Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Saturday we did the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk with my brother and family. It was at the Tempe Beach Park and it was perfect weather for it.  We drove part way and then took the Light Rail the remaining 1/2 hour or so.  A great way to beat having to find parking, etc. 
Mark, Me, Chris, Tina and my awesome nephew Ian
Even though our day started at 4:30 in the morning, was a beautiful day all around.  The event was well organized, especially for the huge amount of walkers.

Let the event begin!  We just rounded the Tempe Bridge and I had Mark take a pic of the crowd ahead of us.  So nice to see families, companies, children and adults of all ages supporting their loved ones, friends and all those we don't even know.

I was walking backwards while taking this pic of the bridge that we already crossed, which took us on a loop around to get to the bottom of where we were here.  There were still a ton of people at the start, as well as in front of us.  (nope, I didn't trip or fall while taking this pic ;) 

I loved seeing all the pink tutu's as well as pink shirts, tattoo's, ribbons and more to support this great cause.  There were even dogs sporting pink tutu's AND some men too - rock on dudes!

The walk was a 3 mile adventure. We talked, laughed, people watched and simply enjoyed the moment.  At this point we're getting closer to the end, but not quite. 

We had a little breeze at this point which felt quite nice.  It was around 80 degrees, so it was perfect weather.  Just a short way past the large buildings on the left is where the Finish line is.  As we got closer to it all we could think of was food, so I didn't think to take any more pictures. 
Yes, we did complete the entire walk (my legs and hips have reminded me since then, lol!).  Thankfully they handed out banana's and other snack food while we crossed the finish line.  That held us over until lunch - which we ate at a little Mexican restaurant that was delicious!
We will definitely do this walk again next year and for all the years to come.  We're not only doing this because of what we went through with my cancer, but  because we want to continue to support all those who have fought, those who currently are, and for those who will have to fight to survive.
Peace and Love,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Goldfinch in my Torchglow

Male Goldfinch
First I must say to please forgive the photo quality because these were taken from my studio window that has shade sunscreens on them.  I just have to share my studio view and some of the little birds that entertain me with their song and presence.

Every time I see the awesome little dude above, it makes me chuckle - looks like he's wearing a helmet!  It took me a few clicks to finally get him looking my way, which you'll see below. 
Male Goldfinch - not going to look!

Male Goldfinch - still not looking!

Male Goldfinch - happy now? 

Female Goldfinch
 This sweet little gal kept hopping throughout the torchglow, with all the rest of the birds.

Female Goldfinch - camera shy perhaps?
The below photo is the view from my studio while I work.  My gorgeous Torchglow Boggie (as I call it) filled with a variety of birds.  Most of them become camera shy by the time I get close enough to take the picture, but you can see a few in there.

Torchglow Bougainvillea
I also have a finch thistle feeder on my window, so I have a lot of company while working.  I wish I could get a good picture of all them in the torchglow and on my window.  But, I'll leave that to your imagination.
Peace & Luv,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Best quote for women everywhere!

Absolutely the best quote ever for us women!
Peace & Luv,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pink Glove Dance for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness
It's important.
Not just in October.
Peace & Luv,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Free to be me

I feel so free and grounded. Free to think more clearly, free of negativity & hate, free of stress & worry... not entirely of course, but more than I've ever been in my entire life. I'm free to be the *me* that I've always wanted to be.
Peace, Rocki

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mastectomy Photos without reconstruction

Below are graphic bilateral mastectomy photos without reconstruction.  No, there are NOT any before bare breast photos, but there are several post-op bare chest photos of me.  
Why am I doing this?  Because when I was diagnosed and scheduled for surgery, Mark and I searched the web to see what a mastectomy looked like in the different stages of healing.  While we did come across many photos, there were also a lot of before photos of bare breasts which we were not interested in as we wanted to see more of the AFTER photos.  So, this is just another means of helping and supporting myself and other women who have to undergo surgery for breast cancer and are curious as to what it looks like.  We're all different so obviously the healing stage will not be the same for everyone, plus I'm a slow scar healer.  
Am I embarrassed about showing these photos?  Absolutely not.  I have nothing to be embarrassed OR ashamed of - I have no breasts, it is simply my chest.  We are taking photos of the different stages while I heal to see how I progress with the scar changes.  I'll be adding more in the weeks and months to come as it takes 6 to 12 months for complete healing.  Also, once I'm completely healed we are having professional photos taken - with and without our shirts. 
The first 4 photos are before and after with my top on.  Please be advised that the remaining photos are bare chest only, with and without surgery staples, etc.  If you do not want to see that part, please click away before you reach it - warnings are in place prior to the photos.
Peace and Love, Rocki 
(note: I just noticed that some photos have odd coloring of me as if I'm covered in freckles more than I am or oddly tanned.  This is probably from having to lighten them up as some were kind of dark.  Just sayin)
Two days before mastectomy surgery (without bra)

