Breast Cancer Awareness (Women & Men)

Women & Men (you heard me – men get BC too)… Honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Exam… learn the right way

Who Should Have a Mammogram?
The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend:

Women 40 and older should have mammograms every year. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their health care provider whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them Mammograms Before Age 35 Mammograms before age 35 require a physician’s order. If you are concerned and would like a mammogram, talk with your primary care physician.

If You Notice a Breast Lump or Change. If you find a lump or something that worries you, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don’t panic — eight out of ten lumps are not cancer. Your physician can write an order to schedule your diagnostic mammogram.

Female patient with radiology tech mammogram Schedule a Mammogram. Women 40 and older should have mammograms every year. Schedule yours now.

Always with Light & Love Angels!



August 25, 2015 was six years since my diagnosis of Breast Cancer and so much has changed.  I cannot believe it’s been that long ago as it seems like just last year.  An update:

I have gotten used to my new look, though at times they are uncomfortable and I must admit that there are times when I look in the mirror only to see someone different and not the me I remember growing up.  Cancer has taken a lot from me, but given me insight on life and people;
I am now able to get checkups once a year and not every three months or every six months.  Myself and my doctors here in California keep and eye on my numbers very closely.  I stated in my posts that I was unsure of finding a doctor that I can really trust and feel comfortable without here, but I have (after a long and difficult search and having many trial and error with other doctors) found one that is nice and really seems to care about me and make sure I am well.  And, to top it off, he has my older brother’s birthday, so it must be a sign that he’s ok;

My cousin Bobby has since passed away – God Rest His Soul!  He was a fighter to the end and gave me such encouragement.  I sure miss him and our talks, but I know he is here with me and guides me to enjoy this life to the best of my ability, for him as well as for myself;

Rob is always with me, he takes great care of me (we take care of each other), and still loves me for who I am.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been thru so much already and he hasn’t run for the hills.  I believe our experience with my diagnosis changed him as well as all those around us.  I believe it opens their eyes (if they haven’t turned and run from you because you care sick – because they cannot handle it) to how precious life is and not complain about the small stuff, but just appreciate everything in life a bit more.

Breast Cancer ~ Once you have gone thru the surgeries and treatments, once your hair has grown back out and you can restart your life, it’s never really over.  Once you have gone thru all of that, no one tells you or talks to you about the mental aspects of having gone thru something like this.  You have to figure out how to handle seeing the new you, the new you after surgeries, after hair loss and regrowth, after changing your eating habits, and the new you with knowing that you might be Cancer free, but in the back of your head (most of the time) is that little voice saying that it feels like it’s never really gone.  You pray that it is, you try to take care of yourself in a better way, and you stay up to date with your doctors.  That is why it is vital to find a doctor and staff that care about their patients and not just another patient to see.  There is a difference.  The images stay with you forever, the feelings of that entire process stay with you, but at the end of the day you have relearned that life is a gift, being on this earth with family and friends is a gift, you are a gift.

Positivity is KEY in your life during this process and always after as well as managing your stress.  You have no patience for and care to be around any negativity whether it be from family, friends, or just hearing someone on the train complaining about life or the weather when you know that it is a gift to even be here standing and breathing for that matter.  You have to just walk away at that time and just breathe and pray for patience and guidance.

So, you live your life, you take chances in life, you learn new things, you travel, you enjoy your family and friends and be with them often, you live your life for yourself as well as for the loved ones who have passed and say a cheer to them daily when you have that glass of red wine.  You live life and enjoy because it can be gone in an instant without a sign or a clue that it’s coming.

This is what I have learned and the way I live my life.  So, here’s to you all and may you all be happy, healthy, and loved by many furry babies, family and friends.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my posts/blog.  It and you are greatly appreciated!

Always with Light, Love, Strength, and Enlightenment!  Cheers!

A couple photos I thought I’d share from a shoot in 2013 with our favorite photographer, Joshua Weinfeld.   Live Life Right…    8)

ROB_DAWN 2013   Me, Myself & I  Photos by Joshua Weinfeld Photography –




Thinking about Bobby, Always. Second surgery day at 9:30 a.m. I have to be there at 7:30 a.m. Rob and I did not get out of there until 3:00 ish. My implant surgery today as well as the removal of my port.

** I have to say that the port they give you from the very beginning affects you in many ways.  First you can’t believe you have to have this port for medications on your chest.  It looks like a bump on your chest and you try to cover it up with clothing, but nothing really works because you always know it’s there.  It can be uncomfortable at times, but you eventually get used to it.  After a while, it becomes your best friend – so to speak – because all the medications get injected into your blood stream thru here and it makes life easier suing the port.  The port has become your saving grace and now by the time you are finished with your treatments and surgeries, it is now time for one last surgery and the port to be removed.  You have mixed feelings about this because you have been on medications for so long and this port, this thing/lump on your chest has been there for you and made the process of the medications easier.  You really don’t want to let it go, but in order to move on, you must.  It’s really a sad moment in time and a bit scary.


