Friday, December 31, 2010

December 2010

Sorry it has been so long since I've updated this blog. The past couple of months have been very busy but that's no excuse - I should have posted earlier! I know that many of you have been wondering how I've been doing.

I had my surgery on September 20th. I had a double mastectomy and a complete hysterectomy and eupherectomy (ovaries removed). Everything went well and I recovered very well. Todd took vacation time and took very good care of me while I recovered. I will admit that my appearance was quite a shock to me once the bandages came off. I will have reconstructive surgery sometime but not sure if it will be in 2011 or 2012. I haven't quite decided on my plastic surgeon yet.

Anyway, back to the surgery results - my surgeon called me a few days after my surgery and told me that the pathology report came back completely clean - no cancer left at all in any of the tissue removed! There was evidence that the cancer had been there, but it was all gone! Yay! Praise the Lord! The pathologist even called her to verify that I really had had cancer at all! My surgeon said that it is uncommon to have a complete pathological response like I did. I know that it's my miracle from the Lord! Even though there was no cancer left, they still wanted me to have radiation. So, from November 10th to December 20th I drove 40 minutes away to St. Vincent's Medical Center every weekday. The appointment only took about 10 minutes each day. The long commute was the most taxing part. My skin did really well and my radiation doctor was amazed that my skin didn't burn (until the last week it when it finally burned). But I told him that it's because I had been praying that my skin wouldn't have a bad reaction. His only response was that praying certainly couldn't hurt anything! I wonder what he really believes.

Anyway, I'm so glad that radiation is over - what a great Christmas present to me - to have all of this behind me - except for the reconstruction of course. I will see my chemo doctor every 3 months and I will also be checking in with my surgeon and the radiation doctor as well periodically so they will all be keeping a close eye on me for awhile. I also have been seeing a physical therapist who specializes in breast cancer patients - she helps so that I won't get lymphedema in my arm because I had quite a few lymph nodes removed so my chances of getting lymphedema are greater. And she helped me to gain back mobility in my arm.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement and for those of you that brought us meals or flowers or gifts. I appreciate all of you and know that I can't ever repay you for everything you have done for me. I wish that I could! I am so blessed!

I pray that the Lord will bless all of you in the coming year!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last Chemo!

Yesterday was my last chemo treatment! It was a very happy day! I got to wear the special crown in the chemo room! I didn't get to see my favorite chemo nurse so that was kind of sad, but I'll visit her the next time I have to go in to see my doctor! I had a great appointment with my doctor too - she was very positive and encouraging. I will see her every 3 months now and they will do bloodwork each time to check my tumor marker levels and if they are ever elevated, they would then do a scan. Since hormones wouldn't help me for preventive purposes because of my type of cancer, they will just monitor me very closely every 3 months for 3 years. Then they will lengthen the time between visits for the next couple of years. That gives me comfort that they will be watching me closely!

I meet with my surgeon on September 10th and then my surgery will be on the 20th. I have lots of questions for the surgeon so I look forward to getting those answered. My doctor has referred me to a very good radiologist at St. Vincent's and I will meet with him sometime next month as well. So it looks like I will be driving to St. V's every weekday for 5 or 6 weeks for radiation - probably starting in early November.

I think that's about it! I probably won't post anything until the 10th after I meet with my surgeon! Thanks for reading and keeping up with my progress! And thank you so much for all of your encouraging words and prayers!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Only 2 More!!

Hallelujah! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Only 2 more chemo treatments left! August 27th will be my last treatment and then I'm going to party! My sweet husband deserves an award for "HUSBAND OF THE YEAR". He has put up with all of my complaining and crying and depressed moods. I can't wait to be done with chemo . . . my fingernails are my worst complaint right now. They are all lifting off of the nail beds and it's just disgusting. But soon they should be getting better. I will be able to schedule my surgery date after my last chemo treatment. It's driving me nuts not being able to plan anything in September yet. Tomorrow I meet with a different plastic surgeon for another opinion on my reconstruction. He comes highly recommended so I'll need to decide between him and and the first plastic surgeon that I met with.

I have been so thankful that I've been able to enjoy my summer for the most part. I'm so glad that it worked out this way that the Taxol was during the summer and not the harder A/C that I started out with in the spring. Besides the fingernails, I've really not had many other complaints and have been able to do most of the things that I've wanted to do! And then it will work out well that my surgery and radiation will be during school so I won't have to worry about finding places for my girls to go during the day! The Lord is taking care of all of the details!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers! Please don't stop! I appreciate all of you!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Little Bit of Good News

I'm so sorry that I haven't updated my blog in so long! In my last post, I mentioned that my Grandpa wasn't doing well and that I would be going up to see him. Well, he passed away that weekend that I was there visiting him - I'm so glad that I was there to say goodbye to him! He was a very special man and I will miss him so much!

But on the bright side, my tumors continue to shrink! In fact, I had another ultrasound today and the tech couldn't even find anything except for a tiny lymph node in my arm pit which is the one that my doctor can barely feel. But nothing else! Hallelujah! I'm praying that the lymph node will continue to shrink even more with the last 5 treatments! Yes, only 5 more! And I'm getting a little bit of peach fuzz coming in on my head. I think I have like 5 hairs that are 1/2" long! I'll take what I can get!

