Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Happy Place

So you know how when something unpleasant is happening they (usually doctors) tell you to go to your happy place.
For most i think it involves someone scantily clad on a pristine beach slowly jogging towards the sunset (or maybe I'm just thinking baywatch, but whatever)
Anyway I'm sure if asked you would have a pretty clear cut vision of something exotic that would be your very own happy place.

My place is not exotic. It is not imaginary. It isn't even far away.
I'm actually in my happy place right now. No it isn't bed. or the beach.
It's a place I can go and be surrounded by the things i love. It's a place where I can be alone or with others if I choose.
It smells good, it is comfortable. It is Barnes and Noble.

It began when I was a young child.
Books a Million just wasn't good enough.
I asked to go to Barnes and Noble as often as possible. And I would sit for HOURS in front of my favorite shelf (usually resulting in my legs falling asleep) and read books until it was time to leave. Even now If i enter through the twin sets of double doors I have a very hard time walking out empty handed. I've headed there after more than just a couple doctor appointments to walk the aisles to get my thoughts together. I can't help it. I'm a nerd. I love books. and I HAVE to own them. not borrow, or check out from a library, I like owning my OWN copies. there are usually more than just a few stacks piled in corners in my room, under the bed, on the table, on the floor, under the windows, in the storage closet on two metal bookcases stacked from floor to ceiling.
And I read almost anything...from trashy romance to classic literature to best sellers to vampire series (not twilight Bella is obnoxious, I prefer Anita Blake and Sookie Stackhouse). I'm currently reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac my favorites have gone from the babysitters club, to nancy drew, to nora roberts, to anything with words written on pages.

The sun also rises
The world according to garp
The heart is a lonely hunter
The Road
Water for Elephants
Pride and Prejudice
The Perks of being a wallflower
She's come undone
The fountainhead
Even cowgirls get the blues
The time traveler's wife
catcher in the rye
the princess bride
body surfing
the memory keepers daughter
widow for one year
the pilot's wife
Their eyes were watching God
to kill a mockingbird
The great gatsby
slaughterhouse five
all the kings men
brideshead revisited
and etc........

actually the list of books i was never able to get into is probably shorter
Heart of Darkness
and anything Faulkner

anyway...you get the point. I like books. and reading.

I'm now using Barnes and Noble as my study place. Or at the moment as my place to Blog.

OK on to recent happenings.

MEGAN and KYLE got married on Saturday. And it was beautiful. Seriously.
The ballroom where the reception was held was breathtaking. And Megan looked beautiful of course. and Kyle was pretty handsome himself. And it was wonderful to see most of my ECU best friends in one place. The fab four (Megan, Hannah, Amy and I) had not been together in quite sometime. And as always we had a pretty freakin awesome good time. I will not bore you with our shananigans except to say that if you let Eric drive make sure he isn't trying to download music at the same time.

Also my mom wanted me to add some info about the fundraiser Sunday night at Reel Cafe for me and Victoria (who has non-hodgkins lymphoma) there's a band (soulbeam i believe) and proceeds are going to be split between us. I think it starts at 6 or 7 and I WILL be in attendance and it ends at 10. And it should be a good time...I think there is also an article about it in This weeks Encore.
The Lovely Kathy Jordan is putting this fundraiser together and is pretty awesome. So hopefully I'll see you out there.

Also very quickly mary adelaide and I had a Brothers and Sisters marathon on sunday and I am getting kinda annoyed with how tv show keep giving their characters cancer. (another example grey's anatomy) sigh. It's just a pain to see how all these characters are portrayed as being pretty close to death. or they die and then come back to life. Can't they just be happy cancer patients? is that an oxymoron? I don't think so.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Cookie of Doom and The Great Boot Debacle

Monday September 14th a day that came after one of the most terrible experiences of my life.
Let me start at the beginning...

I only have class Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Which is super awesome. I have 4 day weekends, I'm out of school more than I'm in it. This means it's completely worth the two hour drive to either go home or head to Chapel Hill to visit Chrissy (other BFFs also come as an added bonus) However, i'm a PT's-aholic and absolutely Must work.
So September 10th I worked my first shift at PT's Chapel Hill. It's a completely different restaurant (and fully stocked - open until 2 am bar) Lots of cool people work there.
My other shift was Saturday Night. This doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize i worked until 11 thursday night, went out with the Deaver sisters Fri and was out way too late, then i worked saturday night, made the mistake of attempting outness and failed miserably. Went home and packed and woke up at 6 am to drive back to Greenville.

Why? (Good Question)

Because I had a team building challenge course at 9 am for my adv studio production class.
That's why.

How'd I like it?

I didn't. It was awful.

Have we met?

I don't do outdoors, I don't do physical activity, I don't do outgoing and talking to people I don't know.

However, Luckily I have cancer.

So i was exempt from most activities because they involved swinging from a rope, or climbing a tower which was not going to happen because i can't extend my left arm completely over my head yet...
I'd say damn stitches.
But secretly I was incredibly grateful to have them.
(another time having cancer has come in handy) (yes i'm milking this for all its worth)
(why have cancer if i can't use it to get out of stuff i really don't want to do)

So after this challenge course I drove home because i had a Plastic Surgeon appointment monday morning to begin the expanding process.

