She’s doing great!

Patty and I, being the seasoned veterans that we are with chemo, somewhat knew what to expect this time around.  Well, kinda.  She had the infusion on Tuesday so, as we guessed, she felt great on Wed and Thursday.  Friday came around and we waited in anticipation for the chemo “bomb” to drop… but it didn’t!  Surprisingly she did really well Friday.  Go figure!  Ahh, but Saturday came around and she woke up feeling pretty fatigued.  It was expected.  Needless to say, it hit pretty hard on Saturday.  Not really any nausea, but definitely fatigue.  She stayed inside and watched movies most of the day and took naps in-between.  She woke up yesterday and said she felt great!  We went to church in the morning then stopped by Nicole and Joey’s house for a short time so Patty could see their nursery.  (By the way, they did a great job with it.  It’s definitely set up for little Avery who’s anticipated arrival should be any time now!!!)  We went home and watched a pathetic Charger game.  That aside, since this is about Patty, not the Chargers, she had a good day!  She tired out by the end of the day, but overall she is doing great!

The sad, and I think the most frustrating thing for Patty, is that her “taster” is gone again!   This will last a couple of weeks then it will slowly come back for a week.  We’ve found that only things that tastes ok to her are things that are sweet or fruity.  Also, she loves caramel!  So, with that, vanilla bean ice cream with caramel is the bomb!  She loves it! 

That’s about all for now…

4 more to go!




Here’s Patty, still keeping that smile on her face as she gets infusion #2!  Patty’s sister, Kathy, made the scarf!  (Patty’s favorite, by the way!)






Number 2 infusion is now behind us!  Well, at least the treatment end of it.  We’ve still got some side effects to deal with, but come on… only 4 more to go!

We met with the Oncologist at 11:45 yesterday morning.  Patty’s white cell count was within the normal range which was great news!  The doctor said she had read the report from the Radiation Oncologist.  She wasn’t very happy with the recommendation, or lack thereof, and said she wanted to refer Patty to another Radiation Oncologist for a 2nd opinion.  So that appointment will be coming up in the future.  She also said that the Pulmonary Specialist that Patty met with during the diagnostic phase wanted to have another CT Scan performed in November.  So we’ll have that in the future also.  Even though Patty is so mentally and physically done with tests, and the thought of having more tests is the last thing she wants, she knows that they’re doing these tests with her best interests in mind!  “You gotta do what you gotta do!”

The chemo infusion went very smooth.  The infusion room was really busy yesterday.  Sad, but it was a full house when we got there.  It’s just amazing to see the various people fighting cancer… people in their 20’s all the way to the elderly!  Cancer is not a picky disease.  Margarita, our nurse, was with us again.  She just got back from a voluntary mission to Lourdes.  While there, she thought of Patty and brough back a small vial of spring water from the grotto at Lourdes which is believed by some to possess healing properties!  What a sweet gesture!

I ran off to work this morning and Patty seemed to be feeling pretty good.  She said she had a little nausea in the middle of the night but had taken her anti-nausea medication and was feeling good.  hopefully she’ll have a couple good days before the fatigue sets in.  As of now, she’s doing great!

Chemo part II, coming to a theatre near you!

(Here’s Patty and our good friend Sandi taken during the summer of 2008)

Well today is the day for Patty’s second chemo infusion.  Only four more after today.  These past three weeks have been a learning experience for both of us.  Patty’s been taking notes every day since the last treatment to keep a record of how she was feeling… what foods tasted good to her etc.  We have a record, but we’re hearing that the outcome of each treatment is different.  We’ll soon find out. 