Third and last surgery today. I had to be there at 11:00 when the surgery was at 1:00. Rob & I did not get out of there until 7:00 p.m. I was not as nervous as the last two surgeries.


I have had many check ups with regard to my implants, but as of July I was pretty much done. Oh did I forget to mention that when you have a double mastectomy, you have just the implants under your skin.  No more areola or nipple. So, in order to make everything look as natural as possible, skin is taken from somewhere else on your body and attached here.  Another fun surgery, right? But, Dr. Bosshardt did a great job as usual.  I couldn’t ask for a better doctor.


I started paddling with WOW, Warriors on Water Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boating Team. What an awesome experience with a great bunch of ladies. Our first competition is on 10­-16­-10. A lot of fun and a great learning experience. Love those ladies!!!

Warriors on Water Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boating TeamOur team is Warriors on Water and our mission is to create, inspire, and sustain a community of breast cancer survivors who share in the empowering, therapeutic, and symbolic sport of dragon boating.

9-­10 to 9-­12-­10

Attended camp this weekend at the Faces of Courage camp with the ladies of WOW, Warriors on Water. Had a great time, met a lot of great ladies and had a lot of great and new experiences such as body paint, drums, meditation, and just a relaxing time away from phones, computers and life in general.

Faces of Courage – We are a non-profit organization located in the Tampa Bay area that offers free camps and events for women,men and children with cancer and blood illnesses. Though we are located in Florida, some of our camps are attended by women, men and children from all over the country. We strive to provide a judgment-free, comfortable atmosphere where women, men and children can relax and just have fun.


Well all has been going pretty well. I have been feeling good and getting used to my new breasts. I found that a month or two ago I was having pain in both my knees so I let Dr. Kunta know who sent me for a Bone Scan. Well the results were on 10-­5­-10 wherein Dr. K said that my knees were good (I could run a marathon), but what about the pain in my hip, my left hip. I said “what?” I am here for knee pain not hip pain. Nonetheless, the scan picked up something on my left hip so I was sent out for an MRI as soon as possible.

That was on 10-­5-­10 when the scheduler at Dr. Kunta’s office was given the task of scheduling me an MRI ASAP. Well it was 10­-15 and I had no word so I called them to say “where is my appt?” She was clueless so I had to remind her that Dr. Kunta wanted it ASAP and it was now 10-­15 and I had no word? Needless to say I got a call back from her within 20 minutes with an MRI appt scheduled for 10­-18 at 9:00 at Horizen Open MRI on West 50 in Ocoee. I went in today for my appt and was there for 3 1⁄2 hours and in so much pain from the position I was lying in. It was awful. I get my results on Wednesday, 10-­20.

** I have no patience for incompetent people who do not pay attention and take care of Cancer patients as they are supposed to!


A new chapter … posing nude while being body painted by artist Lisa Scholder at her home in Tampa, FL. Rob came with me, Peggy Sherry of Faces of Courage was there as well as photographer Jim Webb.  What great people!  Jim was interviewing me while videoing the process, he let Rob use him camera and take pictures for him of the process and it all felt natural.  Being nude in front of others after all I had been thru was actually liberating.  I didn’t really care! All for a good cause I say – and it was!


Wow! I cannot believe it has been a year and a half since being told I have Cancer. I am doing well. I am still with the Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team, WOW – Warriors on Water. I have been for almost 10 months now. I am feeling better, getting used to my implants, trying to workout more and paddling. Other than the mental aspects that come later, all is well.

The mental aspects – yes – no one really talks to you about that or mentions it.  This is a very long process and something that affects you for a long time to come.  It never really goes away, Cancer is always in the back of your mind.


To say the least this is has been quite a few years for me. As of this month Rob accepted a position in California. So, without further adieu he is being transferred there with Universal Hollywood. This means ALL NEW DOCS for me. Oh lord!!

Our baby Labrador, Tucker, has recently passed (God Bless him and his big heart & soul)! We buried him at the top of the hill in the back yard of our home. He was supposed to come with us whenever we decided to move anywhere! He is always with us though – I can feel it. I sure miss my big boy!


Rob leaves this day for a cross country trip to California since he starts his job on the 18th. So, I am here alone with Cleo & Caesar and my family of course, but alone nonetheless.


Yeah! We finally rented the house in Clermont so now I am free to go be with Rob. The new tenants move in on the 15th so I will pack up and move in with dad. God love him. We both need the company. Ha! Ha! He has two cats and so do we. This should be fun!


Traveling to Ybor City to attend the Ybor City Art Show to promote our Bodies of Courage Calendar for 2012 with Lisa Scholder and Peggy Sherry. You remember, the one I posed nude for.  Great Breast Cancer survivors in the calendar including myself. Lisa did a great job. What a great artist and a great experience for myself! I absolutely loved it and to see the calendar completed is awesome. So if anything is taken away from this experience it is this: Never say you can’t do something! Life is too short not to at least try something at least once. And then and only then can you say that you don’t like it. No excuses! Be daring, be fearful, be … who you were meant to be! That is the one thing Cancer has taught me.


