Saturday, November 19, 2011

3 years out

Wow - another year has past. Did I really wait a year to post again?? Interesting how time flies. There is still a day that I don't forget what's happened over the last 3 years. Not I day I don't wish my Mom was here...
I am a 3 year survivor! How amazing... It's been interesting to say the least. I've been blessed with many wonderful people in my life. God has given me another 3 years here to do my thing :) So much has happened in the last year.
I've just been going. I'm still needing at least 1 more surgery. I had a revision surgery 2/11 and since then, things have been quiet.
This fall has brought lots of changes with the girls. Learning high school again with Jessica and Kate's first experience at middle school and Jenny is now 1/2 thru elementary school. They are all doing well and I'm very proud of them. Al continues to be my support. He is an amazing man. My in-laws are continuously helping with the girls... we are super lucky to have them here in Michigan helping us so much...
to be cont...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's been too long...

It's been over a year since I posted... odd how life takes us in so many directions. I am now almost 2 years from diagnosis (in November). And yet - that diagnosis is apart of my everyday life. My life never went back to normal - everyday is impacted by my Breast Cancer.
As I mentioned a year ago - I did have reconstruction surgery last year in November. It was horrible. There was so much post-surgical pain. The right side that had been radiated would not/could not stretch. That side was in constant pain. In late December, I developed an infection on that side and they tried treating with antibiotics - that was not successful and on December 22, 2009 - my doctor cut out the tissue expander on the right. That appointment left me stunned and dazed. I was in the doctor's office for a check-up when he decided that the infection was too bad and he made a small incision to check things. He decided that it needed to come out - right there. With no anesthesia or a numbing shot or any warning; he cut me open and ripped out the expander... it was quite horrible. It was an extremely messy sight and too many details would be upseting. The result was one expander was removed without chance of going back in; I was left with a hole in my chest and was told it needed to heal from the inside out and slowly. That was how Christmas went that year - I was very uncomfortable and still quite shocked by the incident. I ended up with another infection in the wound and starting seeing my primary doctor for it - who in turned ordered an at home wound nurse to visit me. I slowly healed over the next few months. It wasn't until March (3 months later) that the hole healed closed. Unfortunately, it healed to my chest wall and left me more scarred.
In February 2010, I attended a Breast Cancer Conference in Atlanta, GA. It was a great weekend and I got to see my sister-in-law and her family while I was there. I also got to meet so many women impacted by B/C and learned many lessons there. I discovered a newer procedure which is only done by a limited number of doctors in the US - that uses skin grafts or flaps (skin flaps) to help with damaged tissue caused by radiation. It is called a DIEP-Flap procedure and is different from the more used TRAM-Flap procedure. The benefit of the DIEP is that no stomach muscle is used with the flaps. It's a pretty intricate procedure.
I spoke to my Oncologist about the procedure and she recommended a doctor in Michigan who did it (Dr. Studinger out of St. Johns). I was able to meet with this amazing doctor. She is one of the limited number of doctors who perform this very detailed surgery and she is one of a handful that perform Lymphnode Transplant surgery. I spoke to her regarding both procedures (as mentioned in a previous post I had 41 positive lymphnodes removed from my auxillary area near the breast cancer). The process with her started in April 2010 and has gone to September 2010 for the surgery. The process was long in some part by choice. I wanted to wait on having such a involved surgery until after Katie's 6th grade camp trip. I was able to chaperone and was so lucky for that opportunity.
On 9/28/2010, I underwent surgery. What is normally a 10-12 hour surgery, turned into a 2-day surgery that lasted 12 hours the first day and 15 hours the second day. I had a couple of complications that slowed her process down - but she was able to perform both the DIEP-Flap reconstruction and the Lymphnode Transplant. Recovery has been slow - coming out of so much anesthesia and surgery time took a toll on my body. I am gaining strength everyday.
The process will not end for a while. There will be a revision surgery and then a few more minor things for the whole process.
I'm blessed to have such a wonderful family and support system. Al has been a continuously amazing as a caregiver, husband, and father. My mother-in-law has done so much for me and has showed our family so much kindess. Support from my sisters and help with kids and pep-talks; support from my sister-in-laws who are always there with a card and phone call. And friends with cards/calls/flowers/candy/messages... It all means a lot to me.
That is the catch-up of the last year. I have been blessed too with having such a great support system with the support group I attend (Young Survival Coalition) and the friends I have made there. There were many more things that happened over the year with family and friends and trips and activities. I have continued with check-ups with all of my doctors and all is well with those.
I will not let another year go by... God Bless! Kristy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Another Month

