Happy New Year!!!

Well, another year has passed and Patty and I are about as healthy as we can be! Patty got some amazing news just a week ago…

December 14, 2015 was Patty’s 5 year anniversary from her last Chemo. Five years! My how the time flies by. She just had an appointment with her Oncologist for her final check-up of the year. She has been seeing her every six months for the past couple of years. This was a big one for her since hitting the five-year mark post chemo gives her a greater chance of survival and being cancer free for many years to come. In addition, she was taking the medication Arimidex which lowers estrogen levels in post-menopausal women, which may slow the growth of certain types of breast tumors that need estrogen to grow in the body. Patty experienced a number of side effects to the medication such as tingling of the extremities, joint pain and, one of my personal favorites… hot flashes! Not just one or two a day, but we’re talking hot flashes anytime of the day, night or morning! I’ve been wanting to get her a super hero costume with a cape and call her The Hot Flash! Poor Patty… she is the only woman I’ve known that will turn the air conditioner on in the car when it’s 32 degrees outside! If things turned out well with her appointment there was a big hope that the doctor would take her off the Arimidex! So this was a big appointment for her… and us. I generally go to every appointment with her,but unfortunately she had to do this one on her own as I had “things” to deal with at work. As usual, about a week before her appointment Mr. Elephant in the room dropped by for his semi-annual visit as I could see patty starting to withdraw a little. If you look back in past posts I’ve described how she gets about a week before any appointment so I go into my routine of trying to keep her mind off of things… I go into “stupid mode!” I joke… laugh… just try to keep her entertained. It never works but why not try.

Her appointment with the Oncologist was December 23rd at 2:00 p.m. She gave blood samples the day before and had a bone density scan. So, December 23rd finally arrived and fortunately Patty was really busy with work so that kind of kept her mind off of things… Patty went to her appointment as scheduled, apprehensive as to what news the doctor would have for her…

December 23rd at about 2:30 my phone rang. I saw it was Patty when I answered it… Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi Honey… How’d it go???
Patty: “Yippee! Yahoo! Yippie! Wooo Hoo! Yea!!! Yippa Screma Dema!!!”
Me: “I’m taking it that it went well?”
Patty: “The doctor said I graduated!!! Yippee! Yahoo! Yippie! Wooo Hoo! Yea!!! Yippa Screma Dema!!!”
Me: “I’m so happy!!!”
Patty: “No more Arimidex! Yippee! Yahoo! Yippie! Wooo Hoo! Yea!!! Yippa Screma Dema!!!”
Me: “That’s great!
Patty: “Yippee! Yahoo! Yippie! Wooo Hoo! Yea!!! Yippa Screma Dema!!!”

That’s pretty much how it went! Not recommended, but she was driving and doing her happy dance at the same time in the car!

Yep… the doctor gave her a clean bill of health! She graduated! The doctor also took her off the Arimidex! No more hot flashes! No more air conditioner in the car when it’s freezing outside! No more needing to wear a wetsuit to bed! I know it all sounds selfish of me, but all I can say is: “Yippee! Yahoo! Yippie! Wooo Hoo! Yea!!! Yippa Screma Dema!!!”

We hope 2016 brings everything good to you!

A year later…

First of all, I know its been about a month since my last post.  My goal at that time was to keep you up to date with posts as Patty and Nicole were walking the Komen 3-Day walk.  It turned out that I got pretty sick with what I thought was just a cold, but it turned out to be pneumonia which, to say the least… kicked my butt!  I’ve since recovered and am feeling pretty much back to myself but this past month has been rough.

Patty and Nicole completed the Komen 3-Day!  I will say, they had some tired and sore feet by the end of the weekend, but, the bottom line is that they put their minds and feet to the test and did it.  Unfortunately I wasn’t there except for the closing ceremonies, which, by the way, were pretty emotional!  Nicole blogged about their experience so I think I’ll just give you the link to her site so you can read about their  journey from her perspective… http://hipfitmom.com/

I do have a couple of pictures from day three of the walk to share…

Amazing how a shot of tequilla can relieve foot pain!

Thank you El Dorado County!

December 14th… a special day for Patty and me.  December 14, 2010 was the day Patty received her 6th and final chemotherapy infusion of her breast cancer treatment.  December 14, 2010 marked the end of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of a new one.

