Quick update…

I went to the hospital around 8 a.m. this morning.  As I approached Patty’s room I could hear Patty’s distinctive laugh.  I walked into her room and one would think there was a slumber party going on!  Patty and her roommate,Deborah, were both sitting up in their beds laughing about something.  They both had their breakfast trays in front of them were acting like long time friends.  It was pretty cute.

Patty is doing amazingly well!  She looks like she could come home today.  They’ve removed all the tubes etc from her and she was going to go for a walk around the hall later today.  Honestly, I’m shocked how well she’s doing!

The reconstruction surgeon came in this morning while I was there.  She took a look at her work and said everything has started healing perfectly!  Isn’t the power of prayer amazing!  This is exactly what Patty and I (and others) have been praying for  the past couple of weeks and God has listened!  We did get to take a peek at the newest addition to her body and it looks great!!!

So… the update is that Patty is recovering better than I (and she) expected!  We couldn’t be happier!

Reconstruction surgery was a success!!!

Patty at 5:30 this morning wearing the latest in hospital fashion!

7:31 p.m. – I just walked in the house after a long day at the hospital!  I figured the first thing I needed to do when I got home was let everyone know how today went.

Well… we got up at 4 a.m.   No… change that!  I got up at 4 a.m. and Patty rolled out of bed around 4:25.  OK… that’s more accurate!  We were out the door about 4:50 a.m. and at  the hospital around 5:20.  Patty checked-in and they took us back into the prep room shortly thereafter.  The last few of days I could see Patty was experiencing some anxiety over the surgery.  As I think I said in yesterdays post… “I don’t blame her”.  This is pretty major surgery!  Last night she was getting a little weepy over not being able to care for Avery for the next 8 weeks as well as being pretty limited with what she’ll be able to physically do.  Bottom line, she was just frightened.  But this morning, she was completely different.  She was a little tentative, but she was ready to take this next step head on!  She had a great attitude and was laughing and smiling.

The staff at Scripps Green was amazing and really kept Patty at ease.  We met with the surgery nurse and the anesthesiologist around 6:30 and were pretty much ready to go for the 7:00 a.m. surgery.  The only person missing was the reconstruction surgeon!  Waiting is always hard in these circumstances.  You know how that goes… you’re there and just want to get this over-with!  7 a.m. rolled around and no surgeon… 7:20… no surgeon.  Now I think the waiting was getting to Patty as she told me that she was starting to get a little scared.  7:30… no surgeon.  Finally around 7:40 a.m. the surgeon waltzed in.  Thank God!  I could see the tension leave Patty’s body when she walked in.  The surgeon marked Patty up with a purple marker to indicate to her where she’d be making the incisions for the procedure.  She spoke with us for a few minutes and said she was ready to go and she’d find me in the waiting room when she was done.  She said the procedure will take around 4 1/2 to 6 hours.  Phew… I knew it’d be a long morning.  She left and within a minute another nurse came in and walked off with Patty.

I went over to the cafeteria and got breakfast.  I looked at my watch and saw it was only 8 a.m.  I thought “Oh man… Patty won’t be out until probably 1 or 2 o’clock.  So I had breakfast, read the paper, read a few chapters in a book I’m reading, watched people come in and out of the waiting room (by the way, waiting rooms are a great place to people watch!) and watched a little TV.  I noticed it was around noon and I was now reading some pamphlet on hospital services (as I’ve now read everything else) when the surgeon came in.  I glanced up and was surprised to see her.  I said: “Are you already done?”  She replied that she was and continued by saying that everything went great!  She had a big smile on her face and said it was a perfect surgery… no issues, no problems, no nothing!  Everything went as planned.  In fact she said: “I think this is one of the best one’s I’ve ever done!”  She said Patty did great and was awake in the recovery room!  Wow!  Not even four hours!  That was awesome!  I wasn’t able to see Patty in the recovery room, but that was ok.  I met up with her once she was transferred to her room about an hour later.

I have to say, Patty looks great!  So far she’s experiencing little pain.  She not drugged up other than taking a Vicodin every few hours.  She is doing so well!  I’m so proud of her!  She’s a stud!  Hopefully she’ll be doing just as well, or better, tomorrow.

Patty has to stay in the hospital until at least Monday.  Quite honestly, she’s was ready to come home tonight!  But, we have to do what the doctor tells her to do.

I could tell Patty was feeling pretty good this evening when she asked: “Are you going to make a dump run this weekend?”

Reconstruction surgery…

"Grandma Patty" and Mia being silly in their 4th of July schwag!

Tomorrow starts the next phase in Patty’s treatment… reconstruction surgery.

The surgery is a pretty big procedure but Patty’s ready to take it on!  Sure she’s a little nervous about the surgery.  Who wouldn’t be.  But, as she told me the other day, this surgery is different.  Her concern with other surgeries over the past year was that the surgeon would find more cancer.  Thank the Lord that wasn’t the case.  This surgery is all about breast reconstruction.  No snooping around looking for cancer.  Just reconstruction.

