Mamas Surviving Cancer--Making it through the Holidays - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 90 Old 11-04-2005, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought we could start a new thread. Here's the link to the old thread.http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=281446

I'm thinking I'm going to do what I can to accept any offers of holiday help I can get. My sister has invited me to visit for Thanksgiving and it's OK with my rad oncologist if I skip the day after, so off we are going.

I normally have all my Christmas shopping done by now, but this year haven't given a thought to it. I should do it soon because if I get fatigue from the rads, it will hit me in the next couple of weeks.

How is everyone doing?
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#2 of 90 Old 11-04-2005, 10:07 PM
 
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For once I'm totally on top of a new thread occuring! Yeah me!

I usually do xmas cards that seem to have gotten more and more elaborate - last year I said "F" it and it was so liberating. I figured I would have to update everyone on how I was doing, and it was just too much.

Keep it simple ladies, and take care of you and yours first.
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#3 of 90 Old 11-07-2005, 10:18 PM
 
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Hi! Thanks for the new thread, EFMom.

I had my first check up with the onc today. I took dd with me & it went pretty well. She sat on the exam table with me & was pretty chill until she had to climb down while I layed back for part of the exam. The doc was great--even asked if I wanted her to come sit on my legs. He said I am a-ok. He also mentioned that the suggested 2 year wait for pregnancy is more for social reasons than medical ones.

I'm pretty laid back for the holidays anyway. I wish I was cool enough to think of fabulous, wonderful things to do, but I'm just not...

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#4 of 90 Old 11-07-2005, 10:22 PM
 
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EFMom, just saw your questions re hormonal treatment on the old thread. Nope, my tumor was ER/PR negative. No herceptin for me either. You sure have a busy week ahead of you!
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#5 of 90 Old 11-09-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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Hi beautiful mamas! so I finished my rads the last week of october and celebrated a new beginning at 8:23 p.m. nov 1st (the new moon) by burning a little sweetgrass in the backyard. I was too tired to do much more celebrating, but in the last week I seem to be perking up a bit! My rad burns have subsided and I have a little more energy, I think things will keep getting better now.
I was also er/pr neg and her2neg so this is really the end of treatment for me (mixed emotions : ) However, there is evidence that a low fat diet and exercise can help prevent a recurrence, so I'm taking that pretty seriously, as that's all I got! I went out on the weekend and bought some kickass running shoes and started running and doing some weights and ab stuff. I actually couldn't believe how much stamina I had. It felt great! I'm thinking that maybe just getting out of bed and walking around in that burnt out state throughout chemo and radiation was like some sort of intense training, 'cause I feel like I could run a marathon! (Although I'm still pretty sleepy, maybe it's the baby waking up all night?!)
I'm thinking about everyone so much, and wishing that everyone is feeling o.k., and soon to be feeling fantastic!

all my love and kisses, janet gotta go back to bed!
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#6 of 90 Old 11-09-2005, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a third of the way through rads, with 21 more to go. My skin is starting to get a bit pink and the nurse told me to start using Aquaphor. Up until now, they've been adament that I shouldn't use anything.

The receptor thing is funny. On the one hand, I'm so sick of all this treatment. It seems like it's been forever since I've been diagnosed, and it seems like the treatment is unending. I get over one phase only to have another thrust upon me. OTOH, I'll take any extra treatment I can get, so I guess I'll be seeing my oncologist regularly for the next five years.

For everyone who is dealing with the hair loss issue, this is a pretty cool site
http://www.karinstack.com/hs/hair.html

Hugs to all!
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#7 of 90 Old 11-09-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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Delphinus - I read a part of the book the China Study before I had to return it to the library, and it was all about a big cancer study (the china study) and evidence of a vegan diet in slowing/stopping tumor growth. I'd like to read the whole thing...
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#8 of 90 Old 11-13-2005, 09:22 PM
 
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Hi Gals, I haven't been able to get online as of lately...but here i am! I've just had my 15th chemo treatment. Lots of inner heat/hot/burning flashes. I'm really worn down.
as far as the holidays go-we are doing t-giving a week early-when i'll have enough strength i hope to cook. And as far as x-mas is concerned dd is only 2 1/2 and won't know the difference-we are skipping it this year-though hoping for some good cheer from those with more energy and means than we have now:ray:
thanks for the new thread!
love ya all!!
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#9 of 90 Old 11-25-2005, 12:18 PM
 
