Radiation Gets Naughty

Hurrah!  Today was day 25 of 33 for Radiation.  I have three more sessions of my complicated radiation (three different setups) and then 5 sessions of super quick blasts to my scar area.  The idea is to attack the original and recent cancer spots with big blasts of rads to kill the area.

My skin is doing well.  I saw the RO Doc on Monday and she said everything looked good.  The blasted area is darker but I’m not peeling or getting any sores.  I was peeling really bad (so gross, my skin was black and peeling) but I started to use a meshy shower pouf (very gently) and it’s been helping keep my skin soft.  That and that nasty but helpful Aquaflor stuff.

Today was an extra long session.  I had to get pictures taken.  I have no idea why they do this but they do it every two or three days.  It adds about 10 minutes.  Then I got my regular radiation (1/2 hour).  Then they had to do the setup for the 5 scar blast sessions.  This took about 25 minutes.

It got a little funny.  The RO Doc came in and made red sharpie X’s around the area that needs the blast (my scars and about an inch around the scars).  I’m laying there thinking that the places she was marking might make a very interesting pattern.  Then she took the marker and connected the X’s.  There were a few radiation therapists and a physicist around her watching.  All of a sudden, they all started giggling.  So I said,

“Dr. Ballas, did you just draw a penis on my chest?”

Why yes, yes she did!


To make it even better, they had to then trace the “shape” onto plastic to create a thing that will go over this area during radiation.  They also had to draw it on a piece of glass so they could line it up with the rad machine.   I don’t know if you can see the shiny spots but those are stickers that indicate the major lines/corners.  I have to keep these on for two weeks.   Grrrreeeeaaaaat.

So that was fun.

Tomorrow I have radiation (#26!) in the morning and then I go to the day hospital for blood and my monthly Eligard shot.  My counts this week were super low; like I’m not allowed to drive low.  My platelets are being affected by the new cancer shots I get so I have bruises all over me.   Apparently, this is normal for people in the first part of getting this drug while you get it every 2 weeks.  I’m getting it (Faslodex) again next Monday and that is the last 2 week session.  After that I get them once a month and the platelets are supposed to recover.   My immune system is worse than usual right now too.  I’m hoping that once radiation is over and my schedule is more normal, things will get start going up.

So glad to be getting back to normal!  Thank you all for your continued support/prayers/healing thought and light.  XOXO

Now, about that USC “game.”

That was horrible.  I had some hope that USC might win but it was a recipe for disaster to put us, with three coaching staffs in 4 years, up against the #1 team in the country with a settled program.  We were totally outmatched.

Some positives:

I thought our defense did great but just got tired.

Ok…that’s the only positive.  Our offense started out strong but they got rattled in the second quarter and never recovered.  They had NINE “3 and outs.”   No way you can win a game with that kind of stat.

This Saturday USC plays Utah State, another non-conference game.  I’m not giving up on our team.  I know that sometimes you can get kicked in that ass but how you respond to that is what defines your character.  I hope that the university, alumni and students gives this coaching staff and team a decent chance to get things together.  Even Pete Carroll lost his first few games and look what happened during his reign.

As Always, FIGHT ON!







Is there a greeting card for this?

Today is my 1 year cancerversary.

From what I’ve seen online, there are many different ways to determine this date:  date of surgery, last chemo, last radiation, the one year clearance, etc…

I’ve chosen my date of official diagnosis.

It was last year on a Wednesday (after an evening of leaving a shit-ton of messages on my doctor’s and her NP’s voice mails demanding to know why they weren’t calling me with the biopsy results after they said they would but instead wanting me to schedule an appointment that Friday) that my doctor called me from her way into work and gave me the news.

This set off months of tests and “when is surgery?” – if you’ve read the whole blog you know the issues.

Where I am today:

1.  Still have my tumor.  (I always say “tumor” in the Schwarzenegger voice – it’s a must)

2. I’m keeping my tumor for the foreseeable future.

I have a new oncologist.  My last one departed USC for University of Texas.  My new doctor is so chillaxed about the whole thing.  Just what I need.  She is totally cool with not doing any chemo, rads or surgery.  It’s my other doctors that are freaked out about the no surgery thing.  My hematologist scheduled an appointment with me to make sure that I understood that medicine won’t hold me forever.

Well, duh!

Tamoxifen isn’t a cure for cancer, just a bit of insurance after chemo, rads and surgery.  So I’m well aware that it won’t be a cure for me, that we may just handle things in “prevent the spread” mode.  When I decided against surgery due to other complications from my other issues, I fully realized what my choice meant.  Not. An. Idiot.

Although, this stupid drug does induce brain fog.

And muscle and joint pain.

And insomnia.

And weight gain.  (10 lbs up, bitches)

And a new need for glasses.

And emotions that dart and weave all over the place.

Did I mention weight gain?

photo (2)


Anyway, so it’s been a year.  Things seem good.  My tumor did shrink a tiny bit between July and August.

