Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rip it out!

I have not had too many physically rough nights or days since this whole cancer journey started, but last night I was ready to give up on everything. My expansion is at the point where I feel it is going to hurt all the time, and last night I wanted to cry and yank the thing out. I cannot describe the feeling; I guess the closest thing to it is a major muscle spasm in your back, with a excrutiating tightness in the chest. It hurts like hell.

Then I start to wonder if I shouldn't have even bothered with reconstruction. It actually looks ok under clothes right now, but at yesterday's appointment Dr. M said that it isn't filling in all the way to Mr. Pizza Pocket like it Mr. Pizza Pocket is still just hanging there, rather than expanding. I can't figure out why the fluid just doesn't fill in, but perhaps the expander isn't big enough? He did mention that the future implant may need to be bigger but he was pretty vague about it all and I was more worried about the pain than asking questions. We ended with just 50 cc's and it still put me over the edge last night. I will say that I am better today, but I took a major dose of Ibuprofen this morning and can at least move about without groaning! Laying flat is a different story--we have resorted to the old "Jimmy hoisting beached whale Molly up off the bed" routine. I tried flipping on my side, flipping my legs off the bed, using my elbows, doing a super dooper fast sit up--all these things-- and I still end up looking like a turtle on her back.

Heavy sigh.

Last night was Ginger's 65th birthday. That lady is one special lady. Pam and I marvel everyday about what a wonderful mother in law she is. We want Oprah to do a show about her.

Yesterday I received two books from some really nice people. First, Mary Working dropped off a book from Cathy Bair, a Niles breast cancer survivor who is in charge of a local support group. The book was called HOPE and featured mini-stories of local ladies who are surviving breast cancer. Thank you Cathy! We have never met but I hear about you all the time. The stories were inspirational and remind me I am not alone in this.

Secondly, Kelly Gaideski sent me CRAZY SEXY CANCER: Tips for Cancer in the mail. I am sure many of you have heard of the television show of the same name. It is written by a young cancer survivor who has a really rare cancer in her liver--only 200 people a year are diagnosed with it--but she is still fighting and wow, how funny is the book. I love it because she says "frick" and every once in a while uses the REAL "F" word! : ) I love the sense of humor in it and there are so many things that she has said that I have said...she calls her liver the swiss cheese because her cancer looks like holes on the scans. I have not seen the tv show but hear it is great. Thanks Kelly--I am hardly in the book yet but have loved every minute I have read so far. (I tried to read it last night but beached whales and turtles stuck on their backs have issues)

What else. I don't know. I guess it is time for tacos at John and Ginger's. Josh is now going trick or treating as a ghost. Yes, a sheet with two holes in it. But creative Jimmy decided to use a Notre Dame sheet that used to be on Josh's bed so now Josh is going as The Ghost of Notre Dame Football. Andrew has National Honor Society Inductions.

Tomorrow a buddy named Valerie, who has ACC breast, is having her surgery. I wish you lots of luck Valerie and my prayers are with they have been. Valerie and Kristina, I am so glad we have the internet!

Happy Halloween all...may your night be filled with Reeses' Peanut Butter cups.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

A plethora of information about nothing.

Hello hello hello. It has been the longest time between posts since my diagnosis. I take that as a good sign, although I will say that cancer is still on my mind of course.

I am still in pain from my latest expansion. Getting up from a flat position is as difficult as it was post mastectomy so I am doing a lot of moaning and groaning. I also notice it at work. Despite the breath catching pain, I am doing fine. It is just a daily reminder that I am going through crap because of a disease I despise.

But, as always, there is a positive. The new boob is starting to look like a boob under clothes. I still have to wear Ms. Filler Boob but last night Jim was commenting on the new boob and said it was beautiful. He is so sweet. I just have these aches all around my rib cage.

Still suffering from allergies I think. I truly haven't noticed my ear pain since the U of M visit (what does that tell you!) but throat is still sore and the whole side of my neck. I am blaming that on allergies and a runny nose.

Also, thank you Evan for your kinds words! I hope I am not embarrasing myself with all my crazy posts but I am glad you enjoy reading. I also see all of your posts to the Zimmermans and I know that is helping them. You are a special young man, Evan.

