“I’m ready to kick this cancer’s ass!”

My wife the rocker!

It was a tough weekend for Patty.  I think the anticipation of starting chemo, waiting for the results of the bone scan and just being frustrated with the whole situation got to her.  I don’t blame her.  She’s been so strong up to this point, I think a day of just feeling sorry for yourself is definitely warranted! 

Another doctor’s appointment this afternoon.  This has been a week straight of appointments!  It’s getting old and we’re both feeling the strain of it.  Let’s see… starting last Monday it was the bone scan… Tuesday was with the reconstruction surgeon… Wednesday was a heart scan… Thursday was a pap… Friday was blood work and another appointment with the reconstruction surgeon… Saturday we had an unexpected trip to Urgent Care… Sunday we met with the reconstruction surgeon again… Today is with the Oncologist.  Hopefully the results of the bone scan are what we hope for.  We’ve both been having our daily, hourly and by the minute conversations with God praying for good news.  Oh, looking at the clock, it’s time to run… I’ll finish this when we get back.

Ok.. we’re back!  We met with the Oncologist.  She was running about an hour late today!  Not good.  Patty was a little on edge knowing she’d find out the results of the bone scan.  Our appointment was at 3:15 p.m. and we were called in to the room sometime close to 4:30 p.m.  Our Oncologist came in, looked at Patty and said:  “Ok Patty, are you ready to do this tomorrow?”  Patty replied:  “I am, but how were the results of my test?”  The Oncologist replied: “Oh, I didn’t tell you?  They’re fine!  Everything was normal.”  Patty did a modified “happy dance!”  She never got up off the examining table, but still was able to do the dance!  You could see the weight had immediately lifted off her shoulders!  Patty’s mood immediately did a 180 degree turn!  My wife was back!

The really good news is that Patty has no more testing to do in the immediate future!  (Other than a blood test every three weeks to check her blood cells, which is no big deal.)  No more waiting for test results!  No more waking up in the middle of the night worrying about where the cancer has spread!  Her body has literally been scanned from head to toe!  There is not one secret about Patty’s body that the doctors are not aware of!  Even though the chemo will be a completely new trial for us, we’re hoping we can now get into some type of routine for the next few months until this is finished. 

Patty was in such a good mood when we left the doctor’s office.  She’s never been more ready to fight this fight!  As we walked across the parking lot to our car, she looked at me and said in a very determined manner: “Ok.  I’m ready to kick this cancer’s ass!”  That’s what I want to hear!!!

Mirror messages


Since the day Patty and I were married, we’ve always found a way to send “reminders” to each other when something important is going on in our lives.  We call them “Mirror Messages.”  All you need is some lipstick and a bathroom mirror!  Some people choose to send flowers. Our exchange of choice is the mirror message.  We do the mirror messages when something is hanging over our heads; one of us is out of town for a few days or even sometimes a simple “I love you” mirror message is just a reminder to the other that “Hey!  I love you!”

I thought I’d share these pictures as our most recent mirror message.  These mirror messages started a couple of months ago when Patty initially had the prognosis that the cancer had metastasized and it was “incurable.”  It started with the reminder to Patty that “You and I are a team!”  (this was a reminder that she was not alone in this battle!)  Then the messages morphed on the mirror as we waited for all the  test results.   “Keep it in the boob!”  (That was in hopes that the cancer hadn’t spread.)  Then you see “Lord, we love you and trust in you…”  Then we got the good news that the cancer hadn’t spread and they were treating for cure.  I wrote: “God loves us… and answered our prayers!”  Patty added the “Amen!!”

These mirror messages stayed up at least a month.  They do get in the way at times!  It gets kind of tough to “prep” in the morning before work.

Obviously this is one of my favorites!

There you have it!  Mirror Messages!


Webster’s Dictionary describes “Fear” as ” an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or the possibility of impending danger.”  This completely describes the emotion we’ve lived for the past several months!  Since the beginning of this mess, Patty has undergone every test imaginable!  Countless blood tests, ultra-sound, biopsy, chest x-rays, PET Scan, CT Scan, Marker scans, Bone scan, Heart scan… I’m sure I’m leaving some out but you get the gist.  The common denominator of all these tests is the waiting time to get the results.  Unfortunately the person administering the test is not a doctor, therefore they cannot tell you the results of the test.  You have to wait to meet with the doctor to hear the good  or unpleasant news.  Of course, the mind is a terrible thing during these “waiting” times!  The mind can be your worst enemy!  Both Patty and I know that, but it’s just a fact! 