So let's discuss this expanding thing...
Don't know about you guys but i was kinda curious as to how the process was going to work...if they poked a needle into the expander wouldn't it kinda maybe leak inside of my boob after removing the needle? Were they going to cut a hole (Another one?!) in me kinda like the drain thing but the reverse?

Well it does involve a needle and syringe (BIGGEST I HAVE EVER SEEN!)
it was huge. i actually slapped a hand across my eyes so i could stop looking at it.
(let's recall my huge needle hangup)

well the nurse holds my hand and then Dr. PS takes this magnet finding thing and runs it over my chest over by my armpit, apparently finds the thing he's looking for (magnet) presses down and the finder puts an indented X on me.
He says "X marks the spot"
I have a small heart attack and squeeze my eyes shut
and before i know it he says its in...and i realize i didn't feel a damn thing.

Apparently there is another small port in front of the magnet that leads to the expander (so no leaks!) and the magnet keeps it from going to far in.

HECK YEAH for modern medical miracles.

Then I spent as much time in Wilmington until my mom forced me to get into my car that night and drive back to greenville. where I had class for three days then hightailed it back to Chapel Hill thursday night to work...Saw MA Bell friday evening, worked the ECU/UNC game with Joe P and Joe I proceeded to do the college student thing drown my losing sorrows in beer, worked Sunday and then Chrissy returned that night...Then the coolest thing EVER!

Monday night Chrissy, Jamie and I went to Cat's Cradle and saw Ingrid Michaelson.
Now most of you won't know who she is.
She sings a few songs from Grey's Anatomy
Her new CD came out recently (and its BADASS)
Ms. Michaelson is hilarious. such a good live show!
and afterwards we totally got to MEET HER. She had her arm around me in our group photo.

Totally the Coolest Thing EVER! (Seriously, it was)

Friday I have a general surgeon check-up and my monthly Oncology appointment with Dr. K and Becca.

ps (PEPPER!)
i <3>

Friday, August 21, 2009

Returning to the scene of the crime - Adventures of the One-Boobed Wonder

So a year has passed. Yesterday we celebrated my Cancer-versary. August 20th. D-day or more like C-day. And boy is life different. But i'll get to the comparing and contrasting, the pros and the cons, the highs and the lows later on. First i'll give you what you came here looking for...

A CANCER UPDATE...yayayay! (crowd cheers)

Had a mastectomy on the 11th. Yep, they took the whole damn boob. Not that i was really attatched to it...it was doing nothing but causing me problems, what with the cancer and all. But they decided pretty last minute to go from a lumpectomy, to a partial mastectomy, to a whole one...with the expanders. (the most painful thing ever) They stick these things under your pectoral muscle and pump it up until there is enough room for an implant to go in there.
Luckily, I had my plastic surgeon (who is awesome by the way) do a reduction on the other side.
Goodbye huge boobs. Hello perky B's.
Sorry Boys.

Anyway, this is good because it means i don't have to do much expanding to get to the size i need. Hallelujah. Then i'll be all symetrical and two-boobed.

So I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and as we're walking to the sign in desk guess who comes around the corner...

unaware that the two of them were planning on being there, let alone that they got up that early (they both are very fond of sleep) I was super surprised and very grateful to have them there.
So my beeper to head back to the pre-op rooms goes off...and a gaggle of men and women walk uncertainly down the hall together to the second waiting room. We're all in the same boat.
We're all being sliced and diced at an ungodly hour on a Tuesday. So as I sat there, mentally giving myself pep talks and having a last second bartering session with God...i realized that's probably what these other ten people were doing. And I hope they got through surgery well and I hope they have a speedy recovery.

So I meet my pre-op nurse...I strip and put on the pretty gown and the hideous brown socks...then family comes back and if you've seen on facebook there is a pretty sweet picture of me after they started juicing me up and before they wheeled me away...and then I remember nothing. nada. zip. zero. which is fine with me. I'm guessing i slept alot, and hurt alot.

I'm not sure when I realized Mary Adelaide was there. But I cried. I was obviously very happy to see her. She drove down from Raliegh. I missed her that morning before surgery by just a few minutes. And as the afternoon progressed, I had more visitors. (Thank you to everyone who came to see me and my parents! and thank you for the flowers and cards) I slept a lot. Which was nice. I really remember seeing Stacy Hannah briefly, yelling at Joe I, holdng hands with Grandma and watching terrible television. Later that night Missy came to visit and Joe P stole flowers from another room to give to me (kidding...but that IS what he keeps telling me)

So, I didn't pee all day. Which seriously was stressing mom out. It was all she could talk about.
Well first off it hurt to blink, much less get out of bed, sit, pee, stand, get back in bed.
and secondly we found out later I had been given a catheter during surgery.

At midnight I peed.
At one I peed.
At two I peed.
At three I peed.
At four I peed.
At five I peed.

My night nurses should qualify for sainthood.
every hour I was calling them and making them take off the leg things that prevent blood clots, and take me and my tall skinny friend fluids, meds, and painkillers to the loo. And then they were coming in to take vitals and switch out empty bags for full ones. Eventually they got smart and started doing it all at one time. One visit per hour. and the two of them switched. However, I did trick them into letting me keep the leg anti blood clot things off. because they sucked, and itched, and made me sweaty and i hate socks. so those came off too.

The next morning some RA's came to visit (it was very Grey's Anatomy), Then i saw Dr. L, Dr. K and Becca (just a visit) and after lunch Dr. plastic surgeon came to visit...he took out the padding, unhooked the front of my bra and exclaimed, "I do good work!"
Thank heavens! I would have been worried otherwise.