We are gearing up for Halloween and the Harvest Dance this week in our house, plus National Honor Society inductions. Crazy Mil has a tradition that she feeds the whole family tacos on Halloween and us old fogies hang at the house while the youngters and their parents trick or treat. I do NOT miss walking the streets of Misty Acres--it is much more fun to see all the kids come in to John and Ginger's Dungeon of Dead Animals! This year tho' we will have to leave early to make the honor society inductions.

Manly man James is out hunting--since 6:30 this a.m.. In the rain, in the cold, etc. I don't get it, but he is in heaven when he does this. Silly Jimmy. He did call and told Josh we would take him to Famous Dave's for lunch. Josh is a rib hound I must say.

Also, oh my gosh! Betty brought me my recipe book of all the weeks of meals I had during my recovery! What a great gift! I also have copies of all the wonderful recipes so if any one wants them, let me know. Betty, you have been such a blessing to me in all of this. When I start to feel like everyone has moved on and I feel "cancer lonely" I know you are out there. Thanks Liz Moses! By the way, I am still working on my thank you notes. My mom would KILL me if she knew how behind I am. For now, I will still thank ALL of you for all that you have done. I made it through this far with an upbeat attitude because of all of you.

Ginger and John leave for the UP on November 1. It has been so reassuring to have them home. Now I am looking forward to heading to the UP for Thanksgiving. It will mean more to me this year than any other year I am sure. It is a time to do nothing but read, eat, sleep, laugh, eat some more, and laugh some more. I am so glad Johnny and Mimi are going--very sad Danny and Aida aren't but understand they have to make up time for football season. Ginger just loves it when we are all there. We also have others' coming from the other side of the fence (aka George's family) so it will still be lots of fun. Andrew is taking Dan Holland and this will be his first hunt. Dan is one of the funniest kids I know and such an easy kid to take places.

TTFN. Thanks for reading and being there for me. You all still mean so much to me!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cement boob.

I have a boulder for a boob.

No kidding.

Boob is rock solid right now. Dr. M could only put 60 cc's today. It aches terribly right now--but I know it should be ok tomorrow. I took 800 mg of Ibuprofen when I got home and it took the edge off but it feels like I am having a major muscle spasm from the front of my chest to the back. I told Jim it feels like I have a spear through my chest. Tonight might have to be a Darvocet night...

SOOOOO glad to hear from you Kristina! good luck on your move. I don't think I could move right now. We have so much crap. We would have to get a big dumpster first. Jim is pretty good about throwing things away, but its those crazy things like shot gun shells that I don't know what to do with...: ) Yes, I know Mother, IF YOU WOULD JUST PUT IT WHERE IT BELONGS...

We are between sports seasons in the Brawley household which means both kids are home after school. Studying, cleaning their rooms, helping make dinner. You know how it is.

Ginger made Dr. M mad today. She insists on asking when I will be done with the fill up process just to get under his skin. Easy for her to do! I am the one he sticks the big a@@ needle in...
He refuses to answer that question, for obvious reasons, as it is too hard to predict how much I get each week, etc. I have 460 cc's total. I will have to do some research to find out the average fill up. The chest muscle isn't quite even with my other boob yet, but with Sponge Bob in, my filled boob actually looks somewhat bigger than the reduced boob. I may have to flatten Sponge Bob a bit.

My sweater stinks right now. Have you ever left the wash in the washer too long and then dried it? EGUCK. Did I smell like this all day???

Jim made a fabulous salad to go with dinner tonight. I am loving veggies right now for some reason.

Ok. Time to go get the p.j.'s on. Rock boob needs to come out of its holster.

Love to you all. Kristina, thanks for posting. I just needed to know you are ok!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kristina, where art thou?

I was just thinking about you Kristina--the last you wrote you were suffering from some indigestion and I just want to make sure you are ok! So post when you can...I also want you to read what I learned from Dr. Wolf, and Valerie and ACC/breast person in CA who met with the supposed "expert" from UCDavis. What we know is all there is to know! : )

To the rest of you, enjoy this gorgeous fall day...happy birthday Gage...congrats to Andrew and all of his friends for getting into National Honor Society...congrats to Josh on his 100 percent on both his history and geometry tests...congrats to the Vikings for their 49-0 win over Benton Harbor...TL, I hope to you are doing GREAT...Ava may be moving to a regular laundry is all done...Andrew's $8,000 teeth are straight and pretty and he likes them...

