Post-surgery check in!

I’m caught in another waiting game – awaiting pathology.
Since I chose to have my surgery at a different hospital system there was a bit miscommunication/delay in sending out my results so what typically would be a 2-week response is now 4…but as I mentioned before my definition of “time” has changed since diagnosed. I’m continuously reminded that this is a “slow-growing” cancer. I can’t say that puts my mind fully at ease.

Tick Tock

Pathology will determine Oncotype score.
Oncotype testing analyzes how the cancer tissue behaves and responds to treatment. The score also determines the chances of recurrence and will determine the chemotherapy treatment. We already know my cancer is estrogen-reactive and I will be on hormone therapy for the next 10 years.

I’m standing up much better, today I walked 2 miles. Farthest so far. It seems I can walk really well every other day. The next day my back pays the consequences. “No pain, no gain”.

Incisions are healing, my tummy…still tight. Imagine filling your tummy with air and stopping mid-breath. TIGHT! My DIEP Flap suture sites are healing and feeling is coming back. This is one of the benefits over implants. For now it’s lots of tingling the nerves and vessels are healing…kind of “un-nerving” feeling at times like my shirt is made of sandpaper. This is a good sign!

Too many to count! Family, friends and neighbors. The mail! I’ve read each card over again. My meal-train keeps my boys full and my kitchen mess-free. My parents “parenting” the boys dealing with grouchy mornings and miles of taxi service. The hubs who tends to my wounds, at my beck and call with icy water, hot coffee and middle-of-the-night pillow adjustments. He even vacuumed today. Yep, can’t say I have much to complain about!

Walking with Petals, my 13-year-old pooch. Loyal & never leaves my side.

5K is My New Marathon!

Saturday morning I put on my running kicks ready for the Crush Cancer 5K. I’m a runner. I just like to run. I’ve run countless miles. Two weeks after surgery, I knew I couldn’t walk, let alone run most the distance but I was gonna do it anyway! With special permission to “cheat” I “ran” most of the 5K on an electric bike.

I looked like a Shriner Clown in the parade but I didn’t care because I was determined to be a part of this community and the cause we were all there for! Cancer has impacted everyone in every way.

I “ran“ with my family, my friends, my neighbors. I did walk the last part of the 5K with my big boy, Justin and Pink Petals and sure I was the last to cross that line, but next year I plan to place!

Once over I was exhausted but had a great time. The rest of the day had me. cozied up in front of NetFlix.

Coming out with Cancer; The C Word

I have breast cancer. Saying it, writing it, thinking it is shocking, awkward and difficult. I know the person receiving this information feels much the same. The purpose of this story is not to explain who I chose to tell but to bring attention to the simple fact that I had a hard time saying, “I have cancer”. I also want to tell you the reactions and the responses that gave me peace. Responses that let me know I wasn’t alone.

Telling my family was extremely difficult. It was Christmas and we had a house full of the very people whose experience with cancer was all to recent; my brother. Holidays are a bittersweet reminder that my brother is no longer with us. We chose to not say anything about the diagnosis till after the holidays. It was difficult, and at times I would have to exit the room with a lame excuse, but I can say it was one of the best holidays we’ve had. Somehow peace and relaxation overcame us all and what’s usually a hectic time had us all day, out back on the porch….just being. Together.

Telling my closest friends was of course hard. I overthought every aspect. Primarily to make it more comfortable for the receiver….I don’t know why…in my mind I “acted” it out. How should I say it; phone, text, in person. In fact I couldn’t say the “C” word. I found myself saying things like, “my biopsy wasn’t good,” or “Im having a mastectomy” anything but that ugly ”C” word. How will they react? How will I react. I didn’t want to cry…I was tired of crying…but I always cried.

With each “cancer reveal” I found myself drained emotionally and physically. I needed a 2-3 day reprieve between each “outing”.

One friend in particular I really wanted to tell in person, she was out of town with family…but that back-fired as on Christmas Day I sent her a text asking her, “How was your Cancer”….Freudian slip? Another friend, just instinctively knew.

It’s been 3 months since I was diagnosed and every day there is a friend who is just finding out. It’s not like I could send out a mass mailing or post on local news…imagine telling a yoga friend just before shavasana…there is just never the right time.

