Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stuck here in this hospital - again!

Things didn’t turn out exactly as I’d planned!  I’m venturing a guess that they didn’t quite go the way Dr. Morrissey had hoped for, either.   I’ll explain; & please, remember I’m on drugs.

We checked into the hospital at 6:00 am, where we were told I’d be started on an IV chock full of antibiotic goodness for an hour.  It made sense, checking in at 6:00 am for surgery at 7:30 am, right?  Yeah, it would have been nice.  But that’s not what happened.  We waited & waited, & finally we were taken down to the staging room at, oh, about 7:25?  We spoke with Dr. Morrissey in the prep area, & he promised that he was going to make me feel better.

Why does everything about me have to be so darned difficult??

I woke up to find out that the high fever & massive swelling over the last 6 days had done the darndest thing – it ate the tissue expander.  Maybe I should say shredded or dissolved, as I’m not sure what exactly to call it.  Apparently, neither does Dr. Morrissey, who remarked, “I never saw anything like that in my life”.  I haven’t spoken to him directly yet, so I’ll tell you what he’s thinking when I find out tomorrow.  He’s sent samples of all kinds of my inerds out to different places for study.

So now, not only did my real boob try to kill me, its fake cousin did as well.  Something tells me that maybe I should just get rid of this cancer before I decide whether or not I want to give yet another boob a shot!

I’m hoping that the study of my insides will aid him in his quest for whatever super power Lucy appears to have against small tissue expanders.  And, maybe, just maybe, no other innocent tissue expander will fall victim to this same type of depraved evil.

In the meantime, I’m stuck in the hospital, hopefully just over night.  But, look what haste has done for me in the past. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Surgery tomorrow

After six full days of pain & massive quantities of swelling, Dr. Morrissey is surgically reinserting the drain tube tomorrow.  There was so much fluid, it began to seep through my incision, which was weird - & scary.

In order to alleviate the problem, I had ultra sound guided, needle fluid aspiration today; but there was just way too much in there.  They couldn't get it all. Additionally, the area under my arm & around to my back couldn't be aspirated.  It seemed to be made up of mass, not fluid, which didn't bode well.

So, tomorrow morning I report to the ambulatory unit at St. Luke's at 6:00 am.  Honestly, why do they always have it so early or super late for me?  Why not an 8:00 or 9:00 report time?  Oh well, as long as I feel better, I'm at the point where I don't really care.  I'll walk in there in my jammies, slippers, tattered, yet extremely comfy & warm, robe with my body pillow under my arm, a teddy bear in one hand & a cup of coffee in the other. Well, except for the coffee part.  They frown on people eating or drinking after 12:00.  

Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Hi, Everyone,

I have so much to tell you, but for the past 4 days, I've been very sick.  I've run a fever that has reached 104.1 at times, & Matt almost hospitalized me.  God Bless poor Dr. Morrissey, who's been on the phone with us at least once a day.  He explained that the last drain tube he took out was very deep, & that the removal was tantamount to surgery.  I feel a little better tonight, & hopefully, tomorrow I can stay awake for more than an hour at a time.  Matt joked that you know I'm sick when I haven't been on the phone with Michele at least once a day!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.  Hopefully I'll be swinging from the chandeliers for New Year's!  Until then, it's back to bed with me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Second Opinion & Tuesdays with Lissi

Tomorrow, Matt & I will be meeting with Buxmont Oncology Associates in Sellersville.  They work out of Grandview Hospital, but are affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Centers.  We want a second opinion & may very well be having chemo there.  It’s such a bummer, though, because I’ve loved everyone at St. Luke’s Cancer Associates, including Dr. Nakajima’s nurse practitioner.

However, when your oncologist tells you that you may die many times, it gets annoying.  You kind of want someone who’s a bit more optimistic & is willing to at least pretend that you’ve got a chance.  Or, that if the situation gets dire, he’s the guy you’ll want on your side.  I have to say, I truly believe that Dr. Nakajima was just trying to be sure we knew all the risks.  But, when one hears the word “cancer”, the thought of dying goes through your mind, oh, I don’t know, about a million times a day.  Having your doctor cement those thoughts into something that seems almost like a surety isn’t what you’re hoping to hear.

I told the folks at Buxmont what was said, & the common reflexive response was, “WHAT?”  Several of the nurses told me that in the event the cancer spread, it most definitely is NOT a foregone conclusion that I’m going to die.  I felt better upon hearing that, but who wouldn’t.  Still, I’m sad that I’m not loving another St. Luke’s doctor.  But, that’s not on Dr. Quiros – he can’t be held responsible.  He’s still my hero!  I also stand by what I’ve said about St. Luke’s Regional Breast Center – they’re awesome.

OK, now, on to shopping with the Mommy Nazi.

Since the beginning of this whole adventure, my days have been chock full o’ doctor’s appointments & tests (not the sweet shopping goodness that usually fills my weeks before Christmas).  Needless to say, I’m not thrilled to report this.  For the last four weeks, I’ve not ventured out of this house for any other purpose & it’s driving me crazy – especially since its Christmas. 

Oh, I know, online shopping can be super fun & totally addictive.  I’ve written about its particular joys in previous posts.  However, there DOES come a time when shopping in your jammies gets old.  Shopaholics know that nothing comes close that new stuff smell that emanates from stores, outlets, & malls.

That all being said, I know I don’t have the physical abilities necessary to inflict my spending habits upon the world right now.  If someone bumps into my right arm & jostles my drain tube, I’ll see stars.  And, if I move my arm in a certain way, it hurts – bad.  Still, I needed to get out of the house without visiting a doctor or hospital.  I needed a few hours to forget that I have cancer & to remember what’s really important this time of year – stuff; lots & lots of stuff.  Just kidding!!  Still, the getting out part is true.

Matt, being the ever protective sort, decided that I could have an afternoon of shopping; with a caveat.  I must be chauffeured by one of the girls.  Being together for 22 years, he kind of knows me.  He knows that I have a tendency to overdo things just a little.  Maybe a smidge more than a little.  OK, he knows that I’ll push things as far as humanly possible & then pay the price later.

I was finally allowed a day out & up first was my daughter, Elyse, who I call “Lissi” (pronounced “lee see”).  He let us go out on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, & I was ready & rearing to go.  At the time, I had no clue that by the end of the day, I would be referring to my beautiful daughter as the “Mommy Nazi”.