Lots of things to be thankful for--


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nimmy's poem for me

I got home from U of M on Wednesday and found this scrawled poem that Jim had written me while I was there. Just another reason I feel so blessed.

Cancer can't take away your smile or laughter

It can't take away our happily ever after

It can't take away your warmth and love

the touch of your hands

and the fact that

you've made me a better man

It can't take away from our late night spoons

or coming to a theater near you soon

It can't take away Muhammad's lighting of the torch

or Gibby's home run to the right field porch

It can't take away all the young men and women you

have helped mold

It can't touch your mind, your spirit, or your soul.

It can't take away your courage to help others in need

It can't take away Josh's love or give Andrew any speed

It can't take away our wonderful dreams that lay deep down inside

And it can't take away your Viking pride

It can't touch your love for family and friends

And it can't touch that I will never, ever

have to look for my soulmate again.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No answers, but lots of reassurance.

I just have to say first off that Ava is the most gorgeous baby! My goodness. I can't even describe her to you all. Despite the machines, the wires, the people, the needles, everything--you could feel her strength every second you watched her. We missed Jamie and Jamie unfortunately but were blessed with seeing Ava. Wow. She is just a miracle and looked so perfect.

Now, for me. I got no answers but lots of reassurance. I feel like the cloud has lifted a bit--no, a lot. Dr. Wolf is so flippin' amazing--he remembered everything about me (yeh, I guess he could have read my chart) and listened listened listened to every single fear/question I had. First, a resident came in and examined me and said everything looked good. Then Dr. Wolf came in with the Chief Resident (both residents were females) and explained to both of them that I am a very interesting patient, (and then he looks at me and says "you really don't want to be interesting to doctors" with a wink) and explained my whole neck tumor case and then let me explain my symptoms. He was very interested to know that my first bite syndrome is still presenting itself, plus my Horner's Syndrome in my eye, and my palate something or other...he said that the follow up was really good for him as he is learning from me about my past surgery...he was also quite proud of how my incision in my neck looks (I bet a lot of you have never noticed it) etc. etc. He said there is nothing to indicate to him that I have anything but residual affects from the neck surgery--he said the PET/CT scan I had WAS reliable (if ACC was there it would light up) but that I should continue to have them. He said I turned the tables on him--he has seen plenty of ACC/neck and that he always advises his female patients to be very diligent about breast exams since this is a glandular cancer and the breast is a gland--he thought for a moment about my future screenings and just said to keep being aware of my salivary glands in case it reverses itself. He also said that the good news was that for all breast cancers, this is a good one to get, but the bad news is it could come back even 20 years later, but they have learned that MOST cancers can come back 20 years later----ANYWAY. I asked him about the whole coincidence with the type of cells in my breast cancer and salivary cells from first bite syndrome and he explained that very well so I now believe they are not related...I won't bore you with details but I believe him. What else? One thing I did not ask is specifically what is causing my pain, etc but both Ginger and I inferred it is just the whole surgery thing...even in my ear. I also had him check, along with the resident, this lump I have had on the back of my neck since BEFORE the neck tumor--and he leans over and whispers in my ear "it's just fat." I laughed and said, Oh I am used to that, (the resident was much kinder, calling it by its real name a "fatty lipoma". She said it is way too superficial to be anything else. And, another thing I really liked is he dictated his letter to Dr. Ansari right in front of me so I know exactly what he said. I forgot he did that in the past too...I have never had a doctor do that. Ginger loved him too and thinks I should always go back to see was worth every second in the car. I can't say enough about the U of M care system...we got in 15 minutes early, he spent almost an hour with me, and would have spent more if I needed it. Plus I had three doctors check me out. It was just good. (he did have one concern: WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH MY IRISH??? he said) He's a Notre Dame grad, of course. : )

My manly man just came in from hunting so I must see if he brought home the bacon. Nope, no luck.

I need to check my email from work. By the way, Madame T Lynch--good luck tomorrow with your stuff! Call if you need anything and make sure you rest.

Love to all and sleep tight my little Ava--you are loved loved loved!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gone with the Wind and hot dog juice.

