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!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chemo Treatment #4

Today was the last time for the A/C chemo drugs! Yay - Praise the Lord! And the tumors are even smaller than last time! She can really only feel one in the armpit now and it's very small now. The doctor is very happy with the results so far. In two weeks I will start the weekly Taxol regimen and she will add in another drug every 3rd treatment. Thank you all so much for continuing to pray for me! I appreciate it so much! Keep praying please!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Update

Today is Saturday and I'm finally feeling back to normal - although I'm still a little fatigued. Each time it is taking a bit longer for me to feel normal again. I'm so glad that I only have one more round of this particular chemo treatment. But then I still will have 12 weeks of another drug, but it's not supposed to be as hard on my body. I just keep praying for strength to get through each day and to get through the whole summer of chemo treatments. Not a fun way to spend my summer. I guess that's all for now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chemo #3

Today I had my third chemo treatment. The tumors have shrunk even more and I could barely feel anything. My doctor was able to still feel one in the lymph nodes, but it was much smaller! Hooray! The chemo treatment was uneventful - just like the other times. My nurse is soooooooo nice! I'm so glad that I have the same nurse every time - I'm sure that they do that on purpose! Anyway, I'm about ready to crash on the couch but Todd wanted me to update this blog first! So, now I'm going to sleep! Love you all!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

It is Wednesday evening and I'm just now starting to feel better from this round of chemo. Last time I was starting to feel better by Tuesday. I can see that each time it is going to be harder and take longer to recover from. I didn't really have bad nauseau - I just didn't feel good and was very, very fatigued. However, I muscled through piano lessons yesterday and today. I'm looking forward to feeling even better tomorrow! Thanks again to all who have supported me and brought us meals and picked up the girls from school! I appreciate all of you!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chemotherapy #2

I'm sitting in a recliner chair in the infusion suite with a heating pad behind my back and a heating pad on my tummy and a warm blanket on top! I'm cooking nice and good! I haven't received my chemo meds yet, just the liquids and anti-nauseau meds so far but they will start the chemo soon.

The doctor noticed a major difference in the tumors - they had all changed and shrunk down! Yay - PRAISE THE LORD! So, we are continuing with the original chemo plan every other week for 8 weeks and then 12 weeks of a different chemo drug.

I got my genetic test results back and I do have a gene mutation for breast cancer which means that there is a chance that I can get ovarian cancer as well in my lifetime. So, we'll be talking about that with a genetic counselor. It also means my girls have a 50% chance that they have this same gene passed down from me. That makes me sad for them, but we won't know anyway until they are tested. Another good thing about the genetic test is that it told Dr. Webster a little bit more about my type of tumor and she might add in another drug during the last stage of chemo.

Anyway, during the writing of this book, the nurse came over and administered the "red" chemo drug and so now I'm on my last chemo drug for the day! It should take about 45 minutes and then I'm outa' here!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bald is Beautiful????

I'm not so sure bald is beautiful, but I'm now officially bald! Well, I actually look like a new recruit for the military! All of the stubble will fall out soon, then I'll be really bald! My sweet husband Todd insisted on shaving his head along with me, and he really shaved it - smooth! He is amazing - I love him so much!

I tried my wig on and laughed out loud - it looked so fake at first, but I played around with the bangs and curls and finally got it to look okay and I know that I will get used to it - just like if I got a new haircut - I'd have to get used to it!

Tonight at the dinner table, before we commenced the head-shaving, I was complaining about how annoying it was to have clumps of hair pulling out and having hair all over me. So Paige pipes up and says, "but if we were in the store and I couldn't find you, I'd be able to just follow the clumps of hair on the floor to find you!" We all busted up laughing! I love my girls so much!

Ta-ta for now!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Well, my hair has officially started to fall out. It's not a huge amount - but if I run my hands through my hair, a bunch will come out! I will probably shave my head in the next few days because I don't want to get to the point where it's coming out in clumps! I think that would just be too depressing! But other than that - I'm feeling great this week! Friday is my next treatment so I will post an update that night! Keep praying please! Thanks!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Port Placement Procedure

I'm home finally! The procedure to place the port took longer than expected because they couldn't get the tube to go into my jugular in my neck like they wanted it too. They tried in two places but it just wouldn't cooperate. So, they ended up putting it in a vein just under my clavicle which is not where they prefer it to be, but it works. I am uncomfortable and have a little bit of pain but I'm on Vicadin so it is taking the edge off. I'm just glad that the procedure is over! Thank you all so much for praying!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today I am feeling much better . . . in fact, I haven't even taken any anti-nauseau pills today. I am still feeling like I'm in slow motion, but not completely exhausted. Thank you so much for continuing to pray! I will have minor surgery tomorrow to put a port into my chest so that chemo and blood draws will be easier to administer. I'm a little nervous about it even though it's not major surgery. I'll be under "twilight" anesthesia. It's just one more thing that I have to do and it just exhausts me to think about it, and I'm also afraid that I will feel like a borg having a strange device inside of me! Is this just a plot to assimilate me? ha, ha!

As always, I ask for your unceasing prayers!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Well, today is Monday and it has been the worst day yet, perhaps because the anti-nauseau meds that I had through the IV have been wearing off. I've been taking anti-nauseau pills but they make me really tired so the fatigue has been even worse I think. I had to really push through the fog today. I'm hoping that I can ease off the pills and get back to normal soon. Depression started to sink in as well today as I think ahead to the weeks and weeks of this stuff. Please continue to pray! Thank you!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chemotherapy Treatment #1

Well, I made it through! It was a long day, but I made it! We got there early but still had to wait in the waiting room even past the time of our scheduled appointment! We met with Dr. Webster who looked over my labs and talked with us about the possibility of adding the 3rd chemo drug (Taxol) into the 2 that I'm getting right now. It is a more agressive treatment and therefore would be harder on my body and I would have antibiotics in between treatments because I would be very susceptible to infections and getting sick. We all decided that the best course would be to start with the 2 drugs that we planned on and see if the tumor responds to it in two weeks (which I'm praying and claiming that from the Lord), but if it doesn't shrink, then we might try to add in the T and just see if that makes a difference.

