Saturday, January 24, 2009


Besides the wonderful emotional support I've received from my family, friends and new friends, I also received wonderful knitting treasures that will keep me busy the next few months.

My Sister's daughters wanted socks - so they picked out the yarn and sent it over with their Mom (whose help has been incredibly wonderful).

I've started one pair - they are sooo soft. She wanted no pattern - just plain, but I couldn't resist doing a cabled cuff.

The Redmond Stitch & B*tch group included these beautiful needles and skeins of sock yarn in a lovely vase of flowers that was delivered to the hospital. The nurses really loved them. I'll love the socks - the colors are so me!

My cousin Kate sent me this knitted bowl - it will hold treasures next to my chair. I'm jealous she can do these - I just can't get the felting part down. My washing machine won't fill with hot enough water.

Three other items that are bringing me joy - This Hyathins (sp?) was delivered with the bud all closed up...the next morning it was totally open, pink, and I can't tell you how seductive the scent is - it fills the living room! It is just intoxicating and so beautiful.

My cousin Cynthia and her family went to India after Christmas and she sent me this magnificent shawl - the picture doesn't do it justice at all. It is incredibly elegant and wraps me with warmth, comfort and beauty. I just love it, and am so honored to receive it.

This last gift just amazed me. It was made for me by a colleague from work, we are her client. They sent me flowers while in the hospital - which was totally unexpected, but this necklace and matching earring were made just for me - the quartz is said to have healing properties! Needless to say this was totally unexpected and so appreciated. I have been so astonished by the support I've received, the cards, phone calls, flowers, hugs (gentle!), gifts, visits and wishes for speedy recovery. I truly didn't have a clue I had so many friends. I am blessed and so thankful for everyone's support. This experience has deeply changed me in ways I never anticipated.

Most importantly I plan to shout out about Breast Cancer at every opportunity. Get your mammograms - get a physical exam. If they find Cancer in one breast - still do the full bilateral mastectomy. Don't settle for a Lumpectomy. They found suspicious cells in my other breast during the post surgery pathology (didn't show up on the original tests or exam) - I would have had to go through this all over again - and believe me once is enough. I am so thankful I did the entire procedure. I chose the most aggressive initial treatment - yes my breasts are gone but my health isn't and I'm dancing with NED (no evidence of disease)! Don't make decisions about your future health based on vanity (this was harder than I expected). I am a survivor and not at all embarrassed by the efforts it took or the way I look. (I can knit lots of scarves!) Although this was an initially expensive option for me - in the big picture this was the most financially prudent - any other option would have been more expensive in the long run when you consider I'd be facing chemo and/or radiation (both incredibly expensive) and I'd have to do it all over again anyway, considering the pathology report on my supposedly healthy breast. I have no regrets.

So get your mammograms, be aggressive and survive.

Thank you all my friends for the incredibly warm and enveloping hug that you have all surrounded me with. I am so greatful and appreciative of every effort on my behalf. My family and I have benefited more than you all could possibly know. Thank you.

Knit Peace!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One Week Off

It's been one week since my surgery and I am doing well. I think my expectations where much to high! I thought I'd be back at work the first of next week, I thought I'd be much more mobile than I am, I d idn't know I'd be this uncomfortable....but I AM CANCER FREE - WOOHOO!! I went to the Doc yesterday and it turns out I really did the right thing - there were suspicious cells in the other breast...I am so grateful I had them both off.
Everyday is something different - now that the healing has really begun - it hurts in different places, none that is unmanageable. I am glad I have had help here at home - my Sister and REI Girl have been wonderful, I definitely would not have gotten by without thier everyday help, cooking, laundry, keeping the wood stove going, helping me make a nest in bed so I don't try to roll over, etc. We even went shopping for sweaters that are disguising - that was fun - I can barely dress myself as it is - arms don't work!
The good thing is I can knit! My buddies from the Redmond Stitch and B*tch group sent me flowers in the hospital that hid two skiens of sock yarn and a set of beautiful needles. My Sisters daughters each picked out yarn for me to do socks for I'm set with lots of wonderful projects. I've started on my nieces and will have photos soon. My sister has even picked up her needles for the first time in over 20 years (she made beautiful sweaters for my kids when they were toddlers) and is knitting mittens for her daughter. So this has been a knitting place for the past few days.
I have had an incredible amount of support throughout this journey - it has brought me to tears many times. I had no idea I had so many friends. I also had no idea how much I'd need them. I am a very independent person - so this has been very humbling. It has changed me - I pledge to be a better friend and to shout out more about Breast Cancer. Get your Mammograms every year, have a physical exam every year! If you are diagnosed with Breast Cancer - remember that your life defines you - not your breasts! Set an example!
Knit Peace

