Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Blessings

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,

and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

We had a nice Christmas. It was mellow and relaxing. We stayed home. Alice Anne and David came and shared Christmas morning with us.

This was the first Christmas where Julianna knew what was going on. She was thrilled to learn about Santa and even happier that he felt she had been a good girl and brought her a lot of presents. I was thrilled to see how magical it all was to her.

Christmas was sad to me after my Mom died and worse after my good friend Marie passed away. It has regained a lot of its wonder through Julianna. When I was diagnosed with the breast cancer and before I had all the facts I never would have thought I would have the thrill of sharing all these times with Julianna.

My heart overflows with gratitude that I can have these great times. That I get to see Julianna add a pink hippo and a giraffe to our nativity set, knock the tree over to get a pink candy cane, take all the ornaments off the tree so she can drive them around in her jeep, have her crib filled up with everything that is her "favorite", which is everything and just laugh and laugh.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas. We had a great time but I wish we could have been with everyone we know. Tomorrow I see Dr. Kostroff (breast surgeon). I will update after. Thanks!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back From Florida

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." ~ Seneca

We are back from Florida. We actually made it down there. My friend Lori drove us to the airport. When we got there I got wheel chairs for my Dad and Betty. I also had the three cats, Julianna and a carry on Betty insisted she had to have and couldn't check. It was logistically very difficult but having the wheel chairs helped a lot. We were able to go through security in a special line. We had to take each cat out of the carrier to have it checked. None of them got away and that was good.

When we got there I had everyone stay near the baggage claim when I got the rental car. I got it and loaded them all in. We got to their house at about 8pm. My Dad was completely confused but actually got better when we got to the house and he saw familiar things. Betty was completely wiped out since she had had surgery the day before.

Julianna and I went to Disney on Friday. She loved it and I loved seeing it through her eyes. It was a long day but it also gave my Dad and Betty the time to sleep and relax. They really needed that. On Sunday we heard that it was going to go below freezing at night. We were worried about my Dad's orange tree and decided to pick them all. I climbed all the way to the top and sent them all down. Julianna was pretty good at putting them in boxes. After we got about 5 boxes full and 6 or 7 hefty bags loaded up Betty said to stop. She said there was no way she could juice them all and they are hard to give away down there. We had to have gotten over 1000 and there are still a lot on the tree. I left the low ones so they can get them if they survive the freeze.

 We came home on Tuesday and are now back to work and school. I had plenty of activity and did great. I am hoping that continues and all the side effects go away completely.

Thanks everyone!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No Cancer On Bone Scan!!!

“I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.” - Elizabeth Edwards

My bone scan shows no signs of cancer!!!! It does show arthritis in both knees and hips as well as degenerative disease to the lower spine. I had those things in last year's scan but it has progressed a lot. That is likely due to the chemo. I can live with those things. I am thrilled that there is no cancer in there and I am going to make an appointment to have surgery to get the port out now that I know I won't be needing it anytime soon.

Betty had her cardiac catherization today. She called me this morning to say they wanted her at the hospital as soon as possible. I was going to take today off just as a catch up so I was home. I took Julianna to school and went to get my Dad and Betty. I took them to St. Francis. We got there around 10:30. They took her up to the cath lab around 12:30. They did the procedure at about 2:00. By 3:00 I could go up and see her. She looked great. They did not have to put stents in and she was able to leave about 7:00. They said she can fly tomorrow. She won't be able to lift anything and has to ride in the wheel chair through the airport.

My sister Alice Anne came and got my Dad about 1:00. She took him to lunch and the Cradle of Aviation Museum. He likes that. He really didn't understand what was going on at the hospital so it was great to have him go somewhere else where he could be busy. Alice Anne said he was having a hard time with Betty not being there.

So we are going to Florida tomorrow. A motley crew. Me, super bad bone and hip pain, my Dad, suffering from dementia, Betty, recently broken hip and fresh off the cath table, Julianna, full of energy and ready to run and of course the three cats. I am worried about the scanners because of my implant and my port. I also may have some residual radioactivity and that could be an issue. We are going to get there very early in case of issues. JetBlue is assigning an assistant to us and I am sure we will need one.

I was very sorry to hear about Elizabeth Edwards passing today. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2004. Obviously I don't know her personally but nevertheless I found it devastating to hear. We are all sisters in this fight.
Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. This has been a tough week and I am so happy that it all turned out so well!!

No Results Yet, Florida Trip Postponed

So I haven't gotten any results from the bone scan yet. I guess they love the suspense, but it kills me. I called my oncologist. He called me back and said the radiologist did not call him back yet. He said that should be a good sign because they usually call him right away if there is a problem. But of course there are no guarantees there. I try to stay busy and not think about it too much but I can't help but go there sometimes. If the scan is clear I am cancer free, if not I am stage four. I am trying my best not to think about it.

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~Mark Twain

Our Florida trip is on hold for now. I know everyone said it sounded like a bad sitcom to be traveling with a dementia patient, a cancer patient, a person with a broken hip, a two year old and three cats. I admit I think it is a bit crazy. It also amazes me that it costs more for the cats to fly than the people. They don't even get feline first class. Its under the seats for them. They also have to come out of the carriers in security and that has me imagining all sorts of situations.

The trip is postponed because Betty had a stress test because of an abnormal ekg. The stress test revealed a blockage that must be corrected immediately. They have not given her a date yet but it will be soon. She has to have an angioplasty and likely stents. My Dad can't be left alone so we have to make some arrangements for him. They did tell her that it should be one day surgery and she should be able to travel shortly after the procedure. I am hoping it is successful and complication free.

When I find out something, about any of these things, I will let people know what is happening.

Happy 40th Birthday to my brother Rich!!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bone Scan

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity."

~ Henry Van Dyke

I had my bone scan yesterday. I got there at 10:45. They injected me with the radioactive isotope at about 11 am. I had to come back at 1:30 for the scan after I was good and radioactive.

The scan itself took about 40 minutes. I could see my skeleton coming up on the screen but it was too far away for me to really see if any areas were darker. If an area has a problem it shows up darker because it absorbs more of the radioactive isotope. I could see that my knees were darker, but that is pretty normal. The rest I couldn't see. The techs didn't really look at it and they gave me no indication of anything. I have to wait for my doctor's office to call and that will be Monday at the earliest.

They always make you wait. It is tough. I am better at it now than when I was first diagnosed. At that time waiting for the bone scan and Ct scans was excruciating. I did get a call from my oncology office about my chest x-ray. It is normal.

I couldn't go near Julianna for 6 hours after the injection. Now I can, but she can't sit on or next to me for any long periods. With radiation it is a time/distance thing. So, she can be far away for long time periods but close for less. I also have to flush twice. I am supposed to fly on Wednesday. They said it should be out of my system by then but they are giving me a special note just in case. A lot of my friends ask me if I am worried about the radiation in the new scanners they have at the airport. It just makes me laugh. I think it is like spitting in the ocean for me.

I also found out some interesting information about the doctor who was monitoring me on the overnight when I had my original surgery. Yes, that's right, the idiot who had no idea what he was doing and caused me to lose the newly reconstructed breast. Well, it turns out he is a dentist and not a doctor. Yes, a dentist. He was doing a year of surgical residency in order to be an oral surgeon. So he didn't learn anything in medical school because he never went. I am outraged by this and I am looking into it further.

Thanks everyone for all the support! We love you all!