I took a few minutes this morning and read through old posts of this blog.   Wow, it brought back so many memories.  Patty was so sick just one year ago.  She had lost so much weight.  She had lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.  She was so weak and fatigued… she’d even passed out several times.  I remember referring to those times as “Adventures in Chemo – the bathroom Chronicles!”   Twice she required medical attention and stitches from passing out.  It was a pretty scary time in our lives, but you know what?  We made it.  Not having ever faced a health issue like this, not knowing what day to day issues we’d face, I think we did pretty good as a team… mostly flying by the seat of our pants!  Even as scary as the whole experience was, and I mean it was scary, our love and respect for each other kept us going!  And that love and respect has grown 100 times over since then, if not more!  The other thing that kept us going was keeping our sense of humor… when dealing with breast cancer you can either laugh or cry and we found a combination of both worked for us!

Now look where we are… one year later.  Patty has come so far.  She has a head full of curly hair.  Her eyebrows and eyelashes are back and have been back for months.  She looks healthy and feels healthy!  She goes to Jazzercise a couple times a week and, as you know, she was able to walk 60 miles in the Komen 3-Day for the cure.  A year and a half ago, we didn’t even know if she’d be alive today.  But you know what?  She is and she’s doing great!

Patty had an appointment with her oncologist this past Monday.  Everything looks great and the oncologist had no issues where she is with her recovery!    Next appointment with her is in three months.  Patty goes back to see the reconstruction surgeon in mid-January for her next to last procedure.

Everything is just falling into place…

So, as I said, yesterday was a big day for Patty.  Sure, she’s still dealing with some issues from the chemotherapy.  But the bottom line is that she’s come so far and has a whole life ahead of her…

That’s my girl!!!

 

Komen 3-Day Walk – Day 1

The excitement for Patty in anticipation of the Komen 3-Day Walk grew as this last week passed.  It seemed to be our main topic of conversation.  Patty was a little nervous about walking 20 miles for three days in a row plus the possibility of rain in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, however, I don’t think there is anything that would get in her and Nicole’s way to keep them from walking.

It’s funny, I work strange hours with my new job and a few days each week I don’t stumble in until around 3:00 a.m.  I always try to be as quiet as possible to not wake Patty… I’ll walk in the bedroom and whisper “I’m home honey.”  Generally I’ll hear a “grunt” from Patty acknowledging my presence and that’s about it.  Last night I walked in with my usual routine, whispered “I’m home honey” and she startled me with an alert voice asking “What time it?”  I told her it was 2:45 a.m. and she responded “Good… I have an hour and a half to go!”  4:15 a.m. couldn’t come soon enough for her!  Patty is not a morning person, but today, she was all about getting up and facing her walk.  She reminded me of when I was a kid and my parents announced they were taking my sister and me to Disneyland the following morning.  The excitement of the next day kept me awake all night!  Patty and Nicole needed to be at the walk starting point by 6:00 a.m. then participate in a community stretch followed by the opening ceremonies.  The walk officially started at 7:00 a.m.

I slept in until around 9 and Patty called minutes after I awoke.  She sounded so excited!  She just rambled about how awesome the event was and how happy she was that she and Nicole could participate together.  She said there was more energy then you could ever imagine, women and men walkers dressed in wild pink clothing, boas, hats… you name it.  She’s having the time of her life!  She said she didn’t think there would be an issue for her to complete the 20 miles today.  (We’ll see how she’s doing tonight!)

Unfortunately I’m not able to make it to the walk today as I’ve now come down with the cold that’s being passed around the family.  I’ll do my best to be there tomorrow!

Here’s a couple of pictures she texted me of their adventure…

I’m not going to even bother asking who this guy is!

I’ll keep you posted on their walk as I hear more!

Just venting!

A mere 18 months ago, Patty and I were just this happy-go-lucky couple.  Life was perfect, at least that’s what we thought.  Sure we had many of the same issues and challenges as most couples have, but overall, life was great.  But you know what?  I think I can honestly say that now, life is better!

Looking back, my father had prostate cancer in his mid-60’s.  I’m ashamed to admit, but I was young and pretty self-absorbed at the time. I remember him having surgery and going through radiation treatments.  I do recall him very weak from the treatments and one day him telling me “Ed, if I would have known how these treatments made me feel, I would have never done it.”  He finished his treatments and went on to live a very long life of 94 years!  I never gave it a second thought that he could have died from the cancer.  “He’s my dad!  He’s going to live forever!”  I just went on with my life and never gave a second thought to what he and my mother were going through. Now knowing the challenges Patty and I have face the past 18 months, I look at what they went through much differently.  I wish I could apologize to them.

