Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My last transmission

I am of course elated being back to work and back to my old routine. Most of the time, it appears that the last eight months didn't occur. But then there are days like yesterday...where my oncologist called to tell me that my hormone levels were too high and she recommended that I have my ovaries taken out. Evidently chopping off my boobs and losing my hair wasn't emasculating enough-now they want my ovaries!! Then Brooke called in desparation. Being exhausted from taking care of my ass for eight months she now has to find the strength to pick up her life where she left and decide what direction to take it. In so many ways I feel that she has paid a higher price for "my" cancer. I concluded my day by going to a young women's cancer support group, which I thought would make me feel better. Unfortunately like therapy, things get worse before they get better. My life has become so juxtaposed so quickly that its been hard to acknowledge what I have been through. Therefore, telling other young women who were just starting their treatment; how to "manage" chemotherapy, that losing your hair really does suck, that you will only realize what it means to lose all feeling in your breasts after your mastectomy, or being told that you won't be able to have kids before you even get a chance to start procreating, brought back the last eight months like a swift kick in the ass!! As such, I left the meeting yesterday feeling rather exhausted. Exhausted because it really dawned on me that the emotional scars (and not only my own) may take longer to get rid of than the physical scars.

Needless to say I concluded my day with a nice bottle of wine! And as I sat in my place, with my two boys, getting shnockered, I had a reality check. That I am so lucky to have been able to reach out to so many people as I went through this experience to share my traumas, fears, hopes, and dreams. So many people of which many I am sure I will probably never get to meet but who took part in this journey with me. How lucky I am that I had so many people to listen to my "therapy" sessions and who undoubtedly provided me with the strength and courage that got me through to last night. So while undoubtedly the physical and emotional scars will probably continue to haunt me for the rest of my life, at least I will have a life left to haunt!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Working and couldn't be happier!!

I NEVER thought I would be so excited to work!! But it just feels amazing to have my life back and have a real schedule again. I worked two (mostly) full days last week and a full nine hour day yesterday. However, today I realized that my strength is not completely back and finally made it into work at noon today :) Ironically-getting back to a schedule has been extremely freeing, knowing that I can finally do (almost) all the things I used to do before I started treatment. So in order to commemorate finally being done and in acknowledgment of it being Breast Cancer Awareness month-I got one more tattoo :-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I am done...really!!

So honestly, as of last week, I didn't think I was going to make it...thankfully Brooke came and kicked my ass to keep on moving and get through that last week. And finally, here I am, officially done with my cancer treatment. As soon as I walked out of that last radiation treatment this morning, I felt so light that the weight of the treatment is over!! I am looking forward to getting back to my life...or even having a life again!! Even though I still don't have enough energy to stay conscious for more than a few hours, I feel as if I can concur the world. And in order to ensure that I will be physically strong enough for world domination, Brooke and I have agreed to sign up for a mini-triathlon next September. I look forward to being able to say I completed a triathlon one year after I completed my cancer treatment. ROCK ON!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


So the last week of radiation has been especially brutal and therefore, looking forward to my last three treatments next week! I have literally had just enough energy to move from my bed to the couch. Thankfully, with Brooke here though, the house is staying relatively clean and the cats are staying very well fed :) In addition, Brooke did get me motivated to leave the sanctuary of my enclave by bribing me with tickets to Wicked. I have to admit that it felt good to have an excuse to take a shower and get cleaned up along with getting a little blinged out. As you can see, I got to wear my rhinestones which matched my "ruby" slippers!! While the two and a half hour drive made us a little nervous that we were going to make it, the show was well worth the drive and had us all cheering for Alphaba singing isn't it good to be green.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sister to the rescue...again

So I acquiesced and called my sister today to see if she could come out early...the exhaustion has gotten to the point where I can no longer take care of myself and it's so hard to admit defeat. But the truth is that today I barely even had the energy to make my weekly homage to the Iron Mule (the local dive bar that I have visited every Monday for years). That was even after I slept to almost 2 p.m. Even the smallest of errands, such as going to the bank, cleaning the cat box, folding the laundry has required more energy than I presently have. I actually almost ran out of gas today because even stopping for gas has become a chore. So I actually stopped on my way back from radiation, in my pajamas because there is no way I have the energy to change out of my pjs at 7:30 a.m. And I have to admit that I was so tired I didn't care who saw me in my pajamas, with a bald head, and a burned chest.

But now with Brooke coming, I am looking forward to eating something other than Lean Cuisines-hint, hint, wink, wink, Brooke you are going to have to cook :) I am sure the cats will be happier with a clean litter box...and maybe, just maybe, if Brooke is the most amazing sister that I know she is, my car will actually get washed. Of course I don't want to be too hopeful!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Glowing tits

So I am officially two weeks into my six weeks of radiation and I am EXHAUSTED! While radiation does not have the same side effects of chemotherapy, radiation does induce a state of constant exhaustion. Currently, my Monday through Friday schedule includes going to my radiation appointment at 8:15 a.m. and "driving" home trying to keep my eyes open until I make it back to my bed where I will sleep until noon. For some reason this schedule is hitting me harder than the chemotherapy because at least then I had a two week break. This constant exhaustion and treatment every day has little miss "Errand Girl" feeling like I am sleep walking through life.