And then I got to go home. To the couch. Where I have remained since. Slowly going stir crazy.
Me and my one Boob. and my Mom. and occasionally Chrissy. Just hanging out. watching a terribly unhealthy amount of television.

The weekend following surgery i had more visitors. Hannah showed her face in Wilmington. Kept me company on the couch, Amy came Saturday...we did some Amy Wedding planning. or they did...i took occassional naps. But it was wonderful to see them both. I have such awesome best friends.

Speaking of.

Dear Christine Marie Deaver,
You are my champion. Even when I was getting on my own nerves you stuck it out. Even when I would take serious naps, you were still sitting next to me on the couch when i awoke. You didn't leave the hospital the entire time I was there. You ordered me my much beloved pizza hut breadsticks and didn't complain when i ate all but one. You brought me ice cream, subs, relief from my mother. You are amazing. I love you. and not even school (you-law/me-bs) can keep us apart. Hurry up and make me my key.

Also, Tayor and the Goins Girls hung in there for the better part of my hospital stay and even afterwards with constant texts, phone calls, and visits. I love youuuu

Ok. So progress thus far.
This past monday they took out one of my drainage tubes. and it hurt like a bitch.
Hopefully they'll take out the other one this coming monday before I head back to school.
The mastectomy side of my body is in a state of constant throbbing. most of the time tolerable. the other portion. sickening.
My appetite sucks. (hello new diet plan)
I miss working at PTs. went by today and yesterday. wanted to stay at the bar forever.
I miss my boss, i miss my co-workers, i miss my regulars. I miss being in charge, I miss making the schedule. If i could go back tomorrow. I would. Stupid arm attatched to the studid pectoral muscle won't let me. DAMMIT.

Otherwise, i'm apparently fairing pretty well.

Went on thursday to get a "puff"
i.e. a fake boob to put in my bra so i look even until its implant time.

which gets us to Friday. The day we return to the scene of the crime.
Back to the gyno. Back to where I was diagnosed. Back to where life as we knew it ended.
(so dramatic)
No one i encountered knew who i was thank goodness. Until the doctor came in, she had been there the day i was sent over to the surgeon for a diagnosis of Cancer. (ominous sounding)
It was unnerving to say the least, I wanted to be in and out quickly and painlessly. the Less attention drawn to my presence the better. and being the One-Boobed Wonder...i accomplished just that. Very little fanfare. A few kind words from the doctor and I was out of there.

Which leads me to next week...Back to ECU for two more semesters. Then graduation time. whoo hooooo
Four classes, Four-day weekends, I'm fairly positive I can do this. Go Me!

So a little light reflection on my first year with cancer...
cancer sucks. but it didn't beat me. it bullied me around a few times. but so far the score stands at Kim-1 Cancer-0
and I plan on keeping it that way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A quick note of Thanks

I am not known for my punctuality. Or my perseverance.
I am more readily known for my procrastination and laid back (sometimes lazy) attitude.

But i figure better late than never right?

I'm actually not certain of who reads this. I could end up thanking the completely wrong audience. so I'll first say thanks to whomever finds themselves reading this. (thanks for being interested. and literate. and bored enough to check in)

I want to begin my thank yous with someone very specific. Someone who has been around my entire life. Someone who I can always talk to.

Myra is my mom's oldest sister. She kept me when I was a baby. I went to her graduation from some school when i was little in two different shoes (mom was in a hurry) She took me out to dinner every Friday night until stacy was old enough to go too, then we alternated. She always let me spend an obscene amount of time at Barnes and Noble. As i've gotten older especially when college hit we were unable to spend as much time together as we had before. But i've always known that she was there.
She may very well be the best person I know.
A kind, wise word. A funny inappropriate card. A quick chain email to say hello.
Saturday at the church fundraiser we talked about public speaking. Nothing too important. But she took the time to answer my questions. Thank you Myra. for being an inspiration and a good giggle. I love you.

(i am now currently shedding some tears...I remain completely baffled at how I got so lucky in the family department.)

I also want to thank my church. And the group of women who took the time to plan the fundraiser last saturday. Thank you for the time, energy, and love you guys continue to give to myself and my family.

And i want to thank my grandparent's church, the church i went to until middle school. The cards, prayers and giving are so appreciated.

So i haven't had any really awesome adventures lately other than Bonnaroo which was completely the most cool, amazing thing i will ever do (until next year).
First summer session of school went well...Made 2 B's...struggling a bit this session since i am currently despising my psych class. Doing well in public speaking though (which is surprising)
Made an A on my Bonnaroo speech.
My partner and I did our pursuasive speech on "Who is cooler? kim or will?"
i obviously won. (the class voted) I'm thinking we made an A on that one too.
My life consist of class, hw, HBO, and working on weekends.

So mom and I went to see the surgeon Dr. L when i got back from bonnaroo. Since mom mentioned to my PA that i was ready to look into surgery. Told Dr. L that i only wanted surgery if i could have matching boobs. (again let me stress i am only 24 and still shallow)
I'm talking tag teaming, passing of the baton (or in this case scapel), one operating room but two surgeries. One time hospital visit, one recuperation period.
and usually i don't get what I want, or ask for.
This time she said YES! yay!
So i met with the plastic surgeon (lots of women in the office looking to get things un cancer related...I was the youngest person by far, and it makes me wonder what they all thought i was doing there....or maybe they thought it was mom's appointment...haha)
And the plastic surgeon was super nice and he said he could hook me up with matching cancer free boobs. so double yay!
So after a few moved appointments and other associated drama...Surgery is August 11th at 7am

so mark your calenders, that tuesday i'm having a lumpectomy with accompaning reduction.
I'm sure during the recoup period i will have plenty to blog about.

