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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at www.debilynsmith.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Glimpse at Breast Cancer Reconstruction

Ow. Again. But this time it wasn't to remove cancer. It was to put some volume back to refill the old brassiere. Like some girls in high school when they stuffed their empty cups with half a box of Kleenex. Same deal. Only they use things like silicone and saline to refill your boob these days. Yes, they're back to silicone as they "say" its safe again. Better bags- was that a zip lock I saw them place in there?

Okay, so I went under the knife at approximately 8 a.m., having been in day surgery since 6 getting gowned and weighed, checked for dentures or other air passage blockers. The anesthetist came by and explained why I could not have my old stand-by of a spinal tap as they couldn't get it to cover such a high area on the body. Okay. General anesthetic it will be. At least now I don't smoke and will recover quickly from any coughing issues the GA leaves with me.

I am walked down to the OR and told to hop up on the bed. This is new, I've always been rolled down on a gurney. I am splayed out like Christ on the cross, left arm strapped to a board, the right one splayed out on a different board that shoots straight out from the table. There is a sun above my head, as big and round as a Prince George pot hole that will get turned on seconds after I receive something " to relax me." I beseech the anesthetist to make my martini not too dry and with lots of ice and am out before he can reply. Was I served olives with that 'cause damn, I'm hungry?

I awake with my surgeon telling me something I don't get, placing some items to pass on to my regular doctor. I sleep again. I awake. I sleep. I don't remember getting up and leaving, going straight to bed at my in-laws, awaking in time for the dinner bell before back to bed. I am sore along the right side as to be expected but can't see anything as one large gauze pad is securely taped right across the right breast.

In the morning I am popping pain pills, heavy duty ones that make my eyes cross, but we load up and head to Quesnel for a book signing at a busy lottery/book store call Caryall Books. Barry helps by unloading my gear (all stashed in an over-sized suitcase, and one sandwich board with a carry-strap) and a case of books. We do well here. I talk to many people, handing out samples of Crystal deodorant wipes as a way to start standing up to cancer by eliminating toxins in your life.

We overnight with friends and I'm in bed very early, the pain creeping up before climbing down after popping more pills. As long as it's hurting, I can't get addicted they say. That's great because there is pain. But it fades quickly and I flip around trying to find a comfortable way to sleep. I decide lying on my good side with a pillow sandwiched between my arm and side of the surgery is best. I remember this from my previous two surgeries.

I do the Relay for Life on the Saturday with a great bunch of girls on the team Fighters 4 Life. They've made tye-dyed shirts to sell so I get one, filling the girls with watermelon and my macaroons to boot. Back to our friends that night by dinner time as again the rain came down and spoiled the relay event enough to make me leave. I couldn't afford to get sick at this stage of the game. Three more relays to go!

It appears I did not get a bag of silicone inserted into a cut made along my original breast surgery scars from the partial mastectomy. An expander was put in, along with an empty bag which gets filled by syringe once every four weeks. That lets the radiated skin get a chance to stretch as its filled. Like getting braces I imagine? A bit at a time of tightening and stretching. It will be funny to watch my breast expand a bit more every month when Sandi fills it. Like blowing up a balloon in slow-mo. Only problem is the surgery side is swollen and firm again while the other breast sags to above my belly button. I had to go braless today in a tight-topped dress and found myself dragging the good side up to the same level as the surgical side on the half hour. Nothing like watching a 50 year-old digging around inside her shirt every few minutes. Good grief. Handling myself. They'll have me committed. Like watching a monkey in a cage have sex with itself.

But, correct behaviour or not, I'm in for the experience and hopefully for a better self-image and bra-fit. I'm pleased to say at this stage, the far-right pointed nipple has re-aligned a little to the left, so that was a bonus. But who knows where it will end up in three or four months? Pointing back at the other nipple? Like car headlights badly out of adjustment. A person could go blind looking at them.
Well, as long as they don't both point straight south. That I would have a problem with.

I'll keep you posted on the drama of it all. I'm off to pop another Ibuprofen which is working well with food and just as good as the big guns did. Just not for as long. Off I go...quickly!

Less Than 500 HITS to reach 10,000!

Thanks everyone, for helping me get over the 10,000 mark. For that and the reviews coming in daily at www.debilynsmith.com once finished reading Running From Cancer: a tilted memoir. It's YOU that will help me succeed at getting the word to stand up and fight back against cancer to as many people as need to hear it.

I made the first move today toward getting the book sanctioned by the Canadian Cancer Society. I was told they don't back things like books, but who knows. I told them I was interested in being the next Fight Back poster girl for the CCS. And a want to promote a line of pink/black and white cammo Fight Back gear with sizing for cadets, soldiers and officers ( two levels of pricing and quality). You wouldn't believe the interest in the pants I bought for my Fight Back/ Relay outfit. They have become an icon overnight.

Whatever works to get the book into hands of people wanting to change- just enough to change from running to standing firm.

Books are available locally at Countrywide Books, or get a signed copy through me at home, 250-845-7793 locally, or through my website at www.debilynsmith.com. Kindle version through www.amazon.ca. Coming July 25, e-pub and all other e-book forms. Sorry for that inconvenience. It's a game Amazon plays for exclusivity. It did me no favours. Live and learn.
The next book will be much easier to market.

