Tuesday, April 19, 2011


So I needed one more get together before my surgery what better way than a GNO at Wildfire.
Another night of non stop laughing. We laughed from the second we got in the car until we pulled back in the driveway. My stomach hurt the next day. I think our waitress absolutely hated us. I made an exception on drinking that night. I could NOT resist stormy night martins! Not to mention the creator of stormy nights happen to be working that night and gave me a FREE one.

stormy night O how I love you

the girls

double martini sampler

Our little break away before the next BIG hurdle.

So Jess and I decided we would do 2 nights in the Dells. We all just needed a little break. The day before we left Jesse got really really sick. Fever, body aches, coughing the works. But we decided to still go anyway. As horrible as it sounds I had NO sympathy for him what so ever. So we got there early Sunday 1/30/11 and we came back home late on 2/1/11 that was the day it started snowing and we got that HUGE snowstorm. The closer we were getting to home the worse it was getting. What was suppose to be a nice break turned into........... When are these kids going back to school? They were out of school for 6 days between our little trip and the 2 snow days.

Mt Olympus

thata girl rockin PINK

hot tub did not want to get out

my little man

christian come on stop showing off. the group of girls over there are not even looking


yeah buddy!!!!

yep that's my son going down on his tummy.

O icky you need a tan girlfriend.

enjoying the nice big bed at the hotel

Bye Bye Boobies!

My Besties had a bye bye boobie party for me on 1/29/2011. I had not laughed that hard in a long long time. Laughing is the best medicine!!! :)
I never knew one could spend an entire evening talking boobs.
Boobie cupcakes, hooter jokes, boobie word search, putting on bras, popping boobs/ balloons, wine glasses with big boobs, pin the areola (my husbands face) on the boob. The best part was each of us released a pink balloon outside. Each balloon had something written on it. Nausea, pain, canser, hair loss, port, hot flashes etc. It was a great way of letting it ALL GO!! :)


Cup cakes!!!!

popping balloons

pin the areola on the boob

areola was my husbands face.

how many times can you find boobies?

How many bras can we get on Mandy?

Hey how did I get on there? Yep! My wine glass has boobies!

boobie cupcakes. Nice work Siobhan!

Go Team Mandy GO PINK!!!!!

get your balloon

letting it ALL go!

Thank you ladies for a wonderful night! This will forever be a memory and a part of this journey. I will never EVER forget this.

Catching ya up!!

Clearly, based on the fact that I have not posted in several months I have been crazy busy. Well it started off as I was sick, tired, unmotivated and hospitalized.  I have NOT blogged since my fifth chemo treatment. YIKES shame on me. To my defense I got very sick and the last two chemo treatments where the most difficult and then a bunch of other things have happened which I will tell you about. So get ready hope ya have some time on your hands this is gonna be a long one. Let me take ya back here a bit.

In between my fifth and sixth chemo treatment a LOT happened.
The day before my 5th chemo treatment my grandma was having a surprise Birthday Party for my Grandpa who turned 90. I was not feeling well and so NOT up for talking about my health issues with the entire family. This was going to be the first time I saw that side of the family since my diagnosis. I didn't want the party to be about poor Mandy. So my sister sent out a email to the family asking everyone to please keep the questions about my health for a later time and also informed them of my hair loss so they wouldn't be shocked. I just really wanted it to be a Birthday Party not 21 Questions about the last 5 months of hell I'd been through. I really had thought about not going. But I had to it was my Grandpas 90th Birthday. How amazing is that!! So I drug my butt outta bed got dressed and wore a smile the whole time.

My sister and I with my grandparents.

90 that's truly amazing.

 So I had round 5 on December 13th. This was by far the worst of them all. Its accumulative so by this point I was very sick with every side effect possible. My white blood cell count was extremely low. So I was to be very careful of where I went and who I was around. December 19th was our family Christmas party at my Grandmas. I was still not feeling well. I once again thought about not going and just sending the husband and kids but I have that stupid emotion called GUILT. It gets me every time. LOL! My grandparents aren't gonna be around forever so........I had to go. I'm glad I went and surprisingly not one person asked me one question about my health.

I was not in picture condition. Sorry.