Well - another month has gone by. It's been a busy month. With school starting and all of the girls activities back in swing. We are just spinning. Jess is doing dance and volleyball, catechism and lots of school homework. Kate has dance, soccer, catechism, and lots of school homework and she's VP of Student Council. Jenny has dance, soccer, catechism (just a little homework) and some family projects. Trying to get the 3 of them to all of their activities has been a challenge. There is a lot of overlapping and back to back functions. But we are managing.
I have not stopped wearing my wig altogether. It feels good to not wear it. But, the weather is now cold and my ears are chili!
I'm grateful for each day here with my family and friends. I'm blessed to love and be loved.
I had a check-up this week and a bone density test. They will keep track of my bones for Osteoporosis now due to the lack of estrogen in my body. I start on an Estrogen blocker called Arimedex.
It is getting close to my one year mark. I have surgery scheduled for November 4th for reconstruction.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Treatments Done

Chemo done. Radiation done. Wow!
I have started calling myself a survivor... seems odd. I guess you could say I've been surviving since diagnosis, but I have now gone from surviving to survivor! There is not a day that goes by that this disease does not impact me. From physical to emotional to pyschology. My thoughts are filled with it. But it gets better. I think and talk and dream of other things again.
We went on vacation after radiation. My husband and daughters and I went to Kalahari (Sandusky, OH) - it is the largest indoor water park in the U.S. Well worth the trip and money. We had a blast. My girls loved it and so did Al and I. We went on all the rides and really enjoyed our time together. The idea came from Linda as she was going with her family and we joined in and extended our stay with an extra day. What fun!
The cholorine and being wet so much and so long were not idea for my radiation site. It was very itchy and has really started to peel. But, I enjoyed it and would do it over again. I am starting to heal. My skin was very burned and now is a dark shade and like I said it has started to peel. Nothing that time and cream won't fix.
Looking forward to the weekend and preparing for the first day of school on Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One More Radiation Treatment

I have one more treatment of radiation left. That's tomorrow morning; by 9:00 am I will be finished. YEAH!
I'll have 16 rounds of chemo and 28 rounds of radiation completed. The following week I get my braces off and I start physical therapy as well. Then I'll have reconstructive surgery and hopefully my port out at the same time.
I look back now and have a hard time realizing what all I've been through. I miss my Mom. I wish she was still here to celebrate the end of this process... or almost the end.
My skin is quite burned from the radiation. My collarbone area is really burned. Underneath my arm is also very red. The whole area around my right side is burned. Some parts more so than others.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Radiaton Continues