We’ve met with the reconstruction surgeon several times over the past two months.  She’s great!  From what everyone in the medical field has told us, she’s the best.  There’s a lot of people in the medical field who have a lot of confidence in her.  One person even told us that initially she performed a number of plastic surgeries for various reasons, but has now completely focused her practice on breast reconstruction.  Nothing else.

Without getting into details of the surgery, the best I can tell you is that its called Latissimus Flap Breast Reconstruction.  (If you really want to know the details of the surgery, do a Google search)  Since they’ll be working on both breasts, the surgeon estimates the procedure will take about six hours.  Patty will be in the hospital for a minimum of three nights so they can keep an eye on any possible infection.  Hopefully infection won’t be the case and she can come home with the three night minimum.

So… tomorrow morning we’ll be getting up around 4 a.m.  She needs to be at the Scripps Green Hospital in Torrey Pines by 5:30 a.m. and the surgery is scheduled for 7:00 a.m.  It’s going to be a long day.  If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by, I’ll be in the waiting room!  If not… I’ll get something posted on here as soon as I can.

Send  your prayers in Patty’s direction!

It’s going to be a great weekend!

This was take last Sunday at a concert in the park!

I woke up early as usual this morning and Patty tossed and turned in bed from about 5:00 a.m. until she gave up trying to sleep around 7:00 a.m.  You could just feel that ol elephant in the room with us.  She got her coffee and read the paper in bed.  You could literally hear the clock ticking every minute away in anticipation of her appointment at 9:45.  Those minutes just dragged.  Patty was pretty quiet all morning which is totally unusual behavior for her!

We left the house around 9:00 a.m… me, Patty and the elephant.  Pretty quiet drive to the doctors office.  They took Patty in on time and she was out within minutes.  Next trek was upstairs to the doctors office to hear the results of the chest x-ray.  Again… very quiet after the nurse took Patty’s vitals.  There wasn’t much room in the examining room as the elephant took up most of the space!  You know me, I tried to break the silence with a little humor, but Patty wanted no part of it.  The agonizing thing was that her chest x-ray was right in front of us on the monitor!  Patty did all she could to not look at it.  Even if she did, she’d never make any sense of it.  The minutes ticked away… tick, tick, tick, waiting for the doctor.  I told Patty it was great that we didn’t have to wait a week for the results but it seemed like we were living in a prolonged drum roll!

The doctor came in shortly after 10:00 a.m.  He is the nicest man I’ve ever met.  Amazing bed-side manner.  He somewhat reminds me of Mr. Rogers in a white smock.  He small talked with Patty for a few minutes then did a quick exam.  He then looked up at the monitor, zoomed in to take a look at details in the x-ray.  He looked at Patty and said: “Young lady… this looks wonderful!  I don’t see anything we need to be concerned with.  Your x-ray looks perfect!”  Ahhhh,… great news!  Patty shed a few tears of joy.  The doctor said we’ll repeat this in six months but until then, she has nothing to worry about!

Patty was much more animated on the drive home!  The “elephant in the room” stayed behind!

It’s looking like we’re going to have a great weekend!

Another test…

Jayne, Patty, Nicole and Angie after a "Fun Run" in Scripps Ranch. Notice the beers at 8:30 a.m.!

Even though it’s been since mid-December since Patty’s last chemotherapy infusion, there are still regular tests she needs to go through.  This morning she has a chest x-ray.  Remember the “red herring” PET Scan Patty had last year that showed the cancer had metastasized to her chest wall?  Then later, a CAT Scan showed there was no metastases?  Well, to be on the safe side, the doctors want to do a chest x-ray to confirm the cancer was contained in her breast.  As the doctors say: “It’s just taking things off the checklist to be safe.”  Patty understands these tests need to be done and she’ll be having tests for years to come.  It still doesn’t make it any easier.

I think any person who’s gone through the battle of breast cancer, or any cancer for that fact, greatly fears the chance of reoccurrence. It’s one of those thoughts in your mind that is always there, a form of paranoia that never goes away.   From what Patty’s has told me, the cancer “thoughts” pop in and out when you have unusual aches and pains.  “Oh no… is that cancer what’s causing that pain in my wrist?”  But what really makes the cancer “thought” rear it’s ugly head is when the doctor’s schedule tests!  There’s the anxiety days before the test then the anxiety waiting for the test results which can sometimes take up to a week to get the word.

Those of you who know Patty know that she’s a very independent strong woman.  Not much gets to her.  Facing the reality and possibility of death turned Patty to her new strength… God.  She explained to me that God has worked in amazing ways related to the anxiety she’s been experiencing in the past few days.  She asked Him for strength and comfort… Out of the blue, He gave her an email from a friend who moved away who, in turn, gave her scripture to read that addressed Faith and the anxiety she’s been feeling.  Shortly after the email, she received an unexpected phone call from a friend who has been battling cancer and finished her chemotherapy treatments about three weeks ago.  Their conversation was very healing for Patty.

So, this morning is another test.  I feel pretty confident that the results will be good.  The good thing is that she has her chest x-ray and then meets with the doctor immediately following the test.  No wait time, which is awesome!  Once we get through this morning, we’ll be able to focus on the beginning of the reconstruction process that starts in two weeks!   More on that later…

Wish Patty luck  and I’ll keep you posted on how it went!