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!

Praise God!!!

Patty and Avery were both pretty happy after today’s doctors appointment!

You can tell by the title of this post (and also from this picture)  today’s appointment was good!

Patty woke up this morning frightened to learn the results of Tuesday’s CAT Scan.  She wears her emotions on her face and it was pretty obvious how she was feeling.  Thank God Patty now watches Avery during the day as that precious granddaughter of ours keeps Patty’s mind from spinning!  Still, her 11:00 appointment couldn’t come soon enough!

I took today off to support Patty with whatever the scan results revealed.  Even though I was pretty confident that the results would come back good, I woke up this morning a little scared thinking “what if I was wrong!”  I took Molly for a long walk this morning and thought things out as well as had a comforting discussion with God.  By the time I got home I felt confident that I could deal with and support Patty with whatever the results revealed.

We packed Avery up and were on our way for the appointment around 10:15, arriving at the doctor’s office a little before 11:00.  We had about a 15 minute wait before being called back.  We learned that Avery is a magnet for nearly anyone within eye shot of her as she had the entire waiting room hovering around us saying what a cute and happy baby she is!  Of course, Avery smiled and flirted with everyone!

The moment of truth finally came!  We walked back to the exam room and were met by the Pulmonary Specialist within minutes.  He is the nicest man!  His presence makes you feel comfortable the moment he walks in the room!  We chatted for a few minutes, he looked at the scan and said: “Well Patricia.  My radiologist is very comfortable with the results.  He doesn’t see anything.  I don’t see anything.  Everything looks clear!!!”  Praise God!

Today was just huge in the big picture of our journey!  The clear CAT Scan means we’re now done with the treatment phase!  Looking forward, Patty will see her oncologist every three months for the next year.  She’ll see the pulmonary specialist in six months and at that time all he’ll want to do is a chest x-ray as opposed to another CAT Scan.  If things are still looking good she won’t need another scan or chest x-ray for another year! 

Thanks again for all your support and prayers!  We’re firm believers in the power of prayer.  We’re even more confident that God has been with us this entire journey!

Patty said she wants to toast today with some champagne!  We’ll see if her taster is up for it!

CAT Scan today!

Today is a very important day for Patty!  Today is the CAT Scan!  Poor thing is pretty freaked out about it.  I don’t blame her.  I’m confident things will be fine.  I think what’s weighing on her is that damned faulty PET Scan she had last June that showed the cancer had spread to her chest.  The doctors proved it to be faulty with other tests and a CAT Scan and as a result they have been treating her for “cure.”  I try to look at this in a logical manner, with facts to back up my decision.  The CAT Scan in July showed the cancer to be localized in her breast and nowhere else.  She had the mastectomy in late July which removed the tumor.  There were no “margins” which is the area where the breast was removed that could still have some cancer cells that they missed.  There was only one lymph node involved, the sentinel node which is the node closest to the tumor.  They took the next 11 lymph nodes in line from there.  Then she went through six grueling chemo treatments with TAC which is the strongest treatment they have.  I look at all those facts and to me, I can’t see how the cancer could have spread.  Maybe there’s more to it, but it just seems logical that they got everything. 

Remember in previous posts, I talked about the “Logical vs. Emotional?”  The “emotional” always wins over logic!  Here we are again.  I wish I had the right words to say to her to make this better, but I don’t.  I don’t even think there are words to make this better for her.  All I can do is be understanding of her feelings and support her as much as I can.

So, all I’m doing here is asking that you have positive thoughts and prayers for Patty that this test comes out with great results!  Her appointment is this morning at 10:40 and we get the results on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

Wish us well!!!  Thanks!

1/18/2011, 12:40 p.m.:  OK, as they say in the movie business, “This one is in the can!”  Amazing how quickly they can do this scan!  We were there at 10:15… they called her name… Patty left with a nurse and she was back in 15 minutes.  Done.  She was doing much much better when the scan was over.  She said the anticipation of the scan was just killing her.  Now it’s the waiting game for two days.  11:00 a.m. Friday can’t come soon enough.  But, it’s done.  Whatever the results are, are in God’s hands now.  I’m confident the results will be great! 

Keep  those prayers coming her way!  Thank  you so much for everyone’s support!

Follow-up doctor appointments

 

Here’s Patty and her sisters, Kathy and Dottie, this past weekend in Coronado. 

(ok, not really, it was taken last May in Maui)

We got a couple of doctor appointments out of  the way today.  This morning we met with Patty’s reconstruction surgeon.  Overall, everything is looking “ok” but not quite up to par where he had hoped she’d be.  Things just take a long time to heal when you’re going through chemo.  One would think that having surgery back in late July, things would be perfect by now.  But the TAC that Patty had is one of the strongest chemo’s they’ve got, so things take a little longer to heal.  But, he was hopeful that everything would be good in about a month now that she has no more infusions.  It’s all about waiting for the poison to get completely out of her system.  It’s been four weeks since her last infusion so they figure it takes a good two months before it’s gone.