There’s also plenty to look forward to.

My niece is coming for the weekend this Saturday!

And….I’m seeing Kinky Boots for my birthday in November!

And…I’m seeing Brian Setzer Orchestra at Christmas!

AND, The best of all….


Fight On!

Everything Old is New Again

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you had a good week and have a great weekend planned.

On the work front, I finished up my last project for my last client today.  I’m going into the corporate office next Monday to have lunch with the IT group and then I’m done with employment.  Making the decision to quit working and applying for disability really was hard but I have to say, I feel like a weight has been lifted.  I still feellike crap most of the time but my energy levels are a little higher.  Instead of spending all day in bed, I’m good with an afternoon nap of about 3 hours.  So  I’m feeling the benefit already.  It’s nice to know that if I’m having an off day, that I am able to just take the day.

This is a great article about the misconceptions of the chronically ill.  If you ever ask me how I’m doing and I say “I’m fine”, it just means that I feel like my normal level of crap.   I may look good but it’s an effort.   The best way to describe my best days is that it is like the first day you go back to work after having the flu – you still feel terrible and want to stay home, but you aren’t really “sick.”  Anyway, here is the link to the article:


So there is that.

This afternoon I had my second opinion/consult with the Chief of Surgical Oncology at USC.  He was seriously the nicest man – very calm and knowledgeable.  We chatted and then he examined me.  He also didn’t find any issues with my lymph nodes (YAY!) but thinks that a lumpectomy isn’t enough surgery.  Apparently because of where my tumor is the incision and healing area are not that much smaller than a full mastectomy.  He’s worried about not getting clear margins and having a recurrence.  So his vote is for a mastectomy.  My medication is statistically good for about another year for shrinking tumors but that’s just in general.  It may even last longer in me.  Who knows?

He’s not for radiation because radiation causes blood sugars to go uncontrollable.  Since my diabetes is already barely controlled, this wouldn’t be good.  I would agree with that.  I have an consult with the head of the USC Diabetes Center at the end of next month and I hope he can give me some pointers on my current meds as I am taking a ton.

Another thing that the doctor pointed out today is that the treatment that I am on is working.  So there should be no pressure to operate until we feel that I’m no longer responding to the medicine. He feels that I could check in with my cancer team every two months and if we discover that something is changed then we can make plans for operating.  The cancer isn’t fast growing so we have time to make plans.

He also agreed that I need to have a test infusion of the special platelets in the next few months to make sure that that plan will work.  He is going to chat with my hematologist and get that going.   I think I wrote before that my hematologist told my surgeon that she was too cautious.  Well, the doctor I saw today was not happy about that, so he said that he was going to have to make people angry.  I did not like being in the middle of that mess.   I love my hematologist and she is wonderful with blood stuff.  I love my surgeon and she is great with considering all the risk factors.

So like I said, everything old is new again.  We started with a mastectomy, went to lumpectomy and radiation and now we are back to meds and a mastectomy at some point.

It was a good appointment and i’m a little easier about it.   I’m still hoping that if I have a mastectomy I can do local anesthetic.  I’m so no interested in the recovery from being put under.

In other news, I picked up the rest of my medical records from Norris.  The pile of paper for just my lab results for 1/2013 through 4/2014 is about 4 inches tall.   My project for the next few days is to go through it all.

After my appointment, I walked out into the Norris lobby and thought I heard the USC Trojan Marching Band playing.  Mom and I went outside and it was the spring “Buy football season tickets” rally.  A 10-piece band was there, some of the song girls/cheerleaders, a few football players and Coach Sark.   I stood in line and got Coach Sark’s autograph and picture. Of course I look like a dork in the picture but still!

042514-coachsark 042514-tmb 042514-poster 042514-songgirls

I don’t know how it is where you live but it is POURING here!   Time to get snuggled up in bed with a certain cat and get some sleep.












Time keeps on ticking…..

My GOD I’m terrible at keeping this up to date.  Apologies all around.

I’ll get to the cancer-y stuff in a minute but here’s what you’ve missed the last week or so:

1.  My birthday weekend kind of sucked.  As this year has mostly been a festival of suck, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  I spent my actual birthday getting a transfusion with the promise of a great next day at Disneyland.  That didn’t happen.  I woke up super early the next morning and it was raining.  When I actually got up, it was cold and nasty.  With visions of my doctors’ angry faces in my head, I cancelled.   No good my getting sick three weeks before surgery.  I stayed in bed and pouted watched movies all day.  I tend to feel like crap for a day post transfusion anyway, so it worked out.   The next day (Sunday) was awesome as my brother, sister-in-law and lilli came to the house for some San Biagio’s goodness and as my present, bought and installed both a hand-held shower sprayer thing and a new water filter for the filtered water dispenser in the sink.  Clean, yummy drinking water and a good shower.  Happy. Camper.

