No news is good news… at least that’s what they say!

Here's Patty on a hike this past weekend in the mountains above Palm Springs. She and her sister Kathy had a quick "girls getaway."

As they say… no news is good news.  How that applies to Patty… life is good!  Her hair is pushing the one inch mark.  It’s funny, but her hair is really coming back curly!  I joked with her the other day, but looking at the top of her head reminds me of a weather broadcast showing the high and low pressure systems.  Her hair is swirling in every direction.  It’s really cute when she gels it up.  As a friend from church said yesterday… “It looks so European!”  That’s my wife, always on top of fashion!  She just made an appointment with the hair dresser to throw some color on it next month so she’s been busy researching cuts and colors for short hair.  She wants to do something “fun!”

Patty is still having the neuropathy issues in her hands and feet, but yesterday she told me that she thinks it’s getting a little better.  The doctor said the neuropathy would peak around 5 to six months after her final chemo, and if what she said was true, she may be over the hump and on the road to recovery in that department.  We have noticed that her immune system still is not at 100%.  She’s had several colds over the past few months which is unusual for her.  Patty rarely gets sick, but we notice now when she gets a cold, it hangs on longer than normal.  She has one right now that’s been hanging on for over two weeks.

Reconstruction is right around the corner.  Patty’s reconstruction surgeon dropped a bomb on her about a month ago.  He announced he’s retiring.  This was really disappointing news.  Patty had developed a very close relationship with him over the past 10 months.  He was involved in the mastectomy and has treated her regularly every couple of weeks since then.  Now he’s retiring.  Now what?  It turns out that one of his associates in his office is taking over his practice.  We had met her before and really liked her.  Patty had an appointment with her last week for an exam and to discuss her options going forward.  As before, we both felt very comfortable and have confidence in her. She agreed with the previous surgeon that Patty is completely healed from the mastectomy and Patty could go forward with the reconstruction process whenever she felt she was ready.  Believe me… Patty’s ready to get this party started!  The surgeon discussed several options for the reconstruction.  Without going into details, she recommended one process that Patty felt comfortable with.  Patty wants to wait until after we get back from Kauai to have the surgery.  So, it’s officially scheduled.  Patty will have the surgery on Friday, July 29th.  This is so ironic.  July 29th of last year was the date of her mastectomy!  Exactly one year to the day!  How crazy is that?  The surgeon told us the procedure will take about six hours.  Patty will be in the hospital for at least three days and then be able to come home.  She’ll be down for a good three weeks following the surgery then we can expect another 4 to 5 weeks after that until she’s completely recovered.  I joked with the surgeon when she talked about Patty’s recovery time frame and made a comment: “She’ll still be able to wash dishes, vacuum and do laundry right?”   She gave me a look then said if she had to, she’d write a note for Patty that said “no housework!”  Damn!  Well, I tried!  She’ll have more procedures after that, but hopefully no more surgeries.  The surgeon said when everything is said and done, she can expect the process to take about one year from start to finish.  Patty is a little nervous, but she really wants to have this done.   I’m behind her 100%!

Earlier I mentioned our trip to Kauai.  We’re so excited!  We’re going for 8 days and leave in less than a month!  We can’t wait!  Patty had told me while going through chemo, one thing (amongst many) that kept her focused was our trip to Kauai.  We’ve been there a couple of times before and don’t really need to do the sightseeing.  The title for this trip should be “Relax and Enjoy!”  That’s exactly what we plan on doing.  Those white sandy beaches are just what the doctor ordered for both of us.  We rented a condo on the north shore overlooking Hideaways Beach.  I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time there.  While in Kauai, we’ll be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary as well as Patty’s 1 year “Cancerversary”.

Oh… I wanted to thank those people from El Dorado County again!  Lead by Becky the Queen Fundraiser, they raised another $238.00 for Patty’s Komen Walk in November!  Patty is now at $1,518.00 towards her goal of $2,300.00.  She’s 66%  of the way there!  Thank you so much!

We want to help you… email us.

The Lodi Zinfest – 2009

Patty and I talked last night about this blog. I was telling her that I hoped I was making a difference for people by telling the story of her, and our, battle with breast cancer from the beginning to present time. She immediately said she believed I was. I hope I am.

 I told Patty there are really only three reasons you’d read this blog: 1) You’re a friend or family member wanting to know how Patty is doing; 2) You’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and you’re searching for information; or 3) You’re the husband, boyfriend, caregiver of someone diagnosed with breast cancer and you’re searching for information.

Patty and I have really wanted to give back and help people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer as well as give back to their husbands, boyfriends and/or caregivers. Thinking about the reasons why someone would read or follow this blog made us think… this blog is a great avenue to help others.

