Heaven Help You If you Ever Get Hurt in This Country

My Husband Fractured His Knee and the Health Care System is Making Our Lives Miserable, if not Dangerous

wheelchairFor the last couple of years, my husband’s legs had been getting weaker.

After 2 knee replacement surgeries and 2 hip replacement surgeries, the pain and the weakness  were getting worse.

We went for shots and anything that would help alleviate some of the pain. Nothing was working.

There were a couple of falls over the months and we got them x-rayed and he would take it easy and things seemed, if not perfect, not too terrible. He was still walking, although with a pronounced limp. Eventually, he needed to use a walker.

However, about 6 weeks ago, my husband took a horrible fall where his knees completely went to his sides.

The fall was horrible.

I went to grab him and my back instantly made a cracking sound and I could not straighten up, The pain was excruciating and I started screaming.

We called the paramedics and they immediately took him to the hospital. After being in the ER,  the doctors said that the knee looked fine. He just needed to rest it.

He continued to have extremely weak legs and fell again and this time there was no question that something was extremely wrong.

This time, when the paramedics took him to the hospital, they took a ct scan and, it turned out, that his knee was fractured. He spent about 3 days in the hospital.

They placed him in an immobile brace and his leg had to be kept right in front of him in a wheelchair and he could not even step on his other foot.

He was completely dependent on others now for everything from going to the bathroom to getting dressed. This is particularly difficult for him as he is so proud.

We got him into a rehab and after 2 weeks of keeping completely off both legs, while he was resting his legs, this 5 star rehab would let him lay in bed for a half hour after he used the call light when he needed to use the bathroom. When I went to visit him, he would still not be dressed by 11:00 in the morning. It was clear they were doing the minimum.

With no “heads up”, after two weeks they said I needed to find a new place for him within 5 days and it would be on our dime. Why didn’t they tell me that in the beginning so I could begin looking for a good place for him? They gave me a piece of paper with about 100 places on it and was told they were not allowed to recommend any place.

During this time, we got in with an orthopedic doctor at the medical center and he took x-rays and said that it did look like he was healing. He was put in more of a mobile brace and we felt very heartened.

I found a broker who helps find rehab and nursing places that have a good reputation and are licensed, etc.

He suggested a group home as a good alternative for my husband rather than a nursing home to rest and begin his rehab with physical and orthopedic therapy. The broker said that it would be nice because it would be just like living in his own home and he would get nice meals and it wouldn’t be like a hospital at all.

group home
google image

The idea sounded great.

It was a little expensive, but we both thought it was well worth it.

We had a few days to check out a few places, get his medications  in order, get a TB test and set up transfer which the rehab has nothing to do with and we had to do on our own and pay for ourselves.

I chose the place that was immaculate, promised great care and there was a lot of room to move around in.  He would also have his own room. The room was adorable, with nice inviting lamps and cute comforters on the bed, a big recliner and his own tv.

On the day of the move, we were told he would be picked up between 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. We finally got him transferred (5 hours late) and into his new home.

When I looked closer this time, I noticed that the bed was pretty small and my husband is a fairly large man. I was worried about his rolling off the bed and voiced my concerns.

They said that they would let pull the large recliner up to the bed.

Sure enough, he did fall and they found him on the floor the next morning. I wanted to pull him out that day, but he insisted on staying.

He slept most of that day and I wasn’t concerned.  I attributed it to his traveling and long day beforehand.

The next day, he was extremely tired again. I brought more clothes over and other things to make him more comfortable.

When I visited, they told me all was well, but he was very tired.

That night, after waiting all day to hear from him ( I didn’t want to wake him up),  I kept trying to call him on his Cell and there was no answer. I called the Home at 4:00 p.m. and they said he was fine but tired. I asked for him to be put him on the phone. He sounded extremely disoriented almost like he’d had a stroke.

I asked to be put back on with the group home director and I asked why he sounded so bad and they said he was tired and I just said “bull”. I know my husband. Something is very wrong.”

I ran to the group home about 5 pm and when I got there he was extremely pale and confused. He didn’t know the date or month.

At that time they chose to tell me that he could barely lift his arm at lunch and food was falling out of his mouth.

They never called me. I will never forgive them for that!

I told them they had to call an ambulance and they were arguing with me about whether it was necessary and I said, “absolutely”.