Patty had a bone scan this afternoon.  Our Oncologist wasn’t very concerned about the test but said it was more of a formality to take off the “checklist.”  Now, I heard her say that plain as day, but Patty was obviously very concerned that she had to go through another test!  So, she did it and now we’re back in the waiting game!  Our Oncologist is on vacation this week and Patty doesn’t have an appointment with her until next Monday, August 30th.  My guess is we won’t hear a word about it until then!  Having gone through this “waiting” period more than once over the past few months and trying to carry on a normal life during this time is very difficult!  I’m sure when we meet with the oncologist next week, she’ll nonchalantly say: “Oh, by the way, your bone scan came back normal!”  But, that doesn’t help us out over the next 7 days! 

Patty is a very strong woman!  She’s also normal!  I’ve tried putting myself in her shoes, but even then, I know I can’t get close to feeling the fear that she experiences!  We have God in our lives and we’ve got an amazing support system, but fear is an emotion that’s often hard to battle!  Like I’ve said (and you’ve read me say) a million times, dealing with cancer is an emotional vs. intellectual battle… the emotional side generally wins!

Wig shopping!



(I know this picture has nothing to do with wig shopping… I just like this picture of Patty and our granddaughter, Mia)

Well, since it’s now official that Patty will lose her hair during the chemo process, we decided to be ahead of the game and go wig shopping.  We weren’t sure what to expect since this whole thing is so foreign to us.

We found a place located in Mission Valley called A Greater Hope that was recommended by Scripps .  Patty had an appointment at 11:30.  We both arrived at the same time (we’re such a team!)  Inside we were met a woman, Orfelia, who brought us in a private room.  Patty was a little apprehensive at first, but within a few minutes she was totally into the whole “wig” experience!  It was actually fun!  She tried on a number of wigs for style, then for color.  In no time at all she found the cut that is very similar to her current cut then found the right color.  Wham Bam!  That was too easy!  The wigs are pretty amazing.  They’re so lifelike!  And, they feel so real! 

Orfelia was great.  She deals on a daily basis with cancer patients going through chemo.  She was very understanding, patient and really worked with Patty to feel comfortable with her decision.

Orfelia then brought out accessories!  (I knew this was way to easy!)  The accessories consisted of scarves, wraps, sleeping caps and hats  in every color and print imaginable!  Now Patty was in her element… shopping!  I do have to admit, Patty really isn’t one for wearing hats and scarves, but let me tell you… she looked GREAT!!!  She has such a pretty face that the lack of  hair makes no difference.  In fact there was one look with  a scarf and hat that looked pretty classy and sexy!!!  (Hmmm… maybe this chemo thing may not be so bad after all!)  She ended up picking up a few accessories and that ended our day. 

So, Patty’s going to try to be ahead of this hair loss game.  She’ll make an appointment with Orfelia about ten days after her chemo to have her head shaved and go into her new look!

Chemo Orientation = information overload!

Scripps Torry Pines Cancer Center offers a “Chemo Orientation” to all new chemo patients.  Our oncologist recommended we attend.  So we attended the weekly orientation yesterday afternoon.  The hour class provided us with the reality of what was in store for us with Patty’s next battle. 