Beach weekend with one the best cousin a girl could ask for and another Cancer Survivor. Robert Ellrich, Jr (Bobby) who is a fighter beyond belief! He is so strong, so fearful, so brave! I love him so much! I might be strong and might have helped him along the way, but he has helped me more than he knows. I might help him to fight, but let me tell you ladies and gentlemen he helps me to fight and to carry on the fight! We fight together! We look at Cancer and laugh and say “Is this all you
got!” We have faith, we have life, we have love, we have each other!


It has been 2 years since my visit with Dr. Lewis (my OB) wherein she wanted me to go ahead and get my mammogram and whom I will say with all my heart who saved my life! I go today for a check up as usual. This will be my last visit with her since I am moving to California. She is so nice, so caring, so sweet, such a great doctor who I know I can call a friend and call should I need anything.

Leaving my doctors is hard. They all saved me and give me strength. It hurts to leave! I must be honest, I worry about leaving. Will I find doctors I California with such a good bedside manner as I found here in Clermont, FL. I pray I do as I will not settle for less. My life is too valuable to me to put in the hands of someone without heart and a soul.


Today I met with my favorite Oncologist, Dr. Kunta. What a great doctor! He has taken care of me, made me laugh and has been there through all my Chemotherapy sessions. I will miss him, Jade and Billisha. Jade is the receptionist whom I have come to depend on and love as she has always been there to help me in a moments notice. Help like that is hard to find much less help from a person with a big heart and a caring soul. And last, but not least, Billisha. Billisha and Laura (another nurse who is no longer there) helped to take care of me when I was in for my Chemo sessions. They always made sure I had my meds before I came in and then made sure I was comfortable once I got there. I know that is there job, but they always took it one or two steps more making it more than there job, they really care and you can’t put a price on that. They took great care of me and Rob because Rob as you know by now, went with me every time I went to a doctor appt or a chemo session – every single time.

My checkup and numbers came out well and Dr. Kunta was very happy with the way things looked. God bless him as I wish him and his staff well. Thank you for everything.


New adventures await! While I am a survivor in every way, shape and form, I look forward to the new adventures, challenges and anything else God and life has in store for me. I will not settle for less and will triumphant in spirit, heart and soul no matter what! I am a fighter, we are all fighters, we are all brothers and sisters in Cancer and through God our Father for with him and through him all things are possible. My faith, fight, family and good doctors brought me through this and I am here to tell you all that life is worth fighting for. Love is worth fighting for. Family is worth fighting for. You yourself are worth fighting for.

Thank you for reading my journal of my experience thru the Breast Cancer process.   I hope this brings light to help others understand how this affects an individual being diagnosed with Cancer and how if affects his or her spirit and his or her determination to fight such an awful disease .

Always with Light, Love, Strength, Enlightenment and Our Warrior Within ~

Cousins  Some of the cousins at Bobby’s Beach Weekend

FoC Camp FoC

Faces of Courage Camp ~ Debbie & I

WOW  Warriors on water Dragon Boat Team – Oct. 2010  Love my Team!

Ybor City Art Show Ybor City Art Show with Peggy of FoC & artist, Lisa

BOC CAlendar

Bodies of Courage Calendar – This is me ~ I made the cover!

Never give up ~ Never stop fighting!

Always with Light, Love, Strength, Enlightenment and Our Warrior Within ~




This week was a regular work week and an office visit to Dr. Bosshardt for one more expansion.  I want no regrets and feel this is a good choice.  I am not that big, just slightly bigger than I was originally.  After today, I have a two-week waiting process before we start moving toward the 20% and then we wait two (2) months before surgery.  Surgery for the reconstruction process and the removal of the port that I have had for so long.


My LAST chemo.  YEAH!  A little nervous as there is a feeling of comfort knowing that you are getting medication to help fight the cancer, but on the other hand those same medications are brutally hard on your body.  With that, I am ready for the last one and know that the cancer has NOT spread and by staying on my same nutritional path and exercise I can keep the cancer away forever and be a survivor forever with no re-occurrence.  I worked a half day Monday, a full day on Tuesday, had my last shot on Wednesday (for my immune system) – – cold and hurt like heck!!, worked half a day Thursday (Christmas eve) and we were off Friday.  Yeah!  Nice week – finally.

I was ill Thursday and Friday and started to get better Saturday.  Rob & I went over to see the family for Christmas Saturday since I was unable to on Christmas day.  Happy Birthday to Heather Marie who is 19 this year on Christmas.  Unbelievable.