They then took out their blood pressure cuff and his blood pressure was extremely low. They said he now had a fever of 99 degrees. Why hadn’t they done any of this checking before?

The paramedics came and told him he needed to be in the hospital.

When we got tot the hospital, they took his temperature and it was 102 degrees and he was dehydrated. He had a very bad bladder infection, which I’m sure was brewing for quite some time.

The home wanted to make sure I wasn’t blaming them for this.

The fact was that the Home did not call me when it was clear he was so very ill that he couldn’t even feed himself.

My husband is 20 years older than me and not in good health. I believe that there was a good chance that he would not have made it through the night.

He’s now back in the hospital.

This time, I’m ready for them.

I told them to get me a social worker immediately. I said I need a place for my husband to go when he gets out of the hospital. He can’t come home until he can walk.  I also am having a great deal of trouble walking myself and cannot hold him up.

I said,  “Don’t pull this crap of waiting until the last day and giving me 24 hours to find a place for him to get rehab”.

Within an hour a Social Worker was in the room.

As it is, we’ve e already lost over a month of help that he desperately needed.

So, this is basically the run around we’ve been getting and my husband has good insurance.

I am more than frustrated and I am sick of trying to put this all together on my own. I am not a social service agency. Where are these people who are supposed to help us? My husband worked hard his whole life and this is how he’s being treated when he finally needs some help.

I just want you to know that you have to be an advocate for your loved one. No one will look after them like you will.

UPDATE:  IT WORKED! My husband, as of last night, is in one of the best rehab hospitals in the city and he’s happy and I’m happy and, if all goes well, within a month, he will be back home with me.

Have you experienced anything like this?

Tovah

Additional Resources:

Being an Advocate for your Loved One – National Caregivers Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank the Trainer’s Top 7 Tips for Working Out in the Heat

Here are Frank the Trainer’s Top 7 Tips for Working Out in the Heat

Working out in the summer can be difficult  when the temperature starts to rise. But don’t let that be an excuse to not work out.

1. If it’s too hot out to do your walk outdoors, then go to a shopping mall or in a Walmart.

2. When walking in a mall or Walmart don’t shop. Just walk. You can shop later.

walkinginthemall

3. Always be safety conscious and try to take someone with you.

4. Continue to do your sit-ups and push-ups.

situps

5. Drink an equal amount of water and sports drinks with electrolytes before, during and after your walk.

6. Carry a water bottle with you all of the time and drink even if you’re not thirsty.

drinking water

7.  Also, try to get used to the heat by slowly spending more time outside while hydrating.

DON’T QUIT; KEEP MOVING!

 

TOVAH

 

 Disclaimer: Prior to starting a new exercise program or diet, it is recommended that you see a doctor especially if you have any medical conditions or past injuries that could potentially be made worse by exercise. Any actions that you take as a result of reading the information on Haute Curvy Woman,you do so at your own risk.

My Weight Loss Journal

Here is My Weight Loss Journal for Day 1 in Following Frank’s Fitness Recommendations:

woman on scale

Sunday, April 27, 2015:

The following are the first steps toward our getting in better shape As Recommended by Frank:

  • Walk for 15 minutes – Walked the dog for 15 minutes
  • Do 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups – I have RSD and can’t do push ups and just sort of forgot about the sit-ups (oops!)
  • Quit eating junk food  – I did that. Ate at home. Cauliflower and 1/2 steak for dinner.
  • Nighttime eating: WW fudgesicle; 3 halos
  • Do not drink anything carbonated or sweet tea. – I did that and it’s very, very difficult.

I feel very healthy and hopeful.

As said, if I can lose 15 pounds by June, I get a wonderful reward.

Stats:  186.5

Tovah

 

Smoking and Eating Myself Into an Early Grave

I Apologize for Not Writing Lately; My Bad Health Habits have Finally Caught Up with Me and Between Getting My Husband Ready for a Full Knee Replacement and My Horrible Diet and Smoking, I was in no mood to write.

hospital

I wasn’t Surprised in the Least that My Bad Health Habits Have Finally Caught Up with Me.

