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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween...

Happy Halloween!!

Last year my halloween wasn't very happy. This is how I looked on Halloween - 2 weeks after my bi-lateral mastectomy...

This is how I felt...

(picture courtesy of my son, Michael)

This year I'm feeling much better, and just really happy to be alive!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Check out my other blog this week - featuring breast cancer survivors

Just a reminder that this week, on my other blog - Incredible Women (click here to visit)- we have been celebrating PINK week. This last week, in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I've interviewed several cancer survivors and some of the nurses from the chemo unit who took care of me. Head over there are check out their interviews...

The interviews are inspiring - I love these women!

Cancer SUCKS!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Check out my other blog this week - featuring breast cancer survivors

Check out my blog, INCREDIBLE WOMEN, this week - we've gone PINK for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm featuring many of the nurses who helped me in the chemo unit during my treatments, and I'm also featuring many breast cancer survivors.

Thursday, October 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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1 year Anniversay of Bilateral Mastectomy

Well, I've kind of been waiting to write this post for awhile. Today is the one year anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy. I can't really believe it's been a whole year. That seems hard to fathom. I've never written about my mastectomy - it's just not something I could write about. But, now I think I should. I've forgotten some of it - maybe because I haven't written about it for a year, or maybe because my mind just doesn't want to deal with remembering the worst day of my life. I asked Rick to help me remember what happened, but he says he doesn't remember much - which is weird, because he never forgets anything. Hmmmm. Maybe it was his worst day, too. Here's what I do remember...

Rick and I went to the hospital around 9:00 am. After I checked in, Rick and I sat in the waiting room. Rick was holding on tight to my arm. I asked him why. He said that he was afraid that if he didn't hold on to me, I'd run out the exit. Which was probably true. He asked if I had my red lipstick. (I had just finished reading "Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy" and she had worn red lipstick for hers). I was sad because I only had pink lipstick. I remember that they were behind for some reason that morning, and things were delayed for awhile. Nothing like dragging it out, huh? The nurse took me back and told me to undress and put a hospital gown on. I do remember how I felt as I took off my bra for the last time. I swallowed a big lump in my throat, and thought, "This is the last time I'm going to wear a bra." After I was settled in the pre-op waiting area, my parents came in to visit me. I took one look at them and started crying. I remember my dad hugging me and telling me that he was so sorry. We talked for awhile. Then, they went out to the waiting room, and Rick and I were alone. I wrote in my journal for awhile. It was my first entry in that journal. I think I'll share here what I wrote:

"I have cancer. I was diagnosed two months ago - August 20, 2008. I haven't wanted to write it down. I've been in kind of a denial, but as of today, there will be no more denials. In 1/2 hour, I'm having a bilateral mastectomy. Yep, they are cutting off both breasts. It's been a tough decision - one I had to make myself. No doctor wanted to be the one to say, "Yes, we have to do it." Right now I just want to write down how I feel about this. I'm so scared. I'm scared to go to sleep. I'm scared to wake up. I'm scared of what I'll look like. I'm scared they'll make me go home too soon. I'm scared to take care of the drains. I'm scared of starting chemo. I'm scared of the chemo cocktail and what it will do to me. I'm scared of losing my hair. I'm scared of the IV they are trying to put in right now - they can't find a vein. This is going to hurt. I just took my bra off for the last time. Because I'll have expanders inside and no nipples, I won't need to wear one. I'm so scared."