I have to say that although I do not regret my decision regarding the “one more expansion”, they are getting so uncomfortable that I cannot wait for surgery so as to actually have the implants in that are more comfortable and so I can sleep better.  These things are feeling hard and now I know what exactly the doctors meant when they said that there would be no feeling in your breast, no normal feeling, as that is exactly what I am experiencing and am uncertain on how I feel about that.  Having a double mastectomy takes all feeling away.  Not that I really had a choice in the matter.


I have a short week this week what with New Years and all.  I am off Thursday (personal day) and Friday is New Years day, 2010.  Rob and I are off to St. Augustine, FL for the weekend of New Years 2010 and look forward to a little vacation.  It has been a long last six (6) months and I need a little away time.  St. Augustine is always a great place to go for a getaway.

12-30-09 to 12-31-09

New Years Eve and Anniversary on 1-1:  Rob & I traveled to St. Augustine, FL where we go every year and stay at the Carriage Way Bed & Breakfast.  John, Larry & Bill are so great and our stay is always the best.  We got there on the 31st and spent New Years Eve watching the ball drop with John.  The rest of the weekend was nice as Rob & I ate at some very nice restaurants (The Reef, The Bubble Room, The Maya Restaurant, and The Florida Cracker) and finding out what I could eat became a little easier.


Our anniversary, three (3) years.  Rob & I spent the day touring around St. Augustine and had dinner at “The Reef”.  A nice restaurant on the water there with a nice view.  A lot has happened in our three years married – and he’s still hanging around.  Most would have already left me and probably couldn’t handle it.  I say this from experience losing friends and family while I am ill.


Today I am set to get my first set of scans after the chemo treatment.  My first scan, the PET scan is at 7:00 a.m. and the CT is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.  Rob is going with me to get them done and we wait for a week to get the results on the 18th at 3:00 p.m. with Dr. Kunta.

All went well and after Rob & I went to breakfast at Perkins.  Now, the fun is over and back to work.

Today I was surprised by an early 40th birthday party at the restaurant “Dutch” by Rob.  He had asked me if I wanted to go with him to Home Depot to refill the grill tank and then to lunch.  So sure, I was up to it.  We decided on lunch at Dutch, me not knowing that there was a party in the back.

When I walked in, Dutch (the owner) took us to the back where there was better seating – through the kitchen I might add – and when I walked through everyone yelled “surprise.”  I started to cry because it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.  There were many people who actually wanted to be there to show me that they loved me and are happy that I am here, 40, and we all know I will be Cancer free.  For a small list of who was there: Bob and Annaliese, mom and dad, Randy & Cheryl, Heather and Brittany, Trina, David and Brittany, Theresa, Uncle Frank and Aunt Mary, Uncle Jack and Aunt Jill, Heath, Karlos, Matt, Sandy and Matt’s mom, Lynn (from work), Cindy & Kathy (from work), Barry & Kristi, Yvette and her two children, and Lori and Megan.  What a great surprise.

After my last 20% expansion this morning with Dr. Bosshardt, I had a 3:00 appt with Dr. Kunta for my results of my scans.  Dr. Kunta advised that my scans were perfect, clean and clear and told me he would continue to treat me to keep the Cancer away.  I got a name and number of a Dermatologist, Heather Brock, so I could have them check my skin so I can stay Cancer free.


40th Birthday ~ Hmm… I MADE IT!!  Rob was sick the past two days or so, but made me a nice  dinner here at home.


Now that I am Cancer free, I am going to need to stay on top of it by keeping up with my nutritional habits as well as my continued exercising.  No going back to the ways of before.  Something like this changes you and makes you realize what is really important in life and what you should do in order to stay here longer to see your nieces and nephews grow up and graduate and grow old with your brothers whom you would miss so very much.  I always knew prior to this what things were important and not so much as well as worth fighting for, but Cancer puts it greater perspective and you literally find yourself not in the mood for any negativity from anyone.

So – – I wait for my hair to start growing back and sit for two (2) months while I await my appt on March 4th with Dr. Bosshardt to schedule my surgery for my implants.  Thank goodness for insurance!  If my insurance did not pay for reconstructive surgery, I would have never gotten it. I was lucky enough to have that choice.  They do not mean that much to me nor would I miss them. Besides, Rob already said he did not marry me for my breasts or looks, but for my heart and what’s inside.  So with that, I could not ask for anything more.


The weeks have passed with no new events until the first week here in February.  My hair started to show some growth.  Although, my eyebrows and eye lashes continue to fall out.  Rob says that my new lashes and brows are pushing out the old ones.  Hmm…, maybe so.  I any case, just this past week, the week of the 15th, my expander on the left side has been causing me pain.  It has somehow come to a point inside on the left side under or close to my arm and managed to make a bruise and pinch a nerve at the same time.  The pain is sharp although not all the time.  It is only once maybe twice a day with little jolts here and there throughout.  Goodness, just when I think I can reach for that glass or wash my head in the shower the jolts or pain come.

