White Apple Passion

White Apple Passion
for Health & Passion in Life

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day after surgery..."Bed Head"...21st Wedding Anniversary

My Journal * My surgery is behind me.  All is good.  I am tired.  I am sore.  I don't feel like doing anything. I have a catheter attached to my breast. Worst of all, I have "bed head"! Ha.  So you can just imagine how "lovely" a "sight" I am.  Roger and I are celebrating our 21st wedding Anniversary today as well.  What a fine day. :) "Happy Anniversary Honey"!
P.S. And he will take me just the way I am....and that's a great thing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tomorrow--Surgery Day

My Journal * "They" tell you when you are going through cancer treatments, you need to eat good and healthy as well as get "lots of rest".  "Excuse me"?!  Since I found out about the "C" word being a part of MY life, I have easily managed to lose my "hearty" appetite, and I have become the "Queen" of tossing and turning in bed on an hourly nightly basis.  Obviously, not only the anticipation of cancer treatments, not to mention experiencing cancer treatments, is in itself a new possibly difficult challenge, but the normal "tasks" of everyday life such as eating and sleeping can sometimes prove to be easier said than done.  Not to worry...this has made me think...I have figured out that surgery day may not be so bad after all.  I can not eat or drink anything after midnight tonight.  I am scheduled to be at the hospital to check in at 9am.  Surgery will not begin until noon.  I will be sedated at that time. This means there will be at least two good things happening on this day. When I wake up from surgery, I will probably be REALLY hungry with a hearty appetite ready to "devour" anything they place in front of me...AND, the best part of the whole day, and what I am SO looking forward to is taking a really good nap!  That is a good thing!

Monday, June 27, 2011

JoAnn.......Alzheimer's Patient......Mom

My Journal * This is my mom.  I don't call her Mom anymore when I am with her.  I call her JoAnn.  She doesn't respond to the name "Mom", but she occasionally seems to be a bit more familiar with her real name, JoAnn.  She doesn't know who I am....she hasn't known who I am for many years.  JoAnn lives in the Alzheimer's unit at John Knox Village Care Center, not far from my home.  Since the diagnosis of my cancer, I wish I could talk to my mother the way I used to be able to talk to her.  I wish she could hold my hand and rub my arm the way she used to. I miss her.  She was a great listener and she was always there for me when I needed her.  I also realize, JoAnn is much better off not having to worry about me, her daughter.  That is the "good side" of being an Alzheimer's patient. She is in her own far away "world" that I nor anyone else could ever figure what that confused and hallucinating world could ever be.  So this is OK.  I wouldn't want to complicate her world anymore than it is.  And I have Roger who has been by my side for so many years, and is by my side through our new challenge.  I am so glad to have him with me.  He comforts and calms my soul as much as my stubborn self allows....and it's a good thing.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Update * Monday, June 27th: Appointment at Menorah Hospital.....EKG, Chest X-ray, lab work in preparation for surgery this Wednesday, June 29th.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Pity" Party!

 My Journal * I told myself two days after learning about my diagnosis, I need to stop attending my little "pity" parties.  Somehow, I seem to keep having them every now and then without control.  Then I realized, I might as well have fun while I'm there!  I have discovered all ya have to do is remove the "pity" and then have the "Party"!!.....after all, IT IS a party, isn't IT!!!!  :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Update * Radiology appointment set for June 23rd,Thursday morning at 8:30 ... Menorah Hospital.

Roller Coaster Ride!