A friend asked if i was nervous about the surgery...I'd say 60% nervous 40% excited
surgery is never fun, but i get new and improved boobs after this one so i'm totally in.

Monday, June 8, 2009

a collegiate feel

So as many of you know i am currently back at school. Yep. school, college, university, classes I'm there. actually i am sitting in the library after taking a midterm killing time before my next class at 1145. and Yes i did go to my news beat and try to do some interviewing but i was passed off from person to person until i finally just gave them my phone number and begged for someone to call me this afternoon. which sucks. i am not cut out for reporting. i am not enough of a go-getter, i do not enjoy badgering people. I have no deep need to know everything about everything. But i certainly respect the job.

Ok so i know it has been awhile since i updated...hannah and several others have called and texted and pestered until finally here i am.

So since i last left you guys at least a month ago i will give you a brief quick reader's digest version of life since then.

I reapplied to get into school. I got in. I quit WECT. I stressed about money. We had Kim Day at PTs. (more on that later) I came to school. I started classes. I stressed about assignments. I took two tests. and here we are.

So for those of you who do not watch my tv station you missed out on the media circus that surrounded Kim Day at work. I am no longer the anonymous cancer patient i was content to remain. However, thanks to max and steve and everyone else who participated in turning me into a graphic and a news story for every broadcast, we had the busiest day ever at PTs.
Joe Pate was going to give me ten percent of the profits. (which is incredibly generous in these tough economic times) and wow did people come out and eat. which is extremely humbling. and overwhelming and embarrassing. but mostly humbling. I've got a pretty stellar support system. probably the most amazing group of people around me ever. on the planet. of all time. So i'll just say the day was a huge success for myself and Joe.

So 5 days afterwards i was walking around on campus. With books. and pens and pencils. Sitting in class and taking notes. After two years it feels strangely like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like i'm accomplishing something. Doing something that is monumentous. I still have nervous stressed out moments. I took a midterm this morning. I turned in an article last thursday. I'm having to put myself out there and interview strangers to write articles. Things i really never saw myself doing. Or thought i didn't care about doing. But I'm thinking that i've grown up a bit in the past two years. Or more specifically the past year. Carpe Diem. or whatnot. i'm seizing the day. I'm living life to the fullest. I want to do so much but at the same time nothing at all. No worries.

Thursday Stacy Hannah and I are going to Tennessee for Bonnaroo. She sent me a picture text saturday to show me that the tickets came in the mail.

Ok, on to the real reason you guys check this thing daily. A cancer update.
Yes i still have it...haha just kidding. well not kidding because i do still have cancer. you know what i mean.
At my last appointment i told Dr. K about how i wanted surgery. So he gave me the thumbs up and next friday i have an appointment with Dr. L about setting things up.
Had a CT scan done a few weeks ago that came back showing the tumor has shrunk by over half. and i'll probably start the drug trial with UNC sometime soon...basically they'll just double the dosage of my tamoxifen.
OH and i realized the other day i've been spelling Zomeda wrong for months...Its Zometa. or maybe the other way around....whichever way i've been spelling it the other one is the correct way.
So cancer stuff is good. School stuff is good. I still get to see my PTs people on weekends. And Stacy Hannah and I are going to hear a gillion awesome bands play for 4 days on a farm.
We'll find out if i like camping....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It is all about Me.

I've gotten numerous emails and requests for a blog update...but with two incredibly busy weekends back to back this is the first chance i've had to sit down to tell you about all of the wonderful things that have been happening in my cyberworld absence.

Last Weekend Alpha Kappa Psi (the business fraternity i was in) held their annual Just Cause event and for some odd reason they decided to give the proceeds to me and my numerous medical bills.
So Thursday night i traveled back to my old stomping grounds to spend the night with the wonderful Stacy Hannah whom i had not seen in quite some time. Got a chance to grab some Boli's pizza (a greenville staple...seriously) and some beers and gossip and whatnot. Tragically she had to leave town at lunch on Friday...so to use my time wisely i sought out an undergraduate admissions counselor to talk about getting back into school since treatments are going well and i'm super "stable" and so on and so forth. She was helpful so that was good.
Then i got a phone call from Jeff (a good greenville friend from the olden days) who wanted to go to ham's and share a beer in the sunshine (marvelous idea since the weather was superb) then we met up with Taylor on another restaurant patio so explain to Jeff the importance of being able to laugh at cancer. (Taylor is my bff who had Lung Cancer last year) Jeff hates my cancer jokes...he doesn't crack a smile at any of them. And its hard to explain to a "well" person that its either laugh or cry and let's be honest...i'm not big on tears. At all. So jokes it is! Yay! Har Har. Ha ha. Chuckles and etc.
So Friday night was the big event at the Tank. (when i was there it was the element...which is where Jamie bartended for the year that we lived together) <- excess info...sorry just want you to feel like you're there...
At Amy's i was in the shower when hannah peeked her head around the curtain to let me know that we were finally in the same city, in the same Room! which basically made me the happiest person on the planet. So we arrived a bit late, and when we got there a decent crowd had already started to form...and everytime i turned around there was another brother from the fraternity ready with a hug and a smile and a few times i turned around to find best friends that have moved far away (Alli and Sarah) that i miss Tremendously! All in all it was an amazing night.
I dont care if they only raised ten dollars...having ALL of my ECU best friends in ONE place at the SAME time is an amazing gift. Not to be depressing but who knows when it will happen again...with cancer i have this sense of urgency to spend as much time with the people that i love as often as possible. There are no words for what Just Cause gave me...there is no price tag for the amazing support system i have. I hope everyone reading this is lucky enough to have these sort of people around them...the kind that will cut out of work early and drive hours just for one night with you. The kind that sends weekly cards, daily phone calls or texts, or gchat messages. i've said it before and i'll say it again. I have the BEST best friends on the planet.