Let's start with my most recent pump up. OUCH! The chest muscle is really getting stretched. I said , sure do 120cc's--piece of cake! When we got to 100 cc's I started to really feel it, and by the time it was at 110 Dr. M could tell by the look on my face that I was in pain and said "I am backing you up to 100ccs." So that is where we left it. I still felt really good about the visit because I can REALLY tell it is working by looking at it, and feeling the chest muscle stretch tells me we are doing what we are supposed to be doing! I still, almost 12 hours later, feel like I am having to catch my breath, and I can't lift my arm that well, but it is ok.

My ear hurts like crazy today--but when I drove home from school I didn't even notice it. I can't wait to go to U of M, even though I am terrified--AT LEAST I WILL HAVE SOME MORE INSIGHT from a doctor who has at least treated ACC (albeit not the ACC breast) but at least knows what it is. I just keep telling myself pursuing his opinion is the right thing to do, but part of me wants to cancel and just ignore everything. But I won't of course.

OH! I forgot. I had my first facial today. Now, that was interesting. I am not about having people look at me really close up--probably why I hate the dentist and the eye doctor.--so this was a little uncomfortable at first. She starts by cleansing my face, then some mask that reminded me of junior high when my girlfriends and I would buy all that stuff and peel green masks from our face....then she steamed me for awhile. (I about choked on that one--I felt like I couldn't breathe) After that some other cream stuff that smelled ok, until she asked me if I thought it smelled like hot dog juice...and it did! I never even knew hot dogs had juice...

Anyway, at the end of the facial she starts massaging my head and that sort of freaked me out. I didn't expect it and what kept going through my mind was a scene from Gone with the Wind when Rhett is so mad and Scarlett that he squeezes her head in between his hands and says "I could crush your skull right now, Scarlett." It felt good but my mind wandered and thought maybe she was some wierdo who liked to play in thick crazyfrizzy hair...THEN, suddenly she was using a tiny brush to put something on my lips and that made me think she was "Dressing me up"--it was soooo silly on my part--she was very nice but obviously didn't tell me much as to why she was doing what she was doing. After all, I was a freebie so why waste time? : )

Actually, I really could tell the difference in my skin--I glowed the whole way home and will probably do it again. It was just wierd!

Have you all read others' top ten lists? I think they are amazing! If you can't think of ten, just put a fact, Crazy Mil said she can't think of ten things she wants to do before she leaves this earth...I said, now that is a great life! I told her some of yours and then she got the way Donna, if you are reading this, Crazy Mil misses you very much!

TTFN! mucho amore --(much love in Molly language)


Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't forget to do your Top Ten

Just a reminder to post your top ten--and don't forget to read what everyone else has written. They are all so fun to read! I want to make mine a Top 100! And as you can see, we all have sooooo much in common.

Another person Pam knows was diagnosed with cancer recently, and Uncle Rick, married to Barb, also has some sort of skin cancer. I did read on YAHOO today that colon cancer death rates took a big dip...and breast cancer diagnoses have also dipped. The BC thing may be misleading as fewer women are having mammograms, but perhaps fewer women having hormone therapy have lessened the diagnosis as well. It is October--have you all had a mammo in the last year? (for those of us over 40) Also, have a day with your boobs tonight and feel all over them for anything unusual. Get your significant other to help, if needed.

My email buddy Valery in CA. is meeting with California's ACC/breast expert tomorrow. She is going to ask lots of questions and email the answers to me so I will keep you posted. She is having her surgery Nov. 1. I have decided weekends are my worst worry time--throughout the week, I rarely worry because I am too busy. Tomorrow is BOOB FILL UP DAY. I am so excited to see more progress--I also get a free facial at the Skin Spa. Then U of M on Wednesday. I go from being proud of myself for being a self-advocate and trusting my body, to being scared out of my flippin' mind. Either way, as I have said a million times, I have to face this head on, regardless of what it is.

Going to run now. Not literally--in fact, I am going to RUN to the kitchen to eat the yummy homemade macaroni and cheese my angel Betty brought over.

POST YOUR TOP TEN! Make Pam happy! She wants more postings! ME TOO!

Blessings 2,390 times over to all--


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dreary Sunday...brighten it up with YOUR Top Ten!

Happy Rainy Sunday to you. I actually am glad that it is raining so I can stay in the house, without my boob on, in comfortable sweats, and I can make cookies.