About a  month ago, I got out of the bed in the morning at home and found I couldn’t put pressure on my feet. They just felt numb.  I also had a huge headache that went around the back of my head, which I’d never had before. My words were slurred.  I immediately thought ‘Stroke’ .  My husband took me to the hospital  and they did some tests and admitted me into the hospital. After a day in the hospital, nothing major turned up on their CT scan and MRI.

Since  they couldn’t quite figure out anything they ended up with the diagnosis: ‘migraine’ ,and that was the end of that until about 3 weeks later when I had the bad headache and this time it wrapped around my neck.  My words were slurred even more and I couldn’t walk again.

I went back to the ER with even more dangerous levels of sugar and blood pressure.

They did the blood sugar test and it was dangerously high in the 300 range and my Blood Pressure was really high. A perfect storm for a stroke.

They admitted me into the hospital again and tried to find out what was going on. Because my speech was slurred, they, once again, jumped to the conclusion that I had a stroke.

I had, by this time, quit smoking.

There were a lot of doctors coming in, but they all kep coming up with ‘stroke’ again, even though nothing showed up on the MRIs.

The symptoms were really similar to a stroke.

I was in the hospital for 3 days. They had a neurologist check me out and he was truly cruel. What is the problem of neurologists? They’re all mean. He didn’t know what to do anymore so he gave me some back painkillers and sent me on my way. Supposedly I have spinal stenosis however, I think someone just put that on my chart erroneously and it’s become part of the PERMANENT RECORD.

By the third day it was clear ONLY to the people in my family that this was a diabetic issue.  They were giving me insulin in the hospital and I got my blood into the 200 range.

As an aside:  When I was visiting my husband in the hospital, , I had this enormous feeling of being so tired. I just laid down and when I got up, I saw my husband hovering over me.  He said that they (he and the nurse) had been trying to wake me up and I was unresponsive. That lasted less than 5 minutes.

Before you get down on me, I knew that my eating and smoking were dangerous. I can’t explain why I smoked that much or why I ate so much.  Honestly, I don’t know.

For years, doctors have been warning me about my blood pressure, cholesterol and not getting any exercise.

I don’t know when I stopped caring anymore.

When I got out of the hospital, my husband and I have decided to try to eat a  ‘clean’ diet:  No sugar (or very little), more veggies. We’ve been doing that for about a week.  Sugar is the enemy (I believe) and I previously ate like every day was my birthday. I must say, I really miss it in my morning coffee.

My awful diet and years of smoking have done quite a bit of damage to my body.

I know that there are healthy fat people.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

So…that is where I’ve been for the last month.

Before you get down on me, I know that I deserved all those health complications and I have no valid excuse.

I am really trying to get rid of myh horrible habits and, for an addictive personality that I am, it’s not been easy.

I know how incredibly lucky I’ve been. I’ve had almost no sugar for less than a week now and I’m going on 4 months without a cigarette.

Any advice is welcome!

Tovah

Additional Resources:

8 Foods to Help Lower Blood Pressure by Joy Bauer.com

11 Tips to Cut Your Cholesterol Fast by WebMD.com

Causes of a Stroke by Mayoclinic.org

 

 

 

Insights on Healthy Dieting From My First Guest Blogger

My First Guest Blogger is Robin Rush, whose thoughtful and insightful comments have helped me in so many ways.

robindrushRobin Rush is a licensed counselor, mother of two adult daughters, and Nana to a one year grandson. Robin loves Facebook, blogs about plus size fashion, sewing, and wellness, sewing her own clothes, trying new recipes, and spending time with her grandson. Her life motto is a quote by Maya Angelou “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The following is a response from Robin about dieting after I made the absurd claim that I would lose 50 pounds in 6 months. As usual, her comments are right on and I am going to follow her suggestions.

 LOSING WEIGHT

#1 Set smaller goals–like I will take a 10 minute walk today. I go to stores (with a cart) and go up and down each aisle). superstores are the best. I don’t buy much but I got some exercise. I will have one (just one!) brownie or one scoop of ice cream after dinner.

supermarket

#2 I am bad about night eating. I stay up late–frittering around, on facebook, surfing, watching movies, etc., etc.,. Then I get up late, drink coffee and usually a bagel or cereal. I snack until dinner time which is usually about seven-ish. Then I pig out the rest of the evening.