21 days after bilateral total mastectomy without reconstruction

2 days before mastectomy surgery (without bra)
21 days after bilateral total mastectomy without reconstruction 



2 days post-op, staples for closure and holding 'grenade' drainage bulbs

2 days post-op, side view showing where drainage tubes are located (each side)

5 days post-op, wearing mastectomy camisole

mastectomy photo without reconstruction - 12 days post-op

mastectomy photos without reconstruction - 12 days post op - smaller stapled section is where 3 sentinel nodes were removed on right side.  Scars below is where the drainage tube was

left side 12 days post-op 

61 surgical staples removed 13 days post-op mastectomy surgery photo
still have swelling and bruising

13 days post-op -mastectomy photo right side

13 days post-op mastectomy photo left side

bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction photo - 21 days post-op

The mastectomy scars will continue to lighten up and become less visible in time.  The staple scars will eventually disappear.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Just a few little reminders that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  However, please remember that you should ALWAYS be aware and do your monthly self-exams - each and every month.
Breast Self-Exam

Not too sure how to do a self-exam?  No worries as there is plenty of help - even online if you're too embarrassed to ask.  But please, do not EVER be too embarrassed about going to your doctor if you find anything - even if you think it's nothing.  Better safe than sorry.  Trust me, I know. Here's another link on how to do a self-exam.

Also, don't blow off your scheduled mammogram.  I know they don't feel very good, in fact I hated having them done, but the equipment is getting better and better, so there is hope there too.

Like I keep saying, I'm forever going to be a huge supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Peace and Happy Friday!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I'm Gonna Love You Through It

 I’m Gonna Love You Through It - Martina McBride
(update...for some reason this video isn't working now, but it there is a video at the bottom of my blog that you can watch it on)
We had never heard this song before, but my loving and VERY supportive hubby heard it for the first time the day of my surgery - while he was in the waiting room and this was on a morning tv show.  He told me how he felt while listening to it (that was hard) and then tried to play it for me during my hospital stay on his phone. But I couldn't listen to the whole thing at that time. I finally heard it in full one week ago and posted the video on my personal Facebook.  Mark also posted it on his wall and here’s part of what he said:

It literaly brought tears to my eyes, and still moves me now. Three weeks after surgery and Rocki is doing and looking fantastic! I have to buy her some new clothes but that is a very small price to pay compared to what could have been! No matter what life throws at her, and it's thrown a lot, "I'm gonna love her through it!" For anyone else out there that thinks "that'll never happen to me," think twice. When it happens, it hits you hard!

If you think I'm posting too many things about breast cancer, I'm sorry, but you may not realize how deeply it affects you and those around you. If you haven't read any of my blog posts, then you don't know that there was more of it than originally noted and how close it was to spreading, which would have required chemo or radiation - which I count my blessings daily.  Do I stress about that? No, but I do think about how I almost didn't go to the doctor and what that would have meant.

While surgery and recovery isn't a cake-walk, I'm thankful beyond words that I am breast-free, because that means I am cancer free. As I said before, I'm going to be a HUGE supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness. So girls, guys too, do your monthly self-exams! 

Oh and excuse the photo quality, but I took this with my cell phone while I was camped out on the recliner, during the first 2 weeks after surgery.  This was taken a couple nights after being home.  Even though our office is like 10 steps away in another room, Mark set up a table for his work so that he could be right there with me.  He also slept on the couch.  He continues to love me through it.