Breast Cancer: Sharing Your Boobs with the World

 

Breast Cancer: Sharing Your Boobs with the World

Breast cancer is a funny thing.

Not “Haha” funny but weird funny.

You’ll be tooling along doing OK and then you will have an appointment with someone new that just doesn’t sit well with you.

Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s them, or maybe you are just tired of the whole damn thing.

You may decide that you have had enough of your boobs being examined by strangers.

At first, you can laugh it off and create silly little memes like the one I created above.

 

Breast Cancer: Sharing Your Boobs with the World

But it won’t be long before you might be feeling a little more strongly about it.

This is how I felt last week. Enough already!

It came to a head last Wednesday when I had to go in for a CAT scan that would determine how I need to be positioned during the radiation treatments.

Try totally topless and on my stomach with a hard bar pushing into my sternum. UGH!

I had a good cry when I got home and Warren took me out for dinner. And I still had another appointment scheduled for Friday. Boo!

Finally, I looked at my calendar and realized that I have NO appointments this week. NONE!

A whole week to work on my work and be unmolested.

Some people dream of vacations in tropical locals.

I only dream of 1 week of not having to flash my boobs at a stranger.

I’m a happy camper! :)

 

Recipes from the Cranberry Queen

 

A Recipe or Two from the Cranberry Queen

 

 

I’m super excited to share a guest post from a new blogging pal Deborah from Deborah Dishes. She was so kind to offer a guest post to help me out while I’ve been down and I’m happy to introduce you all to her. I hope you’ll stop by her blog and say “hello” and give the recipes below a try.

 

A Recipe or Two from the Cranberry Queen

I love cranberries. And I’m lucky enough to live in the land of cranberry bogs, Massachusetts. One of the local bog owners invites us to pick from the bog after the harvest, as the harvesters never get every last berry. There is plenty of fruit around the edges for easy picking so we don’t inflict any damage on the fragile plants or get too wet. And if we don’t take them they ferment. We’ve seen any number of tipsy deer staggering around the bog drunk on fermented cranberries.

These berries are the size of large grapes, not the tiny fruit in the bags at the grocery store. So what do we do with these beauties? Cranberry Relish and Cranberry Bread.

411 Cranberry Relish
The 411 comes from the ratio of cranberries to sugar to liquid

4 C. cranberries, washed and picked over
1 C. sugar
1 C. orange juice concentrate
Grated rind from 1 orange
2 tsp. Coleman’s Dry Mustard
2 T. Fruit Vinegar (apple cider or raspberry)

Place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange rind in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until cranberries pop and the mixture is syrupy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Dissolve the mustard into the vinegar. Stir the mustard-vinegar mix into the cranberries. Let cool and chill for 24 hours. Pack into glass jars as gifts or serve with turkey, pork or chicken. Great on turkey sandwiches with tarragon mayonnaise and alfalfa sprouts.

 

 

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

This bread is not only delicious for breakfast but goes well with a poultry dinner; I serve it at Thanksgiving. It freezes beautifully and if your mixer and oven are big enough it can be doubled. It makes a great hostess gift.

Makes 2 – 8” loaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3 C. Flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 T. butter
4 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. orange juice
2 C. cranberries
1 C. chopped walnuts
½ C. raisins

Butter and flour 2 – 8” bread pans
Sift and mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Beat together the butter and eggs, and then beat in the sugar. Add in the orange juice a little at a time alternating it with the flour mixture until both are fully incorporated. Fold in the cranberries, walnuts and raisins.
Transfer to the loaf pans. Bake for 1 ¼ hours at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on cooling racks. Best to wait several hours before cutting. Serve with butter or cream cheese.
www.deborahdishes.com

 

 

DeborahDishes

DeborahDishes

Testing, Testing – Oncotype DX

 

Testing, Testing - Oncotype DX

 

I’ve never had my body sampled, biopsied, tested and prodded as much as I have in the few months since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s a lot to deal with and quite a lot of information to absorb.

Take the Oncotype DX test. Just the name is kind of overwhelming. And doing research is only a little helpful. Especially if you are a visual, artsy person like me. The medical explanations make my eyes cross sometimes.

I got lucky though, the oncologist I got through my insurance company likes to explain things in pictures. How great is that?

Here is roughly how she explained the Oncotype DX test to me.

 

 

You’ll have to imagine her Indian accent as you read. 

You pull into a new neighborhood and it’s almost dark. Before you leave your car you take a look around the area where you are parked to get a feel for the neighborhood- to make sure it’s a safe area to get out and walk around.

