Issuu on Google+


a story of a girl-on-the-go! girl-on-the-go!


and a bilateral mastectomy

. . . I jumped up and went hunting for wigs as soon as I knew I had breast cancer!

For girls-on-the-go who can’t be bothered . . . . One story in an easy-read format by Jessica G. Stockwell Publisher: ( No takers at the moment js/15OCT2016 ) ISDN #: ( Not assigned yet js/15OCT2016 )

Part of the sale of this book (It’s FREE) is donated to: (please consider donating to your local Cancer Center for those who can’t pay, for those who have transportation problems and for the dozens of people in your community who really need financial support. LESS STRESS!!...MORE HEALING!!!) Visit: (and watch my Contact:

OMG! No WiGs Celebration video)

| Author of this content : Jessica G. Stockwell | Permission to share w/attributions. © October 2016 Jessica G. Stockwell | All Rights Reserved

So, this is a story of a girl-on-the-go! I mean, someone who is relatively healthy, someone who has incorporated a modicum of exercise in her life since high school. She loves to travel far and away, and walk down a street and discover a neighborhood she hasn’t visited. Sometimes she walks along the street into a new neighborhood and unexpectedly gets lost. Imagine, getting lost—it happens to the best of us. This girl-on-the-go has had a few roadblocks in her life. Hurdles to jump over or move around. Temporary interruptions in lifestyle. For her, these lifestyle interruptions have been an opportunity to experience a different lifestyle. For her it has been a time of realizations, new perspectives and the discovery that common sense is relative to who you are, where you are, and where you come from. This girl-on-the-go lost her hair! Her 3 WIGS were her cover-up and they offered daily distraction, a sense of comfort and many comic moments. This is the story, in brief, of a journey through breast cancer; the discovery, treatment, and healing. Some of the ups, some of the downs and the steady rise to being active and alert, dancing and most of all laughing with a full heart of gratitude.

OMG (Oh My Gosh) An easy-read girls-on-the-go book about Breast Cancer. by: Jessica Stockwell


> How this book is set up —UNCONVENTIONALLY. You will see by the real-life exclamations OMG and LOL on the left, and the real-life actions and reactions on the right. That’s us girls-on-the-go! UNCONVENTIONAL. We are quick thinking, quick with action so that we get quick results. Sometimes the results of quick thinking and quick action are good....but not always, there are risks. Here’s an example of quick thinking, quick action and results. > I’m on a plane and a woman with a crying child is trying to get out of her seat. >> QUICK THINKING: I think...if I was her, I would like some help. >> QUICK ACTION: So, I offer to help. I hold the baby. >> QUICK RESULTS: 1. baby settles down,—the mother gets organized and out of her seat. 2. baby cries louder,—the mother gets organized and out of her seat. 3. baby spits up on me,—the mother gets organized and out of her seat. These are some possible results...and risks. Can you handle them? That’s us girls-on-the-go. We learn to handle a lot of situations. Calculating risk, (and threats), costs & benefits. Taking action. Also, Girls-on-the-go love the benefits of acts of kindness, giving and receiving.

OMG I think I felt a lump? NOV 4, 2014

Everyone has a unique, different story and journey. I am a lucky one! Here is my story.

So, I was called back to the hospital after my mammogram. The radiologist thought she caught something on the mammogram and she wanted me to come back. I did. We did an ultrasound. Not good. It was a tumor, a small tumor. We did a biopsy. Not good. I walked home thinking, worried, and unsure of how this all could be. It seemed urgent. I was to get my official biopsy report in the next days. I could only think, get this out of me!

OMG Trauma, melodrama & trying to put on a good face AND make decisions. So many choices . . . .

> So What did I do? I went online and read about breast cancer. I spent a few days reaching out to people and researching. But, what kind of breast cancer did I have? I read about that too, the possible scenarios and terminology. I wrote notes in a note book. I scribbled down questions to ask. There were a gazzilion, gazzilion articles... and a gazzilion choices. OMG! OVERWHEMiNG !!! It gave me a BIG head ache. > I emailed my family and friends with the short story.... It went something like this: Subject: from tea bags to lemons Headlilne: - News - 2 WEEKS | Tests It was Nov 4th that I discovered a lump in my left breast. “OMG! I have a lump!� I went to have it checked with a mammogram at the hospital close to my apartment in central Istanbul. Something Suspicious Appreared? and was caught by the radiologist. I was called back in the same day/ chest x-ray, an ultrasound, and a left-breast-suspected-tumor biopsy. Confirmed several days later: invasive ductal carcinoma. A follow up MRI and ultrasounds and biopsies confirm cancerous tumors in both breasts. Dr. M, she, a respected breast cancer surgeon will be performing a bilateral mastectomy on Nov. 27th.

