Cancer part 5: And the Beat Goes On...

Yesterday was pathology report day...

yeah, not the news we were hoping for.

The tumor was 2.1 cm by 2 cm, so slightly larger than we originally though , but still in the T1

The hormone receptor test had not be returned...for some odd reason , everyone was annoyed & angry about ( it's been a month), so they cant really stage the cancer. They don't know how aggressive it is , and cannot make any decisions about what hormonal type treat, if any, should be initiated... yay.

Of the 3 lymph nodes they took , one had a wee bit of cancer, and the other had a significant amount of cancer in it... yeeeah... so not good. ( not a death sentence btw they are still very positive about treatment , just to be clear)

SO at the moment we are looking at Chemo, and Radiation treatments.

But the kicker, well for me anyway, remember they said there was a 10% chance of having to go back in... yeah, Lucky me I'm in that 10 %. Or might be... apparently it's a little complicated in my age group.

IF I was in my 20's there would be no question, go back in take more lymph nodes
IF I was in my 70's there would be no question leave everything as it is

because of my age (48 for anyone who doesn't know), and because I am not in menopause there has been new studies showing that there may be evidence that having the chemo already blast the cancer in the lymph nodes so that removal may be overkill ( for lack of me having a better word) and the various side effects may be worse ( edema: my arm swelling up being very high up in those ) if the chemo is already doing it's job of killing off the cancer cells.

HOWEVER... we don't have 20 years of research/evidence about this.

I wait again.

The surgeons will be having a group meeting to discuss my situation...well not JUST me but anyone in a situation like this regarding surgery cancer etc.  My surgeon is not a gung-ho "LET CUT" type of surgeon,  therefore I am very comfortable with her recommendations.


I was hoping I wouldn't have to even think about more surgery.

I am so fucking sick of being in pain.

I am worried about losing my eyelashes, I already have blond eyelashes I look like a new born baby mouse without mascara .. and I am a little vain... I mean I'm not raging beauty, but hey I like my eyes.

I am worried about other side effects, like fatigue, nausea, and emotional swings.

I am worried of the hormone drugs ( assuming I'll have to take the Tamoxifen) putting me into Menopause, we don't deal with that thing all that well when it's natural... not sure how I'll deal with it suddenly being forced on me.

I am worried about all the needles.... I so fucking hate needles.... really really.... just... yeah

I am not worried about losing my hair, I've shaved my head too many times for that. I already plan to cut it very short & dye it bright pink with purple leopard spots before treatment starts.

I have learned not to suck it up anymore. I asked for a prescription for Ativan to get me through the test, and treatments I need to have. I have concluded the military are not going to call  me up and give me an award for "being brave & muscling through" so fuck it.

The next steps I have are a CT scan, and a Bone scan, which I should be getting an appointment for hopefully next week, I go back Sept  4th to see the surgeon about if we go back in, and I should be getting a call from the Oncologist to set up to talk about and begin the Chemo etc.

I wish I could have made this post funny or poignant, mostly it just feels sad


...and now for something completely different

This post is not cancer related.... WOT?!

Yeah I know but even those of us dealing with still have to live the other parts of our lives. This post is about art and rejection and realizations. I'm doing a lot of that lately, having "realizations" shrug guess its just the phase I am in at the moment.

So a friend linked me to a gallery relatively near me who specifically deal with doll art. WOW amazing!  AND they are having a show,AND they are  asking for submissions! Wholly chit! I mean lately... like most of this year things have been difficult , and I really haven't been doing much art, or working on my art site. I had burned myself out trying to self promote and create and with issues like well not having ANY money coming in I went out and got me a paying job. Art had kind of taken a back seat. This has happened before I have artistic jags where I'm painting constantly creating constantly then I get burnt out and just STOP.