Good news is each time got a bit easier. Easier because of the loving responses, and sure I got some crazy, odd, and even dismissive responses but I have to credit most of that to the shocking and awkwardness of adding “cancer” to a conversation.

Hopefully cancer does not find your conversation in the near future but unfortunately it will and when it does I want you to know the memorable responses that gave me peace:

Extra-long hugs. A loving look. Reminding me of my strength. Assuring you will be by my side. Holding my hand. A jest that cancer has already met it’s match. Your continuing encouragement. Constant “checking-in”. Most importantly “thoughts & Prayers” as told hundreds of times and I felt loved each time. Such power in thought and prayer. It’s working my friends!

How are you feeling? Really.

4FE1E675-0268-41E8-A367-5AD20F5268EDA long-time friend stopped by yesterday to chat. Regardless of time, our rapport never skips a beat. She is someone I have no problem answering any question truthfully to and likewise I feel the same to someone taking the time to read my story. How am I mentally and physically?

“How are you feeling? Really.“ she asks.


I respond with tears in my eyes. Holding back tears…keeps the words at bay. It’s quiet and my friend patiently gives me a moment… “I’m doing really good”. She understands my tears as her life also has been deeply affected by cancer. My crying comes with tears of relief. Relief that the surgery is over but I will never forget how scared I was those two marathon months prior to the surgery. I was scared of the pain, the recovery, the restricted activity…I was scared of how it would change my body, of losing my fitness and most importantly I was scared for my family.

Surgery is over and so is the fear. Sure my future holds many more concerns that come with uncertainty. I’ve got a challenging road ahead of me. But no more fear.

”Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”

I have faith in my God, my oncology team, my friends and family…I have faith in myself.

Faith overcomes Fear.


My body is recovering. My surgery involved billateral mastectomy, lymphadenectomy and DIEP Breast Reconstruction (deep inferior epigastric perforator). DIEP, I’m told its likened to a tummy tuck whereas the ”tucked” tissue is micro-surgically grafted connecting the nerves and vessels between my breast and abdomen.

  • From day one I have had no feeling in my chest, looks a bit Frankenstein, but no pain. As the transplant tissue heals I’m told I may regain some feeling. Honestly there no pain.
  • I have discomfort in my armpits from the lymphadenectomy. the incisions are right where my arms (armpit) constantly move. My fear of lymphedema however is greater than the discomfort so I push through and move and reach and move and reach to keep swelling at bay.
  • My abdomen…I have to say has given me some pain. Quickly I discovered how my abdomen is involved in every little move I make. I have a 16 inch incision that is sewn super tight…my tummy is like a drum. Funny thing I didn’t even know they had made me a new belly button until a couple days later when I finally was granted the glory of a shower.
    This incision prevents me from lying flat, sitting straight, standing upright…basically discomfort in any position that normally would be restful or relaxed. Each day the pain has decreased considerably. I credit that to my daily yoga prior to the surgery and my inherent ability to not be able to sit still.
  • My Back. As the other pain lessens it seems my back hurts more. My back hurts because I am using muscles I haven’t had to use before to make up for the fact that I cant stand, sit, or lay flat. This will pass…but sooner would be better. I can’t stand in one spot for long, I use a cane to walk and I would do anything to feel the stretch of a Sun Salutation but that is for another day….far away aways.

Seven days after surgery I completely stopped taking the major pain meds and now only use Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Valium (muscle relaxer for my back).

This is a long post and I leave you with a quote given to me by yet another wonderful friend,

Why should you stop the tears if they want to fall? Sorrow, fear and anger is looking for a way out. Why not show them the exit? Then maybe things you need more, like Laughter, hope, and resilience can move in and live.

Lion’s Story

8913F937-25FC-404B-B4D8-69D1CB7EC758If you’ve noticed almost every picture I’ve posted has a little lion in the background. His name, fittingly, is Dan DeLion. I want you to know Lion’s story….

My youngest son, AJ loves lions, he has hundreds of them, in fact his favorite lion still insists on sleeping with AJ (shh confidential info)

My brother Dan was terminally ill with cancer. Dan and AJ had a sweet connection. AJ a rambunctious 4-year-old, and Dan the gentle giant would read, sit and play DS for hours.