For Christmas this past year, Jim and I decided not to get our nephews the typical Christmas presents--we decided to take them to Cedar Point in the upcoming summer. Because of cancer, and Little League World Series, we never made it in the summer but did so yesterday.

Luckily, the kids had a great time but I will tell you it was insanely crowded! The workers said it was a record-breaking weekend. EVERYTHING had a long line--even the vending machines. I normally go on all the rides but this year thought I should sit them out--between my boobs issues and my pain in the neck it was the right decision. But it left for some long waits...and even though the kids never got that cold, I was frozen by the end of the night. We got home at 1:00 this morning and decided next year we have to do it in two days--I was going out of my mind trying to stay awake to keep Jim awake--it didn't seem to bother him--mainly because he claims to have slept quite often (yes, he was driving) Like I said, the kids had a good time and were GREAT. so it really as fun. We are already planning next year, and think we might camp right there at Cedar Point.

A woman emailed me this weekend from one of my list servs and she is an ACC survivor--but her ACC was in her salivary gland. She had Dr. Wolf at U of M and loves him--but just sees an oncologist now. : ( What was disturbing about her email was that she says she now has ACC/breast. And despite my numerous questions, she hasn't said if they are mets or not. (obviously I am still concerned that I have ACC in my neck--and that my breast was not primary) She said something like her lung biopsies (she now has mets to her lungs) went through where the tumors then showed up...anyway, just another reason I am glad I am going to see Dr. Wolf. But my issues unfortunately are NOT better--in fact, I woke up this morning and my ear, neck, throat etc. were already throbbing. Keep praying that it is just some viral infection or something. I also have another fear that my schwannoma six years ago was really ACC. I doubt they could make that drastic of a mistake but stranger things have happened.

Ok--now that I have been nothing but dismal, let's do my TOP TEN THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I LEAVE THIS EARTH. (don't worry about order..that is too hard.)

Drum roll....and mine are very simple, by the way.

Own an RV and travel all over this country.

Go to Hawaii and actually stay on the ocean.

Visit the White House and other DC attractions.

Tour plantations of the south.

Build a Brawley Compound in the UP. (Pam and I already have plans as to what it MUST have. )

Be a grandma. (not for awhile, however!)

Be a runner. (ok, so this might be a fantasy but it would mean so many things!)

See this community pass a bond issue. (this too would mean so many things!)

Have my boys meet women who make them very, very happy and have wonderful marriages. (Andrew seems to be well on his way!: )

Be alive when a cure for cancer is discovered.

See how easy that is? Don't stress about it...just post! You may inspire others or may find you have a lot in common with someone else.

Much love to you all--


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Laughing and Top Ten Poll to come...

I am 100 percent exhausted today. The final bell of the day rang and I actually felt my shoulders and eyelids droop with extreme tiredness. I tried to clean my desk and didn't even have the gumption to do that. So here I am drinking some yummy ice cold tomato juice. Jim went hunting and Josh went to the football game. Andrew has practice and then team dinner at Wings Etc. The house is quiet and toasty warm. It's cold outside!

My appointment with Dr. Wolf is next Wednesday at 2:15. I am nervous but Crazy Mil will make it ok. I am so hopeful it will ease my mind and not open another hellacious cancer diagnosis. That just scares me to death. But I have to face whatever it is as if it is something bad it's NOT going away.

Troy Meek is having his surgery as we speak. Prayers to you Troy for a speedy recovery.

Let's see. Lonnie, I miss you. Come home and let's talk baseball. I want summer, I want my first anniversary of being cancer free, I want sunshine, I want to laugh with Lois and Lisa, and anyone else who wants to join us.

Today I got the extreme giggles thinking about something that Heather did to me a few years ago. Why I thought of it now, I don't know, but it is one of those things that whenever it pops up in your mind you start laughing.

A few years ago I always balanced my checkbook using the telephone service the bank provides. (I do everything by computer now of course) Anyway, it was sort of my Saturday morning task and I usually did it in the chaos of Jim getting the kids up for Rocket Football, making breakfast, etc. So I am sitting on the couch, dialing the phone and the kids are screaming so I yell "SHHH! I am balancing my checkbook!."

I then place my ear to the phone and expect to hear it ringing, but lo and behold I hear the computerised voice saying, very sternly I might add, "Your account is overdrawn."