All of the cancer preparedness books that I read indicated that the closer you get to finishing your treatment, the more depressed you get at trying to figure out what a "normal" life is going to be like after everything you've been through. I wonder when I will feel feminine again having lost my hair, natural breasts, and gained weight. I lament the loss of relationships that have occurred because people couldn't handle "my cancer" and the year of my life that I have spent on this couch instead of living.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's been crazy!!

The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind. On the 22nd, Brooke and I headed out on our cross country adventure. While there are a million stories to tell, honestly the majority of them were moments where you just had to be there. Such as when I drank a little too much caffeine one day and entertained Brooke by doing my infamous Beavis impersonation screaming to the horrible driver next to us, "I need t.p. for my bunghole!!" Needless to say, spending eight to 16 hours a day in a car left us more than a little slap times, Brooke and I couldn't even look at each other without busting up :)

The road trip also allowed us to visit some family. We got to stop at Dotsero in Colorado to visit Uncle Hank and have dinner at "The Club" (a.k.a., a wrangler ranch where the meals are cooked by whomever is there that day and you have to bring your own beer). After we got to Virginia, we then flew up to Boston to watch Mike defend his Ph.D. thesis at MIT. While that was an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back since I got lost when he read his title, I was honestly so glad to be there to support Mike since he has been so gracious and supportive by letting me steal his wife for the last six months. After celebrating Mike's accomplishment, we headed to Amherst to visit the ol' COB or in other words, Harry Vernell. True to form, grandpa was charming as always in his politically incorrect way.

Alas, after nine crazy days, I flew back to the O.C. to tackle my next round of doctor appointments in preparation for my radiation treatment. I have had body scans, my left breast measured a million different ways, and I now have stickers all over my chest and stomach, which will be replaced with tattoos on Monday. I never would have figured when I got my first tattoo this year, that by the end of the year I would have a total of 11 tattoos. In between the doctor appointments I have been trying to work out as much as possible in order to be as strong for the next round of treatments and also get rid of the obligatory weight gain associated with the medications I am on...the doctor says I am lucky because most people gain 30 pounds yet even eight pounds has me self conscious and that much more motivated to keep up my walking!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

On the road again...

So tomorrow morning Brooke and I are headed out to go check out the world's biggest ball of yarn, Paul Bunyon and his blue ox, and gorge on grilled cheese sandwiches. In the meantime, Brooke and I celebrated our birthday with amazing friends and the llama (a.k.a. SUV stretched limo that seats 20 people complete with lava lamps and disco ball). It was an amazing night filled with tons of laughter, drinking, and dancing.

Having such a wonderful birthday with my friends and family (even Mike, Brooke's husband made it out!!) and now headed out on such an adventure has renewed my spirits and got me anxious to just finish out the rest of my treatment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

So close yet so far away

So I got the official word that I am also to undergo radiation hopes of this whole ordeal being over in a few more weeks is over. I wouldn't be so devastated if they had told me from the beginning that I would also have to do radiation but to find out when I thought I was only six weeks away from total recovery has honestly left me numb. I thought the physical and emotional toll of this ordeal would be complete by now and now I have to come up with more strength-where will it come from?

I will have a bit of a respit before I start radiation though. I won't start radiation until August 4th, so I will still get to enjoy Brooke's and my birthday-which will regardless, be one hell of a party!! Then Brooke and I will road trip across the country so that I will have time to hang out in Virginia before starting the next round of treatment. We can't wait to find the world's biggest ball of yarn, stop by Paul Bunyon and his blue ox, and gorge on grilled cheese sandwiches so that we can write the authoritative book.

I have always joked that my life is all about damage control-I guess its no longer a joke.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I am done!*

This morning I was so ecstatic to think that this constant cycle will finally be over. I met with the posse and we had our usual breakfast at Mimi's Cafe and after two mimosas, headed to the doctors...

*After finally meeting my oncologist for the first time since my first chemotherapy she announced that I will likely have to go through 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, five days a week. This was devastating news because I had it planned to get my reconstructive surgery in six weeks and then finally be done. Instead, I will have to endure more painful treatment and I will not be able to get my reconstructive surgery for a year after my last radiation treatment.