Continuing with radiation. My last day of Radiation is Wednesday, 8/19/09. It's been going ok. Very tiring. Making my way down to the hospital each morning by 8:40AM. It's like a job; Monday thru Friday.
The last couple of weeks have been filled with some anxiety. I was told 2 weeks ago that when they did the Cat Scan while setting me up for Radiation, the scan found a spot on my liver. The doctor wanted me to get an Ultrasound so they could figure out what the spot was. The thought was that it was just a cyst. However, it could mean that the cancer had spread. I scheduled the Ultrasound and waited for the results. The results came in last week and they were inconclusive. That was very frustrating. The Ultrasound only showed what the Cat Scan showed, that there was a lesion on the liver, but not what that cyst/lesion was. So, the doctor scheduled a Cat Scan with Contrast which would show a definitive answer (hopefully). So, the days just continued with that thought in the back of my mind, wondering if the cancer spread. Did it get past those lymph nodes and spread to another area of my body. It was really impacting my way of thinking. I realize that, now. How I was thinking of the future and how I was making decisions. The waiting was really bothering me though I was trying to act like it wasn't. I had the CT with Contract 2 days ago (Thursday). They called me yesterday afternoon and told me that the spot on my liver was not cancer. What a relief. It was a Liver Hemangioma. They say that this is usually formed prior to birth. [[Liver hemangioma (he-man-jee-O-muh) is a noncancerous (benign) mass that occurs in the liver. A liver hemangioma is made up of a tangle of poorly formed blood vessels. Most cases of liver hemangioma are discovered during a test or procedure for some other condition. Most people who have a liver hemangioma never experience signs and symptoms and never need treatment.]]
So, things are back to good. I know I can beat this. Just 8 more radiation treatments.
Thanks to my wonderful husband yet again, who was so helpful in getting stuff scheduled timely and wanting to be with me at my appointments when I get all my news. Love him :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Radiation has begun this week. So far not too bad. I know it will get harder as time goes. Today was day 3. They are radiating 4 different spots; around the lymph node area and the chest wall and from the back towards the lymph nodes they removed. I had my trial run about a week and a half ago. They marked me and took some scans so that they knew where to radiate. They gave me 7 little circle tattoos which are permanent. These help them know how to line me up each day and where to radiate. It's pretty interesting how they do it. Al came with me to the first appointment and the nurse explained all the marks and how they do things. Busy week with starting radiation and Katie in soccer camp and Jenny in a summer dance class for the week.
I've been staying busy too; between work and activities. Now that chemo is over, I'm getting my energy back some. I'm playing softball. I've been on my team since I was 16 and only missed the season I had Jenny. So, my team is kind enough to let me play. I wasn't sure how I would do and if I was strong enough. I've surprised myself. My batting has been pretty good (with the exception of the last game). I've only played the field a couple of times; I want to be an asset for my team, not a hindrance. So, I've been taking things slowly. My team is in first place with a 8-1 record. So, we are pretty proud of that!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Well, chemo is over. I don't think my body could have handled anymore. I constantly feel like I've just been swiped by a mac-truck. My body should start feeling better as the days away from chemo continue.
I had my consultation with the radiation doctor. She says I will be on radiation for 5 weeks, with a possible 8 day boost after that. A couple of people from my support group are in radiation right now. They say the worse of radiation is the burning/blistering/peeling of the skin at the sight of the radiation. I will start that on July 13th. We are going to Port Austin the weekend before I start. I'm hoping to be feeling good by then and enjoy the weekend away with my family.
Life just continues on. Tomorrow will be the first Thursday in 3 months that I don't go for chemo. What a strange feeling. My nurses gave me a very nice "You Did It" card and I gave the nurse I had for 15 of the 16 rounds a little gift from me. She was fabulous; very caring and knowledgeable.
Yeah! No more chemo!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One More To Go

