Cancer treatments done, now what?

Cut flowers in a vase in the kitchen window

I didn’t know what to expect when I got done with the chemo, surgery and radiation. I was hoping to get back to normal. For the most part I guess we have. We’ve been able to get together with family for birthday celebrations and going away parties and festivals. After taking a year off, I … [Read more →]

Breast cancer: 12 months in 12 minutes

Breast cancer: 12 months in 12 minutes

Today marks one year since being diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember it was a very nice day much like today. It was kind of hard to enjoy because we knew the call could come, but as the day went on I didn’t think it was going to happen. The call came around 3:45 p.m. … [Read more →]

Video: Breast expanders vs. radiation burns, 3rd surgery

Waterford Hot Air Balloon Festival, Waterford, Wisconsin

I had been told by so many people how easy the radiation portion of treatment would be. I have to say, yes —  the immediate side effects are not too bad, the skin getting burned over time and a little fatigue. However, I didn’t know what the effects were going to be weeks after radiation. … [Read more →]

Video: 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 therapy — am having some uncomfortable itching episodes … [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 →]

Chili recipe: Chicken Chili with Beans

Chili recipe: Chicken Chili with Beans

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 →]

Video: Living with my PICC line, IV 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 PICC line and IV 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 … [Read more →]

Home again with PICC line, IV pump

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)

Amy, hospitalized with a staph infection

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 my mastectomy incision. After waking and taking my shower Friday morning, Mark said it looked like it … [Read more →]

Three weeks since mastectomy

New Fox and Hounds Restaurant and Tavern, Hubertus, 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 since my mastectomy

Amy with Jackson-Pratt drains after a double mastectomy

I can’t believe it’s already a week since my double mastectomy. 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 at Froedtert. The nursing staff … [Read more →]

After chemotherapy, before mastectomy

Preparing for mastectomy: Amy learns how to handle Jackson-Pratt drains

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 →]

Video: Last chemo treatments

Chemo side effects: Loss of eyebrows and eyelashes

It feels good to know that I have completed my last chemo treatments. We are now moving forward to me having my double mastectomy 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. … [Read more →]

Reconstruction options, MRI, neutrophils

Breast cancer MRI results, before and after chemotherapy

Two of my girlfriends from Circle of Hope happen to have had the same plastic surgeon that I have. They each underwent a different breast reconstruction 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 … [Read more →]

Life during chemo: Taxol 7 & 8

Wisconsin State Snow Sculpting Competition, Racine WI

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 chemo treatments without any interruptions. 2014 began with a terrible tragedy in our neighborhood. On Wednesday the 8th of January,  our neighbor Marilyn … [Read more →]

Chemo, Christmas & New Year’s

Christmas: Amy (with wig) and Zoey

I have been in better spirits this 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 →]

Emily Helck: Fellow breast cancer blogger

Emily Helck, bogger at RTONJ: The Real Tumors of New Jersey, appears on MSNBC

This morning, we saw Emily Helck with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, talking about her breast cancer journey and how she chronicled in a weekly photo shoot the way her body has changed over the past year. I have already learned from Emily’s blog, RTONJ: The Real Tumors of New Jersey, about another possible reconstruction option that … [Read more →]

Holiday depression

Holiday depression during breast cancer at Froedtert Cancer Center, Milwaukee WI

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 →]