Friday, September 30, 2011


I'm not always positive. I have some pretty negative thoughts more often than I want to admit. I'm not worried about beating breast cancer...I KNOW I will. My fear is that I will beat it this time, but it will recur later even more aggressive than now. It's not irrational. I'm sure everyone with cancer has these thoughts. How could you not?

I also have to admit that I used to think people had health issues because of something they were doing wrong.
You're obese? Stop eating so damn much.
Your liver is shot? Put the bottle down.
You have cancer? You obviously smoke like a chimney.

I'm learning every day how skewed my thinking was. I didn't smoke. I rarely drank. I exercised a lot. I ate well. I stayed out of the sun. I was active. I got annual check ups. I did self-exams. I stayed busy. I lived a good life. I got cancer. I actually got cancer twice. Two months before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was also diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my arms. It's a type of skin cancer. I had them removed in an outpatient procedure. I thought THAT was scary.

I have "WHY ME?!?" moments. They're usually in the shower, when I don't have to hide my tears from watchful little eyes. I let myself have 5 minutes of being sad/mad/angry/confused before I get out. My hair falls out in the shower, so I try not to hang out in there too long or too often. It's kind of a blessing that I have to get out as fast as I do. After that, I GET OVER IT and work on getting better. It is what it is.

I feel like I have a handle on what's going on. I feel like God handed me an army of wonderful people to make my fight easier. My mom is still living with us. We are hoping she just stays forever. :) Eric has been wonderfully helpful. The kids are doing well. Friends and family have sent the most thoughtful cards, texts and gifts. My meal train has provided meals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the past month. Our neighbors have been carpooling with us. All of these blessings have taken pretty much the entire load off me.
They have allowed me to not stress about every day details and focus more on listening to my body.

If I need to eat, I do. If I need to sleep, I do.
I have friends to vent to and family to hold me when I'm having a rough day.
Besides this whole cancer thing.... Man, I love my life.

This is cute, but I disagree with it. Don't keep calm and fight on. Wake up every day and bitch slap that cancer until it's gone. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Super Family!

My dear friend, Sara, made and surprised us with capes. We have enjoyed flying around the neighborhood and fighting crime before bed each night. Check out more of Sara's projects here. She's incredibly talented and such a sweetheart. Thanks, Sara!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Busy Weekend

When I have good days, I tend to over do it. This weekend was no exception.

My brother and his family, my parents and Eric's parents came to town to celebrate Karsyn's big 5th birthday.
She had a soccer game that we all attended and a party with 17 of her friends a few hours later.
We spent time swimming at the hotel pool and just enjoying our time together.

Of course, today I'm exhausted..... but it was soooooo worth it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I've downsized.

I decided earlier today, after noticing one too many hairs floating in my coffee, that I needed to take control of the hair situation.

I'm not kidding anyone by leaving it patchy. No one thinks I'm trying to pull off some chic new artsy hairstyle.

Honestly, it was just falling out everywhere, so I decided to wash my hair hard 3x tonight and just see what would come out.

Was I shocked? No.
Okay, kind of. There appeared to be a small rat in the drain of my shower when I was done.

I won't lie. There were definitely some tears shed. It sucks losing my hair, but I'm certain my new hair will be healthy, shiny and cowlick-free! A girl can dream, right?

This pic also shows my lovely chemo port. We call it my "button."

Fun Fact

I have always had a random wad of hair in my bangs that went a different direction than the rest of my hair. While it was awesome in the 'Aqua Net teased, ratted, mall bang days', it has been a royal pain to keep under control since then.

I was quite shocked to see that once my hair was buzzed, my cowlick was actually a real line in my head.

I can't wait to grow my hair back out after all this kicking cancer's ass business is done. Wouldn't it be great if the line magically disappeared and I no longer had a cowlick to deal with? Man, these cancer perks just keep getting better and better!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Feel 'em!

The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less than 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

If this disease hasn't affected you directly or indirectly yet, unfortunately, it might at some time. This is a sad reality. 1 in 8 women. Ouch.
We have to find a cure.

Early detection is imperative. This does NOT have to be a death sentence for you.
Feel those boobs. Feel your wife's boobs. Feel your neighbor's boobs. ;)
If something feels a little off, demand a mammogram.

I let my doctor tell me that I just had "lumpy, bumpy boobs."
Finding a tumor in a woman under the age of 40, with no prior family history was unlikely. She wasn't concerned.
If I hadn't listened to my gut and went back in to have my "lumpy bumpies" rechecked a month after my first appointment, my disease would still be wreaking havoc in my body. My cancer would still be untreated and running rampant.
I would most likely be a Stage 3 or 4 before I would be diagnosed. My prognosis would not be as good as it is right now.

YOU are your best advocate. YOU know your body better than anyone.
YOU need to protect it.

