An explanation...

Why Foob? I had a double mastectomy, and at the time, the plastic surgeon put "expanders" under the muscles in my chest. Every 2-3 weeks, they were filled with more saline, in preparation for my reconstructive surgery. They were very full and hard. Uncomfortable. One time, one of my sons gave me a hug and then said "Your foobs are hard!" Hee, hee, hee! My kids have this endearing habit of combining words. So, "Foobs" are fake boobs. Which I will still have, even after the reconstruction.

Foob Babe - that would be me!
"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next." ~Mignon McLaughlin


I'd love to help you tell your cancer story. Visit my business blog, contact me, and let's get started.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains."

I just found this quote by Anne Frank. Keep in mind, I'm not comparing cancer to the holocaust - this quote just really touched me. It made me think of everything that I've been through - the misery - and that even though my body is different physically, the beauty - what I truly am inside - remains.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My First Biopsy - August 15, 2008

My first biopsy was a needle-guided biopsy. I went to the same place in the hospital where I went to get my mammograms. I changed into a hospital gown and the nurses led me into the mammogram room. The radiologist came in to insert the needle. I have to admit, I was scared. I really am quite a baby when it comes to being stuck with a needle. I would seriously rather have the flu, than get a flu shot!

The doctor numbed the area where he would be putting the needle. That really hurt. It stung. Then, because he needed to see where the white spots were – so he could put the needle in the correct place – they put me back in to the mammogram clamps. It was painful and I was scared. I remember the nurses being so nice, calling me honey, and trying to help me calm down. When I was clamped in pretty tight, they told me not to move (yeah, right) and the doctor put the needle into my left breast. It looked to me like the needle was about 8 inches long, but they really tried to get me to not look. In reality, there was a normal sized needle and then a long piece of metal attached to the end. The needle was pushed all the way into my breast – right to the part that had the DCIS-looking spots. The metal part was left hanging out of my chest. I made it through that part without getting up and running, screaming, out of the hospital. But, probably only because I had a hospital gown on and I would have looked ridiculous. The nurses were all worried about the metal sticking out of my breast, so they were trying to cover it up with gauze. You can imagine, I’m sure, how hard that would be. I kept telling them to just leave it alone – I really didn’t care if anyone saw the stupid piece of metal sticking out. I was really worried that if they kept touching it, it would move and I’d have to go through the placement all over again. I got kind of angry with them, asking them if it was me they were worried about, or everyone else in the hospital having to see it!

Rick and I were led into a holding room and we were told it wouldn’t be much longer before the surgery. Several hours later, I was still waiting there, with the needle sticking out of my boob, and all the numbing had worn off. I was in pain and tired and stressed. Rick was mad. Finally, the surgeon came in and let me know what they would be doing. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and put my IV in (another of my “favorite” things!). When I was ready, they wheeled me away and I don’t remember anything after that.

Rick brought me home and I remember looking at the scar with all the stitches. It looked like the shape of a half-moon. Then, the waiting began. Did I have cancer? Rick and I didn’t think so. It was just too preposterous to believe.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Post-Op Visit

Today was my first post-op visit to my doctor. This surgery hasn't been as hard to recover from as the previous surgeries. My doctor told me that I looked great. He said that the wounds are healing nicely. He removed the stitches in the nipple reconstruction area. He actually glued the two large scars together during the surgery so we wouldn't have to use steri-strips (they stuck to my skin and pulled it off when they were removed after my last surgery). He said that the glue is just like skin and it will gradually come off in the shower. The nipples look good. It's weird to see those again. It looks kind of strange because the color hasn't been tattooed on yet, so they are the same color as my skin. I'm kind of impressed by them, though. I mean, it's been a LONG time since I looked in the mirror and thought I had real breasts. I knew that I had to have the nipple reconstruction - they just wouldn't look like breasts if I didn't "finish" the job. One breast is sitting up higher than the other one now, so for the next 8 weeks I'll be massaging the one side to try to help it drop a little. Hopefully, by the end of the 8 weeks, the breast will be even again. If not, there's no way I can go around with the nipple lopsided, right. That would look ridiculous. So, we'll decide what to do at that time. After everything is even, then I'll have the tattooing done. I'm really pleased with the outcome so far. It's amazing what medical science can do now. I'm truly blessed, and very thankful.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Relay for Life Cancer Walk and John Canaan Concert

