Granddaughters can be the best medicine!

As you may know, Patty was given a clean bill of health by her oncologist last week. That was huge news for us! Then she had an appointment with her reconstruction surgeon who removed her stitches from the last surgery. She had nothing but good things to say about Patty’s progress! The results of these two appointments just gave Patty such a great outlook on the future!

Kennedy
Avery

We have two local granddaughters, Avery and Kennedy, who live within 15 minutes to the south and east of us. This is so convenient for a quick granddaughter fix!  Kennedy will be 7 months old next week and Avery will be one year next Monday. Patty and I watched Kennedy for an evening this Past Sunday night. Patty had a pretty quiet day on Sunday to the point where she was a little bored, but she lit up once Kennedy was dropped off. Whatever aches, pains or worries she had suddenly disappeared! Kennedy is a very low-key, roll with the punches little girl. It seems like nothing bothers her. She was a little fussy early on, but overall she was just an angel!

Patty’s full time job is watching Avery three or four days during the week. She started watching Avery back in January, shortly after she finished her last chemotherapy infusion. She was loving it but had to stop in late July when she underwent her first reconstruction surgery. She’s really missed Avery over the past two and a half months, but started watching her again this week. She’s loving it! Avery keeps her busy during the day, which in turn, keeps her mind off anything cancer related!

These two babies are so different! Like I said, Kennedy is very mellow, low-key and rolls with the punches. Avery is a little more intense, ok a lot more intense, but is sweet as can be and also just rolls with the punches. Patty just loves the two of them! (by the way, we have a third granddaughter, Mia, who lives outside of Phoenix, Az, whom we love very much!) These little girls give Patty so much hope!

All I wanted to do is thank God for our granddaughters!  They’re amazing little girls and without knowing it, are helping so much in Patty’s recovery!

Surgery Day!

Well… here we go again!  Surgery Day!  This is getting all too common lately.  I guess it could be worse as this is only Patty’s fourth cancer related surgery.  We should feel fortunate as there’s women out there who have had many more surgeries throughout their journey with breast cancer.

Patty’s surgery is scheduled for 1:30 this afternoon.  There’s always going to be some anxiety associated with surgery and this surgery is no different.  It’s pushing 11:00 a.m. right now and Patty’s trying to keep as busy as possible to pass the time.  Waiting is always the hardest part pre-surgery.  Her surgery last month was scheduled for 7:00 a.m. which was good.  The wait was still draining, but at least it was early in the morning.  This time you can literally hear the clock ticking away, second by second… tick, tick, tick!  I’m finding those “ticks” get louder as the waiting continues.

This surgery is scheduled to last between an hour and an hour and a half.  I’ve already prayed that things go as well or better than anticipated and that Patty’s recovery is quick with little or no pain!  Hey… it doesn’t hurt to ask!

I’ll keep you posted on how things turn out.

Distractions are golden!

Patty and I have been spinning the past few days over this latest turn of events.  As I’ve been saying, Patty’s frustration level has pretty much max’d.  I’ve been frustrated but I’ve also been at my wit’s end over a number of things.

Going back a couple of days… This past Monday, Patty called me when she learned that she was scheduled for a sonogram the following day.  Needless to say she was somewhat upset.  I zipped home to talk with her and reassure her that things were going to be ok.  We talked for a short time then Patty suggested we take a walk.  (As you know she’s starting to train for the Komen walk in November.)   That particular day was very hot with the temperature at our house hovering around 101 degrees!  She suggested we go down to the beach where the temps should be cooler.  As we drove to the beach, which is about a 15 minute drive from our house, Patty suggested that we take the walk  from Torrey Pines State Beach to La Jolla.  She said her sister had made this walk many times and really liked it.  Hey… Sounded good to me!