So, that's what I wrote about 1/2 before I went in for surgery. And no, they couldn't find a vein. They tried quite a few times, and I was so upset, that they finally said they would put me to sleep in the operating room before they put an IV in. Surgery time came and Rick gave me a hug. They wheeled me back, and the closer I got to the surgery room, the more I started to panic. It felt like I couldn't breathe. We entered the room, and people were all around me. They said they would put a mask over my face and I'd go to sleep. I saw them playing around with the mask, and I just started to cry, uncontrollably. I couldn't breath, and I was trying to get off of the table. I felt like running away as fast as I could. Who the hell cares about the cancer. I CANNOT do this. The nurse grabbed me and helped me lie back down. I must have look very frightened, because she asked me what was wrong. ??!!!! Um, I'm getting my chest cut off! What do you mean, what's wrong?! I told her I was scared. She asked me if I was scared of going to sleep, and I said, "No, I'm scared of waking up." She put her arms around me and gave me a hug, the mask went on my face, and that's the last thing I remember. My parents told me that it took about 4-5 hours. I do know that two doctors operated on me that day - first the surgeon removed all of the breast tissue. And then, the plastic surgeon put expanders in and closed the wounds. I don't remember much about when I woke up. I guess my parents came in to see me, but I don't remember that. I was pretty drugged up and the pain was awful. I had drains in and a pain pump with morphine. My kids came to see me and I'm sure others did too, but everything is a blur. All I can remember for the first couple of days, is pain. I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days. The pain was bad, and I was draining tons of fluid. I remember how awful it felt to look down and realize that I had no boobs anymore. I don't even know how to describe that. There are no words for that.

Well, that's about all I can write for now. I'll describe the recovery later. And, of course, that terrible moment when the bandages came off, but not now. This is enough for now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just Gotta Get This off of My Chest...

I want my real boobs back. I am so tired of fake boobs.
I hate that I can't ever forget that I have fake boobs.
I hate that they are perfectly round.
I hate looking at myself in the mirror every day.
I hate how ugly the scars are.
I hate that I can't ever sleep on my stomach.
I hate that I don't sleep well, because I have to keep turning over because my chest hurts and is uncomfortable.
I hate that bras are so uncomfortable to wear.
I hate that I have to wear a bra.
I HATE that I can't feel anything when my husband touches me.
I hate how numb my chest is - and it's NEVER going to get better. Ever!
I hate boobs. I can't believe mine tried to kill me. Is it because I was never happy with them? To think that I've always wanted a boob job! I just want my real boobs back.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Needle Drama

My youngest son, Matthew, had surgery on both of his feet this morning. I was a little nervous about going back to the hospital where I had my mastectomy. I haven't been back there since that surgery- it's been 1 year, minus 4 days. But, things were ok until we got ready to go home. We were in the recovery room, and the nurse went to remove his IV, and as soon as she removed the bandage and I saw that IV, I got the sickest feeling in my stomach. I got an instant hot flash, and really had to concentrate to not pass out. It's like I had absolutely no control over how I reacted. I guess I can understand why that would happen - there have been so many surgeries for me this past year, and all of that chemo - which all relates to IV needles. My mind and body were just reacting to that.

I wonder how long it will be before I can see an IV needle without getting sick and panicky.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Fight with the Beast is nearing the end...

My cancer journey is coming to an end soon. I have two more Herceptin treatments and then I'm done at the cancer center, except for checkups. I'm not sure how I feel about that. One of my friends who went through chemo treatments can't even go anywhere near the cancer center. When she does, she gets sick to her stomach. But, I've been going there for almost a whole year now. I know the nurses - they are happy to see me. And the Herceptin doesn't really bother me - not like the chemo. But, it will be nice to not have to drive to the cancer center.

I'm almost done with the reconstruction of my chess as well. That's been a difficult journey. I've had 3 surgeries on my chest so far. One was the big one - the bi-lateral mastectomy. I'll be writing about that soon. Quite a hard surgery. Then, 8 months later I had the reconstructive surgery, and a couple months ago, I had one more to even things out a bit and fix a scar. But, as I stand looking in the mirror, I think my left side is lower than my right side. So, I'm going back under the knife again. I asked Dr. Bishop if I was just being picky. He said, "Kara, you've lost alot and been through alot. If I can make them look perfect, then I will. I'll let you know if I can't fix things, but right now, I can." That made my feel so much better. Great doctors make all the difference. After that surgery in November, I'll wait 6 weeks, and then do something I thought I'd never do... get tattoos on my chest. They'll tattoo the color on. Crazy, huh? What do you think - should I get a breast cancer ribbon tattooed on my chest to celebrate the end of all this crap? Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, October 2, 2009


CHECK IT OUT... The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Try to do something during this month to help the fight. Here are 10 suggestions...

