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!

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!

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!

There’s no place like home!

What an exciting couple of weeks this has been for me and Patty.  Exciting, but a lot of work.  I had forgotten just how draining a move can be!

I have to say, coordinating the sale and closing of the condo with the purchase and closing of the new house went as smooth as anyone could ask for.  The condo closed one day and the house closed two days later.  Not one hitch!

Patty did a lot of the packing of the condo while I was at work.  She did a great job other than packing a few of the boxes with more than one human could lift.  I had a ton of help from my son Steven and my son-in-law, Joey.  We rented a 26 foot truck.  One would think a 26 footer would be more than enough truck to handle all our things, but between the condo and what we had in storage, it took two trips.  We started moving around 11:00 a.m. and ended at straight up 7:00 p.m.  Needless to say, I was one tired puppy by the end of the day!

From the moment we were told that our mortgage recorded at the County Recorders office and we unlocked the front door to our new home, we knew buying this house was the right decision.  It just felt right!  It felt like home!  Our home!  Now, over the past week, we’ve put a dent in unpacking boxes and little by little it’s taking shape.  Quite honestly, it’s looking pretty awesome!  I wish I knew where the camera was so I could post some pictures of what we’ve done.  I’m sure the camera is packed in some box in the garage.  The question is… Which box?

This house just screams: “Let’s entertain!”  Well, tomorrow is Easter Sunday.  Patty’s so excited to show off the house, she’s invited the whole family for Easter dinner… 15 people total.  It’ll be great to have our first party which I’m sure will be the first of many to parties to come!

Patty is doing really well in her recovery.  She’s been training for the Komen walk in November and has been attending training walks with a group a couple times a week.

Patty took a big step forward in her recovery this week.  She’s decided to no longer wear a wig.  This is a big step for her!  She does’t need the wig anymore.  Her hair is coming in as thick as you could imagine.  It’s at least a quarter of an inch now and it looks really really good!  I’ve been pushing her for a few weeks now to go au-natural.  But, she needed to do it on her time.  So, this week she finally said: “That’s it!  I’m done.”   She said she feels a little self-conscious at times, but I don’t know why.  She’s looks gorgeous as usual!

Patty got an email the other day from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in San Diego.  Major League Baseball is honoring breast cancer survivors on Mother’s Day, Mary 8th.  They’re asking for as many breast cancer survivors as possible to go to the Padre vs. Diamondback’s game that afternoon.  All the survivors will be honored on the field before the game!   Patty is so excited to be on the field with her “Sisters” that afternoon!  I’ll be so proud to watch her!  I’ll do all I can to find the darned camera before then so I can post pictures after the event!

Sorry for no pictures for this post.  I’ll have some new ones on her soon!

Until then… life is good!

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!