We were fortunate to find a parking place at the beach and maybe it being a Monday afternoon worked in our favor.  I got out of the car and realized the temperature was in the mid 70’s, so much nicer than inland at our house!  In fact, it was slightly overcast!  Perfect walking weather.  Patty wanted to get in a good six miles, which is in the neighborhood of a 90 minute walk.  We decided we’d walk south on the beach for 45 minutes then turn around and walk 45 minutes back to our car.  The beach wasn’t crowded at all.  We enjoyed watching people in the water, kids making sand castles and the hang gliders floating over Torrey Pines.  We were a good 30 minutes into our walk in an area that was somewhat secluded.  We could see people off in the distance ahead of us.  Suddenly Patty motions towards a man probably 50 yards ahead of us and asked: “Is that man naked?”  I looked and not wearing my glasses responded: “No… I think he’s just wearing a loose sweater!”   Patty looked at me like I was crazy.  We continued our walk.  As we got closer to the man, my eyes were able to focus better…. Yep!  He was naked!  He was walking around and in-between some fairly large boulders.  He wasn’t bothering anyone so we just walked by keeping our eyes forward.  We walked a few more yards and saw a man standing in the ocean in about a foot of water with an easel in front of him painting a seascape… naked!  Ok… he wore a baseball cap and a tank top, but other than that… naked!  Suddenly we were swarmed with nakedness from every angle!  It then dawned on me that we were at the infamous Blacks Beach, one of San Diego’s few nude beaches!  How this happened… I’ll never know!  I looked at my watch and we were now 35 minutes into our walk.  We still had another ten minutes to go until we could turn around.  No big… nudists don’t bother me nor Patty… we’ll just continue on our walk to the half way point, another ten minutes away.  And we did!  At one point I joked like I was taking off my shorts.  The expression on Patty’s face was priceless.  I did make an interesting observation during this 10 minute walk… there were probably fifty to sixty naked men in this stretch of beach and not one woman!  There were big naked men, short naked men, naked fat men, naked skinny men, naked hairy men, naked young men, naked old men, naked tan men, naked white men, naked black men, naked men with long hair, naked bald men,  naked men with tattoos… but not one woman!  What’s up with that?  We finally got to the 45 minute mark of our walk and… we had the privilege of turning around and going through the naked mine field again!

We finished our 90 minute walk and returned to our car.  We had a good laugh about the whole experience.

I learned something that afternoon… I now know what to do with Patty if she’s having a bad day!   If a good laugh at Blacks Beach doesn’t get her mind off things, nothing will!

A year later…

Nearly one year ago when Patty had her first chemotherapy infusion.

Today is a landmark day for me… exactly one year ago I started writing this blog.  Over seven thousand hit’s later, it’s going strong.

Today’s personal achievement made me reflect over the past year… and it’s been quite a ride for the two of us.   Patty and I have experienced so many  ups and downs over the past year, but I realized that the “downs”  really make you appreciate the “ups” when they arrive!

At first, the ups and down seemed to change daily but it seemed like the “downs” were winning!  The “suspicious lump” (down), the actual diagnosis (down), the faulty PET Scan (down), the CAT Scan that disproved the cancer had matastasized (Huge UP), the mastectomy (down and an up), Patty’s quick recovery from the surgery (Huge up), Chemotherapy (down and up), Patty shaving her head before chemo got it (down)… I could go on and on, but the bottom line is… here it is over one year later and Patty is doing so well. (definitely the biggest UP of them all!!!)

Patty’s recovering from her reconstruction surgery.  Sure, she has some pain related to it, but she’s getting stronger everyday.  She does tire easily, but that’s expected.  Her sister Kathy is staying with us this week to help out.  Believe me, her being here is such a help!

So one year of blogging.  A year ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone write one!   But over seven thousand hit from literally around the world is an accomplishment for me.  I really realize the power of the internet as I’m getting hits from Athens, London, Russia, Bucharest, Melbourne, Punjab, Canada to name a few and countless cities across the United States.  I’m hoping this blog is helping others who are newly diagnosed or the caregiver for someone with cancer.  It may not have all the answers, but it relays how Patty and I have dealt with the day to day trials of living with breast cancer.

I’m shooting for another year…  to be continued!

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!

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!

A visit with the reconstruction surgeon…

Well, as I’ve said before, Patty is really doing well.  She’s got her energy back, her strength back and pretty much all her hair back… well… sorta.

She had an appointment with the reconstruction surgeon this past Wednesday.  If you recall, that darned incision hadn’t completely healed since July!!!  We were hoping she’d meet with the reconstruction surgeon this time and he’d say that she’s all healed and now they can start with the reconstruction.  Well, that didn’t quiet happen.  This time the surgeon said that she is “over healed!”  Go figure.  We don’t really know what that means other than we have to wait another month and see how things are doing.  Pretty disappointing since it’s warming up down here and I know Patty would really like to get in the pool!  I guess she has to be satisfied with cold showers to cool off for the time being!

I can say that this news isn’t getting her down in the least!  We have too much going on to, as she says:  “Sweat the small stuff!”