There was me and Patty and another woman and her family attending the class.  It sounded like the woman had the same diagnosis as Patty and her chemo was starting the week after Patty’s.  The nurse facilitating the class was very matter of fact when discussing this issue.  She started the class by saying:  “The reason you’re going to go through chemo is because we’re going to cure you from cancer!”  This was a statement both Patty and I hung on to throughout the next hour and will be hanging onto throughout the next few months to come.  The word “cure” will keep us going!  Patty and I went into “information overload” for the remainder of the presentation.  Her next statement was: “Yes, you will lose your hair.  You may lose  your eyebrows and eyelashes, but everything will begin growing back about three weeks after your final treatment.”  This statement was followed other side effects such as fatigue, nausea, low blood count etc etc etc.  Don’t expose yourself to too much sun.  Make sure you wear sunscreen.  Wear sunglasses if you lose your eyelashes.  Don’t expose yourself to anything that can make you sick… the cat box, fruit that doesn’t have a hard skin, acidic drinks such as lemonade or tomato juice.  Make sure you do this and definitely make sure you don’t do that.  It was really a ton of information that she provided.  Thank God we’ve got handouts that we can review.  The nurse then took us for a tour of the room/ward where they administer the chemo.  It’s a newly remodeled room and was very comfortable.  It still seemed like a hospital even though they have comfy chairs, a TV with a DVD player in your specific area and a view of Torrey Pines with a golf course in the forefront and a million dollar view of the ocean.  Patty’s treatments will take anywhere between three and four hours so it’s awesome that they provide whatever they can to make her comfortable during this time.  I’m guessing there were five or six people in the area receiving their treatment when we were there.  The youngest was a woman in her 20’s and the oldest was around 80.  Everyone smiled as we walked past them and all, but one, had friends and family with them. 

The class concluded  and Patty and I left feeling a little overwhelmed.  This whole journey, the diagnosis, the mastectomy and now chemo, are now a reality!   As we entered the parking lot I asked Patty how she felt.  She, half-joking, said:  “I feel like I want to throw up!”

We can do this!  August 31st is right around the corner!

A quiet week!

Sorry I haven’t written much this week.  It’s been pretty quiet.  I guess you could call this the “quiet before the storm?”  Patty’s son Nate and his family are in town right now.  Good timing and that little granddaughter of ours, Mia, really helps keep Patty occupied.  Today is her 5th birthday so we going to her birthday party in a little while. 

Even thought I’m calling this a “quiet week” that, as Patty calls it, “Elephant in the room” is still looming!!!

We had an appointment with the reconstruction surgeon yesterday and he said everything was looking great from his side.  Patty’s right on schedule with the healing process.

Tomorrow we’re going to an “orientation” at the hospital with the chemo nurses.  We’re both really happy they’re offering such a thing since we have no idea what to expect when we show up on the 31st for Patty’s first treatment.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  I realized the other day that I had miscalculated when Patty will finish her chemo.  Initially I calculated it with her final treatment on January 4th.  Well, I recalculated the other day and her last treatment is actually December 14th!  That was good news!!!  She’ll go through the Christmas Holiday’s chemo free!

Patty has a bone scan scheduled for Monday.  She’s dreading one more test!  But, we’ve got to do what’s necessary to someday get our lives back to normal!

National City “Relay for Life”

Patty and I attended the National City Relay for Life this past Saturday.  A 24 hour benefit walk for the American Cancer Society.  A friend of mine, who’s mother is a 14 year breast cancer survivor, asked me a couple of weeks ago if Patty would speak at this event and share her experience.  It was funny, when I asked Patty if she would be interested in speaking, she didn’t hesitate in the least.  She immediately answered “absolutely!”  Later she told me: “If I can touch and help even one person, it’s worth it!”  Knowing how much Patty loves public speaking, I was surprised with her quick response!  (I hope you know that I’m being very sarcastic with that comment!) 

We arrived shortly before the opening ceremony which started at 10:00 a.m.  We met up with my friend and her family.  This girl has a huge family.  When I say huge, I mean huge.  Her mother, the 14 year cancer survivor, has something like 12 sisters and 4 or 5 brothers, so when you add in children, cousins, nephews etc, it’s a huge family.  Most of whom were present.  This is a very loving and close family who has been affected by some form of cancer many times over.  Some have survived, but sadly, many have not. 

The opening ceremony was very moving!  A lot of tears shed by many people.  There were several cancer survivors who spoke, telling their story.  It was very inspiring!  From the beginning, I felt this was something that Patty needed to experience, but actually being there and listening to these people speak, I knew it would help Patty.  The opening ceremony ended and the walk began.  The survivors lead the walk, followed by hundreds of people all with a common cause… fellowship, support and encouragement.  (Of course it was also to raise money for cancer research)  It was really a sight to be seen!

