Saturday, June 30, 2012

6/30/12...A NEW BEGINNING!...

June goes out like another burst of SPRING.  OUR rain storms have ended!  The sun is out and the morning has a cool blanket over it.  My morning walk was good.  We will be off to IPAD3 class in a few minutes!  I cannot let June go by without saying this has been the best, exciting month of all for me!  I have learned I will not have a double massectomy!  Instead a lumpectomy and radiation.  A fun, lovely article was written about me.  To top everything off a big surprise!  I will be doing a cap and gown graduation from DAYTONA STATE COLLEGE in May 2013.  My associates degree in COMPUTER SCIENCE!  MAY 2013 is also my eighth birthday!  Goodness!  I mull through all of this from time to time on my walks!  It's just nice how life works through the wrinkles  and sometimes  the finished part  is joyful and rewarding! Hugs, phyllis.. 05/06/1933  Comments?  I always hope?  Press the comment button at the end of this blurb and tell me something good?   hit the blog button!

Friday, June 29, 2012

6/29/12 ...Therapy...and More Therapy..what a help.

Bill now walks with out a cane and he drives.  The therapist continues to come to the house two days a week.  The core of it all are the GLUTES..your but muscles.  Please refer to the earlier posting I did on the BASIC CHAIR SQUATS.  I watched the terapist and he pointed out the difference in Bill's weak side and how to help him with this.  Perhaps you can Google photos of GLUTE exercises, as their are many.  Doing them properly is the key.  Especially when you go to sit down in the chair, you do not sit down all the way.  Just hold that position a few moments and you can feel it in the top of your legs.  All of the GLUTE  excercises you do will keep you from falling.  They will give you more energy.  We can never be too blonde and we can never have to many mucscles of the hips, GLUTES  and thighs. I continue to work on mine! Hugs, phyllis  hit our comment button at the end of this..Tell us how you keep fit?  I bet it's the best!  Share!  05/06/ there!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


My  high hopes for this blog and my web site is to share and get help and comments on life's difficulties of health, life and health issues.  Especially focusing on how you deal with them,
how you got to the other side of life that is more comfortable.  If I cannot find answers I will be please to seek help: doctors, lawyers and give you a proper answer.  It will not be off the cuff, instead it will have a document of fact, if at all possible.  As women we face some of the most baffling things, some at the time hopeless, other times funny, other times lonely.  Let's tell how you got over that hurdle.  Let us know if you have had falls, broken bones, heard a diagnosis that knocked your breathe out! I have been through it.  You have been through it.  The whole thing is to SHARE!  Thank-you to Jane for her comments, its a start for all of us. Hugs, phyllis 05/06/1933   hit the blog button to get this far!


WORKING on NO FALLS..One of the best ways at home, I find and do are chair squats .They are multi-joint exercises that hit the muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs.  No weights or equipment , other than a chair is needed.  This mimics the movements we do and helps with our balance.
1. You need a chair behind you and stand in front of it with feet about hip-shourlder width apart.
2. Contract your belly and keep them tight as you bend the knees and slowly squat towards the chair.
3.  Keep the jnees behing the toes as you sit down on the chair for a few seconds.
4. Contract the glutes and hamstrings to lift up out of the chair and begin extending the legs.
5. Fully extend the legs until you are back to standing position.
6.  Repeat this for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
7.  To progress, squat down until you are just hovering over the chair, but not sitting all the way down.
8.  Always keep the knees in the line with the toes!

All excercises :  Ask your doctor first!  This excercise is one I do daily.  Your glutes are the core of you body protection that helps with balance and I hope keeps us from falls.  Hugs, phyllis  05/06/1933 use the comment button, otherwise permission to print, if you like. No phone numbers or email address or websites will be printed from your comments.  hit the blog button.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Perhaps this will help clear up..the comment button on this blog site..I think if you have a gmail account it is easy to use the comment button. This also helps get your follow photo on the right side..  I do have one and left a comment easy..what are your thoughts on this..can't use the comment may respond through  and put on your message..I have your permission to print it on this telephone # or email addresses will be published/

  1. Trying to figure out the red comment is my take..I think you must sign in to blogspot..using a gmail address, which I also have..that is the key..because it says now Comment as phyllisreh(Google)..try it that way and see what I will push the publish button..hugs, phyllis
  2. ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Phyllis, So I can now post on your site. Great. I see you have a number of other members. It would be interesting if each of us told something of our lives and got to know one another. I think that's what you wanted so, as long as I'm on here, let me make an appeal to the older members to go first, so I know what types of posts you would like.
I will respond to all your emails..or comments on this blog....Jane..thanks for getting your comment on..You may tell your story and ask for comments of similar situations..or how ever you would like someone to respond to you..Hugs,  phyllis    or    hit the blog button to get to this blog..through my website..05/06/1933

6/27/12. .WHAT A HIGH..THIS LIFE! pr

My walk this early a.m. was the greatest!  Of course!  I think that of all my walks!  My head is clear, my legs work!  I feel good!  My MASS of 11 cm has gone down to perhaps a 5cm..You can not find these things in WALMART or  TIFFIANY'S!  Many thanks to the writer Lacey.  Just being here at 6 a.m. to indulge a 79 year old women adds to her status of I Lacey write the best articles.  Thank-you!