We got to the store that was decorated to the hilt in lights & bows & ribbons & ornaments & all things Christmas.  I felt like running through the aisles singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  I mean, honestly, they were just Christmas decorations, but they were the best (not really) ones I’d ever seen (pretty tacky).  I grabbed a cart, only to have Lissi say, “Mommy!  You can’t be pushing one of those things.  Let me do it.”  It was so cute.

We started down one of the aisles, when I stopped to examine some trinket or another.  Elyse about ran the cart up my butt since she was staying so close to me.  I smiled & thought how wonderful it was that she wanted to be near to me in case I needed her.   We moved along, & Lissi was patient as I looked at things.   At one point, I’d forgotten that she was with me, & turned a corner before she knew it.  The shrill “Mommy!”, however, reminded me.  Aww, she was making sure she kept up with me; how sweet.

About an hour later, when it hit me that there was no getting away from my lovely daughter, I began to realize what she was really there for -  to monitor me, boss me around & report to the big boss – Matt! I’d try to pick up a sweater, when she’d tell me that she can do it for me.  I tried to take something off the shelf, when she’d smack my hand & tell me that I should let her do ALL the lifting.  I began to think that if I picked up a feather she’d run me down.

OK, I thought, I’m going to have to get away from ol’ iron fist.  It was on.  I began to wait until she was looking at something, then I’d go around a corner & try to disappear into the racks & racks of shopping goodness.  But, Elyse had radar, & was on me before I even had time to congratulate myself.  Finally, when I had gotten on Lissi’s last nerve, we had “the talk”.

E:         “Mommy, I know you think that you can do things by yourself.  But, that’s what I’m here for. “
Me:     “But I can do things for myself!”
E:         “I know you think you can, Mommy, just right now, you have to let me do it for you.  One day soon, you’ll be able to do all the things you’d like to all by yourself.”
Me:     (coming up with a brilliant comeback) “But, I’m a big girl & I can do things by myself!”
E:         “Silly Mommy.  Get in the cart.”

She didn’t really instruct me to get into the cart, but boy did it feel like that was the next step.  By the way, when did this start?  Who, exactly, is the kidlet & who is the mom??

And then it hit me – my baby was a good & responsible “mommy”.  Despite how irritated I was with being watched like a toddler, I couldn’t have been more proud at my sweet girl.  She looked out for me, took care of me, & loved me.  What more could a mom ask for?  

Friday, December 18, 2009

Time to catch up on what's been going on!

Sorry I haven’t been vigilant in writing to you.  I’ve been trying to concentrate on going to all the doctor’s appointments, visiting the hospital for all my various & sundry testing, & TRYING to get Christmas things done.  I’m going to write over the next few days to get you caught up.

We’re braced for a huge snow storm tomorrow, so I should be able to tell you all about what’s been going on.  They’re calling for a possible 1-2 feet.  Gotta be honest, here, that sounds very, very good to me & the kids.  We made sure we have all the provisions we could possibly need to finish making the house Christmas ready.  That includes cookie making supplies, wrapping paper, & fresh greens to make garlands.  Boy, I’m looking forward to it!

This first entry will be about our meeting with my oncologist.  I’ll catch you up to “fun & games with blonde wigs”, my shopping date with my daughter, Elyse (aka Mommy Nazi), & my series of tests that my other daughter, Aubrie, had the “pleasure” (cough, cough) of chauffeuring me to.

Matt & I met with Dr. Nakajima, my oncologist, on Monday, December 14th.  Boy was I nervous.  Here’s a picture of him with his nurse practitioner, Sue Gorman.  She’s Dr. Nakajima’s Charity.  I don’t know her all that well yet, but she seems nice.  However, Charity is a HARD act to follow in more ways than one.

Dr. Nakajima was very frank with Matt & me.  Possibly a little TOO frank for Matt’s taste.  Basically, he said that my cancer is very aggressive, & that we need to go after it as such.  He also let us know that the odds of it recurring in my other breast are about 40 – 45% & that if it spreads to any other organs, I’ll die.  Yup – he said that.  As you may imagine, Matt wasn’t very thrilled about that statement.  I think the doctor was trying to be very open & honest.  I can’t tell you what was going through Matt’s mind at that very moment, but I had a good idea.  I heard ALL about it on the car ride home.  Honestly, who could blame him?  Apparently, he’s accustomed to my face & having a doctor be so very blunt about the possibility of not seeing it outraged him. 

For me, I think the doctor was trying to do his job.  He was very pleasant & nice, & I believe he was trying to impress upon us the importance of doing all the right things.  However, I, too, felt that using the word “die” in a first meeting might not have been the best thing to say.

Being near Philadelphia, I’m close to Fox Chase Cancer Center & Cancer Centers of America, as well as other reputable cancer centers.  If we’re not comfortable with the doctor, we have options.  I won’t rule out checking into them.

Ladies, even if you don’t live near a big city or close to a specialized cancer center, you, too, have OPTIONS!  If you’re not happy with a doctor, a surgeon, an oncologist, whatever, you’re not obligated to continue to see him or her.  Use the internet & check out Breast Cancer. Org, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, & the American Cancer Society.  There’re many others; all you have to do is Google “breast cancer”.

This is your health, your life, your decisions.  If you need someone to talk to or to brainstorm with, contact me!  I might not be able to help, but I’ll try to find someone who can.  At the very least, we can try to find a starting point.  Don’t give up!!

And don’t forget to ask your doctor’s office for recommendations as well.  Hopefully, you’ll have someone like the talented, resourceful & beautiful Sue Folk that will look under every rock for help & advice.  No matter what you hear on the news, there’re plenty of programs already in place to help you.  Her & my Dr. Evil (Laurie Sebastiano, who is as far from evil as you can get – I just tease her) work from St. Luke’s Regional Breast Health Center in Center Valley.  Please, if you’re nervous about having a mammogram, go there.  They’re the best.

Dr. Nakajima has me going through a series of tests prior to beginning chemotherapy.  Chemo can wreak havoc with your heart, lungs & bones, so a baseline scan is in order for all three.  In all seriousness, though, chemo is poison.  So, I’ve got to be in the best of health to go through it.

Here’s where I’m going to leave off for tonight.  I’ll post the “rest of the story” soon!  In the meantime, if you live in eastern PA, have fun in the snow tomorrow!

Oh, & guess what else??  We just heard on the news that there’s a very good possibility of snow on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.  I’m looking at that as a sign that everything will be all right.  Because it will be.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Call me Second of Five

It’s official; I’m a Borg (half human, half cyborg).  The chemo port was put in Wednesday.  Notice that Dr. Quiros put a happy face on the bandage.  Isn’t he just the cutest?