This was really quite the event!  Every “team” had a booth set up.  The air was filled with the aroma of  every kind of barbecue you could imagine!  Believe me, there was no shortage of food.  Some families had decorated their booths with posters and photographs of love ones who have lost their lives to cancer.  Other’s had items to raffle, such as Charger season tickets, Coach purses, gift baskets etc, all to raise money for the cause.  Last year this group raised over $82,000 for American Cancer Society!  Their goal was to beat that number this year!

Patty was scheduled to speak at 2:45 that afternoon.  She had given some thought to what she would say earlier in the week, but the juices just weren’t flowing for her.  I think it was Thursday afternoon and she told me: “Ed… I’m just cancered out!  I can’t think about it anymore!”  I didn’t blame her!  We were both pretty much “done” with cancer!  She decided she wouldn’t think about it until sometime that afternoon, then she’d throw something together.  Well as the morning went on and knowing my wife as I do, I could tell she was getting a little tense that she was not prepared to speak in a few hours.  So around 1:00 p.m. we walked off and found a picnic table off to the side so she could gather some thoughts.  It took her about 45 minutes and she had a rough draft on paper.  She read it to me and it was definitely from the heart and very touching. 

My daughter and her husband showed up to the event shortly after 2:00 p.m. to lend Patty their support.  Patty was very appreciative of them being there.  But, the clock was ticking and 2:45 was getting closer… I could see Patty having a little internal stress party going on!  The time finally came and a woman on the stage called Patty’s name and asked her to come up.  Patty walked on stage with me closely behind for support.  (Patty was really concerned that she’d break down crying so we had agreed several days earlier that I’d go up on stage with her and if she couldn’t finish, I’d take over for her.  We’re such a team!)  The woman introduced Patty, handed her the microphone and it was “show time”! 

Patty had her notes in her hand but started off  “shooting from the hip,” not following her notes at all.  I was behind her thinking “Where is she going with this???”  She told the audience about her cancer.  How she was initially mis-diagnosed.  She told the audience to be strong and if you’re not happy with your doctor… find someone else!  It’s ok!  The audience applauded her!  She then talked about the three “F’s”, Faith, Family and Friends!  She told the audience how much God has played a role in our lives!  People again applauded!  She was now on a roll!

Here’s Patty telling the audience that she has such a great husband!  (Go figure!)

She talked over 10 minutes.  In her closing she told the audience with such conviction:  “I may have breast cancer, but I refuse to let the cancer have me!!!  I have grandchildren that will be born in the next few months and I plan on being around to see them grow up!!!”  It was awesome!  People again applauded!  At that moment, I was the proudest husband on the face of the earth!  My wife is going through such a devastating trial right now, but she was so strong and encouraging to others!  I was just so proud!

We walked off the stage and Patty was immediately contacted by a woman.  The woman told her that she was diagnosed last October with breast cancer, she had gone through the chemo and had seven radiation treatments left!  The woman was beautiful!  You wouldn’t never know what she had been through!  Her daughter was with her who I’d guess was 18 years old or so.  The woman told us that her daughter had taken a year off from college to take care of her.  Talking to this woman was very encouraging.  We definitely had a moment!  Other women came up to Patty, gave her hugs and thanked her for telling her story. 

Patty was so pumped up after speaking.  I haven’t seen her feel that good about herself and life in general in a long time!  As much as she hates public speaking, this was a moment we’ll never forget. 

We had been at the event pretty much the entire day and I could see Patty was getting tired.  We said our “goodbyes” to everyone and left.  As we drove home I could tell that Patty was still running off of adrenalin.  She looked at me and said: “I want to speak to more women.  I think I can help them!” 

Get ready… Patty can make a difference to others!

Bring on the chemo!

