A Mother and her Two Daughters

04 May 2010

All The Good News That’s Fit To Print

The news continues to be good.  My blood counts were at normal levels.  And the report from Dr. Makhoul was again very positive – a physical exam ONLY but showing much improvement since February.  We then moved on to the Infusion Center for my 5th chemo treatment. 

The regime for taking Taxol is somewhat different than that for Adriamycin.  Last night I took two steroid tablets, two more steroid tablets early this morning before leaving for UAMS.  Then six more tablets of anti-nausea and more steroids from the chemo nurse this afternoon.  That was followed by an injection of an antihistamine – much more potent than your typical Benadryl and will knock you off your feet!!!  I immediately went into Slumber Land.  Evidently all of this is because patients have a tendency to have an allergic reaction to Taxol.  This is the reason it is VERY SLOWLY administered, THREE HOURS from start to finish.  

When the chemo treatment was complete, Tim and I moved over to the Women’s Oncology Center to meet with Dr. Suzanne Klimberg, my surgeon.  Mom joined us, as she was anxious to meet my nationally acclaimed physician.  While sitting in the waiting room, we met a lovely woman from Texarkana who is in the final stages of her treatment, surgery complete.  She told Mom that she granted permission for a physician from M.D. Anderson to observe her breast surgery, to try to learn some of her talented surgical skills that make her one of the best in the US.  M.D. Anderson coming to learn from UAMS?  Need I say more?   

In a nutshell:
  • I haven’t met with Dr. Klimberg as a patient since the day of my diagnosis, February 17th.  She was marveled at the good work of Dr. Makhoul and could not believe the difference in my breast tissue. 
  • My final chemo day (8th treatment) will be June 15th.  Dr. Klimberg said that she needs me to be off of chemo for a month as it has a tendency to break down the healing process.  Therefore, my surgery is tentatively scheduled for July 19th.  I was hopeful that it would be sooner but goodness knows that this is major surgery and I will need everything to go my way. 
  • We decided on a double bilateral mastectomy versus the right breast only.  Some studies show that this might decrease my chances of IBC recurrence from 50% to about 25%.  I’m all for that!!  Of course, this will also include the lymph nodes under my right arm. 
  • Reconstructive surgery will have to wait.  Because post-surgery will require more chemotherapy along with radiation treatment, Dr. Klimberg said that the radiation is much more effective without any obstacles, direct hit to the affected tissue area.  

 Of course, all of this means that I’m going to be completely focused on getting Anna-Lee ready for college BEFORE surgery.  She will leave for the University of Arkansas the first of August.  I’m going to have to get my to-do list going very soon. 

A nice surprise today between appointments included coffee and a nice visit with our longtime friend Mark Hagemeier.  Mark used to work with Tim and for Governor Beebe at the Attorney General’s Office.  He now works as an attorney at UAMS.  Mark is another one of my prayer warriors, and I get the most uplifting notes from him regularly, including an entire series of postcards from his family Spring Break trip to Texas.  It was great to see Mark and to share with him all the great things going on at UAMS from a patient perspective.  He’s quite lucky to be working for such a magical healthcare institution. 

I feel very good about what lies ahead.  By meeting with both of my wise doctors today, I feel doubly empowered.  We make a great team, I can just feel it, and I look forward to moving ahead with my their treatment plan.  

We spent the entire day at UAMS,  from 8:30 am - 6:30 pm.  It was a very long day, I'm tired, and I will turn in soon for what I hope will be a good night's sleep.


  1. HOORAY FOR GOOD NEWS!!!!! You keep fighting and we'll keep praying.

  2. Stacy, my hopes and prayers are with you. You're doing wonderful things. July 19.

  3. Wonderful news, Stacy! You are blessed to have a regiment of friends and family who continue to cheer you on and pray fervently for you, your family and your medical team!


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