Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Nutso Freako

The healing continues. That is what I have named this part of my treatment is The Healing because it seems to be taking one an identity unto itself. Here is what is going on:

1. I am still very stiff and sore. My right side is much worse than my left. That was the cancer side. In fact I can use my left arm almost normally but the other one will get horrible shooting, burning pain when I do too much. Too much means opening my door, petting the cat, holding a cup and moving in and out of bed. The pain comes suddenly and very quickly and I am never quite sure what is going to set it off. The drain was removed from my right side but the left still needs one. So at this time I cannot shower. I also not flexible enough to reach my head yet to wash my hair. Or shave my pits. Gruesome.

2. My antibiotics are still evil. I know they are “for good” and all but my poor stomach is really paying the price. Terrible nausea and burping and I haven’t been able to hold down food since I got home. So I have just stopped eating. My thighs are looking slimmer but at what cost? Fortunately chocolate doesn’t seem to bother me much. Hmmmm… I got some pro-biotics today and have to cleverly find a safe time I can take them when they don’t interfere with my medication. I have to take those antibiotics 3 times a day so those free windows of time are few.

3.Yoshi has discovered that I cannot pick her up or chuck her off of places she is not allowed to be. So like a typical child she is pushing the boundaries and being quite bad. I would be really pissed if it wasn’t so funny.

4.Right now I wake up feeling pretty good and then I putter around the house and read blogs (even if I don’t comment yet) and do little things but by the end of the day I am soooo stiff and sore I can hardly sit upright. I still don’t quite get what it is that I am doing that makes me so pooped. I guess just moving. Last week I slept most of the days away, to facilitate The Healing, which was great to make time go by. Now I do not nap and I am bored out of my skull. TV sucks, my DVD service has sent me boring discs this week and I cannot do ANYTHING to amuse myself. Normally reading is a pleasure but it hurts to sit up to read for long periods as the only position I can lay on is on my back which makes me sore as well.

In summation I am one grumpy motherfucker.

I cannot wait until I feel better and am finished the antibiotics. Thursday is my last day. It seems like forever! I am really frustrated

Cabin Fever has set in.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

HUGE Orange Pills From HELL!

So sorry. No new posts or head crushing. I have pulled something near my incision site and have more pain to deal with than I thought I would. Silly me doing a little too much too soon. I wrestled with my seatbelt in the car when I should have let somebody do it for me.

In addition to that I am on some mega antibiotics to prevent infection and they are making me sooo sick I don’t know what to do with myself.

These two things combined do not make for a very happy Kranki!

But I am hanging in there and should be tonnes better in a few days. Just have to finish off these foul antibiotics. Blech!

Thanks for checking in on me. I TOTALLY appreciate that. I should have more to report soon. And head crushing to do. In the meantime Yoshi has been very gently crushing mine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Day 2 At Home In My Own Comfy Bed

I have had a very shmellow day with lots of sleeping and then chocolate eating and then more painkillers which leads to more sleeping. I am feeling pretty good and moving a little easier today. I am still very sore and if I do too much get quite a bit of pain. Much more than I expected to experience but the nurse came today and said while I have very little swelling I do have some bruising which makes for a lot of soreness. If I poke around very carefully I can feel the outline of the tissue expanders and even hear them slosh a little. Kinda cool.

My mom is staying over another night as it is still quite difficult for me to get in and out of bed and having a tea bearer and pillow fluffer has proven to be more beneficial than I ever thought it could be. So far the biggest challenge is trying to stay comfy when I can only lie on my back. I want soooo much do cuddle up on my side but that is impossible.

I thank you all for your continued well wishes and lovely comments and emails. I wish I could answer every single one of them personally as I like to do but my poor bod does not allow me that. I can type a little and then it hurts and then I get dizzy and then I must lie down. I read every single one and they cheer me up and make me laugh and I am pretty sure they help me heal faster than any doctor has ever seen before. So just know that even if my arms are unable to answer you personally my heart registers every single comment.