Anyway I digress, this seemed a perfect opportunity to get some excitement back into my artistic life, so I submitted my "Nasty Toys for Naughty Children" series :

"Nasty Toys for Naughty Children Series" is part of a larger project called "Dime Store Dollies" where I take cheap dollar store dolls, which are quick discarded by children, or dolls from Charity Shops , which have already been discarded and turn them into something that is strangely beautiful.
Nasty Toys for naught Children is the darker side of this project, dealing with all the things that "Go bump in the Night!" Many people have an innate fear of dolls, so moving them past the realm of just creepy by accident I try & create the "Creepy cute" feeling that makes the viewer go " awe that's...wait what???"

Only dolls that have already been discarded or disposable dollar store dolls are used in this project. I work only with dolls that are in great need of help! Each doll is primed and then hand painted with artist̢۪s acrylics. No two dolls are ever exactly alike, even if the basic theme is repeated.

These dolls are intended as ART and will not stand up to play. They are not safe as children's toys


Ive worked on this series sporadically for a couple of years now whenever I can find the type of dolls I like to work with. All in all I love this project it completely works with my sick sense of humour.

Other people seem not to quite "Get it" or at least that's the basic response any time I've tried to get into a show or get a show at all...either the standard rejection letter, or deafening silence. Either way it can wear ya down, and I had decided after this last attempt that maybe I should just give up on it.Sell who ever I had lying around to whomever for whatever and just pack it in.

The there was a flood in my basement... where my makeshift studio/storage area is (it's also where my daughter bedroom is).  Spent a large part of the day cleaning frantically trying to minimize any damage to the floor etc. ( all seems pretty good) While doing this  i had to relocate some of my art, including my dolls. As I was putting things on shelves I realized something.

                                             THESE ARE FUCKING AWESOME

and also that I have more unpainted/blank dolls hanging out waiting to be wick-i-fied !!!  I am back to planning things to do with the ones I have , and scouting for old discarded dolls that sit unloved and messed up. A Steam punk baby is drying in my garage waiting to take on her new life.

I may never get a show. I may never have anyone "Get" what I'm doing... but to quote a friend of mine "So cocking well what!" I love them, and ya know what... they are GOOD.

Snobbery about  the fact they are "altered" as apposed to wholly created from scratch, or that they are not serious will always be part of what I'm dealing with.. but I guess they are kind of missing the point...

That kind of thing is exactly what I'm thumbing my nose at. :P


cancer part 4:"Hi how are you today?" surgery day description

So first I should apologize  for not posting about this sooner as I had promised. But basically I didn't feel like it... therefore it didn't happen. I am a lazy ass artist, and a lazy ass blogger, shrug it is part of me.

Surgery day started early I woke up before 7 and FORTUNATELY was able to have black coffee because it was more than 4 hours before the scheduled  surgery time. I'm not sure how pleasant I would have been if I hadn't been allowed my coffee.  I am an addict I fully admit this.

 Paul & I arrived slightly before my appointment at 8 AM. I am also always early almost pathologically especially for appointments. We were warned that this was going to be a long day , to bring things to do and snacks for Paul. We had the laptop with firefly cued up on it ( I had thought it would be funnier to watch episodes of  "the Big C" , but decided that maybe others wouldn't share my (sick) sense of humor.)

" How are you doing today"
8:00 ish I was registered and sent back to wait  for the admitting nurse to take me to Ultra sound.

8:30 ish "Hi how are you today?".. .the nurse gave me the uber-attractive  hospital gown ,and one to go over top of that like a robe. I got to keep my sweat pants socks & Birkenstocks on .I CUT A DASHING FIGURE I TELL YOU! sent me to change and  then I sat to wait to get the ultra sound done.

Time gets a bit waffely from here on in. As I have said previously I am almost phobic about injections, I was also stressed out and teary because people were about to cut something out of my body.We waited for a little bit but not too long,all this stuff was preset.

I was sent into the ultra sound room, and the technician asked "How are you today?" ...
"I have cancer and someone is about to cut something out of my body... how are you?"