*** On A Side Note**

Wigs, wigs and more wigs ~ Since I have no hair, I have been experimenting with wigs here and there.  Nothing too extreme, yet.  They seem to fit well and don’t look too bad.  I’ve always had really curly hair and could not find a good curly wig, so I went for straight.  I don’t wear them all the time.  Most times I prefer a little bandanna.  In the evenings, my head gets so cold that I have a little red and white stripped hat I wear to bed to keep my hear warm.  Thank goodness for this.


I went to see Dr. Bosshardt today where he took some fluid out of my expanders thinking that might help, but it did not. I told him it would not matter because the expander came to a point inside and the size would not matter. Oh well. I only have to live with it until March 19, that is when my surgery is scheduled. Yeah!! I hope everything looks better than I expect and goes well.

Later this night, Rob & I were given an invite to go see the true story, movie, called “Letters to God”. It was a very good story about a little boy with brain cancer who writes letters to god and prays about many different things and people. It was filmed here in Clermont/Winter Garden. It was very sad, but a good story for all to learn from.

2-­24 to 3-­12

I seem to be feeling just fine other than the pain I keep having in my left expander. It has come to a point underneath my skin and is either pinching my skin or a nerve underneath. In any case, it is quite a jolt of pain when it happens and I never know when it will. I cannot wait for surgery.


A beautiful day for a Winter park 10k run. My first 10k, Yeah ­ ­ I finished in 1 hour and 28 minutes. Not so bad. Matt, Sandy and I walked/jogged it and had a good time. Rob’s knee was still hurting him from his 300 mile ride a few weeks back so he did not do it.


We found out today that my cousin, Bobby, has Colon Cancer.  The family is not telling him *just yet as they need him to recover from his operation on his intestine/appendix he just had yesterday, March 17. I pray God gives him the strength and the immune system to fight this. He’s been through so much and is such a fighter. He is my light and my strength!!

Anniversary    At Bike Race




I went back to work for the first full day of work and felt good.


Rob (ran) and I (walked) the Susan G. Komen 5k Race for the Cure at UCF. The race started at 7:45 a.m. Rob & I rode there with our doctor, Dr. Jason Boardman (surgeon), his staff and other cancer patients on a Coach Bus #5501. We had a really good time with a ceremony afterwards.


Back to work this week.  Can’t wait to see the gang!


Back to see Dr. Bosshardt today. Second expansion went very well. I felt the saline expand the expanders this time. Have to wait for the next until 11/12 as Dr. Bosshardt is on vacation.


The time went by just fine. Going back and forth to work, doing things around the house, etc. Everything was fine except for the fact that the week of the 29th my scalp started to ache and my hair started to fall out, a lot. So, as I have stated to others before, I took matters into my own hands.


As I was getting ready for work and was doing my hair, I noticed more of my was falling out. So, I prayed that it would just last until that night when I could get home and Rob could cut it off for me. The time has come!  When I got home from work, Rob & I went to dinner (Crispers) and afterward we came home where he brought out the new clippers we bought and began to cut my hair. He first used a #4 all over my head except for right down the middle where we tried to give me a Mohawk, but my hair was so thick and curly that it wanted to fall over. LOL! We took a picture anyway. After that, Rob began to continue with my hair cut by using a #1 on my head, which made my hair even shorter. We took another picture and that is when I decided to go even shorter as I did not want to have to see my hair fall out. We used just the flat clipper on my head which made it as short as you can go before you shave it. All went well and I never cried or got upset. I had been ready for this
for quite a long time and had come to terms with the fact that I was going to lose my hair, but as long as I had a say in it, it was going to be on my terms, not the terms of the cancer!


Missed Halloween with the family. Apparently Britt changed her mind and did not want to dress up this year. Rob & I went to dinner and came home, no trick or treaters here this year or for any year as far as that goes. No kids on this street.

11-­1 to 11­-5

The week went by just fine. Went to work, bought birthday cards for Britt and Randy, things around the house, picked up prescriptions for my chemo on Friday and such. A steady week waiting for Friday to get here. I am so ready to get these chemotherapy sessions going in order to get them over and restart my life.


Finally, second chemo session is here. I worked a half a day and then Rob & I went for our 1:00 p.m. appointment. Had a quick meeting with Dr. Kunta and then we had our injection of meds. Not so bad, I took a couple of naps in there somewhere. We started at 1:00 and ended at 5:30. It was a long day, but now I have 2 sessions left. YEAH!!! Britts 11th b­irthday today also! I called and sang the Happy B­irthday song to her.  My nieces and nephews are awesome!  I love their birthdays!
11­-7 to 11­-8

I am feeling ok so far (usually do the first two days). Today the 7th is another beautiful day and am ok so far. Church tomorrow. Checked the mail today, our invoice from South Lake Hospital was in there with a total of over $60,000.00. Our portion was $331.00. Thank goodness for insurance. Goodness gracious.