So i guess its fair to say Friday night was a success.
(And a quick I love you to Stephanie Larson who was the Chair for the event...you are so amazing!)

Saturday night i got to have some Bottoms girls time with Micheal Dickerson (who has quickly turned into one of my favorite people) And to be in the same state as Alli B was freakin awesome...sigh i miss you Alli! (yay memorial day wkd)

Sunday Amy, Mark, Alli, Micheal and I went to breakfast at Cracker Barrell...it was a tough goodbye in that parking lot. i actually stayed way longer than i was supposed too...whoops.

Becausssse Sunday afternoon was the Relay for Life survivor luncheon.
I will be honest i did not want to go. but mom made me. it was alright i guess...
there were some moments that did make a dent in my emotional armor.
There was a woman there who was 92. and a survivor.
There was a 50 YEAR survivor.
There were two women sitting at different tables across the aisle from us. One had been diagnosed three weeks prior, the other one and a half. They turned to one another in tears and hugged as though they had known one another all of there lives. i guess Cancer does that to you.

Onto Relay for Life...Our team name was All about Kim (or that's what the tshirt said)
We got there early to set up and get a good parking spot and avoid traffic (which totally worked)
During the opening ceremonies they have all of the survivors (labeled as such on their purple RfL tshirts) sit in the visitors stands so Taylor (who i made register and get a shirt) and I along with Debbie (one of my mom's best friends who also has cancer) sit down together in the sea of purple (it was almost like being at an ECU football game) and listen to the opening stuff...they raised somewhere around 300,000 dollars i believe?
OH, ok so we all know how much i do not like being the center of attention in a swarm of strangers (so not my scene) well the honorary chairman was the Chief of Police (my team was the police department) well...he gets up to make his speech and he's talking blah blah blah and i'm praying to God that he doesn't mention my name and he says our team is all about kim for...
and his microphone cuts out. so no one hears my name (this is how i know God loves me and answers prayers) which was hilarious. So its time for the survivors lap and we get to walking and i see Ms. Bottoms, and Rex and i'm looking for my parents and find mom standing in the bleachers crying then further down is Grandma, Papa and Myra then i find Dad and Stacy further along. Then there's the caregiver lap to mom and dad come join us and as i'm asking if they've seen jennifer i spot her in the bleachers taking pictures with her new lens (that she got that afternoon hoorah!) and I grab Chuck, Gayle and Colby for a lap and Lisa is jumping up and down at the fence to get my attention and i realize that my whole family is there almost. for me.
and i'm almost overwhelmed with love for this crazy family tree that i was lucky enough to be a leaf on. And as the night progresses Mary Adelaide comes to walk with me and her sister (taylor) and as night falls they start lighting the lumenaries and in the stands they spell out Hope which the night is full of. and they have the survivors go to their lumenaries (i have 11...i felt popular) and they have a moment of silence and i'm thinking about all of the families that have lost someone to cancer and its almost hearbreaking until i look back into the stands and they have rearranged Hope to say CURE and i decide that one day we will have one. And its the reason thousands of people come and walk so they can be apart of one day finding the Cure to Cancer. And as the breeze blows i definitely feel like God is in that stadium dancing in the flames of the hundreds of lumenaries (not sure if i'm spelling that correctly but who cares) and I know that he is listening in to all of the prayers being silently prayed all around the track and answering each one in his own way. It was definitely a God is Good moment. nothing but good vibes. positive energy. all of these people who have nothing in common but cancer, coming together to do something good. for strangers. for people they don't know and might never know. The good in people is sometimes astounding. and staggering. and for a 24 year old girl who never thought this would happen to her its unbelievable. but it gives me Hope. which i think is the reason why i will undoubtedly be back at Relay next year. For a large dose of something the world usually has so little of.

I also did the live interview with Geneivive for the ten oclock news. which was exciting. i guess.
(i think it may have been my big break into the entertainment biz) (but i'm not really looking to quit my day job just yet...still waiting to hear back from ECU about getting into summer school.)
Here's Hoping!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

YOU are my shrink.

well. hi. Today i don't really have a cancer update...more of a life update. My next doc appointment isn't until friday...well actually i have an appointment on Monday with a shrink. a counselor. a pychiatrist (sp). a female listener. whatever you want to call it. I'm not sure if i mentioned in my last blog that my mom really wanted me to talk to someone about all that i had going on. and apparently my blog doesn't count as venting or talking or getting things off my chest. so as much as i'd like to think that my shrink just happens to be those who feel the need to read my ramblings...i am wrong according to my mother.

