Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let's get it on....

So, Tuesday the "Fab 3" attacked the Dr's and their schedulers! I don't think they knew what hit them. Dr. Robbins (the surgeon) is in a hurry to get on with the surgery. She does not want to wait and was hoping to do it next week. WELL, Dr Leake (the plastic surgeon) went out of town for 2 weeks. He won't return till Oct. 1- and he didn't even ask our permission. We made that point to his whole office staff when we decided to attack their office!
Anyway, we sat down with Dr. Robbins scheduler and she couldn't get a committment from Dr Leake's office, because of insurance and his trip. We told her this would not do! If we couldn't do it by the first week of October, Dr. Robbins would just have to wait till after the wedding! Katie the cute little scheduler went to ask Dr. Robbins if that would be ok, and she of course said NO! Dr. Leake's office said they would call back next week. We told Katie what we were up against and of course she started to cry and say she could not imagine planning her wedding and her mom not being there. Which in turn made Cissy cry, but the heartstrings plan that Kimmie had divised, worked! Katie said she would hound the scheduler at Dr. Leakes office and have it all planned by Friday.
The "Fab 3" weren't going to accept any of that, so we got in the car and marched into Dr. Leake's office! We told the girls at the front desk the whole sob story and told them we wanted to see Meaghan, the scheduler. While we were at the front desk, we also got lots of donations for the Pink Ribbon Golf Tournament. More stuff for the goodie bags and some botox treatments for the auction!
Meghan came out and we found out that they had just got the ok from the insurance company and she would get back with Katie and call me TODAY!! I told her we prefer to do the surgery on October 2- that would give me plenty of time to get well for the wedding on the 20th.
By 3pm I had the answer- seems we left out one factor when we were marching around flexing our muscles and pulling at heartstrings.....the hospital. They couldn't get the hospital scheduled until the 10th- ugg! But, as I said before, cancer doesn't know who it is dealing with! I can be up and dancing at the wedding in 9 days, after the surgery!!


It's early morning and I had so many jumbled thoughts going through my brain. Usually when I get the urge to write its because I have a story to tell, this morning it's all just thoughts. Mrs. Harrell my 12th grade English teacher would tell me to organize my thoughts, so let's give it a try.
Strength, everyone keeps telling me I am so strong. That's a funny word, because I don't know if this is strength that I would use right now to describe me. I guess I just feel like I have a way to weather the storms. In the beginning, I usually put those sails down and head right into the storm, I ride that initial front that is blowing in and tackle the problem head on. To my loved ones, that is the "confrontational" side of my personality! Right now that is where I am, let's gather our information and be as aggressive as we can be and fight this thing till we beat it! That is not to say, that I don't try to find that protective harbor and run to it every now and then.
I know where my "strength" comes from, if you chose to use that word. It comes from my mom. I have never in my 47 years seen her "lose it" or freak out, or break down. She is a rock. I can't say the same for me. I have "lost it" on multiple occasions, you can ask my kids! She has so much grace and I admire her so much. So when I think of strong, I think of my mom, who at 87, I wouldn't mess with! I wish I had her strength with her composure. Hopefully, through this journey I will have a chance to work on composure and grace.
I have often watched new moms with their kids. The children fall down and the first thing a little one does is look to their mom to see their reaction. If the mom comes running and is freaking out, the child then cries and screams. If a mom has composure and quietly says your going be ok, then a calm goes over the child and he will get up and brush himself off. I have tried to raise my children that way. Don't ask Kristi about when I had her brush herself off and go to school with a broken arm, that was an extreme case of this example. Even though I learned how to brush myself off, my mom was there to hug and comfort after the fall.
My humor, well that comes from my dad. With a nickname like, Porky, how can you not be funny. Looking back when he got his diagnosis of cancer, I don't ever remember him having a bad outlook. It was almost like he didn't take it serious. I often wondered if he was just clueless and didn't know that with pancreatic cancer he only had 6 months to live. Or was it that he lived everyday, and didn't really care about time remaining? Or as my funny husband would say, "what's time to a hog"? I don't really know what that means, but I laugh every time he says it.
So, to get through this, my goal is to do it with the grace of my mom, the humor of my dad and the spunkiness of Traci! (that's Suzanne's word!)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Onward and Upward!