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: Fellow warriors
I am happy to find you all still here...I scanned thru the threads and I will be joining you rad mammas here in about 2 months. I have made it 1/2 way thru my clinical and I am actually going back to Ohio for 2 months for part of this treatment and then back here to NYC for my stem cell transplant.
I should be done by the beginning of March...
My docs are very happy with my response so far to the super high freaky chemo they gave me and I got to see my PET and the difference from my first to the one I have now is amazing. I only have a little dot left in my chest and a smudge under my left arm all of which we could just stop and go to transplant but the goal of this trial is to get the nodes to the smallest size possible before transplant for the highest cure possibilty.
So I have to have some additional chemo before the transplant that is supposed to be easier than ABVD.
OK I gtg
my pc time is up...ttys

Free To Be~
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"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is."
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#10 of 90 Old 11-25-2005, 02:48 PM
 
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Traci, wonderful to hear from you!!! I am so thrilled that your treatment is going well & that you will be able to spend some time at home.

Myrrh, how did your Thanksgiving day go? Were you up for cooking?

We got a nice surprise. Dad was coming through on a job & he spent from yesterday afternoon 'til this morning with us. It was wonderful. He hasn't seen dd for nearly a year. They enjoyed eachother very much. She called him 'Pa. So cute!

I'm in between check-ups. Just cruising along being hopeful.

Love to you all!
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#11 of 90 Old 11-26-2005, 01:37 PM
 
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Mommies,

I would encourage you all to check into Modified Citrus Pectin. The theory is that it binds to tumor cells as they break off from the tumor and spread. It then binds to those tumor cells, inactivates them and destroys them. There is a lot of good information on MCP (not just citrus pectin, it is modified to make the molecules smaller). I have a lot of VERY good anti-cancer information and I will try to post as much as possible. I am not selling anything, just doing my part to support the mothers here.

Eric
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#12 of 90 Old 11-29-2005, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Traci, that's wonderful news about your new "freaky" chemo! I hope it all goes away with the next round.

AuntieM, I'm glad you got to spend time with your dad. What a treat! I love to watch my kids with their grandparents. Lung cancer took my mom too early, but the kids are very close to my inlaws.

Myrrh, so sorry you are feeling wiped out. Hang in there. You are right--your small child won't miss a big to-do at the holidays, so save your strength and keep things low key.

I'm down to 8 remaining rad tx (but who is counting?). The radiation has been pretty easy for me so far. My skin is slightly pink , but isn't breaking down at all. I'm a bit tired, but not too bad. I'm still waiting for the results from the BRCA testing--should be soon. I'm not entirely sure that I'm ready to hear the verdict, but I doubt that I ever will be.

I had a nice Thanksgiving at my sister's house. Her dd is in medical school, and she invited a bunch of other female med students, mostly international students, for dinner. They were funny--they wanted all the details about my cancer, treatment and side effects. One of them is interested in oncology, but they are only in their second year, so it's too early to know for sure. It was just nice not to have to clean and cook! The one down side is that we had to board the puppy at the kennel, which I think is much harder on us than it is on him. :

Peace and healing to all!
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#13 of 90 Old 12-09-2005, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How is everyone doing? I thought I'd bump the thread.

I had a busy day. We had a snow storm here, and the kids and dh (he's a teacher) had a snow day. I'd planned on taking the day off, hoping to get a little Christmas shopping done, but the snow put an end to that plan.

I had to go for my last rad treatment today. Dh and the kids came with me, as I'm a wimp about driving in the snow. One of the rad techs was talking about all the cancellations they'd had, and he said he could understand me braving the weather to finish up on a Friday and not have to carry over to next week. I told him I'd have been there if I had to crawl!

We'd just gotten back to the house after a long, slippery drive, and the medical oncologist's office called to tell me my genetic testing results were in and the geneticist had a cancellation if I wanted to come in. They are in the same hospital as the rad oncologist. So, we took the kids out to lunch to celebrate me being done and back we went. My genetic tests were negative, which is great news for my sisters and nieces.

So, I had a very good day, and celebrated with a nap.

Hope all you brave ladies are doing well!
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#14 of 90 Old 12-11-2005, 03:00 AM
 
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I'm not sure how much time I'll have to post. Snuck off for a bit while DH was reading to DD.

First, EFMom, wonderful news about the BRCA testing. Also, big congrats on finishing the last of your rads.

I did a little bit of digging on the internet re. EDog's suggestion of modified citrus pectin. It's intrigueing. The stuff is darned expensive though.

I've been mostly good & occasionally very bad. I'm trying to make healthy changes, and not freak out when I decide that I want to do something slightly less than healthy.

So much more to say, but it looks like my window is closing.

Big hugs & love to you mamas. I miss hearing from you all.

