Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Versatile Blogger Awards 2014

February 26, 2014

*I’m not sure why none of my spacing in between paragraphs made it here.  I inserted space in three different times, and every time I save my work, it takes it away.  My apologies for everything being crammed together 😉

So I was looking at my blog tonight, and making sure that all of my “About Me” information was current, when I noticed that like, two years ago, a follower of my blog bestowed upon me a Versatile Blogger Award!  And somehow, somewhere, it completely got past me and I never knew!  Now how dumb do I feel??!!  But I read through the entire post from October 25, 2011 and was so honored to have been mentioned among her choices for versatile bloggers from all walks of life.  Plus I LOVE the idea of an annual list of awardees to come up with and share with readers, so that all of MY favorite blogs can get a public head knod and hopefully increase their traffic each year!  So thank you first and foremost to Kana Tyler of Kana’s Chronicles (http://kanatyler.com/) for giving me this awesome honor so long ago – and my apologies for not offering my thanks sooner!

Now, for those of you out there who write – especially if I have missed your blog or didn’t realize that you have one – this is a pay-it-forward award, so you can also participate and have your own award show over there on your page as well.  Also, you can comment on my blog with a link to your site, for my benefit as well as for my readers.  Here are the rules:

  1. Thank your nominator with a link to their blog.

  2. Bestow the award on 10 bloggers (sharing links to their sites, and letting them know) – I, however, am bestowing it on 11 bloggers, because I’m just crazy like that

  3. List seven things about yourself.

Easy peasy.  So here we go.the-versitle-blogger-award

Domestic Dyke’s Versatile Blogger Awards 2014 (in no particular order of importance):

* Gayby Boom Blog (http://blog.chron.com/gaybyboom) – dads Michael and Matthew Burrus-Pearce with their humoros quips about life with a toddler daughter and new infant son

* The Robot Mommy (http://therobotmommy.com) – follow along with this SAHM, as she shares her “grumps” pics, and TCIF memes (Thank Coffee It’s Friday, right?)

* The Herzy Journey (www.theherzyjourney.com) – Jenny Herzberger’s wild ride through breast cancer, treatments, and reconstruction

* Happy Herbivore Blog (www.happyherbivore.com/blog) – Our favorite resource for all things plant-based (diet, that is)!

* A Journey Through the Carcinoma Wonderland (http://mapelba.wordpress.com) – Austinite wife and artist blogging her way through breast cancer… and all that comes with it

* Slap Dash Mom (www.slapdashmom.com) – the adventures of Sadie Lankford, her wife Rachel, and their three daughters (the oldest has her own jewelry line! www.slapdashthings.com) about anything from cooking/baking, to school, to crafting, to movies, to LGBT rights, to whatever they encounter in their new home of Arizona

* Madgew-musings (http://madgew-musings.blogspot.com/) – the inner workings of Madge Woods, her friends, her family, and her travels around the U.S. and abroad!

* The Next Family (www.thenextfamily.com) – a wonderful compilation of blogs that come from a diverse family of writers on a wide variety of unique topics

* Simple Life Yoga (www.simplelifeyoga.com) – Brandie Sellers’ blog about her journey that led her to yoga, its teachings (and hers in turn as a yoga instructor), life coaching, vegetarian cooking, health & wellness, and her own experience as a breast cancer survivor

* Online with Zoe (www.onlinewithzoe.com) – amazing tales and treasures from the mind of Zoe Nicholson, human rights activist and feminist who has been on the forefront of activism, writing and speaking for many years, her writing is full of rich experiences and historical significance

* The Davey Diaries (http://daveydiaries.com) – follow along as David Mailloux rips open his insecurities to share them with others, as a white, male, educated, openly-gay recovering alcoholic…one day at a time, one step at a time

Congratulations to all of you versatile bloggers!  And thanks for sharing yourself with the rest of us!

Now for my obligatory 7 things about me (according to the rules listed above):

1.  I am still mildly addicted to Friends, the television show.  I watch at least one episode pretty much every night of my life.

2.  I once adopted two poodles from a shelter, naming the female Phoebe and the male Chandler (see?  A little addicted).

3.  I could eat tacos, in some form, every day, I think.  Egg, beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, veggie, black bean, crispy, soft….I could go on and on.