I feel as though I am writing "50 shades of cancer", everyone has asked me why I haven't blogged lately and they are wanting more! Well I haven't because we have been waiting.....not so patiently! Maybe if there was a reason for the cancer that was it, to teach me how to let go, how to turn it over to God, and how to be PATIENT!
So this week, I went for the Pet Scan- it is not bad at all, a very relaxing process. You are put in a room, they inject the radioactive sugar in your veins, they turn down the lights and let you rest while you wait one hour. I took my i-pad and read my book. Then they put you in an MRI-like machine for about 20 minutes and scan your body from head to toe. I DO HAVE A BRAIN, YAY!!
Yesterday, I met with Dr Hahm- she made us wait about an hour. Can I tell you that WAITING in a small room with my hyper husband, and the impatient me- is torture!! He thinks the reason we always wait in Dr's offices is because they are in cohoots with the parking deck and they get a kick back. I think it is because they are trying to teach the two of us patients- he said they will need a PHD to teach the two of us!!
Anyway, she walked in the room and she must have seen the fright we had on our faces, while we waited, because she said- "No other cancer showed up!" Both of us let out a huge breathe. I think we had been holding it for over a week!!
Dr. Hahm did let us know about the road we are getting ready to head down. She did say the double mastectomy will be "uncomfortable" and there will be a recovery time for that, but she is giving me time to bounce back and time to get through my daughters wedding before she starts chemo. So very late October, I will have outpatient surgery to insert a port. The chemo I have to have is very strong and can't touch your skin and it doesn't do well going in your vein. The drugs I have to have are a cocktail of Adriamycin and Cytoxan, I will have four treatments every other week. After that, I will have four treatments, every other week of Taxol. So all in all, four months of Chemo. I have to have the stronger more agressive chemo because the Triple Negative Breast Cancer factor. It is a more agressive cancer and if any little boogers got lost from this lump- we want to exterminate them with the chemo!! I will lose my hair- so from now on...Bald is Beautiful!! ok?
Next step is to return on Tuesday to the breast surgeon and she will schedule the surgery for the mastectomy. We need to get this ball a rollin' - I got too much to do!!
Again, thanks so much for the wonderful cards, letters, gifts, and facebook messages- y'all are keeping me positive and I love and I am thankful for each and every one of you!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cancer College

Cue the music...People let me tell you 'bout my Best Friends....
The past two days have been filled with 3 dr's appointments, boob feels, blood drawing, laughter, crying and lots of learning, that is why my two best friends look a little blurry! We have learned about BRACA, HER2, Estrogen receptors, nuclear grades, stages, triple negative breast cancer, pet scans, genetic testing, etc. I feel like I have been emersed in cancer college for the past two days. I have had two of my favorite, best friends in the world with me through it all! Kim the notetaker and Cissy the star student and 7 year cancer survivor, that asks the questions. Then there is me, going along in a daze, making the jokes to keep the fun in all this seriousness (ha kinda like high school). Except this time I retained all the knowledge learned and will pass it along, because so many have called to find out. So here is your lesson!
Tuesday we went to the Breast Surgeon and she had all the results from the MRI- good news....she believes the cancer is contained to the lump. Bad news...she wants to do the mastectomy ASAP- no waiting on my daughter's wedding, like I had hope. But like I am learning, I am not in control of this show. SO with that being said, let's hurry up, so I don't have to walk down the ailse with drain pipes coming out of my chest. It is really called drain bulbs, I call them the other, part of that humor. Dr Robbins saw that we were serious about getting the show on the road, so next step is to see the plastic surgeon TODAY at 2- whoo whoo. We have a couple of hours to spare, so what do three women with 2 hours to spare do, with all this heavy stuff going on ??? Well if it is the three of us, we go to Willie Raes and order wine and discuss all we just learned. Plus. it helps a little when you have to sit there with the plastic surgeon while he handles, measures and photographs your boobs! So day one is over and the plan is bilateral mastectomy, with the beginnings of reconstruction to take place at the time of that surgery. The plastic surgeon will implant an expander to stretch the muscle and breast tissue that remains. The whole reconstruction process takes about a year. He seemed to think getting rid of some of this "excess weight" (aka as big ass boobs)  might help the shoulder, also!
While we were at lunch, drinking the liquid courage, we decided to call back to Dr. Robbins office and get her nurse to call Dr Hahm's office and see if we could get that appointment moved up. We really didn't want to wait another week. Good news- Kimmie got it changed to tomorrow!!
So yesterday was that appointment, Kim picked me up and both of us had a little cry on the way to that appointment. Whining Wednesday- not the kind of whine we usually do! By the time Cissy met us at Dr. Hahms office, we were better. Time to get back to learning. Dr Hahm is fabulous and the best teacher EVER!! If anyone ever has to go through this, which I hope you don't...she is the person to go to! So, first she explains why I am there, usually you only go to the Oncologist before your surgery, if the surgeon thinks you might need chemo before the surgery OR the surgeon thinks you might need a PET Scan. The reason I am at Dr Hahm's office is the latter. The shoulder pain is a little concern for wanting the PET scan, in addition to the Enbral that I have been on for my RA, which causes some types of cancer.
She also does a metisistic workup- SAT word- that turned out good. My blood count, white cells and everything else looked good, so the lymphoma threat from the Enbral looked good. Dr Hahm also went over the type of cancer I have: Stage 2A Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. (Of course, all of that can change when they do the surgery- the tissue and lymphnoids will be tested again at that time). With the type of cancer I have, the only treatment is an aggressive chemo. BUT good news...I can wait on that till after the wedding! So I won't have to walk down the ailse bald headed! She ordered the PET Scan for ASAP, they should be calling today to schedule that for this week or next. Two days after that, I will go back to Dr Hahm so she can give me those results. Once she has the results, I will go back to Dr Robbins and she will schedule the surgery. We are thinking it will be at the end of September or first of October. SO, I have two weeks to get the wedding wrapped up!!
I am so lucky to have all of your support- EVERYONE!! I have received so many cards, prayers, gifts, messages and I love you all for them! I am especially lucky to have two amazing friends who have stopped their lives to be with me, to hold my hand, rub my back, make fun of my boobs, cry with me and comfort me and Lloyd! Then there is my wonderful husband who too, is scared, but is there to hold me at night when I fall apart and reassure me that we are going to get through this. I couldn't imagine going through all of this without them!