Here are the things you may look at.

Are the houses well kept?

What do the other cars in the area look like?

How are the people walking out on the street dressed?

Are there people out walking around?

We use our personal experience and best judgement to decide if leaving the car is safe.

The Oncotype DX test is similar. It looks at a slice of your biopsy and compares it to a set of criteria to help determine how safe you are from your breast cancer coming back.

The test results will give you a number of 1-100. The higher the number, the more likely it is that your cancer will return.

If you get a high number your neighborhood is NOT safe – keep driving. A low number means you are free to leave your car and you can feel safe.

End of beautiful Indian accent. 

 

So far I’ve been borderline for chemo. My tumor size, age and type of cancer meant I could go either way.  The decision was up to me but I didn’t feel like I could make the choice with the knowledge I had. I was worried that if I skipped the chemo my cancer would return in a few years and I would want to kick myself. So my Dr. ordered the Oncotype DX.

Even though everything else is borderline the test result was low. Yes!

It makes me feel safe enough to pass on the chemo and head straight to radiation. Doing chemo only reduces my risk of recurrence by 1% and to me the side effects far out weigh that 1%.

The best news I’ve gotten in MONTHS is that I won’t have to go through chemo.

And now I’m just kicking myself for cutting my hair. I can live with that. :)

BTW, when you have your tumor biopsied it is kept just for future testing like the Oncotype DX test. It is sliced up, treated with a chemical and stored in wax. That way when further tests are ordered the lab looks at (or in the case of the Oncotype DX test the ships it off to a lab in California) one of the slices. No more procedures.

Don’t you wish more doctors explained things in pictures?

Craft Your Stash Thank You Cards

Craft Your Stash Thank You Cards

 

I love supporting my creative pals when they come out with a new product or book. My friend Lisa Fulmer has just published “Craft Your Stash – Transforming Craft Closet Treasures into Gifts, Home Decor and More”. You can read more about the book by going to the website Craft Your Stash.

 

 

Craft Your Stash Thank You Cards

 

As you regular readers know I’ve been fighting breast cancer this summer. I have  been so blessed to have friends deliver and send over meals, cards, take me out for an afternoon and all sorts of other great moments. I’ve been thinking the past few days that I really need to make or buy some thank you cards to send to those who have done so much to help me get through the summer.

I actually had a website open and was ready to order when I saw this page in Lisa’s book.

Quick, easy and pretty. PLUS it would help use up some of my paper horde.

Why do I have so much paper when I really don’t do much paper crafting???

 

 

Craft Your Stash Thank You Cards

 

I love that the measurements are here for reference.

 

Craft Your Stash Thank You Cards

 

 

I wanted all of my cards to have some pink and I loved this butterfly paper. After all nothing will change  you like cancer will. Right?

So in honor of becoming a butterfly and to thank those who helped me during this process I created some simple cards. And busted some of my stash at the same time!

 

Would you like to win your own copy of “Craft Your Stash”? Lisa has a giveaway going on that you can enter just by following the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
  And if that isn’t fast enough for you here are some other options for getting your hands on “Craft Your Stash”

1. Signed copies for sale on http://craftyourstash.com
2. Amazon (this is an affiliate link and I may be compensated if you use this link. Thank you!)
3. Local craft and book stores
And here are projects from the other participants in the book tour.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

Well here we are, October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I’m still fighting the good fight.

I’m just waiting on the results of the Oncotype DX test to help determine if I need to go through chemo or not. Of course, I’m hoping for a big, fat NOT.

I want to tell all of you lovely ladies to be sure to get your mammograms and do your breast self exams. Don’t do the BSE because you are “looking for something” but rather do it so that you know what YOUR breasts feel like.

We all have some bumps and weirdness going on deep in the breast tissue so knowing what yours feel like on a regular basis will help you know if something changes.

I’ve always been sort of lackadaisical about the BSE  but better about mammograms. I had a mammogram on June 5th. and It came back clear.

It was on the night of June 27th (yes, just a couple of weeks later) when I found the lump myself. The mammogram missed it because my breast tissue is too dense.

Even though I wasn’t a gold stay BSEer I knew enough to know that the lump I felt wasn’t typical for me. I found it on Friday evening and called my insurance company Monday morning.

And I am certain that I saved my own life. Or at the very least saved myself from even more surgeries and treatments.

So from me to you with a big pile of love, “Know your tatas!”