Thursday, November 11, 2004
What's Next?
Today is Veterans Day, Yasser Arafat has passed away, and President Bush is about to make his annual remarks at Arlington National cemetery. The world keeps turning around me and I am still focused on my battle with breast cancer. Our worlds seem to be as big or small as we choose to make them. While it is difficult to know what is next on the global agenda, I certainly know what lies ahead on mine.

I've basked in the glow of having my last treatment for a week now. I've had celebratory lunches with friends, my co-workers wore pink to celebrate this milestone, and mostly I've just tried to rest. My nights have been a little sleepless, but it is tough to determine whether that is from the thoughts racing through my mind or the now diminishing aches in my legs. I kept forgetting that even as I celebrated my last chemo, I still had chemo and would need to endure all its side-effects. Slowly, but surely, my energy is returning.

Next week my groshong catheter comes out. I cannot wait to never use the word "groshong" again. After I got over the initial infections at the catheter site on my chest, it has been relatively worry free. Outside of protecting it in the shower and the daily dressing changes (this is what we determined to be the best routine to keep the infections down - and it worked!), it has hardly been a bother. But without it, I will be able to soak in a bath, relax in a hot tub, and not worry about the tube popping out of my sweater. The amazing thing is that this catheter tube goes straight into my main artery and was inserted while I was under anesthesia. It is removed in a quick procedure at the pre-op center with no drugs. Wow...I guess we just wind up the hose and cap off the hose bib. I'm having flashbacks to this game my mom used to play with us where she would squeeze our wrist and get all the blood out of our hand and then motion as though she were pulling something from palm of the hand when she let go of the wrist. It was a weird sensation as the blood flowed back into the hand, but it seemed like she was pulling out the inside of my hand. I know it must sound odd (I may not have described that too well) to those who never did this, but I know my sisters can relate. Tune in next week to see if my doctor plays the same game my mother taught me.

Whether you have a holiday today or not, make it a great day!

Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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