Before my diagnosis came back I scoured the net looking for real life images & references to help me understand what I was dealing with. So I'm sharing this with you, hoping to aid anyone elses who finds themselves in a similar situation.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006
It's been a while

Guess it's been a while since I've posted.

There simply came a time when I was too tired of talking about cancer, or reading or even just thinking about cancer - and there came a time when I was just simply too tired.

And I can't say that I'm through with either - but I did want to update - and hopefull they'll be more.

For now - I'm through with Chemo - all in all it went well. They pump you with enough drugs to combat nausea and such that it was tolerable.

Now I'm in radiation - and that too is going well. I'm tired, but so much closer to the end then the beginning. What a great feeling.

Oh, and my hair is starting to come back :D

Friday, April 21, 2006

There is something
about a woman
with no breasts

trying to write a poem
about her husband's socks
and the way he makes her

becoming distracted
by a draft of air
across her scalp

discovering her two teenage boys

Tuesday, April 04, 2006
It's National Poetry Month

so I thought I'd share this find.


I may even print out the 2005 edition so I can read it during my next treatment.

Saturday, March 25, 2006
Re: Poetry

I'm trying to use some of my time to get back into the reading and writing of poetry and I found myself inspired to try a bit of Minimalist Concrete Poetry.

Here's my go at it - "Biopsy"

And for those who like a bit more substance, I've found myself drawn to some of the works of Doriane Laux and thought I'd share.


Today is Day 11, and it's the best I've felt since D1. I still don't have much energy - folding one load of whites wore me out yesterday, but I think that might have more to do with the mastectomy then the chemo. I have no arm strength.

I'll be getting Neulasta shots to boost my white blood counts one week, and Aranesp the following week to boost my red's. Both of these left me feeling pretty achy and tired. This first week I also needed an Infed Infusion to help with anemia. This took around 4 hours to administer so I'm glad it doesn't happen often.

BTW - Chemo is also more time consuming than I expected. I thought I'd be at the center every Wednesday (D1/D8) - turns out I'm there Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Wednesday.

All in all the process isn't so terrible, certainly not pleasant. The people at the Cancer Center are wonderful, and in suprisingly good spirits, which really helps the patients deal with the emotions of what it is they are dealing with.

The next big event is Monday .....buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, March 09, 2006
Disability or not?

If you can - do it.

One of the best things about being out on disability - is flexibility.
Everytime an appointment is added or adjusted - I deal with it - no problem. If I was working, and had deadlines to meet, and had to make my time up everytime I was out - I'd be so stressed out it would have to be unhealthy.

Just a Sample:

  • Friday: Got a phone call - "Please go to [out of town hospital] to get CD of MRI records for Radiation Oncologist on Tuesday, and to [downtown medical center] to get Mammogram's from first appointment in October".

  • Monday: Go to [Surgical Hospital] to preregister; go to [downtown medical center] to get Mammogram's from first visit. (BTW - they weren't there - [out of town hospital] hadn't returned them yet from appointment in January.)

  • Tuesday: See Radiation Oncologist - who didn't look at MRI data

  • Wednesday: Take Son to see Orthopaedic (he may have broken/bone bruised his elbow just over a week ago and had a call back visit - real life does go on); also got a call this morning to go into work to get personal stuff - they're moving my workspace this weekend.

  • Thursday: Go to [Surgical Hospital]. Initially just port placement - be there at 10:30; As of wednesday afternoon it is lab work, ekg & port placement - be there at 9:00.

  • Friday: R&R!!!!!

  • Wednesday, March 08, 2006
    We have a decision

    Yes. We finally came to a decision concerning radiation. Actually, I came to this decision a long time ago - it was just getting the rest of the team on board that seemed to take so long. I am going to get radiation - and I'm thrilled.

    I want to know that at the end of the day, I've done everything I could to fight this. I didn't have confidence in the justification for not considering radiation, so I thought it needed to be discussed;which is what the National recommendations call for. So if you are a 1-3 node positive patient please ask that the specifics of your case be discussed - it truly is a gray area - and this decision is crucial. Radiation is something you don't want if you don't need, but if you need it, by all means you want it. In my case, my age, the fact that I had macrometastasis in each of the positive lymph nodes (despite my tumor being small), and that only 7 nodes were dissected were the contributing factors.

    I feel so much better now.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006
    1 to 3

    Here's the thing:

    If you have 4 positive nodes - seems you get radiation therapy - even after a mastectomy. No positive nodes - no radiation therapy. Pretty Simple.

    But, what if you have 1 to 3 positive nodes? What's a girl to do?
    Well, seems the experts don't know what to do with you.

    "There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations or suggestions for the routine use of PMRT in patients with T1/2 tumors with one to three positive nodes."

    Is it me, or is that a crock?

    So here I am with possibly 2 or 3 positive nodes (don't know which since the pathologist did such a crappy job writing the path report) and I don't know whether to get radiation therapy or not. I don't want it if I don't need it. It damages your body, and cancer patients go through enough damage as it is with the surgeries and chemo; but if I do need it - if I'm one of the people it will help - then I want it. And I want it now, before I get breast reconstruction - it's the main reason why we delayed reconstruction in the first place and I certainly don't want a recurrance in a few years, after the reconstruction, only to have my new breasts destroyed. That is unacceptable.


    Microcalcifications on Right Breast
    Birad 4


    Tumor 1: Size: 1cm; ER+(77%), PR+(10%), HER2/neu:2+ (positive?)(2) - FISH to confirm
    Tumor 2: Size: .2cm; ER+(73%), PR-(1%), HER2/neu:1+ (negative?) (1.3)

    Nuclear Score: 3
    Tubular Score: 3
    Mitotic Score: 2

    Staging: TBD based on positve node count after Bilateral Mastectomy


    March 15 - Chemo started March 9 - Port installed
    February 9 - Bilateral Mastectomy
    January 23 - Bilateral MRI
    January 20 - Genetic Counseling
    December 8 - Lumpectomy with Sentinel Node Biopsy
    November 8 - Excisional biopsy
    November 3 - Stereotactic core biopsy on 2/3 sites
    October 28 - Digital Mammogram
    October 20 - Meeting with surgeon (Dr. gr8). Fine Needle Aspiration.
    October 18 - Meeting w/ PCP - surgeon recommended
    October 14 - Mammogram (w/immediate call back for magnified images) & ultrasound.


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    Nabby Adams

    When I first discover I had cancer I said - better today than 20 years ago,(much less early 1800's)

    This Essay on Nabby Adams shows just how far we've come.

    Journal | Mammogram | Timeline | Diagnosis | Nabby Adams |