So this shrink lady is either going to be a really bad idea or a really good one. (i'll let you know after monday)

Also, a week and a half ago i got my new wheels. 06 Jeep Liberty of the silver variety.
It doesn't have a name yet but i'm getting a feel for it...For those interested Gilbert is sitting sadly under a tree. I will probably shed real tears when he's gone for good. (LOTS of good times in Gilbert, he's been loyal for 8 whole years...well when he wasn't breaking down on I-40 or smoking his way down highway 11... He's only been in one accident that i still blame on TJ and until recently had all of his hubcaps.) Jess and Chrissy probably spent the most time in my cherished taurus...its been the setting for tears and laughter...water fights and makeouts (not with jess or chrissy to clarify) i'm feeling sentimental.

Last Sunday I got a tattoo. Yep. A real one. Chrissy and I got matching pink ribbons on our left wrists. Rick at Cadillac Custom was incredibly generous with his time and extremely patient with two novices that had a firm idea of what they wanted their tattoo to look like in their mind. Poor guy sat with us for about an hour trying to iron out the details of the size and etc. Chrissy can be very demanding and detail oriented (without her this tattoo would have remained just a "good idea") And yes you're thinking to yourself "Kim got a tattoo? Doesn't she hate needles?"
Trust me...i was thinking the exact same thing...Luckily the needle thingy looks Nothing like an actual "the doctor is going to inject this thing into my vein" needle. So panic attack was kept at bay. I took a sip of wine, closed my eyes and sat really still for about 15 minutes. Then it was done. over. finished. and i was officially tatted up...Chrissy went second (which was good...her reaction would have had me running for the door) she laughed like a maniac ...which means that it hurt her. (i have some classic face pictures to use for blackmail now)
Basically this tattoo means that i can do anything.
you hear that?

i can get a tattoo with a severe hatred of needles.
it means that i can BEAT this stupid terrible horrific satanic grouping of abnormal cells.
i can fight. i can win.

and everytime i look down i'm reminded of that.
and i'm reminded that i'm not in this alone. My best friend has the exact same tattoo and she loves me enough to sit in that chair and have something permenantly marked on her body.
(i love you christine marie! and if these blogs ever become a book...you're getting a whole chapter to yourself plus a dedication)

Nothing else is really new. Relay for life is coming up (along with Jamie's wedding)

and My AKPsi brothers are being super awesome and having Just Cause 09 be a "kim's got cancer" thing. (it also means an ECU lovies reunion...YAY!)

see after writing this i'm feeling much better. i dont need a shrink.
maybe i'll pull a good will hunting and make some stuff up......

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Warning: the following may not be suitable for young children

No really, this post will probably be the most explicit. And the most angry (though i have chilled out considerably since friday morning). I apologize ahead of time for any use of profanity and if i start to make you uncomfortable with the frankness with which i talk about my boob...you can always click on the little X in the upper right corner of your screen. It will not hurt my feelings. I promise. That being said...

I'm not really sure where to start. Do i tell you about the appointment then explain what i Thought was going to happen? Or do i tell you what my expectations Were and you can watched them being dashed as i recount my fateful friday morning appointment.

In my small optimistic mind surgery was going to be my cure-all...yes the Dr. K and Becca had maybe mentioned that i would not really ever be cured...and mom and dad tried to explain that cancer would be something i had to deal with the rest of my life...But deep down i figured they were all wrong. I would have a double masectomy and all of my troubles would be over with...no boobs equals no cancer...sitting in the large waiting area of the surgery floor i was thinking the appointment would be a piece of cake. I walk in, she tells me when surgery is, I walk out...no biggie.

Instead, my surgeon (Dr. L) takes the blunt, direct approach and more forcefully than anyone before her hammers home the fact that i will not be cured. ever. not even with surgery. now that i have stage four breast cancer that has spread into bone cancer a clean bill of health is not in my future. For the first time since being diagnosed i was VERY angry with the midwife that batted my concerns aside when i was 22 which left my tumor another entire year to slowly develop and spread. I cursed her name (not specifically because i don't remember what it was...but you get the gist) and wished bodily harm upon her (not really but again you get the idea). Dr. L explains that we have 2 options.

Option 1- Have masectomy. which would leave me with only one boob on one side and a lone, long scar on the other. From there I would either...
a) wear a prothesis
b) convince and force a plastic surgeon to put in an implant
Then Dr. K would have to find a new way to keep track of what my other tumors are doing...most likely by PET scans and bone scans.

Option 2- Not have masectomy. This would make it easier to track the progress of the medicine.

Dr. L asked me a few very good thought provoking questions that she thought would make the decision making process easier.

1) Does it hurt physically?
2) Does it hurt pschyologically?

The answers were sometimes and sometimes.

It is not traumatizing for me to look at it every time i get out of the shower. But somedays I get tired of looking at it. I get tired of knowing that it is there. But the alternative of having only one breast sounds even worse. I AM ONLY 24! i am not some 50 year old (no offense) I want to be able to go to the beach in my favorite black bikini and not have this issue! I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE CANCER ANYMORE! I really just want it to go away. And as i'm having my shallow breakdown about not being able to feel normal or pretty or wear a bathing suit to the beach i start to cry. Because it is not fair. Its only the third time i've cried about Actually having cancer. The last time was when i got my hair cut (you can reread the previous blog on that if you have forgotten). I'm just a kid. and i want to have two boobs. Seriously. I dont want to take off my shirt and have one that's MIA. Its really hard to explain without sounding like a shallow ungrateful maniac. Some people have got it a lot worse than i do. But dammit i'm pissed. I want my idealistic cure-all back. And I do not want to have to live my life with stupid fucking cancer.