Well, I have one more chemo treatment to go.
It's been crazy-busy at our household since the last I wrote. We have been to Ohio for Katie's soccer tournament on Memorial weekend; we did Race for the Cure the next weekend (Katie and I in the picture above); we had dance recital for all 3 girls this last weekend; and this coming weekend Kate has 3v3 soccer tournament on Saturday.
Tomorrow, Thursday, is my last chemo treatment - Round 16. I can't believe it is here. I have felt so tired and exhausted these last couple weeks wondering how I was going to make it to the end. But now it is here. It's been an emotional week. We had Kindergarten graduation today for Jenny and 6th Grade graduation last night for Jessica. Lots of pride and happiness for them. Even for the dance recital this past weekend. The girls dance so beautifully. I have been filled with pride as they all have accomplished a lot this last month. Katie ran and was elected for Vice President of Student Council. Jessica received a lot of awards at her graduation, one of them being the President's Award which is given for a combination of grades and MEAP scores. Jessica was all A honor-roll throughout elementary (4th-6th).
Chemo has taken it's toll on me. My face and hands have received the worse of it. I've got blisters on my hands and feet and now in the last few weeks my face has had a rash and is red and swollen a little. My fingernails are so sensitive and bruised.
I hope tomorrow goes smoothly; right after chemo I have a consultation with the Radiation Oncologist to discuss my Radiation treatment. That will start a few weeks after chemo ends.
Two weeks ago I received info on the clinical trial that I am in for chemo. There were 3 Arms that I could have been placed in. The first received normal chemo drugs with no additional drug (placebo), the second received normal chemo drugs with an additional drug called Avastin, the third received normal chemo drugs with the additional drug Avastin and then a request to go another 10 rounds of chemo with the Avastin only. I fell into Arm 2, I received regular chemo drugs with the Avastin drug. I was very happy that I was able to get the extra drug. It gives me a chance to fight it just a little extra.
Cheers for tomorrow! Last round :-)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Round 11

Well, another successful round of chemo. I have 5 more rounds to go. Things are moving right along. I had a really bad sore throat last week and had to see the physician to make sure it wasn't anything serious. Thankfully it was nothing too important. They gave a special rinse for it. Went to the Dentist on Monday this week and she was able to smooth down the brackets that sit on the inside part of my mouth that have been tearing up my tongue. I also got some new bands that are now shifting things around a little more aggressively so my mouth is sore.

The teachers/staff at my daughters' school have been doing dinner for our family on Thursdays. It has been so nice and helpful. Al and I are gone all day at chemo and usually get home around 3 and I'm exhausted, so it's been great to have dinner not to think about. Everybody has been so fantastic at their school. We've had such a variety of foods and treats. Usually 2-3 people collaborate into such a variety of meals. Last night we enjoyed Mexican in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Each week it's something new and different and my family has enjoyed it each time.

They say it takes a village to raise a family and I agree. If we can just all be supportive to those we care about around us. My sister-in-law Linda has been keeping the post office busy. She sends me a card about once a week from Tennessee. Little inspirational cards that tell me to keep being positive, to stay strong and keep moving forward. It's all the little things. Just a cheerful hello when I see people and they ask me how I am doing and I understand that they are asking me an important question; not just the generic pleasantries.
Thanks again to all!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Round

Another round down. They are flying by. I can't quite keep up with the months. It seems like the weeks are going by so fast. I'm down to 7 more weeks of chemo.
As the weather gets nicer it gets a little harder. I can't wear the baggy shirts/sweatshirts that cover my surgery. My wig gets hot and it's harder to wear in the heat. Around the house, I usually wear a lite hat or a scarf or nothing. But, when I'm out I wear the wig and it just is so hot, and I haven't really experienced the hot heat. Just some little teasers of warm weather. I'm sure I will adjust.
We had another busy weekend between shopping, church, and soccer. And the girls just enjoying the weather (in-between the storms).
My sisters and I picked out a gravestone for my Mom and Step-Dad. It still seems so odd with both of them gone. My family is still missing Grandma and Grandpa.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

