Radiation therapy home stretch

Tie-dye T-shirts at northern Wisconsin log home

It’s just about 11 months since my breast cancer diagnosis (8/14/13 3:45 p.m.), and I’m coming into the home stretch on my treatments. I feel fortunate that I haven’t had too many terrible side effects along the way. I just now — after 27 treatments of radiation — am having some uncomfortable itching episodes on … [Read more →]

Radiation therapy, First Fridays, Marc Maron

Marc Maron with Sharon and Amy, Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago

I have 17 of my 30 radiation therapy treatments done. So far things haven’t been too bad. I have just the slightest little bit of pinkness starting on my skin. During radiation therapy, it’s important to keep your skin moisturized. As soon as each treatment is done, I apply cream to the radiated area. One … [Read more →]

Chicken recipe: Chicken Chili with Beans

Recipe: Chicken Chili with Beans in a Dutch oven

I love to cook, and one of the easy, healthy, go-to chicken recipes that I make quite a bit is Chicken Chili with Beans. I thought I would share it — and experiment with making a YouTube cooking video. I start off by making my own beans. I use my pressure cooker, which speeds up the … [Read more →]

Breast cancer journal: Getting ready for radiation

Amy juices a lime with Emma in the kitchen

We were fortunate to have great weather for Easter. I loved being with both our families on that day. It’s always fun to watch the kids find the Easter eggs that the adults hide for them. This year at my mother-in-law’s house, Mark and our brother-in-law Kevin were in charge of hiding the eggs. I … [Read more →]

Living with my infusion pump

Construction crane at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

It’s been two weeks since my emergency surgery and things seem to be going along okay. I have learned to live with this infusion pump attached to me pretty much 24/7. Mark has become quite the expert on changing out the medicine bag each day. So in addition to him helping me with my two … [Read more →]

Home again

Amy in the kitchen with Moog 6000 CMS infusion pump

It’s great to be home again. Mark brought me back from the hospital on Tuesday, and as each day goes by I am doing better and better. We had a nurse coming to the house the first two days to show us how to set up and run my IV infusion pump. We have been … [Read more →]

Staph infection (or how I spent my weekend)

Hospital bed blogger Amy Czerniec

I am writing this blog post from my hospital bed with a staph infection. When we went to bed on Thursday, I had just noticed  a light pink blush color on the lower half of my left breast, below the incision. After waking and taking my shower Friday morning, Mark said it looked like it was … [Read more →]

Mastectomy and 3 weeks

Amy and Mark Czerniec, Racine County, Wisconsin

It’s been three weeks since my bilateral mastectomy and things move along better each day. I still have problems reaching for things really high up in the cabinets or bending down to pick things up from the floor. My mother in law lent me her grabber, and it’s really come in handy with a few … [Read more →]

A week after surgery

I can’t believe it’s already a week since my surgery. I feel so good to have it behind me and that I am on my way to recovery. Never having been in the hospital before I think I hit the jackpot in terms of outstanding care and fabulous accommodations. The nursing staff was phenomenal, they … [Read more →]

Now comes surgery

It’s been four weeks since my last chemotherapy treatment and boy does it feel GREAT!!! For the most part I am getting back to feeling normal. My tastebuds seem to be back and the sensitivity in my nails has pretty much gone away. I have been taking the opportunity to get out on my own … [Read more →]

Chemotherapy is behind me

Amy at Froedtert Cancer Center

It feels good to know that I have completed my chemotherapy treatments. We are now moving forward to me having my surgery in a month. For the most part I still have been feeling pretty good. The only side effect that has been getting a little worse is the tingling in my fingertips. I have … [Read more →]

Breast implants or DIEP flap reconstruction?

Two of my girlfriends from Circle of Hope happen to have had the same plastic surgeon that I have. They each underwent a different procedure. I asked if we could meet up so they could show me what their breasts look and feel like.  I was able to ask whatever questions could help me make … [Read more →]

Our first two weeks of 2014

We survived the Polar Vortex that came the first part of this month. Our car was prepared with extra blankets, mittens, hats etc. Luckily we were able to make it to my treatments without any interruptions. There was a terrible tragedy in our neighborhood. On Wednesday the 8th of January,  our neighbor Marilyn was killed … [Read more →]

Chemo, Christmas & New Year’s

I have been in better spirits these past couple of weeks. I loved being together with family and friends during the holidays. I was so happy that everyone was feeling well and we were able to be with both our families for Christmas. It has been so much fun playing with the various wigs that … [Read more →]

A fellow blogger on the breast cancer journey

This morning, we saw Emily Helck with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, talking about her breast cancer journey and how she chronicled it in a weekly photo shoot of how her body has changed over the past year. I have already learned from Emily’s blog about another possible reconstruction option that I can bring up to my plastic … [Read more →]

Breast cancer and the holiday blues

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I finished the book Empty Mansions that I had downloaded from the library to my Kindle. That was pretty fascinating to read about the wealthy Clark family and how much the heiress Huguette gave away to her caregivers. I am now in the middle of reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a … [Read more →]

The Kindle Fire HD

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I love to read and never thought that I would have a need for a Kindle or any other e-reader device. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of a real book. I like to look at the bookshelves and know that I completed most of those displayed. A few years ago, just for kicks, … [Read more →]

Mehndi: Henna tattoo designs during chemotherapy

Mehndi (henna tattoo) after hair loss from chemotherapy

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving, Mark and I celebrated by ourselves at home. We went for an afternoon walk at Petrifying Springs in Kenosha. Then on Saturday my girlfriend Michelle came over and decorated my head with a henna tattoo (also known as Mehndi) using the henna cones my neighbor Angela so generously lent … [Read more →]

Ending A/C and starting Taxol

I can’t tell you how great I feel right now. I have the worst of the 4 treatments behind me and I got through the first treatment of Taxol without any problems to speak of. The first night after treatment I had so much energy that it was hard for me to get to sleep. … [Read more →]