Sunday, April 24, 2011

The New Normal

  1. Two years after my diagnosis and I am always asked if things are back to normal.

  2. My answer? It is a new normal. There are days that my husband forgets what we went to, forgets that I had cancer, forgets the fight. I would give anything to have those days.
    Let me explain... This is my bathroom sink.

In the morning I wake up and after I brush my teeth, I have three things to take:
1. Vitamin D (for bone health) I have blood tests every doctor visit to make sure I am taking enough.

2. Calcium

3. Remifemin (right now it is Icool) for the menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, mood swings, sleeplessness)

4. Clariten

When I am getting dressed before and after the shower I am faced with the scar on my breast. It looks fine and faint, but it is still there. In the shower I have to use a special razor with a flat head (AKA my husband's) to shave under my left arm cause the scar causes an indentation that I cannot get with my Schick Quatro. My doctors told me that radiation would cause the hair to not grow. But my doctor was so precise that my hair still grows. :-(

Ater taking a shower I have to put on lotion. A special lotion on my left breast (Intense Moisture) by Avon. It is the only lotion that alleviate the EXTREME dry skin in the radiation areas.

Since my lymph nodes were removed during surgery, I have to be extra vigilant about keeping my left arm unharmed. A paper cut, a insect bite, sun burn,even a hang nail can cause lymphadema.

At night, I have to take more pills.

1. Tamoxifen (to fight any rogue cancer cells still there)

2. Effexor (to combat the side-effects of the Tamoxifen)

3. Vitamin D (again, I am deficient about 2300ml)

4. Xyzal (another anti-histamine, to keep the hives at bay (didn't I mention I was allergic to myself?))

5. Ambien (when I need to sleep in my pot holders)

My pot holders?
Yup, pot holders. Because my lymph nodes were removed (during the cancer surgery) I have some swelling in my left arm and in my left breast. The lymph nodes are our own person trash system, so my trash system is gone and there is no where for the extra fluid in my arm or breast to go and swelling can occur. You can see this in the post entitled "Frankenboob" I had compression sleeves made for me to compresses the areas to keep swelling down, and they way they are sewn will move the fluid up out of my harm and to my other lymph systems. They are bulky, but are a godsent when I feel like I am swelling (or for an insect bite on my left arm)

The only true way to understand is to see them for yourself...

The grey pad wrappes around my under arm (called a swell spot).

I know... Sexy huh?

So this is my normal... My new normal. Is it different? Yes.
Is it horrible? No.
Just... a New Normal :-)

It really isn't so bad. I am still so grateful for my life, for my family and yes... Even for my health.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This year, I'll be participating in a very special event called the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.

I'll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. Net proceeds from the 3-Day for the Cure fund innovative global breast cancer research and local community programs supporting education, screening and treatment. Virtually every major advance in the fight against breast cancer in the last 28 years has been impacted by a Komen for the Cure grant.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations. I've set my personal goal at $2500. So I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation of $100? Keep in mind how far I'm walking - and how hard I'll have to train. You can give online at Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising webpage and make a donation. You can also call 800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone.

Two years ago, I received the call that I had breast cancer. I don't want any other woman to get that call....

Somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer every 69 seconds. That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts.

Surgery, Chemo, then radiation... 60 miles? I can do that!

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Laurie Jo
Captain of Team LJ

P.S. Ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program!

Thank you to Luke for making my Mascot!!! (seen at the top of this post)