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Friday, December 5, 2014

Fifth Day of Therapy

Today was my fifth day on radiation therapy or radiotherapy.  I did not like it but I need it.  Over a month ago, I had a DCIS operation or Ductal Excersion. Before I started with the therapy, I had counseling from my doctors and oncologist.  The doctors put me on light duty at work.  I can only do some easy stuff.  I cannot lift, transfer, push.  It is hard to be on light duty.  I am a hard working CNA and sitting is not an option.  I do not stop until I am done with what has to be done.

Also,  I started to feel some side effects from the therapy, like nausea and exhaustion,  muscle soreness.  I had my down time moment.  I was crying the other night for no apparent reason, I was just crying.  One time I was driving to work, my stomach was awful.  I was nauseated and felt so light-headed.  At work, I could concentrate, yes, but I was like out of my head.  I had to ask my co-worker three times to make sure that I got what she was telling me.  I survived, though and did not make any mistakes. Hah! The perseverance of a Filipina.

This morning, I asked the oncology nurse if it is normal to feel the heaviness on my breast and that shooting pain which is too painful, she reassured me that those were all some of the side effects from the radiation.  It is not fun, AT ALL!  As writing this, I am feeling that shooting pain all over my affected side so I have to take a pain killer.  Thanks to my husband who is with me all the way.  He is present whenever I need him. 

Going back and forth to the cancer treatment center is exhausting.  It is every morning, five days a week and I only got done with five treatments.  Originally, I was supposed to get 25 treatments but my oncologist have me down to 18 treatments only.  The experience is not as scary as I had pictured it.  I am working with a great team of therapists, all females - my preference.

Before going to the treatment, I can only use unscented Dove soap.  No colognes.  No lotion.  No deodorant.  Each session, I have to apply an unscented aloe lotion around the affected area.  Personally,  it is a  hustle.  I am not a morning person.  I love my bed and I love to sleep.  Then, all of a sudden, everything had change.  Luckily, I have my weekend off from work and from therapy.  Then back again on Monday.  sigh.  I know it is for the best and for me to get better.  Actually, after my initial treatment, I wanted to not comeback on the second day.  I was on denial that I needed it.  Anyways, I continued with the therapy.  Five down, 13 more to go... wooohh...

Have another minute?  Try to read this from Susan G. Komen.  It is very informative.

On my way home from the treatment.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Simulation



 An update on my breast surgery :


November 20, 2014.  9:30 AM.  I had a schedule to the Oncologist.  I thought I was going to have my first radiotherapy.  Thank God because I am not ready for that.  It was my second meeting with Dr. Herman – the Oncologist.  The visit was for simulation or preparation for the said therapy.  I had to meet with two different nurses and practitioners. After a quick briefing from the first nurse, we went to the radiation therapy room.  I read and signed a paper stating that I understand what the procedure is going to be.  

 
Waiting for the nurse to torture me.
I had to lie down in a hard surfaced bed with my right arm above my head. I had a surgery on my right breast in September of this year.  It was not easy lying down while you are in an awkward position.  The oncology nurse put tattoos on different areas of my torso.  It will be permanent but not visible to human eyes.  It is necessary for the procedure so the oncologists would know where to aim the radiation. 

It was unpleasant for me.  I don’t have tattoos.  I do not have anything against the ink.  It is me who do not want to have ink because I am scared.  One of my biggest fears is the needle.  That’s why when I was being poked multiple times, I was screaming.  I jokingly told the oncology nurse that I hate her that very moment. I had to call in from work due to soreness of the breast and the markings.  You can laugh now.Ahaha... 

To be honest, after the surgery, I was already thinking what tattoo design I would be getting.  I want it to be relevant to what I am going through and as a support to the breast cancer survivors, as well. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter In The Fall

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."
It is Winter in the Fall here in Michigan and in some parts of the United States.  I could not complain for I love the snow.  It really is so beautiful to watch but not when going to work.  I am off today so I am still fine with the weather but tomorrow is gonna be a different story.  It is my duty tomorrow and I always think ahead, "Gotta drive slow in the snow. Gotta drive slow in the snow."  I am gonna be chanting on my way to work. 