Well, I stopped that. I started going to bed early (about 9 or 10). I get up earlier and start my water regimen–almost up to 1 gallon. I drink a lot of Crystal lite type drinks. I will eat some type of protein for breakfast — egg beater omelet, protein shake, peanut butter on a bagel, etc.  Early afternoon I eat a light lunch–salad with boiled eggs, tuna, turkey, pb&j sandwich, etc. By dinner time I eat reasonable portions.–one serving only–I used to eat until I was stuffed-no more. I drink more water to reach my daily goal. Then in about an hour or two, I’m ready for bed.

eggbeater

#3 I don’t eat diet food (except for the crystal lite) because I’m cooking for my family.  In between meals I eat fruit and carrots. I still bake for the family. I have pie, cake, ice cream, cookies, but I do portion control (2-3 cookies on a napkin not straight out of the pkg;; 2 scoops of ice-cream–in a bowl not out of the carton) and not everyday. Last night, I wanted an ice cream cone, I had my daughter make it. She gave me two scoops. I said is this all? She said that’s enough. I had to agree. I ate it and was satisfied.  I had to put the brakes on myself. I have some sad fat stories that I just don’t want to relive. Even my fat clothes were tight.

ice cream2

 

#4 I don’t set weight/calendar  goals. Life is a journey, not a sprint. If I learn to get through the day without bingeing, that’s an accomplishment. I ate a vegetable and a fruit today—wow, that’s a goal met. Then I’m learning to build on  those small accomplishments.

weightcalendar

 

#5 I don’t follow fads, ‘do or die decision’ diets, buy exercise equipment. I would go out and buy all this fruit and veggies claiming I was becoming a vegetarian. It would spoil and end up in the trash. I tried juicing and ended up with the runs. Several times I paid for six months of Weight Watchers and would fizzle out after about three weeks. I can’t remember how many gym memberships I never followed through on, this includes home gym equipment, treadmills I bought and gave away.

faddiets

#6 Losing weight is not hard, not fast, but not hard. Getting healthy is easier. I tricked myself into believing if I lost weight I would look better and be happier about myself. I placed my self on hold all these years waiting for the magic to happen. Getting healthy is not magic. It starts with small goals. micro-managing my day but macro-managing my life, learning my triggers, identifying sabotaging behaviors, meditating/praying daily, practicing love, forgiveness, and benevolence, enjoying the small things: a baby’s smile, watching squirrels, listening to birds in the morning, good music, dancing  like a diva (when no one is watching), pedicures, a good old black and white movie, etc.

p.s. – As a result of this new lifestyle, Robin has  lost 8 pounds in the past month. I’m so happy for her!

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DAY 2 OF MY CHALLENGE TO LOSE 50 POUNDS IN 6 MONTHS USING SPARKPEOPLE

I’m on Day 2 of my Challenge To Lose 50 Pounds in 6 Months Using Sparkpeople.

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I know that I don’t have a lot of credibility anymore and I don’t blame you for being skeptical. I have not shown much success in my previous diets such as:

Jenny Craig – I really thought that their meals tasted the best; but I was always hungry because I didn’t add the fruit and veggies like you’re supposed to. (btw, I had Jenny Jones listed and nobody corrected me. Man, is anybody reading this stuff?)

Seattle Sutton – Too much of a hassle finding room in the refrigerator for both my husband’s and my meals

Weight watchers – 5 Times – Need I say more?

Private nutritionist – I already knew what they were telling me.

Juicing (which actually did work; however, I’ve gone back to my old habits.)

Diet Pills (The worst)

Except for when I juiced, I have not lost any weight at all.

Seriously, this time is different.

So, I’m really on track now. I’ve entered all my information into Sparkpeople and I’m set to go.

I weighed myself this morning and I’m down .5 pounds.

January 1, 2014:  187.0

January 2, 2014:  186.5

WHOO HOO! I’m already losing weight.

I’d love to eventually incorporate some juicing in here, however, I think right now that’s a stretch.

So, what did I do to lose this astonishing amount in only one day?

I ate a pear (I hate fruit)  and only had an Eating Right ice cream cone and sunflower seeds for snacks.

Genius, I tell you.

I’d love to have you join me in this new challenge.

 

LOSING 50 POUNDS IN 6 MONTHS CHALLENGE

Yes, this is my challenge: Losing 50 Pounds in 6 Months!

