Hernia Update

So, I finally got an appointment with the general surgeon that my oncologist recommended.  I see him on Wednesday to get the ball rolling to fix my hernia.  I am going to ask that the surgery be done open as opposed to laproscopic because of my cancer history as well as my surgical history.  My oncologist feels there could be adhesion and radiation damage.

In other news, there is no other news.  I have 4 more days until vacation.  It is so needed.

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Things That Go Bump In The Night

Ok, they are supposed to, but they haven’t.

My hubs and I, well, we haven’t gone “bump in the night” in two years.

It is what brachytherapy does.  It mangles you as a woman.

Not to mention the whole lack of sexual desire that accompanies a hysterectomy.

And the trauma of cancer.

Living with your mother will screw with your intamacy levels too.

I feel bad.  I shouldn’t.  I can’t help it.  I have been traunatized both physically and mentally thanks to cancer.

But there is always the sadness that you aren’t providing your partner with a basic need that comes with a happy, healthy marriage.

I am trying to work through this.

But it sucks.

Sometimes It Makes My Heart Hurt

So, this past weekend was nice…we headed down to Chincoteague and enjoyed a few days in our favorite place. I spent Saturday with my hubby and it was just great.

Except…

We went crabbing on Saturday. It’s one of our favorite things to do…go down to the Crabbing Pier with a cooler of beer, a pack of chicken, and a few traps. Love it, and we have so much fun together. This past Saturday was no different. We had been there about half an hour when a young woman came along with her son. He was going into the fourth grade, and typical boy – but well-behaved and polite. Bob had gone back to the trailer to make another beer run (no, we aren’t lushes…I had only packed one for each of us), so I started chatting with this woman, and her son who was named Shane. My hubby came back and they moved to the end of the crabbing pier. It was their first time visiting our campground and they were kind of taking it all in.

As we crabbed, I notice Shane, watching every move we made. I leaned over to Bob and told him to take a couple of traps down, so Shane could pull them up. Shane was a little hesitant for about all of five minutes, until he landed his first, and then it was on….his mom kept trying to get him to go back to their campsite, but Shane was having too much fun (he caught a couple of keepers, by the way). His mom asked if he could stay with us while she ran back to her site to let them know where she was. She was gone nearly an hour, but he was a really good kid, and he was having such a good time.

When Shane’s mom did return (I didn’t catch her name), she came back with her girls – one 12 and one 15. They had been watching a movie and Mom told them they needed to get out and commune with nature. We gave the girls a couple of crab traps, and they got into a competition with Shane as to who would catch the keepers. The girls were ok with pulling up the traps, not so much with actually letting the crabs out of them, but it was a fun afternoon.

But my brain…well, it just wouldn’t be quiet. It kept whispering things to me like, “You could have been a mom like that…” or “wouldn’t it have been nice if we could have had a couple of kids?”

Ugh.

Sometimes I am caught in the middle…I don’t know what to call myself…am I childless? Am I technically infertile? I never considered myself infertile…I mean, my parts worked…but now, they are gone. So, am I infertile? Menopausal? I just don’t know.

Either way it hurts.

Is It Hot In Here?

Temperatures are up today…in the high 50s, but we are going to have a cold front pass through tonight which is going to send temperatures back in to the BRRR zone tonight. Have I mentioned that I am sick of winter? In fact, they are predicting snow showers on Wednesday. Well hu-freaking-ray. not only am I SICK OF SNOW but the last thing I want to do is navigate on crutches in snow. I don’t think we are supposed to get any significant accumulation this time though, soooo….fingers crossed it stays away.

Even though we are having a warm front, the past two days I am experiencing an increase in my own Personal Summers. The hot flashes have resurfaced in force since my stress test yesterday. I’m sure it is from the radioactive dye and then the medication they used to dilate my vascular system. But whatever it is, it sucks. I am working from home today, which is kind of plus, since I literally just had to take off my socks for some relief.

I can not wait to pass through this phase of menopause. Hot flashes SUCK.

I can not tell you the extent to which I have gone to relieve my hot flashes and night sweats…I have tried taking Vitamin E and a B-complex…didn’t work. I have tried every over the counter menopause relief you can think of (even though they contain soy, which is not good for people with estrogen based cancers)…didn’t work. I have been known to keep a fan on even when it’s negative degrees outside. I wear layers. My hubby wanted to put flannel sheets on the bed when winter started….they stayed on for two days before I told him I was cooking in my own sweat. I’ve even purchased a Chillow. I tried it last night. Don’t waste your money.

There is NO relief for hot flashes and night sweats. None.

Hopefully, one day, I won’t have to deal with them anymore. Until then, can someone please open a window?

How Many More Days Until Spring?

This polar vortex can just take itself right back up to Canada. I’m sitting here at my office wrapped in two blankets and I’m still freezing!

