Sleepless in Toronto

Since coming back from Vegas last week I’ve been exhausted!! I came back Tuesday morning at 9am (delayed from 6am) so had no time to sleep before having a mammogram early that afternoon. The 1 hour drive in traffic to the hospital was brutal! I struggled to stay awake but no way in hell was I gonna fall asleep. Had some coffee as soon as I got to the hospital and made it back safe and sound. The mammogram of my right breast was not pleasant but after chemo, surgery and radiation it all feels easy. I came home and slept for several hours. Got up ate and went back to sleep.

The next 2 days I had to work. Again brutal!! I had to have more than one coffee each day. I’m trying to have no coffee so having to up it to 2 cups when I usually have 1 green tea is not a good thing.

Friday morning I went to my Rehab program, came home and slept for a couple of hours. Sooo happy that I didn’t have to get up early the next morning. Finally! Well I slept for 14 hours!! Who knew that was even possible. The crazy thing is that I was still a little tired a few hours after getting up. The fatigue after treatment is ridiculous. That night I slept for 10 hours and again was tired after being up for 5 or 6 hours. Last night I slept for 9 hours and of course 5 hours later was tired again. I did manage to go get some groceries. Came home and didn’t do much, I felt tired. It’s like exerting myself for a week is requiring a week to recover. Which means I’ll be extra tired until Friday. I’m working tomorrow so that’s just setting me back even more.

I should be asleep now since I’ve been tired for hours but I couldn’t sleep. How frustrating is that?! Exhausted but can’t sleep. Sleeping for 14 hours but still tired. What the hell?! SIGH … The fatigue makes it hard to have a normal life. I have to plan a lot more and yet a lot less gets done. I have to push myself to do everyday things. I sleep so much but yet I’m still tired most of the time. It can be really frustrating to not be able to do all the things you want to do but I’ve just accepted it. I am trying to exercise and eat healthy so that I can slowly get my energy back. I was told that on average it takes two years to get back to normal energy levels. Another year and a half to go.

In Vegas Surrounded by Fake Boobs!

It’s early Tuesday morning and I’m on my way back from a weekend in Vegas. It was a great weekend! My cousins birthday. We flew in from different cities and met in Las Vegas to celebrate. Got there Friday afternoon and I was exhausted since I had the longest flight and biggest time difference. Not to mention that I’m recovering from treatment and getting over a cold. We were having so much fun the Friday night, that by the time we went to bed I was up for over 24 hours!! I should have left a few hours earlier and just gone to bed. I was beyond exhausted but part of me wanted to still be part of the festivities. Well the next day I pretty much slept the entire afternoon. What was I thinking?!?! Oh well it was Vegas and YOLO! (You only live once).

The party continued and on Sunday we had a cabana by the pool. My cousin and I were getting ready, putting on our swim wear. Her in a bikini and me in a bikini but wearing a cover up on top. Wearing a swim suit with one breast isn’t easy. I mean, I’m over the emotional part and it’s no longer traumatizing to look at myself but I’d still like to feel somewhat normal in public. No one wants to advertise that they’ve had a mastectomy. So I bought a padded bikini top from Victoria’s Secret and it’s OK. From far you can’t tell and although it’s not flat (because of the padding the cup holds it’s shape), there’s no cleavage on the left side. I honestly didn’t even care. I’m at the point where it is what it is and if someone if close enough and notices … oh well. I do however notice my cousins breasts and they look BIG! For a split second it makes me feel self conscious but then in an instant I’m over it. I thought ‘were her breasts always that big??’. I guess they were. I probably didn’t notice before because I wasn’t paying attention but now I’m staring at everyone’s breasts haha. Oh and I haven’t seen her in a bikini in several years. Maybe she just gained a bit of weight. Whatever, no big deal. I’ve somehow become very comfortable in my skin, when only 9 months ago I felt like an alien …

We are now going down to the pool and in the elevator my cousin says “I had surgery”. Being the clueless chemo brain fog girl that I’ve turned into I respond with “you got a breast reduction?”. She says “no I got implants”. Implants?! Omg!!! I think I said breast reduction because I cannot imagine having any sort of surgery unless it was necessary! And then I felt dumb for thinking she’d have her breasts reduced when she wanted that D cup! Wow!! At least I wasn’t imagining things when I thought her breasts looked big. I don’t even remember what I said after that. I think I was in shock and speechless. Especially since I have one breast and just went through hell.

