Thursday, May 31, 2012

Feeling pretty good today.  I did take the anti-nausea medication today and will again tomorrow.  I'd rather be on top of it than feel sick!

Got in a little run - James followed me on his mountain bike while I jogged.  I'm not sure how he planned to get me home if I couldn't make the trip - on his handle bars? 

I got a new app that tracks my time and route - it is pretty cool.  Plays music, chimes in and gives me my time (which wasn't great today), and then you can save it as one of your routes. We also did a few yard chores and then I relaxed while James cooked up some steak pottage stew.  Yum!

Now I'm just looking for the first signs of hair loss so that I can send it off to Locks of Love and start sporting some of the cute hats James got me. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chillin' in the recliner.
Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve gone back and forth about keeping a blog or some such means to communicate, and finally decided to put up a blog.  About 10 days ago I had surgery to get the mediport installed and it all went well.  I was scheduled for a morning surgery, but got bumped to 12:00, then 2:00, and finally 4:00 due to an emergency.  I finally got into the OR at 4:30.  Things went well and I was home quickly, the only drawback was that I hadn’t eaten since the day before, probably ate a little too much, and then threw-up all over the bathroom which James kindly cleaned up for me.  Note to self – always check for anti-nausea medications on board before a surgery!

Mediport entrance area.
Over the past week, I’ve been able to resume most of my activities and have had pretty good strength.  I’ve been walking or running daily – no P90X or TurboFire….yet. I tried a new app today called Map My Run.  It mapped my route, mph, and time.

Last week I also went to see a naturopathic doctor who was amazing.  He prescribed supplements like:  Acetyl L Carnatine, CoQ10, Tumeric Force, Astra 8, B Complex, B6, and then things like flax, chia, and super greens.  I’ve started all of those up as well as tested my ph, which has become more neutral around 7.  We also watched the movie “Forks over Knives” which was very enlightening.  Although we’re not going vegan, there are many things we’re changing that have been relatively easy.  I highly recommend the movie.

Yesterday we had a blood draw and office visit with the Oncologist.  It went well and they were very thorough going over all of the medications and side effects.  The Oncologist was also very supportive of the supplements I’m going to be taking – which was great news.

Today we showed up to the Infusion room, picked a nice recliner in the corner, and got down to business.  The nurse’s kids happen to play hockey and will attend Sand Lake, so that was kind of cool connection.  He was also very competent and other nurses spoke of him in high regard.  I did remember to apply the numbing cream 1 hour prior to the visit.  So it was only a poke when getting hooked up tot he IV.  I was hooked up to a bag of saline and a bag of anti-nausea medicine, which took about 45 minutes.  Then I was given about 7 pills to prevent nausea.  I think that brings my pill count up to about 25 today.  

The nurse then hooked me up to adriamyacin, which had a red color to it, and then when that was finished in thirty minutes, they hooked me up to cytoxin for an hour.  I ended up crashing so James and I never did get to play cribbage.  Next time.   Whatever medicine they game me, kind of made me sleepy the remainder of the day – I slept all the way home and then slept and rested on the couch.  Good thing I ran this morning, because I wasn’t moving much this evening - except to eat the delicious and fresh halibut James cooked up.

The plan is to have a great week with the family.  Try to get to Homer, Seward or Whittier for a family fishing trip.  Back to Anchorage for blood draw on the 11th and interviews that I have to conduct for 2 classroom teaching positions.  Then squeeze in a trip to Fairbanks prior to the next chemo on 6/20.

I’ve been so blessed by family and friends.  It truly is amazing that I can feel at peace and comforted throughout this process.  I can only attribute it to God hearing everyone’s prays!  Thank you!

Much love,

Pre-mediport surgery...stretching my arm.
We've received several bits of good news lately.  The ultrasound of the lump in my arm pit showed what they think is muscle and the lump has decreased.

The PET scan and MRI both came back clean.  Seattle Cancer Care Alliance agreed with the Oncologist in Anchorage that I should be treated with AC-P: Andriamycin with Cytoxan for 4 cycles every 3 weeks, followed by 12 weekly doses of paclitaxel.  This will be followed by 6 1/2 weeks of radiation 5 days/week.  That puts me at mid January for finishing - I guess our family trip backpacking through Africa over Christmas break will have to be postponed.