Which leads into something that hasn’t happened in 18 months – my hot flashes. They have been non-existant during the day for the past three days. Nothing…nada…zip. Now, the night sweats have been horrible (guess it’s making up for the day), but the regular day time hot flashes seem to be getting fewer and far between.

Menopause sucks. In so many ways. My mood swings now are worse than they ever were when I had regular periods. Of course, what doesn’t help is that I’ve been off buspar for a full week thanks to my stupid mail order prescription plan. It came in last night, but takes a few days to get into my system. I’m snapping at everyone. Ugh.

I finally got around to my MRI yesterday. Now, I’ve had MRIs before, but this time, it was an all hands on deck freakout by the woman administering the MRI because I have had Radiation and Chemo in the past 12 months. She didn’t know if she was still allowed to administer the MRI and had to call to get my doctor’s ok. I had given them all this information ahead of time, so I’m not sure why we had to wait until five minutes before my appointment to freak out, but we did. Thankfully, my oncologists were both available at that hour of the morning. They were like, “Why are you calling me on this?” So they went ahead and did the MRI and I will finally find out this coming Monday what they are going to do about my knee.

In the meantime, my hip flexor is jacked up. I’m sure it is because of damage they did at PT last week. I went on Monday to the therapist and she shook her head and told me my body was sending out an all points “something’s wrong” bulletin. She was actually worried about my hip pain and asked me 90 bajillion questions about the type of pain I had when I had cancer and my hysterectomy. I explained to her that the pain I felt then (soft tissue pain) was different than what I was feeling now (my tendons are jacked up – causing joint pain in my back, hip, and knee). This is joint specific pain as opposed to soft tissue pain where there was no point of origin. That calmed her out a bit.

I’m kind of tired of everything wrong with me leading back to “OMG IS IT CANCER?” No – I’m 41, and spent years fat and damaging my poor joints. Let’s fix this!

So, there’s the update. Will probably update again Monday when I find out what they are going to do about more surgery.

30-Day Blog Challenge Wrap Up: Days 28 – 30

Day 28 – Do I wish for anything at 11:11?  nope.  🙂

Day 29:  a picture of myself:

devilishly me

Day 30:  Talk about anything I want to…

Well, today was my follow-up with my radiation oncologist.  I didn’t really have any issues “cancer-wise” and he reviewed my scans from September and is happy as a clam.  He wanted to touch my hair (LOL) and asked if I had curly hair before.  I did, but when it came back it, it came in really tightly curled, and it remains that way. 

What I did cover with him, was the fact that I have a lot of scar tissue down there.  Hey, you came to a blog about hysterectomies, so we’re gonna talk about vajayjays.  Mine is all scarred up on the inside, from surgery, from radiation, from brachytherapy, and from chemo.  As a result, things are not “right” down there.  I have been using a dialator since finishing chemo in February, but it hasn’t done anything.  It’s a harsh and rigid environment.   We have attempted sexy times twice and both were epic fails.  I mean, we can do everything but PIV, and that was ok with my husband (and still is…actually) while he was going through a period of depression and experiencing low T.  But now, things are waking up for him down there somewhat, and I haven’t exactly been a willing participant.  Because, well, there’s a lot of anxiety involved, and well, because it hurts.  It rips and tears, and that sucks.  After using a dialator every day for the past eight months, without improvement, we are going to do a few things.  1)  We are going to graduate up to the next size dialator.  Crap.  I have to pick it up next week at his office in Baltimore.  That should be fun.  The using it, not the picking it up part.  And yes, I do speak sarcasm.  2)  More surgery.  YAYAY.  haha.  NOT.  I am supposed to speak to my gynecological oncologist next week to talk to him about going in and removing the scar tissue from my vajayjay.  I am really hoping this will be done while I am asleep.  Because I do not want to be awake for that.  HELLS NO.  It does need to be done, not just to increase the sexy times with my husband, but also so they can have an adequate view of the hoohah when going for my cancer follow ups.  90% of the time, if my cancer comes back, it comes back on the vaginal cuff, which is the end of my vagina where my cervix used to be.  Or, it metathesis, which we don’t want.  I’ll tell you more about that when I see my gynecological oncologist next week.

What I also spoke to my radiation oncologist about was the prospect of having a third knee surgery.  Yes, I KNOW I only have two knees.  LOL  I had microbrasion on my left knee five years ago (almost six!) to scrape away arthritis, and do a lateral release of my knee cap which was dislocated as a teenager.  Two years ago, I had surgery on my right knee because of traumatic arthritis, and they went in and gave me a cartilage graft.  This surgery worked MUCH better but has a much longer recovery time.  My left knee is craptastic once again, and I spoke to my orthopedist about doing the graft on my left knee.  He’s more than willing to do it, but he also wanted me to get the opinion of my oncologists first, to see if my system was going to be strong enough for the surgery.  The radiation oncologist says he is ok with it, and sees no reason at all not to proceed.  I will have to have PT first to build up my muscles, and then I will have the sugery, followed by 6 to 8 weeks in an imobilizer, putting no weight what-so-ever on my leg. This is all done in order to eventually put off knee replacement surgery. So, it looks like I’ll be having two surgeries early next year.