The next day December 20th My sister had planned a special day for us downtown. Still wasn't feeling the greatest but better. My sister lives downtown so we drove down to her place. Had some lunch. Had a nice little cold walk to this cute little classy spa. It was a great day. No kids, no noise. A full day of relaxing. Started off with some hot tea. Then on to a mani pedi followed by a 60 min massage and then a facial. This was the best gift ever. Thanks sis!!!! But of course you all know it couldn't of been that easy. There's a twist imagine that. LOL! So somewhere in between the mani/pedi and the massage I got extremely sick. I went into the massage feeling good and came out with a fever and NO voice. It was very strange. We were there for about 4-5 hrs. So by the time we were done it was dark out. I was so not up for walking a mile in the cold back to her place. So we decided to take the bus. OK let me just tell you Chicago public transportation is DISGUSTING. That was the last place I should of been. EWWWWW so gross! I cant imagine the germs on that thing. The smell alone was making me sick I hoovered on my seat the whole way. I couldn't get off that thing fast enough. Anyway we decided we would meet my sisters best friend for dinner - Sushi and LOTS of hot tea. It was fantastic. I was sitting across from her so we piled our coats and purses on the empty chair next to me. Well then my sisters boyfriend decided he would come by. So I was taking all the stuff off the chair and I went to set my sisters purse on the floor and she about had a heart attack. DON'Tput my purse on the floor its bad luck. WHAT!? I told her well I don't care its not my purse and I cant possibly have anymore bad luck. It can only get better from here. LOL! Plus I never heard that before. I guess she said you wont have money or good fortune or something like that. Whatever. Mind you this whole time I sound like I have laryngitis. I had absolutely no voice. It started snowing really bad so I decided to just stay out there and come home in the morning. So since I was staying we decided to go watch the bears game at some sports bar. At this point Ive had a long day probably did way more than I should have its snowing really bad and were gonna go hang out some more. So anyway we get to this place we walk in and the guy at the door is asking for every ones ID's. Really its like 8:00 people are still eating dinner. Well of course I don't have mine. I left it in my purse at my sisters house. I cant drink so I didn't even think to bring it. I said to the guy I don't have it I'm not gonna drink anyway. I need to see your ID mam. So I start having a hot flash and whip off my hat. The guys mouth just about hit the floor. Hes says Oh my gosh I'm sooooooo Sorry it's OK Don't worry about it. Ive never seen someone change their tune so fast. It was kinda funny. So after the game we head back home watched a little TV and to bed I went. The whole day and evening I kept asking my sister - is my car gonna be OK parked there, I better not get a ticket. Oh no it'll be fine.
So in the morning her boyfriend offered to clean the snow off my car so I could head home. I hear him go out. Then he comes back in and yells UGH I got some bad news. OH Great! I got a freaking ticket didn't I. No but your window on the passenger side is gone. WHAAAATTTTTT!!!!! You have got to be kidding me. Somebody decided they really wanted my GPS so they busted out my window. DISASTER! My day of relaxing and trying to be pampered had been totally destroyed I can never do anything. Moral of this story...Ladies don't put your purse on the floor. The whole putting your purse on the floor is bad luck was proven to be true. 

Not one piece of glass was on the ground it all ended up in my car.
  I get super sick and now I had to drive home from the city with no window. Lets just say it was a cold ride home. Not to mention I had to go pick Enrique up from school with the window like that. Poor kid. So I get home and I am miserable. I had a fever of 103.6 my throat hurt so bad, every inch of my body hurt and ached. I just layed down on the couch and went to sleep. I woke up and called the Dr. I wanted to get in and get this taken care of because Christmas eve was in 2 days and I knew my Dr was going to California. They couldn't see me til the next day. Dr said my throat was very swollen and red and the coughing and fever would go away. Its was going around I guess. He gave me Z PAC just to be pro active. It did nothing. Christmas Eve my poor little man was miserable. He got what I had. Fever, vomiting and body aches. I felt so bad for him. Not to mention I was very upset that now here I am effecting my child's health at the worst time ever. He had no interest in opening his presents and didn't move from the couch as a matter a fact I'm not sure he moved very much for about 3 days. So him and I were little sickly buddies for a while.
So from Dec 10-26 I was super sick. The only day I felt kinda good was the day I went downtown with my sister and as you know it ended up to be a disaster and I ended up sick again. I finally started feeling a little better the 27th and was dreading I had another chemo treatment coming in 7 days. UGH! Does it ever end. That was it I hit a wall. I called my Dr and left him a message saying I'm DONE. I'm not coming to my last chemo. How big of a difference is it really gonna make? I just cant do this anymore. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. This stupid crap had ruined so much over the last 5 months. I had become extremely emotional crying at anything and everything. No MO CHEMO! So the Dr and I played phone tag over the next several days. I actually ignored two of his calls but listened to his voice mails. I didn't want to be convinced back into going to this last chemo. I called him back and got his voicemail. I kinda felt bad he was in California with his family and hes calling me two and three times a day. I finally called him and reached him on New years Eve morning. We had a great conversation. He said I know we've been really hard on you and you've been really sick maybe you just need a break. Why don't we push your last treatment another week. Giving you more time to feel better. UGH NO! I'm not making this process any longer than its already been. He said it prob wouldn't change anything if I didn't go but if I were his daughter, sister or wife. He would really encourage me to finish it. 6 treatments is what is medically suggested for my diagnosis. It whats been proven to give the best results. We left our conversation kind of open ended. He understood I was exhausted physically and mentally and would support whatever decision I made. He wanted me to take the next couple days to think about it and let my nurse know on Monday.

