Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is the ONLY time I will acknowledge this anniversary

One year ago I got some news that would change my life.  Hell, for that matter, it would change anyone's life.  I got a phone call from my doctor telling me had lobular adenocarcinoma of my right breast.  What a crappy day that turned out to be. 

During this year, I have learned just how strong I am.  I now have a bracelet that has a pink ribbon on it with the words "Strength Beyond Measure".  That  just fit me to a T.  I always said I was a strong person.  Now I KNOW I am a stronger person!

I want to, again, thank all of you who offered up prayers, called to check on me, came over to keep me company and that one person with the coldest hands in Lakeland who come over every morning for a week to give me a shot after I had surgery. 

I will never be able to thank everyone in person but I'm sending out one great big hug to all of you!!!

This is not the end of my journey, as I will have final reconstruction next spring or summer.  I am looking foward to being cancer free for the rest of my life!!!!!

Remember to get your mammies grammed and have your annual exams!
Love you all


Monday, October 10, 2011

Treatment is DONE!!!

I cannot believe it. I am done with treatment!!!!!  Wow, what a year this has been.  It's so very easy for me to remember the panic, the fear, the sheer terror of finding a mass in my right breast.  The fact that I have done as well as I have is a miracle.  I worked through most of the time I've been in treatment from chemotherapy to radiation therapy.  I can't say enough about my coworkers who have had to deal with me and all the appointments I've had for treatment.  You all rock!!!

My family has been there for me from the outset of this.  My mother gave up her time to nurse me and haul me around to each doctor's appointment and every Monday for my chemo.  I'll never be able to thank her.  My father has been there for me as well.  He filled in when Mom wasn't able to be at appointments with me.  Thanks Dad.  I know you were scared out of your mind as much as I was.

My BFF, Pam was there from the beginning as well.  She actually stayed with me the first night I was home from the hospital just so I wouldn't be alone.  She's put up with my ranting and raving about the bad hand I was dealt.  She came over every morning after she got off work or got up to give me my anticoagulant shots.  She really got to "needle" me for a week. LOL.

My other BFF, Bonnie is a whirlwind of a woman!  She and I reconnected 25 years after we graduated from Lake Gibson High School.  I believe we were put in eachothers' lives for a reason.  She helped me find the positive and "pixie dust" in this journey.  She came to my house after I got home from surgery and just was there for me.  She even did something I never expected her to do.  She shaved her head the same day I did after the chemo started to take mine. 

To everyone out there that has followed this for the past year, thank you.  I will be continuing to post and keep everyone up to date, especially when I get the "rebuilts" placed!  I will only ask for continued prayers.

Remember to feel your boobies! Get your mammograms and do your MONTHLY self breast exam.  Only you know what's normal for you.  I am living proof that early detection is a life saver!!!

Hugs to all

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Year Later

Wow, what a year this has been!  It's been about a year since I found that damn lump!!!!! 

All of you that read this know that my Mom has been my rock for this past year.  She's seen me at my best and at my worst in this journey.  From the fear of having 7 major surgeries in one 6 hour session to chemo and losing my hair and through radiation therapy, she's seen me through it all.  She's cried with me and laughed with me, watched over me like she did when I was a child.  Thanks Mom!

This is not a year I want to live over again...... but I'm glad I lived through it.
 I've been taught humility.
  I've been taught patience.
 I've been taught unconditional love.
 I've learned to be the patient and let the nurses and technicians do what they need to do  (something I needed to learn, lol!).
  I've also learned to ask for help when I need it and to accept help when I didn't think I needed it.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and prayers.  Without them, I don't know how I would have done. 

I have been on a "break" from radiation because of radiation burns under my arm and on my right breast, but they are almost healed and will resume therapy on Thursday afternoon and will finish the 2 this week and 5 next week and I'll be DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, I will continue to follow up with all my physicians and have my mammograms as Dr. Dupont deems necessary.

Remember all:  FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!!! Get your mammograms and annual checkups.  The life you save may be your own.

