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Happy Birthday, Michael Harley! 

Mike, 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you: my #1 favorite person in the Universe! I love you more each day that passes! You love me as unconditionally as is humanly possible, and that’s no small thing because I’m annoying AF sometimes. I don’t deserve your love yet here we are. I admire you so much because of your view of the world, your treatment of people, your love for humanity and animals, your passion for alternate transportation & cycle adventures, your beat boxing skillz, etc. 😎
I think you are incredibly handsome and love that you always make me laugh! I am so proud to be & there’s never a moment that I don’t want to be your wife. We are a perfect match for each other in so many ways and I love that you’re the yin to my yang! I don’t want to imagine what life would be like without you by my side. I’m glad we were able to celebrate your birth with our friends last weekend, and I look forward to another Labor Day weekend trip with you and our kids & extended family. 💗 I hope that today is the perfect day for you- everything you hope for in birthdays. No one deserves that more than YOU. I love you babe- forever & ever.
Always yours,
Jen

Update! 9/16/14

It’s been awhile since I updated so I figure I’d let y’all know what’s been happening in the last month or so. My last infusion was Aug. 5th and I’ve been very well since. Work has been great! Mid July, I transferred to another new salon at work (this time I had the choice.)  It is the location that I originally applied for, just about a mile from where Mike works. It’s in a part of town that is rapidly growing and changing, very hip & we would love to live in, but just not in the cards yet. That’s OK by me. I love the area & the clientele. My franchisee bought this shop from the previous owner & little tweaks here and there will hopefully bring more business in. I have been promoted to assistant manager so even when we are slow, I have things I can be doing and that is VERY fulfilling for me. Even as “just” a stylist I always take ownership & pride in whichever salon I am in…to the point where customers think I’m in charge. I don’t even care about titles or “being in charge” per se.. I just want the customers to be taken care of. They are after all, our bread and butter.  I guess that comes from the experience I have and also owning a business before where I was the only one responsible for everything. I was also the only one “employed” there. I’ve never had a strong desire to manage other people, so this is where I need to be in learning mode. That part of management is always challenging to me, especially when others aren’t doing what is expected of them. I absolutely HATE confrontation but it is necessary sometimes. Yesterday we had to let someone go, and it wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t even the target of name calling, etc. and it still took me a minute to get back in the groove of things! I’m just thankful that no customers were in the building at the time. It’s amazing how just one person can stunt a salon’s growth…so this was a much needed change in order for the morale & business to improve at this shop. Onward & upward! We have hired 2 more stylists to the team and I’m looking forward to helping to train them so our shop can run smoothly & the customer service level will be the same no matter who is working. 

As far as my health is concerned, I’m still having minimal issues. I went to see my endocrinologist last month, and he ordered my TSH and other thyroid levels to be taken. We did them twice, and my TSH is super low, with my other levels being perfectly normal. I don’t think he’s super concerned. The TSH being really low indicates hyperthyroidism, but I have no symptoms of that & with the other levels being normal it doesn’t show hyperthyroidism. My uneducated theory is that chemo did a number on my thyroid hormone level. *shrug* I will wait for further instruction on that as I feel completely fine, albeit a bit tired. I haven’t been exercising as I should so that’s probably the reason for that. 

The big news re: breast cancer is that 8 days ago, I had my port removal surgery. YES!!! As someone commented to me yesterday, that’s always a good thing when ports can come out. For me, this was the easiest surgery to date! I still had to fast beforehand & my surgery wasn’t until 11am Monday, so by the time I went back to the OR, I was parched & ravenous. (We made a beeline to Chipotle immediately after my release.) The surgery lasted less than an hour. I was under local anesthesia for where they actually cut me, and IV sedation so I would be extremely comfortable during. I was so comfortable that I fell asleep. I woke up when they were putting the steri strips on me, as I could feel the tugging of that (with no pain) and could hear everything but I kept my eyes closed as I was very groggy. No nausea this time, and minimal pain afterward that only required prescription doses of ibuprofen for the first couple of days. I took it easy the rest of Monday and Tuesday, returned to work last Wednesday afternoon. I’ve been ordered not to lift more than 10 lbs with my right arm, and am already limited to 15 lbs with the left because of lymphedema risk, so I’ve had coworkers take the large garbage bag out of the back, or sometimes carrying my work supply bag for me. This limitation for my right arm is only for another week however, so I won’t feel at a disadvantage for too long. The main complaint I have right now (and I can be a whiny biatch sometimes) is that my port incision is itchy. It’s like I’ve had about 10 mosquito bites all in a row. My steri strips are still hanging on and it’s a no-no to pull them off, so even though they’re curling up on the edges, I put bandaids over them to keep any mishaps from causing them to be pulled. I’ve had an excessive amount of adhesive exposure thanks to wound care, surgery & whatnot over the past year so my skin really gets angry with bandaids and other medical tapes. I will most likely have one more revision surgery for my reconstruction before April, but I won’t know the plan until I see my Plastic Surgeon next month. For now I’m really just enjoying not having doctor’s appointments each week & not even having the port to remind me of what I’ve been through this past year. Of course there are the mastectomy scars that are a blatant reminder, but I’ll save those sentiments for another blog post. 

XOXO,
Jen











No more chemo!!!

Quick-like update:
Today was my 6th & final dose of Taxotere & Carboplatin. Yes!!

My platelets today were up yet again… A HUGE jump from 78K before last chemo to 154K today. Wow!

I’ve been feeling good other than being a tad worn down. The oncologist was concerned that my hemoglobin levels were low. They dropped from last time too. She wasn’t so concerned as to require me to have a blood transfusion, but it’s an option if I start noticing symptoms like shortness of breath, heart palpitations or being more tired than usual (how am I supposed to know?! Lol I’m tired a lot as it is.) I’m hoping I can’t tough it out since I won’t have more chemo treatments and they’ll bounce back on their own.

I go back now in 3 weeks for labs, visit with Dr. Mayer & to have my first Herceptin-only treatment. Those will continue every 3 weeks for a total of 52 weeks. I’ve already had some of those along with the chemo, so I’m presuming I’ll be done with those in August of 2014. I’ll only have to have labs done & see the doc every 9 weeks, so my treatment days are going to be a lot shorter after next time. I can’t wait to get back in the swing of a new normal…Get my energy back, have my hair come back, get a JOB again! After my next surgery (feb-march hopefully?) I’ll feel like I will finally feel like myself again and not this shell of a Jen. (Heh…that rhymed)

I just want to say again how grateful I am for all of you rooting for me, thinking of, praying for, sending love, light & positive vibes to me. You are the best. I’m especially grateful for my husband. He’s been by my side every step of the way & making me feel so loved. I’m a very lucky girl to have him.

2014 will be a great year. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas & New Year with your families. We had a great (albeit short) visit from my mom & stepdad this past weekend. It was so nice to spend time with them in our new city! We will have all our kids here on Thursday. Jess & Carter come Thursday morning, & Austin flies in Thursday night. Can’t wait to hug his neck! I haven’t seen him since right before chemo started!

Ok I’m tired & crashing for the night. Much love.

XOXO,
Jen