(N-J | David Massey)Phyllis Rehmar, who is preparing for breast cancer surgery next month, walks early each day to help clear her mind.
Rehmar is determined not to let age slow her down when it comes to learning new things.

Posted in: He
June 26, 2012
-- It's less than three weeks before Phyllis Rehmar, 79, will have a cancerous mass removed from her breast. But as the sun crests above the palm trees of her Pelican Bay community, she plows past well-manicured lawns during her daily 4-mile power walk.

As her neighbors sleep in their homes, Rehmar is preparing her body for surgery on July 11. She also walks early each morning to clear her mind for the day.

"I have always embraced every year," said Rehmar as sweat glistened on her face. "Every year is a gift. Every day is a gift. My days are shortened at my age so I try to maximize every day."

Rehmar is determined not to let age slow her down when it comes to learning new things.

At 75, Rehmar enrolled in basic computer classes at Daytona State College to help with the frustration she felt while operating her home computer.

"I didn't even know how to copy and paste," she said.

But when she surveyed her classroom, Rehmar had doubts about whether or not she would succeed -- the majority of her classmates were half her age. With the help of mentors and professors, she decided to press on.

"I wasn't a whiz by any means," she said. "I had to work harder than most of the other students."

Often staying in the computer lab from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Rehmar was determined to master the new technology.

Rehmar is of a growing number of computer-savvy seniors. Earlier this year a study by the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of American adults 65 and older use the Internet or email on a regular basis and 34 percent of Internet users 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook. As a vegetarian and lifelong exerciser, Rehmar said she has always invested in her health. When she reached her 70s, however, Rehmar felt aging women were often left to their own devices when it came to confronting health issues and concerns about aging.

"I looked and I looked and I didn't see much out there about what women over 70 were feeling and going through," Rehmar said.

Her health concerns led her to design and build the website, as a project for her digital imaging class two years ago.

"I wanted an outlet for women to share their stories about aging and learn from each other," she said. Rehmar, who is a painter, used Adobe Illustrator to create artwork for the site. The website also features stories by women older than 70 as they reflect on their lives.

Last year, Rehmar added a blog to the website about her own daily health struggles. The blog took on new meaning recently when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and her husband Bill Johnson, 83, had to undergo emergency open-heart surgery in April.

As she coped with her own diagnosis, she also had to help her husband through six weeks of physical therapy and recovery.

"When people say I'm brave it's just that they haven't been there yet," she said. "It's not that I'm brave; it's that they haven't had the opportunity to be brave yet but, unfortunately, they will."

Later that morning, Rehmar and her husband head to Daytona State College to meet with computer lab specialist Michele Balfour about taking additional classes. During their visit, Rehmar learns that she had earned enough credits to receive an associate's degree of science in webcast media with a 3.4 grade point average.

"This is amazing. How many did times did I come in here saying I can't do this?" Rehmar asked Balfour. Rehmar's tenacity and dedication impressed the staff at DSC, Balfour said.

"All she needed was a little extra time with her teachers, she was always smart enough to do it," Balfour said.

With her academic goals behind her, Rehmar is quick to move to the next one: getting her health back on track.

"When some people get older, they stop planning," she said. "I always try to have a new goal in front of me and Bill, and I never leave for a cruise without knowing when the next one is going to be."

As she waits to meet her surgeon, Dr. Joe Bianchi, at Twin Lakes Medical Center, Rehmar is armed with a list of questions she has been preparing about the procedure. By attending breast cancer support groups and taking time to research, Rehmar said she had learned to be her biggest advocate.

"I've learned that breast cancer and the fears that go with it are different for women based on what age they get it," she said.

During the appointment, Rehmar's surgeon introduces the possibility of undergoing a

lumpectomy instead of a total mastectomy as originally planned. But that can only happen if the tumor has shrunk to 2 centimeters or smaller. Rehmar now awaits the results of an MRI to determine the size of the mass.

The possibility of a new procedure brings about new questions for Rehmar. The most important one is which option will help maximize the years she has left, she said.

"This means more readings, more diggings, more talks with doctors and more decisions for Bill and me," she wrote in the June 22 entry on her blog. "We are for the easy pass, for ..that's all I could copy!