We met with the oncologist this afternoon.  As with the other doctors at Scripps, we have 110% confidence in her!  From our first meeting, you could tell she was a fighter!  She was very matter of fact with us.  “Due to the aggressiveness of the tumor and the fact it did spread to one lymph node, I want to be aggressive with this and treat it with chemo!”  You know what?  We expected this would be the treatment so there were really no surprises when she made the announcement.  I know my wife and I can honestly say that Patty is truly ready for this fight, mentally as well as physically!  She’s really ok with chemo.  Sure, there’s going to be some side-effects… but she’s ready to take them on!  Just like the t-shirt I had gotten her that reads:  “Hey Cancer!  You picked the wrong broad!”  Cancer really did! 

So… unfortunately Patty has two more “tests” to do before the chemo begins.  A bone scan and some type of heart scan.  I think having the “tests” is bothering her more than the chemo.  But, what can one do?  That just means two more tests and “waiting” for the results!  Waiting is never fun!

Patty will have her first treatment on Tuesday, August 31st.  She’ll have a total of six treatments, three weeks apart.  If everything goes well, which it should, her last treatment will be on her daughter, Nicole’s, birthday on January 4th.  (notice I didn’t say how old Nicole will be!)

Now we get to go wig shopping… hat shopping and scarf shopping!  (God, the things I do for my wife!)  Gotta love her!!!

My observation: The Secret Order of Women!

 I have been exposed to something over the past few weeks that I never imagined existed.  I’m convinced that this strange phenomena has been in existence since the beginning of man of which the male species has been oblivious… it’s what I’ve dubbed the “Secret Order of Women!” 

From a man’s perspective it’s kind of scary but very impressive still the same!  Here’s how the Secret Order of Women works… it’s similar to a multi-level marketing scheme.  One woman finds out about another woman in distress or crisis.  That woman immediately reaches out to the woman in distress, in this case it’s Patty, and offers her sincere love and support.  She then reaches out to a minimum of 4 other women, who, in turn, reach out to Patty and offer their sincere love and support.  Those 4 women then reach out to a minimum of 4 other women etc… You go down three levels of the “chain” and suddenly you’ve got 85 women showing sincere love and support to Patty!  Its awesome!  I’m convinced that getting to the 3rd level doesn’t take more than a day!  Once you pass the 3rd level, do the math, the numbers are insane!  (4th level = 256 women, 5th level = 1026 women)

Men, on the other hand, are not this way.  We hear of another man in crisis or distress and we think “Wow, what a drag… I hope he can work through it!”  A few men may reach out to offer assistance, but not like women.  It’s really an idiotic way of thinking, but unfortunately, that’s just how guys work.  We’re the strong ones!  We’re macho!  We’re men! 

Well, the Secret Order of Women is truly an impressive thing to witness!  Patty has been touched by not only friends and family, but from caring women whom she doesn’t even know.  In addition, she’s talked to breast cancer survivors as well as women going through the fight who have called to not only give her support but also encouragement for her battle.   Patty has told me that the number of women who have called her and provided their support is “humbling.”

Sure, I joke about this, but the bond amongst women is truly amazing!  I’m privileged to be associated (only because I generally answer the phone) with the Secret Order of Women!  The calls etc are greatly appreciated!

So as they say, men are from Mars and women are from Venus!

Friends, Family & Faith


I’m embarrassed to admit this, but breast cancer is something Patty and I never thought we’d be dealing with.  As I’ve said before, there was no history of any kind of cancer on Patty’s side of the family.  We’ve never even known anyone who’se had breast cancer.  Breast cancer was an issue that was very very foreign to us.  Now we’re in the middle of it. 

Learning that Patty was diagnosed with breast cancer was very devastating news and it really took a while for both of us to digest this information.  But once it really sinks in, it hit’s you like a Mike Tyson left hook!  “Wham!  This is real!”  Breast cancer has totally consumed both of us.  You literally live it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  As much as you try to put it out of your mind, you can’t.  Sometimes you can put it in the back of your mind during the day, but it always finds a way to creep back into the forefront.  It’s the last thing on your mind when you go to bed.  There are times that it maneuvers into your dreams.  It’s the first thing you think of when you wake up.  It completely consumes all your thoughts and your life.  The “unknown” is the worst.  Not having details just eats away you.  Then top that off waiting for the result of the various tests Patty went through really takes it’s toll. 