Love and Hugs,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The beginning of the end of this journey

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a long time since I posted, but I've been busy living life.  I am going to start radiation on Wednesday, August 10th.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day!

There have been a couple of changes in my life.  The first being that my nephew has moved from Georgia back to Florida!!!!!!!!!  I'm so glad to have him here.  It's been a rocky couple of years for him, but he's making strides to be the man I know he can be.  The second is the possibility of my Mom moving TO Georgia.  So, on one hand I'm happy and on the other I am sad at the loss of the closeness my Mom and I have forged over the last couple of years.

I finally have enough hair to now be able to hide the gray that I never knew I had, lol.  My favorite hair dresser is kind enough to work me into her day!

I am going to a dance this coming weekend and am actually competing in my very first competetion in West Coast Swing.  I think I have lost my mind, but I'm gonna have a good time anyway!!!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer so far.  Don't forget to schedule your annual "girlie" exams and tests and don't forget to feel your boobies!!!!

Hugs and kisses!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some Good News for a Change!!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!! 

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day Holiday and remembered to thank those on active duty and those retired military service for their sacrifice in defending our country.

I went to see the surgeon that did my mastectomies and she is "thrilled" with the way I am healing and there is no need to see her until December unless something happens!!!!!  What a great day!

I am counting down the days until chemotherapy is complete!  I only have 2 treatments left, that means I will celebrate my independance from chemo on July 5th!!!!!!!

My hair is continuing to grow back, it's about 1/2 inch long all over my head and it's a little grayer than I thought it would be. LOL!!!  I guess I'll be finding my hairdresser before too long for a little color therapy! 

I will start radiation soon and that means I am one step closer to the end of this ordeal.

Thanks need to go out to all my friends near and far for all the well wishes and prayer and all I can do is ask for continued prayers.

Please remember to take care of yourselves and have your checkups!!!


Hugs and kisses to all!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One of the "Joys" being a cancer patient

Happy Sunday All,

I know it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted anything, but I have been dealing with one of the joys of being a cancer patient; Shingles!

Around the 18th or so of May, I started having pain in the right side of my head and face.  By Friday, I was in a lot of pain. I called my doctor and she wrote prescriptions for pain medicine and for a medicine for neuropathic pain and I came home for the afternoon.  I finally got the pain under control and was able to enjoy an evening out with my BFF dancing.  Saturday, we picked blueberries and made blueberry jam and went dancing again.  I made it thru the lesson before the dance, but the pain was bad enough I just couldn't enjoy my night.  I came home and took my pain meds and managed to sleep a little bit, but by Sunday morning, I was hurting so bad, I called the oncology doctor on call, told him my symptoms and he said it sounded like shingles to him, but since he couldn't see me over the phone, he would meet me in the emergency room and take a look at me.  So, I called my Mom and she came and got me and off we went to the ED.  Sure enough, I had a pretty bad case of shingles.

I was admitted last Sunday for IV anti-viral medication and IV pain control.  By Monday morining, I was feeling better, but was still requiring a fairly stout dose of IV Morphine to control the pain, along with an oral medication for neuropathic pain.  I told my mom and my BFF that I don't know how people with chronic pain deal with it day in and day out.  I have a new found respect for those with chronic pain.

Now, I am off work for at least another week and a half to make sure I am clear of the virus! 

On top of all of that, I caught a cold while I was in the hospital on the oncology floor!  Only this could happen to me! 

I hope all of you have a great Memorial Day and thanks to all of our service men and women for protecting us!

Remember to FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Spring

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a while, but there have been a few problems lately.  One of those is the fact that over the first weekend of April, I had a series of pretty severe migraine headaches along with some changes in my vision. 

When I saw the oncologist, she was concerned enough to send me to see an opthomologist, to have a cat scan of my head and to see a neurologist. 

The CT scan of my head was normal, or as normal as MY brain could be, the opthomologist said the changes in vision were probably just the aura of my headaches and the neurologist said the increased frequency of the headaches were probably from the sudden decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels in my body due to the chemically induced menopause that the chemo has put in.  So, with all of that said, I got a 3 week break from chemotherapy and was actually giving my body a chance to rest and heal for most of the month.