Stunned, as I knew I had money I said weakly to the voice, "It is?"

And then Heather just starts cracking up like she was funny or something. (She had called in right as I was dialing and heard me yelling about my checkbook)

This story always makes me laugh out loud.

I am sure you don't find it funny at all, but hey, I have laughed all day about this for some reason.

Hey, my next blog I am going to do a poll of sorts. I want you to think about 10 things you want to do before you leave this earth. I did this once in the classroom and I remember going to New York City was on my list (which i have now done) but with the whole cancer thing, I should revisit it--not because I am going to die soon or anything, but because I want to do some cool things. Anyway, I will post mine and then I want you to post yours (in case I am missing something cool) So stay tuned!

Ok. I may actually run up to the soccer and football games.

Pray for Ava tomorrow--she will be having an MRI on her tiny heart to see if she needs major surgery or a minor procedure.

Love to you,


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


If you have read my comments, you will see a post from April, affectionately known to many of us as Brendan Michael Meek's mom. Troy, who is a former NHS student, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Marcia, Troy's aunt, is my beloved secretary. April, Marcia told me this morning and I really wanted to just scream the big F word at the top of my lungs. THIS JUST SUCKS! I am so glad my blog has helped in any little way--I do it more for my therapy and to maybe help someone else--so I recommend you start one for Troy, as many people will want to know his progress and how he is doing. But of course, you will need to feel up to it. If you want any help, let me know, but it is quite easy. I told Marcia this morning that Troy and I will walk the survivor's lap together at the Relay For Life next summer--

Are we in Niles cursed or what? As Pam said, is it our ages? Damn it, no. I may be old but Troy certainly isn't! And today I also found out about another person I work with who has squamous cell carcinoma on her lip, and possible melanoma on her back. She is awaiting test results on this area to see if she needs more treatment. She was also telling me about ANOTHER colleague who has a cancerous mass in her lung. These are all people closely related to the school community. Damn, damn, damn.

The good news of the day--I think it is good news anyway--is Dr. Wolf emailed me back the nicest, kindest, most compassionate email. He told me "not to panic", as my symptoms could be many things, but that he would be very glad to see me and hopes that after our visit he will be able to reassure me if possible. (that "if possible" scared me a bit but what else can the man say?) Now I am playing phone tag with his personal assistant, but I will be going up there. He didn't want me to get any more tests done yet, but wants me to bring a copy of the PET/CT scan. That made be glad, as that tells me he at least thinks that scan should be reliable.

My ear and throat still hurt--this is going on months of off and on pain--but even my mom said it could all be sinus related--something she has dealt with her whole life. I just have to trust my instincts and know that going to U of M is the right thing to do. I am relieved I have made the move to do so.

April and Troy, I promise you will get through this. I will try to keep Auntie M sane and April, I know you will demand nothing but the best for Troy. Please keep me posted and between my missing boob and Troy's balls, we will make quite a pair! But you know, it's just a body part and all will be ok.

Jim is home from hunting so I must welcome my manly man who is coming in from "pure misery" as he just put it. Silly Jimmy, it is raining and WAS raining when you went--what are you thinking! : )

In addition to praying tonight, I want us all to say CANCER SUCKS AND MUST DIE as often as possible. It's just about worn out its stay here in Niles, Michigan.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Woah, Nelly. Boob is getting FULL!

Two things to report--well three, but two about me. And its all about ME, right? : )

Had my boob fill today and oh boy, I could tell. I had 120 CC's injected and could feel it the whole time, which isn't painful, just strange. Visually, I could also tell the difference and throughout the day, it is more painful, but not anything I can't tolerate. So, I have a total of 300 CC's in. Ginger asked a grumpy Dr. Messinger when I would be totally filled and he pointed at my good boob and said "See that? Then we are done." (We laughed at how grumpy he was when we left) But Tara, my nurse, was in a good mood and said that all reconstruction patients get a free facial at the Skin Care Spa so next week I get myself a facial. Fun, fun. I know WHY they do that--to get us to do it more often--but either way, I will enjoy it. (oh, by the way, Betty, there was NO sign to "go to Suite 200" in the men's room--Ginger checked. There had been one we think, as adhesive was still there. We figure the men were so confused by what it meant they just ripped it down)