So how do you get through this?  You have to take it a day at a time.  Sometimes you have to take it an hour at a time.  One very important thing we learned is you have to stay away from the internet!!!  Nothing good comes out of trying to “self-diagnose  by websites!”  The diagnosing should be left to the doctors!  That’s why they went through many years of training, to provide a proper diagnosis.  Upon learning her diagnosis, Patty (I was guilty also) immediately went to the internet to learn as much as she could about her condition.  What she found was nothing but bad news!  There may have been some promising news squeezed in between the bad, but unfortunately she (we) only saw the bad.  As a result, the internet just terrorized her more.  So, no more internet.  I even threatened to put “parental controls” on our computer so she couldn’t conduct any more searches.   Patty is a very smart woman, but facing breast cancer pushed all common sense aside when she was trying to learn as much as she could about her condition.  It turns into an Emotional vs. Intellectual”  battle.  The emotional side generally wins.  She finally realized what she was doing to herself and has promised to stay off the computer.

I just recently read a journal of a woman who was going through what we’re currently facing.  She wrote:  “There is no way I could have been where I am today without the inclusion of these three “F” words:  Faith, Family and Friends”  This is so true! 

Faith!  It doesnt’ matter what religion, all have some form of God.  Patty and I were both raised in the Catholic faith.  We both believe in God but, like many people, we were a “work in progress” when it came to our faith.  Patty and I have been “talking” about returning to church as it’s been one aspect of our life that’s missing, but we just never made the time.  Always had some excuse not to go.  We have a very close friend named Jayne who is very confident with her faith.  (This picture is Patty and Jayne)  Jayne has told us man times: “You’re talking the talk, but you’re not walking the walk!”  That statement finally made sense to us.  So we’ve turned to God for help.  We’ve always believed in the power of prayer and really gave it the test over the past few months.  Now, we’re firm believers!  I can’t tell you how many people have been praying for Patty.  A small prayer group in Scripps Ranch; the congregation at the Maranatha Chapel; two separate congregations in Northern California; friends, family and countless people we’ve never met, to name a few!  Do  you think it was a coincidence that Patty was initially diagnosed with an incurable cancer then further tests proved that the cancer was contained in her breast and curable???  I don’t think so!  We’ve opened our hearts to the Lord and he answers our prayers!

The other two “F’s”, Friends and Family.  I can’t say enough about friends and family!  There has been so much support for Patty.  And, quite honestly, I really appreciate the help.  As much as I try, I can only do so much.  I’ve realized that I’m not Superman (that was a really hard revelation to admit!).  As much as I want, I can’t do it all.  So this is where family and friends come to play.  Patty LOVES getting phone calls, emails, cards and flowers!  Speaking of cards… our fireplace mantle is covered with them!

There’s 44 cards crammed on the mantle that she’s received over the past few weeks!  Patty cries every time she receives a card!  They’re good tears!  And you know what???  Those cards are not coming down!! 

Thank you so much for  your support!!!

Good appointment today!

This afternoon’s appointment was with the Nurse Practitioner for our surgeon.  Another woman we just love!  They were running about an hour behind so we sat in the waiting room “people watching.”  You really know that you’ve been going to the doctor way too much when the employees start knowing who you are!!!

Two good things came out of today’s appointment. #1:  There is NO cancer in Patty!!!  All of the cancer has been removed!  #2:  Patty will never have to have a mammogram on her left breast for the rest of her life! 

The Nurse Practitioner was amazed at how well the first step in the reconstruction was looking.  She said: “Oh Patty… this looks great!  You’re going to be very happy when it’s done!”  Then she made a comment about what great work the reconstruction doctor does and how she was thinking of having a “lift!”  (Way too much information for me!) 

She did say that most likely Patty will need to go through chemo since there was a lymph node involved, but then again, that will be the call of the oncologist.  So, the next appointment is with the oncologist on Wednesday afternoon.

One in twelve!!!

So here’s the latest…  I ran down to the store a little while ago to pick up some things for dinner!  Patty stayed home with her sister, Kathy.  I was gone about a half hour.  I returned and opened the front door and there was Patty, standing on the other side of the door.  She was doing her “happy dance!”  If you haven’t witnessed the “happy dance” it’s something that you have to see… describing it does the dance no justice!  Anyway, I asked why she was dancing… she replied “One in Twelve!  One in Twelve!”  I had no idea what that meant, then she said: “The doctor just called and said only one out of twelve lymph nodes had cancer!!!” 

