And So it began

"ONCE UPON A TIME"....there came along this little lump...insignificant really when you compare it to the entire world of lumps. That is, right up to the point that it wasn't...insignificant I mean............... and so began my journey.

A NEWER SHADE OF I more then SURVIVE...I am learning to THRIVE...

OF COURSE... we all know things are bound to get a little crazy with a surprise around most every corner...not to mention an assortment of bumps and bruises along the way...but I am ever thankful for them all...they have all made me who I am. So buckle up, hold on tight and enjoy the ride thru what I lovingly refer to as LIFE

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who would have ever guessed that coming out the other side of my surgery adventure included dumping blinders on and a cargo net over my head to find my way out....OYE!!!  


Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Let me tell was not as easy as it sounded!!!  I have acquired a few more HUGE scars and I am VERY sore and really quite limited in my movements.  I guess I forgot from the first time just how debilitating this can be for a while....but in truth...when I did the first side, I still had full use of the other arm with no restrictions.  This time they took off the left over boob but they also opened up the old side to remove scar tissue and add some fat to where the skin was stuck to the chest wall (ribs) as a result of radiation.  You really are mostly helpless when neither arm can do too much & bending down or reaching up are mostly impossible.  I have been VERY blessed this time by having VoR in my life supporting everything I do and is the first to jump in to help me if I need anything & dear friends who have dropped everything to comejumped in and "babysat" me while VoR had some work commitments he couldn't get out of....they are my angels for sure...THANKS A MILLION!!! 💗

Now for the rest of the story....cause you know my 2% curse is gonna cause something whacky....this time was no different.  I had an amazing surgical team who have phoned and checked up on me  for the first few days....above and beyond (you ROCK Dr. K). My surgery itself went without a hitch...for the most part...but Dr K did inform me 3 days post off that I was VERY difficult to intubate"!!!...which means, they tried 3 times and then finally had to go fibre optic with the glide scope.  He suggested that I note that on my medical history and in my allergy list so IF I ever have to do something again in the future they will be aware of it.  Now this little nugget of info would have been good to have remembered before I coughed up blood on Sat and freaked out the Home Care Nurse...& ended up in emergency.  It was because of my super irritated throat, which had not been helped by my 36hrs of deep coughing, which I had been instructed to do post op.  You see....I am  naturally a shallow breather and so when I came out of surgery and my O2 saturation levels were 88-93% (ideal is  between 98-100%)... they weren't very happy & Dr K. (with a wicked sense of humour  that I loved) informed me that "it would just suck if after all this for you to fall asleep and drop dead cause you forgot to breath"  I had to agree with him. When they got to 94% they decided not to keep me overnight to monitor things IF I promise to sleep in a chair, get up every hour and walk, cough & deep breathe for 10 minutes till at least the next morning. Ya....that was a ton of fun.  Poor VoR....he was just exhausted but got me up like clockwork all night long... I on the other hand wasn't sleeping anyway...I read an entire book  that night. He has had to step in and do everything thru this process cause if it isn't at eye level...I can't reach up or down to get it.  I have run him ragged with all the things I have needed....never a word of complaint...helping me in and out of chairs, filling my water bottle and even bathroom runs at 3am. are AMAZING!!! 💖

They had done a nerve block on my back again so I stayed frozen for just over 72 hrs.  I was feeling great...even managed to get 6000 steps in (thanks to those hourly strolls) my first 18hrs at home. Then the block wore off....SIGH!!! Up to this point I was only taking regular Tylenol but when that freezing came out....WOWZER!!!  I kept having to remind myself that I had wanted this for 5 yrs & it would be over soon!!!  We hit the good stuff and continue to do so but at longer we moving forward.  Now..the majority of my pain, especially in the beginning wasn't my incision at all but from all my huge mess of broken down skin from the "girdle" compression wrap they put on you.  It just dug in left my skin rubbed raw and blistered. But being the good patient I stuck with it because  according to the surgical residents discharge paper form the hospital, this binding had to stay on for 21 day....I almost lost my mind!!...but I can handle pain really well so I was sure I could just struggle thru it like I do with other pain...WRONG!!!  By Friday (9 days post-op) my body hit that wall where the pain is just too great to cope with it....for me to get to that "hot mess" point you know it was HORRID!!! I just began to shake and sob about midnight and couldn't stop.  VoR was so supportive....gently hugging me as I sobbed and then he noticed that the home care nurse, after checking my dressings, had actually put it on over an inch tighter then it had been before.  So we readjusted it and agreed to call the surgeon's office in the morning....I knew I couldn't do 1 more day of this.  She wasn't in so they had me go see her partner at the clinic. As I was leaving the house her nurse called back and said she had felt too bad she had called my surgeon directly to let her know.  The surgeon was shocked because I was only supposed to have worn it for 48 HOURS post-op!!!  "RIP THAT SUCKER OFF"!!! UMMMMM....WHAT?!?!?!?!  I was too beyond mad at that resident who wrote the instructions wrong to even see straight....can you imagine if I hadn't hit that wall!!!!! 😡. As much as I would have rather not hit's good thing I did....or I would still be wearing that awful torture wrap!! Tender mercies are sometimes really well disguised & come in all different way...but they do still come!!    