Well, since it is still my off, I enjoyed taking pictures through my window.  This is my favorite.  I don't know what kind of bird was on the tree branch.  It was grey in color and has a crown.  It was my cats Dusty and Tiki who hinted me that there was a bird and so I grabbed the chance. It was like the bird is dancing along with the branch as the wind and the snow sings in melody.

The beauty of nature that some people does not realize and just let it pass due to unappreciative behaviors.  Though, Philippines is a beautiful county, I will never stop thanking mother nature for giving me the opportunity to experience Her beauty.

The Culprit

My Samsung Note 3 chargers


As you can see, I have two chargers for my Note 3.  The one on the right (facing you) was the original charger that came with the unit.  The other one is new which I ordered from Amazon. There is a reason behind these two chargers.  Since I got my phone, I always charge it at night and place it on my bed side.  One morning, I noticed that the charger's skin was not smooth, then I found out why.  There was a tiny bite marks on it. I ignored it but of course I already knew who was the culprit.  

Then one time, it was in the middle of the night when I was awaken by a gasping sound.  With my half-opened eyes, I caught the culprit in the act.  Gnawing on my charger!!! 

Animated photo of Tiki

This little bandit was the one having fun with my charger.  Small but terrible she is.  Tiki is one of my 14 crazy cats.  Tiki is almost 5 years old and small as a 6 months old kitten.  Yes, she is a midget and I love her to death.  We have a special bond since the day my husband and I adopted her from a shelter in Mason, Michigan.  Though, I caught her chewing on the charger, I cannot get mad at her.  I shew her away to stop.

Tiki loves to loves to sleep in the bedroom with us.  I call her "Bedroom Kitty".  For some reason, she knows when it is time for bed.  As the bedroom door opens, she will come frolicking like a little human girl.  So cute. 

Since that time I caught her, I figured that I should cover my charger with a towel, I know it is not advisable but that is the only thing that came to my mind.  Guess what?  Tiki figured out how to move the towel  so she could chew on the charger again.  TIKI!!!!

My old charger looked so bad so I ordered one from Amazon.  Until I caught my little culprit doing her chewing habit once again, on the new charger.  There is no way you can do that to my new charger, Miss Tiki.  So, I don't use the new charger when I am not around or knocked down.  I would use the old one if I know that I might fall asleep because my little culprit is just around lurking in the dark corner of the couch, waiting for me to fall asleep.  Smart kitty cat.

I Love You, Tiki.





Friday, November 14, 2014

Lumpia - Spring Roll

 I was supposed to post it yesterday until I remember I have work the next day.  A good amount of sleep is vital to me.  Anyways, since this has started already, let me finish this blog post.  I did not plan to make lumpia or vegetable spring roll but I saw a picture posted on Facebook, so I got up from bed and started preparing all the ingredients.  I always have a stack in my fridge so whenever I feel like of making something like egg roll or spring roll, I do not have to worry about going out to shop.  

On my days off and I feel like going out.  One stop I cannot miss is going to Asian store.  I will buy what I think is important in my kitchen.  As a Filipina, root crops, spices and spring roll wrappers are some of the items that has to be in my shopping cart.  

Though it was my day off, I did not go to buy all the ingredients for my lumpia.  I phoned my husband and asked him to get me some vegetables.  I have spring roll wrappers in the freezer and it has been there for more than a month.  See, I was ready.

So, here are the ingredients:
  • 1 pound green beans - thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot - peeled, thinly sliced
  • Beans sprouts - sm. bag
  • Savoy cabbage - thinly sliced
  • Ground beef - 2tbsp
  • 1 beef cube
  • 2 garlic clove - minced
  • ½  onion – sliced
  • 1tsp. Canola oil
  • 25 pcs. Spring roll wrapper
 
My spring roll filling.


It is so easy to prepare.  In a hot pot, pour a little canola oil.  Once the oil is hot, put the garlic.  When the garlic turned brown, add the onion. If the onion is already transluscent, you can then add 2 tbsp. of ground beef.  Let it cook until it turned brown.  What I do, as soon as I added the ground beef, I also put the beef cube right after the meat.  Let it cook for 2 minutes.  Then, add the green beans and carrots.  After 2 minutes, add the savoy.  Don't cover it.  Let it simmer for another 2 minutes.  No need to add water.  The vegetables and the meat has its own juice.  You can put a little pepper and salt.  It is up to your taste.  I want my filling as it is.  Once filling is cooked, place it in a strainer.  You can start separating the spring roll wrappers.  You can start wrapping the filling according to your desired size. 



