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August
19
2018

Recuperating

The procedures went well and I am recuperating at home. I had major shoulder/arm pain the first few days. The doctors said that it's very common because they pumped a lot of air into me and it could get stuck. Fortunately, most of the pain is gone & I'm just left with a very bloated stomach. I'll go back to the plastic surgeon this week and the gynecological surgeon the following week. The hardest part is going to be not driving for 2 weeks, but I'm grateful that Luke is now driving & can help out. I am beyond thrilled to have everything behind me. For the next 4 1/2 years, I'll have routine follow-ups with my oncologist & breast surgeon. They are amazing women & hopefully they will have only good news for me. I will continue to shine my little light & hope to encourage others with health issues to never give up! 

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August
2
2018

Final procedure

Well, I thought I'd have my hysterectomy and breast revision in May but my body really needed a break. The pain from the radiation on my left underarm & breast has gotten worse over time, but my physical therapist warned that it'll get worse before it gets better. So I'm hopeful in the next 6 months it'll slowly recede.
I've scheduled my surgery for August 16. It will require an overnight stay and take a few weeks to recuperate. I keep saying it's no big deal, but Grant & my PT are pressing me to take it seriously. After all I've been through, it seems so minor. I promised to try to take it easy after although I'm planning to go back to my yoga teacher training in late August. I'm going to wait & see how I'm feeling before diving in. I'm not good at taking it easy. This will be challenging. I'm super excited to complete my training & start teaching.
On a personal note, I had an amazing summer. Grant, the kids & I all went to Spain for 15 days! It was the trip of a lifetime. After speaking about Spain to Grant for over 20 years, he finally got to see what I was raving about & fell in love with the country nearly as much I do. It meant the world to me to be back there cancer free with the people I love the most. Sending light & love to you all! 

March
23
2018

Done, done, done!

Yes, Wednesday was my last day of radiation! I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that treatments are over. It's been a long, often difficult 9 months, but I realized I'm stronger than I ever imagined and am grateful for all of the support I've received. 
I just have a few more things to secure my complete health. I will get a hysterectomy to avoid ovarian cancer. It's scheduled for May. I'm hoping to postpone it to make my niece's graduation & give my body a break. I will see my gynecological oncologist next week and will decide on timing. I will also continue with physical therapy on my left arm where they removed the lymph nodes & radiated. My therapist said it'll be 18months before I have complete free range, but that's a small price to pay to have my cancer-free life back! 
Now for the celebrating! I'm going to St. George Island for Spring Break with Grant, the kids & our dogs. I'm looking forward to lots of family time, walks on the beach, horseback riding, and Uno games.  
Then in early May, I'm off to Paris! Last summer I meet up with an old roommate from my days in Spain & Italy in Rome. She said she'd love to visit our other roommate in Paris. I promised her that I would once my treatments were over. So I'll be off on my victory trip! 

Thanks to everyone who has followed this site. Your prayers and kind words have lifted me up and touched my heart. I hope you all continue in good health. Know that I am here to support you in good times and bad. I remember the words of my dear father in law who passed away last year. He said on the eve of our wedding that "our good times will be multiplied when shared and our difficulties split in half."
God Bless.



 

March
17
2018

Found my lemonade!

I only have 3 radiation treatments left! I’m so close and ready to move forward! 
I’ve decided to get yoga instructor certified. After practicing for 18 years, it’s something I’ve thought about often, but this journey has made it even more clear. 
Quick story. My dear friend who owns a yoga studio put me in touch with a woman going through chemo. We communicated via text for months & finally decided to meet. When she saw me, she immediately said she recognized me. On a Friday she was told her scan looked like cancer throughout her lymph nodes & to see an oncologist asap to confirm. She was devastated and feeling she’d have to start chemo & never leave the house or have any sense of normalcy again. The next morning she dragged herself out of bed to go to a free yoga class outside in our town square. And there I was l with my chemo cap on. I rolled out my mat, did the whole class under the trees, then rushed off. (I had to get to Brett's soccer game.) She said she was so inspired to see a woman clearly going through chemo & not afraid to go out in public & do what she loved. I realized then that I can inspire others. So I will get my certification & specialize in those going through health issues. That’s my lemonade! 