And i told my surgeon that it fucking sucks. And you know, she actually repeated the exact same sentiment in nearly the same words...minus the profanity of course...which is the first time a doctor has been honest...none of the "oh, we will fix you right up as long as your taking your meds and blah blah blah" she honestly told me that she could not make it better. And she was direct and sincere when she said "this really sucks"

So since she hadnt seen my boob since the day she diagnosed me she wanted to take a look to see if she could see any progress. And when she did the ultrasound she said that it looked like it had shrunk a lot. But it was shrinking from my chest wall out so the tumor was now concentrated mostly under my nipple. And being the brilliant surgeon that she is said she could do a lumpectomy (or more accurately a nipple-ectomy, though that is not a real medical term) where she would remove the nipple and the majority of the tumor that was below it. So i would have a horizontal scar going across my boob....but i would still have one! well i would have two total...but i would get to keep this boob and not be in the hospital for days or in tons of pain from a masectomy and reconstruction. And i would still be able to wear my bikini when summer hits. (Yay!)

But we have to run this all by Dr. K on the 6th when i have my monthly appointment.
And i'm still weighing all of my options and all of the pros and cons.
Maybe i'll make a Venn Diagram (haha those actually look like a set of boobs overlapping).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

a Roast Beef sandwhich

I know...there is much less time passed between this post and the previous one. But that is because i have something interesting to say. or something that i want to say.

Monday night Granny passed away.
Now she wasn't my granny by biological standards but whenever i addressed her...it was as Granny. I have worked for Joe Pate for 5 years...and all of those 5 years Granny would come in during the week and bring Joe some magazines for the shop and grab a pepsi (or water if she had a doctor's appointment) but i really remember her coming in most Sundays after church to have a roast beef sandwhich at the bar with Bob or with the rest of the family. I was there when D.L. passed away who was her son...and i was extremely sad when Joe informed me at the beginning of august that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Wednesday afternoon i stood in the florist's shop and agonized over what sort of flower, plant, bush, basket, etc to have sent over to the funeral home for the visitiation. This was my first venture of this sort and i did not want to pick the wrong thing. Just the mere thought of picking the wrong one was sending me into a panic. My first time having to choose what a grieving family would receive in the face of something so terrible. When papa passed away i was devastated but away at school and it was easier to not think of these small details. With billy and memaw i was just on the outskirts not really involved with either...But i know that someone has got to care a lot to spend the time thinking of all of the small details such as which flowers and so on. And not to take a turn for the depressing but i hope people think enough of me to take time to pick out the right flowers to send. I send hydrangeas...pink...in a basket with a pink bow. Because they made me think of her. And roast beef sandwhiches. And sundays sitting at the bar. And they made me think of my grandparents and uncle and how hard it is to do the right thing in that situation. But if you care enough, and if you make even the smallest of efforts it goes a very long way.

enough of that. Onto my cancer.

Had a check up with Dr. K on friday...things are looking nice and stable (his words not mine) he says i seem to be tolerating treatment well which is a wonderful sign (again his words not mine) well maybe he didn't say wonderful but you catch my drift. here is what he or we discussed

1) Before my shot my tumor marker went down by four...After my shot it went down by NINE. which is freakin awesome i think. He would like for me to do another round of testing (i.e. more sweetlife blogs to read) so we can see exactly how much the tumor has shrunk. the tumor marker started at 86 and is now down to 46 so he's eager to see what we've got going on next month.

2) He would like me to be a part of a trial that UNC is doing with Tamoxifen which would mean monthly trips to Franklin!!! YAY!

3) I meet with my surgeon on the 20th for a consult to get her opinion on a timeline and etc. for surgery (yay for getting new uncancer-y boobs! eventually. not immediately.)

I also asked him for some uppers to combat my fatigue. He said he could not assist me.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

a Birthday surprise

So all of my friends are liars.
All of my family members are liars.
Even my co-workers are liars.

Very sneaky people. ALL of them.

And i love them for it. I finally had my first surprise birthday party!
Now i've planned them...which is totally different. I remember steven programming me into his phone as "mom" to get misha to his house for the one we had planned for him senior year of high school. But, i'm not a fan of surprises. But only because i do not relish the idea of looking stupid.

Regardless, my family and friends were planning this for months and i had no idea whatsoever. I spent an entire four days with Hannah who was secretly talking to Chrissy right in front of me and i was clueless. (shows how intelligent i am) all of these people pitched in to do something nice for me. and with the turnout that we had i'm feeling slightly more popular than usual. PTs was packed full of people who love me and care about my well being and want me to be happy.

What an amazing support group!

speaking of which my mom wants me to think about joining one.But i think for now i'm ok without. (just a sidenote)

Back to my own awesome support group...I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their friday night to stop by. I appreciate the cards, and etc that people gave or sent. I hope that everyone knows how much they mean to me even if i am unable to say it in person.

Ok enough about my birthday...(which lasted all weekend!) ok well really fast i want to say a quick i love you to Christine Deaver who more than made up for not making it to my 21st birthday three years ago when she was abroad in london (i will never mention it again) Saturday night was amazingggg and Sunday night you were a bad influence.