Let's raise awareness.
Love you! <3

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cancer isn't much fun.

This weekend is the first weekend since my diagnosis that I have actually felt incapacitated. I don't know if it was the chemo or the new shot, but I was a wreck.
I felt like I had the worst flu of my life. I also felt like I had been in a terrible car accident. My bones have never hurt so bad in my life.
I missed Karsyn's soccer game and Eric's work picnic on Saturday. I was pretty bummed.

We had been able to avoid "the talk" with the kids up to this point. They knew that Mom had a "button" for the medicine to go in to and that I had to sometimes go to appointments, but that was the extent. They had heard the word "cancer" thrown around, but hadn't asked for more details.

After realizing that I'm sure this won't be the only weekend that I'm out of commission, the kids needed more of an explanation. I checked out a few books from Minnesota Oncology and Eric read them to the kids while I listened.
We made it halfway through the first book before Houston yelled, "Mom, you have CANCER!" You could just see the light bulb when he said it. It was like everything was finally making sense. Chase doesn't say much. Karsyn likes to think about my illness in terms of seasons. "Mom will be sick in the fall, winter and part of the spring...but she'll be better by summer!"

I think they understand now that Mom will have good days and bad days. I just need to work hard to make sure that on my good days, I make the most of them.

Today's a pretty good day.
We're going to make some memories. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chemo #2 COMPLETE!

I'm done with Chemo 2 of 6. I will go again in three weeks for dose #3. My official end date of Chemo is currently December 9, if everything stays on course.
I had a really great white blood cell count today, but because of my dramatic drop a week after my last treatment, I will be getting a Neulasta shot one day after Chemo from here on out.

Neulasta stimulates the bone marrow and promotes the growth of white blood cells called neutrophils in your body.
It should help me be able to get scheduled treatments, but has side effects similar to arthritis. Side effects are FUN! <--note the sarcasm.

My chemo was uneventful today. I felt really well throughout and even drove home. Thanks for all the messages, cards and texts I received today. You guys really keep my spirits up.

Sooooo....I've been saving this little tid bit of information until I received some affirmation from my doctor.
I can no longer feel my tumor. After about one week of chemo, my tumor that was 3 cm x 3 cm was no longer distinguishable.
It used to feel like a super ball or large marble. Now, I can't find it. How amazing is that?
I thought it had just moved somewhere else or that I had lost my mind. My plastic surgeon said last week that he was unable to find the lump. Today, my Oncologist confirmed that she couldn't find it either and also couldn't feel the one inch lump that was in my lymph node just 3 weeks ago.

This is a GREAT indicator that my Chemo is working! This is also a HUGE indicator that your prayers are working!! Thank you!!
My breast tumor is/was the size of this second picture and felt exactly like it looked.

Our future plans are a 4 week break after Chemo. I will then have a bilateral mastectomy by my surgeon and then breast tissues spacers put in by my plastic surgeon the same day. The spacers will just stretch my skin so when it's time to get my reconstruction done, I will have enough skin to accommodate the implant. If that isn't successful, they will take skin from my back to form my breasts when it's time to reconstruct. Until then, I will just have a "mound."

Four weeks after that, I will start daily radiation from my breast to my armpits to zap any lingering cancer cells. That will last 6.5 weeks. About 1-2 months after that, I will hopefully have my new boobs! Hello, light at the end of the tunnel! :)
It looks like I should be hopefully done with treatments, cancer-free and sporting perky new boobs in May.
Can you guys keep your prayers up for that long? I sure hope so! :)

I've assumed the position. For the next 4 hours, I will be catching up on movies and letting the chemo drugs drip.

My biggest cheerleader catching up on some reading. :)

Why they put white pillow cases and sheets in a clinic full of shedding cancer patients is beyond me.

Here's the note I left on my chart for my doctor today. She assured me she thinks I "am a miracle" and she will "NOT have a heart attack." I love her. <3


It's All Relative.

I went out for dinner with my friend, Sharon, who has beaten this ugly cancer. She's a breath of fresh air for me and really puts things into perspective.
The main things I got from her over our two hour Philly Cheese Steaks are:

1.) This is temporary.
2.) It's all relative.
3.) At the end of this, Dr. Migliori will give you great way better than your old ones. <---GREAT breast cancer perk.
4.) I sure love Sharon. :)

She also pointed out that although Chemotherapy makes you feel pretty cruddy, the hair loss isn't that huge of a deal. You lose your hair everywhere. No waxing, shaving, blow drying or pony tails. I get ready in about 5 minutes now.
My stubble is starting to fall out finally, but throwing a wig on will only add about 3 minutes to my routine. Yay for another cancer perk!