I am going to take my cancer and go home! Hugs, phyllis 05/06/1933
drop a line at    and hit the blog button  ...that ought to do it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/26/12 ..ON TOP OF THE WORLD!! Meee! pr!  What a day this has been!  This is the kind of day song writer's write songs about, instead I write this blog.  I am so happy!  People have been kind, with calls and emails.  The kindnesses.  I will post and share with you, as I have permission from them, except Morissa!  Her permission is included in our friendship pact! I have hopes we can get some back and forth comments.  It seems the comment button on my blog is a dud, like everything else in life you do not know how to do.  Instead you may email me..and I will share with your permission.

Thanks to the DAYTONA NEWS JOURNAL and to LACEY ..the wonderful reporter for the article on 6/26/2012.
Phyllis Rehmar <>
Tue, Jun 26, 2012 8:11 am

Congratulations are in order-- for getting your Associate's Degree and for shrinking the mass! Hooray for you! And the pictures are lovely.

I am sure you will serve as an inspiration for many of us "over 70's"-- I know you inspire me with your energy and focus.

I am saving the article in case you want another one to share with friends and relatives.

Be well.



phyllisreh <>
Tue, Jun 26, 2012 6:50 pm

They caught you, the you in you, in an amazing way! It floored me.

Love Muriel

Hi Phyllis. Read your article in the paper and I was able to relate to your situation. In 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 75. At that time I had a granddtr. preparing for a kidney transplant and her mother (my dtr) being tested to see if she could be a donor. At the same time my husband (83) was in a relapse with Wegner's disease. (An auto immune disease.) I elected to not tell my family until a few days before since I did not want to cause any unnec. anxiety. I waited until 5 days before mastectomy to tell them. All the testing showed that we were catching it at an early stage and my recovery should go well and 2 1/2 weeks later I would be in Charleston, SC to support my family. This is a long story but my doctor was at Twin Lakes (Ramshaw) and the proc. was done as an out patient. Everything re the mastectomy went well with no complications and I was in SC for kidney transplant that went well also. Good luck to you and I understand that each day is a blessing. (alicershull

Sent: Tue, Jun 26, 2012 3:50 pm
Subject: Your website

I am delighted to see a website for women 70 and over. We have such unique problems and need to have a place to vent, etc. I did go on your blog, after reading about it in the News-Journal today but I was unable to post for some reason. However, I did sign up and hope I'll be able to leave messages in the future. I am 72, a transplant from New York and have lived in Ormond Beach for the past seven years. Life becomes more daunting as you get older especially when, like me, you live alone and your family is very far away.

Good luck in your upcoming surgery. I look forward to spending more time on your site.

Jane McGarity

We will never be alone! Life becomes more daunting as you get older.  Yes indeedeee! We have each other and I surely am ready to help for sure!  We must hear from each other!..Hugs, phyllis      hit the blog button.

Monday, June 25, 2012

6/25/12..60 to 70% REDUCTION in my MASS!

This is a copy of the results of my BREAST MRI taken June 22, 2012 . We are more than pleased.
I will continue taking my Chemo pill Ameridex 1 mg  daily..and be re-examined in two months.  The goal being hoping it will shrink more..and have a lumpectomy and save that breast..which will mean no singular massectomy and no double massectomy.  I do understand with medicene and cancer things can change.  We consider this a good sign and will consider this a free pass ....for now!

Ordering Doctor:
JOSEPH BIANCHI M.D. Age: 79 Copy To:

121309 DOB: 05/06/33


Patient Phone: (386) 290-9166

MRI LEFT BREAST June 22, 2012

(Continued on page 2)



K. Kevin Shamlou, MD

Board Certified Radiologist.

This report was verified electronically.

ADDENDUM: June 25, 2012

Twin Lakes Imaging, MR, BREAST BILATERAL, March 05, 2012.



Comparison is made to patient's prior breast MRI from 3/2012. The patient has been on chemotherapy.

There is significant reduction in the bulk of malignancy in the left breast since the prior study. For

instance, the center of the lesion measures almost a centimeter in size. It measured almost 2.3 cm in AP

diameter previously. The inner portion of it measures 3.5 cm in AP diameter. It measured almost 6.7 cm

previously. The outer portion of it measures almost 3.4 cm. It measured almost 4.6 cm previously.

There is overall approximately 60% to 70% reduction in bulk of the abnormal

enhancement since the prior examination.