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Picking up the needles

So today I picked up my knitting I must be better! Actually I am, although sore and stiff. I'm hoping knitting will work a few of the kinks out!
The surgery went well - guess what - I don't have Breast Cancer any more!!! TOTALLY COOL! I'm hopping to be back to full schedule in a week or so - but I have to admit that my expectations were higher than the reality. So it will be just one step at a time. Lucky me I have lots of knitting opportunities. My Redmond Stitch and B*tch group decorated a bouquet of flowers with beautiful sock yarn and rosewood needles, my sister who is coming tomorrow is bringing sock requests from her daughters and of course I've got more stash to explore - so there will be plenty of knitting happening.
Hopefully I can update the latest accomplishments and books read. Just haven't had time to upload the pictures - soon.
Once again - all my dear friends - thank you all for your support and good thoughts. This isn't a journey I'd wish on anyone - but the experience contained a gift I never imagined - I truely did not know I had so many caring friends - and I appreciate you all more than you can know. Your words of encouragement and support kept the blues away and the hope so necessary during this journey. Thank you all!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Mom

Well, this is REI Girl. I decided to update my mother's blog because she isn't able to right now. We are sitting in the hospital room. Mom got out of surgery earlier today. The doctor said that the operation went really well. I will admit, I was scared. But I am glad that it went okay. She is resting now. A little uncomfortable, but as usual, Mom has that spirit about her that even when it hurts, she can still manage to give us a smile.

I don't usually write on a blog, but Mom does and she knew that all of you needed to be updated. I would like to state that, for the record, my mother is such an amazing, strong, loving woman. She has this determination about her(I know that is where I get it) that it is almost impossible to change her mind, or her attitude. She calls herself "Pollyanna" because nothing, well almost nothing can get her down.

So now my mother is missing her boobs. My mothers attitude towards her body has never been unhealthy, or judgemental. She has always said, "this is what I've got, deal with it". Now she is missing one of the things that makes you a women. Mom said that her body never defined her. That is wonderful advice. Bodies shouldn't define anyone. My mom knows that beauty isn't a body part, it's your soul. My mom has an amazing soul.

Mom should be able to write soon. And thank you all for your support.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Countdown begins

This has been such a roller coaster journey. First you have the mammogram and they call you back - you think "Oh bother - it's just a funny spot" Then they stick you with a long needle and pinch a piece of you while your breast is being flattened to a pancake (quite a feat)...and you think "They won't find a thing". Then you wait and wait for the pathology to come back. By then you're really pumping adrenaline. You get the results and don't believe it. You go to the doctor, search the web to learn all you can, still don't tell anyone.

Then you become overwhelmed with the decisions that have to be made, lumpectomy, chemo, radiation, mastectomy, reconstruction......that was really the hardest part so far. What doctore to talk to first: Surgeon or Oncologist? (They need to assign you a manager to help keep it all straight - who does what when) What do I do? The big unknown - but I do believe that knowledge is I learned. I talked to many people (there is a WONDERFUL support network in Central Oregon) , nurses, doctors, my Navigator, Bev (who I have never met in person, but have talked on the phone tons - big hugs), there's the Komen site, the BreastCancer site (Both with great supportive message boards).

Then there's my kids - because they are of a different generation - they took this really well - they admit they are scared - but not nearly as scared as I was when my mom was diagnosed. They are here for me and for each other. Obviously my own siblings are here too - my sister will be staying with me. (She's been here before so knows all the tricks) I haven't told my Dad yet - I just can't. Two reasons - I'm not sure he's there enough to understand - and that would hurt me more than him and if he is there - I don't want to worry him. It's a dilemma I don't know how to solve.

All along I've really believed that i will be OK - I know I'll be just fine. But like any human I wonder - what if they find something bigger, what if it's in my lymph nodes...lots of what ifs. So I luckily only have 7 more days to worry about it. At this point I'm pretty much a wreck - I'm getting really anxious and not sleeping well, but actually writing this down is helpful. I can see how silly I am being concentrating on the negative. So what's good about all this...

I won't have to wear a bra anymore if I don't want to.
When I want to wear a bra - I can be any size I want to be!
I'll never have to have a mammogram again.
I'll quickly lose some weight and keep it off.
I'll get to sit in my recliner for days and knit....take pain all the ice cream I TLC all day....have a pedicure and foot massage...
Just what was I thinking? this will be bliss!

But by far the best part has been really understanding what wonderful friends I have. I had no idea..really. Many of you I'm tied to by stitches of yarn, we've never met in person, but we've shared our lives; or we knit together once a week; or we meet once a month to share a great book; or our lives are tied by work. Part of my job deals with a homeowners association - some of my homeowners have gifted me with financial help (OMG I still can't believe that!).

All of you who are sending good thoughts and prayers - thank you from my fullest heart. It is so appreciated - I can feel it! And it brings me to tears because it just down right astonishes me! I am so glad to have you all part of my life. It has been the worst year - but the best is yet to come and it starts now!!

Next Thursday - the 15th is the big day - off they come, then the pain meds for a few days, then recoop for a few days and then back to normal again...that's the plan and I'm stickin to it!!
Now I'm gathering Knitting supplies (as though I need some new ones), cooking a few extra meals for the freezer, buying the dog food (can't lift), putting things at a height I can reach (can't lift my arm up), stocking up on my favorite things and trying to remember what Movies I might like to see. There will be a frenzy of activity this weekend getting prepared. I will be ready won't I? If not I've got plenty of assistance. I think the girls will be sick of me by the time the surgery roles around..."do we have this?" "Did you get that for me" - you know how that goes!
Now it's way past my bedtime - so gotta go - sleeping is on my list of "must do"

Thanks to all for listening. I'll keep you posted.
Knit Peace