This coming Friday/Saturday is the Relay for Life, held at Syracuse High School in northern Utah. My sister is the captain of our team. It's an overnight walk - really, a very fun night. My parents will be there with the trailer and will be making hamburgers and hot dogs for anyone from our team. My cousin is coming from California. Her sister, a cancer survivor, will be there, too. I'll get to do the survivors' lap with her. This is my first cancer walk since I was diagnosed last August. This is where I'll celebrate being a survivor with family and friends. I'm excited. I'll also be selling tickets there - to the Health Wellness, and Relationships Expo, being held that night at the Larry Miller Campus. (9750 S. 300 W. - Sandy, Utah (West of I-15). It will be held from 6:30-10:00 pm that night. It features the following: Dr. John Lund, Justin Williams (American Idol finalist),
Dr. Cliff Dunston, John Canaan and the One Voice Children's Choir. They'll be speaking on "The Way to a Man's Heart - The Way to a Woman's Heart - How to Keep Superman Flying and the Queen Reigning" (presented by John Canaan), and "Take a Look at Your Heart" - analysis of the #1 challenge in relationships: "Hints." (presented by Dr. John Lund). There will be lots of give-aways, demonstrations, learning, inspiration and encouragement for your life and relationships. It's a great date night for couple and families. The best part is that I'm selling tickets for HALF PRICE - just $10.00 each. And the really great part is that $9 of each ticket sell will go to Relay for Life - for cancer research! I'm really excited that John Canaan gave me this opportunity. I've got 75 tickets, so first come, first served. ;-) I hope to see many people at the cancer walk and at the concert that night. Email me if you want tickets: nafari01 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Post Surgery Healing

It's been 4 days since my surgery. I finally took all the bandages off today. I have such a bad reaction to any kind of tape - the tape holding the gauze on was causing a red rash on my skin. Last time I had surgery, the steri strips stuck to my skin and all my skin came off when the doctor pulled the steri strips off. I was afraid that would happen again. So, now I'm just wearing a t-shirt over nothing. I hope it's ok. So, the girls (reconstructed nipples) seem to be doing ok. One is bigger than the other, though. That's a little disturbing. Also, one is a little bit higher than the other, so I look lop-sided. That's really disturbing. I hope after the swelling goes down and everything is healed, I'll look ok. So far, the recovery isn't too bad. I'm having some pain, but the Lortab takes care of that. I'm pretty worn out, but that happens with every surgery. I'll just take it easy and hopefully the healing will go fast and I'll feel better soon. I have one week from today before the cancer walk. Hope I feel well enough to walk that night. I'm going to bed now - I cleaned my bedroom and I'm really tired. Night!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last Surgery

Today I'm headed to the hospital for my last surgery - the sixth one. This time my plastic surgeon will be working on the shape and look of the reconstruction. The scar on my left side is really tight and so he is going to zig-zag it open so that the tightness and pressure are released. Hopefully that will make it so the scar isn't pushing in on the implant and making the front of it bumpy. The definition under the left breast has always been amazing, a nice beautiful curved line. Not so on the right side. It's still round, but not as defined. So, he'll open up that scar and suture a line in the muscle to create that definition. It probably still won't be as nice as the left side, but Dr. Bishop said that he's never seen definition as nice as what I've got on the left side. It's king of weird - not the norm. There are several sutures coming out through my skin from my earlier surgery under my arms, so he is going to (in his words), "Dig those out". Sounds unpleasant, right? It will be nice to have those gone, though. They scratch my arms.

The other thing he will be doing is creating the nipples. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I think having nipples, even though they, along with the both "breasts", are fake, will make them seem real. I think my mind needs that. It's hard to look in the mirror and think that everything looks normal when there are no nipples. On the other hand, I haven't worn a bra since October. And no one knows. And I REALLY don't want to ever wear a bra again. There's really no need. Besides, I can't find one that fits the shape of the implants. It's really frustrating. But, I'm worried that without a bra, it will look silly - like I'm freezing cold all the time, if you know what I mean! Without the nipples, no one knows I'm not wearing a bra and you don't even notice the breasts. With nipples, they'll notice! It's kind of interesting how they make the nipples. I think he'll slice open the skin in a few places, causing flaps. Then he'll use that skin and pull the flaps up and around to form a skin mound. I'll have a small line going horizontally right through each nipple, but they will be hidden by the tatooing that will be done in 6 weeks to put the color on. Hmmm. That's just weird.