Ok so I did not make church yesterday as I was not feeling well and slept in. Monday was ok in the morning, but it hit me earlier that same day. The nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches, very weak, body aches, teeth aches, just all in all the ugh feeling. The flu feeling as they say. Rob & I went to Dr. Kunta’s office for my shot, and my blood pressure was 88/58. A little LOW. Yes, I know I need to drink more water. I try, I really do. I am trying to drink anything to keep the fluids in me. I do not know why it is difficult for me. And no, I do not want to go to the hospital for fluids or Dr. Kunta’s office for that matter. I did remember to call my big brother, Randy, for his b­day today.  I can hardly believe it – just glad I’m here to see it.  Rob has been taking great care of me and I could not ask for anyone or anything more than him being here.


Out of work today as well. Not well, but getting better. Every day gets a little better. Went for a walk today, but I get weak and tired more often at this time.  Inside all day, but we went out to Crispers for salads and fruit. Spending time with Rob is always a great time. I did find however, when we went to the Sweet Bay Supermarket after that people tend to stare at you when you have no hair. I am sure they are not trying to be rude, just wondering so I think (as Rob suggested) that I get a shirt made that says “I HAD Cancer” so the wondering is left out. It says it plain as day and they can stop staring. Oh well. Who really cares! It is just one of many things that I have noticed since all of this has taken place.


Had another expansion today. Dr. Bosshardt put in 120 cc’s, which puts me at 300 cc’s. Not sure how much longer I will go in to be expanded. I am not going to be too big, just comfortable.

I would never in a million years have reconstructive surgery on any part of my body, but when faced with Cancer – I guess some things change.  I would have never done it had it not been for my illness.  It’s just not me.

11-­13 to 11-­14

Very nice days. Beautiful weather. Shopping around for a stainless Rice Steamer. Boy are they hard to find. Rob & I went into JC Penny and saw a woman walking out with her daughter who could not stop staring at me, and Rob. I find that very rude. As I mentioned it to Rob, he made a statement that I should just stop and say something like “Yes, I have Cancer and this is what my head looks like without hair.”  I feel deep down that I might just do that if it happens again as I feel this is very rude and it is happening way too often. Lord grant me the proper tongue to use when addressing this situation.


Church at 9:30 at Real Life. Pastor Justin is such a great Pastor. He makes the sermons interesting and funny. I enjoy his sermons and his antics he uses to get us all involved and stay interested. I found at the end being drawn to the baptisms. I have been told that I was baptized as a baby, but I do not remember. I have been through so much lately and know that God and others are with me always, but there is something about being baptized, again. I feel that in order to help others in any way, shape or form and myself, I need this.  I know that God is with me, my Angels are beside me, and that I am loved beyond measure.  This I never doubted and trust.  I know – just know, there is no question about it.  I can’t explain it, it just is.


Another session with Dr. Bosshardt for another expansion process. Went out to see Larry, Leah, & Cody, Skip & Barbara, John & Arlene as well as Terry & Glen (w/ daughter) to Lake Buena Vista. It had been years since I had seen them. Randy, Cheryl, Heather & Brittany were there as well as mom & dad.  It was so nice to have everyone under one roof again.  It’s been so long and so many years have passed.  We all grew up together in South Florida.  Oh the memories!!

Here are a few pics I wanted to share…

Randy & I   Randy & I

Gang  The Gang!!

Me  Ah, no hair and a smile!



I used to get my nails done before all this. I really enjoyed that one little thing I could do for myself, but as I stared down at my nails I was reminded that as it turned out, it would not be good for me as a Cancer patient to have them done any longer. It just was not safe and I could not take any chances with my health. So, on September 29, 2009,  I had a nail appointment to take off the Gel nails that I had on. They were my real nails underneath, but I needed the Gel soaked off
before surgery and chemo because I cannot take the risk of being around any area like a nail salon
due to health reasons. The following day we had plans for dinner with the family at Olive Garden
across town. As we all walked in we were escorted to a table in the back of the restaurant. It was
nice to have everyone together, almost everyone. My younger brother, Jay, lived in CT and so far away. Jay and I were so close growing up, but as we got older and he had a family we kind of grew apart. I remember sitting there in the chair surrounded by my family and missing him at the same time. As I leaned over to say something to my younger niece, Brittany, I happen to look up and see this guy walking this way across the restaurant. It was Jay! I was so excited I could not believe it. Jay flew in to surprise me in order to be here with me for my procedure. I was so surprised and was so very happy to see him that I started to cry at seeing him there at the restaurant. For him to fly all this way and be here for me at the time of my surgery made my heart complete.