Food was an issue during the first two weeks following the last treatment. We’ve read and heard that you’ll have this metalic taste in your mouth following treatment.  Patty says that’s not true.  She says everything taste like cardboard with a little wallpaper glue aftertaste!  Not good at all.  She craved certain foods, but nothing tasted good to her.  Bread taste the same as meat, which taste the same as broccoli, which taste the same as turkey, which taste the same as Cherios, which taste the same as pasta… then if you add cheese or butter to the mix?   It comes out of her mouth as fast as it went in!   Not good at all!   As long as I’ve known Patty, she’s never been a big fan of rice.  Suddenly, rice is her best friend during chemo!  Just plain white rice.  No butter, no nothng.  (Don’t tell her but I make it with either chicken broth or vegetable broth hoping it gives her some nutrients!)  It seems to work for her.  We did realize that her “taster” slowly came back after two weeks so she’s been eating pretty well this past week.

Nauesa?  She experience a little nausea during the first couple of weeks.  The doctors pump her full of nausea medication the day before, day of and a few days following her infusion.  It seemed to get a handle on it.  Then if she had any feelings of nausea coming on she had med’s she could take.  Overall she did really well.

Fatigue?  Tons!  We found the first three days following her infusion were really good.  No fatigue whatsoever.  In fact she was on the treadmill those days.  But the fourth day???  Wham!  It hit and lasted pretty strong for 4 days.  I’m sure we can expect the same this time, probably more.  The doctor and nurses have said the chemo is a cumulative thing where the side effects lengthen after each infusion.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  A friend of ours who is currently going through her 2nd round of chemo told us that her first infusion was the worst and subsequent ones have not been bad at all.  Everyone is different.

Patty had her bloodwork done yesterday.  This is to test her white cell count to make sure it’s back up to normal.  Chemo has a tendency to kill off white blood cells which are the cells that fight off infection etc.  Hopefully those white cells have regenerated.  If so, we’re on for chemo today.  If not, they’ll have to postpone it for a week.  We meet with the Oncologist today at 11:45 a.m. to find out.  Hopefully it’s a “Go!”  We don’t want to delay any of this chemo.  Let’s do it and get it overwith!  Chemo is tentatively scheduled for today at 1:00 p.m.

Bottom line… We’ve learned from this last infusion that the side effects are pretty strong for the first two weeks.  She’s pretty much back to normal the third week.  Not much fatigue, no nausea and food taste good!  Overall she is doing well.  Just in time to do it all over again!

I’ll let you know how things go today!

It’s been a week… sorry

Sorry I haven’t blogged anything in the past few days, but this has been a very quiet and uneventful week!  Uneventful is a good thing!  Patty has been feeling great.  She still tires easily, but overall she’s fairly normal (whatever that means!). 

We did have an appointment this past Thursday with the Radiation Oncologist to determine if Patty would need radiation after finishing chemo.  It was a very in-depth discussion with the oncologist and after hearing every possible scenario and statistics she said “my  personal opinion… radiation won’t make a big difference, maybe 1 or 2 percent, in the overall prognosis.  But, it’s your decision.”  So we have a few months to think about and talk to other doctors about it, then make a decision.  The doctor said:  “Patty, by the time you finish chemo, you may not want to undergo any further treatment!?  Like I said, we’ll give this some serious thought in the next few months to come.

Yesterday, my son Steven and I did a marathon run up to northern California and back!  When we moved back to San Diego earlier in the year, it was just easier to put whatever we needed to store in storage in Placerville and bring everything else down here.  The one thing Patty really misses is our double recliner.  The couch and loveseat we have down here just isn’t cutting it when she’s having her “down days” as a result of the chemo.  So Steven and I flew up to Sacramento yesterday at 6:30 a.m., rented a 22 ft truck and were at the storage place by 10:30 a.m.  We had the truck loaded and were on the road by 1:00 p.m.  We made it home by 10:30 p.m.!  I can’t believe we traveled over 1100 miles in one day!    Today we’re going to unload the truck into the new storage place and switch out the furniture in the condo.  It’ll be another long day, but Patty will be very comfortable!

That’s about it.  Not much more to report.  Patty has her 2nd chemo on Tuesday and we get to start the routine again.  We’ve heard people react differently to each individual chemo infusion.  A friend who’s going through her 2nd round of chemo recently told Patty that her first infusion was the worst.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll keep you posted..