This is HUGE news!  This determines how the treatment will go!  This doesn’t change anything about her being in a Stage II cancer.  We’re ok with that!  What it DOES mean is that the survival rate for a “One in Twelve” is very high!  And Patty, being the fighter that she is, can kick this cancer’s butt!!!

This is HUGE news!!!

Back in the waiting game…

Ok… so we got through the surgery!  Phew!  Now we’re back in the waiting game to hear the results of the biopsy!  The surgeon told me that the biopsy only determines what kind of treatment Patty will need for the remainder of the fight.  Let’s just pray that other than the one lymph node we know of that had cancer cells, the others are clear.  That would make the treatment phase for Patty much easier.  As Patty said last night: “Either way, it is what it is and I just have to deal with whatever treatment they want me to have!”  Patty really has a good positive attitude which is so important right now.  Like I’ve said so many times before in this blog, she’s still terrified, but she’s also ready to fight.

Patty only spent one night in the hospital and came home on Friday afternoon.  She was in quite a bit of pain Friday night going in to Saturday morning.  Needless to say, we had a long night.  But it was still good to have her home!  Then Saturday afternoon rolled around and suddenly she got her color back and it was very obvious that she had turned the corner!  Since then, she’s been getting  better and stronger every day!  She even had part of a cocktail last night which definitely tells me she’ s on the mend!  I think one thing that has really helped in her recovery is the fact that she’s an avid Jazzerciser!  She Jazzercises at least 4 times a week (must be nice to be retired!).  She in really good shape!

Patty’s sister, Kathy, came out from Prescott, Az, to give us a hand this week!  She’s been such a huge help!  “Alone time” has not been a good time for Patty.  This is when her mind wonders and she get’s scared.  Kathy is keeping her busy, and in doing so, she’s keeping those “demon’s” at bay!!!  Thanks Kathy!

So… Patty’s next doctor’s appointment is Monday, 8/9, sometime in the afternoon.  Hopefully we get good news!

She had the surgery!

Look at that girl!  The love of my life!  Who would ever think that something like cancer would have attacked her.  Like I said in an earlier post… breast cancer can pick anyone as their victim!

OK… so, the surgery was scheduled and we counted down the days until it would happen!  I just kept thinking… “She’s being treated for cure!!!”  That sounded so much better than the earlier prognosis!  Patty had a few meltdown’s on the days before the surgery… she’s still terrified and she’s also doing the “what if’s?”  “What if…. it spread?  What if… they find it’s in the lymph nodes?”  Hey, I don’t blam her for thinking about those things.  (OK… I’ll admit, those “what if’s” crossed my minds also!) 

So the day finally came… Thursday, July 29th!  The day the cancer comes out and the cure begins!  Patty slept really well the night before!  I was surprised but she really did.  I was the one who woke up at midnight thinking it was time to get up.  I also woke up at 4 a.m. and layed there in the dark and couldn’t get back to sleep.  So I got up at 4:30 a.m. and started my day.  Patty actually got up around 7 a.m.  We had to be at the hospital at 9 a.m. and surgery was scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