I Believe Sparkpeople.com to  be the best online diet support and I’m going to actually use it this time for my challenge. (I have no affiliation with Sparkpeople and I am not compensated in any way for mentioning them.)

Here is my previous review:

Tara reminded me in the Comments Section about Sparkpeople.com and I have been wanting to write a review on this great site for quite a long time.

sparkpeople1

First of all, Sparkpeople is completely free.  Second of all it is FUN! Seriously, this site is set up in the most unique, fun way to track your food, nutrition, weight, exercise and a million other things. This is the 3rd most visited diet site.
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Here are the pros of Sparkpeople (I am not affiliated with them in any way):

1.  They offer nutrition, health, and fitness tools, support, and resources that are  100% free.
2.  Their trackers are easy to follow and cause you to challenge yourself.

 

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3.  Millions of people use this site and there are different communities you can join that are unique to you.   If you want to join a community of diabetics, you can sign up with that group.  If you want to sign up for those people that share your religious beliefs or live in your state, sign up.  You can sign up for as many communities as you like.

4.  You don’t need to be on a diet to be able to use Sparkpeople.  Their trackers are amazing.  If you’re not sure how many calories and what kind of calories are making up your day, just enter ‘track my food’ and it will lay it all out for you.  Very user friendly.

I met a very nice woman through one of the Spark Teams and we have been ‘pen pals’ for almost 5 years now.

5. The reason I love sparkpeople is because the whole idea isn’t just a weight site, it’s a lifestyle site:  How to become more aware of what you’re eating and doing to keep yourself healthy. It’s education, group support and tools to use for toward your motivation of diet and fitness.  There are also more than 200,000 recipes to be found on the site.

The Cons:

For myself, I did not find any cons; however, I saw on this site this list of cons and thought I would include them:

1.  SparkPeople.com is geared more toward a low-carb high protein diet that some may  not appreciate or be able to maintain.
2.  SparkPeople.com puts emphasis on daily exercise but may not provide regimens for  the severely obese.
3.  SparkPeople.com may be a little user-unfriendly at times and difficult to find  certain online tools. (See reader comments.)
4.  Although physicians are available for answering questions, an answer may not be  provided immediately.

Have you tried Sparkpeople yet?  What are your impressions?

I THINK I MADE MY HUSBAND SICK WITH MY COOKING

FIBER’S GOOD FOR YOU, RIGHT? SO WHY’S MY HUSBAND KINDA SICK?

beans

I was told that I needed to cut down on my red meat, so naturally, I decided my husband should also.  I’ve been searching for recipes and I found this really cool recipe called 8 can Taco Soup. It sounded really good and easy to make.  You just dump 8 cans of ingredients into a large pan and cook it. Can’t get any easier than that, right?

Picture from highheels&grills.com

Anyway, I thought this would be a) Easy to Make b) Cheap c) Healthy.

So, off I went to Safeway to buy 7 Cans. (I just can’t imagine eating chicken from a can so I used a rotissere chicken.)

One of the ingredients is a can of green enchilada sauce and I went really easy on that as we are both not good with spicy food.

I gotta tell you.  It smelled really good cooking and looks like something that took you all day to make.

Well, I served it up and, oh my gosh, even with my going easy on the green enchilada sauce, it was really spicy and tasted really salty.

My husband said that he didn’t care for it, but he finished one bowl (I think so that my feelings would be somewhat spared.) After all, it did take me an entire 5 minutes to make.

When we went to go to bed that night, I heard his stomach sounding kind of weird.  I was not, in the least, concerned. I mean, the guy eats chili all the time.

When I got up the next morning, he looked really bad, kind of pale-like.

sick man

I said, “what’s wrong? You look bad.”

He answered:  “Don’t you ever make that soup again. I haven’t been able to be away from the bathroom for the last 3 hours.”

I wonder if it was all the beans? I don’t know. I mean, I kind of liked it and thought, except for all the salt, it would be pretty healthy. FIBER? Fiber is good, right? Plus, I read it was only 300 calories a cup.  AND you get to eat Tostata chips with it.

Anyway, it’s been a couple of days and my husband does seem to be better, but now I’ve been forbidden to ever use the recipe again.

I’ll tell you…if you like spicy and you want to make something easy, this is the recipe for you.