Feeling good!!!

Patty’s birthday is coming up this Sunday.   Things have been so crazy in our lives, it’s been difficult to find the energy or time to think about getting her present.  I do have some ideas (which I won’t post here because she reads my blog.) 

Patty woke up this morning feeling great!  She did the treadmill for 40 minutes and is really trying to do whatever she can to be in control of this situation!  Exercise is very important at this point so she’ll squeeze it in when ever she feels up to it.  She’s dealing really well with her new do!  She’s been  joking about giving Demi Moore a run for her money as the new G.I. Jane, or we should say “G.I. Patty!”  This morning she told me that she’ll be doing “one-handed push ups” in no time at all!  What a dork!  That girl keeps me on my toes!  I’m thinking  maybe I should get her some cammi’s and combat boots for her birthday.  It’s so good to see her feeling so well!  (Especially when she has that sense of humor!)  We figure she’ll feel crappy for one week, then she’ll have two weeks of feeling good before her next infusion.  So we’re definitely taking advantage of the good days! 

Sunday we’re celebrating Patty’s birthday in the afternoon by going to see Rockola, a local cover band who plays a lot of classic rock.  They’re playing outdoors at a local park in Scripps Ranch, which is close by.  We’ve been to a couple of concerts in that park this summer and it’s really fun! 

As I’ve mentioned before, Patty’s “tasters” are way out of whack!  She’s found that having breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch and breakfast for dinner is kind of working.  Eggs seem to be ok for her, so I’m learning to fix eggs every way possible.  I’m turning into the Forest Gump of eggs… I can only say this with a slow southern drawl… fried eggs, eggs over easy, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs with cheese, hard-boiled eggs, egg whites, egg yolks, eggs on toast, sautéed eggs, broiled eggs, grilled eggs……. you get the picture!  I have to laugh sometimes.  Poor Patty craves certain foods.  The food is always something we don’t have in the house.  Knowing that there’s not much that taste good to her, when she says she’s in the mood for whatever, I run to the store and pick it up.  Let’s see… in the past week she’s wanted tri-tip, Chinese food, barbecued chicken, sliders, ginger ale… I can go on and on.  I’ll get home with whatever it is… she’ll give it a taste and… “ARGH!  That’s horrible!”  So the people at work love me!  They get the uneaten food!

I thought I’d never say this but Patty has also lost a taste for wine and cocktails!  It’s been replace by water, fruit smoothies, milk shakes and cream soda!  It’s sad, but now I not only have my cocktail in the evening, I’m now forced to drink the ones that she would drink! 

11 days until Patty’s next infusion.  She’s feeling great right now!  We’re going to enjoy this time!

Patty took control!

It’s now been 8 days since Patty’s first chemo infusion.  A few of those days were pretty tough on her…  I see her getting stronger every day which is good because in a couple of weeks we get to do this again.  From what Patty tells  me, the hardest part for her (other than the fatigue and nausea) is that food does not taste good to her.  She has this weird taste in her mouth all the time.  From what we’ve read, it apparently taste metallic but Patty says there’s nothing metallic about it.  It’s just a bad taste which translates to great food tasting bad.  She said nothing is enjoyable to eat.  Right now she’s living on fruit milkshakes and cinnamon oatmeal! 

Patty had made a plan that she wanted to be as much in control of this situation as possible and not let the cancer or chemo dictate her life!  Knowing that losing her hair was a definite, she made an appointment to have her head shaved under her terms.  She initially had an appointment scheduled for this Friday, but after thinking about it, she changed it to today.  Thank God she made the change because last night she was brushing her hair and a small “clump” of hair came out!  Seeing that hair was a pretty good “reality check” for both of us.  It was a statement that this was really happening… it’s not just a bad dream!  We had a good talk last night about the whole situation and came up with a plan of attack and mindset that we needed for the rest of this battle.