I haven’t looked at the port too closely yet.  I only know that it’s poking out more than I’d expected.  I don’t know, I was thinking maybe it would look more like those turkey doneness things – flush to the skin, but poking up at just the right chemo cocktail doneness.  Sadly, that’s not the case.

We were told to report to the hospital at 10:00 am, which we did.  We sat in the waiting room for about 15 minutes, & then were ushered into the ambulatory preparation room.    After waiting another 20-30 minutes in a small cubicle, Matt went out & asked how much longer we’d be sitting in there.  He was told I wasn’t scheduled for surgery until 11:30.  Um, really?  Why couldn’t I have reported later?  Grr.   Fortunately, there was a TV in the “room”, which kept Matt busy watching Fox News & I brought a book to read.  However, at this point, I was STARVING!  I hadn’t had food or water since 12:00 the night before.  And, of course, when you’re hungry, the only commercials you hear are ones with food.  And trust me, there was no limit to how many commercials featured tacos, ice cream, candy bars, soda, hoagies, & every other food on the planet.

According to the TV, I’m supposed to be loving McDonald’s, having my hunger sated by some German guy when I bite into a Snickers, thanking God it’s Friday, thinking outside the bun & feeling like family at the Olive Garden.  But, that wasn’t to be.  I would have to wait until much later to drive through Wendy’s to get an overly fried chicken sandwich.  Which, I might add, tasted like the best thing I’d ever eaten (hunger can give you severe amnesia). 

At 11:40, I was finally taken to the pre-op room, where I met my anesthesiologist & his assistant.  Remember Skippy the Radiologist?  Well, this guy could give him a run for his money.  PLUS, his assistant had a hard time getting the IV going in my arm.  It took her THREE tries.  And it hurt!  Here’s the result of her handy work:

A heroine addict in withdrawal could have done a better job. 

Dr. Quiros came in, & we talked a little.  Then, it was time for the “happy medicine” to be injected into the IV that was finally in my arm.  Here’s something weird, though.  Matt says that the last surgery I had, as soon as the happy juice got going, I started talking.  I should be more honest – I babbled like a brook going downstream during the Great Flood.  Apparently, this surgery was no different.  I have no memory of either time nor what I said, & from what I understand, it’s probably better that way.

After surgery, I found out that Dr. Quiros’ first choice area to put the port wasn’t working.  He had to put it in nearer my collar bone, which a little riskier & of course, what should have been a 45 minute surgery took 1 & ½ hours.  When he came out, he explained it to Matt.  Apparently, he was shaking his head, & said, “It’s Tamara – what do you expect?”  I just have a way of being Lucy at all times – even when I’m asleep.  I hope Dr. Quiros has warned Dr. Nakajima, my oncologist, about me.  It might be helpful for the poor man to be aware of the hurricane of trouble that’s about to descend upon him.

Now, with the mastectomy on my right side & the chemo port on my left, I can’t lift either of my arms above my head.  I walk around looking like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons:


Sleeping is still a pain.  I’d just begun feeling comfortable enough to sleep on my left side, but now, I have Mt. Vesuvius on my shoulder.  And I can’t sleep on teen boob’s side, either, due to the drain.  If I move in a weird way, I irritate the drain incision, which hurts!  I’m back to lying on my back – yuk!  Having never been a back sleeper, this is really uncomfortable. 

On the bright side, though, Mt. Vesuvius has calmed down a little.  So has the swelling.  I’m able to sleep on my left side, if I move just so.  Hey, I’m all about baby steps.  And, if I’m lucky, I’ll get a Christmas miracle – Dr. Morrissey will remove teen boob’s drain.  I don’t think so this week, but maybe next.

Pain wise, I’m still mad at myself.  I think that the pain I’m feeling from the original surgery is a combination of the surgery along with the exercises I’m doing to raise my right arm above my head.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.  Sometimes, I wake up at night, with a spasm that feels like a Charlie horse, & it takes a little while to catch my breath.  I also feel pain in my rib cage, right under where my breast used to be.  That hasn’t let up yet.  But, I’m sure it will in time. 

Now, girls, if you’ve been diagnosed, please, please don’t think that since I’m still having pain, you will too.  Every woman is different.  Plus, I had three tumors in one breast, & Dr. Quiros had to take out 20 lymph nodes.  Don’t worry – each one of us is different.  And trust me; the doctors will help you through it.  We also find out how much strength we have in times like this.  Don’t be afraid to lean on others!

Even though this disease sucks, I’ve realized something amazing.  I’m one of the most blessed women in the world.  Through all of this, I have a wonderful circle of friends & well wishers; most I know & a few I don’t.  People have written, sent cards & flowers, fixed dinner for my family, & shared their very personal stories with me.  Ladies that work in the stores that I frequent have sent sweet “get well” notes.  An old friend of mine from high school that I haven’t seen much other than around town stopped by tonight to drop chicken soup off.  My doctors & nurses have been absolutely wonderful.  Dr. Quiros, Charity, Sue Folk, “Dr. Evil” (Dr. Laurie Sebastiano), & my booby daddy, Dr. Morrissey, have been such a source of comfort & optimism for me.  They’ve never made me feel that I’m bothering them with my questions. 

My family has closed ranks around me & made sure that if I need the smallest thing, I have it.  My crazy sister in law, Teresa, & her daughter, my equally crazy niece, Melody, have made sure to tease me often.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up with my head shaved early to get me ready for chemo.  They know I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My nephew, Tony, made a Denver Broncos plaque for me, but he made the background PINK!

Matt, the kids & Gretchen have dropped everything to take care of me.  I haven’t had to lift a finger for anything (even though I do stuff behind their backs; remember, I’m a fidget – shhh).  The kids have decorated the house for Christmas, & didn’t forget one thing that has been traditionally put up.  They’ve even kept the house clean (just don’t look under the couch, behind doors, or open closet doors).  Even our animals have been extra attentive.

Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us when we least expect it.  We could always be angry & take it out on those who love us the most & anyone who comes near us.  Or we could look around & notice the blessings that we’ve been given.  They come in all sizes & shapes, in human & animal form.  They manifest themselves in smiles, touches, gestures & even tears.  They come in the form of letters, notes, emails & chicken soup.  They’re all around us & we need to look for them & be grateful that God loves us enough to send them to us when we need them.  Or more importantly, when we need Him.

They’re not only available to us when we get sick – they’re there every minute of every day.  The trick is to notice them.

Merry Christmas.

And now, for something completely different & pretty funny, I present the following:

Friday, December 11, 2009

I promise I'll post!!