On Thursday, I will be going to a specialist who will confirm whether or not I will have to do radiation. Until then, I am just going to celebrate that at least the chemotherapy is complete and this will be the last week of metallic taste, nausea, and extreme fatigue.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Nearing the Finish Line

So I am less than a week away from my last chemotherapy and I find myself experiencing an array of emotions. Most obviously, I am extremely excited to end the three week rounds of chemotherapy. But another odd emotion is also hitting's a sense of loss that is really starting to hit me. I have begun to really miss my old ta tas. I guess when I had the mastectomy, there was so much more I still had to go through that I never had time to really deal with the loss. Now that the treatment is over, it's really starting to hit me how my breasts will never feel natural again, that I will never be able to sleep on my stomach, or breast feed in the unlikely chance that I will be able to bear children.

I am also starting to feel a sense of loss of control. I have spent the last six months fighting this cancer and after this last treatment, I won't be doing anything proactive to fight the cancer. I have spent all my energy, time, and emotions to fight this endless division of my's hard to imagine what comes afterwards.

However, I do look forward to my change in title from someone WITH breast cancer to a SURVIVOR of breast cancer!! In this regard, I will be walking in the Susan G. Komen cancer walk on September 8th. I can't wait to wear the pink survivor t-shirt :) I can't say enough how much support I have received and how important it has been getting me through this. I ask now for your final support to help other women with breast cancer become survivors. If you would like to support my team or contribute, please go to my Personal Page Link at: or my Team Page Link at:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Running to stand still...

My life has become a repeat of three weeks-over and over again. Week 1 - Starts on the Friday I receive my chemotherapy. Usually after the 4-5 hour treatment, I celebrate that I still have taste buds and energy and will enjoy my last meal for the next week. Over the following week, I will continue to weaken and the metallic taste gets so bad that even water upsets my stomach. By the second week, I begin to regain my appetite and will start walking again. By week 3, I feel almost healthy again and can finally complete my four mile walks. This repeat of sickness and fighting to get strong again just to get sick again leaves me feeling like I am "running to stand still."

Luckily there are some things that are making progress...inexplicably my hair and nails have actually started to grow again. While it appears that my hair is coming back curly, I am anxious to have anything more than a wig or baseball cap on my head!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

PCR Peeps are Representin!!

Three of my co-workers completed the Revlon Run/Walk for Woman last weekend...

thanks so much for your support Allyson, Maile, and Sandy!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Finally recuperating

So the cumulative effects of the chemotherapy are really starting to hit me now. The last chemotherapy really kicked my @ss as I was pretty much out for the entire week afterward. This weekend is finally the first time I am starting to feel back to normal. It's been frustrating as I was really enjoying my walks which I have not had the energy to do and therefore, have been mainly secluded in my place. The only thing I have had to look forward to is my indescribable craving for ice cream shakes...thankfully there is an In-N-Out right around the corner and I highly recommend the new berry shake that Arby's has. Given my lack of appetite for anything else, I don't feel too gluttonous for my daily indulgence in a shake :)

I do have to mention some amazing news that I received last weekend. My sister called me from her best friends wedding in tears and while they were tears of joy it was the gift that the couple gave to me on their wedding day that had us both honored to have such amazing friends. Oh man, I am already tearing up again...Jody and her husband donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation under my name. I am in awe at such a selfless gift on a day that is to be dedicated to the couple. I am sure that Jody and Brian Davis will have a blessed union with such amazing hearts!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shout out to the baldy :)

So Brooke and I always comment how runners are the rudest people as they never say "hi" as they pass each other. So you can imagine my trepidation of going on my morning walk without my head being covered. But seriously...its like 80 degrees here and this morning it was just too hot to wear a baseball cap for my four mile power walk. So I lathered up the skull with some sun block and very self-consciously left my place. My first encounter was with a guy riding a Harley-Davidson who whistled at me from the intersection, which admittedly still didn't leave me uber confident...And yet, the first runner to pass me by not only looked me in my eyes, she even actually said "good morning." Even the yuppy moms on their morning walks at least acknowledged me and scooted their kids out of my way-which is more than they usually do. The next runner I came upon was a young BALD USC student and I got the double thumbs up-yah baby!!

I doubt that any of the people that said "good morning" to me or even just nodded their head as I passed by understood why my head is bald and how hard it is each morning for me to get out there for that walk, but this morning I must have done 12 minute miles and I hardly felt winded. That's when I realized that its going to be one cool summer with my bald head!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still feeling the love!!

It continues to amaze me the amount of support I have received. I continue to get care packages on an almost daily basis. Most notably I received a huge box from the librarians (and their friends) at the Pierce County library. It was full of hand knitted caps, comfy pajamas, and games to keep me occupied. Then today I received approximately 20 pounds of homemade bars from family to make sure I keep my appetite :)

Regardless, I have to admit that there are times when I am sitting in my condominium with just Sven and Oli to keep me company and pangs of loneliness creep up. But all I have to do is look around my place to see all of the cards, my collection of hats, and the continued supply of food to know that I am not alone in this struggle-that I am truly blessed to have the support of family, friends, and friends of friends, from around the world.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Successful Head Shaving Party!!