4 Weeks

Well - it's been 4 weeks... just couldn't seem to work my thoughts into writing anything. Things have been busy. Up and down. Missing my Mom and step-Dad. Keeping busy with the girls. They, thankfully, go non-stop, so it's nice to be distracted.
I've started my new chemo drug. I've gone 4 rounds already. I am halfway through my treatments; 8 down - 8 to go. The Taxol seems to be going better then the first drug. It makes me more tired but less nauseous. My body is sore and I'm always tired. My hands are pretty sore. My fingers and fingertips have blistered from the new drug. My hands are very sensitive to the hot and cold; along with my mouth. My mouth has been sore, but not as bad as I've heard it can get. I was so nervous to start this drug. Can't remember if I mentioned that my Mom had a bad reaction to this drug Taxol. During her second treatment, she stopped breathing and was rushed to the emergency room from the Cancer center. Thankfully, I have not had any problems. My nurses have been great. I've had the same nurse for all 8 rounds so far. She is wonderful. She was my Mom's nurse for some of her treatments as well and knew her and my step-Dad and knows what I'm going through with their loss.
I've been to a support group for young women with breast cancer. It is called the Young Survivor Coalition (YSC) and meets where I have my chemo treatments, the Van Elslander Cancer Center. I've been to two meetings so far. It is good to meet other young women who have young families who have gone through or are going through the same/similar thing. Half of them are younger than me and the other older. It's amazing that some of these women have been diagnosed so young, early thirties. I joined them (YSC) this past Saturday at a seminar that focused on care and treatment for young women with breast cancer. It was very informative, but also very scary.
We had a good break from school. We were able to enjoy some time together and enjoy the weather. We went to the Zoo and to Greenfield Village. The girls are getting ready to go back to school tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chemo - Round 4

Well - Round 4 was a week ago. There was so much going on. My step-Dad had just passed and we were planning his funeral. Round 4 was not as bad as round 3; maybe because I didn't have the cold that knocked me out. Thursday night of chemo I was feeling really blah, but it got better each day. By this Tuesday, I was feeling better. I'm done with my first set of drugs [(Adriamycin /Cyclophosphamide /Avastin (Avastin is the clinical trial drug)]. I start my next round on Thursday, March 26th (unfortunately, that is Katie's 10th birthday). The next set of drugs will be Paclitaxel plus the Avastin. The regimen that I am following is: Adriamycin cyclophosphamide followed by Paclitaxel every two weeks with growth factor support (which is the shot that I get the day after chemo). The next 12 rounds will be weekly. My last scheduled chemo round will be the last day of school for the girls. I am so looking forward to that day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Step-Dad

It's so hard to understand how things are going right now. My Step-Father passed away Wednesday morning, March 11. This all seems so unbelievable. My Mom and him were married for almost 22 years and he's been Grandfather (Papa) to all of our children. He cared for my mother so well after her diagnosis. We have all been grieving her, and he seemed to be doing ok. Not great, but ok. He came to my daughters' Music concert 2 weeks ago, he was visiting my sister at bowling, my other sister's for dinner and going out with friends. He was at my house Tuesday dropping off pasta for the girls. We are told it was a heart-attack. He was found at his home. My sisters and I and our families are struggling with all of this. My Mom's birthday is today, she would have been 65.
So, many tears have been shed in my house over these last 4 months; as I was diagnosed, as my Mom got sicker, as my Mom passed, and now as my Step-Dad has passed. The support shown to us by everyone - by cards and kinds words, by visitations at the funeral home, by phone calls and messages. Thank you for that.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chemo - Round 3

Round 3 - Round 3 was hard. It's amazing how quickly the drugs work to affect your system. There are so many side-effects and I didn't realize I would get so many of them. I'm on 3 different drugs and they all 3 have different side-effects. I was down for about 5 hours Thursday night (last Thursday, 2/26 ). I felt better on Friday, went for my white blood cell count booster shot. I got the shot in the belly again this week. It doesn't seem to hurt as much there. But, then I think I over did it that day. By early evening I was in bed for the rest of the night and in bed most of the day on Saturday. Sunday was church and then on the couch for the day. I stayed home from work on Monday. Really it was one of the first un-scheduled days off of work from not feeling well. I was back to work on Tuesday, but had a busy week with the girls. I felt much better by Wednesday. I have one more round of these 3 drugs. My next treatment is next week, 3/12. Then I have two weeks off and then I start my once a week treatment.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I'm back. Just couldn't seem to post anything these last couple of weeks. I've been emotionally exhausted and physically exhausted, just feeling drained. My Mom's funeral took a lot out of me, out of us. My family is tired. It's been a struggle to continue with life as usual. I miss my Mom. I want to talk to her. I miss her voice, her smell. I miss talking to her at night.
My girls are adjusting. They miss her as well. We had a baptism this past Sunday. Al and I were asked to be Godparents of my cousin Petey's son, Skyler. We were very honored by the request. At the baptism, Jenny was asked about Guardian Angels and if she had one and she responded with yes, hers was her Grandma. That touched all of us.
During last week, my hair starting falling out. By Friday it was very patchy. My girls and Al went with me on Saturday to buzz my hair. I think it was good for them to see it; to understand that this is another step in the process of me getting better. It was strange at first - to have a bald head. I think I'm getting used to it. I may post of picture of it. Jenny seems to mind the most, she doesn't like me with the bald head.
So many thanks to everyone for the cards and support.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Mom