OMG STRESS! Tests and more tests.. results, reports. STRESS! Who's going to pay $$$ for this?

> Tests and test results materialized fast. Suspicious appearances....then utlrasound tests—to see these suspicious appearance(s)....then biopsy tests—to confirm or deny if it is cancer or not. STRESS > Who is going to pay for this?...MORE STRESS I have insurance. I check insurance. I am using a credit card to pay for all these tests upfront, which cost a lot of $$$$, especially the MRI & PET. > What do all these reports mean? I start to gain more information from the test results and reports relayed to me from Turkish to Medical English. I have to start looking at a game plan. > Who are all these doctors and nurses? I start to collect business cards and meet a number of specialists over the next few days. > The hospital did not waste time. This girl-on-the-go was introduced to a coordinator from the Cancer Center and with her help we conquered the world of insurance, gatekeepers, doctor appointments and permissions....LESS STRESS.

OMG It IS Breast Cancer!! What kind? What stage? Early Stages > Aggressive Types: PR-positive | ER-positive | HER2-positive | Triple Negative General Stage Reference: Stage I | Stage II | Stage III | Stage IV

> CHECK EARLY | CHECK OFTEN My head is spinning with information. I can not retain a thing! I scribble notes. I try to follow the doctor(s), again scribbling notes. I check online for a bit more detail and how you spell anything ?@#$%$?@ to keep information and stages straight in my mind. I am completely incapable of relaying this information to anyone. OMG OVERWHELMiNG !! > Who do I listen to? and who has the best advice? My CASE: My doctors, I connect and listen to them. They are the authority. Good News—they are the professionals, experts and have years of experience. Bad News—No one can offer guarantees. It will take up to two years before I am up and running around in life—happy enough—happy— or happier, than before I found out I had breast cancer.

OMG My Hair !!! I was going to lose it. I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror.

> 20 Days Before Surgery & Treatment Always obsessive about my hair, I started to look at it and image not having it. It was my signature color! This girl-on-the-go has always been obsessed about her hair.

Now my hair was going to disappear. Slow? Fast? How exactly?

LOL (Laugh Out Loud) The hunt was on! I selected


WiGs and named them.

The Tina Turner .... and sometimes Garth from Waynes World look.

The Betsy Beltway conservative look.


The Rod Stewart Rocker look.

OMG Two Weeks before Surgery.

> 16 NOV 2014 I ran a 10 K > Also, OMG, I arranged, organized, cleaned and even....yes...painted a peeling, moldy, ceiling in my flat the day before surgery. > LOL 24 hours before surgery I was up on a ladder, stretching to roller-paint the ceiling, at least one coat. I did. Success! And I’m glad I did because it would have been an ugly eyesore that would have driven me crazy and stressed-me-out every time I looked at it.

I ran a 10 K . . . and I have a funny video to prove it!

OMG Major Surgery . . at the hospital. NOV 27, 2014

It's all kind of a blur . . and so was the year 2015

> Surgery | 27 NOV 2014 > Bilateral Mastectomy Lft/Rt Lymph node biopsy Lft/Rt (about 2.5 hrs) > 1st Reconstructive Surgery Expanders implanted Lft/Rt (about 2.5 hrs) > Woke up about 7-8 hours later. I had a needle (IV) in my arm— hooked up to a beeping machine for medications. Yep, a catheter, & 4 long drains | 2 under each arm. Helpful nurses 24/7 taking care of me.

Woke up to friendly faces: doctors, husband, friends and FACETime'd my family. in the USA > Success! no complications. > Left hospital 6-7 days later.

OMG After Surgery (Post Op) At Home: Where are the directions?

> POST OPERATION | Days in the HOSPITAL The good news, my surgeons did BEAUTIFUL work. My breast cancer surgeon and my breast reconstructive surgery doctor were caring, highly skilled professionals. I am fortunate and had an exceptional Cancer Care Team! Doctors, Nurses... everybody. I stayed in the hospital 6-7 days, until my drains were removed. (what a trip!....walking around with stitched up breasts, implanted expanders, and these four long drains with tubes that extended to the floor. I was swinging them around all the time, trying not to trip on them or get them tangled up in my hospital gown every time I went to the bathroom (about every hour or so.) The nurses, doctors and my husband took care of me 24/7. > POST OPERATION | at HOME > Where are the directions? I was sent home with a few verbal directions and a list of medications. OMG !! I have always been a self-directed girl-on-the-go, but this was definately a challenge. No family near by to help, a wonderful husband who worked full-time and was away during the day—left me in charge. OMG OVERWHELMiNG!!