So the posse and some of the PCR peeps got together to shave my head...and after a few shots of vodka we commenced with the razor :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


So what I have been dreading the most has finally begun to happen...I am losing my hair :( I don't know why but losing my hair is the most traumatic thing I have experienced so far. The mastectomy didn't even scare me as much as what I will look like bald.

However, the good news is that I am starting to get my strength back and I was able to go for a 40 minute walk today! I also began my physical therapy but they say that it will take months before I get full mobility in my back and shoulders. So what this means is that I am stuck at home very bored!! Without Brooke around, my entertainment now consists of taking over her job of harassing the cats and playing lots of solitaire games :)

There's family and then there's family...

A member of my "family"at Pierce County Library is the fab-u-lous movie and music librarian Kati Irons. Kati is going to do the three day, 60 mile walk for breast cancer research in September. She mentions Lindsay and my cancer in her blog as a reason that she is doing this. This walk is no small thing. It takes a lot of training and time and I am overwhelmed by her wish to do this. Anyway she has a blog that is very fun where she explains more about this project, so please check it out!!!

Thank you Kati, and people after us will thank you too!! Love you Patti

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In the clear...

Having heard so many horror stories about the effects of chemotherapy, I am greatful to report that the only effects that I have experienced thus far is a nasty metallic taste in my mouth and skin sensitivity (even the cats licking feels like my skin is burning off). For the most part I spent the weekend napping with no signs of nausea or bone pain!!

I also continue to make baby steps in my rehabilitation from the surgeries. I am able to finally pull a shirt over my head by myself and can now make it an entire day without a nap. Yesterday was especially exciting when I got to drive my car for the first time in almost two months-albeit it took both hands to put my car in reverse and release my emergency brake. However, the most frustrating part of the rehabilitation is how my body no longer feels like my body. I am in a constant state of uncomforableness due to the skin sensitivity, pulled back muscles, strained ribs, and random streaks of pain. I also still don't have feeling in most of my chest from the mastectomy, which makes the expanders feel like metal balls in my chest. Even the fact that I no longer enjoy my favorite foods because of the metallic taste in my mouth makes it feel like this is no longer my body but somebody elses.

The good news is that I am finally strong enough and mobile enough to take care of myself so that Brooke will finally be able to go home...I think the cats are the most excited about this news since they will no longer be subjected to Brooke's "affection" and Brooke is uber excited since she will be able to get a full nights sleep without Sven wacking her head and sleeping on her face :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Chemo in Stilettos

Determined to be the sexiest cancer patient ever, I of course had to wear the stiletto heals that I bought in Paris...the whole time I kept singing in my head "I am too sexy for my cancer." And I have to admit that it did put me in a better mood while I was hooked up for five hours as they pumped my body with poison. As everyone has said, I will not feel the effects today but that they will start to develop over the next two to three days. Also, they say that I can expect to begin to lose my hair in approximately three weeks so Brooke is currently researching how to appropriately fold the scarves that we have already begun to collect-good thing I look good in hats :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Do Not Mean to Offend But...

Thanks Joni and Josh...we surely enjoyed the heads up!!

Baby Steps

Ok-so I have to admit that I thought I was a bad ass because a couple of days after a double mastectomy I was galavanting around with little to no pain. Well it turns out that even I can be stopped when they crack your ribs and cut a foot long slice down your back and insert a 1" tube out of your lower back...can we say vicodine!!

Oh my G, I have never experienced such searing pain as when you twist wrong with a broken rib. Every motion from getting up, sitting down, sleeping, sitting, etc. is uncomfortable. Not to mention that I have not been able to use my arms for going on three weeks now so that even holding a glass of water becomes a task now and the simplest movement becomes exhausting. I am already reminiscing about when I thought it was such a great accomplishment to get a work out in after work-do you know what my major accomplishment yesterday was? I actually made it down and up my flight of stairs for the first time since I got back from the hospital. But of course I was completely out of breath and in excruciating pain-who knew that walking upstairs took back muscles?

I have to admit that as debilitating as the last few weeks have been, that my enthusiasm for kicking cancers ass is waning given what I have gone through and technically haven't even started treatment yet. In the past I have always used my strength to get me through horribly difficult times, but how do I beat something when I hardly have the strength to exist? Let alone prepare for my first chemotherapy, which will be this Friday. My oncologists admits that she does not expect me to be out of pain but evidently I should still be ok to handle the nausea, constipation, and heart palpitations even though I currently can't take a deep breath without excruciating pain.

So now I am just focusing on the baby steps...yesterday I made it downstairs, today I got a full shower in for the first time in weeks, and tomorrow...I'll conquer the world after I muster the strength to get out of bed without help!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Shout out to the VA runners!!!