My Mom -
My sisters and I were always so possessive of her. Even in conversations that we had with each other we referred to her as My Mom. Because she belonged to us. At least for a little while, God gave her to us. So that she could raise us into the unique individuals we are today.
My Mother passed away last night at St. John's hospital just after 10:00pm. My sister Kim was with her as she took her final breath. Kim called us just after and we met down at the hospital to say goodbye to her. A very emotional evening. I was grateful to have Al with me to comfort me and calm me as I cried. God took her home, home where she would no longer suffer the pain her body was enduring this last year. We will join here once again. We are so grateful to have had her for the 64 years here. She was the must caring person I have ever known.
God Bless

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Mom

It's so hard for me to know what more to write right now. It looks like my Mom will not make it out of the hospital this time. We are so hopeful that that statement is wrong, but it's realistic. We want her to wake up and yell at us for making such a fuss over her at the hospital or just tell us that she loves us one more time. My sisters and I and my step-Dad have been at the hospital with my Mom - with someone there around the clock. Since Saturday afternoon, she has been verbally non-responsive. She sleeps mostly, but at times she will wake up, but doesn't seem to focus on anyone or anything. Her brother was with her as well over the weekend, however, he was hospitalized today at a different hospital. We are all just having such a hard time with this.

I have an appointment with my Medical Oncologist tomorrow. A follow-up post and pre chemo appointment. I have treatment Thursday this week. It's so hard for me to concentrate on myself when all I can think about is my Mom. Thanks for the prayers.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


My Mom went back into the hospital again yesterday. I went this morning to sit with her and so that someone would be there when they brought breakfast. Unfortunately, she didn't eat much. She seems much worse this time. She had started radiation this past week, but it has not helped like it did last time. She's been in a lot of pain and has been having a really hard time this week. When she went to the doctor's yesterday, they decided to admit her again. They think she might have pneumonia.
I've been feeling better since last week's chemo. Besides being a little tired, there is no more feeling of nauseousness, which I'm grateful. Thanks again for all the well-wishes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


February - I can't believe we are in February already. It seems like it was just October. On Monday, I had gone to the doctor's for a shot of Neulasta. It's a shot that I will get after each chemo treatment. It helps boost my White Blood Count so that the count is high enough for the next round. The side affects from the shot are joint pain, body aches, and flu-like symptoms. I kinda had all those side affects on Monday. I had the chills most of the day. I'm feeling much better today.
My girls have been so wonderful. My older two made the All A honor roll. I am so proud of them. When I was in elementary school I struggled with my grades . But as I got older, I got better in school and graduated with honors both from high school and college. However, when I was their age I did struggle. To see them come home with such great report cards, makes me so proud of them. To know that all of these things going on in our home front right now, hasn't set them back academically, is amazing. I have the best 3 little daughters I could ask for.