K. Kevin Shamlou, MD / //Hugs, phyllis   05/06/1933

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6/24/12 6/26/12

6/26/12 is Tuesday, the day the Daytona News Journal is scheduled to run a story on me.  I hope Bill will be included?  Who knows? You possibly can read it online at the address in the lead. They called me and the writer set up a day and her plan was to follow me around and see what I and we do all day. With me, my feet hit the pavement no later than 6 a.m. Lacey was here at that hour and off we went on our walk!  The rest you can read about, if you care to! The comments from you all out there in the "hinder-land" are very quiet.  It is a real help for me not to miss writing my blog. Hugs, phyllis  05/06/1933

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6/23/12..IPAD CLASSES! for Bill and me today!

We bought the IPAD3 at Best Buy and signed up for their IPAD3 classes.  We have another one today.  They are most helpful.  We also watch the tutorial video's the have online.  Of course the classes are hands on classes are the best.  It is nice to do this and get out of our medical world. Hugs, phyllis 05/06/1933

Friday, June 22, 2012


Results of my appointment with my SURGEON, DR. JOSEPH BIANCHI, June 21, 2012,/
Now to matters at hand..the Doctor appointment. The surgeon spent a good hour or more with Bill and me..I will have a Breast MRI today at 1:30. June 22, 2012 .   Will know the results Monday June 25, 2012...This will determine if I will have a lumpectomy...just take the MASS OUT  and leave the breast in tact. this point he does not know if he takes it out, will he be able to get all surrounding cancer out? And if not will the Radiation nuke all the remaining cancer left?..and then I will be done with it? This will save me  alot of healing time..and not take as much out of me..of adjustments as the DOUBLE MASTECTOMY If this does not work I can always have the DOUBLE MASTECTOMY latter. On my side, in reality I will have maybe a few years of QUALITY LIFE left. This is very precious. Do I want to turn the life I have left into a MEDICAL HORROR..of painful daily occurrences of breast reconstruction...? NO!   Plus through all of this I am learning LOBULAR BREAST one of the hardest breast cancers to find. It can easily be missed on MAMMOGRAMS, as it was with me. I was the one to find it. It is possible it had been growing silently for eight to ten years before the actual findings. This is an ALFRED HITCHCOCK TWIST! One must be your own medical dectective. More readings. More diggings. More talks with my Doctors, My Team.. More decisions with Bill and Me. We are for the EASY PASS..QUALITY OF LIFE and THE FIGHT FOR LIFE THAT POSSIBLY WILL BE LEFT. Hugs, phyllis  05/06/1933
Your comments at this point are more valuable than ever!  Come on do a one liner!  I will put it in the blog, if I have your permission.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6/21/12..Finding Out More! LOBULAR CANCER

I understood I have lobular breast cancer. I am now learning this perhaps had been growing in my breast for 8 to 10 years.  It is very hard to detect. Next on my learning spree, after my appointment with my surgeon today.  I am going to have a breast MRI June 22, 2012..tomorrow.  The surgeon will then be able to see the exact size of the MASS..he.  This will give us all a chance to see if possible he can do a lumpectomy.  This would make it easier on me, node and drain wise.  A big factor in this equation I would not loose my breast.  Like a free PASS.. We can always do this surgery ..and if  I have so much cancer..or what shows up during a later date I might still have to have a double mastectomy.  At least I will have tried.  But then, (never start a sentence with BUT!) Hugs, phyllis   05/06/1933

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6/20/12.. Amazing! Therapy Helps!..

I wish I could show you how we go to seed, right before our own eyes!  The only thing.. we do not take the time to look.  We just pass off things like: walking like a duck!  Not ever standing on one foot to check your balance?  Sitting on a low stool and being able to get up with no help!  Try some of these things and see where you STAND!  Remember you can DIE from falls!  When I see how the therapist works with Bill when here at our house.  It's  GLUTS MAN!  That is the core and the basis that keeps us together.  They are located in your BUT!  Get on line and see all the exercises you can do without machines right at home..Muscle loss is silent..SPEAK UP! Save yourself! Help yourself!
It's heel toe, with your feet straight ahead! Onward to our doctor's appointments! Hugs, phyllis  05/06/1933  What do you think?  Speak up gently!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/16//12/....My Surgery.. 7/11/12..GREAT! phyllis

Today Bill has a 12:30 therapy here at the house and an appointment at the hearing doctor, which he can always use.  Got the book, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR'S FITNESS PLAN by Carolyn M. Kaelin, MD, MPH.  From The Experts At  Harvard Medical School.  One of the most important sections are Chapter 3, Combating Lymphedema.  It is the best coverage on that subject. I have started some of the recommended exercises.
Mary Ann Serkin, a dear friend send me a memorable video this a.m. here is some of the thought provoking wordage I pass to you.

If you woke up this morning in good health you have more luck than one million people who won't live through the week.

WORK.. like you don't need the money.
LOVE nobody has ever hurt you. someone is listening.
LIVE... as if this was paradise on earth.