Anyway, after the doctor visit, Todd and I took the elevator upstairs to the Chemotherapy Suite. Then we waited in the waiting area for what seemed like forever! It was agonizing - I was so nervous! So, a nurse finally comes out for us and takes us in. It's just a huge room filled with recliner chairs and IV stands. She told us we could choose what chairs we wanted so we chose two right next to some windows. There weren't many patients there at that time, so Todd was able to sit in a recliner chair right next to me! They have free wifi so he set up the laptop and surfed the internet! He was comfortable.

The nurse was very sweet and comforting and explained all of the drugs that she was going to be putting into me! She put an IV in first (I'll get a port put in next Thursday which will be so much easier) and then started the anti-nauseau medicications first and one of those is also a steroid which helps one of the anti-nauseu medicines to work better and another one was a anti-anxiety type medicine to relax me! That took awhile for all of those to drip through the IV. Then she came over and gave me my first chemo drug which was actually pushed into my IV line - it was red in color which was strange and thus I found out that it comes out red too if you know what I mean! She said that was what would happen! Anyway, then the other chemo drug was an IV drip and took about 45 minutes.

I was very comfortable, I ate snacks, drank water and juice, played the DS, rested, and relaxed. Todd surprised me right after I was settled in with my IV and the first set of anti-nauseau medications - he brought out two cards - one from Paige and one from Claire! I got teary-eyed! He had them make them last night while I was at Kids Jam practice! So sneaky! Each card had a photo of their beautiful faces so that I could just look over and see my girls and see how much they love me! It was such a great surprise! Todd is awesome! He has been waiting on me hand and foot! He even drove all the way out to Wilsonville this evening to get the anti-nauseau prescription pills that I needed but no pharmacies around here had them! He's so great!

And a sweet friend brought us dinner tonight which was so yummy and so nice to not have to worry about cooking dinner! I am so blessed with so many wonderful friends and supporters! Even if you are far away, I know that you are praying for me and thank you for all of your encouraging messages to me! I appreciate each and every one of you! Words cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for last minute childcare, dinners, flowers, cards, meals, prayers, words of encouragement, hugs, everything! THANK YOU!

So far, I don't have any nauseau but I have quite a cocktail of anti-nauseau meds in me right now! And I have an arsenal of meds to take at the slightest hint of nauseau! But please keep praying that it will stay at bay! I am pretty tired tonight though. Not necessarily fatigued, but tired.

Anyway, thank you for following my blog and I will keep updating!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oncology Part 2

Okay - I'm scheduled to start chemotherapy on Friday at 11:45 a.m. It will take 3-4 hours. Todd will be going with me. Tomorrow I'm meeting with another surgeon. I guess I'll update on Friday after my first chemotherapy session! Pray that all goes well! Thank you!


Yesterday I had an appointment with the Medical Oncologist. She will put me on a regimen of chemo that is a treatment every 2 weeks for 8 weeks. Then I will have an additional 12 weeks of an injection of a different type of chemo drug. So, that's a total of 20 weeks before I would have surgery! They want me to start chemo this Friday. I'll find out this afternoon if that will work out. Otherwise it would be Monday.

Meanwhile, I found out that my breast surgeon (the first doctor that I saw)is not board certified - yikes! So, I have been stressing out trying to figure out another surgeon! I am meeting with another one tomorrow and she comes highly recommended. We'll see.

Please keep praying for strength and wisdom for Todd and I through this entire process! It's hard to trust my life with people I don't even know! Thank you!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Second Post

Okay - today Todd and I met with the breast doctor again to go over the results of the PET CT scan. I was so nervous that my stomach had been churning all night and morning! She gave us the good news that there is no cancer anywhere else in my body! It's just localized in my breast and lymph nodes of my armpit. I thought that the radiologist had mentioned some under the collar bone, but those are actually armpit ones I guess. So, HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD for some good news!

There are 14 different types of breast cancer and the type that I have is typically seen in younger women. It is aggressive but is killed off easily.

She referred me to an amazing medical oncologist and I'll meet with her Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. She works with many patients around my age with the same type of breast cancer that I have. She will most likely have me undergo chemotherapy to shrink the tumors and then I will have some kind of surgery.

I am feeling very positive today. In fact, I actually felt like shopping this afternoon - so that means that I'm feeling better! But, I know that I will still have a lot of down days. I think that it has set in that I have breast cancer and I just want to kick it's butt now. I'm still scared about chemotherapy, but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"!

Please keep praying for me! I love all of you and am so grateful for each of your prayers and thoughts and support and love! I'm blessed beyond measure!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Post

I'm starting this blog so that all of my friends and family can find out how I'm doing and what the latest news is without me having to e-mail or call everyone! I am feeling very overwhelmed right now. I will try to keep updating this blog when I have new information to share.

Yesterday's MRI showed that the cancer has spread up to a few lymph nodes underneath my collar bone, but the good news is that there is no cancer in my other breast and my sternum bone looked good and clean and she could see part of my liver which looked good too. I had a PET CT scan today and will know the results tomorrow. It will show my whole body and show if there is any cancer anywere else. I'm very nervous to find out the results tomorrow.

Thank you so much to everyone who has facebooked me or e-mailed me or called me with well-wishes and encouragement! And also to those who brought me flowers and cards! I am so blessed with amazing friends and family! Please keep praying for me - I'm having a really hard time staying positive!