LOL Bathing !! What a HOO T trying to move in a teeny-tiny shower. OMG

> Home Care | 2015 OMG! What an interruption in lifestyle. Bottom line, I did everything s-l-o-w-l-y I was c-a-u-t-i-o-u-s and created a little kit to fufill my need for new self-managing bathing rituals.

> NEW RITUALS: Mostly one-handed. I had lymph nodes removed in December from my left underarm. OMG!! No s-t-r-e-t-c-h-ing or reaching for anything. (so happy I painted that ceiling just before surgery LOL!!!) I sat in this little tub...I cracked up laughing, emotional, not believing this woman—me—was fitting in this little tiny tub. It is my little girl, bird bath. I was grateful I had hot water and privacy!

OMG & LOL Home alone! Self-managed bathing rituals & care ALL YEAR 2015

HOME CARE: My breasts were sensitive, so I created this towel to drap over my chest. Hot water, targeted with my hand-held hose was a life saver. A soft sponge, which I cut off corners of, became my washing tool. A shower cap kept my hair dry. (That is until I lost it a few weeks later.) CREATING RITUALS: I have always been a reluctant bather, but taking care of my hair has always been a priority, and lots of work. A daily ritual. After surgery I could not s-t-r-e-t-c-h my arms and wash my hair. Ha! No need now! I created this Pink Pak, Post Op kit for myself. It included the towels, sponge, chart for medications and a few other things. This collection of stuff came in handy for me in managing my medications, keeping track of daily events (bowel movements YES!) my temperature, sleeping patterns (not good for a l-o-n-g time) and taking care of myself. My motto: Necessity is the Mother of Invention! So I invented!

OMG CHEMO Coping with Medications . . What's a girl-on-the-go who-can't-be-bothered suppose to do?

> TREATMENT | 2015 > CHEMO THERAPY | 6 Months - Once a Week MAKE A PLAN | GET ON SCHEDULE So, my daily routine during Chemo, Jan-Jun, included Chemo one day a week at the hospital. This chemo treatment took about 3-5 hours each session. My husband was with me each day of Chemo. I was lucky and grateful. I had seven medications and one self-injection to take each day after the weekly Chemo session. This was to preclude dramatic side effects. And it did! I have to say, Doctors have mastered the medications to offset side effects. You must follow the list of directions and get a schedule for your medications. IT is a FULL TIME JOB! My Mission: Heal, do not stress and do not get infection. My Goals: Take medications as instructed, monitor myself and stay away from germs and bacteria.

OMG CHEMO Fog !!! It's a zombie-like state of mind where: I-don't-wantto-do-anything. —Read my mind !!!


I deferred all my responsibilities, obligations and let go of expectations. I needed freedom to cope with medications, a sense of worth . . . monitor myself and get through one day at a time.

chemo fog state-of-mind . . . . .




REALITY It takes about a year... or two. It could feel like a bad hangover the whole time or not. OR something inbetween. GOOD NEWS Chemo Therapy and Radiation Therapy, the conventional treatment (if I might say, a rather lethal and medieval approach, which will morph into personalized treatments, in the near future.) is not so bad. GOOD RESULTS It is all relative to your circumstances and a few lifestyle changes.

OMG RADIO What is this? Five minutes x days. RaDIO Therapy is targeted! Celebate when you finish!

Rod Stewart Rocker Wig!

> Radiation Therapy or Radiotherapy | July 2015 Big machine, calculated and targeted to chest. Zap! Zap! Again, breath in, breath out. I learned how to breath from a yoga teacher before I started. It helped. Such a bizarre experience with this big machine. But it helps and is part of the conventional treatment program. Love it, get it done and move on.

OMG Support­—you have to have it! Support groups, family, friends, work support. Reach out. Accept support! 2014 - 2016

Confide in a Kind Soul A sister, brother, mother, father or someone wth a kind and caring soul. I was far from home in a foreign country, but familiar city, my current home. My pharmacist was one of my best supporters, a sister in this journey. She helped interpret reports and she was there for all medical prescriptions and she offered the HUG(s) I needed when I was in a despondent and lonely state. She, and another friend who joined me for hospital visits and who kept checking in on me at home, were my family, my support everyday. Cancer Group Therapy Sessions A group of women gathered. We met and developed a bond of trust and collectively built self-awareness and self-love. We met every two weeks. We were led into an expressive and creative state of mind by the psychologist. We talked about love, heartbreak, insecurity, fear, vulnerability, in privacy. Our own. I arrived, welcomed, and smiled upon each session. I felt unconditional love, sorrow and struggle. We all did. This was a safe place with no expectations, no demands. I am forever grateful for this time and this group of women. LOML—Love Of My LIfe My husband, my love of my life, he was with me and supported me all the way, beyond expectations. Super natural, unconditional love, and space and privacy.