Back to being in control!  I was concerned about how Patty would deal (emotionally) with her head shaved as last night she was pretty emotional.  I called her this morning from work.  She was in a great mood.  She said today is the best she’s felt since the last chemo!  I asked how she felt about having her head shaved today.  She told me that she wasn’t happy about it but what choice did she have?  She said: “I’ve decided I just have to have a sense of  humor about all of this!”  (That’s my girl!)

I met Patty at A Greater Hope (the wig place) where we met with Orfelia, the stylist.  Patty had a great attitude.  She told Orfelia: “I think Ed is more upset over this than me!”  (probably a true statement!)  Patty’s head was shaved within minutes!  Wow… I’m being very honest… she looks really great!  She has such a pretty face!  Orfelia then fitted her wig, trimmed a little here and there… done!  Patty left with a smile on her face!  She must be feeling better.  She told me that she was going shopping the rest of the afternoon!  She closed that statement with: “Hey, I just had my head shaved!  I deserve to go shopping!”  She kills me!

Here she is!  My new wife!

We knew it was too good to be true!

As you know, Patty had her first chemo this past Tuesday.  She did remarkably well through the process.  She has been feeling great this entire week… then yesterday hit.  Wham!  Like a freight train!  She woke up feeling a little tired and as the day progressed that feeling turned into big time fatigue with, as the doctors and nurses predicted, “flu-like symptoms.”  (By the way, the phrase “flu-like symptoms” doesn’t give it any credit.)  I got home a little early yesterday, around 2:00 p.m.  Patty was sitting on the sofa and you could see in her eyes that she wasn’t feeling well at all.  I brought her pillows and she crashed for a good 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap.  She woke up feeling better, but not 100%.   I could see her doing better as the evening progressed, hoping that she had turned the corner.  This morning she woke up feeling really well!  She said she wants to get on the treadmill this morning before we start our day!  That’s  a good sign!

So, we know what to expect in future treatments.  They say that the chemo will build up over each treatment and the symptoms get stronger.  So be it.  She still has a very positive attitude and she knows she’s getting better!

Monday, Sept 6th.  Ok… so I had to add to this post.  We were hoping she had turned the corner, but we were wrong.  She woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty good.  She actually went on the treadmill and walked two miles!  I was impressed.  She returned from the gym saying she felt pretty good, but a little nauseous.  She took a nausea pill and everything seemed to go away.  But, I could see her sinking as the day went on.  Her eyes don’t lie!  Early afternoon, she told me that she didn’t want to be cooped up in the condo.  (that condo can feel pretty confining!)  We decided to take a drive over to Coronado, be by the beach, and have a late lunch over at the Hotel Del.  We almost made it, then Patty told me she didn’t feel well so we turned around and headed for home.  We did stop in Rancho Bernardo and had lunch at Islands.  Food really helped her.  She ate a good lunch and seemed to be on the mend again.  We went home and as the evening approached, she wasn’t feeling well again.  We had a very quiet night.

She woke up Sunday feeling pretty good.  We got up  and had  a light breakfast.  I’d ask how she was feeling and if you know Patty she’ll always say “I’m fine.   I’m sure Patty was wondering what was up with me as I kept staring at her trying to size up how she was really feeling.  As I said, her eyes tell it all.  We showered and dressed and headed off to church.  (Church is always a good thing for us as it takes our mind off of any troubles we have!)  On the way Patty said: “I don’t understand it.”   She continued: “When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you physically feel fine.  You feel normal.  You can do anything.  But when they treat you for cancer, you feel horrible, physically and mentally!”  It’s so true!  We returned home from church and I asked if she wanted to go out somewhere for the afternoon.  She looked at me with those big blue eyes of hers and apologized, saying she just didn’t have it in her to go anywhere or do anything.  That was ok.  Patty  then went into the bedroom and took a good two-hour, if not longer, nap.  I cleaned the deck, watered the plants and watched the Padres lose their 10th game in a row!  (That’s another blog!)