My Journal * On Tuesday, I felt like I was really starting to relax about this whole new idea of being a cancer patient.  I had two days of really good workouts at the gym and feeling good.  Just before leaving for a business appointment in the afternoon, I got a call from the scheduler at my surgeon's office.  The phone call felt like I was hearing two many words at once and it wasn't "computing" into my brain correctly. Then, I heard "right breast" (my healthy breast) mentioned at the "5:00 location" rolling into hearing the words" ultrasound" and "more biopsies".  Are you kidding?  The scheduler was to call me back to let me know when to come in for these tests.  That was upsetting.  After my business appointment was concluded, I called back to find out about these new tests and when.  As the scheduler spoke to me, I find out not only is there a "nodule" in my right breast, but there is a place under my left arm in a lymph node of concern.  I didn't catch all this in the first phone call....I seemed to be hearing all the words jumbled into a foreign mess without explanation. My stomach flew up into my throat.
Roger and I spent the evening nearly sick to our insides that this early detection cancer was maybe something much bigger.  We ate no dinner.  I cried and cried some more.
I had to be at the Breast Center early Wednesday morning...7:30 AM to check in. Ultrasound started at 8:00.  Roger kept telling me it was "going to be a good day".  Inside myself, I did not believe him.
There was a woman working in the office of the Breast Center named "Stella", (my grandmother's name). My first impression of her was she was an attractive, fit, and healthy woman who I was assuming never had to deal with cancer herself. Minutes later she was in the waiting room with us and I think she saw that I looked somewhat in distress and started conversation.  Her words were so supportive and soothing.  Stella herself had breast cancer six years ago and could feel my agony.  She had a double mastecomy. She looked so great. She has no idea how important she became in my life at that moment.  I was a stranger to her and she reached out to me.....when I really needed it. I will never forget our conversation about going through and experiencing breast cancer.
I was taken back to prepare for my ultrasound.  Another type of gown today.....open to the front...ties in the back.  As I lie there with ultrasound being performed, I finally start "versing" with "Heather", the technician.  I told her of my terrible anxiety over the news of my MRI. .  She began to tell me it is very common for a patient to come in for more tests because of MRI results.  The MRI shows "everything". She then asked me if I have ever been told I had fibro-cystic breasts.  I said no....she was surprised.  She also explained that the lymph node was probably flared up due to my inital biopsy. The tension in my body began to unwind a bit.  "Why couldn't this have been initially discussed with me when called about my MRI results", I wondered.  Sure enough, the ultrasound checked out fine....no biopsies to perform today.  "This" scare was over.  As we left the breast center, I waved to Stella.  She came up to the window, pointed to her chin, and told me "chin up".
Roger was right.  It was a good day.
 I'm done with THAT roller coaster ride.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Knots in my Stomach

My Journal * I have knots in my stomach.  No wonder it's been feeling the way it's been feeling.  There are all kinds of knots "in there"... the slip knot, double loop bowline, figure-8-stopper, overhand knot, turtle's noose, butterfly knot, clove hitch, anchor hitch, another way to tie a clove hitch, honda knot, rolling hitch, sheepshank, angler's loop, bowline loop knot, the angler's knot, square knot, sailor's knot, and granny knot.  Whew.  I have felt knots in my stomach since the day I learned a biopsy was in order.  I am aware my stomach seems to acquire knots often.  I realize I need to learn to untie these uneccessary elements in my life that don't do me a bit of good.  Easier said than done "cuz" my stomach seems to have a "mind of it's own".....and the rest of me feels just fine.  :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

MRI * Peek-a-Boo * Can't run and hide

My Journal * I didn't think much about going to my appointment for my MRI, except for that I was pouting a bit having to do this on a Saturday afternoon.  I had a CT scan many many years ago on my lungs when I had acquired a nasty lung disease called "hystoplasmosis".  That's about it.  So we arrived at Menorah to check in.  Am I the only person out of the whole day checking into radiology?  There was nobody else around, including no receptionist.  The nurse did come and took us back after I wrongfully filled out some paperwork, then put my lovely gown on "open to the back", instead of "open to the front".  (Can't those medical "people" make up their minds on which way it goes?)  :)
I was taken to a big room and in it is what looked to me like a big "missile".  The two women "working the missile" mentioned starting off with the IV .....(I realized I should have done a little homework here on what I was getting myself into.)  As the IV was going into my arm, I felt like I was tasting nail polish.  I was told after that to get up and lie face down.  Yep, there it is again....instead of one big hole, there were two big "peepholes" staring back at me waiting to place both my breasts through.  UGH.  I'm lying there breasts hanging down with one person grabbing my left boob on one side, the other person grabbing my right boob on the other side.  This is really getting "pleasant".   I was told it would take 25 minutes for the whole process.  As I was inside the "missile", all alone in the big room, my head began to pound.  I felt lightheaded realizing I can't run and hide.  This moment is one of those moments of feeling very alone. No one is living "it" like yourself.  Then I realize you have to face it head on.....and kick it in the butt.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Update * MRI---Saturday at Noon, Menorah Hospital.
(Geez, "they" won't even give me the weekend off! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Re: Self-Portrait as of June 9th, 2011

My Journal * I will be anxious some day to be able to change my self-portrait.


Update * Plans are made.  My surgery will be performed by Dr. Christa Balonoff, Menorah Hospital.  All my treatments, appointments, etc. will be at Menorah.  Surgery (lumpectomy) is scheduled for the morning of June 29th, (the day before our wedding anniversary....yippee!)  Radiation will begin the week of fourth of July...whoohoo!  It's all good.
Thank you to Dr. Thomas Dowd, obgyn doctor, caring thoughtful friend, for the contact and making this happen...as well as supporting Roger and me.