Well Monday January 3rd was my LAST chemo treatment. Yep I went. :) I couldn't let myself fight this hard for this long and then give up. I decided to do this as my treatment and I had to stick it out. Plus what would I be teaching my children if I gave up. Woooo my last chemo.....Can you believe it? I sure can't. I really can't. I still need to be convinced of the fact. At that point it had been a traumatic 5 months. To say the least. The culmination on that day was just too much for me to process. I thought I might embarrass myself with emotions that I've not allowed myself to feel. I was frightened and happy all the same time. AAAACCCK! I think I need a shrink! LOL!

 I wore glittery pink heels to my last treatment. I was accompanied by my DH and my sister. My nurses gave me a congratulations you have graduated from chemo gift. And this chemo queen did the NO MO CHEMO dance for days.

Cant go wrong with PINK!


For all my cheerleaders out there! Bring it - Go Team Mandy

wooooohoooooo! oh yeah baby!
 We went to dinner to celebrate, which helped cement the idea in my head. I was literally quivering that whole day with excitement and nerves. When I got home I continued my celebration. Mariana (my daughter) and I jumped on the bed, danced and sang. Blew out a candle- I had no fireworks.

Me celebrating with water in a wine glass. You should of seen our waiters face when I said I'll have a water with lemon but please put it in a wine glass. I followed it up with I know it's weird just do it! :)

OK I know it's not a firework but it's the next best thing!

Yep that's me jumping on my daughters bed!

Here comes Miss Thang showing me how its done. :)

So now that I was done with chemo next was getting my bi lateral mastectomy scheduled. I had to do a couple things before I could do that. I needed to have a echo cardiogram to see if the chemo had done any damage to my heart and if so how much and I needed to see both the general surgeon and the plastic surgeon again. Echo cardio gram was great. Saw both surgeons and got my surgery scheduled for Feb 11th. They wanted me to wait six weeks. My body needed a bit of a break for a while. So now I had 6 weeks to get back to being me. 6 weeks to get things done around the house and maybe take the kids to the dells for a few days. These poor kids lives have consisted of nothing but me constantly going to the Dr and not feeling well enough to do anything with them or for them.

