Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remission? Ha!

Wow!   I have not posted in some time but this blog site is still a place and I can visit when I need some sunshine.

Well readers (and maybe Facebook friends and fam); life goes on for me. I had my first stage in breast reconstruction that actually started a few months ago but last Friday (10/18) I experienced the real thang.  This put me back to the Spring/Summer/Fall of 2009 when my Cancer re-reared it's very ugly head.  My emotions did a 360 on me and I felt the same sadness all over again.  I did no research nor did I prepare myself for what I was about to face.  This is so uncharacteristic of me,  I lost control on this one.

I agreed to the 'simplest' form of reconstruction ie inserts and had expanders put in bilaterally a week ago.  My wonderful plastic surgeon has been talking to me for months now about what to expect but I
ignored him.  I placed all my trust in his expertise as I usually do to my male physicians (?). What is wrong with me?  I did not know that he literally opened up my chest wall in two places, cut through the fat and muscle, cut away enough room close to my sternum and place two 'foreign' expanders!!!

This is only the beginning of a long process and as my doc playfully put it last week, "I will start pumping you up next week".  Months of agony and emotional roller coaster.  I can't believe this. Maybe he messed around with my hormones while digging holes in my chest!  I still have drains in, milking it every night to make sure that all that extra fluid comes out.  Every time I go naked I have to look at the progress and feel sorry for myself that I have to go through this in the first place. I think of my chest day and night.  I wonder if there will be a cancer recurrence.

Where is that 'Vilma' all strong and fighting all the odds?  I pray to God that she returns because this person is not me. I want me back. I want me before the cancer.  But I know that this is my destiny. This is why I can empathize with my chronically ill patients and give them strength to heal.

One day at a time.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And so it goes

Well, I have not posted for quite some time. I really enjoy reading other people's post but not eager to open up myself for you to read. Very selfish but I claim perfection and while this may be the fear factor, it is what it is. My dreaded 'C' is still in remission and I really do enjoy whe people open their eyes in what..... Self pity, empathy, happy for me, or what? I pray every single day; Jesus and The Virgin Mary continue to be my Superstars. I attend Mass most Sundays but staying away from helping the poor in my community this year. Last year I wanted to meet and see the smile of the child I helped last year but was told that that was not part of the deal. Bummer! So to me it just became a tax deduction. Anyhoo, I give every month to a family in need through the church and this feels better cause I have a chance to communicate with them. Happy Holidays to all my breast and cancer buddies!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stupid Stupid Cancer

I start my blog today to continue sharing my sadness at the loss of a breast friend who succumbed to this dreadful illness one day ago. Daria Maluta. I first met her last Spring at a conference on metastatic breast cancer - she gracefully agreed to be my roommate and we shared our life stories. Daria left me with good feelings on managing this disease without going out of my mind. She kept in touch with the rest of the world through blogging and introduced me to this website and gave me a quick lesson on getting involved the way she did. What a woman - I am experiencing both sadness and happiness when I think of her. Sadness, because we lost a great sister! Happiness, because I had the pleasure and wonderful experience of meeting her.

Rest in Peace Daria. My love and condolences to the family she has left behind.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Can I use the 'R' word?

Well. I had my oncology appointment this morning. To sum things up, my oncologist was smiling and giving me a non-physical pat on the back. He was smiling ear to ear. He thinks my cancer is 'remissing' ? I am so not using the word 'remission' for fear of an up'risal' by those criminal cells that have taken up residence in my beautiful temple. He actually told me that he is surprised at my progress *sniff sniff bawl*!

I have turned the corner through God's will, my determination, ALL of my family and ALL of friends' and coworkers' support. Sorry [bleep] disability folks - you get no credit. So now I continue praying and giving back as I have been trying to do in the last few months. Amazing how life gives us lemons and we forget that all we have to do is to make lemonade. I did not know that I was going to be writing or saying these words since I was diagnosed with a recurrence of Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer with Liver metastasis in July of 2008.

