Thursday, June 23, 2016


     I can't believe it's already the end of June, and I haven't blogged all month. I do love summer vacation. The kids and I joined the YMCA, which has been wonderful, and keeps us entertained so we don't kill each other. The kids started swim lessons this week, and this afternoon they go to their first martial arts class. I'm hoping I can make it to the mat pilates class at the same time -- otherwise I guess I'll hang out on the stairclimber for awhile.
     We've been going to open swim in the afternoons, which is not super fun, because it's super crowded, but the kids don't mind, and I try to move around a lot so it counts as exercise. My goal for this summer is to get in shape.
     The other day I remembered that my job offers incentives for employees to improve their fitness. When I got the email in January, my response was -- fuck that, I've got breast cancer. But now that I've gotten over the initial shock of the cancer bit, I decided this wellness plan was a good idea. And I can earn up to $450 just for filling out some forms and talking to a health coach.
     Friday night I worked on my health inventory. I was feeling pretty good, and I think I'm pretty healthy, but then I remembered the cancer part. But hey -- 50 bucks is coming my way just for filling out the form! And Saturday I'm having blood drawn so that my job can know my cholesterol and other health markers. I know  -- I appreciate that people don't want their employees knowing so much about that -- that's a fair concern. I am just thinking about what I can buy myself with my 450 bucks!
     I also remembered that as part of this employee wellness initiative, I can get WeightWatchers online for free. I have been tracking my food on MyFitnessPal, because it's free. But I liked WW well-enough -- and free is free. So I signed up for that, too. I'm not interested in being as thin as I was when I initially did WW. I would like to lose 20 pounds, though. So that's another goal.
     My main objective, however, is to be fit and hopefully cancer-free for the rest of my life. I am still running, slowly -- have to get to work on that. I've been doing a lot of yoga, and Emiko has been doing some yoga with me. I've gone to some yoga classes at the Y, too. I do love yoga.
     I've been meeting my friend Suzanne at the Rose Bowl to walk in the evenings -- that just started this week. We are aiming for Mondays and Thursdays at 7. Our goal is to run more than walk -- it was 108 degrees Monday night -- so we just walked. But I think we'll try to run more tonight. And it's nice to have adult conversation!
     My breast reconstruction is moving along. I had an injection last Thursday, and I go again tomorrow. I don't think I need much more pumping up -- I wonder what size I am right now? I'm anxious to get the surgery over with -- and wondering when that might be.
     I definitely look forward to not having the tissue expanders any longer -- they are a pain and feel awkward and get in the way. The permanent implants are supposed to just become a part of you. I am wondering if I'm still going to be able to wear my eShaki dresses -- as I will know longer be able to shimmy them over my boobs -- these boobs are not going to squish down like my real ones did. Another reason to lose a few pounds -- will make zipping the dresses up the sides easier. We'll see how that all plays out.
     I find myself still dealing with feeling insecure about my cancer boobs. Sometimes at the Y I will change in the changing room -- other times I just change at the bench and not worry about it. I've been encouraging Emiko to not worry about changing in the locker room -- that no one is looking at her. So I should set a good example. But my cancer boobs are alarming to look at -- which Emiko understands.
     Swimming is awesome because when I swim, these boobs feel natural and don't get in the way. It's a nice feeling.
     I saw my oncologist last Friday --  it was a quick visit. I have to see her every three months for the first two years, and then I'll see her every six months for three years. She examined my chest area and we discussed how I was adjusting to tamoxifen, and that was that. She gave me a hug when she left -- which doesn't usually happen with doctors!
     I guess those are your updates for this month. I need to blog more regularly. I keep telling myself that! But it's summertime! The living is easy!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ready for Summer!