October 2, 2009 is here and as I wake up this morning I tend to move slowly. I feel a little outside of myself and am not really effected yet by the impending surgery to remove both my breasts and reconstruction at the same time. Surgery is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today, so I need to be at the hospital at 11:00 a.m. to check my system with regard to the radiation injection that was given to me the day before. After I checked in, I was taken upstairs to the second floor where I was prepped for surgery. I was so nervous and just knew that I would wake up sometime soon and this would all be a dream.  Still reeling through my head is the saying “Is this really happening and am I really going to have my two breasts removed because of Cancer?” I was so nervous that Rob & I had our Wills prepared by Eric S. Mashburn, P.A. on September 28, 2009. I knew it was not my time, but you never know. I was not ready to go, but I was prepared, had no regrets and everyone knew I loved them. After I was in a gown, in bed and an IV inserted to relax me, Rob came back and stayed with me and then my family came in to visit one last time before I went in. When mom came in she started crying, which made me cry and then Jay cry who came in after her. Dr. Bosshardt and Dr. Boardman came in to see me and make sure everything was ready to go. It was nice to see them. The nurses were very nice and attentive and so was the anesthesiologist who reminded me of my cousin Kimmie in Maryland. All the way down to her mannerisms. That made me feel good as she was the last face I saw before I went under and she said that “I will be right here taking care of you.”  Ah, I feel peace. I gave Rob a kiss goodbye while crying at the same time that I was being rolled down the hallway toward surgery. At that moment, I did realize that I was scarred of not coming out of surgery. When I jumped out of a perfectly good plane, I was not scared of not making it to the ground in one piece.  But with this, I was scarred of not waking up. Is that strange or what?
One of the nurses stopped to get me a warm blanket, which is when I proceeded to converse with a
fellow patient who I saw in another bed. I said “Hi” and so did he. Nervousness again, but being
friendly to others. As I was wheeled into surgery, everyone was talking about food and I had not
eaten since the night before so I made a joke about them discussing food in front of me. Ha!
Other than the face of the anesthesiologist, that is the last thing I remember.

I stayed two nights in the hospital (and so did Rob). He slept in the chair right beside me. I was so surprised that he really did that. He said he was going to, but I did not think he would. That made me feel so much better knowing that I was not alone in the hospital. The two days went by without incident. I had a lot of pain what with the drains on each side, a new port on my upper left side of my chest and a pain pump attached as well for the pain in my chest. It was all something else. I could
not do a thing without Rob there to help me. He was there for me the whole entire time with the moving, restroom needs, and feeding me. Family and friends came in and out to visit me and make sure I was doing well. Randy and Cheryl had brought my nieces, Heather and Brittany up to visit me.  Brittany helped feed me after she was assured that I was ok. I had her come up onto the bed with me so that she could see I was in fact alright. God love her!! She is so sweet that she did not want to hurt me.



The following day on August 28 and at 9:15 a.m., Rob & I met with a man who would be a
part of our lives for quite some time, Dr. Gopal Kunta, an oncologist who had a great bedside
manner and is so very nice to talk to. He stated that since I was a triple negative he would be very
aggressive with my treatment in that he would suggest four cocktails. So, between this information
and the fact that he is sending me for four scans, a CT, PET, MUGA and Bone scan, I wanted a
second opinion. With that in mind, I set out for an appointment with MD Anderson Cancer
Center for the following week. After my appointment with a doctor there who stated that while
my case is aggressive, four cocktails do not prove scientifically and beyond a shadow of a doubt to
be any better than just three. With this information in hand, I decided to stay with Dr. Kunta and go with just the three cocktails and lose the last cocktail as it would be hard on my heart in years to come. If there was no research in place stating that four was any better than three and if it were not for the fact that the results were the same no matter which way you went, then by all means I am going to not put any undue medical issue on my heart than is already going to be there. My scans were all set with a CT scan and a PET scan scheduled for August 31st, a MUGA scan for September 4th, and a BONE scan for September 1st.

As Rob & I walked into the office building for my first round of scans to come in a long
line of scans I looked around and noticed that we were all there for the same reason, Cancer. The
wait was not long, but intense at the same time. A nurse came out and called my name and off I
went. We walked outside to a trailer like building as this was where they did their CT scans. This
was a trailer that could be moved from office to office in order to assist everyone in need. The
nurse and I took the little outside elevator up to the doorway and in I went. As I walked in I
noticed this big machine to the left where I would later lay down and be scanned, a computer table
directly in front of me for the nurse to monitor me and then to my right was a chair where I sat
down and she prepared a little cocktail for me to drink, which looked like and tasted like flat
Sprite, but of course it wasn’t. It was a medical drink, which lights up your insides so as to see
what’s going on in there. After the CT scan I was escorted back into the office building where I
would be getting a PET scan. I was then taken back to a room where, when I walked in I noticed
this bigger machine that I would later be scanned by and was given another cocktail that tasted like
a smoothie, a coconut drink. But of course this too was a medical drink wherein it highlighted your
inner being so as to see it more clearly. All in all the scans were not so bad. The drinks you have
to take to do a CT scan and a PET scan were as well as could be expected.  I suppose they could have been worse. With all of that said and done, my results came back clean. It did not look as though the cancer had spread anywhere else.