PS-please don't give Susie a hard time. I started the Sedaka thing on her birthday. Blame me! It is all my fault.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In My Bed AT LAST!!!

Home Sweet Home!

The surgery went fine and although I am VERY sore right now I am doing ok. Just took my painkillers and I am off to bed again. Yep, very very very sore and moving very very very slowly.

You guys are the coolest. I came home to about 70 comments filled with blove , blaughter and bwell bwishes. I wish I could convey how much that cheered me up. IMMENSELY!!!!

I love you guys...

PS-Yoshi hasn't left my side since I walked in the door.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

One Sleep Until Surgery Day

So it is Sunday night and my surgery is first thing tomorrow. In fact, I have to be up by 5 am to get to the hospital by 6. Personally I think this is adding insult to injury but what can I do? At this point I will be staying just over night in the hospital and will be back in my own comfy bed on Tuesday before noon. Just in the nick of time for some serious and quality napping.

I have realized that I have been talking about expanders and such like you all know what it is all about. You probably don’t and why should you? So here is an explanation, to the best of my knowledge, of what is happening tomorrow and in the near future.

Tomorrow general surgeon will be removing both my breasts and a lot of skin as well as my nipples saving as much skin as she can. It was medically advised that I have my right breast removed as they did not have clear margins when they did the lumpectomy. That means some cancer was left behind or not enough clean tissue was left between the cancerous sample they removed and the tissue left behind. The good part about this is that they got all the invasive cancer and the stuff left behind was in situ stuff. Just cells that are not spreading rapidly. Basically just sitting there. I decided to have my left breast removed as well as I had a 30% chance of cancer showing up there in my lifetime. Since Invasive Lobular Carcinoma quite often does not show up in a mammogram and presents itself as a thickening of the skin opposed to an actual tumor I thought a preventive approach was best for me. Even though I reacted very quickly as soon as I felt the lump in my breast the cancer had been there for quite some time and was very sneaky. That is why both breasts are being removed. Peace of mind.

After my general surgeon does her bit my plastic surgeon will be placing two tissue expanders underneath the muscle on my chest wall. Over the next 6-8 months I will be having saline injected into these expanders through a valve right beneath my skin. This doesn’t hurt as the skin is quite numb. As the saline is increased these expanding bags create room for an implant to be placed there at my next surgery.

At some point, and I am not sure exactly when, my plastic surgeon will create new nipples for me and they will be tattooed with colour to make them look as natural as possible. Hee hee! I said nipples.

Our hope is that I will be able to have two matching saline implants placed in these pockets created by the expanders but that might not be the case. Radiated skin does not stretch as well as pure virgin skin. It may more work out that my radiated right side will not stretch enough for implants. If that happens my plastic surgeon will do a procedure called a TRAM flap. With this he will take skin and fat from my stomach and scooch it up to make a new breast. This will mean I will have a scar at my bikini line on my tummy and, in effect, a tummy tuck of sorts. Then they will match that TRAM flap breast with an implant on the left side that was not radiated and will stretch normally.

The other potential problem I may have is encapsulation. This is a common problem with all breast implants. That is where hard scar tissue forms around the pocket where the implant is placed. It makes the breast hard and possibly sore. It happens in about 50% of breast implant surgeries no matter whether it is reconstruction after a mastectomy or for cosmetic reasons. It that case the plastic surgeon has to go back in and remove that scar tissue in another surgery. I really hope that doesn’t happen.

When I come home I will have two drains, one in each incision. This is a suction type thingy that removes excess fluid from the wound site. They are the only reason I have to stay overnight at the hospital so they can make sure they are draining properly. I have to clean these out a couple times every day. This is a little gross. The good part is that a nurse will remove then in about 5-7 days and it totally doesn’t hurt. It feels creepy-weird but not at all painful. Only after they are gone I can have a proper shower. That is the best part.

So there you go. That is what is happening tomorrow and the months ahead.

I am pretty nervous but I am going to ask for some relaxation drugs ASAP!!! I think getting up at 5 am will make me very dozy and out of it for the most part.