2. Last week, I spent at my client site.  All Week.  35 hours on site.   Usually I work 15-20 hours, mostly taking care of systems and resolving issues.  Last week was crazy – training for a new system as well as managing a major upgrade for another system.  I’m so not cut out for full time work anymore.  I made it through the week but I couldn’t have done it again this week.   There was one day where I spent 4 hours on the freeway.  That.  Sucks.  I knew it would be hard but, being self-employed, you don’t get paid if you don’t work.  So I pushed it big time and now I’m clear to not have to really worry about working very much during my recuperation time.  I am on email/call with my client but they know not to expect an immediate response.  They have been very good to me.

3.  I got a jury summons!  HA!   I had an appointment with my hemo today and totally forgot to bring it but I see my surgeon on Weds and will have her fill it out.  My jury date is 12/16.  I don’t think so.  They need to put me on a do-not-summons list.  I happily did my civic duty for years, but now, they’d have to let me have bathroom breaks every 10 minutes and adjourn for naps at 3pm.

4.  USC IS KICKING ASS!  We’ve won 5 straight and this weekend is the biggie!  USC v fUCLA!!!  We are going to smash the bRuins!!!  I’m a little excited.   I send weekly tweets to our AD Pat Haden asking him when he is going to announce Coach O as our new head coach.  He hasn’t gotten back to me.   I think if PH doesn’t hire Coach O, a ton of our Juniors will opt for the NFL and we may lose some of our better recruits.  He could be a legend at USC if given the chance.  Pat Haden says he has a hard decision to make.  He really doesn’t.  My message to Pat:  Get off your ass and fucking hire Coach O.

On to the cancer-y stuff:

 If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that my blood sugars are going crazy.  I saw my endocrinologist last week and she added YET ANOTHER DRUG to my collection.  It’s called Invokana and it’s only been on the market for 6 months or so.  It takes the glucose out of your food and makes you pee it out.  So the majority of food glucose never hits your bloodstream.   Or something like that.   I’ve been on it a few days and it has seriously improved my sugars.   I also had to increase my injected insulins, give an extra shot at night and double my metformin.    I called my endo today and she asked me to stop by.  When I went there this afternoon, she increased my invokana to 300mg.    Funny enough, one of the possible side effects is baldness.

So even without chemo, I may lose my hair.

If I do, I hope it grows back auburn and curly.

Today I had labs and an appointment with my hemo.   My labs came back ok.  Hemoglobin was 9.6 (high for me!), platelets were about the same, still no white cells, blah blah blah.   Of course, it wouldn’t be a doctor’s appointment these days without a semi-meltdown, so there was crying.  I think I’ve cried more since August than in all the years prior to that.  It’s sort of a pain in the ass.   I was a bit overwhelmed.  I have my port placement on Wednesday and before that, I have to have labs, see my surgeon, have a platelet transfusion, get the port, then go back to the day hospital and have 2 units of blood.   This starts at 8am and ends somewhere around 9-10pm.   What is it about Wednesdays?   All of this, by the way, on a freaking empty stomach!  There is some sedation involved in the port placement so no food or water.   They better have a sandwich waiting for me when I wake up!

To prepare for said port placement, I have to take Neupogen shots today and tomorrow.  This is the white cell medicine.  If 2 shots bring my counts up, then I will take 5 shots the days prior to surgery.  If two isn’t enough, then I will take 7 shots the days prior to surgery.   The negative side effect – bone pain.   I’m so OVER IT!!  I took my shot 5 hours ago and so far so good.  Other than, because of every other medicine I’m taking, I’m having hot flashes.

I went off of the Synthroid on the 15th.  It was giving me an emotional multiple personality disorder.  It stopped within two days of stopping the medicine.  Now I know I’m just my normal crazy self. 🙂

I go tomorrow (Tuesday) for my Keck pre-op.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following: admission crap, blood work, EKG, anesthesiologist visit and a future date with a cardiologist.   I have a bit of high blood pressure and heart rate.   Considering I’m a little stress, this seems normal to me but to make everyone happy, I need to see a cardiologist.   As I was hearing this, I freaked out and thought “OMG!  I might go into cardiac arrest!.”   But then I realized that people with actual diagnosed heart problems have heart surgery and do fine, so I’m only mildly alarmed by this.

As an aside.  I know that there are tons of risks and I know that I have to be made aware of these things.  But it is really hard to stay positive when you are constantly reminded that you could die.    It’s like  “This <insert terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing>  could happen.   Why are you stressed?”


Again, I’m SO OVER IT!  With all the combined crap I have wrong with me, the pressure to keep doing the right things is INSANE!   Do I eat a fresh peach (for gluten free diet which helps with my blood sugars) or do I eat the pre-packaged cup of peaches (not gluten free or healthy but good for neutropenic diet).  Take this drug because it helps with iron overload or blow it off until after surgery because it can destroy platelets which I need right now?

I feel like every decision I make is a life or death decision.  I know it isn’t that way but that’s the way I feel.   I just want this stupid surgery to be over with so I can go back to being a normal person.

With a frankenchest.