Monday, February 2, 2009


The feeling of tiredness doesn't seem to fade. I seem to be constantly tired. I haven't gotten sick since Friday, but I feel nauseous during most of the day. It's a matter of constantly battling that sick feeling. I'm hoping the feeling will fade as the week goes.
My Mom started radiation today.
A special prayer to my friend Elise (who graciously hosted the 'Hat' Party for me) who lost her mother yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chemo - Round 1

Chemo - wow! The early part of the day went well. The chemo infusion was OK. No pain. Got home just before the girls got home from school, I felt OK, until about 4:00pm when I started feeling sick. I stayed in my room from 4:00 pm until about 12:30am. It took about 8 1/2 hours to feel better. I got sick about 4 times. But just felt lousy the whole time. They gave me enough anti-nauseous medicine. I took a pill before treatment, they gave me a shot during treatment and I had two different kinds of anti-nauseous medicine to take at home. But somehow, the sickness won through the meds.
I'm feeling much better today. I went this morning to the dentist; for new wires to tighten my braces. Just to add a little pain to the pain :-) . I'm feeling better. I took a nap this afternoon. And I've been just relaxing. Al's been great with the girls. He took them swimming for family swim through the school last night. They had such a good time swimming. My in-laws have been great with the girls too. My Mother-In-Law took the girls to the movie today.
My Mom was discharged yesterday. She was tattooed for more radiation and will start that soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here We Go

Everything is in place for me to start chemo. They got the drug today. When they called and told me I got a odd feeling in my stomach. I am nervous for tomorrow. I wasn't really nervous for the surgeries, but maybe I've been waiting what seems too long for this that the anticipation has me anxious. My prayers are with me and I'm hoping for things to go smoothly, I have no idea what this will be like for me. But I will find out soon.
My Mom is still in the hospital. She will be released tomorrow. They hydrated her and gave her a blood transfusion. She's feeling a little better tonight.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Waiting Game

So, Chemo this week will be Friday. They mixed the drug today, will ship tomorrow, be received on Thursday and administered to me on Friday. I feel so impatient. It's been hard waiting. I knew it would be 28 days from the last surgery, I just didn't realize how slow that time would go by - so slow.
I'm on my way to the hospital. My Mom was taken there a couple of hours ago. She's dehydrated and in a lot of pain. It's strange these days the conversations I have with my family. I talked to Kelly and the conversation was about her MRI results (which were good), my Chemo day, and my Mom's scan results and her going to the hospital. Such a strange time in our lives right now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I'm excited to write this post and thank a special group of friends that were at a party for me last night. My friend Elise was having a few of us from softball over for a party. Kind of a pre-chemo get together to see friends I haven't seen since I was diagnosed, specifically my softball team. So, I showed up there and was very surprised. Not only was my softball team there, but so was my bowling team, my old bowling team, and several friends from school. I was shocked. Elise sent out e-mails and asked others to forward on and tried to get as many friends there that they could on short notice. Both of my sisters were there. It was great. She called it a "Decorating Kristy's Head" party. Everyone brought a scarf or a hat in all different colors and styles for me to wear as chemo does it job. What a great gesture! I was so surprised when I came in. I came home with lots of no-hair options :-). I now have head-coverings for all occasions. I also came home with a chicken-casserole dinner for tonight from another friend. I'm humble by every one's support. I hope everyone can sense my thank yous are sincere and I appreciate everything. My girls thought it was the coolest party when I told them about it. And again, they understand that support comes all different ways.

Oh, and several people have mentioned that posting comments were hard to do, so I have tried to change the way one posts and the ease in doing it. Hopefully, it has gotten easier to do. So, if you have wanted to comment and tried before and it didn't work, please try again. Thanks, thoughts and prays to all. K.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Make that 7 days

Well as strange as this sounds, my chemotherapy is being held up by paperwork. They went back and forth about his 28 day rule to wait from major surgery to chemo. So, Friday is 28 days. The clinical trial people won't sign my paperwork until the 28 days is up. Then they will run me through the computer, place me in one of the clinical arms and then ship my drugs. So, as it stands, I won't be scheduled until next Wednesday. I'm frustrated, but ok with it.
I was pretty upset when they told me on Monday. I had just had my Mom's appointment and it was not good. She was nauseous during her appointment and just so weak. They are scheduling her for an MRI of the brain to make sure the cancer has not spread there. It's pretty hard watch her go through this.
We are praying for good news from that and maybe she can get past this bad part and recover a little from her current condition.