Hey everyone,
I know this is suppose to be for Lindsay and Patti, but I just had to give a shout out to the FAB-U-LOUS JILL, JODY, and husband MIKE who ran the shamrock 1/2 marathon this morning!!
This was Mikes first and he ran an awesome 2 hours 16 minutes, and Jill ran here best time every and even Jody who ran with Bronchitis still did better then our first 1/2 marathon 3 years ago!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lindsay is home resting!!

Well as usual Lindsay has recovered in record time and is already home resting with her cats :)
The details...The surgeon decided to do the more invasive thoracotomy to make sure nothing gets missed and it went very well and she was done in 2 hours, and by the evening she was playing go-fish with her possie of friends! By yesterday morning they had clamped off the lung tube and had pulled out the epideral. And by this morning she was up walking around and drinking her large coke all by herself!
She got the news yesterday that there was no cancer found in her lungs, which is great to know she is CANCER FREE!!! But this also means she has stage 3 cancer and that she will not be able to get that really cool new chemo she was hoping to get. I am sure she will post her own comments as soon as the percisat (sp?) wears off a little.

Till then I would love to give mucho props and thanks to the most creatively designed cupcakes I have EVER seen!!! Compliments of the fabulous Joni and Josh from VA!!! You two are awesome!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Out of surgery!!

Lindsay has finished her surgery and everything went well. Unfortuntely it's been over 4 hours since she finished and they have yet to get her in a room, and so she is still in the recovery room, where we can't visit. Soooo we are waiting ohhh so very impatienly to see her. Also it will be 48 hours before Lindsay gets the results of the biopsy of the lymph nodes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Geeky Planning Joke

Cancer is a short-term impact and therefore, is less than significant.

For all my geeky planning friends!

Oy Vay!!

So I have spent the last two weeks sitting on my ass with ice packs on my chest...needless to say its been frustrating being so incapacitated for little miss "errand" girl. The good news is that they finally pulled out my tubes from the surgery on Friday and they also pumped up my expanders-I am officially an A cup now and by next week I will be a B cup-I will have gone through puberty in two weeks!

I have to admit though that I am not looking forward to next week given how immobile and sensitive I still am. Tomorrow I go in for the chest biopsy, which may involve cracking my ribs to get to my lungs. This week will also include another expansion, which as this weekend has proven is rather uncomfortable, and my first chemotherapy session. Even if I was in perfect condition, I question how someone could go through so much in 6 days...

So I have a request of everyone-I am making a "feel good" CD and I would love to get suggestions of people's favoritie "kick ass" songs that I can include on the CD to keep me inspired to get me through this :) Also, I will be getting out of the hospital on Thurday or Friday and of course will be pretty immobile again. So feel free to stop by as I am getting pretty sick of Sven and Oli (despite how cute they are).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Drinking beer through a straw is just not the same!

So last night I was able to finally drink after two weeks of no alcohol...only problem was that I still can't use my arms so thank goodness for bendy straws-albeit its quit a different experience. I also received more information about what my possible treatments will be. In two weeks I will go in for the chest biopsy which means another surgery and at least three to four more days in the hospital. However, I have to admit I can't complain too much as we now refer to Hoag Hospital as Hoag Hotel since I get to order every meal with a array of delicatessens ranging from spaghetti and meatballs to filet mignon-I kid you not. Brooke is already nervous since she gained three pounds eating my chocolate chip cookies during the last visit.

Then depending on the results of the biopsy, I will have two different treatments. If the nodes in my chest come out negative for cancer (which would mean that I have Stage III cancer), then I will undergo six treatments of chemotherapy, once every three weeks. Then I will have five weeks of radiation. Unfortunately, if I have radiation treatment, I will not be able to to get reconstructive surgery for one year after my last radiation treatment.

If it turns out that the nodes in my chest do have cancer (which would mean that I have Stage IV cancer), then I would be able to take this new type of chemotherapy, which would only require six treatments every two weeks and I would not have to undergo radiation treatment.

So the irony of my situation is that I am literally hoping that I have Stage IV cancer so that my treatment will be easier and isn't that f@#$ up :)

Feeling the love

I want to thank everyone so much for all the beautiful flowers, balloons, and gifts. I even appreciated the pink pig that oinks :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fabulous Flowers!!!

Lindsay has recieved numerous flower arrangements and all of them have been beautful!! But we just recieved one that is just the most entertaining so far!! We figure if Lindsay can't drink any margarita's for a while she might as well have a flower margarita :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Home sweet home!!