And, of course, with all of your healing vibes and well wishes I will just float through this whole thing. You guys are so awesome sending me so much blove. I really want you all to know your support over these last few days as well as through the rest of my treatment is what has kept me going. I never get a chance to get too nervous as a fabulous comment pops up and I feel cared for and loved and I then forget my troubles. You guys are the best!

I’ll post something as soon as I get home Tuesday afternoon!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hair Update!

When I found out I needed chemo and I knew my hair would fall out I decided right away that a wig was not going to cut it with me. I would be bald during the summer months and the thought of an itchy hair mop wasn't too appealing. Instead I went crazy on eBay, dropped a lot of cash and bought myself a whole shwack of hats. Hats that quite honestly ranged from silly to horrific. I must have been out of my mind. You be the judge.

This turned out to be my Gilligan Hat. I think the eBay seller did a bait and switch as this hat arrived looking nothing like the one in the photo. It was sold as a woman's hat sized small. Nope! I can fit a Buick in there along 'side my head. Never wore it.

The crack must have been really good that day of heavy smoking as I just don't know what I was thinking with this one. I had visions of me walking down the street wearing a whole outfit that I have never owned and have no idea where it would come from and never will own but with this hat making me all mysterious and fraught with glamor. JLo I am NOT! This one still has the tags attached.

My mom bought me this one and while I love you dearly Mamma this hat is just plain silly. Picture this on a bald head. FREAKY! Once again the tags are still attached.

HOLY GOD! This hat was pictured on my head while lounging on the beach keeping those harmful rays off my delicate shoulders. Sipping fancy drinks and chatting with passer by. Never happened. I wore it once to sit in the garden and decided that flying nun gear was vastly overrated. The white stuff on the brim is dust. Need I say more?

This hat was to be my totally funkophonic style topper and I dreamed of wearing it to the Cancer Clinic and awing everybody with my hipness and cool cancerific life. My oncologist visibly started when she walked in the room and caught sight of my funk. Never worn again.

I got this from a family friend and I once again had visions. Visions of me walking along a snowy path all toasty and warm in my cashmere coat (that I don't own) dreaming of hot chocolate and watching my dogs (that I don't own) bounding in the distance. It has been one of the warmest winters on record and instead of cute I look stupid in it. Berry stupid. Tags are on this one too.

Now this bucket hat was what I wore almost exclusively all summer if I had to go out. Walmart for 7 bucks about three summers ago. Figures. I have another one almost identical made from black denim that was worn a lot too. That one was $2.99 last summer. I like it!

Now this is me as of tonight with my grown out hair. And an extra 25 lbs of chemo weight with a wicked double chin. GAH! That will be shed shortly once I get over my surgery. Overall I think the hair is doing welll and is rocking its own little style even though I have not yet had it trimmed. The colour is a bit darker than it was which is great. See those little sticky uppy hairs in the back? No control over them. They do that all on their own and no amount of product will tame them. Some people get curly hair after chemo but I got gravity resistent hair.

Monday, January 16, 2006

7 Sleeps 'Til The Knife

One week from today I go in for my bilateral mastectomy. I am freaking out. Very scared and nervous and scared and scared. Did I mention I was scared? Very.

I remember all too well going for surgery to have my lumpectomy last March and it honestly just wasn’t too bad as far as pain or discomfort. In fact the nurse pretty much had to force me to take a Tylenol as they just didn’t believe that it didn’t hurt. It didn’t. But they wouldn’t let me leave without painkillers in my system. What is freaking me out is how strange and scary it is when they put that mask over your face to knock you out. Talk about a total lack of control. And I get all squeamish thinking about what they are going to do to me while I am under. Waking up is also very disorienting and strange. I hate those feelings. This is what is scaring me the most.

I am nervous about how I am going to handle looking down on my chest and seeing no breasts there anymore. My nipples will be gone too. HOLY SHIT! All you ladies think about that for a minute. Imagine those things that have been front and centre and the cause of all that attention over the years being cut off your body. Scary. The reconstruction process is a long one and it will be several months before I get my implants and new nipples. And those new bits will look nothing like the old ones. The ones I have had my whole life will be long gone never to return. My new breasts will be fake and have a big scar across them. They will be numb. They will be very different. I just don’t know how I am going to feel about it. Or handle it. Or accept it.