So remember back on Dec 20th I told ya I got really sick and I had a bad cough. Well its now January 20th and I'm still coughing. But anyway I had to do all my pre operative testing and blood work. So I thought well when I'm there I'll mention this cough to them. About a week or so before the 20th I started having this really weird fluttering feeling in my chest. Kinda felt like little air bubbles. I wasn't in any pain but it just didn't feel right. So I called my lung surgeon to ask if this normal. I got to talk to one of his nurses she said its normal to have some feelings like that. The space of where the lung was removed takes time for the fluid to build up around that area. If your not in pain I don't think you need to be worried. OK! So then over the 17th 18th and 19th I started having a little bit of chest pain at night when I would lay down and my coughing was getting worse. When I would cough I would have to put my hand on my side because it would like putrude out and if I didn't put pressure on it to cough it was uncomfortable. And it was making a really weird noise.  So now its the 20th I gotta go do all this testing so I figure I'll mention it to them just so they can reassure me again that its normal and its nothing. So we do the physical and history, blood work and shes asking me if I have any questions regarding my surgery. So I start telling her about this issue. So she says let me listen. Um ya that doesn't sound good. Lets have you get a chest X ray. OK fine I go down I get it done. She says shell call me if there's a problem. So I leave Evanston Hospital and head over to Kennilworth for my next apt with the plastic surgeon. Now what I haven't told you yet is this was the day from HELL!!
I woke up late. I had no one to watch Enrique so I'm calling everyone I know. I finally get that figured out. (thank you Kristin) I'm rushing to get out the door I gotta drop Enrique off and get to Evanston in an hour. Yeah right! I realize after I drop Enrique off I have no gas, no money, no purse and no i pass. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I call my husband to find out where he is. He's in woodstock thats no help to me. So I have to get and IOU at the toll booth. I'm thinking I'm so close to E I'm gonna be walking soon. Oh well lets just get there and I'll worry about it later. So I get to Evanston Hospital and yet another problem. You have to pay to park! SHHHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTT!  You actually park but then have to pay when you leave the parking garage. Another oh well I'll figure it out when I come out. So when I went to leave after I had the x ray done I had to go to the front desk. The poor lady who had to hear me ramble my ridiculous story probably thought I was kukooooo! She said I believe you here's a free pass. OK so back to being on my way to the next Dr apt in Kennilworth. You all with me still. I know crazy right!!!! Well it just keeps going down hill. On the way to the next apt my friendly little orange gas light goes on right as I pull in the parking lot. You know the one that means - Idiot if ya don't put gas in your car like NOW your gonna be walking. Some how I made it there 10 mins early and I am one crabby B. I got ten mins to kill and I'm gonna call my husband and just vent to him. You know its ALL his fault. LOL! So I'm telling him about the x ray and I don't think its good the look on the nurses face had me worried. He says to me well let me know because the guys wanted to leave today instead of tomorrow. They were going to the UP for a snowmobile trip. I go into my appt. It was a 2 hr apt. We went over everything about the procedure, picked implants, pre op pics were taken, got all my meds, went over drain care. Which by the way absolutely disgusting. So I'm walking out of the room to the front desk to make my next apt and the nurse comes running after me wait the nurse just called from Evanston and said you need to go back there immediately. WHY?  Just go back. So I get in my car I call my husband and tell him they want me to come back it can't be good and I have no gas. He says well I'm in Buffalo Grove come meet me here and then go back. OK moron what don't you understand I'm in Kennilworth and I have NO GAS!!!!! UGH. You are gonna have to come here and bring me money. So I tell him I hope they don't have to admit me and he says well call me as soon as you know because I wont be able to go on the trip then. That was at about 2:15pm. I get back to Evanston Hospital. Guess what Parking garage again. SERIOUSLY just shoot me now. I walk in to the office and the Nurse from earlier comes out and says do you want me to get you a wheel chair? A wheel chair? What the heck? Ugh no am I dying or something I just walked here from the parking garage. Whats going on? Well we are gonna wait for Dr Howington to come just have a seat he will be here soon. Two seconds later he comes in. Whats going on? He says to me well why don't you tell me whats going on. What have you been doing since I saw you last? I explained to him how I got sick and all the coughing. I told him I had called his office and was told it was normal. Well you have a severe pneumothorax. A what? Your lung is collapsed. He felt it had been like that about a month or so. GREAT! So he said I had two options we could wait and see if it repairs itself  or be admitted and have a chest tube put in again. He strongly recommended the chest tube. I started laughing and told him about my crazy day and that I guess it worked out good cause I have no gas to get home anyway. Nor did I have money to pay for my parking and I was not about to go ask the lady for another free pass. So at this point the nerves are getting to me. The thought of that stinking chest tube was getting me all worked up. I called Jesse and I said are you on your way? Yea he says. Oh your on your way here now? Wait no he says. I'm so confused where are you? What are you doing? I could tell by the way he was talking he was with someone. That JERK was on his way with the guys to go snowmobiling in the U.P. You have got to be kidding me. I couldn't believe it. I was pissed. At this point it was getting close to 4:00 my daughter would be getting off the bus in 15mins. Enrique was still at his friends house. Christian wasn't home to get Mariana off the bus. And I'm stuck here with a collapsed lung and hes gonna be gone for 4 days. That was not a good phone conversation. And then on top of that he didn't even help figure out what to do with the kids. Here I am laying on a hospital bed being prepped to have a tube shoved in my chest.......

That going in was not pleasant.
 and I'm on the phone with my mother in law trying to help direct her to find the house shes needs to pick my son up at. I had to call the neighbor (thanks kim) and ask if my daughter could go there until I could figure out who could pick her up. I had to call my sister in law and ask her to go pick my daughter up and then I had to call my girlfriend (thanks meg) and ask her to bring me my phone charger cause my phone was gonna die any second and I needed $ for parking and gas. I was gonna have to go home sooner or later. Geese just writing this has me all hot and frazzled. Lets just say my husband is lucky he is still my husband after that one. So I was able to go home on Saturday. One small problem they wouldn't let me leave without a driver. So here we go again I had to have my sister get a ride to Evanston from the city so she could drive me home. I didn't end up leaving there til almost 8pm. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that is OVER. My husband came home Sunday around 4 I think at 4:05 he was wishing he would of not come home. I let him have it for over a week. Every chance I got. So are you spinning in circles yet from that one. I told ya my life is not boring EVER! Never a dull moment. :) Oh and by the way after my lung was fixed the coughing went away. Imagine that. LOL!  That Monday the 24th back to the Dr for Herceptin. Exhausting I tell ya. So now after that whole incident I was worried about them cancelling my surgery. They were saying it wouldn't be a good idea to be put under so soon. That it could possibly happen again. We agreed that I would see him again in about 10 days for a chest x ray and if everything looked good he would let me have the surgery.
So chest x ray came out fine and now waiting for my next surgery. Meanwhile we decided we all needed a break. The kids lives have been nothing but mom being in bed, sick and crabby. I knew this next surgery was gonna have me checked out for a while. So why not got to the dells for a few days. But before we did that my Besties had a bye bye boobie party for me.

See next blog!!!!!