Though it was a bit of a rough night with Lindsay dealing with some severe pain, she was discharged from the hospital this morning, YEAH!!! She still has some moments of sharp pain but hopefully the valium they gave her will relax her muscles and ease it :) So we are all back at her place and resting comfortably.
Unfortunately for the next two weeks she is unable to move her arms at all, so mom and I will be around to help her out and to try and keep her cats from jumping up to get some lovies :)

Yet again we want to thank everyone for the wonderful flowers, cards, thoughts, prayers that Lindsay has recieved ...and starbuck runs that we all have recieved!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hospital Information

Hoag Hospital
1 Hoag Dr
Newport Beach, CA

rm 4E50

Looking beautiful even after surgery!!

Well finally around 8:00pm the LA posse (mom, me, Jen, Stella and Eddie) finally got to see Lindsay... and as usual she looked FAB-U-LOUS!! She was in a little pain when we first got there but then morphin drip kicked in and she was feeling just fine by the time we left. She was even cracking jokes throughout the visit, though I doubt she will remember :) So mom is staying there for the night and I am back at Lindsay's place to check on her cats and make sure they are doing what they do best, sleep!

And I just wanted to thank everyones so much for their thoughts and prayers today!!! I know all the good vibes helped Lindsay kick some cancer @ss today!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The doctor just came out to tell us that the surgery went very well!!! They checked 3 lymph nodes and all came back clean, YEAH!!!!!! The doctor did note that Lindsay is quite a fighter :) As usual she is kicking ass even under sedation!!!

In Surgery

Well as with most doctors appointments this one got started late. She was suppose to go into surgery at 12:15 but didn't get in till almost 2:00. The doctors say the surgery should be 4 hours long. So assuming I can use Eddie's computer later today I will post an update later this evening.

As for Lindsay well as usual she was the calmest throughout the morning, though she did get a little anxious later in the afternoon. But by the time the IV was flowing she was even cracking up the anesthesiologist!

Surgery tomorrow

I am heading into surgery tomorrow at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. I check in at 9:00 a.m. but the surgery won't start until 12:30 p.m. and is expected to take approximately 6 hours. They suspect that I will then spend at least two days in the hospital. I don't know what room I will be in but you can call my cell phone, which my sister will have, if you want to visit or get the room number.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Hair Cut!

Here is my new hair you really can't tell us apart!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not Glowing in the Dark Anymore

I finished my balloon radiation last Friday and had the balloon and catheter removed then. Since then I have slowly gotten over some of the nerve pain, mammosite pain and radiation burn. Yesterday I went back to work half time and even went to the Y and did some elliptical bike work. It felt very good. I will work half time this week and go to California next Tuesday to be there for Lindsay's surgery. My whole process went very smoothly and I am now CANCER FREE! Now we move on to make Lindsay CANCER FREE. -Actually I can't say I'm not glow in the dark because my hot flashes are probably lighting up something! I would like to thank all the people at Pierce County Library System who donated vacation hours for shared leave so I wouldn't run out of sick leave. I can't even begin to list the food, presents, books, visits, cards support and love that my co-workers have given me to make this passage easier. Incredible bunch of people. Then there is the family who kicked in with things like chocolate chip/pumpkin muffins-really yummy and the friend who sent her favorite book of poetry. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love to all Patti

Quote of the day

"The uterus is present."
~Results of Lindsay's CT Scan

I do have to commend my oncologist for being thorough. Despite the fact that all of the follow up tests and blood indicators indicate that there is nothing in the nodes in my chest, she took my case to a breast cancer conference (yay! I am a case study) to get further insight and the experts agreed...they have no idea what came up on my PET scan. Therefore, my oncologist has recommended that I get a full chest biopsy but agrees that it can wait until after my mastectomy, which is still scheduled for February 20th.

Our Angel - Sally Salavea

I received devastating news today and it had nothing to do with my cancer. My dear boss, Sally Salavea passed away in a car accident over the weekend. Anyone who I have spoken to since I started with this company have heard me say that she is the reason that I came to this company because she had the truest heart of anyone I have met. I am devastated with her loss because even though we weren't the closest of friends, she always provided me with so much support that its hard to imagine going through this without her. Therefore, I ask that everyone that would have prayed for me and my family tonight pray for Sally's family as we all mourn the loss of a daughter, wife, sister, friend, and mentor.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Arggghhh!! While the chest biopsy came out clean, my oncologist still wonders what came up on the P.E.T. Scan and therefore, has recommended that I go for further testing. This would mean that my mastectomy will be delayed and that I will have to go through a much more invasive chest biopsy. Needless to say this was a blow considering I had thought the news indicated that the cancer had not spread and that my surgery was still on for February 20th.

In the meantime, they have put me on hormone treatment for the next five years that will stop the cancer cells from multiplying but unfortunately has varying side affects ranging from blurry vision to realizing that the side effects of curing my cancer will be as brutal, if not more, than the cancer itself.