I met with my plastic surgeon on Friday and got a lot of information about what I have to expect. The last time I met him, which was also the first time, I was fresh from my last chemo and fairly out of it. So I am sure he told me a lot of information then but I don’t really remember it. First of all I thought that I would get this surgery done and have tissue expanders put in to stretch my skin to accommodate implants. That is exactly what is going to happen. I remember him saying that I would have those expanders in for 6-8 weeks and then the implants would be put in. I was TOTALLY wrong. The expanders will be in for 6-8 months. MONTHS!!! This whole procedure is going to take freakin’ forever. That means all summer I have weird lumpy things on my chest. I guess my cute sun tops will be put in storage for yet another year. Apparently these tissue expanders cause discomfort. By that he means hurt. A lot. Apparently I will have a standing prescription for Tylenol 3’s at the pharmacy. Fabulous.

I asked if I could pick my implant size and he said no. I can basically expect to have hoots about the same size I have now. Meaning an A. Or small B depending on the bra. My radiated skin just won’t stretch that much. I am so disappointed. I had consoled myself a great deal by saying that at least I will get a bigger bust out of the whole thing. Nope. I don’t even get that. Savage bummer.

The only remotely good thing I can find right now out of this whole scenario is that my surgeon is very cute and I get to see him on the regular after my surgery so he can inject my expanders with saline as we stretch my chest out. I totally embarrassed my mom at my first appointment with him. I asked if he used skin from the bikini line for nipple reconstruction. He said no, he doesn’t use that method. I said good because I don’t want to have to give my chest a brazilian wax. Ba-dum dum! That went over like a lead balloon. My mom cringed and he looked at me in total bewilderment. Oh boy! Can I charm them or what? This last appointment I tried to hide my shock and disappointment over my surgery news by cracking lame jokes and being all jovial and cavalier. Then I tried to flirt a little to make up for the Brazilian Debacle. I walked away feeling like an ass. Now I am afraid that I might say something about what a hottie he is while I come out of anesthesia. Shame spiral! Basically I am a train wreck. Oh god.

I have also been trying to train Yoshi not to jump up onto my chest when I am lying in bed as she is apt to do every night. She is such a good sport and walks onto my tummy now so cautiously as I repeat, “Careful of the boobies. Careful.” Her face is all concerned and cute and I just want to weep over her sweetness. She is such a good girl.

So be prepared for nervous mumblings and outright frightened outbursts on this blog for the next six days. The countdown is on!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Savage Bummer

As of today we have had 24 days straight of rain. In that time frame we have had only 6 hours of sun. No change of weather in sight.

Feeling very pruney right now. Please send life raft.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


*Big Sigh*

What a wild couple of days. I had a slight bump in the road to deal with as I got a migraine from hell that lasted about 48 hours. Yeah. It sucked. But it is over now and I am up and about.

I probably could have done with a few more hours worth of snooze time but there is some shit going down at my hovel that interfered.

OK, I really don’t want to talk about it much as it is rather unpleasant and not nice but here it is. We, The Hovel, suddenly have mice.





Living in a 100 year old dump has its downsides. I want to move.

OK! Here is what is happened. Yesterday morning I was unconscious after ingesting a fantastic amount of codeine for my headache and sleeping the sleep of the heavily and happily drugged and SUDDENLY Yoshi jumped up from her own daily coma to leap over me and dive behind the bed. I am talking about a stage type dive of intensity only possibly equaled by Kurt Cobain at an outdoor Nirvana concert. She was a cat with a mission. I heard meowing and scratching underneath my bed and then the cat burst out, ran like crazy and proceeded to stare intently at the bookcase in my hallway. At this time I had not seen anything but that cat was focused on that one area. I got my trusty umbrella and the wussy that I am I poked and prodded behind there and didn’t see, hear or find anything either. The cat remained “on duty” in that hallway for over 3 hours before I could tempt her away with treats. Obviously there was a mouse and we missed it. Now here is an indication of how poorly I was feeling. No, I did not vacuum the whole house as well as wash the floors with a toothbrush, wash Yoshi with fragrant yet antibacterial soaps, bathe myself half a dozen times, perform a voodoo cleansing ritual and check my cheese supply to see if had been breeched as I would normally do in that situation. No, I simply went right back to bed and right to sleep. I was totally out of it. Pain completely overrode revulsion.