I'm pretty sick of short little hairs all over my clothes, in my food, on my keyboard. I look like I own a cat. Yuck! Just kidding, cat people. :)
At this rate, I will be completely bald in about a week. I better get the henna and temporary tattoos ready. I can feel another party coming on!

I have been up since 3 a.m. today. I have a blood draw at 8, appointment with Dr Hartung at 8:20 and Chemo starting at 8:45. Because of my low white blood cell counts recently, there's a chance I won't get my treatment today.
Chemo is super hard on your body as it kills the cancer. If given when your counts are low, it can be life threatening.
I'm so nervous! I WANT the chemo. I WANT to feel crappy from it while it works it's magic. I WANT this stupid cancer out of my body.
*Hopefully* today goes as planned.

That's all for now. I really appreciate you guys all following my ramblings. It makes me feel better to throw my thoughts out there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chemo Brain

I'm losing my freaking mind. Seriously, it's mush.
I run upstairs to get a sweater and stand looking around for 5 minutes before I remember what I went up there for.
I've always been an organized person. I'm very Type A. I like notes....lots of notes.
Here are what my notes look like now:

Unbelievable. The worst part is, I looked at this note about 10x yesterday thinking, "I have 3 things I have to do today. I need to get going on this."
I didn't notice that the same thing was written twice until Eric ever-so-nicely crossed one of them out and added his own things to the list.
The moral of this story is, please be patient with me.
I make lists of emails I have to return, texts I need to send and thank you notes that need to be written.
Unfortunately, my dumb ass loses the lists on a daily basis. :) Know that I love you all and I am so thankful for you!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Love My Girls

I have amazing the best friends a person could ever hope for.
I have a group of girls that I have become extremely close to over the past few years. We are all Moms of Multiples and we live all over the U.S. We talk daily online, call and text. We even vacation together!

When one of us is ill, has an injured child or even is just having a bad day, we rally.
I had no idea how HARD these girls rally, though, until I became the recipient of their generosity.

I receive daily texts, emails and calls. I have gotten so many cards that I can't even fit them all on the mantle anymore.
Starting last week, packages started trickling in. It was like Christmas every day!
My girls informed me that it was "Pamper Angela week." Seriously? I was in awe.

I received beautiful hats, an awesome scarf, make up, a gorgeous necklace, shirts and candy!
Prior to that, I received flowers, gift cards and Tamlyn's legendary sweet treats.

Every day, I smile thinking about the great friends that God has given me.
I'm humbled that with their busy lives, they are thinking of me and giving me strength to power through this.

Thank you, MoMfia!
Love you!

Our last vacation in Savannah, Georgia in March 2011. That's a whole lot of MoMs!

silk scarf from Melissa M

hat from Allison

hat from Sarah S.

hat from Jamie

necklace from Jamie

Go University of Wisconsin- Platteville!! shirt from Megan

hat from Megan

hat from Megan

Another from Megan...she must really love me. :)
This shirt is from my friend, Karen. She's not a Mom of Multiples, but this shirt is too awesome not to post. I will absolutely be wearing this after I get my new boobs.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hair is overrated.

The time had come to shave my head. In true Bass family fashion, we made a party out of it.
We cranked the music, danced, ate popcorn and Eric shaved my head. Personally, I think he enjoyed it a little too much.

Karsyn told me that I looked even "more beautiful-er than before." Houston loves that I look just like him now.
I like that I'm not leaving a trail of hair everywhere I go.

I feel ok about it. My head isn't as lumpy as I had worried it would be. The kids' reaction was better than I could have ever hoped.
I know that in order to get better, I have to have chemo. If I have chemo, I have to lose my hair.
It's just part of the journey and I couldn't ask for a better support team to have on this ride with me!

Never stop dancing. :)

My Mom

How do you repay someone for giving up the life as they know it so that you can fight for your own life?
This has been consuming me.

My mom started tying up loose ends and packing her bags the day I was diagnosed. We didn't ask for help, she just did it.
She knew that with three kids under five and a husband with a demanding job, I would need the extra help.
She left my Dad and her beautiful house on the lake in South Dakota. She left her dogs. Her Lexus sits in the garage. She left her friends and her family. She left everything....and she did it for me.

Gratitude barely covers what I feel. She has no intentions of returning home until I'm well. I don't know when that will be and she doesn't make me feel like she has one foot out the door.
She lets me do what I'm able to and she does everything else. She doesn't complain. The kids are exhausting her, I'm sure.
She now drives my mini van, grocery shops and carpools. My house is clean and we eat well. She goes on daily walks with the kids, gives baths, catches bugs and lets Karsyn give her pedicures.
She's completely taken over my role for now....and I appreciate that.
With her being here, the kids don't realize how sick I am. Their life is still normal.

I know the only way to repay her is to fight hard and win this battle. That seems easy enough.
Thanks, Mom!