Regardless, I am constantly reminded of the amazing support from family, friends, and people I don't even know wishing me good health, strength, and happiness. Today I received a handmade blanket from one of my mom's friends that had pictures of my entire family on it, my aunt is taking cookie requests, and the democrats are organizing build-a-bear parties. My posse of friends, whom have been with me since the day I was diagnosed, have proven that with their strength and love that I will get through this. Most importantly Brooke has temporarily relocated here and I truly cannot convey the peace that I felt when she told me she was coming. So despite the fact that I will lose my breasts, Brooke will always be there to make me whole!! Finally, I must acknowledge the one who has sacrificed the most so far, my brother-in-law Mike, who has graciously loaned me his wife during this time. No sister could have asked for a more caring brother to sacrifice so much-with family like this, how can I not be inspired to kick some cancer @ss as quickly as possible!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Hurrah, hurrah for nodes that are just nodes!!!!!
The balloon has been put in with a handy, dandy six inch catheter thing hanging off of it. Not particularly comfortable but oh well. I will start the seed radiation at 8 am Monday morning. By the way, I need to thank all my co-workers who have listened to me rant, rave and cry a few times in the past couple of weeks. They have been very kind and supportive. My "keeping it together" power has not been keeping it together very well lately. I think once I get through the radiation next Friday, I'll be a little less volatile. OR it could be that fact that I stopped hormone replacement therapy cold turkey-major hot flash time (my cancer is hormone receptor so I will probably be on an estrogen blocker for five years afterward). Anyway here's to a less crazed Patti. :)

Friday, February 1, 2008


I just got the official news from the doctor-the lymph nodes in my chest do not contain any cancerous cells!! To quote the doctor, "the lymph nodes in my chest are just nodes." Therefore, it looks like my treatment will go on as planned with my mastectomy scheduled for February 20th. The best news is that hopefully I will not have to go through radiation and therefore, wait an extra year to get a new set of ta-tas :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

To ballon or not to balloon...

I went to the radiation oncologist today and got another CT scan. They will put the balloon in on Thursday and then do another scan to see if it will really work(must be symmetrical etc.). I it is then I will start radiation on Monday twice a day for a week. Glad I have that Turbo Beetle!!!
If it doesn't work than I do once a day five days a week for seven weeks. Go Balloon!!
Great news from sleepy girl and twin. Makes a mothers heart sing! Patti

Sleepy Sister!!

Well Lindsay had her lung biopsy today and beside the fact that she couldn't eat anything past midnight last night and her procedure wasn't till 1:00 pm today, aka she was very hungry before she even went in, everything went very well! I was able to see her in the recovery room around 3:30 and though she had a VERY sore throat (the procedure had the instruments going down her throat) she was in good spirits and really craving some In and Out Burger with a strawberry shake!!! The good news is that the initial results came back clean!! Though she will not get the final results till next week. So at the moment she is still snoring nicely with her cats all curled up around her!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Good News and Bad News

So I was a little confused when Brooke texted me the other day asking what was for dinner on Sunday and even though I explained to her that Stella was cooking some Philippino specialty which probably involves spam and lots of fried foods, she still agreed to come. Of course I still believe her main motivation is to enjoy the warm southern Californian sun :)

And as it turns out she couldn't have timed it better because I got news that the doctors do want me to get a biopsy of my chest to figure out what was showing up on the pet scan. So on Tuesday I go in for the surgery, which unfortunately sounds about as much fun as my mastectomy.

In the meantime, the doctors are being proactive in setting up my surgery and treatment, assuming that the biopsy comes back clean. They have scheduled my mastectomy for February 20th and still hope to start my chemotherapy about four weeks after the surgery. Although now that the dates are set, the reality of what I am about to go through is a bit overwhelming. Regardless, finally knowing what the plan is makes it easier to face then what I have been going through the last few weeks. At times I felt so incredibly powerless over my future and circumstances but now I am ready to kick some cancer @ss!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mother knows best!!!

Well Patti though it would be best if the twins got together to use their wonder twin powers! So I am headed out to WARM Southern California on Sunday, to first defrost, and second help Lindsay conquer all these doctor's appointments!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

...and still waiting

I know everyone has been waiting to hear the results of the tests and believe me, I have also been anxiously awaiting to hear back from my doctors. Alas, they finally told me that my CT and bone scan are clean!! However, there is still the issue of the cancer in the lungs that the Pet scan detected so I am off to yet another specialist to review the inconsistencies between the tests.

In the meantime, over a month has passed since I was diagnosed and I still have not started any kind of treatment or scheduled my surgery...which makes me wonder if the cancer will have spread during the time they have spent determining whether the cancer spread!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hurrah for Dr Lynne Clark!!
I just got the news from my doctor and she got all the cancer. There isn't any in the nodes that they took out so I can get the five day radiation!!! I am up and around today and getting better rapidly. Paul and I are spending a nice, relaxing day reading and watching tv. We don't get to do that together very often. Took a short walk with my friend Phyllis, got flowers from Paul's folks and enjoying the wonderful food everyone has brought. Thank you everyone. Patti

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sore but fine!