Other than my father, Patty and I had never been affected by cancer of any type.  We had never known someone outside the family who was diagnosed with it.  Patty’s family has no history of cancer.  We’ve never had a friend, or a friend of a friend, who had it.  Cancer just wasn’t in our world.  When we did hear of someone diagnosed with cancer, we’d look at each other and say “Oh.. that’s too bad.  I hope they’re going to be alright.”   And that was about it.  No further thought.  No idea of what that person was facing nor how the cancer affected them, their family, their friends.

Patty and I talked last night and counted the number of people we personally know who have some form of cancer…. TWELVE!  TWELVE people!  Twelve people we personally know who have cancer of various types and in various stages.  Twelve people who’s lives will change forever.  Some of those twelve will make it through the battle… others may not!   That just angers me!

I’m not sure where I’m going with today’s post.  I think I’m just venting.

Cancer is just so random.  Why it chooses one person and not another person is beyond me.  There are times I’ve thought “Why did it choose Patty?”  Was God trying to give us a wake-up call?  If he was… it worked!   Patty and I have face challenges and trials over the past 18 months that I could have never imagined facing.  These challenges were no more and no less than what any person diagnosed with cancer goes through.  Sure the types, stages, grades and treatments may vary, but the challenges, both emotional and physical, are similar.

What is the deal with cancer research?  There are billions of dollar that go into research and yet no cure.  I hear rumor the researchers are close in some respects, but still so far from beating it!  Researchers etc. have made a lot of headway regarding breast cancer treatment as treatment is now leaps-and-bounds from where it was even ten years ago.  Maybe researchers will accidentally come across something that will cure cancer.  Kind of like how they accidentally discovered Viagra.  In that case, researchers were testing a cardiovascular drug known for lowering blood pressure.  They found the drug did lower blood pressure however had a significant side-effect on the male volunteers… presto chango… Viagra was discovered!  Maybe something like that can happen for a cure for cancer.

Well, thank you for letting me vent!  I’m done!

Team Patty in Pink hit’s the road this Friday morning for the Komen 3-Day walk.  Patty and Nicole have been squeezing in their training walks as often as possible, but it hasn’t been as often as they’d like due to weather, work, travel, sickness, etc.  They did do a 12 mile walk about a week ago.  I can tell you, Patty is pretty excited for the walk.  Knowing her, she’ll do just fine.  Stay tuned… I’ll be doing more posts about the walk this weekend.

I started this post saying that life is better now than pre-cancer.  It really is!  I didn’t think it was possible, but Patty and I have grown so much closer.  We have so much respect for each other.  We enjoy our time together so much.  She’s my best friend.

Patty still gets very frightened about cancer.   The subject seems to always be lurking around the corner or hovering around like a dark cloud.  I was telling someone just today that people often thing that when the treatment is over and you’re cancer free you just continue on with life like nothing has happened.  Not true.  It’s something we’ll just have to live with…

I’m honored!

Three to four weeks ago I was contacted by a woman named Alexandra Gekas.  Alexandra is a writer for Woman Day Magazine.  She was writing a story for Womansday.com titled “Men who Support the Fight Against Breast Cancer.”  She called to interview me regarding my blog and wanted to feature it in her story with four other men.

I am absolutely honored that someone finds my blog interesting enough to actually write about it in an online publication and feature it in a story.

The story came out last Friday, October 21st.  As I said, I’m honored they included me in a story about men who support the fight against breast cancer.  I’m even more honored that they put me in a category with men who are in the “Who’s Who” of men against breast cancer.  I’m in the story with Mitchell Ashley, founder and blogger of BreastCancerForHusbands.com;  Woody Fraiser, Co-Founder of MenforWomenNow.org; Marc Heyison, Founder of MenAgainstBreastCancer.org and Eric Brinker, National Board Member of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  I have so much respect for these men and what they’ve accomplished, and now, I’m one of them!  I couldn’t be prouder!