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#15 of 90 Old 12-16-2005, 10:34 PM
 
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Hi Brave and Beautiful Beauties!
Thanks for sharing all the news!!!
I'm wiped out.
I thought I'd bounce back much sooner but it doesn't look like it. I'm detoxing from all the drugs I was taking plus all the chemo in my system and feel worse than ever!!!!
dh is being stubborn about the relactating issue so it looks like that may be a hope swept away from being a reality-so I'm grieving that again..
i will be retested end of jan. ct/pet scans to check and make sure everything's treated/cured.
So much weakness and dizziness. Can anyone relate? I was bouncing back about 11 days after treatments but we are well past that date(?)
love you gals!
myr
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#16 of 90 Old 12-16-2005, 11:04 PM
 
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Sometimes dh's are turds.

Maybe you are "relaxed" after all the treatments... sort of like when you get sick when you finally have some time off right after you have been working really hard?
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#17 of 90 Old 12-17-2005, 02:09 AM
 
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The turd who loved me... needed a laugh--thanks!

I've been advised to expect your recovery time to take as long as your treatment time. Be gentle to yourself. I'm 5 months (gad) out from chemo & ~8 weeks out from rads & am surprised by how tired I still am.

Myr, DD is about the same age as your dd was when I met her. Sometimes, she dances & prances around & totally reminds me of your Sweetie. I am sorry that you are mourning your relactation.

Owensmom, it's nice to see you pop in!

Traci, Janet, EFMom how are you all??

Love, Hugs, Healing & Holiday wishes to you!

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#18 of 90 Old 12-19-2005, 02:39 AM
 
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oh beautiful mamas!!! sorry I've been experiencing a bit of posting writer's block...sometimes it's hard to know what to say now that my toenails are no longer falling off! Myr I'm so glad you're finished your treatments! It's totally normal that you're feeling wiped, I'm still pretty tired, but it's getting better, I'm hoping to soon return to my regular exhausted state as a parent!

I've also been thinking a lot about incorporating the reality of what's happened into my life. I mean sometimes I'm brushing my teeth or something and everything seems kinda normal, but then I look in the mirror and think "what the ?? did this really happen?!"

It's also kinda weird because I know I'm at high risk for recurrence, but I want to be positive and believe that everything's going to be o.k., you know? I've been trying to wrap my head around everything, it's not like everything can go on like nothing happened. Our brilliant shrink has been helping with this issue. I was really upset one day and said that I was worried that if my cancer did come back then I would be a total failure, that I wasn't being positive enough or something. He explained that he had worked with a group of women that had metastatic disease, who felt exactly this very thing, especially because people often say that if you just stay positive you'll be fine. But what they found was that while being positive can help you enjoy life more, it doesn't necessarily make you live longer, and that it's actually much more useful to work through your fears. They use the term "being authentic" rather than being positive, i.e. it's great to be hopeful and feel like cancer has been completely erased from your body and your life, but it's also o.k. to be a little scared, and talk about your fears for the future, etc. You know? It doesn't mean that anything bad will happen! Anyway, though I'd mention that in case anyone was feeling the same way.

Anyway I love you all so much!! I better get to sleep before one of those little kiddies wakes up and doesn't have a face to accidently jab with an elbow or foot! Gotta love those little cuties, even with their pink eye and runny noses!! Hey by the way, has anyone experienced any kind of post treatment super-immunity? I'm tired, but I can't believe I haven't come down with (knock on wood--there should be a smilie icon for that, I guess I could always use this one! ) any of the million colds and flus that have been going around!

nightie-night,
xoxoxo janet
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#19 of 90 Old 12-22-2005, 03:51 PM
 
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Hi, Mamas!!

Janet, I totally get what you're saying about being authentic. I feel really good most of the time & I actually believe that I will survive, but every once in a while I am overwhelmed with sadness at the possibility that I may not be here to help my daughter grow to an adult.

I just finished a good book that I picked up at the library. It's called, "After breast cancer: a common-sense guide to life after treatment." Although it is specific to bc, I think that it would be helpful for others as well.

The hair on top of my head is about 2 inches long now!!! It is a bit curly & very unruly. I've managed to lose about 5 of the 15-20 post-chemo pounds I gained. It's very slow going, but it is coming off. I've read that being at a healthy weight helps reduce the risk of recurrence, so it is important to me.

A very dear friend that DH & I have known since high school will be spending the holiday with us. I am looking forward to it.

Hugs & healing to everyone.
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#20 of 90 Old 12-28-2005, 04:16 PM
 
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hey everyone...
I am so glad to read so many of you have finished or are almost finished with treatment and getting good news from tests.
Myhr...I am sure what others have said before me it is normal and you will soon be feeling more energetic again soon...
I had my 3rd chemo yesterday of the GND and have one more on the 10th of Jan then back to NYC on the 20th to start RADs and then my transplant.
I am feeling really good now...so much that some voice in my head tells me to just stay home and forget about the rest of all this....lol...ahh dreamin'....