We got to the hospital a little before 9:00 a.m.  They took us into a “pre-op” room shortly thereafter.  The room was really small, but the setup is great.  It’s just a room to hang out in before surgery.  They wanted Patty there early so they could inject some type of radioactive dye into her breast that would allow the surgeon to see exactly where the cancer was located and be assured she got it all out!  (that’s pretty important!)  Patty had the injection around 10 a.m. which took maybe 20 minutes.  She came back in the pre-op room and we just hung out waiting for surgery time.  Nicole (Patty’s daughter) showed up around 10:30 a.m. and helped me kill time and keep Patty busy until surgery time.  I could feel the anxiety in the room watching the clock tick, tick, tick to 12:30.  I know Nicole felt it also but she was a trooper and wanted to keep her mother’s mind off of things so she (who is 7 months pregnant) told us stories about her birthing class and how she was worried about her maternal instincts kicking in!  She had us laughing about  how her gag reflex would most likely kick in when her baby has “ugly/stinky poo!”  Well, it turned out that the surgeon was at another clinic that morning and was running late!  The scheduled 12:30 surgery was more like 1:15!  But we patiently waited.  She showed up a little after 1:00 p.m.  She was just her happy self as usual!  She was just what Patty needed to see.  I could see her anxiety level drop the second the doctor walked in.  So, it was time to go… I gave Patty a kiss and she walked off with the doctor.  Before she left, the surgeon told me that her part of the procedure would take an hour to and hour and a half to complete then the reconstruction surgeon would come in and that would take another hour and a half.  She said she’d meet me in the waiting room.  So I walked over to the waiting area and did what I was supposed to do… wait!  Damn, that seems like all we’ve done is wait.  But what’s another three hours after the last three months?  My sister, her husband and son came to wait with me, so I wasn’t alone.  But when talking to them, my mind was in the surgery room wondering how things were going.  An hour past… no doctor.  An hour and a half passed… still no doctor.  Ok, so my mind was starting to play games with me… a little.  Of course I was making excused in my head why the surgeon wasn’t out yet.  Now two hours had passed… no doctor.  Ok, I’m really starting to freak out.  I’m normally not like that… but this was my wife, my best friend in the surgery room having a mastectomy!  I wasn’t feeling good about this.  I tried having a “normal” conversation with my sister, but looking back right now… I have no idea what I talked to them about.  About two and a half hours into the surgery, the surgeon came walking down the hallway.  She looked at me and apologized for the time but she said she was stuck waiting for the biopsy results.  She said the surgery went great… they did find one lymph node that had, as she said, “a little cancer” in it.  But the one next to it tested negative.   She also said they biopsied 14 other lymph nodes and wouldn’t have the results for at least another 5 days or so.  Whatever the results of the biopsy are just tell them what treatment Patty will need.  She did say she wouldn’t be surprised if Patty will have to go through chemo or radiation or both.  It was kind of a stupid question I asked, but I asked:  “Will Patty be alright?”  She smiled at me and said: “Patty will be fine.”

“Treating for cure” means more doctor appointments!

Things have been moving so fast since the doctors are now “Treating for Cure!”  We met with two more incredible doctors over the past two weeks!  First was with the surgeon who will remove the cancer. 

Patty and I had an appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday, July 21st.  She is the kind of woman that you just feel comfortable with the moment you meet her.  She’s probably around her 40’s but has a bio that’s a mile long.  She has a great bedside manner and had Patty laughing harder than I’ve seen her laugh since this whole nightmare started!  She explained that she could “try” to do a lumpectomy but felt a mastectomy would be best to minimize reoccurrence.  Patty agreed with her suggestion.  She also suggested that we start the breast reconstruction at the same time as the surgery.  The doctor explained that once she removed the breast she would biopsy some of the lymph nodes in her breast which would determine what type of post operative treatment she would need… chemo… radiation… hormone therapy or a combination of treatments.  She said they’ll biopsy two or three lymph nodes and if they come back positive for cancer they’ll keep biopsying them until they find some that are clear.  Once they find the clear ones, they stop.  Hey, she’s the doctor.  At the end of the appointment, she said if everything works out, she could have the surgery by the end of the following week!  She obviously knew the urgency of this situation we were in, which the doctors at the other hospital failed to see!    (Hmmm.. do I sound bitter?)  It was close to noon and she said: “let me see if I can get a hold of the the reconstruction surgeon and see if he can see you.”  She left the room and came back a couple minutes later saying: “he’s just eating his lunch and I told him to put his lunch down and see you.  So he’s waiting for you right now!”  We thanked her and went downstairs to the reconstruction doctors office.  There he was, standing outside in the reception area waiting for us.  He took us in and conducted an exam with Patty.  He then sat us down and explained how the reconstruction procedure would work.  He was very thorough and made us feel very comfortable.  He then introduced us to his office manager who put things in motion for the surgery.  She coordinated both doctors schedules and whamo… a surgery date of July 29th!  We actually had a surgery date!  You don’t know how much we’ve wanted this date!