Patty was able to go for a short outing with me to the grocery store and that was about it.  We had another quiet night at home.

I’m hoping today (Monday) will be a better day for Patty.  We’re both learning just how powerful chemo really is.  I just want her to feel better.  I know each day will get better for her, but the question is… when???

One down… five to go!

One down… Five to go!

Yesterday was Patty’s first of six chemo treatments.  She’s amazing!  She has such a positive attitude to take this on!  I’m confident the fact that there are no more tests in the immediate future is allowing her to concentrate on chemo.  Just being around Patty right now makes you feel good!

Her appointment was at 1:00 p.m. I worked in the morning and came home around 11:30.  We scarfed down a quick lunch since part of Patty’s instructions was “never have chemo on an empty stomach!”  Before leaving Patty and I held hands and prayed to God that he continue with us throughout this new journey, remove any cancer that may still be inside Patty and asked that Patty have minimal side effects.  We arrived at Scripps shortly before 1:00 and they brought us back right on time.  I think I described the chemo room in previous post, but I’ll do it again.  It’s a new room that’ s been open for close to two months now.  It’s located in the northwest corner of the clinic.  It’s set up similar to a ward with each chemo station divided from the other by a curtain.  There are windows all along the walls which makes it bright and upbeat.  Each station has a TV, bookcase, recliner (or bed if you prefer).  The areas are really comfortable.  Our chemo nurse was Margarita.  A woman close to our age.  I think we’ll have her throughout the regimen.  She was just awesome!  Very pleasant woman who has been in this business for many years.  She took a few minutes to explain the procedure and alleviate any anxiety Patty may have had, which wasn’t much.  She asked Patty if she was ready to which Patty said “yes!”  Patty sat in a comfy recliner and I sat in a pretty comfortable chair next to her.  She inserted the IV in her right arm and, as the say: “let the games begin!”  This was a three step process since there are three different chemicals/medications/poisons used.  The entire process took about 3 1/2 hours.  Patty and I talked, joked with the nurses and, quite honestly, had a pretty good time!  (you know us, we try to make the best out of any situation… even chemo!)  At one point Patty said she was starting to get a little headache so Margarita gave her some Tylenol which seemed to take care of the problem right away. 

Here’s Patty kick’in it in the chemo room!  See that smile… she actually had that smile throughout the procedure!

Speaking of attitude, as I mentioned earlier, Patty has an amazingly positive attitude right now.  Last night she told me: “right now the chemo is on a mission inside me, seeking out any cancer cells and killing them on the spot!” 

We left her chemo session around 4:45 p.m. and fought rush hour traffic on the way home.  Margarita told Patty to eat something lite for dinner.  We stopped at the store on the way home and Patty said she was in the mood for grilled cheese sandwiches and soup.  So… that’s just what the chef of the house prepared!  I haven’t had grilled cheese sandwiches and soup since I was a child and will admit, it was really good.  Patty ate well last night, which was a good sign.

Around 6:30 last night, Patty said she was starting to feel a little queasy.  She took an anti-nausea pill and the queasiness went away. 

Patty slept like a baby last night.  This was probably the best night of sleep she’s had in months!  She got up around 6:30 this morning feeling great!  No nausea, no nothing!  She took her daily medication with breakfast and as of right now, she’s really doing great!  Very upbeat!

This afternoon we go back to the doctor.  Patty gets a shot that will build up her immune system.  Margarita told us that she may have some flu-like symptoms as a result, achy bones etc, but it won’t last more than 24 hours. 

The interesting thing is how she’ll do the next few days.  Since there are some steroids in the chemo that gives Patty some energy.  After 48 hours, you “come down” off the steroids.  So fatigue may set in the next couple of days.  But hey , like Patty said, the chemo is on a mission to seek and kill any cancer cells inside her.  We can deal with some fatigue.

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the shirt Patty wore yesterday says: “I may have breast cancer, but I refuse to let the cancer have me!”

And yes… in case you were wondering… there is a new “mirror message!”