This afternoon we met with Patty’s oncologist.  According to her, everything is on track.  She had a blood test yesterday which revealed her white cell count to be on the low side but the oncologist didn’t seem concerned about that.  The doctor put Patty on Tamoxifen which is a hormone therapy that blocks cancer cell growth.  It’s all about beating any kind of reoccurrence!  So, she’ll take the Tamoxifen daily for two years then most likely change to a different and newer hormone therapy for a couple more years after that.  It’s all good!  Patty will go back and see her in a month to see where’s she’s at.

The big test comes up next Tuesday… the dreaded CAT Scan.  Patty’s oncologist said she wasn’t concerned about it, but then again, she’s not the one going through it!  As I said in an earlier post, Patty’s experiencing some anxiety over it and I don’t blame her in the least.  It’ll be good to just get it done and find out that things are great!  She’ll have the scan on Tuesday (the 18th) and get the results on Thursday (the 20th).  Please pray that the results of the scan snow no signs of cancer anywhere in her body. 

Overall, Patty has been doing pretty good.  The low white cell count now explains why she has had two colds in the past month, the most recent come on this past weekend.  But, she’s on the mend.  Her hair is slowly sprouting up at the rate of  a trillionth of an inch every-other-day! 

Patty’s sister Kathy and her husband, John, came to town this past Sunday.  They stayed at Lowes in Coronado and invited us to stay Sunday night, so we did.  Even though Patty was battling her cold, we had a really good time and it’s always great to see Kathy and John.  The timing was good as Patty’s brother, Jim,was also in town.  This was the first time in six years that all the Marron siblings have been together!  Family is always good for Patty!

Our little condo is officially listed for sale as of today.  We had about 15 realtors view our condo this morning while we were at the doctors.  I think I had mentioned earlier that we had put off selling the condo until we knew exactly what was going on with Patty.  But now that things are definitely looking up, it’s time to sell and get into something with some room!  Wish us luck!

So, bottom line, things are looking pretty good but, then again, things are still pending!  That’s the frustrating part!

Oh, by the way, a little bird told me that there were some complaints that I haven’t been adding pictures to my last few posts… I won’t name any names about who complained other than they start with “N” and “P” and are from Prescott, Az.  Leave it to the “zonies!”  I promise you’ll be seeing more pictures in the future.  🙂

21 days since Patty’s last chemo!

Today marks a very special day for Patty.  If you recall, Patty was having her chemo every 21 days on Tuesdays.  She had her last chemo on December 14th, 21 days ago. And you know what?  She doesn’t have to go today!  We talked about it last night and I can’t tell you how happy she is to have the chemo completed!  Chemo really did a number on her, physically as well as mentally.  But, she’s done.  We had our little “No-Mo-Chemo” celebration three weeks ago.  It meant a lot to her, but today really brings it home!  It makes it real.  She’s done!

Patty is physically doing really well!  While going through chemo, she’d get to this point where she’s getting stronger, then “wham!”  Back to chemo and loose whatever strength she had.  But now, she’s just going to get stronger and stronger each day.  She’s been feeling so good that she actually went to a Jazzercise class last week.  She’s hoping to go to a couple this week.  The other thing is that she’s getting her three-week fuzz on her head.  This “three-week” fuzz will actually start turning into hair over the next few weeks.  It’s kind of funny because Patty is getting a little impatient with the lingering chemo side effects.  She wants to feel 100% right now!  She’s wants her hair to grow back right now!  I try telling her that it’s going to take some time, but do you think she’ll listen to me!  Not a chance! 

Patty has some doctors appointments coming up.  Next week she meets with the reconstruction doctor who will give us a game plan for the upcoming months.  She also has an appointment with our chemo Oncologist next week.  She’ll also give us a game plan for the upcoming months.  Then she has a very important appointment the following week… she has her first follow-up CT Scan.  This is to see if there is any cancer lingering that may have traveled to other parts of her body.  She is very worried and anxious about this test.   She has shared her anxiety with me.  Right now there’s a lot of “what if’s?”  She explained that over the past six months, every treatment, test, consultation was done with a purpose.  She knew what was going on every step of the way.  Now that she’s completed her chemo, she’s back in limbo, not knowing what’s in store for her today, tomorrow, next week or in the distant future.  I told her that early on in her treatment, metastasis was a big concern of mine.  Since she had her last CT Scan in July which showed the cancer to be localized in her left breast, and after having the mastectomy, this is no longer a concern in the forefront of my mine.  Maybe I’m wearing rose-colored glasses, but I have faith that the doctors have given her the best treatment possible and I’ve prayed that this scan is clear.  Even hearing my thoughts, she’s still very anxious about this tests.  I do understand!  Having this anxiety, she decided to go to her cancer support group meeting yesterday over at Sharp Hospital. The support group meets every Monday.  Patty goes when she feels she needs some support from others whom have experienced what she’s going through.  She said that this group can sometimes be pretty depressing.  But, she went.  She said that going helped.  I guess what will really help is getting through this scan with great results!  Say your prayers for her!  

So, as before, we’re just taking life one day at a time.  It’s easier said than done, but we’re going to try not to worry about yesterday,  try not to worry about tomorrow and let’s make the most of today.  And today is all about no longer having chemo!