Thank-You...dear friend, Mary Ann Serkin

Monday, June 18, 2012

6/18/12....Questions for My Surgeon Tomorrow..

A day does not go by without lots to do.  This is no different. I am in the midst of  getting my questions ready for my surgeon tomorrow.  Updating my meds list. Organizing counter tops and places in the house.  Gave Annie, our dog her third bath in a row.  Like day after day.  We are on the hunt for her fleas.  This year they are large, black and do not want to leave her body. The only way I can see them is to give her a bath.  She only had one flea, but it was driving her crazy.  She scratched like someone was at the door. Real life goes on here! Hugs, phyllis  www.women70andover

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6/17/12 This Comment Means Alot!

My blog of yesterday..let some of this junk out of me.  This is the comment from a good friend that I had lunch with the other day.  It is good friends can see the other side of ourselves.  The back part that we never see.
To: Phyllis Rehmar <>
Date: Sun, Jun 17, 2012 11:05 am

Read your last blog.. seems you have been so brave and so caring that you haven't allowed yourself to have feelings about all that is happening and has happened since February. You are right.... when something traumatic happens we just take one day at a time or one hour at a time and do the best we can with the hand we have to play out.

Glad you are letting it loose in your blog, and hope it will give you some relief from the pressure you are under. I think it will... For myself, I have found that when I write about my feelings it is easier for me to let them go.

Anyway, know that I read your blog; I care about you and pray for both of you during this difficult time.

This is what it is all about a good friend.....a blog...and caring.  Hugs to all and a Happy Father's Day to all the Father's we no longer have and to the one's we do have.phyllis

Saturday, June 16, 2012

6/16/12....The Past Six Weeks Got Me Tired!

Life has moved at a fast pace ever since I was diagnosed with breast cancer...February 28, 2012.  Then I got hit between the eyes when Bill had a surprised OPEN HEART SURGERY on April 25, 2012.  I had no time to think of what this would mean to both of us.  The long hours of physical therapy and occupational therapy.  The hours of rest.  The weeks in a wheel chair.  Going to a walker.  It seemed I lived at the rehab center with Bill.  Life continued at our home, the wash, the vacuum, our dog Annie.  The sleepless nights.  The worry when Bill could not eat.  The worry when his antibiotic hurt his belly.  The bathroom upsets when I would take him to a doctor's office.  The clean-up of Bill in a tiny bathroom at the doctor's me.  Poor us..Me on my hands and knees.  Me almost sitting in the toilet doing a clean-up and a wash down of Bill.  Throwing his clothes away at that moment in time.  The nurse bringing me some scrubs so Bill would have something to put on, so he could go to his doctor's appointment and have the horrible Cather taken out that was three day's over due.  Those were the days one never knew how to get through them. I had no time to think of my up and coming double mastectomy and what that would mean for me in recuperation after the surgery. 
     The rest time for me has not come.  The nights continue to have hot sweats in store for me.  Blankets fly on and off.  The air-conditioner gets turned up.  I wrestle with sleepless nights.  When I do sleep all night it is a gift from the God's. Someone asked "How do you get through this?"  That is a luxury to think of how?  You just do it with the beat of your worry drum and the sounds coming from the ladies at the last Breast Support Meeting.  You never forget meeting women at the meetings that you have never before seen and hear their stories of the pain and the lymphodemia in their arms.  You remember seeing the stocking like things on their arms to relieve the pain they are going through.  Do I think of all of this ?.......YES!  Hugs, phyllis

Friday, June 15, 2012

6/115/12 ..If It's Friday..It's Doctor's Appointments!

Well!  I have a head start on this day! Walked Annie, then took my big walk.  Got Bill moving and he walked around the loop.  Had my romantic encounter and put the Anti fungal Tolnaftate 1% polish on Bill's yellow toe nails.  Next!  my arm exercises for my surgery, then breakfast and we will be off to the races of doctor appointments. Ha! the week-end is almost here and we will see if we can catch the fun train, I do not want to forget the nail polish! Hugs, phyllis

Thursday, June 14, 2012


In all our muddle yesterday, a physical therapist came to the house and Bill worked out with him.  Bill is now on a cane.  If I walk in back of him I can see his progress and flaws.  He is now doing the exercises for the gluts.  This muscle affects walking and gets your BALANCE IN TOW.  I have started my arm exercises in preparation for my surgery. Especially when I drive I stretch my fingers to the roof of the car and walk them back, of course ! one hand at a time.  I also work out with weights and open the chest wide and do circles, ect. When exercising you really understand the muscle loss quickly happens! Going for my big walk now. Hugs, phyllis

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

6/13/12 High Hopes !!! Ha! Ha!