I restarted chemo on the first Monday of May and have done very well with it.  I have enough energy to go dancing and hang out with my friends a little more and am doing well with work.

I still am pretty tired when I get home and I usually just veg out!

I know a lot of you have been asking how I am.  I am doing very well.  I am missing spending time with all of you.  We definately need to get together sometime soon!



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Round 8

Round 8 of 16 is done! That means I am at the half-way mark in this phase of treatment, another milestone in my fight against breast cancer!!!!!  I cannot believe that I'm half done with this!  I remember thinking that 16 rounds of IV chemo sounded like it would last a lifetime, but it's going so fast.

The one drawback to all of this is that I am not sleeping well at all.  I think the IV steroid they are giving me is affecting my sleep patterns, I feel like I'm sleepy and go to bed and feel like I'm gonna crawl out of my skin.  Steroids have always made me feel like that.

I just found out that a very dear friend of mine has one more round of chemo in two weeks, then she will be scheduled for her double mastectomy.  I continually pray for her daily and hope she does as well with surgery as I did.  I will be there for her to give her moral support and to help with anything she needs.

Please continue to keep me and her in your prayers!

Remember to FEEL YOUR BOOBIES and get your annual mammograms and PAP smears!  Early detection saves lives.  I am living proof of early detection!  Only you know what is normal for you!

Love and hugs to all

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Hi all.  I have a poem written by a friend of mine that has also had breast cancer and beaten it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I remember when I got the news ans wondered if I were going to die, but I didn't and

I remember watching the red colored chemotherapy liquid flow through the tubing into my veins and wondered if I were going to vomit, but I didn't and TODAY I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

I remember having long locks and then having none and wondering how I would look with a wig, but TODAY I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

I remember the first and last radiation treatments and being warned that I would have radiation burns and thinking..."that never happened to me" and TODAY I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

I remember thinking, "When will this all be over?" while knowing it never would be over because TODAY I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

I remember thanking GOD for my new hair, my new cancer free cells, and my new outlook on life, and yes, even my new permantenly tanned skin areas, because they make me remember that I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

I remember thinking that "I will never put a period where GOD puts a comma" because having breast cancer was a beginning, not an end because I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

I remember thinking, "Oh GOD, what about my children, my husband, my family and my friends?"  Through all of this I realize that today I can stand here and say to them and you that I AM THE PICTURE OF SURVIVAL.

Iselyn Dallas
Breast Cancer Survivor!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Round 7

Well, had round 7 of 16 today. Did well with it.  Even managed a nap during chemo this afternoon.  I have been back to work for 2 weeks and am doing well.  I am one tired person when I get home, but I feel like I'm making a contribution to the world again.

I can tell you that menopause ain't for sissies!  I have a new found respect for women who go thru it without homone replacement therapy.  There is nothing like breaking out in a sweat in the middle of getting a patient ready to see the doctor! 

Spring has sprung again and I have the fever to play in the dirt and put some new plants and flowers in the ground.  It's gonna have to be something that will provide a color impact and easy to take care of..... I'm thinking impatients or something similar.

I hope all of you are having a good week and are continuing to schedule your PAP smears and mammograms!  Remember to FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!!!  You are the only person who knows what is normal for you!  If you find a change, let your doctor know as soon as possible. 

Happy Spring everybody!
Love and kisses

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First week back to work

Hi all,
I hope the week is going well for you all, it is almost Friday afterall!!  This has been a great week for me!  I went back to work Tuesday and have had a great week.  I realized that I have not lost what ever knowledge I had about wound care, lol.

I have been absolutely tired when I get home every evening, but I feel like I'm accomplishing something in my life.  Things are moving forward and I continue to thank everyone for all the prayers and well wishes. 

I'm keeping things short tonight, going to make friends with my pillow and blankie so I can do this all over again tomorrow!

