How Has Breast Cancer Changed You?

How Has Breast Cancer Changed You? Cancer: Connections & Catalyst Many articles and questions are posed:   “How has breast cancer changed you?” Here is one example  from the About Health website, just one from a myriad of articles published after doing a quick search on the topic. I think it’s fair to ask that question to anyone in any phase of life. How has the news of the day changed you? How has having children changed you? How has visiting a foreign country changed you? How has being married changed you? How has being divorced changed you? How has changing your hair color changed you? How has losing weight changed you? How has becoming a vegan changed you? Blah, blah, blah and on and on…… Individuals and Change Individuals are affected by events in life in either very positive ways or extremely negative ways.  So OK!! We’re all individuals Continue Reading →

National Dance Day

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National Dance Day

The last Saturday in July is observed as National Dance Day .  It has been set aside as the day honoring the benefits of dance to everyone.

Dancing is not only the performance of art but also the way to show people personalities as well as to help people raise their mood and improve their health.

Dancing is an integral part of my life. When I was growing up my parents would frequently put their favorite vinyl records on the turn table and along with my two sisters we would dance to favorite show tunes and legendary crooners like Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and others.

The Wedding Dances

2014-10-28 21.10.29When our oldest son was married, I was polite and enjoyed mingling and meeting all the guests at the wedding until…. The music started. Then I never left the dance floor and danced with anyone who was next to me. It wasn’t much different at the weddings for my godson and nieces.  In fact, the song I chose in the YouTube video below is the song that my niece and I have long dubbed, “our song”, 2013-08-03 17.18.56because when it comes on, I look at her and together we sing, “I love you, I love you, I love you!”  She played it at her wedding and the two of us went out to the dance floor and rocked out together.

Carpe Diem and the Power of Music

I believe in the power of music, dance, and celebrating a moment, Carpe Diem, when the opportunity arises. Perhaps it’s being a two time cancer survivor. Perhaps it’s my upbringing and enjoying music and dance since I was a little girl. I’d like to think my Irish heritage has something to do with it. Van Morrison said once that the mark of a good song is “anything that makes your arse shake”.

Fun-day Friday Dance

It only seemed appropriate then to celebrate the final phase of my breast reconstruction with a dance. Here is what took place that Fun-day Friday just minutes before my breast reconstruction surgery.  I don’t know who is lucky enough to have a micro-surgeon with such compassion and such a great sense of humor to embrace and honor my request to do this.  It was not an easy task and I’m not suggesting anyone do the same thing.  There is an element of safety that we had to work around.  I truly thought I’d be up dancing with the team but due to safety concerns, understandably, I had to remain on the surgical bed.  Just watch my feet as I can hardly stand it that I’m not on the floor with them doing the “sprinkler” or shaking my booty with them.  Thanks to the great surgical team, too, for joining in.  You are all the best!  I do think it elevated all of our moods that morning and certainly brought out each individual personality.  Enjoy, and if the music so moves you…. Get up and dance!

Happy National Dance Day!

 

 

Breast Reconstruction Fears After Mastectomy

Breast Reconstruction Fears After Mastectomy Breast reconstruction fears after a mastectomy and not knowing all of the steps involved prevent many women from making the decision to move forward with reconstruction.  My breast reconstruction journey began when I had my annual mammogram on April 2, 2014.  My radiologist informed me that the mass she found in my right breast was highly suspicious of cancer.  I had to return to her office the next day to confirm that with a core needle biopsy (CNB). The results were ready five days later. My radiologist asked me the day she took the CNB if I knew of any breast surgeons since that is who would be reviewing the results of the biopsy with me. I had been to see one about five years previously to have a benign cyst removed close to my areola. I was very impressed with the surgeon so asked Continue Reading →

Healing Scars

Healing Scars Healing scars after any surgery is a frequently discussed topic for those of us who have been through it.  One gentleman, Dennis Maione posted and wrote a blog on scars. The word scar derives from the Greek eskhara, scab. In the present day English language it can be both a noun and a verb. Noun – a mark left on the skin or within body tissue where a wound, burn, or sore has not healed completely and fibrous connective tissue has developed. Verb – a lasting effect of grief, fear, or other emotion left on a person’s character by a traumatic experience  Scar – Noun The first definition, a noun, describes fibrous, connective tissue developing. When you think about it in those terms it implies building and getting stronger, fibrous/connective. I still have very young scars from the three surgeries that I have had this past year. The Continue Reading →

Traveling for DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Traveling for  DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction My Journey ~ I traveled over 800 miles for DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery.  Many people, including healthcare providers have asked me, “Why did you travel  to San Antonio, TX for your DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery and what is it like adding that travel component?” To answer the first question, I simply feel I found the best micro-surgeon in the country to perform my DIEP flap procedure.  This is a highly complex surgery successfully performed by few surgeons across the United States.  Many women have to travel to have this surgery performed because of that. I stand firm in my conviction, the group at PRMA in San Antonio are seven of the finest micro-surgeons in the United States and I want other women to know that.  The answer to the second question and making those travel plans is  what I’d like to address in Continue Reading →

Breast Reconstruction Phase 2 ~ Remembering Dates

Today I will be seeing my plastic surgeon for the pre-op appointment for phase 2 of my breast reconstruction. People remember and celebrate dates for various reasons. I don’t know how this happened but I have had a strange collision of dates today. Cancer patients tend to remember significant dates and anniversaries in their minds for various reasons. It might be the day of diagnosis. Perhaps it was the final day of treatment. Today for me, it’s a combination of a couple of significant events and a day to celebrate as well. Memories Evoked I will admit that the final day of radiation and all treatments, October 15, 2002, sans five years of Tamoxifen, from my first diagnosis was very significant to me. I was raised a Catholic and October 15 was the feast day of my patron saint, St. Teresa. That was significant to me that those two dates Continue Reading →