     I have my next saline injection next Friday. I'm looking forward to it -- my wound looks like it's completely healed, so we can do a full injection. I've been wondering how much longer the reconstruction process will take. I googled it, of course, and came across this article. Very interesting, and I can relate to what the people interviewed say. People often remark on how fun it will be to get new boobs, and I know that they are being nice, but I feel pretty conflicted about it. I would much rather have my actual breasts and not have breast cancer. I know that new breasts seem like a perk, and I am sure I will enjoy having perky boobs, but that was never something that was important to me.
     I sometimes wonder if I should have opted for surgery without reconstruction, because then I'd be healed and done already. But I do think that I would have been unhappy with that choice. I still feel super self-conscious in t-shirts. Today I wore a super cute skirt, but I didn't have a scarf that matched it, so I had to wear my top without a scarf. So all day I worried about my sad little boobettes. I definitely feel less feminine with my current breasts.
     At any rate, it's happening eventually. I know that I will continue to adjust and evolve and all that good stuff.
      I'm still attending my cancer support group on Wednesday nights. I do think it's helpful, but I do continue to feel a bit guilty about being less sick than many of the other members. When it was my turn to share, I mentioned that I've been thinking about recurrence a lot lately, and how will I ever stop worrying about breast cancer?
     John, the facilitator, said he struggled with that, too, as he had stage one lung cancer. He said that you will always worry, but you also have to live your life. More adapting and evolving for me!
     I am looking forward to summer break. We are going to join the YMCA, so the kids and I can swim all summer long. The Y provides childcare, so I can take a couple of yoga classes a week and not worry about the kids. I think we will all really enjoy that.
     The kids and I are hiking on Sunday mornings. It's so fun to hike with them -- they'll fuss about walking with me, but they hike like little mountain goats. We've been going to Eaton Canyon, which is beautiful and super close to our house. I think we'll keep going there on Sundays until the kids decide they want to try someplace else. There are a ton of beautiful and not-too-challenging trails near us.
     I didn't run any last weekend, but I'm still calling myself a runner. I did sign up for the Awesome 80s 10K in July, and the 10K at the Grove is June 12th. Emiko and Hideo are doing that one with me, so we'll be walking and there might be some fussing. We'll see how that goes.
     Sunday night Todd and I got to see The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl. It was fabulous and I loved every minute! Robert Smith still has it! They played for almost three hours! Which was amazing, but it was a school night and I was tired. I think I'm still recovering, but it was worth it.
     Tuesday night, Todd and I went to Amoeba Records to see The Muffs play a free show. Then last night, Todd and I went to the Hollywood Improv for Outtake-O-Rama, featuring the actors from Futurama. Todd and I do not usually go out so much ever, much less in a week! But it just worked out that all three of these events were happening this week. It's a good thing that I was just reviewing for the final exams and giving the final exams this week, as I have been super tired and kind of crabby as a result of my lack of sleep! Memorial Day weekend will help!
     Next week will be busy, too, as I am a chaperone for the 8th grade Disneyland trip on Thursday, and Friday is 8th grade graduation. I'm going to miss my first 8th grade class. This has been such a great school year, other than the cancer stuff!
     Today I got my blood drawn for tests that my oncologist wants run on me prior to my next appointment with her on June 17th. Hopefully that will all be good.
     We are going to the beach Monday. My first thought was -- I can't go to the beach looking like this! But I decided that was a stupid attitude. I will wear a sports bra underneath a rashguard, so I don't think my boobettes will be that noticeable. Get over it, Amy.
     OK, that's enough for now.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Healing Continues!

     I can't believe I haven't blogged at all this month. I kept getting side-tracked. Things are going well. I am enjoying support group, and the kids love their group. My right boobette wound is almost completely healed! I was scheduled to see my plastic surgeon on May 20th, but she is in surgery that day, so they moved my appointment to the 17th. I think I will reschedule it again, though, because I think the week or two after that I might be able to actually have my first saline injection.
     I've started running again, too. Which makes me happy. I've been thinking about it, but was nervous about it for a good month or two. Finally last Saturday I decided I should try and see what happens. I ran 2.18 miles and it was ok. The tissue expanders feel funky inside a sports bra, but they feel funky regardless, so it wasn't too distracting.
     This morning I ran 4 miles. So progress is occurring. I am signed up for a race at The Grove June 12th. I won't get to run much for that one, as the kids will be with us. But it's something. I am thinking about doing the Awesome 80s 10K in Pasadena in July.
     I also want to start training for a half marathon. No more marathons for me. There's a half marathon in November that I did last year that I enjoyed, so I think I will aim for that one. My friend Carolyn might do it, too, and I'm hoping maybe more of my teacher friends might want to join us, too.
     The Relay for Life is next Saturday. I exceeded my fundraising goal, which is amazing, but one of my dearest friends made a big donation. Which was super sweet. I haven't done the Relay for Life before, but people seem to enjoy it. The first lap is for cancer survivors, so I guess that includes me.
     Support group is good. I do feel a little guilty, because most of the other members of our group are sicker than I am. They don't seem to mind it too much, but I do feel like maybe I have nothing to complain about. Which is true, really. I figure I will go through summer, and in the fall, I will think about if I need to continue with the group. I do find it helpful. We'll see.
     The Young Survival Coalition, for younger women with breast cancer, has a new LA director, so she wants to schedule some meetings. I would like to go to some of those meetings. There is one next week, but it's by UCLA, so that's not an easy drive for me.
     Work is good, but super busy as we prepare for the end of the year. I'm excited for the end of the school year. I love my job, and I'm so glad I get to go back to Immaculate Heart next fall. But I am ready for summer break! I think we are going to join the YMCA so the kids and I can swim and whatnot.
     I guess that's the latest. I had a nice Mother's Day, even though Mother's Day isn't my favorite holiday, since losing my mom 16 years ago. We went to the Huntington Library with my in-laws. I would have liked to go to the beach, but plans were made without my input. That's how it goes sometimes!
     Oh, Todd and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary on May 6th. That is such an accomplishment! We went to Del Frisco's Grill, because they have a lemon cake that I love. We also went to Del Frisco's for our ninth anniversary. We know what we like!
     The 16th anniversary of Mom's death is tomorrow -- which is also my dad's birthday. That's always a sad day. I do feel bad that my mom died on Dad's birthday. Heather and I joke that Mom did that deliberately, so we wouldn't forget. As if we could forget that day!
     So tomorrow I'll drink something strong and cry a little.