We now get to the cabana where the rest of my peeps are. I’m hungry, thirsty and have a headache. I generally don’t drink but did have a few drinks the night before. It’s VEGAS! My other cousin said she had some Advil in her room. Her breasts btw also looked HUGE. Again it’s probably just me staring at everyone’s breasts. We went up to get the Advil and on the way back down she says “don’t tell anyone but I got breast implants”. WTF is going on?! Both of them tell me within an hour of each other and neither knows about the other one. I feel like I’m in bizarro world. Again I think I felt stunned and didn’t know how to respond. This cousin is a physician and went on to tell me they put the implants under her pecs and that’s the better way to put them in. I will ask about that at my next appt. with plastic surgeon.

Note: alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. I don’t remember the exact amounts and by how much your risk increases. Will follow up with that info later.

Now back at the pool I relax for awhile. Order some food and then lay in the sun for a very short while. Afterwards I get into the pool. The water is warm and feels great!! The weather was perfect. I swim to the edge where my cousin and her friend are sitting, only to find out that the friend also has implants. I thought she might have as well. She’s super thin with decent size breasts. Our breasts are made up of a lot of fatty tissue and she has no fat on her … Hmmmm. The fake breasts did cross my mind but I didn’t think much of it, but apparently I should have!

I couldn’t believe that all three women I was with had implants. I’d like to know why they made that decision. I know I never would if I didn’t have a mastectomy. Maybe there environment, living in LA ANC Dallas … I really don’t know. That was crazy!! Between the four of us, there was only one real boob. How crazy is that?! That’s Vegas for you!

San Francisco to Seattle to Chicago

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I’m now at ICE Resto/Lounge at O’hare International Airport waiting for the last leg of my flight back from San Francisco. Having dinner, since all you get are some peanuts/pretzels and juice/water on the plane. What is that?! Are they trying to end the obesity epidemic??! Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed my SPRING GREEN SALAD. Spring greens with cherry tomatoes, pears, almond slivers and goat cheese all topped with a lemon honey dressing. Yummmm!!! As if that wasn’t enough I also got a FRESH HERB CHICKEN SANDWICH. This was also DELICIOUS!! Romaine lettuce, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, avocado crème and of course the herbed chicken all on sourdough bread. SOOOO GOOD! I decided to splurge and get the BROWN SUGAR PECANS. Mmmmm. Yes it’s exactly what it sounds like.

I realize that was a lot of food but I eat a lot more than I used to! I need all the nourishment and nutrients I can get. When it’s healthy eating and you’re active, weight gain will not be an issue. Although right now I’m trying to lose that 7 pounds I gained. Oh well, no biggie. I’ll get there eventually. I’m healthy and that’s what matters.

Food is very much a focal point now LOL. I have to eat healthy but enjoying my meals is also important. Enjoying life is also important and when I was flying back from San Fran on my crazy flight with a stopover in Seattle and another in Chicago I still managed to thoroughly enjoy myself by adding in my meal at ICE. The food was great along with the ambiance and the service.

The trip to San Francisco was wonderful as well! Enjoying life and savouring each day!

Toronto Rehab

Every Thursday evening my 2 day work week ends and I look forward to my extra long weekend since I don’t work Fridays or Mondays. The other thing I look forward to is the rehab program I’m in which is every Friday morning for 2 hours. The program is awesome!! It’s a 6 month exercise rehab program for women (or men) who have been through breast cancer treatment as long as it’s not stage 4. There are however no men in the group, but they’re allowed in if they’ve had breast cancer … I think. The group is all women and you feel this sense of bonding as you’ve all gone through a similar experience. An experience that was arduous and life changing. An experience that emotionally took you to unfamiliar territory and an experience that no one can fully understand unless they’ve been through it. A journey that doesn’t end with the ending of treatment. It continues as you try to accept and adjust to your new normal.

Recovery is a long process … Everyone’s after effects can be different but the big one is fatigue, which very slowly and gradually dissipates. I am 5 months post treatment and still sleep 9-10 hours a night and get tired at times but it is slowly getting better. People are shocked when I tell them but I had toxic poison (chemo) going through me for 4 months, it’s gonna take awhile for my body to repair and regenerate! Exhaustion is a given.

Exercise helps with so many things! And in case I haven’t mentioned it, I’ve read on various well known websites that regular exercise along with eating well reduces the chance of recurrence by 30%!!! That’s significant! Why do more people not know about this?! The rehab program also has an education component where they would discuss (for example) Lymphedema or the importance of resistance training. It’s amazing! The physiotherapists there are also wonderful!! They are empathetic, sensitive and understanding. They also know what they’re doing and have extensive knowledge about what we are dealing with and going through … Even if they really don’t know how we are feeling. I would recommend that anyone recovering post treatment be referred to the program. I absolutely LOVE it!