Take a look at this story:

http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Health-Fitness/Conditions-Diseases/Men-Who-Support-the-Fight-Against-Breast-Cancer.html

Ed

“Putting on the Glitz” Komen Fundraiser!

Patty, Nicole and Linda (owner of Poway Jazzercise Fitness Center) hosted a “Putting on the Glitz” fundraising event to benefit  Susan G. Komen for the Cure this past Saturday at the Poway Jazzercise Fitness Center.  Unfortunately I had to work so I wasn’t able to attend but from what I heard, it was an evening filled with fun, sweat, friendship, tears, laughter, energy and best of all… money to donate to the cause!

Patty, Nicole and Linda worked hard over the past few weeks to pull this event together and their hard work proved to be successful as when all was said and done and the dollars were counted, they raised $2,340.00!   All together, team Patty in Pink has raised a grand total of $6,940.00!!  I think that’s quite an accomplishment to be proud of!

Since I was unable to attend the event and can’t really talk about it first hand, I’m letting Patty fill in the details…

This was such an inspiring fundraiser!!  The staff and teachers at Poway Jazzercise, along with many volunteers, put together an awesome spread of food.  We received so many wonderful raffle prizes, we had a table full of things to choose from.  At 6:00 p.m.  Linda, the owner and instructor along with my daughter, Nicole lead us in a Burn and Blast Jazzercise class.   The other instructors from Poway and Escondido got up on stage to help lead us.  There was so much energy in the room and so much love and support it brought tears to my eyes.  There were about 35 to 40 attendees, all dressed in their pink glitz.  The donations had already started coming in prior to the event and each women who attended donated a minimum of $20.00 for the class.  People were so generous.  After the class, we munched on healthy food, along with a lot of yummy treats and had the raffle drawing and a silent auction for Ryka shoes donated by Jazzercise.  It was a blast and I am definitely feeling the Burn and Blast today.  I am so humbled by all of the support Nicole and I received from the Poway/Escondido Jazzercisors.  There is a special camaraderie within the Jazzercise family and it was definitely reflected in this very special event. 

This event was so successful, I have a feeling this may be a yearly event!

Kristi, Patty and Nicole

Patty saying her "thanks" to everyone

Burn and Blast!

Nicole and Linda leading a classPatty thanking everyone for their support

More Burn and Blast!Keep going ladies!

Patty’s modeling debut!

Patty in her "evening wear" just after making her debut on the catwalk!

Patty made her modeling debut this morning for a Komen fundraiser at the Poway Stein Mart.  It was a small affair, but featured breast cancers survivors as models.

Patty had to be at the store by 10:00 a.m. to prep for the “show”.  The show was to start at 11:00 a.m.  She showed up right on time and I met her there later.  I wasn’t sure where they were holding the fashion show but I figured they’d most likely have it somewhere in the woman’s department.  As I strolled through women’s purses, underwear and bras, I heard laughter from a far corner of the store.  Those of you who know Patty, know she has a very distinctive laugh so I easily found her by walking in the direction of that contagious laugh!   As I got closer to the dressing room I heard Patty saying to someone: “You know, it’s really difficult wearing a jacket when you’re having a hot flash!  (That’s my girl… tell it like it is!)

The first look was “Evening Wear”.   Patty wore a  gorgeous blue dress with some pretty hot silver shoes.  I have to apologize, but being a guy I don’t quite have the words to accurately describe her outfit.  I all can say is that she looked pretty hot!  They strolled the “catwalk”, up and back in front of onlookers.  Once everyone did their stroll, they then walked the interior perimeter of the of the store showing people their ensemble.   Then they returned to the dressing room for a quick change into their “casual look”.

(again, please remember I’m a guy!)  Patty’s casual look consisted of a pair of dress jeans, button down blouse, leather jacket and high-heeled boots.  Again… pretty hot!  She looked great!  As before, the did their walk on the catwalk then paraded throughout the store.

The entire event took about a half hour and it was fun just the same.  The store gave Patty a discount on clothes for her participation.  She ended up buying the blue evening dress.  (good choice)

Overall, this little event was fun.  Patty had a good time… she received a good discount on clothes, and more importantly… it kept her mind busy!

Tonight is the Komen fundraiser that Patty, Nicole and Linda are hosting at Poway Jazzercise Fitness Center.  It should be a really run event!  (pictures to come!)

Here’s a few more pictures of Patty’s modeling debut…