Don't forget to FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!!!!!!!

Love and kisses!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Round 5

The time has finally come for me to start round 5.  That means I will go back weekly for chemo instead of every 2 weeks and I will see the doctor every 3 weeks!  Things are going great!  I am excited to know that I only have 12 more rounds to go and then I start radiation therapy.  The combination of chemo and radiation is to make sure all of the cancer is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!!!!!!!

I also get to go back to work this week!  No more sitting around looking at the same 4 walls day in and day out!  I have missed my co-workers, patients and the doctors.  This is a big milestone for me.  I am excited and scared all in the same breath.  I hope I haven't forgotten everything I've learned about wound care.

I had to go for IV fluids twice after the last round because it really knocked me for a loop.  I didn't really start feeling like myself until Monday.  I actually felt good enough to help one of my neighbors put a laminate floor in my dining room.  Now, mind you..... I've had the flooring in my house since this past summer!  It took an afternoon to put in, but it looks awesome!  I think I have the best neighbors in the world!

I hope everyone has a fantabulous week and DON'T FORGET TO FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!  Only you know what is normal for you!  Don't forget your mammograms and annual exams that we women must have done.

Love to all,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Round 4 is DONE!!!!

Good afternoon all.  I had the 4th and final round of the 2 drug regimen on Monday!  Round 4 down, 12 rounds to go.  I have had to go back to the cancer center for IV fluids today (Wednesday) and will go back tomorrow for more fluids to help combat the side effects of the "red devil".

I know I told everyone about the Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser that happened this past weekend.  If you missed it, you missed a great time!  Over $6oo was raised to be split between us!  Thank you to all of our classmates and friends and friends of friends!  The outpouring of love was amazing!  Tracie and I were both presented with a blanket made by another classmate that just was over the top.  Mine goes nicely on the couch and the lounge chair in my house!  Thanks April!

I get to start the single drug regimen on March 7th and will continue with that for 12 weeks.  Hopefully, things will go smoothly and I won't have any breaks in treatment! 

Please keep me in your prayers and remember to do your breast exams, you never know. You could save your own life!

Love to all

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A good week!

Hey there!
What a great week I have had!  I went to the Florida State Fair with my best friend, Pam, and her parents on Wednesday afternoon.  When I finally got home at 11 that night, I think I just passed out from the best kind of fatigue I  have had in a couple of months.  All the laughter was good for my soul.

I had Thursday to recuperate and do some things around the house and pay bills, but found out I had been the victim of bank fraud.  So I got to spend the afternoon going to the sheriff's office to fill out paperwork, then to the bank to fill out more paperwork and to get a new debit card.  What a frustrating afternoon, but it's in the hands of the sheriff's department and the bank's investigation team, so there's nothing more I can do. 

Went yesterday (Friday) for lab work, getting ready for Monday's doctor's appointment and round 4 of chemotherapy.  One of my friends told me chemo is like a marathon boxing match, that's why we should fight like a girl and knock out cancer each round we take!  I love it! For the first time in my life, I am actively looking for a fight!

Tonight is the Breast Cancer Awareness fund raiser at Trader's Ally in downtown Lakeland, so if you're in town and looking for a good time, come on out and join us!  A good time is sure to be had by all.  Special guest DJ will be Casey Turner, a classmate of mine.  He was on Big Brother 11 and is the official DJ for the Tampa Bay Storm and the LFL's Tampa Bay team. 

Please remember to do your monthly self breast exams! Only you know what's normal and not normal for you.  Schedule your annual mammograms and PAP Smears to prevent breast and cervical cancer!
FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!  I hope to see everyone soon!

Love and Kisses

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Post

Round 3 totally knocked me down!  Not down for long, just an 8 count.  Tuesday last week wasn't bad, lots of sitting and waiting, but that's nothing new.  Wednesday was another story.  Mom came by and picked me up for a brief foray to Wal Mart to pick up Valentine's Day cards for my nieces and step-dad and I needed a card for my nieces as well and a few groceries.  We were there all of about 30 minutes and I thought I was going to hit the floor by the time we left.  I called the doctor's office and was told to come in for labs and IV fluids and nausea medications.  Labs were ok, but I needed a little extra potassium.  Mom and I were at the cancer center for about 3 hours or so.  I had to go back on Thursday for some extra IV fluids and by Friday I was feeling as good as I did before Round 3 started.