For fun, I went to the “Women’s Image Center” at Norris (I think that’s what they call it) and met a very nice lady who is a trained mastectomy bra/prosthesis fitter.   I’m  also anxiety ridden about my post-surgical rack.   Seriously, it should be a rule that if you don’t qualify for reconstruction that they have to take both breasts because WTF do you do with ONE?  She showed me the actual prosthetic (you have to buy an ugly old lady bra with a pocket inside the cup that holds the prosthesis) and I found myself discussing how realistic it feels.   Realistic?   Let me tell that to next guy that gets to second base!   I would feel like false advertising.

It has the color of Silly Putty.

I wonder, if you smash it down on the comics page, will it come up with an imprint?   I don’t think I’d mind it so much if I knew that Garfield was on it.

I’m sure I have more to say but Chester the Cat is trying to sit on the keyboard and I have to get up at dark ass o’clock for my pre-op visit.

More tomorrow.




Of course it had to happen.

As soon as you are comfortable with things, they change.

And you learn, once again, never to use a sharpie on your calendar.

The change of the day is …drum roll please… My surgery has been rescheduled from Dec 5th to Dec 10th.

(you know you made the drum roll sound – don’t lie!)

Apparently (and smartly), my surgeon didn’t want to operate on me on a day that my hematologist was out of town.  So they are both in town on the 10th and that is when I will say “hasta la vista, baby” to my rack.

Today was an exhausting day.   Although before I get rolling on this post, I must write a disclaimer that I’m currently under the influence of a Brandon’s Diner comfort food dinner with an Ativan chaser.   This post could go anywhere.

As I said, today was an exhausting day.  I started at Norris Cancer Center at 9am and ended at 3ish – give or take 1/2 hour for lunch.   I had the following:

1. Chest Xray – this was no big deal. Although I forgot to wear a non-wired bra and chose the one with the bling on the front instead.  The xray guy asked me if I had a bra on and I just automatically did the “unhook and slide out the sleeve” maneuver.   He was like “oh, I guess not”.  Did the xray and then he high tailed it out of there for a few minutes so that I could get re-dressed.  That’s one funny thing I’ve noticed about the doctors.  They’ll have their hands all over my breasts to find lumps and things but then act all shy and leave the room so I can put my shirt back on.  Uhh, HELLO?  I think modesty went out the window a few months ago.

Seriously, it’s almost instinct to take off my top now when someone asks me how I’m doing.

Show me your tumor, I’ll show you mine!

2. Labs –  Had labs.  I went in only expecting to have my normal blood work, transfusion blood work and some thyroid tests.  Next thing I know they are setting up 7 FREAKING vials.  And a pee cup.   Now all of this new medicine has me cranky and acting like Sophia from the “Golden Girls” so I’m all “Who the hell FUCK ordered that?”  Well apparently it’s a pre-op thing I was never notified about.   Luckily, Norris has bathrooms hidden about where it is a one person only bathroom with a lock on the door and lots of counter space.  Except by the toilet.  The only thing by the toilet was the toilet paper holder which was not perfectly flat on top, just slightly rounded.   So I started off fine, set up paper towels on the top of the TP holder, used the wipes provided, peed into the cup and then, because there was nowhere else, I had to put the pee cup on the paper towel on the slightly rounded TP holder while I finished my business.

Have you ever tried going to the bathroom with one eye on a cup of pee that is delicately balanced on a TP holder, metaphysically willing it to stay upright while pulling paper out of said holder while also issuing SOS prayers to God that you don’t have to spend the rest of the day soaked in your own urine?

Ugh.  At least it wasn’t a stool sample.

(say it….ewwwwwww!)

3.  Next up was the hematologist.  Well,  not really the hematologist, but her Nurse Practitioner, Kristin.   Kristin is awesome.  Hematologist is out this week so Kristin and I went over my labs.  Nothing to write home about – my white cells still don’t exist, my platelets are low and my hemoglobin is low enough that I’m getting 2 units of blood this Friday.  My birthday.  How much does that suck?   Anyway, we talked about some of the blood issues related to surgery and she was with me for just over an hour.

One thing about Norris, they spend as much time with you as they need.  I’ve had appointments that lasted 15 minutes and some that lasted over 2 hours.  That place is amazing!

4.  Finally, fourth and goal, is my appointment with my surgeon.  I had a TON of questions to ask and she answered all of them and more.  I’ve been super anxious about the process of surgery and what happens when, and she just relieved my mind so much.  I’m not exactly looking forward to it but I’m not freaking out.  It looks like she might keep me for 48 hours in case I need more blood or platelets after surgery.  She is putting a waterproof dressing over my incision/stitches so that I’m able to take a quick shower as soon as the next day (I just can’t get any kind of soap on the site).   She thinks that I’ll be down and super fatigued for a week or two but I can start going on quick errands (not driving) or short walks as soon as I feel up to it.  YAY!   I need to stop reading the internet because there are some horror stories out there.

