Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Latest update from Surgeon ... Sort of

We met with Dr. Hart today and would love to report that we have clear definitive information, but alas ... no. After reviewing the pathology report and surgical notes and discussing them with the Dr. and her assistant Leslie, we do know the following. Stage 1 cancer, after removal of the tumors the margins came back free of cancer. YIPEE. The cancer board meets tomorrow at 7:30 am and will discuss my file. The big question is whether they feel there is enough "clear space" from the tumors to the muscles (less than 0.1 cm). So radiation might still be on the table .. or not ... again depends on what the doctors say tomorrow. The other question on the table is whether or not I need the drug Herceptin (as I am Her2 positive). So what this all means is, we sit back and wait until tomorrow. After reading the pathology on my non cancerous breast, I am definitely glad I had it removed. Though it didn't come back cancerous, all of what they found didn't sound great and from what I read after looking up the words came back as pre-cancerous.

The other joyous news is that at 1:30 tomorrow, I am going back to the hospital to have another drain put in. There is just too much fluid and it needs to be removed. Not looking forward to this as when they took the drains out last week, the suckers are huge inside your body (like 6 inches of tubing inside!). When they were put in, I was asleep, which isn't an option for tomorrow. They say a local will be used and it shouldn't hurt ... yea and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are coming over for dinner tomorrow.

I am also cleared to drive if I am off the pain pills (only take them now at night so that shouldn't be an issue), but she said I have to also be able to do this (raise your hands over your head without elbows bent and put your palms together). Yep, sounds easy, if you could just take out the straight elbows part. Damn, the things I use to take for granted!!! Robert though is looking forward to the drain going back in ... no more showers so he gets to bath me again! Think I will bring in some rubber duckys with me!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Have had a difficult last couple of days, nothing earth shattering, just don't feel like I am making the progress that I was earlier in the week. The tumor pathology is still not in yet, so nothing to report on that front. I guess there is a part of me that doesn't want the rest of the news so waiting isn't causing any anxiety.

Have had a very difficult last 2 days. As I no longer have the drains, the fluid is accumulating under my arms and is making things uncomfortable (feels like the size of two hard boiled eggs on top of each other). This is causing the skin on the already swollen arms to chafe the skin on the sides of my torso. Can't find any clothing that feels comfortable and topless just doesn't cut it (haha). I am not sleeping well as I can't find a comfortable position and trying my best not to be cranky. I just asked Robert if I was being cranky and he said no. But then again, he is a smart husband who would say "no dear" to just about anything at this point. Gotta love that man!

There was a gay pride festival in town today that I was looking forward to going to for a little bit, just to get a change of scenery. But decided this morning that I just didn't have the energy to go. So I am learning to listen to my body. Well if at least I have to learn to listen to someone, it might as well be myself!

Jeez just read the above and boy do I sound whiney! Things could be so much worse and here I am complaining about not sleeping, chafing skin and the "friggin" ring of fire (how it feels under my skin). Ok, sorry for that and will work on getting out of my "pity party" or whatever you want to call it.

I am so grateful for all of your support, my family and the test results so far. I promise to come back tomorrow with a better attitude.

Love, Cranky

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

OOH, I Forgot

Dr. Hart also removed my 3 drains yesterday! So I can shower now! Granted it would be nice to take a shower, but will miss Robert giving me my daily bath and washing my hair! He actually blew on my belly button (like a little baby) yesterday and yes I did giggle (very Innocent .. so get your minds out of the gutter... That means you Tammy and Claire)! What a man! I could NEVER have gone through any of this without his unconditional love, strength, courage and humor.

I have heard from several of you that you miss his input on the blog, so I will ask him to be a guest "blogger" on the site tomorrow.

I also had a facial today ... that felt so fantastic. Had the appointment before all of this came about and decided to keep it, I am so glad that I did. The pampering from her with besides the facial, she also massages the neck, shoulders, hands and feet felt so relaxing ... I know feel like gumby!

Thank you all for your Thoughts, Prayers and Toasts - As they paid off!

Had the most wonderful day yesterday! It started with the appointment with Dr. Gayoso (plastic surgeon - cute, funny, fantastic dresser and someone who gives you his complete attention when talking ... sorry Robert! But I would take you in a heartbeat over him and Sean, so you are stuck with me.