Well, Rick is ready. And we're off to the hospital... again. You know, everyone is so used to my surgeries now - no one ever wants to be at the hospital, or come to the house afterward. It's ok with me, really. I don't care. But it's far from where we were with the mastectomy - everyone was there. Haha. That's ok. I think Rick would prefer not having people at the hospital. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Calling All Breast Cancer Babes

I'm not sure the best way to get this out - but, I'd like to start interviewing women who have had breast cancer OR are fighting breast cancer now OR who are survivors, etc. Then, I'd like to highlight one of you beautiful women each week on my blog. If you are reading this and wouldn't mind me interviewing you, please leave a comment on this post OR please contact me at nafari01 (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you know of someone who fits the above description, let them know/have them contact me. There are so many amazing women out there who have a story to tell about breast cancer. I want to meet you! Help me help other women with breast cancer - tell your story.

Looking forward to hearing from A LOT of you!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Self Exam

Today's the day to do your breast self exam!

Get into the habit once a month. It could save your life!

Breast cancer sucks. You DON'T want to find out how much.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Surgeon Consultation - surgery looms...

This is the 2nd installment of the cancer journey (the part that happened before I started my blog). These blog posts are listed under "Let's Start At The Beginning".

After talking to the radiologist at the hospital after my second mammogram, I made an appointment with a surgeon to talk about having a biopsy. A few days before I met with the surgeon, I went to participate in the Relay For Life cancer walk. This was to support my cousin Wendy, who had been diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer about a year earlier. Because I was such a dork during her cancer journey - I didn't even call her (I relied on my mom for information) - I wanted to go and support her by walking at the cancer walk. When I got there, my family heard that my mammogram had discovered something. I was worried, but I remember Wendy saying..."Don't worry until you find out if you really do have it". That was good advice. I tried not to think about it for the rest of the night. Three days later, on August 12, 2009, I met with the surgeon. I really like Dr. ***, who reminded me of Mickey Rooney. Rick and I both were at this appointment. The doctor explained things to us in a little more detail than the radiologist did. He explained that because he wouldn't be able to see the calcifications during the surgery, we would have to do a "needle-guided" biopsy. The radiologist would place a long needle into the breast, pointing to the area that needed to be removed. The surgeon would use the needle to guide him down to the breast tissue where the calcifications were located and he would take a large area out. The calcifications were quite far back - almost right against the chest wall (muscle), which is the reason for the needle. I HATE needles. I know that most people don't like them, but I really HATE them. I was very nervous for this surgery.

Rick and I had questions, of course: How much tissue had to be removed? What would the breast look like after that? If it was DCIS, what then? Radiation? Chemo? What? Dr. *** tried to answer all of our questions, but it was still a little too early for most of the answers. He did say that if it was DCIS, I would then have to do 6 weeks of radiation after the surgery.

After seeing the doctor, I called my cousin, Wendy. I asked her about the biopsy, the radiation, and other things. I remember that as soon as she answered the phone, I started crying. I was just so scared. But, I knew that Wendy survived hers, so I would be ok. I hoped. She was very helpful and had such a great attitude. She has been a rock during this whole cancer journey - she calls me all the time to check on me, she talks me through things. I really love her.

So, the surgery was scheduled for 3 days later - August 15, 2009.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I'm so grateful that I live in a country where medical training, research and development of important drugs, and freedom of choice in healthcare are so important and advanced. If I didn't, I wouldn't have been so well taken care of, and maybe wouldn't be here today.

Have 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wading through bills

Just spent some time wading through medical bills. I'm trying to figure out why, when I have an out-of-pocket maximum of $1500 per year, I've actually paid over $2000 so far. And, I have two more bills totaling $1000! I know I should be grateful for the incredibly good insurance we have (I am), but I really hate it when another bill that is "your portion" arrives in the mail. This whole cancer thing has been way too expensive!