Sorry I haven't posted about the surgery.  All went well, but of course, there was a lot of stuff to tell you about.  I'm trying to write about it, & hopefully tomorrow, I can get at least half of it up.  I've been really, really tired, so I haven't been able to concentrate. Wish me luck tomorrow!

Oh, & by the way, keep those emails coming.  I love reading your stories about struggle & triumph.  You have no idea how much I appreciate the fact that you're willing to share with me. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gotta have surgery - again! Ugh.

I hope you enjoy the plethora o’ visual aids I’ve included in today’s post!  I do dumb things when I don’t feel well to keep my mind off of stuff.  Unfortunately, this was 2 days in the making.

I went to see Dr. Quiros on Friday.  As promised, here’s a much better picture of him:

And here’s Charity.  Remember, Matt took these & he’s never claimed to be a photographer.  I tried to clean it up as best I could, but it still looks as if he took these during an earthquake while standing on one leg.

I found out that I’m categorized as a Stage 3 cancer, which isn’t the best stage to be (out of a scale of 1-4), but most definitely not the worst.  However, these days, even a Stage 4 is highly curable, so ladies, take heart if that’s what you’ve been diagnosed with.  There’re so many more options that we have these days that our counterparts didn’t have as little as 10 years ago.

I’m going to have to have chemo for a few months followed by radiation for 5-6 weeks afterward.  Dr. Quiros wants to be very aggressive, which is a good thing.  But, in order to save my veins from the potentially damaging “chemo cocktail” that I’ll be injected with, Dr. Q has to put in what’s called a chemo port.  The port coupled with the drainage tube that has taken up residence underneath my arm, makes me feel that I’m slowly turning into a cyborg.  Star Trek fans will know what I mean when I say that I’ll be answering to “Tamara of Borg” or “Second of Five” (there’re 5 people in my family) soon.  To those of you who’ve never seen Star Trek, the first picture below is the Captain of the Enterprise, half Borg & half human (which is what a Borg is).  The second is me morphed into another Borg character, 7 of 9.

Thanks to my daughter, Aubrie, for combining my eyes & nose on Star Trek’s “7 of 9”.  She’s unbelievable, considering the original photo of me was yellow & she had to do a lot of cleaning up.

So, on Wednesday, I’m toddling off to St. Luke’s again to have the ambulatory surgery that will install the port.  Then, on the 14th, I’ll meet with my oncologist, Dr. Nakajima.  Here’s his picture:

There’s a bit of a bummer, though.  Since I’m having radiation in addition to the chemo, Dr. Morrissey won’t be able to complete the reconstruction until after I’ve finished radiation.  Apparently, radiation can wreak havoc with your skin.  If Dr. Morrissey tries to fashion a nipple while I’m going through it, it could end up looking pretty bad.  However, he can still expand the tissue (& I’ll have a good idea of how big I’m comfortable to grow) in what we’ve taken to calling “teen boob”.  Matt came up with that name since my right “breast” has a nice little bump, instead of an indentation like I’ve seen in some mastectomy “after” photos.  And, like puberty, it’ll grow.  So, ol’ righty is now teen boob.

Pain wise, I’m getting annoyed with myself.  I’m still having a difficult time with it.  The bulk of my pain is under the incision, up & through my shoulder, radiating to my under arm & then around to my shoulder blades.  It’s weird.  Dr. Quiros says that it’s normal, but I’m beginning to think I’m just a whack job & that it’s in my head.  I mean, come on, it’s almost been two weeks.  Sigh.

Tomorrow, the girls are going to help me find the website that you can put your picture in & try different hair styles & colours.  I’ll share that with you, so that if you find yourself needing (or just plain old wanting) a new hairdo or colour, you’ll know where to look before you make that commitment. 

For me, I’m considering adding a blond wig to my collection again.  We watched “Earth Girls are Easy” today.  I’m looking for one that’ll make me look like Julie Brown in the following music video.  Enjoy the silly & I’ll write more later! 


If you’re having any type of surgery that will require drain tubes placed under your arms, & you’re a lady (broad, yenta, whatever), read on.  You will NOT be allowed to shave your armpits, nor wear deodorant until those pesky drains have been removed & God only knows how long that’ll be!  To avoid a most unpleasant feeling, it might be wise to wax your underarms before hand.  This will dramatically reduce the rate of hair re-growth, thus decreasing that “not so fresh” feeling (& the constant fear that there’s something alive in them thar’ pits).  Alternately, you could choose Nair if you’d prefer not to feel as if you’re skin has been ripped off, resulting in blinding pain.  However, all accounts say that waxing lasts much longer. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Waiting Sucks

All kidding aside, I'm a little worried tonight.  My pathology report should have come back by now.  Charity, Dr. Quiros' beautiful nurse, usually calls with results.  I'm worried that perhaps she would prefer to tell me in person.  Translation:  not the best news ever.

But, if it's bad, well, I'm just going to have to handle it.  I'll put my big girl panties on & forge ahead.  It's not like I'll be the first woman in the world to have to deal with this pain in the rear disease.  And I sure as HELL don't plan to let it beat me!  

I'll keep you posted!

PS  Thank you to the Taiwan Breast Cancer Alliance!  Let me know if there's anything I can to do help.  My email information is listed, but, here it is anyway: tamkells@gmail.com.  

The Gauntlet has been Thrown!

Yesterday I met with Dr. Morrissey, my plastic surgeon aka/My Booby Daddy, knowing that he would more than likely be removing one of the drains.  Of course, I read up on the subject, but everything I read made it seem akin to a medieval torture ceremony.  I had bad dreams of Dr. Morrissey doing some ghoulish laugh as he yanked the tube from my already tender underarm.

Additionally, I spoke to three women who’d either had the process done or had patients that had (oh, Nurse Pam, you have some splainin’ to do!).  They all told me to take the strongest pain pill I had a half hour before the procedure.  I went one step further & brought along an ice pack.

Dr. Morrissey came into the room, & I about jumped out of my skin – the time had come.  No matter how cute you ladies think he is, this is what I saw:

Side note:  I have to take a picture of Dr. Quiros.  The picture I have of him isn’t very flattering.  He, too, is a cutie.  And again ladies, no, you may NOT come with me to all my doctor’s appointments to stare.

The doctor noticed that I was apprehensive.  I guess that shaking like a frightened Chihuahua, clinging to an ice pack as if it was a life raft & excessive drooling might have been his first hint.  Other than that, though, I was handling the situation with quiet grace & dignity - until I almost peed my pants when he shut the door.

