Thursday, July 21, 2011

Almost 2 years later....

I'm feeling good. It's been almost two years since my Gyn suggested, "Hey, since you're not pregnant right now, why don't you get your baseline mammogram?" You know, because back then, the recommended age for first mammograms was 35.  Three months after my diagnosis, the new recommendations raised the age to 40. Thanks, but I like NOT being dead or having a further dimished life-capacity. Curse you, age 40 mammograms!!

So, what am I doing? Trying to get knocked up. (Not all by my self of course. CJ's helping, too.) I finished my Herceptin back in January and allowed the following months to clear it out of my system. I still feel a bit unbalanced, so I've been pursuing acupuncture. I found a great acupuncturist, Christopher Grodski. He's also a licensed herbalist. I feel much better and it's definately been helping my menstrual cycle, which shortened due to chemo, down to 24 days. In other words, a shortened luteal phase, which isn't good if you're trying to spawn. I'm back up to 26 days.  And I'm more awake, always helpful in keeping up with Miss Elizabeth.

I feel especially joyous during summer. (Yeah, even the hot, sticky, DC ones.) I'll spare everyone the whole, "I'm alive, it's wonderful, I have my family," spiel.  (I'm just not comfy being overly-gooey.) But I definately have more appreciation for the wheel of the year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Grandmother's Christmas Tree

Here is a picture of my favorite decoration. It was my Grandmother Antonides. She made it in the ceramic class that everyone's grandmother was required to take in the late 1960s. (Speaking of which, I still want the popcorn bowl set she made in the class. It's among the missing from my parent's move from my childhood home.) 

My Grandmother's Christmas Tree

My grandmother made three trees. One for my mom, one for my aunt, and one for herself. Good thing, too. There are three Antonides grandchildren; one for each of us. 

I inherited the one she made for herself. Unfortunately, it needed more than just a spit-n-polish cleaning. The base was shattered. 

CJ, my hero, spent hours with a bottle of Krazy Glue and put it all back together. I had a new plug and light bulb base put in so that it wouldn't catch fire.

Note the cracks running through the base and the small hole near the light bulb.

Fully restored, ready to be Elizabeth's favorite decoration someday.

"Bring On the Christmas!!"

This is how CJ describes my instant attitude transformation after towards Christmas right after Thanksgiving dinner is over.

I don't like hearing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  I feel that proper attention is not paid to Thanksgiving if I listen to it beforehand. I'm cheesed that one of the DC radio stations started playing Christmas music two weeks before Thanksgiving. Especially since I just KNOW that the station will stop playing holiday music at noon on Christmas Day. Which annoys me the most. It's like saying, "Well. Done with that holiday. No more money to be made off of people. Let's get back to playing easy listening."

But since Thanksgiving is over.....I'm busting out the decorations!!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ooops! I Didn't Blog About My 6 Year Wedding Anniversary

This does not mean, however, that CJ and I didn't celebrate it. We did. I did not have time to post because I spent most of the 17th of July in my car, with my mom and Elizabeth, driving to Ludington, Michigan. We met up with CJ, my dad, Andy, and John. (Who got to fly to Michigan, lucky bastards. I especially appreciated Andy texting me pictures of his time that day spent in the First Class lounge for Delta in Detroit, enjoying free mimosas and Bloody Marys. Grr.......)

CJ and I did get to go out for an anniversary dinner that night. Andy and John came with us and my parents babysat Elizabeth.

We enjoyed dinner but the after-dinner drinks were more fun! A nice, relaxing time. Thank you, Blu Moon! The food was much better and for the quality, the innovation and price were just right. (I dislike mainstream American seafood and steak places that deliver basic, OK-tasting food and expect to be paid a small fortune.)

CJ and I have been together.....are you ready? FOR 13 YEARS!!! Dating 7, married 6. Eeek!!

Here is the closing prayer we had read at our wedding. It says everything, perfectly.

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May your days together be good and long
upon the earth.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It Will Be a Year This Friday That I Was Diagnosed

So, I'm going to change this blog to be more inclusive of life. Makes sense, since there is more to life than having or living through cancer. (I don't think the word, "survivor" is accurate. At least not until the cancer patient dies of something else.)

Plus, I'm lazy. If I don't start blogging about daily things here, I'll never get round to doing it anywhere else.

As for the anniversary....I still maintain my "You've got Cancer!" (I always think of it in the tones of AOL's famous, "You've Got Mail!" voice) moment will never be a Lifetime movie. I said, "Fuck!" too many times. And while I found my mom's reaction to hearing I had breast cancer almost comical (hey-don't judge me. It was 11:30am and had been a long day already. Crying and hiding in the bathroom so Elizabeth wouldn't be scared, calling CJ at work and Jo at home. Long day.)

