Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nurse Lisa... in the house

Truck driver for 28 years:
Sun exposure to left side of face

Tanning beds = bad
So... speaking of sunscreen in my last blog reminded me... i've been meaning to include a post about scar care. Quick side note: the skin is the largest organ in the human body and serves many functions. So... if you haven't figured it out by now, this post is going to be more of an educational post.
It's the Nurse in me... wanting to get out.

Well... I obviously have accumulated many battle scars over the years, but I didn't learn about scar care until I was older. See... I had my thyroid removed in 2006 when I had thyroid cancer. Fortunately for me, my cousin Suzanne is an occupational therapist and gave me great advice. Now... i want to pass it on to you as well. Of course, i have to put some kind of disclaimer in here as well about consulting your doctor first :o)


  • First the scar needs to be well healed. My dermatologist always recommends applying white petroleum/ vaseline &  cover with bandaid (daily). The moisture helps with the healing. 
  • SIGNS OF INFECTION: Increase in redness, swelling, tenderness, pus/ discharge, pain.
  • Once the incision is well healed after about a month... meaning no scabs, sutures, staples and total closure of the the wound, you should start scar massage.
  • If it is really painful, just try little things like pressing down on the scar so it blanches in color or turns white. Doing this is just helping increase blood flow to the area.
  • Although it may hurt at first, it will improve with time.
  • In the beginning, massage towards the scar as you do not want to stretch it out.
  • Afterward, massage the scar in different directions. The pressure from the massaging fingers help to flatten the scar. Moving the scar in different directions helps it not attach firmly to the underlying skin surfaces. There's nothing worse that a stiff scar especially if it's over a joint- this could limit mobility in the future.
  • Scar massage techniques can be found on the internet, they'll recommend all sorts of geometry. Circles, Xs, etcetera.
  • Continue to use moisture, i.e. products with Vitamin E, cocoa butter, and don't forget to use sunscreen on scars.
  • If the scar becomes red and raised, i.e. a keloid scar, you should see your dermatologist for additional treatment.
  • The other thing i swear by, and i should be their spokesperson since i have been doing it for free anyhow, is the use of silicone scar gel sheets. They can be pricey, but they are worth it. I use They are reusable & can be cut to size. They should be worn for 12 hours a day. They have a bunch of other products as well, but I am not familiar with them. I'm not sure why the silicone scar gel sheets work so well, but they help decrease redness and help flatten the scar. They are AWE-SOME!

I've always been told that it takes up to 2 years for a scar to heal, so I guess patience is key. I know... easier said than done sometimes. Next time I see you, i'm sure you'll be staring at my neck to check out my old scar. Kind of like when someone has a pimple on their nose... and you don't want to look at it... but you find yourself focusing on it the whole time you are talking to them :o).  I don't mind, you can stare at my neck all you want, just ignore the double chin. lol.

lots of love... Nurse little lisa lollipop :o)

P.S. I'll be ringing the bell sometime around noon tomorrow!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Here come's the sun... by the Beatles

Hi everyone!
I think I am finally recovered from my long hospital day on Thursday.
It was like a full work day. For those of you who care :o)... this is what it entailed.

07:30 am departure from home
08:00 am proton radiation... number 15 of 20, baby! Wooo Whooo
08:45 am meet with my great radiation oncology team for follow up
10:00ish CT scan of the chest
11:30ish MRI of the liver
12:30 pm arrival to last MD appointment
2:00 pm finally got into a consultation room.
I was so hungry & had ants in my pants at this point.
3:00 pm got to see my IR doctor, but as always, he was worth the wait. He's got amazing bedside manner and really explains things well to patients. So really... no complaints.
3:30 pm departure from hospital

Should my niece have been there with me, she would have been cracking up.
See... apparently based off the MRI, I had what the medical world calls hepatic infarct. But when you say infarct, it sounds like the word fart. And you know how kids and myself included sometimes find anything with poop and farts hilarious. So... a hepatic infarct is just a fancy way of saying that a lot of the left side of my liver lost blood supply causing it to die. Zoinks Scooby. But no worries... it'll recover. Well aside from hepatic infarcts :o), I'm doing well. The fevers are now gone, but the fatigue, nausea, and vomiting from the radiation are starting to kick in. But nothing i can't handle. And... bonus is I've lost a few L.B.s :o) even though my doctors don't like that, but I have to get ready for the summer. And speaking of which... HAPPY BELATED SUMMER! I'm so glad it's finally here.
Ocean City 2012

Wishing you lots of sunshine and lots of love...
little lisa lollipop

P.S. don't forget to apply sunscreen especially to your head if you're bald like me :o)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

butterfly kisses

Hi everyone. I had a nice response from everyone about the latest butterfly posts; i just wanted to include share some of them in this posting. 