On the other hand, my fingernails are worsening. Two of them are lifting from the nail beds so I have to constantly disinfect them and bandage them so that they don't get caught on things. I complain about them a lot - my poor husband puts up with it! I'm actually complaining a lot these days . . . I'm just getting weary of chemo every week and my fingernails almost falling off and my hair being gone . . . and I've been getting mouth sores because my white blood cells are getting low. But today I feel brighter because of the good news at my ultrasound! And knowing that after tomorrow I'll only have 4 more treatments!

Also, if you are in the area and want to do the race for the cure on September 19th with my team "Team Pinkalicious", then register soon so that we can organize something fun as a group like get t-shirts or pink hair extensions or something like that! Time is ticking away so we need to all get registered soon! Thank you so much for your support!

Rock on!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Eight more to go!

Only 8 more chemo appointments left! Yay! It sounds like a lot still, but it's whittling down! Today went fine - I didn't have to see the doctor this time - she will be seeing me every other week now since there's really no reason to see me every week. This is fine with me because it saves us money on co-pays and it's a shorter day for me then too on those weeks that I don't see her.

Yesterday evening I had a blood transfusion at the Newberg Hospital. It was kind of weird at first thinking about someone else's blood going into my veins, but I got over it! It just took awhile for the transfusion - longer than chemo! But they fed Todd and I a complimentary dinner - and it was pretty good! They were very nice and spoiled us while we were there! And I feel so much better today - my heart doesn't pound when I go up the stairs now! The nurse today said that my numbers from my bloodwork all look really good! Praise the Lord! And thank you so much to the person/people who donated the blood that I was able to use - whoever they may be!

Update on my fingernails - I started bandaging the really bad ones last week, but it was such an annoyance, and then when I would wash my hands (which is, like, 20 times a day at least, especially while I have this horrible cold and I'm blowing my nose all day long) the bandaids would start to come off. So, I gave up on that idea. I put Sally Hansen's Instant Strength polish on them which is what the nurse suggested to me and I did tape them up really good before I cleaned my friends' house yesterday to prevent too much pain. So, anyway, I'm just praying that I won't lose any fingernails! But so, far, so good!

Todd and I met with a plastic surgeon this past week and she went over different options for my reconstruction surgery. It looks like she is suggesting waiting to do my reconstruction until 6-8 months after my radiation treatment ends. This is because she wants me to be able to heal really well after the surgery, and she has had some patients take a lot longer to heal when she has done reconstruction at the time of mastectomy (because of the lowered white blood cells from chemo). And also, radiation will really mess up the muscle and fat layer of the breast that had the cancer in it, so they want to give that tissue some time to heal before reconstruction. There are more decisions that Todd and I will have to make, but it's much too involved for me to even type that all in this blog! So, you have the short version!

On another note, my Grandpa is not doing very well so I'm taking a quick trip tomorrow to see him one last time. I was just up there in the beginning of June and I felt like I had said my goodbyes to him, but now that I have a chance to spend one last afternoon with him, I just feel like I need to go see him! I will be driving up with my sister, Lisa. Please pray for a safe trip and that my Grandpa will know that we are there talking to him - even though he is sleeping all of the time.

That's it for now - until next week!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Day of Chemo

Today was my 3rd infusion of Taxol - only 9 more to go! It is really much easier on me - I barely feel like I've had chemo. Except that this past week my heart has been pounding more when I lean over and stand back up or when I go up the stairs, etc. My doctor says it's because my red blood cell count is getting too low so she is sheduling for me to have a blood transfusion early next week. I'll be able to have this done at Newberg hospital which will be nice and close but it kinda weirds me out to have someone else's blood put inside of me. But if it's in my best interest, I will just get 'r done! My doc said that I will feel sooooooooo much better afterwards!

My tumors are continuing to shrink - although we can't feel anything anymore, but they aren't growing so that means that are still shrinking! Yay - Praise the Lord! I will only need to see my doctor every other week now so the off weeks will be quicker - all I will need to do is go in, have my blood drawn and then go upstairs to the infusion room for chemo - it will be so much quicker (and cheaper too since I won't have to pay a co-pay to see the doctor those weeks).

I started to get a cold a couple of days ago which has made me miserable since I feel like it is going into bronchitis - I'm such a baby when I have a cold! I'm actually surprised that I've made it this far before getting a cold! My doctor put me on antibiotics today so I hope to be feeling better soon.

The only other thing I'm dealing with is that my nails are discoloring because they have fast-producing cells and the chemo kills those cells, so they look pretty bad and they are hurting really bad. The nails are starting to lift off of the nail beds and they suggested that I tape them to keep the nails pressed against the nail beds - but I'm using band-aids because it looks better than bright white tape! They said that I might lose some nails - I hope that doesn't happen because that sounds really, really painful!

Thank you so much for continued prayers and encouragement!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Chemo Regimen

Yesterday I started the 12 week chemo regimen of Taxol. I was going to have a second drug (carbo platinum) as well and then would have it also every 3rd week, but my doctor decided to wait on that drug because there is a clinical study opening up soon that is a new drug just specifically for women with triple negative breast cancer. It's a really exciting new drug that works really great. But, it is only given along with the carbo platinum drug. And if I was to have the carbo platinum drug now, I wouldn't be able to do the clinical study. So, anyway, long story short, I only had the Taxol yesterday and I have felt great yesterday and today! Hopefully I will feel great all of next week too because I go in for weekly treatments now! My doctor is still very pleased with the results of the chemo so far - still continual shrinkage of the tumors. We have been really happy with my doctor - God has definitely had His hand in this situation bringing us to the best doctors for me!

Anyway, thank you for continued prayers and encouragement!