Secondly, and I am sort of sheepish about this, Ginger and I had a long talk about my worries and have decided to call Dr. Wolf, my WONDERFUL head and neck doctor from U of M who did my neck tumor in 2001, to see if he will see me about my fears about my ear and pains in my throat/neck. I just want a thorough exam. I actually emailed him this afternoon--I 'm embarrassed that he will think I am a pyschochondriac (psycho hypochondriac) but Ginger convinced me that this is NOT worth worrying about when there are people who can help. I thought about going to a local ENT but if there is something wrong, I am going back to U of M anyway. I will let you know what his email says--he is the freakin' Chief of Staff at U of M but always responds via email so how can I not like the guy? He will probably email me back and say "This message was undeliverable." : ) I tried to keep it short but you know me.

Lastly, and this is great news, Ava's chest was closed today--which means the doctors, at this point, feel they don't need to go back in for anything else. That is just HUGE. Now the concern is infection, but I truly believe this is the best day for all of them--both Jamies are feeling better about things. Keep praying tho'--this is a long road and positive thoughts are always needed. But bless her little heart--Heather says Jamie said she is looking more and more like a little baby.

On another good note, Andrew was chosen to go to a leadership clinic for MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association) student athletes. He and six other Niles juniors and sophomores are attending in late October. He is such a good kid. I am very proud. (Aunt Mimi, Bryanna was chosen as well! YOU Should be proud of your niece and nephew!) All of the students going are the some of the best in their class and will represent Niles well. Now, if Andrew would just get his calculus grade up! : )

Ta Ta for Now. I am going to go see if Dr. Wolf emailed me back. I am scared. : (


Monday, October 8, 2007

Ava now has her own site:

Her aunt Tracy started it and will keep us all updated on her progress. Check out how beautiful she is.

First full day today, and it was rather uneventful. I am glad it is going to cool off. Tomorrow is another boob filler day. Hoping 120 cc's is what I get! I really need to ask what they think it will take to be fully expanded...

More tomorrow. Life continues on.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Jim thinks he is Oprah.

I have not received an update on Ava since Friday evening. At this point, the docs had decided to put her on dialysis and she was doing very well with it--all her "numbers" were where they wanted them to be, and the doctors were "thrilled" ME TOO! Heather and her family went up for the weekend and I have not heard from her so I am assuming no news is good news. I hope each day brings progress and some restful hours for Mom and Dad!

This heat is crazy, isn't it? We had to turn the air on in the house and I am still hot. Pretty tired too--I think two weeks of work did me in so thank heavens the weekend was here. Tomorrow is back to full time--I am sure I will be fine. I am glad not much is going on in the evenings...when my days are long, I tire easily.

Jim is in a state of depression because his Cubs lost--but at least Notre Dame broke into the win column, and the Vikes were winners too.

Today Jim walks by me when I am getting dressed and said if I were Native American my name would be Cheif Five Boobs. Now, I know I have three, but where are the other two? I ask him. He points to the fatty underarm lumps that I have (not related to cancer in anyway of course). I pout and tell him he is mean and he says, "Oh honey, your five boobs are you! I love all of you. And even though I see cancer when I see you I have to see you with cancer because you had cancer but cancer isn't you. Wouldn't that be what Oprah would say?" I cracked up because he was trying so hard to get out of it...and I really wasn't offended by the five boob comment but felt I could milk it a pun intended. Silly Jimmy--thinking he can quote Oprah! He is feeling better from his awful stomach issues and I don't have to hear him roar in the bathroom like he had been. : )

Blessings to all of you.


Friday, October 5, 2007

And people think I am strong....

The rollercoaster continues for Ava, but I am so relieved to say she is still hanging tough and graced her family with her beautiful eyes last night--giving Jamie and Jamie that I WILL DO IT attitude and fighting like hell to get stronger.

Heather called on Thursday and said things were bad--Ava's kidneys were not outputting enough urine--and she was so swollen. But Fighter Ava had none of that and is now producing urine, which is HUGE! And then, she most beautifully opened her eyes and gazed at all who love her, giving them the gift they needed so much.

She is amazing because she is 7 pounds and probably stronger than all of us. Jamie and Jamie too--I admire their strength and love. I am so glad she is in their hands and at U of M.

And me, well, I am ok too. Nothing matters except the health of our family and to hell with the chance of cancer coming back. I have wonderful friends, family, and kids.