Well anyway back to the story. It seems Dr. Gayoso had just gotten off the phone with the pathologist and proceeded to give us the "unofficial" word that the LYMPH NODES WERE CLEAN! We didn't know whether to scream, cry or laugh. Eventually we got back to the reason for our visit ... to discuss the reconstruction surgery scheduled for Monday the 29th. It was totally amazing, he took out this measuring devise, consulted this spreadsheet and then gave us some options ... felt like a Chinese menu - something from Column A, Column B or Column C. Sorry Tammy, he nixed the DDs (at least for now) everyone else, Tammy is the one that wants the DDs not me! He then took out another sheet and said I think I will bring 3 of this type, 3 of that type, etc. (I was afraid to ask why 3 ... did he have a secret Picasso fantasy?). Anyway, he ended up saying he was going to be bringing something like 8 different types to see what fit better. Man, I would LOVE to go shopping with this guy! We were definitely on top of the world when we left his office.

We then headed directly to the surgeon's office (definitely like the fact that these appointments were booked back-to-back and they are only about 1/2 mile away from each other). Only had to wait about 10 minutes at Dr. Hart's office before being brought into her office. This was a day if miracles! Dr. Hart immediately confirmed that it was official regarding the pathology on the lymph nodes (no cancer) but that the pathology on the tumors and the margin areas were not back yet. Since she cut right to the muscle and right to the top of the skin - leaving nothing in between, the pathologist wants to be certain that the cancer had not spread to the muscles since the tumors were right on top of the muscles. So back to the waiting line again, but at least we have some great news to hang onto. She then also explained that the pathologist would also determine if the tumors were self-contained or if they had started to invade other areas. She also indicated that if they were all completely self-contained, there was a chance that, AND GET THIS, that I might not need chemo nor radiation. Unfortunately because I am "unique" (please stop laughing), my case does not fall easily into any one clear path. So she is having my file presented to a group of doctors that get together every other week to discuss patients and their treatments (kinda like a brain trust) to get their take on what the best course of action should be. So the reconstruction is now postponed to the 15th of July. I also had a lump on the right side that they ultrasounded ... was fluid buildup which she aspirated out.

She then told us we should definitely go out for a drink tonight (gee, I do like this woman!), she then told Robert that I would probably be a cheap date (his eyes lit up)! I then asked how alcohol and vicodin would mix (who was this woman asking this "stupid" question?). Dr. Hart then said mixing the two could cause slower breathing ... and she looked directly at Robert and said "if this happens, give her mouth to mouth ... I needed depends at that moment!

Well we did celebrate, Jason, Robert and I did go out for Sushi and I had Saki.

Life is definitely good! Seriously, I would like to thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and toasts as without your vibes and pull with the one above, I don't think any of this would have been possible.

Love, Kathie

Monday, June 22, 2009

When "Nurse Debbie" came this morning, she indicated that the area still did not look good and it had grown from the night before. All this before I was able to finish my first cup of coffee! So she was going to call Dr. Hart's office to try and get me in to see her today and would call me around 9:30 am with the time of my appointment. Wouldn't you know it, at just that time, our phone decided to take a mini vacation. After Robert called the phone company, they said they would not have it back in operation until around 6:00 pm. Of course it didn't have the courtesy to go on the blink after I received my appointment time, no ... that would be too easy.

Got into the Dr's at 2:00 (she came into the office just to see me as she was in surgery earlier that day). Dr. Hart took one look at me, shook her head and I could tell by her expression that she thought Nurse Debbie was nuts. She told me to stop taking the antibiotic and that most likely the area was a spot that she had cut a bit too close to the skin so was irritated. Definitely like that woman's approach and directness. So we are still on for our appointment tomorrow for my post op visit. She indicated that she might take out 1 or 2 drains but that I should not get up my hopes that the pathology report would be back yet. DAMN!!!!

Also will be visiting the plastic surgeon tomorrow for a pre-op visit. Not sure how beneficial that appointment will be since we won't have the pathology report back in time, plus if the pathology reports indicate the lymph nodes were malignant, then radiation might enter the picture which would put the reconstruction surgery on the back burner (no pun intended).

The joy of waiting ...

But I did get to watch Oprah today and learned what type of jeans to get to fit your body! Colleen if you get to catch the after show you will like it ... Stacey London was the guest.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Definitely on the pooped side today, think I must have done too much yesterday. Guess Robert bathing me, dressing me, cooking for me, fluffing my pillows and helping me back into bed (we have a rice bed and the mattress starts at my hips so am now required to actually use the decorative steps to get into bed .. thanks Donna ... remember they were a gift from you!) have definitely taken its toll (I could get use to this!!!) The visiting nurse came yesterday and said that I was doing so much better than her other two patients who only had a single breast removed (loved hearing this ... never realized I had such a competitive streak .. Julie between you and I we can leave these other women in the dust!).