OK no I didn't say that I just started leaking. When I am stressed I cry, when I am angry I cry , and when I'm scared... yeah I cry. I don't want to I try not to do it but it happens anyway... so yeah my response was simply to tear up. This seemed to baffle the technician ( a woman btw, just in case you had some sexist idea about insensitivity being the domain of men.) She told me it was all going to be ok. ( yep.) But kept reminding me I was having the ultrasound AND an injection... like I was going to forget that bit

After she did the initial ultra sound the Radiologist arrives to insert the guide wire into my breast "Hi how are you today?"  "OK PEOPLE SERIOUSLY FUCK OFF! I'm doing the best I can." again I only really said the latter part. He explains the while going to freeze the breast ( YAY injections!!!) then insert a thin wire with a hook on the end into the tumor(area) (ASIDE: sorry I know explaining things is important & necessary but really this makes me slightly nauseous) He froze me up, which is never as painful as I think it's going to be, but still not something one would do for fun. The funniest thing was that with a big fat sharpie pen he made a GIANT X on my boob...so he knew where to place things. I decided not to "suck it up" as usual and when he asked if the pain was sharp or a pushing I let him know "Sharp!"..more freezing  ( this become important shortly)  Froze up, guide wired up, and wrapped and taped so nothing will shift I head back to to ANOTHER waiting room.

Hey lookit that one of those RADIATION danger signs.... yep off to get the radioactive isotopes injected into my breast! Not sure the rest of the waiting room was as amused by my joking with the hubby about which super powers I was hoping for, but that's how we roll in my world! The technician (honestly I don't know if she was a nurse or Dr. or what so anyone who I don't know their specific job title is simply called a technician.) was sweet and kind..but still asked "How are you today"...grrrrr

She began slowly carefully started explaining to me why the radioactive stuff was "safe"... he face was shocked ( and a little hilarious...I know I have a sick sense of humour)  when I looked at her and said   "I'm not scared of the radiation part , I get it. I just hate injections...HATE INJECTIONS!" she laughed and just got everything ready. NOW remember I said the extra freezing would play into thing again? Well you guessed it, this was THE most painless part! awesome...I recommend being a wimp and getting more freezing!

BACK to the day surgery waiting room... and wait...and wait ..and wait...all of this happened between 8 am and about 10:30 am, my surgery was scheduled for 12:45. So a little before 12:30 I finally got called... and went to wait in the OR waiting room ( giggle)

I met my surgeon ( again) "Hi how are you?"
I met the anesthetist   "Hi how are you"
I met the surgical nurse "hi how are you, we need to fill out this paper work"

kissed the hubby goodbye and walked into the Operating room.  Then things moved fast, up on the table, thins arm goes here , were putting the IV in ( FUCKING OW!! OW OW!!) "wait what ? yes that's me yes that's what were doing, wow this drug is working fast... "Noelle you have to keep your eyes open..." "Oh Ok.... wa?"  ( just an interesting thing I realized days after surgery EVERYONE in the operating room was female.)

next thing I remember is waking up in recover wondering why my throat hurt... the remembering where I was and why I was there. My throat hurting surprised me, I guess I forgot I'd need to be intubated.
Also my arm and breast hurt horribly, but I was expecting that...well when I remembered where I was. Morphine time,   PAUSE to say modern medicine is a wonderful thing.

When I was a little more awake & comfortable I was move to the 2 nd recovery room. I was kept there for awhile... longer than I thought I would be, and no one brought me the hubby, not until I was ready to go home. Which kinda bugged me , everyone else had someone with them, & I knew he'd be worried.
My Dr stopped by and told me everything went well, and I would see her in a week.

They gave me instruction/a prescription for pain medication got me a wheel chair to get to the exit, and sent me home to my own bed.  that was around 4:00 or 4:30

so yep it was a long day...

SO....... hi how are you?