Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stepmothers, Other Mothers, Only Mothers.....

Happy Mother's Day to All

This blog is dedicated to my step-mother who I will refer to as  Miss N and then as my "other mother".

I met my "other mother" when I was sixteen. She worked for my dad so we would all meet for lunch. She was single and  older than me, lived in her own apartment so at 16 I thought she was awesome. Little did I know I was building a relationship with my future step-mother.

A few years later I started working for the same company. My dad was my boss as well as Miss N's boss.  It was a great year, all of us worked well together, and then the Grain Dust  Explosion of 1978 ......all of us lost our jobs. My dad found a job in another city, my parents divorced and both my mom and dad moved to other cities.

Miss N found a job locally and we stayed friends. So she got to deal with me ....and has been dealing with me ever since. :)

As the years passed Miss N became my step-mother. My mom never lived in town again and she died, sadly, too young. So Miss N was dubbed my "other mother". When I got divorced I no longer had the closeness of a mother-in-law, she too has passed away. So Miss N is now my "only mother".

My dad and Miss N have been married for 30 years. :) What a great lady my dad hand picked with a lot of thought to be my step-mother. I believe there was some special intervention from God. She is the kindest lady I could ever imagine having in my life. My parents help me every month.....they give up so much so I have as much as I need. They have especially helped me since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. My "only mother" loves me much as I love the children I  birthed. She is always there for me, always so generous, so kind, and sacrifices so much for our family. She commutes over 120 miles a day to work, makes nutritional dinners most evenings for my father and really asks for nothing in return. She is the most beautiful, selfless person you could ever meet .I  am so fortunate to have her in my life. When I count my blessings my "only mother" is at the top of the list.

Thank you for all you do for our family,


Friday, May 11, 2012

Cancer Sisterhood~There are a lot of us out there

Today I was doing some shopping and saw an older lady with a Survivor t-shirt on. Well, you know me, I have to say something....I gave her a high five and we talked for a minute. She was a 17 year survivor and got diagnosed again so now she is a 6 month second time survivor. As we were talking another lady came up and we all high fived, she was a 2 1/2 year survivor. It is always so inspirational and uplifting to see other survivors, we all have a story, we all have a big SMILE on our face and are truly blessed. Please say a prayer for all those that are battling breast cancer and to the survivors. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The joys of Lymphedema


Just some good information for anyone that may be experiencing issues with lymphedema. I have it behind my arm and slight swelling down my back. I have been going to an awesome physical therapist in N Fort Worth. If you or someone you know is in the area needing help let me know and I give you their number.

I have tape down my back right now to move to fluid down so it can drain in my groin.It is more irritating than painful, thank goodness. :)

This article is from the American Cancer Society

Why do I need to know about lymphedema?

Women who have been treated for breast cancer may be at risk for arm, breast, and chest swelling called lymphedema (limf-uh-dee-muh). Most women who have had breast cancer will not develop this side effect, but some will. The risk of lymphedema is higher for women who have surgery and radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.
Here we will talk about what lymphedema is, the steps you can take to lower your risk, and what signs you can look for. There is no way to know who will get lymphedema. But there are things you can do to try to prevent it. And recognizing it early and starting treatment right away can help manage it.

What is the lymph system?

Our bodies have a network of lymph (limf) nodes and lymph vessels that collect and carry watery, clear lymph fluid, much like veins collect blood from all parts of the body and carry it through the body. Lymph fluid contains proteins, salts, and water, as well as white blood cells, which help fight infections. In the lymph vessels, valves work with body muscles to help move the fluid through the body. Lymph nodes are small collections of tissue that work as filters for harmful substances and help us fight infection.
Picture of left and right lymph drainage fields of a woman's head and chest

What is lymphedema?

During surgery for breast cancer, the doctor removes at least one lymph node from the underarm area to see if the cancer has spread. Sometimes doctors remove more than one. When lymph nodes are removed, lymph vessels that carry fluid from the arm to the rest of the body are also removed because they route through and are wrapped around the nodes.
Removing lymph nodes and vessels changes the flow of lymph fluid in that side of the upper body. This makes it harder for fluid in the chest, breast, and arm to flow out of this area. If the remaining lymph vessels cannot drain enough fluid from these areas, the excess fluid builds up and causes swelling, or lymphedema. Radiation treatment to the lymph nodes in the underarm can affect the flow of lymph fluid in the arm, chest, and breast area in the same way, further increasing the risk of lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues just under your skin. It usually develops slowly over time. The swelling can range from mild to severe. It can start soon after surgery or radiation treatment. But it can also begin months or even many years later. Women who have many lymph nodes removed and women who have had radiation therapy for breast cancer have a higher risk of getting lymphedema.
Doctors still do not fully understand why some patients are more likely to have problems with fluid build-up than others. They expect that in the future fewer women will develop lymphedema because:
  • Breast surgery and treatment keep getting more conservative (that is, more women are treated with lumpectomy rather than mastectomy).
  • Research advances have led to methods like the sentinel lymph node biopsy (a procedure that allows the surgeon to remove only 1 or 2 lymph nodes).
  • Newer studies are looking at finding which lymph nodes drain the arm before surgery so they can be preserved when possible. This procedure is called axillary reverse mapping.
There is still a lot to be learned about lymphedema, but there are ways that you can care for your arm and breast area to reduce your chances of having future problems. Once lymphedema has started, it cannot be cured. But early and careful management can reduce symptoms and help keep it from getting worse.

Last Medical Review: 03/01/2012
Last Revised: 03/01/2012

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrate Life and Embrace your Friends.....

I am a person with the gift of gab but am finding it more difficult than I thought to update my blog daily. I will try to write more often.
Over the years you meet so many people and amazingly some of them move on when you NEVER thought you  would lose touch, or they touch your life in one way or another--like a guardian angel, and then there are those forever friends.
During my cancer journey I had more friends have daughters and sons get pregnant than not. Each friend was shocked, upset, horrified that it happened to them. I always told them "Celebrate Life", it is a wonderful gift. Each friend went through different ways of coping and accepting the idea that they would be young grandparents. I continued to support them and remind them to celebrate life and embrace the joy of a new born baby even if the circumstances were not your expectations. I am so happy to say many got married, all the children are happy and healthy, and each friend now knows they got the greatest gift of all--a grandchild to cherish and adore. It has been interesting to watch these young couples change and develop into maturing adults that are great parents.
I have another friend, surprisingly a forever friend, whose life I watched be transformed. She was a confused girl, married a few different times and liked to party. When she got married to her current husband she seemed to continue to fight instead of embrace the love they could share. She had to be tough and independent; not sure what made her think she had do that. On occasion we would have a deep conversation about life, the first time being when her mother passed away. We bonded at this mutual sad experience we had in common, both realizing that we could be  very vulnerable. I think with God's intervention she started to change, she started to embrace her husband and being his wife.I have watched her obtain an inner peace that has brought a new found happiness into her life--Well, as long as the Rangers win! LOL  Dear friend, you know who you are and this one is for you!! You have been one of my most awesome supporters but we can keep it just between us. :)

Remember to learn to dance in the rain, live, love and laugh!! Life is good!!