I lost my younger sister to the disease less than a year ago from that time [November 2008] and another sister was battling colon cancer. I thought all was lost for me but I did not give up. My stubborn 'streak' reared its beautiful head and my continued Faith in God gave me the strength to overcome any obstacle that dared to cross my path. Once I knew my prognosis, I called my American family together and we made a plan. The rest is history. There may have been some minor changes in that plan [smile] but I kept on standing and continued to survive in the best way possible.

A friend of my mine said to me the other day: [paraphrasing] - 'cancer is afraid of you Vilma' and not the other way around. I chuckled because she was so close to the truth. I was still trying to control my doctor's treatment methods while meeting with him this morning and overstayed my welcome in his office. I had his staff cracking up. You see - I never go in for a visit without researching and reading new treatments to this deadly disease. I always have lots of questions and make him scratch his head. I remember the first time that I met with him, he asked to have family members accompany me........ Well, that only happened for about three visits cause I basically told my dear brother Michael and loving daughter Joanne to take a hike! Lol!

Ok. This is enough - I am crying now out of happiness. Life CANNOT get any worse. Trust me. My doc was trying to tell me that the cells are still in my body and recur at any time. Guess what doc: I am not ready for a recurrence and besides God cannot take this busybody/overbearing person in heaven as yet!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Okay to be sad

I received news this morning that my long time ailing aunt died this morning. Yes, she had cancer - in the bone. Suffered quite a bit and this saddened me. We knew her time was near but I cried this morning while praying for her in church and I know crying is okay.

I visited her twice in the last year since she lives overseas and in the countryside. My family usually takes a day off to go to that side of the island. I think about her husband who recently started losing his vision and depended on her quite a bit but God will see him through.

I remember my aunt of years ago - very beautiful woman whose grey eyes lit up when she smiled. My cousin and I shared some wonderful stories of her only last night - I guess we were preparing for this. She still had that beautiful smile and pretty eyes when I saw her last earlier this year. She was still very active, tending to her very large backyard of fruits and vegetables. She also loved animals and had these two monkeys in the yard - even though I think one died. My nieces and nephews loved to visit her. We looked forward to getting some of her fresh produce when we visited and the kids roamed her beautiful land while we were there.

Sad to say, I am not sure if I will be able to attend the funeral since I start a brand new job on Monday [separate blog]. I will dedicate my thoughts and love to her constantly for the next few days and will ask my Parish Priest to include her in his dedications at Mass.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Am I a survivor? Then what is next?

I feel strong; my last visit with my oncologist was good; and he schedules me now for 3 month follow-up visit. However, he has not used the 'R' word: remission. This scares me but since my Faith in God is stronger, I save that feeling for a few minutes a day.

There is one small detail that I am a little nervous about: my orthopedist did a whole body scan a few weeks ago to rule out any metastatic problems in my knee. This was a source of major problems for me for the last several months until I stopped taking Femara. Slowly, my symptoms disappeared but not before I saw an orthopedist. He basically said the scan was fine but as any typical specialist, focussed on any occurrence of osteosarcoma. Well, what the 'h' do you call cancer in the bone from any primary site? Hmmmmmm. In any event, he went on to say that there is something going on in my left rib area but he thinks it is nothing and sent me on my merry way.

HUH? I asked his assistant to pass results onto my oncologist but she declined to do this. So I called my onc and he is now trying to get a copy of radiologist's report since he does not read the film unlike the orthopod. *shaking my head*. I wonder why I stay with this group. I call it continuance of care but the frustration is so overwhelming.

I am also trying to get back into the job market but this is another story that I will reserve for another blog.

Alli: I promise to be diligent :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ta da

I have not posted for quite some time and now barely feeling the need to post. My main brain activity is thoughts about returning to work. I am so tired of the disability harassment. From the insurance company especially. My knees are still bothering me and I have an orthopedist appointment in a few days. There is a Bakers Cyst and a benign tumor that have appeared post Femara but there are so much problems with mobility.

Will update once the orthopedist gives me plan of care.