As for authenticity...yeah...that is a struggle...very positive of course....Janet I can totally relate to the brushing teeth thing...I run around my house doing everything healthy moms do and I still go out and shop and I too feel normal until I look in the mirror, take a shower or when I go to sleep that is when the realness of what has happened to me hits....ugh..sometimes I get anxiety so bad about going to bed because I think tooo much. I have a spiritual healer though who told me that when things get freaky in my head to look at my children, smell their sweet smell, look at dd's little hands and dewelve in the wonders of her growth, take my mind to other places.

To be honest I am scared as h*** for my next part of my treatment. RAD to my bulky spots then RAD to my whoel Lymph system then high chemo and then my stem cells back...I hope I can send my mind elsewhere. I have come to aquire a high tolerance for misery/pain since this has happened, mind enabled of course, but I worry I won't be able to handle this mentally.

sorry to dump all that out, but my fingers just went for it....good to read it to face it I guess...

I cannot wait for summer....to be free of docs and meds...

Free To Be~
Traci
"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is."
~John Holt 

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#21 of 90 Old 12-28-2005, 05:54 PM
 
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Quote:
I cannot wait for summer....
yes! Summer! And SPRING! The sleep thing is challenging me too. While detoxing I didn't sleep for 5 nights::crazy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solange
look at my children, smell their sweet smell, look at dd's little hands and dewelve in the wonders of her growth, take my mind to other places.
Yes! We are so blessed to have our sweet babies. This would have so much different for me if I didn't have ds & dd.:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solange
I have come to aquire a high tolerance for misery/pain since this has happened, mind enabled of course, but I worry I won't be able to handle this mentally.
Boy do I know what you mean. When getting labs every week(or day), you can set your mental time clock for tolerance control-if that makes any sense
Like when I work in the yard a bunch and get cuts on my hands that I don't even notice until I'm cleaning up for the day-or later. It's a certain mode of operation(modus operandus LOL).
Quote:
Originally Posted by delphinus
I was really upset one day and said that I was worried that if my cancer did come back then I would be a total failure, that I wasn't being positive enough or something.
S
I just dealt with this at a friend's house. Her mom insinuated that she didn't lose her hair becuz they prayed enough! I informed her that there are 100's of different chemos and they have varying percentages of hair loss...:! We didn't make this happen to us folks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by owensmom
Maybe you are "relaxed" after all the treatments... sort of like when you get sick when you finally have some time off right after you have been working really hard?
That is where I am now. I have some energy but blasted if I don't want to DO anything-besides mend myself!
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFMom
I told him I'd have been there if I had to crawl!
Yeah EFMom!! I Love your enthusiasm!
Quote:
Originally Posted by auntie M
I've been advised to expect your recovery time to take as long as your treatment time.
I'm so impatient right now!!!! I must be feeling better cuz I'm feeling quite sassy at the moment!
I miss having a life!!
I can hardly wait to get my life back! It's going to be a new life! There is no way I can go on unchanged from here on. I FEEL SOMETHING BIG AND i'M WAITING FOR IT TO BIRTH!oops-spontaneous caps-we are having fun today! Doesn't take much to amuse me these days! That's a good thing! I will never lose my wonder for a rock found or a breeze or the rain clouds, or a sprout or grandmother tree. I want to dance again.(Oh I'm going to be soo sore when I do!)
I LOVE YOU ALL!!
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#22 of 90 Old 12-29-2005, 11:21 AM
 
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I can't not post... It's just so nice to hear from you all!

Wish I had more to say....

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#23 of 90 Old 01-05-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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Ok everyone we made it! It is now 2006 and I am soooooo happy to say goodbye to 2005. Definitely not a good year that one. I didn't realize our thread title would be so appropriate because I did just barely make it through the holidays to land in 2006 a little shaken but on the road to recovery.

I had really been looking forward to all the festivities, but unfortunately slid downhill just before xmas into a deep dark debilitating depression, complete with incessant sobbing for no reason and repetitive disturbing thoughts. To boot I was convinced that the cancer had come back. I managed to make it to see our shrink by the end of last week and everything seems to point to a postpartum-like depression-obsessional disorder brought on by the chemo-induced menopause. We're not sure if maybe my cycle is returning or maybe it was the last dying gasp of my ovaries, but my hormones were definitely on some kind of rollercoaster ride--no maybe more like a rocket ship ride--and man, it was a nightmare.