Doctor Morrissey was very sweet, though, & assured me that everything I’d heard wasn’t true.  He’d done this a million times, & I wouldn’t even need the ice pack.   Of course, he could have been Mary Poppins handing out a spoonful of sugar or Maria Von Trappe singing about some dumb hills being alive & her favourite things – I wouldn’t have believed them either.

He told me to take a deep breath, which I did.  No, bigger, he prompted; again, I did.  When he asked me to do it for the third time, I was getting ready to tell him if I breathed in any deeper, I’d explode.  Then he said, ready?  I wanted to holler, Uh, yeah, brainiac, I’m really, really ready!  “It’s already out”, he said, with a big ol’ grin, as he held the tube up for proof. 

I hadn’t felt a thing; seriously, I felt NOTHING!  I don’t know if it’s that he’s particularly talented in the drain yanking thing, or that it isn’t that bad to start with.  I’ll find out on Friday, when Dr. Quiros takes another one out.  Of course, I’ll let you know.  Personally, I think that I just happen to have the most excellent doctors in the world & you should probably be lined up around the block to see them if you need them.

After the procedure was done & I’d picked my jaw up from the floor, the doctor asked me what it is I call him.  I had no clue what he’d heard, or if it was a trick question.  I guess the slack jawed look I gave him clued him in.  He explained, “When I walked into the operating room, Dr. Quiros looked up at me & said, here’s the booby something or another”.   Of course, I cracked up.  I let him know that in this blog, I’ve been referring to him as my “Booby Daddy”.  But I thought it was really cool that Dr. Quiros ribbed him about it.  It’s also cool that he’s been reading this blog – Hi, Dr. Quiros!

Before I left, Dr. Morrissey gave me new daily workout instructions.  He wants me to stand an arms length away from a wall, facing forward with my arms to my side.  Then, he wants me to “walk” my fingers up the wall.  By the time I see him next week, he wants me to be able to life my arm over my head without bending it at the elbow (you just did it, didn’t you?).

Of course, I’m thinking “no problem”.  And then I got home & gave it the first shot.  He warned me that it would hurt; turns out, he’s a very honest man.  But, I’ll keep working at it as I plan to do whatever the doctors tell me.  I’ll get that darned arm above my head if it kills me.    

I’ll be seeing Dr. Quiros tomorrow at 3:00 pm.  At that time, we should find out the pathology of the lymph nodes that he removed.  That will determine whether I’ll need chemo alone, or in tandem with radiation.  Wish me luck!

And, now for the reason I’ve referred to the gauntlet.  Dr. Quiros, if you’re reading this before I see you tomorrow, I challenge you!  When it’s time to take out drain #2, you have to live up to Dr. Morrissey’s most excellent drain removal skills.  If, for any reason, it hurts me, then I shall taunt you in a most unpleasant fashion.  And just when you think you can take no more of my relentless taunting, I’ll tell Dr. Morrissey; so he can gloat.  You know, the more I think about this, it might not be the best idea to taunt your surgeon. 

So, there you have it, the incredibly glamorous world of the Brunette Lucy.  Can’t wait for this particular part to be over with so I can get back to doing all the dumb stuff I write about (& finally finish my book!).  Sigh.

Next up, I see Dr. Quiros tomorrow.  Hopefully, I’ll have a better picture to post of him (& maybe Charity, his nurse).

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bring on the mistletoe

It’s been 7 whole days since my surgery.  I’m still having pain, which is surprising to me.  I’ve had a bunch of abdominal surgeries, & usually by this time, I’m up & around, barely requiring anything more than Tylenol.  Then again, I’m not as young as I used to be.  Oh, boogers, that sounds like a really bad TV commercial.  I apologize, & I’ll understand if you’re upset with me.  I’m hanging my head in shame.

Aside from coming home to be with my family on Thanksgiving, I had another nice surprise.  I met my visiting nurse, Pam.  Here’s her picture:

 Isn’t she pretty?

I think that she & I are going to get along just fine.  She’s funny, & we had a pretty good time when she was here.  She was really helpful in terms of explaining how to change my dressings & do what’s called “milking” the drain tubes (great, now I’m a cow).  You basically squeeze the entire line to keep clots from occurring.  I have three drains, & it’s a bit of a pain in the butt doing it at least two times a day.  It’s either that, though, or back to the hospital.  Call me Bessie.

I DID feel really bad about keeping her from her family on Thanksgiving, though.  Then I had a substitute nurse on Sunday, who, too, was nice.  But now that I think of it, I hope I didn’t scare Pam off already – yikes!

A really odd thing is that I’m semi-numb on my right side.  Yet, I feel like my nipple is itching.  Weird.  Oh, guess what else?  I can’t shave under my right arm for at least a few weeks, due to all these drains!!  EEEEEWWWWW!!!  I’m hoping that by the time I can, I won’t be evicting any birds or small woodland creatures.  Honestly, how do men walk around as hairy as they are?  Hair under my armpit – gross (grumble, grumble).

But, on the bright side, Christmas is on its way, & I won’t (hopefully – keeping fingers crossed) have to begin chemo or chemo/radiation until after Santa comes.  I’m so happy, since I’m a Christmas junkie.

I love everything about this time of year – putting the tree up with sappy Christmas music playing & a fire raging in the fireplace (I even turned the a/c on one year since it was too warm.  But I was having that fire!).  I have hot chocolate & yes, folks, even chestnuts roasting.  I watch every sappy Christmas movie ever made, both real & animated, & no matter how many times I’ve seen them, I cry.

What makes me laugh (as hard as I can right now) is that Matt really thinks that since I’m not ambulatory, I won’t be over spending for presents.  Don’t men make you smile?  It’s called the “internet”, & I’ve been surfing it like Stephanie Gilmore catching a massively rad wave on the first stop to pro surfers’ equivalent of the Triple Crown at Haliewa, Hawaii – dude.  I may not know the intricacies of computers & all their new fangled technology, but I picked up on online shopping – fast.

I’ve got credit card numbers, passwords & security codes committed to memory.  I have my favourite stores in special folders & set up one click shopping.  If you want to know which site has free shipping on what days & for what minimum amount, I’m your gal.  I can be searching for store coupons while in the middle of checking out on three different sites, with a cup of coffee in one hand, the phone in the other, all while wearing my fuzzy slippers & pink super plush robe.

Can’t spend money – silly man.