AJ gave Dan one of his beloved Lions. A token of love and courage. A 4-year-old recognized his uncle was in need. Dan DeLion gave Dan courage through his pain, his hospital visits and was a constant reminder of the quiet peaceful times of being with a loved one.

Imagine my tears of joy when my sister-in-law, Ana, sent me a care package and inside was Dan DeLion. I need him, I need his courage even though my cancer is not terminal. Lion is my constant reminder to fight, to be courageous. To remember the wonderful times with friends and family. Lion is a promise that there will be many more to come.

Sweet Slumber

2D151B86-5F2A-48D5-BF66-C6F81836BC74Ive been home for almost thirty hours. Awake for maybe 4 of them. Im in good hands, mom, Bobby, boys, and friends are allowing time to move forward while I slow down and recoup. I slept in the recliner downstairs with B close by on the couch.

It’s Sunday morning, bright and early and already I have made a new friend! Don’t ask me her name but. She is awesome. She is my home health nurse.

I knew she was coming. I planned to wake early, shower, put on a cute pink mastectomy outfit. Have breakfast and wanted the pills already working their magic by the time she rang the bell….but instead I awake with a stranger smiling over me as I attempt to sit up, half clothed, and wiping drool off the side of my face. There is no time for vanity.

My nurse, like most, is a gem, she starts my day with a nod that I’m healing.

Im tired today. Exhausted really. I need to take a pill for nauseous, AJ wants to watch a show with me and I don’t even make the opening credits.

Temporarily I will be walking with a cane. I’m using muscles to stand that my body is not used to using. Two hour laters I take some more pills. I’m out again.

Bobby fashions a shower chair for me out of a laundry hamper. The shower feels so good. I stay till I’m wrinkly and the hot water runs cold.

Clean body, clean drains, and cute pink mastectomy clothes. I opt for a change of scenery and hang out in bed. I attempt to watch another show with AJ…..I can’t resist the comfort of my own bed and again failed to stay awake. I miss hanging with the kid. Despite me sleeping he stays.

Day is now evening and we are awaiting a dinner brought in by one of our amazing friends/neighbors. Mom wants to watch American Idol….our evening is planned!

XOXO, Lisa

No Place Like Home

Good news! Doctors got me off that IV and later that day told me I was doing well enough to go home earlier than planned. Bobby had my stuff packed up in a flash….Still took a night, and most of the next morning to discharged. We came home to a fabulous welcome from friends and family. So fabulous that the ugly cry overcame me…. Feels wonderful to be home but I am exhausted. I’ve had several naps. I have a home health nurse tending to me as well. I promise to fill in more details. My original plan was to sit with the family at the table and play games but Im not quite at that energy level yet.

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My Lullaby

The FlowCoupler is a Doppler device (think mini ultrasound) it uses high-frequency sound waves to measure amount of blood flow in my surgical site. It’s a constant hum of my heartbeat. Mesmerizing and lulls me to sleep. 24/7. The perfect white noise. I wish I could take this home with me. Take a listen…

Two Days Post Surgery

We learned great news that only the sentinel lymph nodes were removed. This is a good sign that the cancer has not spread.

Last night I was able to get 3 hour increments of deep sleep. Throughout the night the nurses maintained their vigilance clearing drains, checking tissue, changing IV, countless pills, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature.

Regardless of the hour, in this case 3 am, going to the bathroom is quite the ordeal. Bobby was in such a deep sleep I resorted to throwing pillows and empty cups to wake him. We unhook cables, leg cuffs, monitors and I gingerly inch off the bed. Shuffling with my IV cart, and make the arduous journey to the bathroom. The journey back is another story in itself.

Last night, I received well-wishes from many, many friends and family. My mom and boys came for a visit And brought baskets of gifts full of love and well-wishes. My boys took turns walking me around the halls of the ward. I hope to see them tonight but there are weather warnings and we don’t want them on the roads.

This morning it took some time for me to get comfortable but right now I am feeling pretty good; teeth brushed, full belly, Bobby combed my hair up into a pony tail and I’m snug in my bed. Doctors say I’m healing beautifully and expect to leave Saturday or Sunday.




Gorgeous blooms from Oregon

Fluffy hugs from Canada

My First walk through the ward

AJ is the best escort

Sierra’s jar of joy

Mom brings the boys