Monday, June 12, 2017

So...when I started this journey in 2012, I started drafting them in journals so I could work off the rough edges before I posted them....never would I have guessed that 5 yrs later I have just begun my 3rd journal.  I never really thought I had anything to say or that I would be any good at the whole writing thing.  I thought I would jot a couple of things down, maybe, and then it would just die a slow and quiet death....who would want to waste any time reading my babbling....seriously!?!?!?  Not once did I expect to be still dealing with side effects and issues of this little troll...but we are...19 days away from the 5th anniversary of my diagnosis & still getting surprised by stuff.  I admit I wasn't too faithful in posting much after the chaos of treatment was over....I settled into a quieter, stress managed existence & so there just wasn't much to talk about at all.  I was getting tired of just simply documenting all the little hiccups and "left fields" that kept showing up so I just withdrew and quietly continued to step ever forward.  BUT THAT HAS ALL CHANGED!!!

In January of this year I came across a project that really spoke to me so...I took a big step and got majorly involved with it.  It is called "the *Blinging it Forward* project."  It supplies unique and original bracelets & key chains to women who have taken refuge in a battered women shelter.  The goal is to help them remember they are beautiful, brave and not ever alone.  It just really touched me and so I jumped on board and began to learn how I could help.  What I thought would be a casual little hobby has turned out to be working with them almost daily...and I LOVE IT!!  It has taken over and refocused my life in a really great way, toward this special group of women.  If you are interested to find out all about them or how you can help (they collect used jewelry) is their website. that has all the links for the these other places too.They also have a Facebook page (The Blinging it Forward project) and FB group (*Bling*...The Group) & an Etsy shop (BlingingitForwardCo) back to this final (I hope) step of this girl's cancer story...I have been waiting 5 years to FINALLY have this last boob removed....not for any risk factor....but because I wanted it GONE!!  I know some of you would have a really tough time with this and probably not be where I am....we women tend to be deeply attached to the boob=womanhood thinking....I am NOT one of those... My attachment to my boobs ended the day they tried to kill me!!!  I also have been blessed with the most amazing Hubby who, right from the start said to me..."you alive sooo out weighs having boobs!!  I support you in whatever you feel you want to do".  AMAZING right!!!! What's more, is that he has stood by his word and loves me and tells me I'm beautiful daily.  I could have done NONE of this without VoR at my side...he has had my back for over 35 yrs...he is my rock and my anchor through everything in my life.  I LOVE YOU!!!!

I have spent the last 5 years as a loud and proud UNIBOOBER.  With nerve & radiation damage on the original side I have been unable to wear a bra with a dummy boob in it....I did once for Random Wisdom's wedding but that really was the rare time I did.  It was painful and just not me but gravity being what it is...with each passing year my remaining boob lost hope and began to fall further & further south until it really became that ball in the end of a tennis sock. (I know that's an image you will all carry for a day or two.  To quote one hunky man "you're welcome".....yup...I too have watched Moana.). My plan had been to do the reconstruction thing with the end result of tummy tuck & perky boobs but once again what I wanted and reality slammed head first into each other....reality won.  So for a few vitally important reasons that option was taken from me.  1) I am diabetic 2) my blood vessels are not strong enough to support that kind of tissue transfer 3) it's a 14 hr surgery with a LONG recovery time.  They did look at the old site and see if they could even do implants (I DID NOT WANT) and discovered that the tissue damage from the radiation was just too bad...but they could go in and do some removal of scar tissue and clean it up a bit...that was just fine with me since I had been telling them since day one...."just whack the sucker off". At this point I am just soooo beyond tired of it just hanging there making clothes fit weird, trying to disguise it, it effects my swimming and just generally just weighing my psyche is past time to move on.  So on June 1st I finally got my wish and became the UNBOOBER & I feel GREAT about it....
...and so the story continues....

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Here I sit the night before surgery trying to get something posted before I am out of commission for a few days/weeks.  I am going in for my final mastectomy, what I hope is the final step in my healing,  this morning and I couldn't be more thrilled!!!  It has been a long 5 years waiting for this day....I will check in with you on the other side. Soooo very much to share with you...I can't wait!!!

-Etta May-