1. Find a local breast cancer walk and join it. On October 10th, there is a walk in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City that I'm going to try to go to. Why don't you join me??? You can sign up as a team or as an individual walker. Don't forget to make a donation!

2. Do a self exam. Go to the self exam button on the sidebar of this blog. This will give you directions on how to do your self exam. On the 15th of every month, I do a post on this blog reminding you to do your self-exam. It's important.

3. Schedule your mammogram (once a year - October is a great time). There is a button on the sidebar of this blog that you can click once a day - this is easy to do and it provides a free mammogram to those women who can't afford it. Cool, huh? So visit each day to help out. If you'd like to go straight to The Breast Cancer Site where they do this, click here

4. Help a friend who is going through cancer. A few tips. Just offer your help - don't try to say "I know it must be hard", or "I know how you feel". Unless you've been in that exact spot, you'd don't know. So, just help. Bring dinner. Send flowers. Show up and do some laundry, or help clean. Send a note. Anything is appreciated. Believe me, there are days when you just can't even get out of bed, so any help is great. Call first. :-)

5. Donate money to help find a cure. Tina, over at Blogging For Boobs Bash, is raising money for breast cancer research - she will be featuring survivor stories on her blog all month. I'll be there at some point. Go and take a look. She's doing lots of give-aways this month as well.

6. If you are a survivor, find someone to mentor - answer their questions, lend them your scarves and hats, etc. There are lots of online communities that you can join to share your story - one I belong to is Wellsphere. I'm in the Breast Cancer community there. Check it out...

7. Be aware! Don't bury your head in the sand and hope breast cancer doesn't come your way. Some statistics:
An estimated 192,370 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009- that's about 528 per day, 22 per hour - one woman every 3 minutes!
An estimated 40,170 women will die of breast cancer in 2009 - that's 110 per day!
The median age at breast cancer diagnosis in the United States was 61 years. This means that half the women diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 61 - I was 42.
An estimated 2.5 million women living in the United States have a history of breast cancer.
So take care of yourself and make sure the women in your life - mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, cousins - everyone - takes care of themselves.

8. Spread the word about breast cancer - talk to everyone. The internet is a powerful tool - use email, facebook, twitter, blogs - whatever you can think of to spread the word about the importance of early detection in breast cancer.

9. Know your family health history. This is something I need to work on. It changes all the time. You should be aware of the health problems (especially stuff like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer) of your siblings, parents, and grandparents. When you go to see a doctor, they'll want to know about your history and it really is important.

10. Keep "abreast" of Breast Cancer. Research for Breast Cancer is making huge strides. Gain some knowledge - read books, search the internet, etc. Become an expert. It could help you or someone you know!

Breast cancer SUCKS. You DO NOT want to find out how much. Believe me.

Take Care Everyone! Love you all. Thanks so much for helping me through this last year - you were all wonderful. MMMMWWWWWAAAAA!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hair Today - Gone Tomorrow... Back Again Today!

Today was a great day. I actually called my hair stylist, Aimee, and went in to see her. My hair was just barely long enough to style!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! Aimee took a tiny bit of hair off - just to even things out. Then she put some mousse on it and blow-dried it. Then she used some pomade. Mmmmmm!!! It was absolutely heavenly to be in the salon, having someone do my hair. 4 months ago I was bald! Now I have hair. Life is GOOD!

Here are a few pics of my new hairstyle... (ignore the double chin please - Aimee couldn't do anything about that)