28 February 2010
27 February 2010
- You should shop for a wig BEFORE your hair falls out.
- Hair loss should happen 14 to 18 days from the start of chemotherapy.
- Central Arkansas has a great wig store, which will go unnamed for purposes of this true story.
After a few fun wigs for Mary Ruth, it's now my turn. I have to admit it was rather difficult at first. Nothing I put on seemed to remind me of myself. Too long, bad color, not my hair style. In fact, what I finally realize is that I really don’t have a style. My real hair kind of just sits on my head unless it’s a special day that requires a real hairdo.
26 February 2010
- Made a list of everything I love to eat. Then went to the market and bought all the ingredients. I’m only going to eat things I covet between now and next Friday.
- Wrote 24 thank you notes. Then ordered more notes to send to friends who have sent food, flowers, potted lavender, angel pins, meditation books, healing crosses and prayer shawls – and boxing gloves too.
- Called the repair man and got my gate fixed so “The Great Canine Escape Artist” (a.k.a. Abbey) can’t roam the neighborhood anymore.
- Bought paper goods, toiletries, and dog/cat food to last for a month.
- Abbey got a bath.
- Located a good wig store in North Little Rock. Did you know you can get almost any color and style you want, and they’ll even cut a wig to match the cut you have right now??
- Found a very cool web site to purchase high-fashion turbans. I even found a very dressy one to wear Easter and to Allyson and Anna-Lee’s graduations.
- Cleaned out a few closets.
- Ordered a new bumper for my car. Did I forget to tell you that somebody wrecked my car the morning I found out I had cancer? It was really a bad day!
- Downloaded some relaxing music for daily meditation.
- Reviewed the "favorite food list", then made some adjustments. Went to another market and bought more food.
- Found another web site that carries Raquel Welch wigs. Maybe, much later, when I get new body parts, I can get some other stuff that looks like Raquel Welch. HA!!!
- Bought new sheets for Allyson’s bed – she comes home Tuesday to spend almost a week at home!
25 February 2010
Before treatment can begin, I will have two more tests. One is a MUGA scan, which is a nuclear medicine test to evaluate the function of the heart ventricles. This is important to make sure my heart is in good enough shape to handle the type of chemotherapy that I’m going to be taking. The other test will be another MRI to check on some baseline markers for future evaluation.
24 February 2010
Love to you all. I meet with my oncologist tomorrow afternoon and will learn much more. I’ve heard nothing but terrific reports about Dr. Makhoul. Keep wishing for me - upon a star, in your prayers, three coins in a fountain, whatever you think might work. Many thanks and much love!
23 February 2010
Often God’s greatest gifts come to us in disguises. The past two days I have seen God’s gifts and they have come to me as my fellow sisters, courageous survivors who will lift me up along the way.
22 February 2010
21 February 2010
For several months I’ve known something wasn’t right with my body. I’ve had tests, more tests, blood work, scans and more scans. But the damndest thing about Inflammatory Breast Cancer is that it’s called “the silent cancer.” No lump, and very seldom found by the traditional mammogram. Instead, it presents itself in the form of breast inflammation, redness and swelling. Two days after it presented it’s nasty self to me, I went to the doctor and the procedures began. But who knows how long it has been there, invading my breast? It’s a very rare type of breast cancer, with only 1% of breast cancers being IBC. While the average 5-year survival rate for the more common breast cancers is now 87%, the survival rate for IBC is 40%. As one friend said to me yesterday, “You sure know how to pick the difficult battles of life.” But hey - I'm thinking that 40% are outstanding odds for a "tough as gristle" girl like me.
While the diagnosis is not necessarily the best, family and friends continue to remind me that cancer never met a tougher bird than me. I’ve battled the tobacco industry, the powerful health insurance lobby, tough legislators and an army of school superintendents who wanted to keep schools the same. And my track record is this – I beat them all! So, I plan on taking on this war with breast cancer just like all my other battles – with a strong will and determination to win! I WILL NOT LET YOU TAKE ME DOWN!! I’m not giving up and I plan to fight like hell. I saw a bumper sticker several months ago that has stuck in my mind: “Whoever said that winning isn’t everything wasn’t fighting breast cancer.”
I keep telling myself, “Cancer does not have a brain or a heart or a spirit – but I DO!”
Since Wednesday, I’ve been fortunate enough to be under the care of Dr. Suzanne Klimberg, Director of Breast Surgical Oncology at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute – both of them world renowned in breast cancer research and treatment. And since Dr. Klimberg took me under her wing, I have had more digital imaging and lots of lab work. Tomorrow they will insert an intravenous port in my chest where I’ll receive my chemotherapy treatments. On Wednesday I’ll be at UAMS for an MRI and a PET scan procedure. While the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes, this test will determine if it has spread anywhere else inside my body. And finally, on Thursday, I’ll meet with Dr. Issam Makhoul (pronounced “McCool” – how cool is that?) who will be my medical oncologist. He’s the one working with my pathology reports trying to determine my “chemotherapy cocktail.” Those who know him say he is the best. Dr. Klimberg told me that and Mackhoul has developed some new chemotherapy treatments for IBC – and having some positive results. All of this is very good news for me and the other IBC patients at the WPR Cancer Institute. What a cool breast team I have!!
Cancer will not take away my spirit!! As the doctors tend to my body, my spirit is what will keep me alive. And I will continue to remember – I have a fighting spirit, while cancer has no spirit.
When you say a prayer for me, please say one for Allyson and Anna-Lee too. They need God’s love, and your love too. Thank you my dear family and friends. You give me energy, and you keep my spirit alive! I will never lose spirit!