So, I’m just going to throw this out to anyone reading this blog:   If you’re going through the battle with breast cancer and want to talk… email us. It’s as simple as that. I know it’s difficult to contact us through the “comment” field at the end of a post since those “comments” are public.  Email is private. Email us about anything!  Concerns, fears, triumphs… whatever.  We’ll respond to your email as best we can from what we’ve experienced.  Every cancer is different. Every treatment is different. But sometimes, it just helps talking to someone about it.  We know… we’ve been there.

We want to help!  Email us…

Life is getting better every day!

As much as I try to be diligent about keeping current on this blog, I’m finding that lately it’s been difficult.  I could make excuse after excuse, but that’s all they’d be… excuses.

Life has been absolutely great for me and Patty.  We’re still settling into the new house.  We have half the boxes in the garage unpacked and tomorrow I’m attacking the rest.  We can fit one car in the garage as it is, but the goal is to get both in!  It my sound stupid, but I’m really excited to clean the garage!

Patty is recovering more and more every day.  She still has the problem with the neuropathy in her feet.  She got in to see the neurologist last week and it was a good and bad news prognosis.  The good news is that eventually the neuropathy will diminish.  Notice I used two italicized words in that sentence… “Eventually” because there’s no telling how long it will take and “diminish” because it may not completely go away.  I guess that was the bad news.   The neurologist did say, speaking in general terms, the neuropathy “peaks” around six months after the final chemotherapy infusion.  Patty will hit the six month mark on the 14th of this month.  We’re just hoping things start getting better soon.  Patty said it can get painful at times.  As with this entire journey, patience is a good character trait!

Patty saw the reconstruction surgeon again this week.  She got the best news ever!  Her incision from the mastectomy from last July has finally healed!!!  It took nearly 10 months, but the surgeon was very pleased that it’s finally healed!  He said they can start the reconstruction process anytime she’s ready.  We’ve planned our trip to Kauai in late June so she wants to wait until after our trip to start the reconstruction process.  She doesn’t want anything to interfere with our trip!  I totally agree!  The reconstruction will require a few surgeries and the surgeon said he expects the process to be completed by the end of the year.

As I said in the last post, Patty has decided to go “au natural” and no longer wear her wig.  She looks awesome!  She was cute the other day.  I got home from work and Patty was on the sofa, reading.  I looked at her and she had put some gell on her hair and it was all spiked up.  It looked great!!!  Real sassy!  So here you go… Patty’s new look!  This picture was taken last weekend with our granddaughter, Mia.

Speaking of our granddaughter, Mia, we had a driving trip to Phoenix this past weekend to visit Patty’s son, Nate, his wife Julie and Mia.  Nicole, Joey and Avery also drove out. The drive from San Diego to Phoenix is very doable, about six hours.  The trip was two-fold… one to celebrate Nate’s birthday, and two, for Patty to have both her kids together for a few days.  We had a low-key, but fun weekend.  I have to say that Patty was in complete Heaven all weekend.

I experienced a “real moment” while at Nate’s.  Nate’s house is set up in the Great Room style with the living room, kitchen dining room all in one.  I was in the kitchen and I looked over and saw Patty on the couch.  She was laughing with that contagious laugh she has.  She had one granddaughter on each side of her and they were flanked by Nicole and Nate.  Patty had such a huge smile on her face, I could tell that at that very moment,  life couldn’t get any better for her.  Suddenly I realized how fortunate we have been.  Honestly, I had no idea a year ago if Patty would even be with us at this time and now look at her!  She’s full of life and feeling so good!  I snuck out of the house for a moment and had a quick talk with God and thanked him for Patty’s health and how well she’s doing.  She’s doing so well!!!

Mother’s Day is Sunday.  I mentioned in the last post that Major League Baseball is honoring cancer patients and survivors on Sunday.  Susan Komen for the Cure has contacted a number of breast cancer survivors to be honored at the Padres vs. Diamondbacks baseball game Sunday.  Patty gets to go onto the field with other survivors to be honored before the game.  At the last-minute, Komen asked that “co-survivors” (aka ME) can accompany the survivors onto the field.  We’re really looking forward to this event!  I’ll make sure to take pictures!

One last thing before I end this post… I wanted to thank those of you who have been faithfully following our ride!  A couple of week ago I made  the “5000 hit’s” club on this blog.  I know that 5000 isn’t a huge number, but for me, I would have never guessed that many people would be following our lives.  When I started this blog, my intent was to keep our friends up to date on Patty’s progress.  It’s still my intent, but I’ve learned that I’m also touching people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are following us for information as well as support.  This blog has gone well beyond my wildest dreams.  I follow the origin of hits to this blog and I’m getting people following us worldwide!  I’ve seen return hits from the U.K., Canada, Algiers, Africa, Brazil, Argentina to name a few.  Of course there’s many many hits from throughout the United States.    From some towns I’ve never heard of.  It’s pretty amazing!

Thank you!