The following poem was given to Father Sam by his high school nun years ago. She is now in Heaven praying for us. He also mentioned that "sometimes butterflies are used to represent the Resurrection. Since Jesus went into the tomb one way and "emerged" entirely different/ glorified... something we don't fully understand, but believe this happens to us too... So, are ORANGE BUTTERFLIES the ultimate sign?!"   .... I hope so Father Sam.

My cousin Peggy also shared her own butterfly story from when her sister Mary died. (See my post from April 21st titled M.F.). "After she died, we listened to a phone conversation of her and my mom recorded about 10 years before and I remember thinking "wow they seem so carefree" and how we had not had carefree conversations like that in such a long time... since Mary became sick with cancer. A few days later I went for a walk by myself at work, when I was grieving about Mary and this butterfly would not leave me alone. It seemed to stay with me for several minutes traveling up and down my arm, practically touching me. And I thought: this butterfly is so carefree. At that moment it flew away. And I strongly believe, it was Mary letting me know that she is carefree now. Such a gift. As I shared my experience, other friends of Mary and relatives shared their own experiences with butterflies that bring peace and comfort after the death of a loved one. I don't think we are unique... we were just able to make the connection. Look for the butterflies... they are a gift."

Thanks Peggy for sharing.
We'll all be 'butterfly watching' like crazy now, and i can't wait to see more.

Keep smiling and stay strong.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Life is good.

Hi everyone! Life is good! I continue to get better everyday. My doctor told me at my last appointment that the chemo embolization procedure essentially puts you in mini liver failure. Hmm... no wonder i felt like crap. Anyhows... I can't complain. More good news... I'm more than halfway done with my radiation treatments, and I can't wait to ring the bell. See... there's a huge bell that you get to ring to announce the end of your radiation treatments, and it teases me everyday, just standing there when I come in :o).

I have also been spotting lots of butterflies lately. See... when we first lost Rylan, I found myself looking for remembrance jewelry online. I often came across butterflies on these websites, and I learned that they represent the spirit or the soul of loved ones departed. I had my own butterfly experience back in June 2010. Juan and I were at my Aunt's mobile vacation home, and we left for the beach. An orange butterfly that had been on the flower bushes to the side of the house, flew directly in front of me... circled me at my waist... came up under me (where my right leg would be)... and flew directly in front of me along the 20 foot pathway to my car. He landed on the hood of my car, and when i reached it, he flew away. After my butterfly experience, I have heard of others having them as well. And now i see them all the time; they bring me comfort knowing that my baby is near. Sorry to disappoint... my butterfly story is not that grandiose, but it makes me smile every time.

Keep smiling!
lots of love...
little lisa lollipop

Friday, June 14, 2013

Alex's Lemonade Stand Videos

Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in posting. It took a little more time than expected due to the length of the videos. Anyhows, they are all posted on you tube: titled "Pitcher of Hope," and the flashmob video (done by CHOP) is titled Alex's Lemonade Flashmob. The links are below:

PITCHER OF HOPE part 1: Dr John Maris & Ellen Tracy

PITCHER OF HOPE part 2: little lisa lollipop speech

PITCHER OF HOPE part 3: Dr Steven Altschuler (CEO) introduces Liz & Jay Scott


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

Hello. I'm back, & I've missed you. 
Sorry... I got hit a little harder than I expected from my chemoemboloziation back in May, and now I'm playing catch up. I've included a little blurb from an information sheet that can explain the procedure better than I can. Don't mind the chicken scratch in the margins... these notes were written while on pain meds. I really do have good penmanship :o). The procedure itself went really well, and I had awesome nurses when I stayed overnight. Shout out to my girl, Shay! Well... I lost almost all of my remaining strands of hair, so no more chemo combover for me :o(. I also had a lot of pain, but it's much better now.  I'm taking it as a good sign though... meaning it's working. My daily proton radiation treatments have also begun which has been keeping me busy as well. 

Aside from the medical stuff, I've been on the 'down low' practicing for a flash mob dance. See... CHOP celebrates Alex Scott's Lemonade Day every year in June. For those of you who don't know her story, I encourage you to go to her website: ... and go right now :o).  She was an amazing and inspirational little girl whose foundation has raised millions of dollars for childhood cancer research. 

Now for the past seven years, CHOP has also been honoring an individual who has made an impact on childhood cancer with an award called the 'Pitcher of Hope.' On Friday, June 7th, I had the honor of being its recipient. Yay! And... since it's on my bucket list, the oncology team along with some other hospital nurses participated in a flash mob during the ceremony. Complete with an air guitar ensamble by some of the oncology doctors.  I'll post the Flash Mob along with my speech tomorrow when my tech support aka husband is not busy.

cheers and lots of love... little lisa lollipop