What I’m really excited about?   The second Hobbit movie comes out on the 12th, so I might possibly be able to see it the following week!  YAY!

There is also a little problem with my veins.  Because I am having lymph nodes taken from my left arm, I can’t really use it for any kind of blood draws or IVs after surgery for a really long time.  My right arm is the arm that makes nurses scream and cry because my veins are super small and sucky.  The size IV that the anesthesiologist needs for surgery will not fit in my arm vein.  So sometime prior to surgery, I have to have a small procedure to put a port in.  This is a small circular thing that sits underneath the skin near your collarbone and has a small tube that is attached to an artery.  After I get this placed, the nurse can use a special needle to access the port and I will get blood draws and transfusions through this from now on.  Much more comfortable than having my arm accessed all the time.   The plan is that during surgery, they will use the port to put me to sleep and then place a central line at my neck for more access points.   When I’m discharged from the hospital, they will pull the central line out.  It sounds worse than it is.  From what I’ve been told.  It could totally suck.  I’ll let you know in a month.

So that’s another thing to schedule.

Other things that are happening cancer wise:

  1. Another appointment with my hematologist
  2. Labs up the ying yang.
  3. Possible switch out of some of my meds.
  4.  Consultation with an anesthesiologist to get cleared for surgery.
  5.  EKG
  6. At least two more transfusions.
  7. Platelet transfusions and blood transfusions the day before surgery
  8. Shots of Neupogen (helps the white cells), 1 shot a day for the 5 days prior to surgery.  (I’m doing this at home).
  9. Oh, and I have to figure out which of the new meds is causing my blood sugars to go crazy and get them sugars down to normal or my surgery will be postponed again until after the new year.  No pressure though.

This is all just from today.  ITS CRAZY!!!

Just to let you all know:  I’m having some very crappy side effects of the new medications I’m on.  I’m working with the doctors to either change the dose or the actual medication.  One of the worst side effects is that I feel like I’m going mental – I’ll be super happy, then crying my eyes out, then ready to throw something out the window – and this all can happen in the same 15 minute time frame.  Part of it as well is the whole “shut down all the hormones” thing I have to do to keep the cancer away.   So if yu email me, text me, call me, etc… and I don’t respond right away… I’m probably having a moment.   I do appreciate your support and  love you all so much!!

Other Housekeeping:


2.  Thank you for all the prayers for my grandma.  She had forgotten how to eat on Tuesday until my aunt showed her how, but today she was eating and drinking much better.  She also got up and walked for  5 tiny steps.

3.  I have a few other people that need help right now:

  • My Aunt’s ex-husband, the father of her three kids, passed away in his sleep quite unexpectedly this afternoon and my cousins are devastated.
  • A man I sometimes end up sharing the counter at Brandon’s Diner, his wife has spent much of the last month in the hospital recovering from a 10 hour surgery to get rid of cancerous tumors.
  • My mom’s cousin (96) health is declining fast.

If you could lift these folks up with prayers/good thoughts/however you do it, I would appreciate it!!!

A parting shot of where I will be this weekend for my birthday:



A small pill to swallow

Stuff before the cancer update:

1.  Yes, I am SUPER happy that Lane Kiffin was fired.  Coaching is about Leadership and he does not have that skill.   USC football needs a coach that will get their head up and out from behind a big play card and cheer and celebrate with the team.  I think that the interim coach, Coach Orgeron, totally gets this and will do a great job for the rest of the season.  I am hoping that he is in consideration for head coach.  Everyone likes him and he is a fantastic recruiter.  I’m still FIGHT ON for my Trojans.  This week is a bye week but a week from tonight we are going to BEAT THE WILDCATS!!!

2.  iOS 7 came out for the iPhone within the last week.   Apple is definitely pushing for everyone to purchase an iPhone 5, 5c, or 5s.  I just upgraded to iOS 7 on my iPhone 4.  While it seems to work well, I can definitely tell that apps are taking longer to run.  I’ve had to cut out of apps twice because they just hung while doing some simple processing.  I think I’m going to upgrade to a 5s (if I can) next month as a birthday present to myself.   General Recommendation:  If you have a iPhone 4 or 4s and it’s doing everything you need it to do, don’t upgrade to 7.  Just realize that over time, some of your apps won’t work.

3. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that two of my anemia friends have been going through medical hell.  Happily, one of my friends just got home today after 3 weeks in the hospital with ischemic colitis.  This is a side effect of the anemia as there aren’t enough red blood cells to fuel the colon.  They managed to fix it with two weeks straight of antibiotics and a broth diet.  So happy she is home!!!  My other friend went into the hospital and had a colon issue as well but it became a septic infection.  She’s been on a ventilator and on sedation for over a week.  They also diagnosed her with both colon and liver cancer.  In good news, she has been successfully weaned off the ventilator.  Please continue to pray for her.  Her name is Michelle.