OMG Living each day with gratitude & grace!

hope, love, forgiveness, self-awarness, respect, an open mind, mindfulness, big heart, quiet voice, strength, courage, exercise, good eating, stress-free, positive spirit, acts of kindness, and acceptance of self and love of others... did I say love? And girls-on-the-go spirit!

OMG Breast Reconstuctive Surgery. Sure is different . . . and not so bad, eh? . . . . no cancer AUGUST 2016

So, the story of this girl-on-the-go keeps going! I hope you find this informative and reading through it, easy . I hope it inspires you to take charge of your treatment and mission: get healthy. I hope you were able to connect and LOL—Laugh Out Loud, even cry and move on. As I re-read this and look at pictures...I get a bit teary-eyed and emotional, but that’s normal. It’s a process: surgery and a treatment program to heal and get back to a healthy state of being. And as time passes you gain your girls-on-the-go spirit and keep moving forward. This is the story, in brief, of a journey through breast cancer; the discovery, treatment, and healing. Some of the ups, some of the downs and the steady rise to being active and alert, dancing and most of all laughing with a full heart of gratitude.

OMG This is hard.. What questions should I ask my doctor(s)?


> Questions to consider > What does this mean? Pathology Reports

Is the breast cancer invasive, non-invasive or both? What does that mean? Is it slow-growing or fast-growing or aggressive? What does that mean?

Can you tell me how to describe this cancer so that I can relay this to my family? I should tell them, what should I tell them? Are lymph nodes involved in this cancer? What are lymph nodes anyway? What are the next steps?

What are the treatment options?

Reconstructive Surgery: What are expanders?

These are some questions...there are so many. I went to as a resource to learn about my cancer, definitions of words and medical terms and questions to ask.


OMG This is harder.. How do I tell my LOML (love of my life) or son, daughter, sisters, you know.. family?

> No easy way I struggled to find the words to describe my situation. That is it...I called it a situation! The doctor(s) talk in medical speak and use specific terms to describe your > pathology report. I do not remember hearing the word cancer, just references to medical terms like tumor, invasive, non-invasive, cells—I can not remember now. What I do remember is it was difficult to say the word, cancer, but easier to say breast cancer. Once I did, everyone who has been touched by breast cancer comes forward with concern, they offer stories, support, advice, and most of all, stories of how treatment is not so bad and the results are recovery and health again. I do not know the best approach for telling family, especially children, that you have breast cancer, but try. Try sooner rather than later. Try another time if the timing is not comfortable enough. Try again, maybe with questions about what he or she has heard about it? And start from there. It takes courage all the way. Be brave. Be you!

OMG Words, WORDS, Words What do some of these words and terms mean?

> Some Words & Terms What does OMG mean? Well, it can mean a number of things. It is an abbreviation, usually used in TEXT messaging. You know, right? Oh! My! Gosh! or Oh My God! or Oh My Goddess! or Oh My Goodness

! = punctuation mark for exclamation or statement. I use this a lot ;-) What does LOL mean? Also, this can mean a number of things, in this book it means Laugh Out Loud LOML = Love Of My Life WIG Fake hair that looks real. A wig can cover your head so other people really haven’t a clue that you don’t have any hair! Cancer Simply said, bad cells in the body Good News: there are treatments! Breast Cancer Simply said, bad cells in the breast and/or lymph nodes. Good News: there are treatments! What do some of the other terms mean? Ask a patient, doctor or nurse.

OMG Health Care Professionals.. Unbelievable!Day in-Day out long hours, dedicated work, exacting skills, and years of learning, experience and giving..

> Some Thanks

A Shout-Out to all the health care professionals around the world... You Are Awesome!

Thank You! > Thank you for all you do—Every Day! No easy job ;-)

Threeigs a story of a girl-on-the-go!


For girls-on-the-go who can’t be bothered . . . . One story in an easy-read format by Jessica G. Stockwell

and a bilateral mastectomy

Part of the sale of this book (It’s FREE) is donated to: (please consider donating to your local Cancer Center for those who can’t pay, for those who have transportation problems and for the dozens of people in your community who really need financial support. LESS STRESS!!...MORE HEALING!!!) Visit: (and watch my Contact:

OMG! No WiGs Celebration video)

| Author of this content : Jessica G. Stockwell | Permission to share w/attributions. © October 2016 Jessica G. Stockwell | All Rights Reserved

Three WiGS and a Bilateral Mastectomy by JESSICA Stockwell