I also got some good news about a friend who is also going through breast cancer treatment.  She has not had surgery yet, but she said she couldn't find the mass in her breast and was going for a mammogram.  The radiologist could not find the mass on film!!!!!!  What an answer to prayers for her!  I hope she continues to do well. 

My high school classmates are hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit on Saturday, the 19th at Traders Alley at 210 E. Pine Street, downtown Lakeland.  Doors open at 8 pm and there will be door prizes from local merchants and a 50/50 drawing to be given that night.  So, if you're downtown for BeerFest that night, come on over to Trader's and celebrate with us.  All proceeds are to benefit the two of us from the same class going through this.  I hope to see some or all of you there.  Wear your best pink shirt, tie, scarf, bandana or what ever you have to show support for trying to find a cure for this.

I hope all of you remember to FEEL YOUR BOOBIES and get them squashed just to make sure there is nothing growing! 

Love and kisses to all!
(No Frank, I STILL don't wanna feel your boobies)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Round 3

Wow, it's hard to believe that it's been a little over 2 months since I had my surgery.  I seem to be healing well, but I still get tired doing what I think should be easy chores, like sweeping off the back porch or the kitchen or vacuuming the house.  I am doing my lymphedema drainage daily and performing a few exercises to help keep the swelling in my right arm down as well as a few exercises to help regain some strength in my upper body after surgery.

I feel like I have cabin fever!  It's been 2 months and I don't get out of the house much.  My big events are doctor appointments and going to the grocery store or WalMart.  I never thought the highlight of my week would be going to the zoo known as "Wally World", lol.

On another note, I have managed to talk some really good friends into scheduling their mammograms and annual "girlie" visits.  It seems that I have also been able to increase awarness of self breast exams!  I hope everyone that is keeping up with me is doing this very easy test, only YOU know what is normal for you.

It's time for me to fly to the Cancer Center for this round!

Remember to schedule your PAP smears and mammograms and FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!!!

Love to all!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Round 2/Chemo

Round 2 of chemo is tomorrow, Monday the 24th.  I'm just a little better than I was 2 weeks ago, but still apprehensive about the whole thing. 

I finally got the nerve up last Saturday and shaved my head.  My hair was starting to fall out in little bits, and I was getting tired of it, so Mom helped me.  We both cried about it, but we knew it was coming.  I actually have a pretty head, only a couple of scars, but no divots or lumps! LOL!

After all was said and done, I went to Bonnie and Jordan's for homemade baked potato soup for dinner and an evening of being beaten by Bridgette in Rummy, she is the rummy queen and she made sure to let all of us know it!  After all that, Bonnie decided she wanted to shave her head as a sign of solidarity for me.  I told her no about a thousand times, but she is just as stubborn as I am, and this time there was no telling her no this time.  I was wielding a pair of scissors and cut her hair as short as I could then helped her finish shaving her head with razors.  OMG, she is nuttier than I am! 

Just as I am feeling "normal", it's time for a "knock down" for a few days.  Hopefully, things won't be as bad since I have an idea of side effects. 

I hope everyone has a good week coming up.  Love your family and tell them that you love them everyday.  Remember that family is not just by blood, it's those who are there for you regardless!

Love and kisses and FEEL YOUR BOOBIES,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chemo Day

So, January 10th came and went.  Day one of chemo.  I didn't do too bad, that day.  Tuesday was ok, felt a little run down, a little tired. Nausea was there, but wasn't running the day.  Wednesday was a WHOLE different story.  I woke up nauseated, walked around nauseated, even took the Compazine (anti-nausea meds) a couple of times.  Then I slept most of the day.  Unfortunately, that's one of the side effects of the meds.  Dry mouth is gonna be a battle as well.  One of the ways to combat that is to use a special toothpaste and mouthwash called "Biotene".  I cannot believe that I spent $6 on ONE tube of toothpaste!  But, hey, it's helping!