We have high hopes we can get through our doctor appointment run today to have lunch at our new most favorite place in the world JOE'S CRAB, that just moved to our pier. We always had to go to the one in Miami Beach..maybe once a year ...if we were lucky. Then we wanted to see the film Hotel Marigold ..with our favorite Judy Dunch..did I butcher her name? Yes!  I have already seen it..will see it again, to enjoy it with Bill..Soooooo we have good intentions..I am ahead of the curve..Had my big walk.  Bill getting better..he walked around the loop with his walker. AND I POLISHED HIS YUCCKKKY YELLOW FUNGUS NAILS..only 3 more times to do that today. Of course I wash my hands..with Clorox..almost..It is an unpleasant job, no one will take away from me. Hugs, phyllis

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

6/12/12 ...Race Car Driver....ME!

What a way to go!  Another day of none stop doctor appointments..Left the house at 7:30 a.m. and have gone from doctor to doctor...on Bill's side.  We just got home and it is 4:50 p.m.  It takes alot of doing for the care giver and the patient.  Bill is asleep.  He really needs his rest and he did not get it today.  Nor I. Hugs, phyllis    

Monday, June 11, 2012

6/11/12 Lets Polish the Subject!

Alot of my time is on the phone, checking to see when the PT and OT..will begin.  They were suppose to call and start their appointments this week.  So far!  No calls!  The visiting nurse set everything up.
I now have a new job also is putting on a medicated polish on Bill's toenails four times a day.  He has always had thick yukky nails..It is a fungus and hereditary.  We went to the doctor and got this polish.  You do this for a year.  Sounds like fun?  It is not wine and roses. Hugs. phyllis

Saturday, June 9, 2012

6/9/12..... This is What I Am Dealing With....

Mastectomy: What to Expect
Before mastectomy surgery

In the hospital on the day of surgery, you’ll change into a hospital gown and wait in a preoperative holding area. Some hospitals will allow you to have one or two friends or family members with you in the room.

Your surgeon or a nurse may draw markings on your breast that show where the incision will be made. Usually this is done with a felt-tip marker. You’ll be sitting up while this happens so that the natural crease of your breast can be marked.

You will be taken into the anesthesia room, where a nurse will insert a needle connected to a long tube — an intravenous infusion (IV) line — into your hand or arm and tape it into place. Soon after this, you’ll be given relaxing medication through the IV line. Once you are wheeled into the operating room, you will be given general anesthesia.

During mastectomy surgery

Mastectomy with axillary dissection (modified radical mastectomy) can take 2-3 hours. If reconstruction is performed at the same time, surgery will take longer.

Most mastectomy incisions are in the shape of an oval around the nipple, running across the width of the breast. If you are having a skin-sparing mastectomy, the incision will be smaller, including only the nipple, areola, and the original biopsy scar.

After the incision is made, the breast tissue is separated from the overlying skin and from the chest wall muscle underneath. All of the breast tissue — which lies between the collarbone and ribs, from the side of the body to the breastbone in the center — is removed. If you are having a full radical mastectomy, some of your chest muscle may be removed as well. Your breast surgeon will also perform axillary lymph node dissection if it is part of your surgery plan.

When your breast surgeon has removed your breast tissue — and if immediate breast reconstruction is part of your plan — your plastic surgeon will perform the reconstruction.

In the final stages of the surgery, your breast surgeon will check the surgery areas for bleeding and insert surgical drains. Drains are long tubes that are inserted into your breast area or armpit to collect excess fluid that can accumulate in the space where the tumor was. The tubes have plastic bulbs on the ends to create suction, which helps the fluid to exit your body. After the drains are inserted, your surgeon will stitch the incision closed. The surgery site will then be covered by a bandage that wraps closely around your chest.

After mastectomy surgery

You’ll be moved to the recovery room after mastectomy surgery, where staff will monitor your heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. If you are in pain or feel nauseous from the anesthesia, let someone know so that you can be given medication.

You’ll then be admitted to a hospital room. Hospital stays for mastectomy average 3 days or less. If you have a mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time, you may be in the hospital a little longer.

The morning after your surgery, your surgeon or nurse will show you an exercise routine you can do to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness on the side where you had the mastectomy and to help prevent the formation of significant scar tissue. Some exercises should be avoided until drains are removed. Ask your surgeon any questions you may have to make sure the exercise routine is right for you. Your surgeon should also give you written, illustrated instructions on how to do the exercises.