In all seriousness, though, I know that this Christmas isn’t going to be the same.  I know that my kids are worried, & that they’re trying their darndest to be positive.  It’s a little weird when your mom & dad disappear into another room to empty & milk drains & change dressings; instead of sneaking in a kiss under the mistletoe.  But the fact remains that I have cancer & this year IS different

Still, it’s the Christmas season; a time of peace, hope, joy, love & miracles.  There’s no way that I’m going to let cancer rob me of experiencing this time of year as best I can with those that I love.  I’m going to shop, decorate, kiss, roast chestnuts & watch sappy movies, thank you very much.  We even managed to get The Beast up AND lit!  The title of my blog says it all – Cancer can suck it.

I still have a long journey ahead of me with this stupid cancer.  I also have a whole bunch of things to get accomplished for Christmas.  But, I have my priorities.

Bring on the mistletoe.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Article before the article - huh?

I’m waiting for the visiting nurse, the Eagles are coming on, & we’re trying to decorate the house.  I’ll post about what happened later.  In the meantime, I’ll probably reference what is now commonly called, “The Beast”.  Rather than go off on another completely confusing tangent, you can read about it (thus understanding when I mention it again this month) here:

This isn’t mandatory though!!  I just thought it might give you a better idea of what transpires in my house during Christmas & Christmas decorating.  Adding breast cancer has made it that much more chaotic.

Don’t judge me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just one of those, "I had to" moments - giggle!

Sorry, folks, but this just had to be done!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

With today being Thanksgiving, & I’m lucky enough to be home for it, I’m going to get temporarily serious.  This is most definitely a sign that I’m taking pain medicine!

I’m thankful for my family.  My husband, Matt, has been incredible.  He’s learned to empty the drains that are stitched into my skin, so I don’t have to see them.  By them I mean the three tubes protruding from under my arm that he’s taken to calling my “cyborg” ports.  My visiting nurse, Pam (who I’m sure I’m going to have a LOT to say about.  She was a HOOT) was quite taken by him today & the fact that he’s not grossed out.  He’s keeping track of all my meds & is insuring that I’m taking them when I should.  And, he’s taking care of things here at the house, as well as running the businesses we own.

My kids have been unbelievable as well.  Aubrie pitched in to cook Thanksgiving dinner, complete with pies.  Elyse has been my personal masseuse, assistant & entertainer.  Dakota has turned into the family pack horse, running all the physical errands.  They’ve all done much, much more, but I’m so tired right now (& the pain is a little intense at times), I can barely see, let alone type.

My poor mother in law, Gretchen, has been the glue, as usual, that’s held this family together.  She’s always there & sometimes doesn’t think that the things she does get noticed.  They get noticed, Gretchen.

I’m also thankful for the large grid of friends that have rallied around me.  Of course, any one who knows me knows that my best friend is Michele Buono.  She’s the keeper of my pass words & secrets (& still hangs around with me anyway).  She’s usually right there whenever I’m in thinking about doing my next dumb scheme, & has managed to stop many of them.  And, if she doesn’t stop them, she’s right there with me doing them.  Matt’s convinced that he & Alex (Michele’s husband) will be bailing the two of us out of jail at any time.

I’m astonished at the amount of women who’re lined up to help me; who’ve signed up to come feed my family – even during Christmas.  I can’t believe the amount of women who’ve emailed me & shared their very personal stories.  I’ve been touched by the flowers sent to my room accompanied by notes of encouragement.  Your words, thoughts & prayers have made this experience much easier than it probably would have been.

I’m also thankful for the surgeons that worked on me.  Dr. Quiros is such a sweet, soft spoken man.  Yet, for his quiet demeanor, he’s a freaking rock star in the operating theater.  Dr. Morrissey is more outgoing & has sparks of a pretty good sense of humour.  I think I may puzzle him, though, with my goofiness.  Charity (& all of Dr. Quiros’ nurses) as well as Dr. Morrissey’s nurses have been fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, Sue Folk, Dr. Evil (just teasing, Dr. Sebastiano), & all the ladies at the Regional Breast Health Center have been amazing.  Sue & Dr. Sebastiano called the day after my surgery to let me know they were thinking of me.  I know if I have a question, they’ll be right there to answer it for me.  And, honestly, ladies, if you’re afraid to go get your mammogram, do what I did.  Get it at the Regional Breast Health Center!!  They’re truthfully a great bunch of broads, & you’ll be treated like a queen.  A queen with her boob in a vice, but a queen nonetheless!

I’m not done with my thankful-gram, but it’s about all I can do today.  I’m very, very tired, & the pain is coming back. Thankfully, I have pain meds that put me to sleep.  And sometimes, sleep is the best place to be for a girl!

And since I can only be serious for so long, I’m going to say a little “prayer”.  “Dear God, please let the Broncos win tonight.  It would really make me a happy camper.  And these days, You owe me”.  JUST KIDDING – as far as you know.

Just watch, though, the Broncos will lose BIG TIME as God's response to my sacrilegious prayer.  Remember the guy on top of the roof during a flood, who asked why God didn't hear him?  In similar fashion, He can say to me, "I sent you a wonderful family, gifted surgeons, a plethora of friends, & a whole host of other gifts.  And you were worried about the Broncos??"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Home

Hi, Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I'm home & more comfortable here than I could ever have been at the hospital.  This is NOT due to the staff, though!  I couldn't have been blessed with a more caring group of people.  Dr. Quiros, his sweet, sweet nurse, Charity, & Dr. Morrissey were great.  I couldn't have been in better hands.

Right now, we're waiting on pathology of the lymph nodes, which will dictate whether I'll need chemo, or a combination of chemo & radiation.  You know I'll let you know.  Right now, I don't have to decide anything for a few weeks  I'm going to have time to heal, then have a quiet Christmas.

Thank you for your prayers, your emails, all the flowers, & all the other kind things that were done for me.  I'll be up & running my mouth in no time!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tamara Update

Hi everyone, it's Michele. Just got the phone call that Tam is out of surgery and -- at least a few minutes ago -- was awake and talking. Surgery went well. I'm sure she'll want to tell her own story, I just wanted you all to know she's okay.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Results of the Biopsy!!

Sorry I’m just getting this up!  It’s been crazy between appointments, tests, & trying to cook & freeze for Thanksgiving.  I should be home by then.

Finally, the biopsy was over & it was time to await the results.  Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m a “glass half full” type of girl.  I always try to find the bright side of every situation (because there’s ALWAYS a bright side or something good comes out of everything). 