Cancer crap:

I had an appointment with a new doctor yesterday.  His name is Dr. Tripathy and he is an oncologist at Norris.   Now, I have high expectations for my USC doctors and he totally exceeded them.  (As have all of my doctors at Norris – go there fast if you get cancer) First off, he doesn’t usually do clinic appointments on Wednesdays, but knew that it was convenient for our schedule so he came in.  My next appointment is on a Wednesday as well. He is super nice and explained EVERYTHING in technical and layman terms.  It was quite clear that he had gone over my history and spoken with my other doctors and had a plan mostly in place.  Some things are still being set in stone but he had the next step ready to go.

So here is the newest plan:

I am taking Tamoxifen  as of this morning.  This is the drug of choice for hormone receptive breast cancer like mine.  Basically my cancer cells have little hands that like to grab onto passing estrogen and use the estrogen to make more little cancer cells.  The tamoxifen mimics estrogen cells to trick the cancer cells into thinking they are grabbing estrogen.   The tamoxifen then takes up all the “hands” of the cancer cells and the actual estrogen has nothing to hang on to, therefore stopping the growth of the cancer.  This medicine can also get rid of microscopic spots and shrink the original tumor.  This is given to pre-menopausal women and usually for 5-10 years.

The downside of tamoxifen (you know there was a downside) is that it can cause uterine cancer and blood clots.  Dr. T says that this happens mostly in women 60 and over, but we will monitor things.

After a while on Tamoxifen we will do another (probably) ultrasound to reevaluate the tumor, hoping that it has shrunk.  They definitely are doing surgery. Right now I’m in the middle of a big project with one of my clients so I’ve asked for the surgery to be no earlier than the second week of December.   That seemed fine with him and I just got an email from my hematologist that that was good for her as well.   They still don’t know if it will be a lumpectomy or a left breast mastectomy.  I’m hoping for a lumpectomy so that I won’t have to spend the holidays in bed.   That would SUCK!  Either way, I will just be happy to have it GONE!   AWAY WITH THE BEAST!!!

Radiation is still being considered.   Dr. T thinks that I would do fine but Dr. O (hematologist) is not comfortable.   I would really love to be at the meeting where they duke it out!!!

I am also participating in a research study.  The first part already happened.  The initial part is to analyze the doctor/patient interactions at at the first encounter – so I filled out a short questionnaire, the encounter with Dr. T was audiotaped and afterwards I filled out a post-encounter questionnaire.  In three months, they will get back in touch with me and have me do a followup questionnaire.

I’m also signing up for another study where they will take the extra tissue from my surgery and study it for something.  Hey, I’m not going to need it!

Further down the line after surgery and after things are somewhat settled, I might go on a different medicine called Lupron.   This medicine basically shuts down your ovaries to result in a forced menopause.  This can be taken with tamoxifen or with a certain group of medicines called aromatase inhibitors.   The Lupron kills the ovaries and the AI shuts down estrogen production in the other areas of the body.  There are pros and cons to this regimen as well but the pros are that it doesn’t cause uterine cancer or blood clots.

*WHEW*  That was quite the update.

My next appointments are on Weds, Oct 23rd with both Dr. T and Dr. M (surgeon).  My expectation is that we will set a surgery date and type of surgery.

Oh!  I also had to change my anti-anxiety medicine.  I have been taking a low dose of Prozac for years (at least 10!) and as of this evening am now taking Effexor.  Apparrently Prozac can make Tamixifen not work.  We don’t want that.  So if I seem a bit odd for the next few weeks, I’m adjusting.   I feel a little floaty right now in fact.

Prozac cat


Transfusion tomorrow!



(Editor’s Note:  I just re-read this before publishing and I use a lot of foul language.  A LOT.  Consider yourself warned)

Instead of live tweeting the USC/ASU game and annoying the shit out of my facebook friends, I’m going to live tweet/blog the game here.

2:35 left in the first quarter.  ASU kicks our ass on the first possession of the game (theirs).   Tons of great plays against our unnaturally sleepy defense and it opens with USC 0 – ASU 7.

Then we go 3 and out.

Our D has woken up and are stopping ASU.

Our Offense is still asleep but Kessler manages to give it to the correct people (Tre Madden and Justin Davis) and Justin Davis ran it in for a TD.

1.21 left in first quarter.

Our ball #FIghton.

Kessler to Lee – gain of 20 yards.  Kessler had tons of time so if he didn’t connect that would be lame.  Hand off to Madden – 25 yard gain.  Nice big hole that ASU left for him.  Madden is the man.  59 yards rushing in the 1st Quarter.

2nd Quarter!

Whoa!  Nice pass and catch!  Kessler seems to be comfortable tonight.  He’s 6 for 6.  We are in the red zone baby!

Tre Madden, up the middle!  TOUCHDOWN!!!!   USC 13  ASU 7!!!  WHOOOO!

14 – 7!!!

ASU’s ball….and they go nowhere on 2nd down.  HA!

Shit.  Spoke too soon.  ASU just got 21 yards.  Fuckers.