4.  I have had 4 models of Jeep in my life:  Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Grand Wagoneer.

5.  I took tap, jazz, and ballet for several years as a kid (yes, with the big tutus and everything), and my mother wouldn’t let me be in any sports because that was for boys.  Yeah.

6.  When I was in 5th grade, my best friend was visiting her grandmother in Wylie, Texas the night that Candace Montgomery murdered Betty Gore with an ax (and was found “not guilty” after using a self-defense argument).  Shortly after that, there were rumors that the murderer and her kids moved onto my street, one block down; never found out if they were true or not.

7.  I do not now, nor have I ever, played Candy Crush Saga.

With THAT, I say, “Keep writing my friends!  Keep reading my friends!  Keep sharing my friends!”

And take care of each other.

The Radiation

Chemotherapy finally ended in mid-October, and soon plans were being discussed about starting radiation.  I had another surgery that I was waiting to have approved, one that would, for all intents and purposes, be my version of reconstruction.  The surgeon needed to go back in and remove more skin and fat, as I remained a bit deformed and misshapen after the double mastectomy in April.  Once the second surgery was approved, I spoke with my Oncologist, and he said to proceed with it before starting radiation – otherwise I would have to wait a while, until my skin had completely healed from treatments.  And I did NOT want to wait any longer.

Surgery was performed December 2nd, with an overnight stay at the hospital, and then it was back home and back to doctor appointments, follow-up appointments, lab work, and consultations to plan for the next round of treatments.  Once I consulted with Dr. Ilahi, my Radiation Oncologist, it was decided that I could get through the holidays and begin radiation on January 7th.  I was beyond thrilled!  During the interim, I had gotten a follow-up PET scan, and on November 14th was given the report that there was no evidence of previous tumors in any of the areas where it had been given.  In other words – the chemo had worked and I was cancer free!  This made me really question why I absolutely needed to continue on and put myself through radiation; but Dr. Ilahi said that it was an extra measure to help prevent it from coming back – like, by a large percentage.  So with that information, I knew that it was something that I needed to do, as much as I did not want to do it.  For myself.  For my wife.  For my children.  If it increased my odds of STAYING cancer free, then hell yes I would be doing it.  

Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went, and I began to slowly start feeling better after chemo life.  Dragging my feet, I went in and started the routine:

  • Treatments would be every day, Monday through Friday, at 3:30 PM, for six and a half weeks

  • Dr. Ilahi would see me every Wednesday to check my skin

  • There would be 33 treatments, of a particular dose, and none could be skipped

  • Since it is like sun damage, the negative effects would build, each week getting a little worse (and would end up like a bad sunburn…so they said)

  • Fatigue would be a side effect, but it wouldn’t get too noticeable until around week four

    Anna (one of my radiation techs) showing the machine of my torture...LOL
    Anna (one of my radiation techs) showing the machine of my torture…LOL

Me, on the table, about to begin treatment
Me, on the table, about to begin treatment

By week three, my skin was already a ruddy red color, all across my chest on the left side (where they were radiating).  I battled with nausea, which boggled the doctor and techs’ minds, because supposedly nausea is not a common side effect when getting radiation in the chest area.  But then again, EVERYTHING makes me nauseous.  By week four, I started getting tired.  And I started noticing, for the first time, that my left armpit was getting really dark.  They were blasting me in the armpit, too??  I had no idea.  By week five, I was getting really tired, really easily.  My chest became blistered, but no skin had opened up.  I developed itchy, little, red bumps on my upper back from exit radiation.  My armpit got darker red, and started to hurt.  By week six, I was tired.  Like, bone dragging, dawg ass TIRED.  I was using up to four lotions/creams at a time, multiple times per day, on my chest and armpit areas.  They both hurt and itched all the time.  By the final week, which would only be three days, I was beyond ready to be finished.  I could barely stay awake during the day or evenings, and couldn’t wait until kids went to bed at night so that I could retire to our bed as well.  I had prescription hydrocortisone for the itchiness, and was using it rapidly.  And with three days left, my second degree burns under my arm had opened up, now requiring Silvadene cream twice a day.   

It got to the point that I was in tears.  

Shot of part of the chest burn, just a few days from the end
Shot of part of the chest burn, just a few days from the end

Three days from the end, and it finally got the best of me.  

The 2nd degree burns under my arm (and yes, they got worse than this)
The 2nd degree burns under my arm (and yes, they got worse than this)

But the end was in sight…