Beautifully wrapped.
  

So, you are done wrapping.  It is time to deep fry your vegetable spring rolls.  If you have a deep fryer, you can fry a set of five rolls.  I have a deep fryer but I am lazy using it.  I am more of an old-school.  I used a small pan and fry two or three rolls at a time. 

I place my cooked spring rolls standing up in another strainer with paper towel on it to remove the excess oil.  My husband does not like his spring rolls fried so I baked some for him.  I set the oven to 350F for 20 minutes.  It was good but I preferred deep fried.


Fried Lumpia.  Ciao!


For dip:
  • 2 tsp. Soy sauce
  • 3 tsp. Vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 1 red hot chili pepper - sliced or crushed
Mix all the ingredients.  Let it sit for a minute so the spices blends together for a tangy and mild spicy hot taste.  You can also save the juice from the spring roll filling.  Place in a small pan, let it boil.  Add a little sugar, soy sauce, pepper and a diluted cornstarch.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Bright Future Ahead

This morning, while I was having my brunch.  I was told by my husband that my radiologist is expecting me tomorrow for my first radiation therapy.  I was like "WHAT?!"  I don't remember me or him calling the radiologist's office for an appointment.  I know that I got a packet in the mail a couple days ago.  It was from one of my doctors but having scheduled for a therapy?  Oh, please! Does these doctors think it is easy for us, women, to accept what is going on to our bodies?  I am still feeling pain from my previous breast surgery.  Can I have a break from that tension, please?

I am not ready to see my skin being burned.  I love grilled food but me being grilled, it never came to my senses.  Though, I was not so happy about the news, I know I really have to undergo a radiation therapy. I remember talking to one of my co-workers and mentioned to her about the plan and how I said it "I do not want that radiation therapy!  they just opened a part of my body and now they want to burn it this time?"  She candidly answered, "Well, it is better to have a burnt skin than losing one the twins."  She was right, I know.  But, it is the stubborn side of me that was declining the process.

November 20, 2014 is my first radiation therapy appointment.  Yes, I am getting it, unwillingly.  It is a 5-weeks session.  Everyday except Saturday and Sunday.  Not fun at all.  On the brighter side, I will be cancer free.  Hence, I have to take a pill for five long years.  I still don't know if I will start taking the pill after the therapy or on the day of my first therapy. Phew! Why does it have to happen?  I don't smoke. I drink occasionally.  Say, one glass a week and I only had it since I came here in the United States, prior to that, NEVER!  But, I stopped taking alcoholic beverage a month before I had my surgery. 

Anyhow, I am blogging about my surgery and the therapy and all, so that anyone who can read this can get an idea.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.  I started supporting the campaign even before I found out that I am having a nipple discharge and up to this day.  After I had my breast surgery, I really feel that I have to continue supporting the campaign.  I will help spreading the good news that we, women, are special human beings and there are people and organizations out there that are willing to support and help us.

Thank you for dropping by and hope to see you again! =)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Is Duct Excision

September 10, 2014, I had a major duct excision surgery.  I was having a discharge on my right breast so I needed an operation.  After the surgery, the surgeon sent the specimen to the lab for pathological study.  When the results came out, my doctor called us home to let me know that there was a spec of cancer found in one of the milk ducts that was removed.  He said there is nothing to worry about because he did a total duct excision on me.  Though there was a spec of cancer, it was zero stage.  Below is the procedure of a duct excision.

I searched for this YouTube video and to tell you the truth, I cannot watch it.

I had a post-surgery interdisciplanary meeting with the surgeons, pathologists and radiologists.  They discussed about the recommended treatment.  I learned that there are two types of breast cancer  surgery.  The lumpectomy and total mastectomy.

LUMPECTOMY -  The removal of breast tumor,some normal tissues around the it and some lymph nodes in the underarm.

 Image courtesy of  www.medicalexhibits.com

MASTECTOMY The removal of the entire breast but no other tissues or nodes

MODIFIED RADICAL MASTECTOMY -  Removal of the breast, the line of the chest muscles and some of the lymph nodes in the underarm.


