that brick wall, somehow, they got just enough cells to show that my lump is definitely cancer and it has taken over my axillary lymph node.  Did you know that there are probably a dozen lymph nodes related to each breast?  I didn’t know that so whew, this one is so close it’s considered breast cancer too.

Thursday I go to meet with my surgeon and to get an MRI.  I really hope that they check my left breast with the MRI.  Honestly, she has lumps too. The reason I’m concerned about this is that my big lump didn’t actually show up on my mammogram or ultrasound as anything more than a shadow that they didn’t seem all that concerned about. It’s possible they didn’t tell me but… This FREAKS ME OUT!!! Thank Goddess for the biopsy.

I will be having a double mastectomy and reconstruction.  Don’t know if insurance will pay for my left breast but I’m going to insist that it be done.  There is a 25% chance of cancer showing up in the healthy breast in the five years after treatment.  Not a chance I’m willing to take given the fact that a mammogram might not have shown this. I sure don’t want to go through this twice and hey, I would prefer a matched set you know?

I am facing a couple months of treatment, radiation looks probable and possibly chemo and/or hormones.  We shall see. I’ll know much more after the surgery appointment. I’ll have a date scheduled which will help me prepare.  The doctor assured me that any time in the next month is fine but frankly, I think I’ll scream if I have to wait a whole month. OMG.

Initially I thought I would write about the journey but we shall see.  I don’t know. There are a lot of cancer blogs out there.  But I’ll have to get some of it out of my system so there will probably be sporadic posts.

I’m working on a Tree of Life embroidery piece. I’ve decided I want to create this in honor of my defiance to kryptonite and my insistence on living a long and joyful life.  When I’m not too tired I’ll probably post photos… I won’t be around much but I will survive as soon as this Kryptonite is out of my system.

Mr. Furnace has really stepped up to the plate and I feel very loved and supported right now. He’s been a rock and so sweet and yet so matter of fact about. He’s loving without too much sympathy and no pity, just the right amount. He’s coming over soon to hang a bit, open presents, and drink hot cocoa before we go have dinner with his family.

My boss is just really gobsmacked and has given his unswerving support. I have great disability insurance at work and I’m certain they will be able to hold my job. They were going to hire a new producer in a couple months as we expect to get slammed in the spring. I’m going to suggest that they hire them now to fill in while I’m gone (he might have thought of this over the weekend his own self) and get up to speed and then I’ll be back just about the time they planned on bringing the new one in. That is my hope, that we can time this so that it will work for all concerned.  This would give me some wiggle room.  The Family Medical Leave Act says they have to keep my job if I’m gone up to 12 weeks.  If it takes longer, this plan will make it possible to be gone a little longer and still have a job to come back to. They love me there so I’m not worried but you never know…

As Arnold said in The Terminator, I’ll be back. I wish you the best and thank you so very much for your support and love.

Tomorrow is one of the days

So, biopsy is tomorrow.  The doctor called to kindly tell me she has decided to only biopsy my right breast, not the left after all.  But she will take several samples of Miss Right.

Breathing, just breathing…  Plodding, just plodding…

One foot in front of the other, I’ve called off the added stress of making a bunch of Yule presents.  They will have to wait for next year.  This year, I’m giving myself the gift of as little stress as possible.


edit:  I’ve spent the last few days researching the possibilities, checking out my insurance (my insurance ROCKS), my disability pay options (which also ROCKS). Now that I am free to move in any direction I feel comfortabler.  I’ve looked the dark side in the face and found that I can accept that if it comes.


(or butt as Mr. F would say)

I want to live. I didn’t come this far through fire to have this be the end.  All is going to be well, I am going to be well.  I’m working with my trainer to boost my health with lots of macrobiotics, exercise, and a bit of a body cleanse.  I’m prepping myself to be strong no matter which way the wind blows but I fully intend to live to 100.

So there.

Is Fortune Smiling? 12-12-12

Today I had many many digital mammograms taken (gosh, 15?) and then ultrasound (boy did she look very hard and very long at one area) and finally a referral to biopsy next week and two surgeons…  The surgeons may or may not be needed depending on the biopsy results.  That happens next Wednesday.

Susan G. Kommen – Breast Cancer and Mammography

Six weeks ago I found a massive lump, about the size of an Oreo cookie. I watched for a month and then went to see my doctor who told me it was good I’d already waited the month because she would have had me wait a month and watch. I do my bazoom check every month but this one wasn’t detected by the method they suggest.  It was completely random and did I say BIG.

Turns out they want to biopsy the breast that I thought was still normal too…  “Suspicious Calcification” was used and the radiologist made it clear she is concerned about Miss Right and suggests I have a breast surgeon look at this, perhaps in addition to the biopsy next week.

There are some forms of calcification that a radiologist can simply give you the go light on and all is well.  Suspicious not so much.  The good news is if this is malignant, it is probably very slow growing and so we have time to take the little fuckers out.

Right now I’m trying to breathe, get through the holidays, and a bit of distance from Mr. Furnace. We are still a couple but it’s become quite clear that we both have unfinished business that needs to be addressed and finished before he and I can move forward. I have hope for us, the love is deep and true.  But I think we both need a bit of breathing space. The timing isn’t optimum but it will allow me to go into the cocoon and just rest and be quiet and take care of me. I hope he does the same, I love him so very, very much.

I feel hopeful that all will be well in all areas of my life, body, and soul. But today is a grey day and my heart feels kind of heavy right now.

I won’t be worrying about the blog or other projects much in the coming weeks but as news becomes available I’ll check in and let you all know how I’m doing.

Befriend your breasts my sisters. Check them every month. Don’t just be all clinical about them and do the step 1 step 2 bazoom check.  Really get to know them so that you will notice any changes. But the step 1, 2, 3 is better than no step at all.


Love Cyn