That being said, I can honestly say that I was worried.  All I could think was that the big mass had become malignant.  I thought I may very well lose both of my breasts, & have that God awful surgery under my arm.  I kept it to myself, though, because like most of you reading this, I’m a mom.  The kidlets come first & this was already stressful enough for them.  My babies are worried that they’re going to lose their mommy (even though they don't tell ME that - they tell their grandmother & dad).

That’s why when I got to Dr. Quiros’ office, I was so relieved!  The large mass under my arm wasn’t cancer.  However, the other site that they biopsied might be.  Here’s the good news, though.  It’s so small & self contained, that even if it turns out to be cancer, they’ll probably be able to get all of it.  And, there won’t be any noticeable change in ol’ lefty’s size.  Well, that is, until the final booby surgery, where lefty will have to be matched up to what we’ve taken to calling, the “Barbie Boob”.  You know, plastic & perky, yet forever perfect. 

After my reconstruction surgery, Matt’s making this t-shirt:

Today, I find myself doing a lot of “this time tomorrow, I’ll be . . . . “  But, I still plan to enjoy the day.  That is, if those dumb Broncos & Eagles don't screw it up for me!  Plus, I can’t wait to get this dumb thing over with & get back to worrying about not saying (or doing) something dumb.  You know, my normal life.

Trust me, though, I’m OK.  I’m one tough old gal & there’s no way this is going to beat me or get my spirits down!  Plus, I’m so very, very lucky to have all of my friends, old & new, & my family rooting me on.  And thanks again for all your wonderful emails & Guestbook comments. 

I’ll write soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Biopsy, Part Two (or, Holy SH** that hurt!)

I’m so sorry!  I’ve been going from appointment to appointment the last three days.  Since there’s a lot to tell, I’m breaking it up.  I promise, though, that things are turning out for the best!  There’s a lot of good news to report, & a little bad.

About 5 years ago, I had a rather large mass removed from under my left armpit.  It was biopsied, but they didn’t know what it was.  The good news was that it wasn’t cancer.  They couldn’t dig the whole thing out, as it went pretty deep.  There was concern that nerves could be damaged, causing me a lifetime of pain.  So, they left a portion of the mass where it was, & told me that the chances were that it would grow back.

Well, apparently, it did.  I began to notice it about a year ago.  Knowing (hopefully) that it wasn’t cancer, I figured I’d leave it alone.  Unfortunately, it showed up on my MRI.  Dr. Quiros, being thorough & cautious, asked for the area to be biopsied.  This led to round two of the biopsy booby dance.  Back up to the Regional Breast Health Center I went.

Before I get into it, though, I have to take a detour (you’re surprised why?).  You know how I’m always telling you that I’m spectacularly inept when it comes to technology?  Well, I proved it, yet again.  I took my new “moron proof” camera to the breast health center.  Sadly, moron proof has yet to meet me.  Until they make something “Lucy proof”, they just haven’t dumbed it down enough.

Apparently, I’d left my memory card in my laptop – at home.  This meant that I could take 5 pictures max.  Add to that the fact that I didn’t check the batteries & I think you’re getting the picture.  I kept trying to take photos of the girls at the Breast Center, but they wouldn’t take.  Dr. Sebastiano (who did my biopsy) looked at the camera, & said it was on timer.  I didn’t even know it HAD a timer, so I have no clue how it got turned on.  Finally, I managed to get two shots of the ladies.

I wanted to include myself in the photo, so I handed the camera to Matt.  It was at just that moment that the batteries died – thank God.  I say that because Matt shared with me on the ride home that as soon as he went to take the picture, my glamorous gown had opened – wide.  My girls were there in all there glory saying “Tah Dah”!  So, maybe dead batteries were divine intervention.

I found yet another problem with my moron proof camera.  I lost the cable that would hook it up to the computer for downloads.  And since the memory card wasn’t in it, well, I wasn’t able to download the two pictures I had managed to take.  After many rounds of debate, it was decided that Elyse (bless her little heart) would take a picture of the tiny photo showing in the view finder.  She did so, & I was able to clean it up – a bit.  Ladies, I promise, I did my best.  So, here they are – the raging (& most amazingly kind) beauties from St. Luke’s Regional Breast Health Center:

  Okey doke, back to “the biopsy”.

Dr. Sebastiano came into the room & put some type of CD player on the counter.  I’d never seen anything like it, but, no big shock there.  I only just begun using CD’s, but only because they don’t make cassettes anymore (there’s a rant in there somewhere).  She told me that she’d be happy to turn on whatever I liked.  But, since I liked the lady’s style, I went with it.  I’m telling you, folks, the doctor was adorable!  She’s the most down to earth person I’ve ever met in my life – and also one of the sweetest.

The first biopsied area was uneventful.  However, when we got to the large mass under my arm, it was pretty painful.  After the doctor numbed me up, she took the first specimen.  I felt it – big time - & about catapulted myself to the ceiling.  No one, including myself, was expecting that.  It hurt so much, it brought tears to my eyes.

Dr. Sebastiano put more lidocaine (numbing medicine) in, & we went for another try.  Yet again, it just about killed me.  There was no amount of lidocaine that the doctor could inject that would calm what were apparently the nerves under my arm.  I felt everything.  That’s when the doctor told me she wanted to stop; she felt awful.  She wanted to recommend that during my mastectomy, they remove the mass & biopsy it afterward.  She really, really didn’t want to continue on.  And poor Kirsten & Tonya were just pale.  Kirsten kept rubbing my leg & Tonya my shoulders.

However, I remember the original surgery that removed the bulk of the mass.  Despite having surgery many, many times, that one ranked number one as the most painful surgery ever in the history of surgery.  Ever.  I’ve never felt like that before in my life & I wasn’t keen to repeat it.

I begged the poor doctor to continue.  I think they all thought I was crazy, but they agreed to continue with what Dr. Sebastiano referred to as torture.  The doctor was able to take the specimens that she needed.  And honestly, the last two weren’t as bad as the first ones.

At this point, I want to point something out.  Biopsies AREN’T painful as a rule!  They’re not pleasant, & you wouldn’t ever say, “Gee, it’s a sunny day; maybe I’ll go have a biopsy”.  However, they numb the living daylights out of you, & the rest isn’t really a big deal.  In fact, it’s the numbing that’s the most uncomfortable.  UNCOMFORTABLE – not painful!

Ladies, if you’ve ever had a baby, then trust me, it’s a walk in the park compared to that.  If you’ve ever had a tooth numbed prior to filling a cavity, then you’ll know what to expect.  In my case, it was the location of the mass that caused me so much pain.  So please, please, please, keep this in mind if you ever get told you need a biopsy.  This was truly an odd location & unusual experience.  OK?  If you have a mass that requires further study, have the biopsy.  It could very well save your life!  Sometimes, us broads just gotta cowboy up.