Our D is doing a decent job of holding them to short yardage.  Except when they don’t.   ASU punts from mid field.   Lee returns to the 25ish yard line.

USC’s Ball!  Davis runs through ASU for 14 yards!!  FIGHT ON!

Wait!  Are these new Song Girl outfits?  Not sure I like them.  Weird stripey stripes down the side.  Ick.

Davis just got tackled for a loss.  3rd and 9.  FUCK!  Lee went backwards again!!!  WHY DOES HE DO THAT!!!???  USC punts.  ergh.

ASU got it at the 27 yard line.  Commercial break.

The announcers are talking about the new ASU helmets.  Everyone likes them but I think they are sort of a mess.  They are dark maroon with a sideways wrapping pitchfork with old school numbers on one side.   Not a fan.

Ha!  USC just pushed the QB into the sidelines!

Shit.  Responded by running down the damn field to the 45 yard line. USC #13 down.  Looks like a wrist.  #FIGHTON

ASU QB just threw a bullet down to the 10 yard line.  Man, their offense is not bad.

ASU touchdown.  I might not last through this entire game.

14-14.  BAH!  Game not over yet but we need to step it up.

Question:  Is soy sauce supposed to go in the fridge after being opened?

La la la commercial.  I have been doing pretty well with my blood sugars.  Everything the last few days has been under 200.  Hurrah!  Tonight I actually cooked and made stir-fry.  Trader Joes has a great mix of stir fry veggies – carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, soybeans, snap peas and mushrooms.  Stir fry that up then throw in some just-baked chicken with some gluten free sauce.  Throw it over brown rice.  So yummalicious.  Even mom-approved.

Back to the game.  We are pretty much up against the end zone.  Kessler misses on a long throw to Lee but then someone ran up for the



ASU ball.

Why does everything think that Lee is such a good player?  He has moments but mostly he runs backwards and can’t catch the damn ball.  IMHO, there are much more valuable players on our team.

BTW:  ASU QB made an incredible pass and now they are on the 1 yard line.  Wait for it… Wait for it…

USC D HOLDS HIM OUT OF THE END ZONE and they got a 10 YARD penalty!!!!  ASU moves back.

Here we go… HOLD EM USC!!!

Kessler to Strong – OUT OF BOUNDS!!!!  ASU calls time out.

ASU gets a Field Goal.  USC 14  ASU 17

Seriously who would want to go to school in Phoenix?  It’s hot as CRAP out there!  I had to work out there about 15 years ago for a summer and I couldn’t stand it.  4 days there, one day at home.  That place sucked.

USC has the ball back.  CMON KESSLER!   Run for 8 yards.  Not bad. I really want a big fat hail mary.  Not to Lee though.  He’d just run it back into ASU’s end zone.  (Tre Madden just got a first down!)

Madden runs for 15 yards and AAAAAAAHH!!!  It’s a FUMBLE!  Recovered by ASU.   AAAAAAAAAH!

*Whew* Being reviewed.  It looks like it was coming out at the same time his knee  came down.  SHOOT!   Ruling on the field confirmed.  ASU ball on USC 47.

They got a first down and we just committed a personal foul for 15 yards.  ASU on USC’s 12.

HUGE HIT BY USC’s PULLARD on the runner!  wOOt!

ASU on USC’s 3 with 29 seconds left on the clock.  This BLOWS!!!

Here we go!  WHOOOO – USC D holds the O!  ASU calls a time out at 3 seconds.

Field Goal kicker for ASU on the field….and the kick is good.  USC 14 – ASU 20..

It’s halftime.  Thank god.

Preview for 3rd Quarter:

USC scores nothing (as usual)
ASU scores field goals.

Third Quarter:

USC OPENS WITH A TOUCHDOWN!!!  USC 21  ASU 20!!  WHOOOO!   Marquis Lee ran the correct direction!!!

Still hating on the new (to me) Song Girl outfits.

AH CRAP!  ASU runs for a huge touchdown…74 yards right into the end zone.   USC 21 – ASU 27.

He was wide open, no USC players in sight.  What happened here???  USC D is just not playing up to their norm tonight.  Apparently they only have 56 players there so everyone is playing all game.  Or something.  Anyway, everyone is tired and banged up.

Tre Madden.  Another first down.  Did I mention that he is the man?  11 yard gain.

ASU INTERCEPTS!!   TOUCHDOWN!  WHAT THE F@#%#@#$@$^%$&$K????   Three scores for ASU off of turnovers.  UNBELIEVABLE!  UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE!!!

3 touchdowns in the first 1:54 of the third quarter.

USC 21 ASU 34

Not. A. Happy. Camper.

2 plays into our possession:  3rd and 12.  We’re going nowhere.

oh god oh god oh god.

ASU time out #1. *whew*  Let’s regroup TROJANS!!!  FIGHT ON!!!

and we punt.

yikes.  ASU O starts at their 47.

I refuse to say we are screwed.  I refuse.