"Cassandra" received her very own floral delivery yesterday, with instructions to the florist to make it "diva -ish". The arrangement has boa feathers all over it and the word "hot" in crystals. Way to go Peggy, leave it to you to come up with the unexpected!

The visiting nurse just left and it seems I have some type of "something" going on that wasn't there yesterday. Not quite an infection, possibly a fungus (yuk) but she wasn't sure what it was. So after consulting with the Dr. on duty, he put me on an antibiotic with instructions to see my Dr. tomorrow. So the visiting nurse will come over at 8:00 am (there goes my beauty sleep!) see how I am doing and then call my Dr. to schedule a time for me to come into the office. This leaves me hopeful that I might be able to also get the drains out a day earlier (wishful thinking but what the heck!).

Have I also mentioned that modesty completely goes out the window with a mastectomy (not that I really had any to start with!). So many people have seen my boobs (or lack of them) that I feel like I should also start charging an admission fee! Oh and speaking of that, I forgot to mention that the fabulous Dr. Hart was able to actually do a nipple saving surgery (I am sure more info than many of you were hoping for!) Meaning she was able to scoop out all of the cancer (notice the words "was able to" as opposed to "hoping") but keep all of the outward skin intact. Still looks like something Frankenstein would have passed over, but definitely something for the plastic surgeon to work with (who is a cutie that totally reminds Robert and I of "Beau" (the kids' cousin).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In the words of Jack Nicholson in the "Shining" ... I'm Back!!!

Thank you all for all of your thoughts, prayers and "toasts". Is sounds so cliche but they really did help me through the past few days. I am a very lucky woman to have you all in my life! THANK YOU!

It seems like so long ago since Wednesday. Amazing what drugs can do! After surgery, I didn't end up praying to the bowl goddess (or in the case of a hospital bed, the plastic bucket goddess), but came awfully close! Unfortunately, didn't get the morphine pump (bummer) but had the injection morphine. The pain wasn't so bad until around 4 am and then my pain scale shot up to an 11 (scale only goes to 10). The next 3 hours were horrible as the morphine couldn't keep up with the pain, but by 7 am things started making a positive turn. Turns out the sentinel lymph nodes were malignant so those were removed along with the auxiliary lymph nodes (all on the right side). Don't know how many were removed nor their status, but will find out on Tuesday when we go back to the Dr.

When the Dr's assistant came in on Thursday morning to see "how things look", I was amazed by the fact that they don't use gauze, but a clear skin over the wounds and I don't have to use the ace bandage if I don't want to. So I am not as "stinky" as Julie, but am still on the "ripe" side.

Extremely tired and napping with eyes open (a nice way of saying zoning out) but getting through this. I read Julie's post and realized that what I thought might have been a pinched nerve in my back from staying in one position (my right arm is tingly and sort of half sleeping), but instead be a symptom of lymphodema. So will be doing some research on that and exercising the arm today as much as I can. The homecare nurse is coming at 5 so I will ask her then.

And before I forget, you are not going to believe what happened when I first got to the hospital. After checking in, changing into that lovely gown, and the nurse taking my vitals, a woman from the administration came in and said rather deadpan "did you bring it", I was like "excuse me", and she asked again "did I bring it", after going back and forth on this for a few minutes, it turns out she was asking if I brought the check to cover my out of pocket expenses relating to the hospital stay. Only in America!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sleeping Beauty Awakes

Okay, I understand that we need a little clarification here... I am Bloggoo and not BLOGO. Though I might have hair that resembles the dearly departed Governor of Illinois, I am not him, nor are we related. My blogs are more like something you would expect from Mr. Magoo, and therefore Bloggoo (or if you insist Blogoo). Now to the subject at hand...Kathie.
Our dear Madame has finally awoken from her drug induced sleep. She has been awake for a few hours and actually had some lunch and dinner. Just wanted to let you know that she should be coming home from the hospital tomorrow.
The physical therapist came in and evaluated Kathie and has said that she is where most people are after a week. As Kathie will be home tomorrow, I expect that she will be more than able to continue with this blog, so allow me to bid you All the Best. Again, I cannot express how much Kathie and the family appreciate all your Concern and Prayers - Thank You, Again.
In closing I only have one question, why is it that the Medical industry is more concerned with baldness and gout then REALLY finding a cure or a vaccine to END Breast Cancer NOW! I'll leave it to your imagination as to why that might be.
May you All Stay Well, Stay Safe and Be Happy!
Love You All
Good Morning campers! As you may be able to tell, I am not Kathie but that short sighted, bumbling Mr. Blaggoo. Kathie had a mostly restful night, as restful as you can get when they wake you up every two hours to check your vitals and ask if you are sleeping. Today they are trying to ween Kathie off of the Morphine and onto Vicadine. Kathie says she feels like Dr. House, if she starts walking with a cane we could all be in a bunch of trouble.
As I write this, Kathie is sleeping, she has spent most of this morning in that state. I was able to get her to eat some fruit cocktail, some crackers and her juice (plus some liquifidied Italian Ices). The surgical assistant came in this morning to check on her progress and change her bandages and claimed that all looks well - so far so good.
I read the emails that you sent to her this morning and that brightened her up. She would like me to tell you how much she appreciates your kind wishes and all of your concern. She asks that you include Julie in your prayers, and hopes that those that know Julie will send her words of encouragement today as Julie is having a tough day. It is amazing that these two women are going through almost the exact illness and treatment, my bet is on these strong, positive and incredible women. Cancer doesn't stand a chance against these amazing women and their incredible supportive friends and relatives.
Love to All