Up next, the results.  A little bit of bad news, but also some great news.  

Monday, November 16, 2009

Need another biopsy - ugh!

Well, Hell’s Bells!

Dr. Quiros’ office called today.  Turns out, there’s a suspicious mass in my left breast now.  Tomorrow, I have to go for another biopsy – ugh!

Oh, well, on the bright side, I get to see Susan Folk, Nurse Extraordinaire & new friend!  See you tomorrow, Sue!  Oh, please tell me I’m not going to get Skippy the Radiologist!!!  

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Breast MRI or, A Season in Hell

I had to have a breast MRI on Thursday, Nov. 12th.  Dr. Quiros was curious as to why an area on my left breast showed signs of a mass, but didn’t show up on the ultrasound.  The radiologist said that it could be nothing & that it could have been a shadow.  Alternately, hormones can change breast mass.  Still, Dr. Quiros wanted to be 100% sure that he didn’t need to remove it during the right breast mastectomy.

So off we went to St. Luke’s for the MRI (or as I’ve taken to calling it, a season in Hell).  Like at Dr. Quiros’ office, there was valet parking, which is really cool.  That is, until I got back in the car & noticed that the kids had left empty soda bottles, napkins, candy wrappers, & assorted items of clothes strewn about the back seat.  I could have sworn I saw a tiny woodland creature foraging for scraps.  I was SOO embarrassed!  When I got home, I told them that they’ve got a big ol’ project on their hands this weekend – CLEAN THEIR MOTHER’S CAR.  Little monsters.  The heck of it is, Aubrie’s 10 year old jeep is so clean, it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.  Go figure!

I checked in at the MRI desk, & yet again, the ladies were unbelievable!!!  Here’s their picture:

I’m so mad at myself for not getting their names!  If you’re reading this, girls, please drop me a line.  Sign the guestbook or email me.  And aren’t they just the prettiest little things you ever saw?  You are, girls!!

As usual, I had gone online before this test.  I saw photos of breast MRI machines that made them look like I would be lying on a cloud.  Pictures like this:
Ooh, comfy & cozy.

 Just like a day at the spa!

THIS, however, is what I got:

Of course, I’m exaggerating, but it kind of felt like it!  There were no pillows, just a u-shaped foam forehead “rest”.  And padding?  If you call cold plastic comfortable, then yeah, I guess it was just swell.  Here’s the best comparison I could come up with to describe the difference between the pictures I saw vs. reality - like going from an overstuffed recliner to a stool.

First, I had to have an IV, because half way through the test they would be sending some type of dye through my system.  We got it started, then went into the torture, um, MRI room.  As they hooked me up to the saline, it spewed everywhere.  The IV didn’t “take”.  Back to the other room to restart it in the other arm.  Oh, the frivolity!  Finally, we returned to the ancient contraption that was supposed to take pretty pictures of the insides of my girls.

I was led to the slab & told to lay on my stomach.  I had to get my boobs in the cutout holes just right.  In order to accomplish this, I had to lay directly on my diaphragm & bottom of my rib cage.  I could barely breathe.  I was trying to support myself with my arms & using my back to lift me a little.  This was about as uncomfortable as you can get.

I had to stay still like that for what they told me would be ½ hour, which very well may be the sum total of the actual test time.  However, that doesn’t take into account all the pauses while they checked the images, & started the next series.  It seemed to take forever.  I began to wonder if they were hosting a Tupperware party on the other side of the partition, & occasionally noticed that one of the tests were done.  Of course I’m exaggerating – kind of.  Matt said I was in there for an hour and a half & trust me, it felt like it.

Then, there’s the noise; anyone who’s ever had an MRI can relate to this.  How to put it, how to put it – oh, I know.  Imagine that you’re in a tunnel, & two freight trains pass each other, blowing their whistles & honking their horns.  It’s kind of like that.  They give you headphones, which is nice.  However, once the noise started, they were as effective as giving me a fuzzy pair of winter ear muffs & telling me to hum.

When it was over, I got up & took my first deep breath & nearly fainted.  I honestly felt drunk & light headed.  Thankfully, it didn’t last too long.  When I told Matt about the dizziness, he remarked, “You should be used to that.  You’ve always been a little dizzy, Lucy.”  Ha . . . . . Ha.

But, it’s over now & I know that this test will help Dr. Quiros when it comes time for my surgery, which is scheduled for Monday, November 23rd.  Yup, right before Thanksgiving – which sucks.  But it could be worse!  It could be right before Christmas.

This week will be somewhat busy.  I’m still researching breast reconstruction, as I’ll be meeting with Dr. Morrissey on Wednesday.  I want to be sure I have all my questions written down.  And, no, Filiz, you can’t come with me.

Then Thursday, I meet with Dr. Quiros, & get the results of the MRI.  I’m a little nervous about that, though.  I’d really like to keep good ol’ lefty.  But, if she’s gotta go to save my life, then, “buh bye”.    

On the bright side, this experience has been illuminating for me.  I’m amazed at my friends & how they’re rallying around me.  They’ve organized to bring my family food for at least 2 months.  They’ve volunteered to clean my house & run errands.  They’ve even stepped up to organize homeschool functions for me.  A few creative ones volunteered to donate some fat to reconstruct my boobs.  Nice try, girls! 

I’m also amazed by my family; especially my girls.  They’ve been right there, ready & willing to accompany me on my myriad of doctor’s appointments.  My mother in law, Gretchen, has been a rock; as usual.  She's always been there to take care of the kids & me through more situations than I can share here.  She's been the source of great strength for all of us, & I couldn't be more thankful to have her in my life.  I love you, Gretchen.

And, of course Matt, who’s scared out of his mind.  Matt’s a doer & isn’t good at standing by waiting.  He's been using the time before surgery to go online & look up alternate or complementary therapies to go along with the chemo.  Once the surgery is over with, he’ll probably get all Gestapo on me.  By that I mean, make me sit down & do nothing.  Which for a fidget like me is a big pill to swallow.  Hey, that’s probably how he’ll do it.  He’ll make me take my medicine.  Hmmm.  A quiet Lucy – the two words shouldn’t ever be said in the same sentence.  Shudder.

Thanks, too, for those of you who’ve let me know that this blog has been helpful.  I’m truly humbled by your emails.  Thank you.

Next up, my visit with Dr. Morrissey.


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