Now about finding that young cleaning lady looking for a great business idea to help her on herway. Imagine, Non-Toxic house cleaning. It's possible. I just need to find the right person to set-up on this great journey.

I'm an IDEA girl, not a do-it-myself girl. It was all I could do to focus long enough to get a book up and running. It might have stayed  in a dresser drawer with the four others in there. See how fast I get ideas to reality?
 I hope you're going forward to make your own dreams come true. It feels so right when it happens.
xo

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Off and Running...Again

After getting home late from the lake last night, we are again packing madly for another road trip- this time to Prince George for Archie Smith's 87th birthday. Sounds like Chinese food and cake. It's all good (I'll be taking my brown rice as we're doing take-out, so easy enough to health it up a bit).
Wednesday finds us straining our backs picking the wild fiddleheads, which if you don't know what they are, can be read about  at http://www.bcnorth.ca/magazine/pages/debi/fiddlehead/fiddle1.htm
(It's an old article of mine still on-line. Note the beautiful hair...sigh).

Thursday finds me once again beneath the surgeon's knife- operation number three, this time for reconstructive surgery. Dr. K is implanting a silicone bag to help fill my bra out. There's been strap slippage and snaps coming undone at the most unsuspected and always unfortunate times. Try onstage. Egad! It's a 1.5 hour surgery, five hours out of my life and not sure how long for recovery. If you asked me, there would be NO time for recovery as the next day I have a book signing in Quesnel from 1-3 at Caryall Books (I pre-signed them- smart, eh?) Hopefully I won't be too stoned and drooling at perspective customers. That night we're staying with our great friends Don and Veronica (another survivor) at their new home outside of Quesnel. The next day is the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and I'll be with my team of teenagers called Fighters 4 Life, with a speaking engagement at 4 pm centre-field. I treated us to the Billy Barker Casino and Motel that night before we whirlwind back to Houston on Sunday, with Barry working in Burns Lake on the Monday. I get tired simply reading about it.

The following week is Terrace and Prince Rupert and the week after that we finally make it to Smithers where I will be signing and doing a reading on the Friday and the relay on the Saturday. I will be giving the Luminary Speech at midnight, a somber tribute to the fallen cancer patients which I plan to follow with a Fight back message.
Bill Myers, my techno whiz is working on a "feedback" or "Review" page so readers can let me know what they think about the book, if there's any typos, corrections (Sandi found 3 and my Mother-in-law three. I spelled her sister's name wrong. It's Joleen, not Jolene. First line, first chapter. Sheesh)
Other than that, we are immensely happy, the books are selling well, and Lindsay has found her wedding dress. What more in life could we ask for, besides Grandkids? Ha.
Stay tuned....there will be a blog on the Bigger Boob coming soon...just what does it feel like to have a breast implant? Personally I'm trying not to think about that at the moment. I'm in my usual pose of head down and ass up, plowing through to the next adventure. Watch out everyone. Stand back, this might hurt...
xo

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Curried Quinoa Salad

The best new summer recipe- almost a meal in a bowl. Check it out at www.debilynsmith.com in the recipe section. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Running From Cancer: a tilted memoir

Somebody pinch me. (Not too hard, I still bruise easy?)

The book that began as a suggestion from my daughter Karly to "blog" my trip down the Cancer Freeway, is finally available for the general public to hold in their hands.

I don't have to wonder if the story will inspire or aid another traveler. It already has. That's all I ever hoped for: that someone could learn from what I went through. How to stop running from cancer. Learn to stand up and fight it for all you're worth. Not just after a diagnosis but before. Like right now. It's never too early to fight cancer.

As Catherine Aird said, "If you can't be a good example- then you'll just have to be a terrible warning." I resemble that remark. Anxious and afraid of words like surgery and chemotherapy, I fought everything instead of concentrating on the disease itself.

I know better and expect to live a long and fruitful life. My anti-cancer prevention belt has been tightened and I refuse to return to my old habits that dragged me down that road in the first place.

By reading this book, I hope you will be inspired to start tightening your own cancer prevention belt before you become one of the 500 Canadians a DAY diagnosed with cancer. Of those, 200 will die from it. But thanks to the generosity of good folks like you, new technology is constantly being funded and founded to save the lives of people like myself  And I can't thank you enough. If it wasn't for the cancer societies, my cancer never would have been detected as early as it was. Good thing as it had already escaped into a lymph node headed to the bloodstream and other points unknown. Cancer is scary stuff.

So don't mess with it. Get the book and read the 10 ways to prevent getting cancer, or use the twenty helpful tips if you do have cancer. Enjoy my favourite healthy recipes, just a few to put you on the right path.

Available through my website at www.debilynsmith.com (signed if you'd like), through www.amazon.com as a pocketbook, Kobo or Kindle e-book (e-pub released September 1st). Available through local bookstores across North America.

A portion of every book sale is donated to the Bulkley Valley Health Care and Hospital Foundation. It's the beginning of fundraising I hope to do to expediate getting a new piece of equipment for the Smithers hospital. A CT scanner be a world of help to cancer and other patients alike.