I Have My Fighting Face On | Battling Bertha 8

Battling Bertha Blog

It’s been a couple of weeks since I laid my heart on the table and exposed my apprehension and vulnerability regarding surgery. Much has happened. I’ve been quiet on social media and haven’t felt like talking on the phone. The easiest way to discuss the past two weeks is chronologically, so here goes:

The Greatest Gift

A housekeeper is the greatest gift you can give to a chemo patient. Seriously.

August 7th, spectacular Sue arranged to have my home cleaned. Shane and Dorothy are tidy, but they do not “clean” well, so the dust and pet fur had settled comfortably in like they owned the place, and it was really starting to irritate me. Sue could not have offered the gift of a clean home at a better time! Chemo patients have a compromised immune system and are cautioned against too much housework to minimize exposure to germs.

Sue is not the first friend to give this amazing gift to me. Judy and Donna had arranged cleanings in the past few months. For which I am beyond grateful!

Charlie’s Angels

My sisters visited the weekend of August 8th. We spent all day Saturday at The Woodlands Mall with Dorothy, back to school shopping. Luckily, there are plenty of places to sit in the mall, so I was able to rest any time I needed. After shopapalooza we walked over to the movie theater to catch Guardians of the Galaxy.

In the lobby of the theater,  Tiger-Rock Martial Arts and Leonardo, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, were offering publicity shots.  My sisters and I are never too shy to strike a pose and quickly offered up our best Charlie’s Angels moves.  Leonardo looks a little confused, eh?

My sisters and I strike a Charlie's Angel pose with Leonardo
My sisters and I strike a Charlie’s Angel pose with Leonardo

By the way, Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious.

Bertha Butt Boogie

Keep Calm and Chemo On with Nurse Kim
Keep Calm and Chemo On with Nurse Kim

First off, a nod and chagrin to Peggy Vincent for exposing me to the Bertha Butt Boogie song.  Wow.  How I lived 44 years without ever hearing that tune, I do not know!

After my sisters left, the boogie began.

Monday, August 11th was my PET/CT Scan.   This was my second scan, so I knew the routine, brought a book and dressed warmly.

Tuesday, August 12th I went to my weekly lab appointment.  The nurse had trouble accessing my port and had to poke me twice.  The first time I think she missed the port because I could feel fluids flowing into my chest.  It was rather creepy.

Wednesday, August 13th I went in for the first day of my new chemo protocol, Herceptin only.  The lab results showed my white blood cell count was a little low, so the nurses had to have a doctor sign off before they administered the meds.

My port site was still a little sore from being double poked the day before, and I was uncomfortable for the entire infusion.

Nurse Kim was wearing a “Keep Calm and Chemo On” t-shirt which I felt was appropriate.

I will be on this protocol every three weeks for the next year.  Herceptin is a biologic which means my hair will start to grow back soon.  It is designed to inhibit the Her2 protein that is produced by Bertha’s type breast cancers.

Wednesday night Bertha reared that ugly butt.  I hadn’t felt it in a couple of months and I “knew” it was gone.   It is pecan sized when it used to be apricot sized.  So smaller is better but gone is best.  Needless to say the wind was knocked out of my sails and surgery suddenly became urgent.

Thursday, August 14th the clinic scheduled the appointment with the surgeon I found a couple of weeks ago; The only surgeon on my health insurance plan who does breast surgery.  It took a couple of phone calls to get the referrals approved.  I am grateful to the staff at the oncology clinic, as I did not have to be involved.

Friday, August 15th Shane, Dorothy and I met with the surgeon.  Refreshingly, he spent a long time reviewing my test results, explaining things, sharing options and reassuring us.  I think it was the longest doctors appointment I’ve ever had.  Seriously, he spent a good 45 minutes with us, if not longer.  He is a cardiologist and thoracic surgeon by trade but continues to do general surgery, as well.

We scheduled a partial mastectomy for Friday, August 22nd.

Random Musings

Can Guanabana Juice Cure Cancer?
Can Guanabana Juice Cure Cancer?

I had my first taste of Soursop Juice last week.  It was surprisingly sweet for a fruit with the word sour in its’ name.

Soursop, also known as guanabana, is said to be a powerful cancer fighting fruit.  I don’t know if it is true, or not.  But I do believe in yin and yang, positive and negative, black and white, matter and anti-matter.  If there is a natural cause for Bertha, then there is a natural cure for Bertha.  So why not research natural cures?

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of American, Soursop has not been tested on humans thus humans are cautioned against relying on it as a cure.

Tuesday, August 19th I got to have a little fun!   Wealthy Sisters Network Conroe hosted a Back to School Brunch at The Toasted Yolk in Conroe.   The food was yummy and the fellowship was much needed after the previous week.

After brunch, I went to my weekly lab appointment.  Again, a little trouble accessing the port.  I’ll worry about it after surgery.

Written on the wall of the St. Luke's Medical Center Pre-Op Hallway
Written on the wall of the St. Luke’s Medical Center Pre-Op Hallway

Yesterday, Wednesday, August 20th, Shane and I ventured down to the medical center for my Pre-Op appointment at St. Lukes Medical Center Houston.

The nurses took my history, vitals and did an EKG.  My blood pressure was a little high, as to be expected considering the upcoming surgery.  The rest of my vitals are fine, and my heart is pumping correctly.

The lab sent over the results from yesterday and my white blood cell count is normal, again, so my immune system is ready to fight, fight, fight!

Written on the way of the Pre-Op hallway are the immortal words of Thomas Edison:

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this:  you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison

I have found my new mantra.

The view from pre-op was lovely.  My surgery will take place in the brown building on the right.  Send me some positive mojo, healing energy and prayers tomorrow between 11 and 1:30 pm Central time.

There will be a little less of me when it is over but my spirit will remain intact.

I have my fighting face on.

Stl Luke's Medical Center Houston
Stl Luke’s Medical Center Houston



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