Here's a great web site on AC-P:

A little too happy?  Too much anesthesia.
The only bad news recently was that holistic care is not covered by my insurance, including massage, acupuncture, and naturopathic doctors.  I'm going to pursue it anyway because I've heard from several cancer survivors who have said that it made a huge difference in reducing their side affects.

James making me laugh...all night l
Surgery for the mediport is Monday, 5/21 with chemo beginning on 5/30. James and I were out this weekend and purchased some of the cutest hats.  I love hats, so this is going to be a great excuse to wear some!

Have a great week!
James and I visited with the Oncologist and Surgeon this morning.  We will send our information to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for a second opinion, which the Oncologist was perfectly comfortable with, however this is the plan of attack as of today.

The PET scan came back showing nothing, which was extremely positive.  I am scheduled for an MRI of my brain to make sure there is nothing there.  The MRI of my brain is to follow up with a previous concern and migraine.  I just happened to have an absolutely killer migraine this morning and took two rounds of rizatriptan and two advil, and three hours before anything touched it.  I feel much better now, but a little foggy.

They will continue to monitor the small nodule in my lungs from the CT scan.
There is no concern with the cyst on my liver.

Dr. Olnes presented two options for chemotherapy.  The first, TC, which is
12 weeks.  The second, AC-P, which is 12 weeks, plus an addition 8 weeks.
Both of these are followed with 5 weeks of radiation.  He presented the pros and cons of both and felt that the second option, which was more aggressive, was the one to go with due to the rapid nature in which the tumor presented itself.  He did go over all of the side effects as well.  We decided to go with his recommendation of AC-P, and will be sending the information to Seattle just to confirm.

I did get the final drain out.  They are going to let the fluid from the left drain just be absorbed, and there is nothing I can do to speed the process.  They are going to ultrasound a lump near my right armpit because it has appeared since surgery and they want to make sure it isn't anything.

I'm scheduled for the following appointments:
5/8 - Radiology to ultrasound the lump near my right armpit
5/10 - Follow up to the ultrasound and pre-op for  the mediport
5/21 - Surgery to insert the mediport
5/29 - Appointment with Oncologist
5/30 - Chemo treatment 1 (a round every 3 weeks)

They have a couple of other appointments to schedule (physical therapy, MRI and blood work), but this is the current plan.  It won't change much unless we hear something different from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but James can chime in.  It was a lot of information.  :)

I'm heading to work for a 1/2 day, so I'll catch up with email and phone calls this evening and weekend.  Again, thank you so much for the encouragement and prayers.  I am blessed and at peace, even as crazy as this journey is.

Much love,
Subject: Lisa's Pathology
Well we are back from the hospital and not with warm and fuzzies... As we knew the pathology that was done at the time of the Mastectomy was simple and not "in depth". This report is and here are the facts:

Type: Invasive Lobular carcinoma
Grade: 2
Margins: clear
Estrogen receptor: positive
Progesterone: positive
HER2/neu: negative

13 lymph nodes were taken: 3  sentinel nodes of which all 3 had tumors and 1 of the 3 had extranodal extension and 10 auxiliary nodes of which 2 had tumors.

So bottom line here is a few more lymph nodes than we originally thought are cancerous. With that the next step is to find out where (if anywhere) this has gone and to do that on Friday Lisa gets a CAT Scan (organs) and then next Wednesday another scan called a  PET scan (bones).

They left the drains in and will look again Friday on taking them out. They started her on antibiotics because of some reddening around the wounds And so we wait. 
James and Lisa
 I just wanted to thank all you folks for the awesome flowers, gifts, meals, calls, texts, support and company that you have provided Lisa and our family this past week. I honestly just  don't know what else to say. We are grateful.  
James and Lisa
Well as expected we are going home to finish recovery. As you all know Lisa is a tough cookie and I'm a hell of a good nurse. She has 3 "drains" installed and at least 1 will stay in for a week or so. We meet with the Dr. On Wednesday to go over the pathology report and the next steps in this journey. I have to say we are impressed with this hospital and staff. Feel free to call or stop up at the house. 
Lisa's double mastectomy went well. They were done a little sooner than expected and only 1 lymph node was positive so that is encouraging. Not in the Doctors words "ideal" but  better than a whole bunch of them. I have not seen her yet but she will be in room 405 for tonight. Thanks for all your prayers and support.