Before you leave the hospital, your surgeon or nurse will give you information about recovering at home:

  • Taking pain medication: Your surgeon will probably give you a prescription to take with you when you leave the hospital. You might want to get it filled on your way home or have a friend or family member get it filled for you as soon as you are home so that you have it available.
  • Caring for the bandage (dressing) over your incision: Ask your surgeon or nurse how to take care of the mastectomy bandage. The surgeon may ask that you not try to remove the bandage, and instead wait until your first follow-up visit so that he or she can remove the bandage.
  • Caring for a surgical drain: If you have a drain in your breast area or armpit, the drain might be removed before you leave the hospital. Sometimes, however, a drain stays inserted until the first follow-up visit with the doctor, usually 1-2 weeks after surgery. If you’re going home with a drain inserted, you’ll need to empty the fluid from the detachable drain bulb a few times a day. Make sure your surgeon gives you instructions on caring for the drain before you leave the hospital.
  • Stitches and staples: Most surgeons use sutures (stitches) that dissolve over time, so there's no longer any need to have them removed. But occasionally, you'll see the end of the suture poking out of the incision like a whisker. If this happens, your surgeon can easily remove it. Surgical staples — another way of closing the incision — are removed during the first office visit after surgery.
  • Recognizing signs of infection: Your surgeon should explain how to tell if you have an infection in your incision and when to call the office.
  • Exercising your arm: Your surgeon or nurse may show you an exercise routine you can do to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness on the side where you had surgery. Usually, you will start the exercises the morning after surgery. Some exercises should be avoided until drains are removed. Ask your surgeon any questions you may have to make sure the exercise routine is right for you. Your surgeon should also give you written, illustrated instructions on how to do the exercises.
  • Recognizing signs of lymphedema: If you have had axillary dissection, you will be given information on taking care of your arm and being alert to signs of lymphedema.
  • When you can start wearing a prosthesis or resume wearing a bra: The site of mastectomy surgery, and especially mastectomy with reconstruction, needs time to heal before you can wear a prosthesis or bra. Your doctor will tell you how long you may need to wait.

At-home recovery from mastectomy

It can take a few weeks to recover from mastectomy surgery, and longer if you have had reconstruction. It’s important to take the time you need to heal.

In addition to your surgeon’s instructions, here are some general guidelines to follow at home:

  • Rest. When you get home from the hospital, you will probably be fatigued from the experience. Allow yourself to get extra rest in the first few weeks after surgery. Read more about managing fatigue.
  • Take pain medication as needed. You will probably feel a mixture of numbness and pain around the breast incision and the chest wall (and the armpit incision, if you had axillary dissection). If you feel the need, take pain medication according to your doctor’s instructions. Learn more about managing chest pain, armpit discomfort, and general pain.
  • Take sponge baths until your doctor has removed your drains and/or sutures. You can take your first shower when your drains and any staples or sutures have been removed. A sponge bath can refresh you until showers or baths are approved by your doctor.
  • Continue doing arm exercises each day. It’s important to continue doing arm exercises on a regular basis to prevent stiffness and to keep your arm flexible.
  • Have friends and family pitch in around the house. Recovery from mastectomy can take time. Ask friends and family to help with meals, laundry, shopping, and childcare. As your body heals, don’t feel you should take on more than you can handle.

In the months after mastectomy

Your body will continue to adjust to the effects of the surgery over a period of months. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You may have “phantom sensations” or “phantom pain” in the months after mastectomy: As nerves regrow, you may feel a weird crawly sensation, you may itch, you may be very sensitive to touch, and you may feel pressure. Your discomfort may go away by itself, or it may persist but you adapt to it. Analgesics and NSAIDs (pronounced EN-seds) such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen usually can address the pain related to this type of nerve injury. Opioids (pronounced OH-pee-oydz) also can be used to treat this type of pain. Read more about managing phantom pain.
  • Continue doing regular arm exercises: Stay with your arm exercise routine to keep your arm limber.
  • You may experience fatigue from time to time in the early months after surgery: If you’re having trouble with fatigue, ask your doctor about things you can do.

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5/9/2012....Me and My Boobs at 3:37 a.m.

The visiting nurse was great.  She set up PT and OT for Bill.  His vitals were taken and a great med
check was done of all the meds he brought home from rehab. She checked him from one end to the other.  Her name is Judy. I will never forget her, because she will do the same for me after my surgery and rehab recuperation. She told me how important rehab recuperation is for me and reassured me I would have good care.  It will save me from having infections I might have if I go directly home to get better.  It was good to hear how she felt, as she dealt with people like us on a daily basis.  I felt positive about rehab and wrote many letters of thanks for the care Bill got, while at rehab.  It took twenty-five people to get him better.  They were all  a  team to make him get well.  Bill is not perfect, but he is on a strong road to recovery.  That puts me at me and my the for front of my thoughts at this time of morning..or is it really night time?  My soon to come surgery of my double mastectomy and re-build, which is two surgeries of many surgeries I will have to get back to my new plastic self..with hang on BOOBS of sort.  they do not just pop on.  Hello folks!  Here we are!  Here's looking atcha!  This is what you think of at 3:45 a.m. Really I have had no time to think of me and what I am in for, which overlaps to Bill.  He will be more than interrupted by my surgery, poor man.  It would be nice in some way...if it was tomorrow was...the surgery.  That is not the case.  Real life gets in the way and I must wait for the next shoe to drop. Hugs, phyllis

Friday, June 8, 2012

6/8/12....This is Busy! Real Buzzzzzi!