I had a lumpectomy and and two nodes removed yesterday. It only took an hour and went smoothly. The preliminary on the nodes is that they are clear of cancer. They still have to go to the pathologist and I should get that report this week hopefully. My cancer is non-invasive and very small. When I get the report, we will know what kind of radiation I will get. For now I'm just lying on the couch with the dog and cats watching DVD's. Our neighbors, Bob and Pam have been feeding us a lot with wonderful homecooking and friends have dropped by with food and flowers. The outpouring of caring and love from our friends is phenomenal and is keeping us going through our worries and hopes for Lindsay. Strong and brave is our beautiful girl. Brooke has taken on the job of communications person for Lindsay and I know that is a heavy load sometimes. This blog that Brooke started will help with that. Kirstin is keeping close contact and she and Klaus, Kristoffer, Kasper and Kira are our touchstone of normalcy. Grandpa Vernell and Uncle Hank are charged with making us laugh and they do. Grandma Horning is the quilt maker and has already sent one to Lindsay to snuggle in when she needs to. With our family and friends I feel like we have a small municipality supporting us!! Your comments are ver appreciated. Love Patti


Not good news from the pet appears that the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in my chest. Again, I am scheduled for more tests on Friday and will hopefully get confirmation next Monday as to whether the "abnormalities" in my chest is cancer. If it is cancer, then it looks like I will be getting chemotherapy before the mastectomy. (Yah! I get to keep my boobies a little longer!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lindsay's Treatment Schedule (thus far)

I know a lot of people have been asking about what my treatment will be and while everyone is trying to be helpful by telling what they know, a lot of wrong information is being spread. So, this is what I know of my treatment thus far and pending further tests.

I will be getting a double mastectomy and will be on medical leave for up to 2 months. During that time I will receive my first chemotherapy. I will continue with chemotherapy for a total of six months. If it appears the cancer has spread, I will then receive radiation treatment. After all of my treatment is complete, I will go in for two last reconstructive surgeries where they will put in the implants and reconstruct the nipples.

Please note that I go in today to get the results of my pet scan. That should be a preliminary indicator as to whether the cancer has spread. This Friday, I will be getting a CT scan and a bone scan, which will further assist in determining whether the cancer has spread.

I of course will immediately post the results of the tests. Also, a lot of you have been telling me about other woman who have gone through this, or experts they know of. Please feel free to contact me after I post the results if you have any questions or know of someone who can help interpret the results :)

Again, I cannot thank everyone enough for the support that everyone has given me!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sounds cliche but...

It still almost sounds cliche everytime I say it...I have breast cancer. What is not cliche is that I am only 32 with no family history of cancer. Two weeks before I was diagnosed I was bragging how I was in the best shape of my life having quit smoking 8 months previous and subsequently kick started a health kick that included working out and changing my diet from Doritos and Pepsi to Lean Cuisines and water.

Of course I was still not content with my body even though I was a size 4 with natural "C" cup breasts. Now I just stare at my profile and wish that I appreciated this amazing body rather than constantly wish to be five pounds lighter. I stare at my profile and wonder how much my profile will end up resembling more of 12 year old boy with flat chest and buzz cut hair, rather than a busty, healthy 32 year old female. I wonder how different I will end up looking than my identical twin sister after the damage of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation has wreaked havoc on my body.

Everyone keeps asking me how I am doing...I am not "doing." My world pretty much stopped when I was told that I will lose both my breasts and that for the rest of my life, I will only have tattoos as nipples. But that of course is when the reconstructive surgery is done. That before I even get to that point I will have to go through six months of chemotherapy and possibly radiation. That during that time I will have to go to client meetings, City Council hearings, even the friggin grocery store without boobs or hair.

And of course they should have warned me the second they told me that I have cancer that not only am I going to have to deal with that blow but that I will have to help everyone else deal with "my cancer." I thankfully have the most amazing support group between my friends and family to the point that they are literally fighting over who gets to take me to my doctors appointments. However, I have to remind myself that the range of reactions and odd responses are just the different ways that everyone is dealing with the news in their own way.

So I sit here tonight on my couch with my two boys (Sven and Oli, my two 20 pound cats) sleeping next to me and it would appear that this would be just like any other Tuesday night. The only difference is the constant phone calls ranging from people I haven't heard from for years, to family and friends, and people who saw my blog on myspace, constantly reminding me that despite how cliche it sounds I have breast cancer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Here' s the plan Stan! for Patti's Treacherous Tits

Patti goes in for surgery on Wednesday. She is getting a lumpectomy. We will know then whether she will be able to do the balloon radiation (where they implant a small balloon of radiation in the breast for a few days) or will have to go every day for five weeks. Paul is being a ROCK and friends and co-workers are super supportive. It's been incredible!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


This is the place to find updates on Patti and Lindsay.