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evening of the Operation

You are all probably waiting patiently for Kathie to continue this blog. Well, sorry to say you are still stuck with Mr. Blaggoo. Kathie was moved to her room about 5pm and was actually able to drink some broth, grape juice and a few spoonfuls of jello before the pain and nausea took it's toll. We were able to get her a fresh new injection of Morphine which put her to sleep. In fact, the little cutie is still sleeping - definitely the best thing for her right now.
Since Kathie is sleeping there is probably no reason to keep you good people up to check up on this blog. So, go enjoy a good evening and please remember Kathie in your prayers before you retire for the night.
Tomorrow is a new day, and the beginning of the battle to bring Kathie into full health as quickly as possible. I am sure that you all feel, as I do, that we wish we could do more but you should know that your thoughts and prayers do work and we appreciate them. As for Kathie, she is in the best of care and even has a private nurse to watch over her tonight. Until tomorrow, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
Love to All

Kathie is out of Surgery

Kathie came out of surgery at about 3:10pm. Right now she is in Recovery and her nurse has said that all of her vitals are fine, and that she is resting comfortably. She should be moved up to a room in about an hour or so. The Doctor believes that she was able to remove all of the questionable areas and that Kathie did not lose a lot of blood. Now we have to wait for the tests to come back from pathology, in about a week.
It is my hope that Kathie will be able to blog this evening and give you a more personal view of her day. Forgive my inexperience at blogging, I actually am not a bloggee (as I do not read blogs), nor am I (obviously) a blogger. I guess I am more like a bloggoo, that is someone like Mr. Magoo attempting to blog.
I would like to Thank everyone for their good wishes, and especially for your prayers - keep up the good work.

With Love to All,
Robert, Jason & Elizabeth

Kathie's Progress

Kathie arrived at the hospital at 8am this morning. She went into surgery at 12:00pm. She is in good spirits and looking forward to being able to blog to everyone as soon as possible, unfortunately until then your stuck with us (Robert & kids). We'll keep you updated as information comes in.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday - 24 hours and counting!

Today will be spent putting together lists of things that need to get done and hopefully being able to cross them all off as complete. I will just feel so much better if the chaos in this house finally gets organized with everything in its place (haven't even started taking the drugs and I am already delusional!) . Getting my nails done at noon "a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do".

Elizabeth gave me last night the most fantastic basket of "goodies", soft button down jammies (you would not believe how hard these are to find), socks so soft I may never take them off, lotions, creams, foot massage paraphernalia, 2 bracelets, Teddy Bear, etc. Am looking forward to using all of the items as it is impossible to feel like crap if they are being used at the same time ...think back to the harem days when there was a different person working on each of your limbs ... I might get use to this! Peel me a grape anyone?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Adventure Starts

Can't believe I am actually doing a blog and that I could actually figure out how to do it!!! Julie is to blame for this as she shamed me (without know it) to create my own, as I found myself continually going into her blog to see how she was doing!

Today is Monday and two days before the 2 for 1 special. Trying to get everything in order before Wednesday so I don't come back from the hospital wanting to clean up (not that Robert, Jason or Elizabeth will let me ... umph, maybe I could get use to it). We are almost finished in getting Jason completely moved it, though there is not one room in this house that is "completely" without chaos, the goal is total order by 6:00 pm tomorrow (wish I could inject that emoticon that has the laughing face rolling back and forth).

Elizabeth, Robert and I went wig shopping on Saturday. Definitely not an easy task. But after 3 stores and lots of try-ons (they never once complained), I finally settled on the one that they said made me light up with smiles. I am finally going to have what I never could before, long flowing wavy locks! My new alter ego is called "Cassandra". Will post pictures of her down the road after her "unveiling". VA VA VOOM