Now I was aware there might be mice in the house as my upstairs neighbours had seen one a couple times in their place and I had heard scurrying behind the walls one night a few weeks back. I had indeed mentioned this to my house caretaker and he said that he thought there was a mouse somewhere and not to worry about it. I did actually worry for a little bit but never saw or heard anything. I thought I might be immune to the problem because I am obsessively clean and anally tidy. In fact, once again I was feeling a little smug.

I should know I am about to get a karmic ass-kicking as soon as I feel smug.

So today I was sitting at my computer gingerly looking at some blogs and I hear this almighty scrabbling noise from my kitchen. Namely Yoshi freaking out over something. I looked over my shoulder to see Yoshi running from the kitchen with a mouse in her mouth! *shudder* She was running with a freaked out look on her face and the mouse’s tail was waving at me from her mouth. Then I proceeded to freak and ran after Yoshi yelling something along the lines of, “FUCKFUCKFUCKOHNOFUCKOHSHIT AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!” Yoshi then proceeded to run with the Wee Mousie INTO MY BEDROOM! My place where I get naked and vulnerable and exposed. And sleep too! I ran to see that Yoshi had let the mouse go and the damned thing was running for a foot or two only for Yoshi to catch it again. At this point I think I was yelling something along the lines of, “DROPITOHGODNODON’TDROPITOHNOOHSHIT!!” Basically being your garden variety pussy.

I am not afraid of mice as I could very well cuddle with this same mouse if I found it in a cage at the pet store but fast running wild mice that hang around unclean places have GERMS and might be icky. They also might bite.

I ran over to my next door neighbour who is not afraid of rodents. Her freak out is spiders. We all have our issues. It turns out her cats had caught and killed four mice the previous day. So she came over and we found that Yoshi had lost the mouse and was staring at my little shelf that holds all my beauty crap. So we moved all that stuff aside while the cat was howling and found a teensy tiny Wee Mousie in the corner totally terrified. My neighbour got a pen and a box (exterminator tools of the trade) and she coaxed the little critter into the box. Can you see a change in tone here? While a mouse is running free in my place I am freaking out but once it is safely stowed in a container my soft side comes out and I get all teary and mushy and stuff.

We let the mouse go in the alley. It was just so little and cute and tiny. And now out of my apartment. I named it Frank. Frank is free now.

So now Yoshi is the BIG MOUSER and got tuna for dinner. I have to admit I am a little hesitant to let her lick me with that same mouth that cradled the mousie though. No more kisses! I have anthropomorphized her so much seeing her with that mouse in her jaws was as horrifying to me as it would be seeing your toddler with a mouse in his or her pie hole. But I am very proud of her. She is no longer my sweet and lazy cat but a predator with hunting skills and blood thirst. Well, maybe not the thirst as Yoshi is normally so gentle with the stuff she catches. She will carry a moth around the house in her mouth and deposit it here and there to play with only to carry it somewhere else. She never kills them. I don’t think she would have killed the mouse today. Just hung out with it for a while.

We are both big softies.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Post Where It Is Confirmed That I Am A Total Loser


Well, first post of 2006.

I have traveled to many of your blogs over the last couple days to find out how everybody spent New Years Eve. While much naughtiness was had by many (I am looking at you Spoonie and Nessa) I was glad to see that I was not alone in my very mellow and quiet night.