I started some SSRI medication, but have actually been feeling much better the last few days, which apparently would be too soon to be from the meds, but I'm going to keep taking them. If it turns out my cycle is returning and that was some sort of crazy-ass PMS, I ain't going to be able to cope with THAT two weeks out of every month. Anyway, time will tell I guess, I don't think the meds will be a long term thing.

The good news is that I thought I was feeling so out of control because the cancer had come back, but my shrink said it was WAY more likely to be the other way round, i.e I was feeling so out of control that I just thought the cancer had come back. Whew, I'm willing to go with the latter explanation!

Hope no one's holidays were as bleak as mine sound! (There were good parts too, I was so grateful to be around my wonderful family, but man I'm soooo sick of needing help!!!)

Let's make 2006 the year of complete healing!!!!! Is everyone with me on that?

I love you all and I'm thinking of you all the time!!!!

Janet
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#24 of 90 Old 01-05-2006, 02:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delphinus
Ok everyone we made it! It is now 2006 and I am soooooo happy to say goodbye to 2005. Definitely not a good year that one. I didn't realize our thread title would be so appropriate because I did just barely make it through the holidays to land in 2006 a little shaken but on the road to recovery...


...Let's make 2006 the year of complete healing!!!!! Is everyone with me on that?

I love you all and I'm thinking of you all the time!!!!

Janet
Oh Janet, it is sooo good to hear from you!
I am so right there with you right now!
Take my (our) hand(s), sister(s)!
I'm so grateful to say that you all helped me thru!
God/dess Bless Us All and the New Year!
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#25 of 90 Old 01-06-2006, 03:01 AM
 
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Right there with you mamas! Yeah 2006. Yeah new beginnings.

DD's teacher approached me the other day for advice on how to help her newly diagnosed friend. I was glad to help & so pissed & bummed that it's happening to another of us mamas.

Janet, I'm glad you found something to help you feel better. I remember my aunt saying that an anti-depressant worked wonders for her & really helped her to cope.

Hugs, Love & Healing to you All!!!
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#26 of 90 Old 01-06-2006, 04:42 PM
 
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Janet for you.....

Free To Be~
Traci
"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is."
~John Holt 

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#27 of 90 Old 01-06-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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Traci!!!! So good to hear from you!!! How are you? Are you home?

Hi to everyone else too.

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#28 of 90 Old 01-07-2006, 11:46 AM
 
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I am home for the holiday AuntieM but due to head back to the big apple on the 20th to finish my transplant...

Free To Be~
Traci
"Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is."
~John Holt 

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#29 of 90 Old 01-07-2006, 02:35 PM
 
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Traci, what a long haul for you! I'm glad you're home.

Do you get zapped, get the transplant & have to stay ultra-clean for a while? I hope that your chemo allows you to regain a little energy between treatments. I also hope that you'll be joining us in post-treatment land soon.

DD is 2 tomorrow. We'll have a little party--mostly adults. It should be fun.

Been thinking about the garden. I got some things in our pots last year, but it was pretty neglected... I've also been thinking about getting 2-3 chickens. DH is not totally on board, but I'm not quite yet either. Maybe I'm "nesting." Sorry.... just couldn't resist.

Yesterday, I was talking to DH about how I had napped with DD. He was shocked that I didn't do that every day. Something to think about...

Love to you all!!!

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#30 of 90 Old 01-07-2006, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So good to hear from all you ladies.

Traci, you've been in my thoughts a great deal. I can't wait for you to be done with all this, too. They do stem cell transplants at the medical center where I get treated and I was talking to my nurse about them the last time I went in for Herceptin. She was telling me that they are getting some great results. Hang on in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes it's hard to see it.

auntieM, chickens! What fun that would be! I hope your dh changes his mind. My garden was a joke last year. Dh put in some stuff and then it basically got neglected all summer. I wasn't supposed to be out in the sun for any length of time, and he had his hands busy with the kids anyway. We did manage a few tomatoes and peppers, but that's about it. Next year. But no chickens for me in the suburbs!

Janet, I'm so sorry your holidays were so hard. I've been taking Lexapro since shortly after I got diagnosed, and it's been wonderful for me. It didn't take nearly as long to kick in as the doc had warned, so maybe the meds are helping. I also think I won't be on it for too much longer, but when I needed it, it sure helped me out. I hope things go smoother for your and please come here and "talk" if that helps.

Myrrh, I love that sense of wonder! If I've learned anything from this journey it's to look for all the little every day miracles all around us.

I've been doing well. I had a MUGA scan on Friday to make sure the Herceptin isn't destroying my heart. I meet with my oncologist next week to get the results. I'm keeping my fingers crossed all is well in that department.
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