On August 31st Rob & I met with Dr. Graham, a radiologist who we eventually would not
need, but did not know that at the time. I was nervous, a bit scared and still waiting to wake up from this because I just felt fine. But I would never tell anyone else that. I just prayed a lot and put it all – in God’s hands. My meeting with Dr. Graham, the radiologist was a good one. He is a very nice  man who as well liked the way Dr. Boardman and Dr. Kunta were being so aggressive with this as this is a very aggressive type of cancer and a triple negative. We spoke for a while and when Rob and I left, we both felt good about the doctors who were handling our case. Before we walked out the door, however, Dr. Graham gave me a notebook that I had been looking at in his office, the
LIVESTRONG notebook. A big binder with tons of helpful information for Cancer patients,
resources, a place for all of your receipts, your records that you will be getting and inspirational
stories. A GREAT notebook indeed for all to have.

THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF CANCER ~ Part I ~ Have You Ever Wondered What It’s Like…

THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF CANCER ~ Part I ~ Have You Ever Wondered What It’s Like…

In order for us to have a friendship and communicate well, we should get to know each other a little better.  So, I thought I would share my story so others can understand what it’s like to live with and live through Cancer.

I have had mammograms since I was thirty-­five because of a cyst I had found through a
self-examination, which turned out to be only that. When I was thirty­-eight, I had another
Mammogram as I usually do every October which turned out to be clean. Seven months later and
once I had moved to Minneola, FL, I wanted to find another doctor closer than where I was
going in order to be more efficient and close. I located an ad for a Dr. Mary Beth Lewis-
Boardman located here in the Clermont, FL area and proceeded to make her my official new OBGYN.  In July of 2009 as I waited in the cold exam room with nothing on but a gown so as to have my examination, I sat and wondered about the usual day-to-day routines in life. As my examination completed, Dr. Lewis suggested I get a mammogram even though October was right around the corner and was my usual date for such. I sat and wondered and asked why she thought I needed to get the mammogram done now instead of in October. I had even asked if she felt something during the examination. She stated that she did not feel anything but thought that it might be a good idea to go ahead and just get it over with. I could not agree more so I decided to go ahead and let her staff make me an appointment. On week later I was sitting in the waiting area to go back for my mammogram still only thinking of the daily routines in life and that I really need to get back to work. A job I had just started. As I was being called back for my examination, Helen, who had sympathy for the women coming for mammograms was professional yet nice. The machine that is used to squeeze, pull and smash your breast, however, was not so nice or warm I might add.  As my examination ended, Helen stated my test results would be sent out for review and then the results to the doctor.

As we all know, mammograms are compared to the previous so as to make sure
everything is still normal. My mammogram taken that day in July of 2009 was compared to my
prior mammogram taken in October of 2008 and showed abnormalities and I was advised by Dr. Lewis that a biopsy would be needed and she knew just the doctor. In August I went to see Dr. Jason Boardman of Clermont, FL who was very nice and completed the biopsy in a timely manner. Again I was not thinking of a thing other than I am sure this is just cyst as before. I never gave it a second thought that it could be Cancer. I continued through life with my daily routines and my new job just as always when on August 25 and while at work Dr. Boardman called. It was 3:30 p.m. and
slow that day at work at the Law Office of Eric S. Mashburn. I was at my desk working away
on opening new client files and procedures when out of the blue my cell phone rang. I got up from
my desk with my cell phone in my hand and went into the kitchen to talk. It was Dr. Boardman on
the other end who stated he personally wanted to call me and call me at work instead of having me
wait for an official office visit for the news of the biopsy. He went on further to state that my
results had just came back and that the biopsy was proven to be cancerous. He then stated that
there was no easy way to tell anyone this, but I had cancer. I realized I had walked out of the
kitchen and into the hallway of the office (which is a very small office) and was staring down the
hallway into the office of Mr. Mashburn when I remember saying to Dr. Boardman that I
appreciated the fact that he called me and he called me at work to tell me. I would have hated to
have to wait for an office visit to find out. He stated that my case is “Invasive Ductal
Carcinoma and triple negative at that” and that I needed to make an appointment to come in to see
him to discuss this further and as soon as possible. I then, while still in a daze, proceeded to make an appointment for an office visit.

After I hung up the phone and while still in disbelief and shock I called Rob at work to
give him the news. I knew I should not tell him such things at work and it might be better in
person, but he would be upset if I did not call him to tell him right away and I did not think I could
wait until I got home to tell him. When I called Rob at work and told him the news from Dr.
Boardman he was in shock but went right into action. He said that we will fight this and that
treatment is not the same as they had 20 years ago. He was already going into his fighting/action
mode without hesitation. He is a fact getter, researcher, learns and retains a lot especially when it
comes to medical issues and nutrition. He was and is my strength.

To Be Continued…

Until tomorrow my Angels!  Always with Light, Love, Strength, Guidance & Our Warrior Within!