I started to feel better Thursday and by Friday, I felt back to normal, or as normal as I am! LOL.

I felt good enough to venture out to Michael's and Target all by myself.  That little one hour adventure wiped me out!  But, I got what I went for, so it was a good day.  I actually ate some london broil and a baked potato for dinner and then Mom and step-dad and the little doggie came down for a visit and we all wound up going to Dairy Queen for a banana split Blizzard for me and Mom and a full blown banana split for my step-dad!  Even the little doggie got to have a taste or two of vanilla ice cream. 

Today is a little better.  I had to go out for a bit to the bank and actually wanted a milkshake!  For the first time in a week, I wanted a milkshake!  Yahoo!!!!!!  That's what Mom said, anyway. 

I am just excited that I don't have to go for chemo tomorrow!  I do, however, have to get up before God and the chickens early on Tuesday for PT to help with lymph edema in my right arm.  I haven't seen 6 AM on the alarm clock in about 6 weeks!  I guess I'm gonna have to get used to it.  I am gonna have to go back to work sooner rather than later!  I told a friend yesterday that I was officially BORED.  She said it was time for me go get back to work just to have people around to talk to!  I guess she's right. 

I am planning on going back around the 2nd week of February.  I'm looking forward to it.  I miss my co-workers and my patients.  They have all wished nothing but the best for me and I love them all for it!

I hope everyone has a great week.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my friends!  I did see the medical oncologist last week for results of the MUGA scan and the PET scan.  Muga scans are used to determine how efficiently the heart works and the PET scan us used to detect any cancer elsewhere in the body.

Both came back NORMAL! My heart is working like it should and the is NO cancer anywhere in my body!!!!!!  That was the best thing I think I ever heard.  Mom and I both started crying when we heard that news!  I had many Christmas wishes.  The one that said no more cancer was the only one I really wanted!

I also had to go for my annual GYN exam and everything has returned normal.  Not bad for the end of one year and the beginning of another!

As I sit and contemplate on the last 3 months, it's been an absolute whirlwind.  From diagnosis, to surgery and now on to chemo for the next 16 weeks, then a few weeks of external beam radiation therapy.  Wow.  I am not sure what the next few months bring, but I find myself excited about getting everything DONE!  It's gonna be a long few months, but the end result will be worth it.

I get to go to physical therapy on Wednesday for a lymphedema consult and how to prevent and/or treat it.  Lymphedema happens when there has been damage to the lymph nodes in an area of the body, like in the armpit, groin or lower leg.  The lymph system is a filter system, but it also helps to get fluid out of the extremities.  Any kind of assistance will be great for me.  I also see the plastic surgeon on Thursday for a fill and doctor visit to see how I'm doing and I'm going to ask about returning to work.  It's been one month and I know I still need a few more weeks for more recovery, but I'm going nuts not working. 

I start chemotherapy on Jan 10.  I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm anxious to get things flowing!   I was told that the type of chemo I'll recieve for the first 4 cycles will cause my hair to fall out, but I was expecting that, so I'm just going to shave my head.  I don't know if I'll do it before the first session or wait til after the 2nd, but I am going to do it anyway.  I know I cannot, emotionally, watch my hair fall out in my hands.  Mom says she might as well too because the Methotrexate she's on is making her hair fall out.  I told her she should just get a wig for herself.  She says she just may do that! LOL.  I hope she does.

I heard from one of my friends that these blogs I do help her as much as they do me.  She gets to see how I'm doing and how treatment is going.  Another says she just had her annual GYN exam and has her mammogram in June or July.  Keep up the good work.  Get the word out!

FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!!!!  They're yours, you should know what's normal for YOU!  Every woman's breasts are different.  Know what's right for you and not right for you! 

Happy New Year to all!