I hate this VW commercial with the random guy driving everyone to lunch.  So annoying.  Now Wendys.  I’ve never been a fan.  Square hamburgers are just NOT natural.  Also a commercial for some wild boar mocs from duluth trading.  odd. http://women.duluthtrading.com/

ASU just got inside the red zone.  This quarter is exhausting.

What exactly is performance underwear?   Don’t all underwear need to perform basically the same function?  Is there a underwear pageant and the winner of the talent competition gets to be called performance underwear?  I don’t get it.  Apparently duluth trading has some. Wow!  18.50/pair.  They better perform!

ASU just went for a touchdown and it was incomplete.  Totally bored by this game.  Fight on Trojans and all but my god, this is the longest game ever.

ASU just got another touchdown.   9:55 left in the third.  THE THIRD!  We still have to get through the rest of this quarter AND a whole other quarter.  USC 21 – ASU 41.

Kessler connects to Agholor for 28 yards.  We are on the ASU side.  Nothing doing.  FLAGS! Personal Foul facemask on ASU.  15 yards for us!

ASU calls another time out.  Only 1 left for the half.

Holy Crap!  We’re going for it on 4th!!!

Well.  that didn’t work. ASU ball.


and nothing happens.

ASU another interception.  And another Touchdown. blah.

So.  I’ve decided that we, as a team, especially the offense are playing much better than normal.  I see improvement on the Offense.   Also, they are being more aggressive in the plays.  However, ASU just ROCKS!!!  They have an excellent QB who is just nailing his throws.  Our young team is being schooled.

Kessler sacked.  Going into the 4th quarter down 27.

And we punt.


Crap!  Marquis Lee is down and hurt.   Not good.

Some people on twitter are talking about how when Pete Carroll got in this situation, he would be jumping up and down getting everyone motivated.  Lane Kiffin is just standing there looking defeated.  That isn’t good for the team or the fans that are in the stands and watching on TV.  CMON LANE!!!  Get excited about SOMETHING!!!!

Marquis Lee being carted off the field.  Kessler just got sacked.

Tre Madden – TOUCHDOWN!!!  HE’S THE MAN!

Point after – no good.   USC 27 – ASU 48.

Just three more touchdowns!!! and a Field Goal.  or Two Point conversion.


Tostitos cantina chips cannot be that good.  No matter what you call them, it’s all fried corn.

My tumor hurts.  It’s all stabby stabby.

Wow!  We grabbed the onside kick!  Good job special teams.  FIGHT ON!

And we convert a 4th down!!!  Whooo!  FIGHT ON!

And another first down!  FIGHT ON!  WE ARE IN THE RED ZONE!!!!

Do you ever feel like you are jinxing a game just by watching it?  OR by not wearing certain jewelry or clothes?


and the point after is…..GOOD!!!  USC 34 – ASU 48!!!   ONLY DOWN 14!!!  We can do this!!!!  FIGHT ON!!!

Ah crap! Su’a Cravens is down.  FIGHT ON!!!  Hope all our injured players are back for the next game.  Luckily we have a bye week.

another ASU touchdown. (34 – 55)

We’ve lost so many players, we might have to fill in with the USC fans still in the stadium.

5:35 left in the 4th.  USC is punting.  I’ll say it again:


Our players seem so tired.   ASU’s in the USC side.  and they are now almost in the end zone.

Now i’m tired.   ASU just called a time out.  Not sure why.   3:23 left in the game.

I’ve been up since early this morning.  Had to get a bunch of work done before the client’s system got taken down tonight for maintenance.  (another ASU touchdown USC – 34  ASU – 62)  We are upgrading software early next week which will keep me busy.  After this system is fully upgraded we start on another major project that will have me working like mad all next year.  Awesomesauce.  Unless something stoopid happens, I am still wanting to go to Paris next October.  That’s the plan anyway.  I may have to “settle” for NYC again, not that that would suck at ALL!  (USC has the ball again)  Neil Patrick Harris is going to be on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and I totes want to see it.   I’m also in need of a day in Central Park.   I miss NYC.  I wish I could pack up my doctors and move back there.

HEY!  USC TOUCHDOWN!!!  Jeez…My Trojans just DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!   FIGHT ON!!!   USC 41 ASU 62!  What a freaking CRAZY ASS score!!!   That is fight and heart all the way.

ASU has the ball with 2:00 left in the game.  ASU’s going to drag this out.  USC doesn’t seem to be doing the last minute “use the time-outs” thing.

And ASU wins  62 to 41.

To wrap it up:

ASU played very well, especially on Offense.  Their QB was just throwing bullets to his receivers.  Our Offense looked better than they have but Kessler needs to work on his accuracy and decision making to get the number of interceptions down.  I think that ASU turned almost all of the interceptions into points.   Kiffin needs to work on his attitude.   Show some FUCKING ENTHUSIASM!!!

A plea to Pete Carroll:  You’ve done great in the NFL!  Please, come back home to USC!

I’m tired.  Off to bed.