March
3
2018

More than halfway through radiation

Yes! I've had 13 of the 25 radiation treatments. Only 12 to go! So far so good. I'm only sore at the site and a bit fatigued but not as bad as chemo. Unfortunately, I'm not completely healed from the surgery so I started seeing wound care this week. I feel much better having them advise me & hope it will all be healed by the time radiation is over. The end is in sight!
Last night we had a "burn the mumu" bonfire. A friend recommended I buy the ugliest mumu at Walmart to wear after surgery & to burn it once it was over. It felt great! Goodbye Cancer! 

February
15
2018

Radiation & inspiration

I started radiation as planned on Valentine's Day. The staff is incredibly kind and efficient and the radiation oncologist is fantastic and answers all of my questions. I'm on to the easy part. They said they're the good people. They won't cut me, make me nauseous or lose my hair. The only side effect is a bit of burning on the site & fatigue. I went for my second treatment today & was in & out in less than 30 minutes! Only 23 to go!
Now for the inspiration. A while back a dear friend who owns a yoga studio asked if she could refer a yoga student to me who was going through chemo. Of course, I agreed & we've been corresponding since. We finally met face to face last Friday. She told me that she recognized me immediately because she had seen me months before at a free yoga class in the park. She said that she had had a CAT scan the day before which showed tumors all over her body. They didn't confirm cancer but advised her to see an oncologist asap. She was devastated & wondering how she would go on with her normal life. She had never seen anyone visibly showing signs of Cancer (ie Bald) out in public. Enter me! She dragged herself out of bed to yoga that Saturday morning hoping for inspiration & I walked up late (as usual) with my yoga mat & my chemo cap. I did the entire class under the trees then rushed off. (I had to get to Brett's soccer game.) She said she was awestruck & inspired to see someone out in public doing yoga - cancer & all! I was so honored that I had touched her & inspired her. Which is a big reason why I write this. Of course, I can't email or call everyone to update them, but more than that I know that unfortunately more people will get diagnosed with cancer & have fear & mixed emotions. My hope and prayer is that my words & strength will inspire them to keep going. Life is so very beautiful. We must never give up. 

February
9
2018

Turning Point

I must admit I haven’t written in a while because the recovery has been more difficult than I expected and I like to report good news. I was fortunate to have my mother in law visit last week. She was a tremendous help since I still couldn’t lift anything or drive. Finally, on Monday, I had my last drain pulled (ouch), but it was a relief and meant I could start moving forward to physical therapy & radiation. My radiation will begin on Valentine’s Day. Woo hoo! The doctor has reduced it from 28 to 25 treatments so it’ll be exactly 5 weeks. Piece of cake! 
Now for the great news! I went to “Turning Point” Breast Cancer Rehabilitation center yesterday. Just reading the sign & seeing the pink ribbon, I knew I was on the road to better days. The therapist read over my info and asked me to explain all I had been through. I told her how strong & health I was to start & how I powered through chemo continuing with power walks and yoga even on the tough days, but that the surgery wasn’t quite as easy to glide through. I explained that the after the surgery I had to go back for an emergency surgery then ended up needing a blood transfusion and was released feeling rather beat up. She listened intently and said she understood completely what I’d been through because she had been through the exact same 13 years before! Literally used stomach tissue to rebuild her breasts, needed an emergency surgery & blood transfusion (this is very rare). She said she was meant to help me and would support me going forward to full recovery. I burst into tears of joy! Prayers answered. Nothing but blue skies! 

January
23
2018

Best possible outcome!

We went to see the Radiation Oncologist today. We're super pleased with her! She spent a lot of time explaining everything & making sure we didn't have any questions unanswered. She said that not having any trace of cancer found from my pathology was the best possible outcome. She confirmed that there is a highly unlikely chance of reoccurrance, but still wants me to have radiation. She said there's not enough proof of women who don't get radiation to be 100% accurate. I will do it as I don't ever want to go through this again. She assured me that there are very little side effects during radiation or long term.  Also she said I can drive myself. I'm really relieved with that as I wasn't looking forward to having people drive me 28 times! 
Anyway, I'll go back to the plastic surgeon on Monday & hopefully will have the last drain removed. If I continue to heal as well as I have been, I'll start radiation 2 weeks later. I'm ready to move forward. By April I'll be good as new!