Also, I really like the website I got this from, highheelsandgrills.com and have bookmarked it.  There are some really  great sounding recipes without beans.

MY INTERVIEW WITH A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

I have asked a very good friend of mine, G.A., who went through a mastectomy in 2011, to do an interview and describe what lead up to her cancer diagnosis and how she is doing now.

https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1152&bih=614&q=breast+cancer&oq=breast+cancer&gs_l=img.3..0l10.1023.3337.0.3560.13.7.0.6.6.0.138.713.1j6.7.0....0...1ac.1.31.img..1.12.660.KnaxXX4d6uA#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=Pg5pgLUFpfNGeM%3A%3Bo_7EYYDkX6a53M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.rebootwithjoe.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F10%252FBreast-Cancer-Health.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.rebootwithjoe.com%252Fbeyond-pink-a-rainbow-of-colors-may-promote-breast-cancer-survivorship%252F%3B602%3B305

***For privacy purposes, I will refer to my friend as ‘G.A.’.

ME: Hi G.A, thank you for taking the time to give this important and informative interview on your experiences with Breast Cancer.

G.A.: You’re welcome.

ME:  Have you always done the breast self-exam that we’re told to do?

G.A.: I hate to admit it, but I have rarely given myself a self-exam. I would check once in a while.

ME: Did breast cancer run in your family?

G.A.: No…there hasn’t been any breast cancer in my family, except for me.

ME: Had you had any symptoms?

G.A.: No symptoms whatsoever.

ME: How did you first find out you had breast cancer?

G.A.: I have always been prudent about getting my yearly mammogram.

In 2006, on my 50th birthday, I was dIagnosed with breast cancer and told I would need a lumpectomy. This was after a mammogram showed a ‘spot’ and then a biopsy to check for cancer.  The cancer was located near the chest wall in the center of my breast, so the doctor didn’t catch it when he gave me a breast exam at my yearly gynecological appointment.  Fortunately, he sent me to get a mammogram every year.

I was told a small area, where the cancer was, would be removed, plus 2 lymph nodes (which came back negative). Since the cancerous cells were going to be taken out, I wasn’t too concerned because the type of cancer I had wasn’t a fast-spreading, scary kind of breast cancer. This type of cancer responds well to tamoxifen, which I started taking after radiation treatment.

The breast cancer I had was the “estrogen receptor positive” kind. As a participant of a clinical trial, called ” Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation” I did a special radiation treatment from the inside of the lumpectomy 2 times a day for only 5 days vs. the 4-6 weeks of whole breast radiation. This was the 1st clinical study I was in. Maybe if I had done the whole breast radiation, I wouldn’t have gotten the second bout that required the mastectomy. I also joined, and am still in, the “TAILORX study”,

They contact me once a year and get a copy of my yearly mammogram. That had to do with gene testing and whether to do just tamoxifen or tamoxifen and chemo for people who scored in the “middle” on the “oncotypedx” test.

Five years later, I got diagnosed with “ductal carcinoma in situ which means there were cancer cells in my milk duct. They saw micro-calcifications on my mammogram. This type of cancer doesn’t have a lump and can only be found by mammogram.

The calcifications aren’t necessarily cancer. If found on a mammogram, it has to be verified cancerous with a biopsy. I wasn’t concerned until the biopsy verified the cancer.

For 5 years, despite the lumpectomy, I still had cleavage and I felt pretty normal.

They don’t do 2 lumpectomies on the same breast, so I had to face a mastectomy. The plastic surgeon refused to do the reconstruction because I was diabetic and he didn’t feel that I would heal very well after surgery.

So, I was facing not only a mastectomy, but there would be no reconstruction.

ME: You have a husband, a son, a rather large extended family. What were their reactions?

G.A.: This is where a good marriage comes in.

My husband, who does not like me to go under the knife at all let me know that if I was able to do reconstruction later, it was for myself — not for him — because he didn’t care if I didn’t have a breast. He loved me no matter what. He also hates waiting worrying outside an operating room. He figures that more operations mean more risk of something bad happening and he just wanted me alive.

My son was worried enough to come up and ask me point-blank: “Are you going to die?” I told him, Of course..eventually, but not now and no inheritance for you yet.” He was better after that short conversation.