The Mammogram

My Journal * ...flat as a pancake....uh huh....that's how it all began.
I went in for my routine annual mammogram on May 25th, 2011.  I have been on an annual schedule now for many years.   So at this point, I'm pretty used to this obnoxious machine, THE mammogram...."pancake griddle", "flat iron", "compressor"...to name a few....(as I could call it a few other names but trying to keep my blog clean)....who in the heck invented this nasty machine that flattens your breasts like pancakes???  It had to have been a MAN.....sorry guys....I can't help myself.  OK, I am not the only woman who is accusing!   As I curse this machine, THE mammogram, I really ought to be giving it my utmost respect.  After all, it probably saved my life.  Thank you my dearest sweet mammogram.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Breast Exam

My Journal * In a two week time period, my breasts have been handled by I don't know how many "sets of hands" through breast exams, several mammograms, the biopsy, and there after.  My left breast has been handled, squashed, "needled", and bruised.....and it's only just begun.  Isn't it fun being a woman!  Ha!


Update * Our friend, Tom is an OBGYN doctor.  He has been so kind into guiding Roger and me with information and he was the connection for getting my appointment today with a second surgeon.  It was an excellent meeting.  I am going with this surgeon.  Again, the treatment will be lumpectomy followed by partial breast radiation---a new treatment of radiation that will go through a catheter into the area that the lump is removed from.  I will do this very soon after surgery twice a day for five days.  This is a much more intense schedule packed into one week as opposed to 6 long weeks of radiation.  I am very glad I am a candidate for this new type of radiation.  So basically, in a matter of a few weeks from surgery, I will be done with all my treatments for this cancer providing everything including the surgery goes as planned.  I will find out tomorrow exactly what my schedule is.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Biopsy

My Journal * Here is a self portrait I created showing myself during the breast biopsy.  I have known a lot of women going through breast cancer.  I have never heard about "the table" with the HOLE!  Is it a big secret?!  You lie down on the table with your breast placed through a big hole.  They crank you up like you are getting an oil change.  Yep...that's the way it is. So here I am with my "boob" hanging down below the table as the doctor is underneath performing the wonderful biopsy.


Update * After seeing a surgeon last Friday for my breast cancer, I am going to another surgeon in the morning for a second opinion.  Again, my diagnosis--DCIS, it's actually Stage 0 cancer, (I didn't even know there was a stage 0) and grade 1.  Excellent prognosis.  I am to expect lumpectomy with radiation.

Creating my blog, "White Apple Passion", regarding my health

I decided to create a blog allowing friends and family to view updates on my life as I make my decisions and go through breast cancer treatments...also journaling and creating images throughout, if I so desire.  I will either have listed an update or a journal page.  That way, if you want to find out what's going on without having to read my journals just look for the word "update" on each post and skip the rest.  If you want to hear my stories, then also read the posts I have listed as "my journal".
I call this blog, White Apple Passion for a couple of reasons.  Several years ago I discovered these charms that were apples made of white glass.  I loved them and thought they seemed like a symbol of "good health".  I created a necklace design using them while attaching to a card that I illustrated to represent "good health". These White Apple charms have been sold and given to many people representing wellness.  That's the story for White Apple.  The other word, Passion, I think is one of the most important components to have in life.  Having a passion allows enthusiasm in life which I believe is a very healthy thing.
White Apple Passion is a good thing.

Self-Portrait as of July 9th, 2011

My Journal * On Thursday, July 9th 2011, after coming home from a funeral, I got a call from the nurse who was with me during my breast biopsy the day before.  I knew she was going to call me to check on how I was doing.  The results of the biopsy was not going to be available until at least Friday.  During my biopsy the doctor told me she thought everything looked encouraging, nothing suspicious looking.  This gave me a fairly confident outlook when walking out of the hospital from my biopsy procedure.  As I continued my phone conversation with the nurse, I joked a bit about the "bounding" bandaging of my whole chest.  I hadn't realized how important it was to have a tight "bondage" of my chest until I took the wrap off after 24 hours from the procedure.  Ouch!  The giving away let it "all hang out" which caused "motion" which also caused pain.  I then realized the meaning of the nurse's advice from the day before telling me to wear a REALLY good bra!  On came two sports bras!

As the laughter stopped, the nurse proceded to tell me they did get the results back from Pathology.  As soon as I heard that, I knew it was bad news.  The sentence would not have started the way it did, if otherwise....I just knew.  She told me I had DCIS, short for Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and would probably involve a lumpectomy and radiation.  (She would not use the "C" word.)  The good news---my mammogram caught this at the earliest stage.  I was then told they had an appointment for Friday to see a surgeon.  Do I want to take the appointment?  My brain was full.  I numbly said, yes, I will take the appointment.  This is how my journey of breast cancer has begun....