You see, I have had great eves of New Years celebrations as well as really miserable ones in the past. The misery quotient increased for me as I stopped drinking Ze Booze (I sucked at tipping the bottle and never did it much anyway) and was then, while painfully sober, surrounded by those who were swimming in it. Just not my thing. I can remember one year after a particularly great night taking advantage of free transit in my town being surrounded by not one, not two, but SEVERAL chicks on the bus boo-hooing into the collars of their friends and escorts. The Illusion Of Perpetual And Never Ending Fun On New Years Eve can be hard to maintain over the course of an evening, that much I know. No, I have never cried but I can understand why some would. Such high expectations…very taxing on the psyche.

As my friends got married off and had kids and thus the Party Savages in my circle of friends diminished, around the time I eliminated alcohol from my diet no less, I decided that the whole celebration was overrated. Probably a decision greatly influenced by my pretty much permanent single status and a dire lack of fun things to do as a single gal around the holidays. I mean how many times can a girl get all gussied up only to have no one to kiss as the clock strikes midnight? Sad and not something one might admit to but, hell, a lot of us have been there, no? In protest of the whole emotionally charged evening I started my now famous (in my own mind) Annual New Year’s Eve Boycott.

In case you are ever tempted to hold one of these celebrations of your own here is what you need:

1. Warm blanket on comfy couch. Sleeping dog or cat or combination thereof draped charmingly over legs.
2. Flannel pajamas or stained sweat suit.
3. Cheesy DVDs.
4. An indecent amount of take-out sushi. Seriously, like, enough for several people.
5. Chocolate or dessert type item.
6. Your own self.

Eat, lounge, watch bad DVDs and, for it to be a truly successful night, fall asleep on the couch well before midnight.

Oh yeah.

Pablo, one of my remaining few Party Savage friends did his first Boycott this year and enjoyed it heartily. He did mix it up a little by having a warm body next to him that was not a furry animal. Well, technically anyway. And I think nudity was involved. Maybe next year he’ll follow ALL the rules. Slut!

This year a mighty wrench was thrown into my Boycott plan. Almost immediately after arriving home with my truck load of sushi I got a fever and some pretty serious intestinal distress. So I rang in the New Year with a tummy bug while my neighbours noshed on my sushi. I was just happy it wasn’t wasted. Now that would have been a tragic way to start the year. So I did have my Pjs on and was flaked on the couch and was well in bed by midnight and thus still consider the evening a success.

However I am a little hurt that nobody drunk dialed me.

Now let’s talk about resolutions. A few years ago while at a New Year’s Eve party (which sucked) I was joking with some acquaintances about making these pledges and we all got pretty snarky about the whole thing. One person said she was going to try to be meaner to people that year and another guy said he was going to start smoking. I decided that I was going to go up a dress size. Well. Be careful of what you are snide about as after being at the same weight for ages I suddenly put on several pounds and did indeed need a whole new wardrobe. Smartass. I have wondered if those other people had similar misfortune. I have never really done resolutions since. One does not like to be mocked by the universe once let alone twice.

I do have some things I’d like to get accomplished this year and while I refuse to call them resolutions I am just going to tell you what they are and be done with it.

1. Get past this cancer bullshit and start to think about life again without it being in that particular context. Everything I have done recently has revolved around breast cancer. NO MO’! Once my surgeries are over this spring I will be starting to work on getting my business up and running by Christmas.

2. Get more active and get into decent shape physically and mentally. I know that dealing with cancer can be often called a fight but, honestly, I did most of my fighting horizontally and as a result am still quite weak and fatigued. And fat. I believe a strong mind and body will increase my chances of never having to deal with cancer again.

There you go. Bring it ON! 2006

So tonight I am sitting at my computer marinating in the greatness that is Henry Rollins’ (my boyfriend, don’t forget) radio show, Harmony In My Head, while I type out this post. He is on this radio station every Tuesday night from 8-10 pm pacific time. The fact that this is available to the broadband masses via the internet thrills me to no end. My city has absolutely deplorable radio stations so this is one of the few ways I can hear excellent oldies (punk, that is) as well as new stuff and weird stuff and rare stuff. It is a real mix. I look forward to it all week.