My cousins from my father’s side of the family who are all large-breasted like me, called and wrote. I made sure they knew that I was diagnosed by mammogram and made sure they were getting checked out every year. I believe I nagged you too.

ME: Yes, you did and I did go for a mammogram..

ME: Did you need chemotherapy or radiation?

After my mastectomy, there was no radiation or chemo. The doctors just added 5 more years that they wanted me to take tamoxifen.

ME: What would you tell women who are just going through the process now with breast cancer?

G.A.: Boy, that depends on age and circumstance.

I was in my fifties with both surgeries and I’m in a long-term relationship and not having any more kids.

This would have been much, much harder if I were younger, hadn’t had children yet or hadn’t found my soul mate. In those cases, the loss of breast(s) can have a more profound effect on a woman’s quality of life.

“Life” is the vital word in that sentence. I choose life and mourn my breast. In my types of breast cancer, I had that choice. I consider myself lucky, oddly enough.

However, if I were younger, I might have been in a better condition to get reconstruction.  I think that would be important for younger women to feel normal as they got on with their lives.  There is a future after most breast cancers.  The key is to get checked every year and probably be better at self checks than I am.

ME: What products have you found that made your life easier since your mastectomy:

I found a bra that has the prosthesis permanently sewn in, so I don’t have to do anything but put on a bra. I also found a prosthesis that attaches to your chest wall. I’m still looking into that one. Also, when I don’t feel like putting on a prosthesis, I wear a big T-Shirt.

ME: What do you wish the doctors had done or said in he hospital to prepare you for the surgery and after-care?

G.A.: I wish I had been made better aware of the tube inserted inside of me for 10 or more days after surgery, while it’s “draining” liquid into an attached bag.

My husband would hold my bag while I took a shower.

I guess that’s True Love!

The doctors and nurses also didn’t give me much information on prostheses. I have had to do all the research on this myself.

Fortunately, there ARE people out there to help. There was a wonderful shop in Shreveport, Louisiana, where I got my prosthesis and first bras.

Plus, there’s a lot of information on-line.

ME: How are you doing now?

G.A.: I see an oncologist every 6 months.

They are happy, so I am happy that they are happy!

My last mammogram on my left breast was good. I only have to get a half of a mammogram now. I get done in half the time.  I forgot to make sure if they charge me half price now. Okay, I’m done with the ” halves” now.

My present oncologist thinks I should consider the reconstruction, and wants to recommend a plastic surgeon, who might still say they won’t do it. I’m just thinking about it now.

ME: Thank you so much for being so candid and getting this information out.

G.A.:  You’re welcome!

Additional Resources:

National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.

Susan G. Komen.org

Breast Cancer Health Center – WebMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TWITTER DIET UPDATE: WTH?

Here are the results from The Twitter Diet that I am doing with Emily Whalen, of dietgirlvstheworld, that I began on October 1, 2013:

I don’t even know how to explain this.

It’s all gone terribly wrong.

I thought I started out at 188 pounds, but it was actually 184 pounds.

2322648

This is the 3rd week of the Twitter Diet and, while I thought that I had lost 4 1/2 pounds, I’ve actually only lost 1/2 pound. I mean….really, wth?

I feel kinda devastated because I really had made an effort to lose the weight.

https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1152&bih=614&q=sad+fat+woman&oq=sad+fat+woman&gs_l=img.3...1035.3540.0.3796.13.9.0.4.0.0.140.998.1j8.9.0....0...1ac.1.29.img..6.7.777.6nFtXN5zidk#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=Sb9M7sT1UlaS8M%3A%3B-jIS-siJ6ojLyM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.time-riders.co.uk%252Fassets%252F0000%252F1161%252Fsad-face_large.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.time-riders.co.uk%252Farticles%252F2011%252F12%252F21%252Fmy-big-fat-xmas-moan%3B270%3B256

So…I’ve got to really check out some other ideas.

Tomorrow, I will have my blowout with cheese pizza and a big cookie pizza and then start fresh on Wednesday.

Papa John's Mega Chocolate Chip Cake
Papa John’s Mega Chocolate Chip Cake

I have nothing to tell you, but if I were you, I certainly wouldn’t follow my diet advice at this point.

So…that’s the update..it really sucks!

Tovah