Polly: "Mom, my gyno just called back with biopsy results. I've got breast cancer."
Mom: "NO!"
Polly: "Yes; now I've..(interrupted)
Mom: "NO!"
Polly: "Yes. Do you think you could (interrupted again)
Mom: "NO!!!!!!!"
Polly: "Yes."
Mom: "NO!"
Polly: OK, this is getting us no where. I. HAVE. CANCER. Can you hurry up with Denial phase and just move to Anger?"
Mom: "I'm coming right over." (hangs up and is at my house in 20 minutes.)

It had to have been one of the stranger weekends in my life. My parents spent all Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with CJ, Elizabeth, and I. Took us out for dinner, went to our pool, etc. I kept feeling like everyone was watching me, like they were waiting for the Big Emotional Cancer Breakdown or something equally mushy. Drama, I'm good with-mushy, not so much. (At least to anyone over the age of 4!)

My first phone calls to spread the Un-happy news were to CJ, at work, and Jo, at home in Minnesota.
CJ said, "Oh, shit." I quite concur-it really was an OSM. (Oh Shit Moment.) He snapped into asking questions about the biopsy and said he was coming home immediately. I can't remember if I was crying then. I think CJ was trying to do three thing at once:

1. Not freak in his office
2. Comfort his wife, over a phone
3. Try to start getting cancer/medical stuff DONE!

I'm sure he wanted to indulge in a momentary mini-breakdown. I wouldn't have blamed him. But he's CJ. He keeps it together, asks the right questions, and come home immediately and made me fresh, homemade crabcakes.

You never really think you'll be putting those marriage vows of "in sickness and in health" to use so soon. To put it simply; he is the best person I know and the best decision I've ever made.

I called Jo next. I think that's when I started crying. Told my BF and sobbed, "Will you come out if I have to have surgery?" (sob! sniffle!) I felt so much better-there didn't seem to be a moment of hesitation-"Of course, I'll come!!" Thank you again, so much.

The hardest "I've Got Cancer" phone calls were to my mom (see above) because I knew I would have to emotionally take care of her and I was feeling already overextended; and to my friend, Bill. Because his father died from cancer back in 2005. I get the feeling (and I could be wrong-it does happen occasionally!) that people who lose someone they loved to cancer have more of a visceral reaction to your cancer news. It ain't pretty. And they know it-they have a better idea than most people in the world of what you'll be facing. They ask the more pointed and specific questions right off the bat.

I still just feel horrible for calling Bill on his vacation. I remember that when I finally got in touch with him, he was giving his kids a bath. I said, "I was just diagnosed with breast cancer today." And quiet, except the splashing of Lilibet and Charlotte in the water.

Made it through the horrible (because after a while, I was just exhausted from having to repeat/relieve the story of my diagnosis yet AGAIN) phone calls.

Told my in-laws. Knew right away that Betsy would be do everything she could and would take care of Elizabeth for us during surgery. She did more than that-she kept my child HAPPY, in a truly crappy time. I can never thank her enough.

Good. I've now recorded it for Posterity. Now I can move along to this year.

I'm hoping that this year brings:

1. No cancer return trips. Gee, I think that's a given.
2. I'd like to have another baby, when my Herceptin is finished in December. We can start trying in March.
3. My long hair. I want it back.

Peace, prosperity, health. You know the drill.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Want a New Drug

In the words of the famous 80's singer, Huey Lewis. I'm having sleep problems. "Brought to you by the cancer wonder-drug, Tamoxifen!!"" Tamoxifen is an antiestrogen.  Antiestrogens bind to estrogen receptor site on cancer cells thus blocking estrogen from going into the cancer cell.  This interferes with cell growth and eventually leads to cell death."

That's all well and good but I wake up like clockwork at 3am, too hot to sleep. It's not a hot flash-I'm just perpetually warmer. 

I'm taking Black Cohosh to reduce the symptoms. Nothing is happening. So, I talked to my oncologist about it. She prescribed Rozerum, a sleeping med. Well, NOW I'm tired. At 3am, I was hot and awake. Bummer. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two New Cancer Articles to Scare the Poop Out of You

I'm not surprised, in the middle of the recession, that this is occuring. "Study: Millions of Cancer Survivors Put Off Care."

But the second article really got me thinking. Especially since I already have "issues" with estrogen on account of the PCOS. My Inconvenient Truth Sense is tingling...... is it all connected? Or did I just have too much coffee this morning?

BPA Exposure Much Higher in Canned Food Than Plastic Containers

So, I'm not buying Diet Coke in cans anymore. In fact, I'm now totally paranoid and trying to avoid using canned food unless necessary. (Which is really unfortunate, as canned food is cheap. And I've never seen sweetened condensed milk in a carton.)

Why the sudden healthy hissy-fit?

BPA and Breast Cancer Link

Now, I realize it's a day late and a dollar short to prevent me from getting breast cancer. But, gee, I'd sure as heck like to stop it from making a return trip. And I'd like Elizabeth and any future children to have less of chance of getting it.

Thus, my spaghetti-O boycott begins...