Nothing matters more than that.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A headache does not equal brain tumor.

Life is certainly getting back to normal. I only think about cancer maybe twice a day, and honestly feel like things are ok...although my ear and throat still hurt, it is not bogging my mind down so I figure it must be getting better. Today I had a hellacious headache and Tylenol took care of it--not once did I think it was a brain tumor. Now that is progress.

Ava had a rough night last night. Heather reports that her issues were typical--the surgeons called it the 6 hour slide--meaning 6 hours after surgery things sometimes take a turn for the worst. But the doctors got her back on a breathing machine and she is doing well now. They warned Jamie and Jamie that THIS will be a major roller coaster ride--she won't necessarily be without set backs. Jamie is doing ok--had to say goodbye to her other son for a few days as he is coming home. The good news is they were able to find a hotel room for this weekend--they weren't able to originally since U of M has a home game...but big sis Heather found one. Then on Monday they move into the Ronald McDonald House. Ava is expected to be at U of M for at least a month--more likely two. But everyone is "hanging tough" and I hope we continue our prayers for her. Isn't she just gorgeous?

Andrew is back at school and at football. Schwew. The best thing is he got his National Honor Society app in early (albeit just one day early) I keep forgetting that Josh attends NHS--he just makes my day when I see him. I am used to looking for Andrew but when Shaggy Joshie shows up I can't help but smile. I am also proud of his academic efforts--he is doing well and rarely needs reminders for homework, etc. WAY better than he was at middle school.

My double pumped boobs have given me very little trouble so that makes me happy, happy , happy because maybe this thing will be done sooner. I still hate bras but Mr. Pizza Pocket and Mr. Ski Slope are U-G-L-Y even under clothes so I have to wear a bra to hold Miss Filler Boob. Perky Boob is doing well despite my leaking episode the other day.

I want so bad to believe I am cancer free. Can I be that lucky??


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ava. Double CC's. Suite 200.

Ava has made it through surgery as well as can be expected. Her surgeon felt things went well but that the next 48-72 hours are critical. They have left Ava's chest open for further surgery if needed. Heather says Ava is a fighter and they know she is fighting as hard as she can. Hopefully I can get some pictures from Heather so you all can see Ava. Please continue your prayers for Ava and her family.

My visit to Dr. Messinger was sort of exciting in that he decided to double the amount of saline since I tolerated my last pump up so well. So they put in 120cc's and so far, it seems fine. Tara, the nurse, cautioned me that I might feel it tomorrow. Last night when I went to take a shower I thought my good boob looked a little red on the under side and when I looked closer, a little blood-stained fluid came out of the incision. I poked and pressed a little bit and more came out so I thought perhaps I had a bit of an infection. Dr. Messinger today said that it looked ok--asked if I had a fever--and since I don't he thinks it is all ok. The fluid was just a stitch that had popped open--no big deal according to him. So, all in all, a good visit.

Of course Crazy Mil Ginger went with me to my appointment. First thing we did was march right up to Suite 200 and ask what problems they solved. EVeryone laughed and said we were to come up there if we had problems with the BATHROOM. It was worth a good laugh and they agreed the sign was a bit vague. Leave it to Ginger.

Also had a chance to stop by my parents today. Mommy made me a wreath for my door--I was there about 5 minutes only so that sort of stunk. But they are doing great in their retirement high rise.

Andrew is still sick. Did make it to school today but couldn't go to football as his stomach is still hurting him. He has got his National Honor Society application done thank goodness--and will be turning it in tomorrow. I HATE when my kids are sick as they get so far behind.

But you know what? It will all be ok and this too shall pass.

Keep praying for Ava.



Monday, October 1, 2007

Ava Christine.

No cancer talk tonight. Just a heartfelt wish that all of us pray for Ava Christine, who is facing a life-saving surgery tomorrow morning at University of Michigan. She is just 3 days old and has some serious heart defects that we are praying the surgeons can fix.

She's beautiful--dark hair, the girl Jamie and Jamie worked so hard to create. She is loved by many people--many people who haven't even met her yet.

When you read this, please say a prayer for Ava, her mom and dad, her aunts and uncles who love her, for all the rest of the family, and for all the people in the world who have ever had a child.

We love you Ava and can't wait to meet you.