Mine was duct excision and has to have a radiation therapy similar to lumpectomy. When you think about the word "Radiation Therapy".  You might think it is scary.  I feel the same way.  I do not want to get that radiation therapy.  Imagine, I am laying down on that gurney like a pig, I will be aware of what is going on with me and what these nurses and doctors are doing to my booby.  I cannot bear the thought of it.  Although the surgeon told me that it is recommended to have a radiation therapy as I retain my breast, I am still not decided.  According to the doctors, the percentage of the cancer coming back is high to those who did not have a therapy than those who had it.  Along with the radiation therapy which takes 25 days everyday I will also have to take a pill for five years.  Yes! Five years. 


Radiation Therapy graphic

Friday, October 24, 2014

Unchained Melody

I work for people with dementia.  It is an honor that I get a chance to know these special and wonderful elders.  Sometimes, I will find myself sobbing or teary eyed if I see one of them acting so differently from the previous days.  I have witnessed how one's mood can change in a matter of seconds.  Imagine how independent and proud they were in their younger years? Now they need someone to help them do the things they used to do by themselves.  It is not easy for these elders.  Though, most of the time they were out of it, there are also times where they can still remember.  The best part of my job as a CNA is I hear a lot of different stories, a real life fairy tales and adventures.  I have taken care of people from different walks of life.  Whether you were a prosecutor or  WWII veteran, there is no assurance that dementia will spare us. 

I have a resident who was known for being combative.  I will name my resident "Hope".  Hope will hit you unexpectedly.  I was almost got a kick on the face.  Fortunately, my reflex was good and I saw the flying kick coming.  I cannot get mad at Hope because it was a "different" person now.  Until I figured out one thing.  Every time I hum a song, Hope would swing head left and right.  My humming calms Hope down.  If I sing, Hope will look at me with adoration and say "Oh my God! You have a beautiful voice. Oh my God!"  Of course, yours truly is always flattered and happy that Hope appreciates my singing.  Hope told me last night, "I love Elvis Presley.  That song is my favorite." 

This is the song I was singing for Hope last night and every night at bed time.  Hope is a sweet and loving person.  Anyone can say that about Hope and I will keep singing for you, Hope.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wearing Shorts In The Winter Is Fine

Saturday,  January 18, 2014.  I am here at the University Quality Inn sitting in the lobby. No, I'm not checking in. There's a record show today and my husband loves used stuff, so I just here sitting while eating my Burger King's whopper. Anyways,  while munching fries,  here's a young man and young lady headed at the information desk and I noticed all heads were turned on one direction. It's the girl they were all looking at.  She was wearing a heel boots,  a sweater and a short s shorts. It is 1° outside and cold even inside. While all of us were wearing four layers, she was wearing Shorts. Shouldn't we dress appropriately? Well, she doesn't care for as long as looked pretty. 

I remember when I was working at on be superstore. Winters that time and freezingly cold.  A shopper came in wearing shorts and sweater.  Then a little boy came to me and pointed out that the girl was inappropriately dressed.  I laughed when the little boy said that. Very observant for a small boy. He was like "That is so inappropriate!" while shaking his head.

Dress right do if the season is the beat we could do.

Friday, January 10, 2014

One Snowy Morning

On January 5, 2014, there was a snow storm. We went to the doctor to have me check up for constant coughing.  The roads were bad.  Trees were covered with snow. Just beautiful yet dangerous.  Though it was snowing hard and roads were nasty, some drivers still doesn't care. They would drive as fast as they want.  Okay,  I get it. You don't care about your car hit the ditch. You don't care of you get an accident but there are other drivers who are being cautious and careful. Come on! Have some consideration. Drive safely. Follow the traffic precautions.  Get home safely. Everybody happy.

About The Author

My photo

Mabuhay!  My name is Theresa.  Thank you for stopping by.  It is a pleasure to have you as a guest. Here are some few things to share about myself;
  •  I am a C.N.A by profession.
  • .An animal advocate; my husband and I tries to help the animals in need to the best of our abilities.
  • An aspiring sewist.  I do my measuring in my head.
  • Lastly, we have 15 cats at home. They are our babies.
Hope to see you again. Have a great day!

Ciao!