The Next Step

I keep getting the question…what’s the next step?

On June 5th I will meet with a different Medical Oncologist (I didn’t personally care for the style of my previous one so asked to switch).  One thing I learned from 8 years in the Pharma Industry is that there are MANY different personalities and styles of Doctors and if you can’t communicate well with one…switch!  The Oncologist will review wether any Chemo is needed or not and discuss other options (such as Tamoxifen – hormone blocker drug therapy).

On June 9th I meet with the Thyroid Specialist again to review how to attack the Thyroid Cancer next. (Most likely total thyroidectomy and then maybe RAI treatment followed by thyroid hormone replacement drugs).

On June 11th I plan to meet with the Naturopath to discuss how to balance the Western Medicine recommendations with some natural means as well. 🙂

So, my next two surgeries are ‘up in the air’ until after these appointments.  I’ll update once I know which surgery is next and when it might be.

I’m doing well otherwise  – able to work a few days and able to be a little more active.  The plastic surgeon said I am healing “very well”.  The Doctors and PT keep sounding so surprised when they say “you are recovering VERY well”.  I think they are used to most patients in this situation being at least double my age…but I guess that is one benefit to being younger while dealing with this…at least my body is recovering more quickly.

I’m loving the sunny weather…we have been able to get out and take the kids for a picnic or to the water fountains. (Embry gets so excited about picnics or playgrounds).

.picnic may 2014

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Doing Well

Several people mentioned that they were checking this blog often to see how my recovery progress is coming along.  So…I thought I should post more updates on how I am doing.

Tomorrow will be 3 weeks post surgery.  I can’t believe it has been 3 weeks already.  I feel like I have been in a “bubble”.  I am getting stronger and feeling better each day.  I’ve been going to Physical Therapy the last two weeks (two times a week) and today my PT and I noticed a big improvement.  My range-of-motion in my arms is much better.  I still have a lot of tightness, some pain, and restrictions in my chest, ribs, arms (mostly my left side and arm – due to the removal of two lymph nodes).  But seeing the progress is promising.

I do notice near the end of the day that I’m completely exhausted and sore (started “pushing” myself a little too far on days I’m feeling better).  I also have to be very careful not to lift anything over 8-10 pounds for a few more weeks.  This is very hard to explain to a 30-pound 2 year old.

I follow up with my surgeon on Wednesday and anxious to see how they think my healing is going (I still have lots of swelling and some bleeding).  I’m also looking forward to exercising again (I’m so weak and ready to start getting some strength back).

But overall, I’m doing well.  🙂 Thanks again for all your continued thoughts, prayers, and support!

I hope you all are enjoying some nicer weather and looking forward to Summer.  We’ve had more sun than is typical for Portland this time of year…and for that I am very grateful!

Pathology Results…GOOD NEWS!

I have some good news to share.  I got the results of my pathology from the bilateral mastectomy.  To summarize the medical jargon…it is REALLY GOOD NEWS!

The cancer was basically contained in the very small lump in my left breast (7 mm).  Only a few cells around that showed some ‘pre-cancerous’ properties (but that is to be expected).  The skin removed from the area next to my tumor on the left was negative for cancer.  The two lymph nodes removed from my left arm were negative!!!  (This was the most exciting to me because I think that means I do NOT need radiation!!)  And all the tissue removed from my right breast was negative for any cancer.  Also the tumor that was removed was an intermediate-lower grade (which means it is not too aggressive).

So overall…that is the best result I could have hoped for on the pathology!  I meet with a medical oncologist on June 5th to review all of this further as well as further lab testing that will determine whether or not I would respond to chemo or even need it (obviously I’m praying for…not!).

THANK YOU Neighbors, Friends & Family!

Again, sorry to do a “mass” thank you but my time is so limited right now…I’m sure you all understand.  We have been overwhelmed with the caring and generosity of everyone around us.  From co-workers to family to friends of family and even our neighbors, we have received so many cards, flowers, gifts, meals, and offers to help.

I am so grateful to everyone for their support and compassion.  I have to point out a few ‘unexpected’ gifts of kindness.  Of course meals and help from family and close friends is SOOOO appreciated but also ‘understood’.  But we have received support from unexpected places as well.  We have some COOL NEIGHBORS!  One neighbor came down to bring us a “Paleo” meal and a card that had been signed by several neighbors (some we have not even met yet).  The neighbors went together to gift us a whole-house deep clean from a local house cleaner!  Such an awesome gift at this time!  I’ve also been so touched by the meals that continue to come in from co-workers of Jer and even several friends of my mother-in-law.  THANK YOU to all of you.  Even a card or a text with a funny comic or uplifting quote is greatly appreciated!!!

Sometimes I feel guilty that I have caused so many people around me to “worry” or “be sad”.  But mostly I am touched by their kindness.  I love to help others but actually struggle to receive help.  So at times all the support pouring in is ‘overwhelming’ for me.  But, please know that I am deeply touched by all of it and appreciate your continued positive thoughts and prayers!

Goodbye Drains! Thank you Food!

I started regressing the last couple of days and thought I was having complications with the surgical drains.

My sister drove me to an appointment today where I thought I had clogged drains or the start of an infection.  The Doctor actually said things looked good and I got the drains taken out!

That is the first big step in healing from this surgery!  The drains could have been in for 2 weeks or more.  So glad they are out!

I also want to say THANK YOU for the meals that friends and family have been providing!  Even heating up food in the microwave is a challenge for me so the food that friends and family have been bringing is so appreciated!  Jer is busy taking care of both kids or working and I’m pretty much useless (either passed out in bed or in front of the TV in the lazy boy chair).  So THANK YOU to all of you that have been feeding us. 🙂

Hair Salon & Button Shirts

My sweet husband called my hair salon this morning and made an appointment for me to get my hair washed and styled.  He drove me over there this afternoon and helped me get comfortable in the shampoo bowl.  I’m feeling so much better now with clean hair.

Also my mother-in-law and Jer went to the Mall today and picked up some more button-down-shirts for me (a must-have when you can’t lift your arms).

I started tapering off the meds a little too so the nausea is much better.

For 4 days out…things are not too bad today.  The worst part so far are the awful drains and tubes coming out of me!  Once I get those removed I feel like I might be a little more normal.

May 1st – Loopy

I’m home but the pain is still not quite under control.  I’m loopy from the drugs.  Hanging in there.

Thank you all so much for the cards, texts, flowers, gifts, emails, prayers, and well wishes…I wish I had time to thank you all personally but my head is so foggy I can barely post this. 🙂