In other cancer news, I am doing great.  I have healed well from the radiation and chemo, with no scar tissue in the internal organs, and no major side effects.  The cancer stays at bay, and as long as it is gone by the time I go back to my oncologist in March, my survival chances increased to 60%.  YAY.   Come on February!  They will NOT be doing any more CT scans unless I show symptoms (I have not).  So, all in all, I am now in remission 16 months and counting.  And that’s a good good thing.

I hope everyone has had a pleasant Turkey day!

Time To Say Good Bye Once And For All To the Fat Chick

So, this is totally hysterectomy related…I think.  It may also be “self-comforting” related, or lack of will power related…or food addiction related *ahem*.

One thing I have noticed since having the hysterectomy last year is the onset of some poundage creeping back.  In 2009, I had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 130 pounds.  I got down to about 190 or so…on good days in the 180s.  For the record, I’m a shorty – 5’3″.  I used to be 5’4″ but had some bone loss during chemo.  Dammit.

So, last year, when I underwent treatment, they told me NOT to lose weight.  I was right around 199 at the time (a little bounce back weight – but hey – 10 pounds in 3 years is a hell of a lot better than the 10 pounds a month I was gaining before RNY).  And actually, keeping weight on was hard.  It’s really hard when you don’t want to eat.  And you purposely look for comfort foods, and foods that you can palate.  I ate a lot of bread.  I ate peanut butter.  I ate (sigh) dark chocolate.  When I could eat.  Which was only about 2 weeks out of the month.  Much worse during radiation – food was nasty and I was barfy.

So, when I finished treatment, logically, I should have gone back to eating more healthy.  Except we moved.  And Mom had knee replacement.  And I was stressed.  And And And (insert your own excuse here – because that’s what they were…excuses).  And now, here we are, six months later.   And I’m back up to 225 pounds.  Sigh.

So, I know in my head what I have to do (stop feeding my face would be a good start).  I’ve tried exercising at the gym, but quite honestly, and this is not an excuse at all, my stamina isn’t where it was before cancer.  Cardio exercising wears me out, and a lovely little leftover from cancer treatment is that I get horrible tendon cramps when I get fatigued.  They are HORRIBLE and painful.  I explained them to three different doctors before the Orthopaedist finally saw a picture of one.  I had Bob snap a picture of what my leg looks like when the tendons are cramping.  WILD.  The Ortho said, “wow…never saw that before.”  And then he prescribed muscle relaxers.  But also told me to cut back on exercise that is going to cause fatigue.  I’ve tried walking, and that tends to bring on the spasms too.  But not as badly.  I’m determined to exercise dammit.

But what I really have to do is focus on what is going in my mouth.  I can’t use my cancer as excuse for horrible eating.  I can’t use menopause, or the hysterectomy…stress…any of that.  I never really learned how to deal with stress in a healthy way.  FEED ME.  FEED ME GOOD STUFF.  Sigh.  My love for chocolate is deeper than my love for my husband.  Oh, they run a close race…but damn I love me some chocolate.  And cookies and brownies and pie and…sigh.  I also no longer have the whole dumping thing going in my favor.  Just after bypass, I couldn’t handle sugar.  Now, I can.  Up to about 30g of sugar per serving.  And the only thing that really makes me sick anymore is ice cream.  Ugly bugger that stuff is.

So, this past week, I have made a very conscious effort to watch what is going in my mouth.  Being 40, and post-menopausal now, makes losing the weight hard.  My body chemistry is all effed up.  And I hate all the weight I’ve gained back because I look like a cow in my clothing.  I see pictures of myself and cringe.  It’s time to get this show on the road.  And get down to a reasonable goal weight for a 41-year-old woman who is 5’3″.    So, I’ve reactivated my SparkPeople account.  I’m tracking my food.  Everything I put in my mouth – no matter what.  I’m packing my lunches.  I purposely take no cash to work so I’m not tempted by the stupid vending machines (although quite honestly, everyone here eats relatively healthy and everyone belongs to the gym, so there are no goodies lying around).  I’m drinking my water.  The only thing I will NOT give up is my coffee.  And if you know me, you know why.  I’m a bitch with coffee.  Without it, I’d be in jail.

So, my goal now is to get rid of the weight that has crept back on.  I’m aiming for about 160 as a long-term goal.  In the mean time, my first short-term goal is 210.    I need to lose the weight to keep the cancer at bay.  I need to lose the weight to fit into my clothes.  I need to feel better about myself.  And I need to stop emotionally eating, or I’ll be back up at 331 in no time.

Wish me luck.  Wish my poor husband luck.  He has to live with me.

And please, keep me from the chocolate.  I’m like a junkie. 

Hit the road, Fat Chick.  You aren’t welcome here anymore.