Bill and I were out of the house at 7a.m. Bill with no breakfast, since we were going to the VA to have  fasting blood work done and an hour long orientation and VA card.  It is a wonderful place, very organized.  He has a doctors appointment on June 12 there and he will have a hearing test also.  He will also go to his surgeon on June 12, so another busy day. The visiting nurse comes today at 3pm to get him set up with his PT and OT therapy three times a week here at our home.  We are on the move now because I will have my double mastectomy the first or second week of July..I will find out the exact date on June 19, when I meet with my surgeon.  Bill and I are having a quick change of hats!  Of course it will take him a year to recuperate from his OPEN HEART SURGERY.  He must rest everyday.  He does.  His body says  "Bill, no more..time to lay down and sleep."  When I take him out in the car he must sit in the back seat strapped in..because the air bags could go off in the front and hurt his chest.  Once you have OPEN HEART SURGERY you may not be resuscitated, because it can break bones very easily, in the rib area where you had the surgery.  Lets see, it is 2:35 pm here..will sign off and make a path for the visiting nurse to come in through the house! Hugs, phyllis

Thursday, June 7, 2012

6/7/12 Lovely Rain Makes Everything Better!

Just me tapping on the computer and looking over it and seeing Bill enjoy his computer is sheer joy!
It is very quiet after a very busy day. Our computer room has three sides of floor to ceiling glass windows and a tin roof, making each drop of rain soothing to the ear. Hugs, phyllis

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6/6/12...Doctor Appointment Today......

Bill and I were gone from 10 a.m. till 3:30 p.m. We had to do a Wendy's Drive-thru..too busy to go in.
Pretty hard to eat there if you are a vegan..thank heaven they have great sweet potatoes.  Bill took a nap the minute we got home.  The doctor said he would be tired for a year!  He also said this is part of OPEN HEART SURGERY, even if you are forty. I am tired to say the least. Hugs, phyllis

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

5/5/12 HOME SWEET HOME! for a while!

Bill is all settled in.  Good to have him home.  Tomorrow his work is cut out for him and his new schedule will start!  An RN will come over and make her assessments of his progress to date .  Then
we will hear from the physical therapist and the occupational therapist.  They will  set up time with Bill here at the house for a total of three days aweek.  They will watch him put dishes in the cabinets and dish-washer. There will be all kinds of things he will learn!  This is all stuff we do daily.  He will learn how to bend and stretch.  Many things that we  all take for granite. We are moving right along. Hugs, phyllis

Monday, June 4, 2012

6/4/2012... HOME JAMES!... Bill comes home!

Bill will come home June 5, 2012..We are both so pleased.  Then starts his doctor appointments and a physical therapist will come to the house three times a week to work with Bill.   He is on a walker and a cane..Sometimes one or the other..After all, he still has the staples in his leg..they will come out June 12, 2012.  Moving right along..hugs..phyllis 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

6/3/12 June has a CALMNESS about it!

June is busting out all over!  Not this June!  It has a cool perfect calmness.  The air is like an April day. All is good with Bill.  I spoke with him.  Will pick him up after his therapy.  They do therapy seven days a week.  This is so good for the person.  I am watching the squirrels on the next roof over.  Gee! they have fun.  I put some peanuts out for them.  Hugs, phyllis

Saturday, June 2, 2012

6/2/12 .... RARING TO GO!

My energy level is high and I am raring to go!  it's 8:30 a.m. and I have taken my four mile walk.  Came home and cut alot of the bushes down in our garden and bagged them up for the garbage!  Walked Annie around the loop.  Had breakfast and answered some emails..After this I will bake some cookies for a memorial fund raiser I am going to this evening.  A musical friend of ours passed away.  Then I will be off to get Bill for lunch and bring him home..I must hid the cookies first!  That's how I am coping in the midst of our health..progress.  Hugs, phyllis

Friday, June 1, 2012

6/1/12..Progress is HAPPENING!

Bill will be getting out of rehab on June 12...I have two doctor's appointments in June..Bill will start to drive this month and adjust to being home.  What a nice June!  It is a beautiful month for alot of anniversaries..To you we say Happy Anniversary!..Hugs..phyllis