Oh and i quick thank you and i love you to all of the bffs who travelled to wilmington in order to celebrate my birthday with me in person. And a quick I still love you to all of those who had made plans to come that were interupted by meanie bosses and other unforseeable events.

OK really i'm finished on my birthday.

On to cancer...Last appointment was boring. I had a lab nurse who sucked and blew the vein out in my hand then another who had to try twice to stab me to get blood while i silently shed many a tear...nurse number two suggested that we put a note on my file saying that i should have my blood drawn through my port. (i thought this was brilliant and wondered why it hadn't been suggested before) also, doc says that things look the same...tumor marker went down but there is still no real physical change. Other than my really freaking awesome hot flashes.

Hot flashes. God's curse upon me. Do you know how hard it is to sleep while you are on fire? PRETTY DAMN HARD! i do not ever want to die in a house fire or from heat stroke. it is torturous! trying to find a cool spot on the sheets is like hunting for a needle in a haystack. Then after i finally find one the hot flash is over and i'm freezing and shivering like i'm sitting at the north pole!

Oh and then my arm was bothering me so Mom freaks out which leads to her insisting that i call Marie (doc's nurse...my fav) who talked to Becca (the PA) who insisted i come in for a little looksie. She and Doc then suggested that i have a ultrasound doplar thingy done of my arm to see if it was possibly a blood clot (which would have been a very bad side effect since they can kill you) so i go to the appointment which was in the middle of my two day cancer depression and i was kinda rude to the nurses at the front desk (i apologize profusely) and then this guy who was very chatty put me in a cold room on a cold table and smeared cold goo on my arm and neck...he found nothing. but he asked me a lot of questions that i tried to answer through chattering teeth. when that was over i got to go pick up my rental car and cruise west to Winston Salem for a four day vacation with Hannah. A well timed one at that since i was starting to relish the funk i was in. But i was on my phone checking my email that day when i received one from the one and only Al Dame. It was a quick one. Just to say he was thinking Good Thoughts for me. and i was instantly more cheerful. Al also has the dreaded C word...and its been wonderfully thearaputic to send short emails back and forth saying hey thinking of you and stay positive. Because it means that someone is out there feeling the same as me...and rooting for me nevertheless...even with all of the stuff he has going on. (I think of you often Big Al! I love you!)
and i know that there are lots more people who feel like i do. So if you're one of them...I'm thinking good thoughts for you. (obviously they are generic since i'm not exactly sure who you are...) but they are good thoughts regardless. And even if you dont have cancer...i'm thinking good thoughts for you too. (Everyone needs them at some point or another)

So i have another check up on the 6th. And i'm heading to Chapel Hill for another genetic test on the 13th. whoo hoo.

Friday, January 9, 2009

i am always hot

So before you guys become toooo upset i will apologize for my lack of blogging (i completely missed the month of december) I've been working an intense amount of hours and sleeping when i'm not at work. Quick recap...
Thanksgiving was good.
Christmas was even better.

i am officially in love with my family.
Christmas dinner we opened presents in the dark because the power was out.
But in traditional Miller style we made the most of it

Quick interlude: currently watching 27 dresses. its currently my favorite scene where they're singing bennie and the jets. so i'm currently laughing a lot.

ok back to christmas and such...so yes the recap conclusion is...I had a wonderful Holiday Season.

Ok for the real reason that you are here. to catch up on my cancer.

My December appointment led off with a rookie nurse doing my lab work (she actually hit the vein on try number one which was awesommme) Then while meeting with Dr. K found out that i am a poor processor of Tamoxifen so my body wasn't able to get the full benefits of the medicine which was why there was no real physical change in the tumor. So Dr. K decided he wanted to put me on the Lupron shot which essentially turns off my ovaries and sends me into menopause. It also gives me gnarly mood swings, terrible hot flashes and no menstrual cycles (yes i just used the term menstrual cycles from the stepping stones class in middle school) figured technical term would be less embarrassing...turns out its embarrassing regardless.

moving right along. since getting the shot I've been pretty unpleasant at times and i am always hot then freezing seconds later...at wect my coat goes on and off again dozens of times in the span of one news cast. its terribly inconvenient at the restaurant when i'm running in circles and can only take off so much clothing. the worst though is when i'm sleeping it feels like i'm waking up in the midst of a forest of flames. Sounds awesome...i know!

A second ago i was going through some pictures on facebook. And not even realizing it i started categorizing them as Pre- Cancer and During Cancer. August 20th 2008 such a defining moment. Before cancer i was heading back to school with my long flowing golden locks. Now i'm meeting with my oncologist every 4 weeks, in menopause, with kickass bangs, more sweatpants than a person really needs, taking naps at every and any opportunity and working a ridiculous amount of hours for someone with cancer.

I keep hearing that i'm an inspiration.

You know what i find inspiring?
all the people who put up with me. on a daily basis. it cannot be easy, or pleasant.
and all the people who have found the time to send good thoughts or prayers my way.
with so much more important things happening in the world today. i feel as though me and my boob cancer should be grateful that so many people are thinking of us. well you know...thinking of me. not necessarily thinking of my boob. or my cancer. oh geez you know what i mean.

I have another doc appointment tomorrow (well since its one in the morning technically today) i have my monthly check up so i promise to update sooner rather than later.