Monday, January 19, 2009

3 Days to Go

I have 3 days to go before my first chemo treatment. I'm anxious to start. To go through these next 5 months and then move on to radiation. I'm nervous to start. They say it is different for everyone. The unknown is the hardest. The surgeries all happened so quickly, I didn't have time to worry or wonder. The surgeries all went well. I'm hoping the chemo will go good as well.
Our 2nd opinion from Karmanos was a long day there. They scheduled me with the wrong doctor, then we waited to see the right doctor. She confirmed that the treatment plan with St. John's was the right course of action.
My Mom has an oncology appointment today. We will see what they recommend for her. She has been getting worse over the last couple of weeks. It breaks my heart to talk to her and hear how weak she is, and seeing her is also difficult, because she is so sick and weak and it hurts seeing her that way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Going Well

Things are on schedule. I saw the Medical Oncologist yesterday and if all goes as planned I will start chemo next Thursday. I'm nervous. I know this will be hard. Harder than the surgeries. Mentally and physically hard on my mind and body. But I know this is a means to an end. I will get through it and come out winning this battle.
Being back to work is good. I'm glad to be thinking of something else.
I've recently spoke with several women who are going through or who have just finished their treatment for breast cancer and they are such an inspiration. So many strong women out there who have to deal with this difficult disease. I want to thank them for their words of encouragement and for being so strong and willing to share their insight. I also have a couple of friends who are struggling with sick parents as well. I have all of them in my prayers. All of us have something that we are dealing with, whether it is ourselves or a loved one. Many thoughts are with you during this time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Long Week

Well, I went back to work this week. I went in for some hours on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Not long days but enough. It felt good to be back and out in the real world that didn't involve doctors, nurses, appointments, surgery, or tests. Everybody was great at work.
I'm looking forward to the weekend and catching up on some stuff here. I'm feeling up to doing stuff around the house.
Next week I have several appointments and I should find out my chemo schedule. I'm looking forward to starting on that phase of this. The sooner I start, the sooner I finish!
My sister Kelly got her results back and unfortunately the genetic testing came back positive for her. We are sad to hear this news. She has already scheduled appointments and will have some tests as she weighs her options. We will support her as she makes her decisions. So, please say an extra prayer for her as you read this.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Healing Again

Well - healing again. I had my medi-port put in yesterday. They put it in below my left shoulder above my chest. I haven't removed the bandage to see it. My neck is sore and I'm tired, but all and all I'm doing ok. This will be my last surgery for a while (I hope). I should start chemo by the end of the month. I have 4 doctor appointments next week. My abdomen is feeling much better from the last surgery. Girls are back to school and all of their activities so we'll be busy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Surgery Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be my last surgery for a while (hopefully). I get the medi-port put in tomorrow AM. Surgery is at 7:30AM; I'm to arrive at 5:30AM (pretty early :-)).
I'm healing good now from the last surgery and I am not that sore anymore.
I had a Muga Scan Friday that checked my heart to make sure it is strong enough for chemo. That was not fun since, they had a hard time starting the I.V. (he decided to put it in my wrist which hurt and by the 4th injection, my wrist swelled up with fluid). So, he had injected the radio-isotope in and it didn't make it into my blood stream. So, another person, stuck me a couple more times and shot me with another radio-isotope injection so they could do the scan. They were able to do the scan after the second try. However, I was filled with twice the amount of stuff that would make the scans at the border or the airport go off. They actually give you a slip of paper to give to the border or the airport in case you need to cross or fly letting them know that you were injected with this which is why you are 'lighting up' their equipment. Pretty amazing stuff.
Things around the house are going well. The girls have been great with helping out and Al has been putting away Christmas decorations and cleaning up.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

New Year's Eve was nice. We had a great dinner together. My Mom was able to make it out so it made it extra nice. It was my Mom, Kelly, Kim and Me and our families. It was a great way to ring in the new year.
I kissed my husband at midnight, which made it 17 years in a row for that. It has been 19 years of New Year's Eves that we have celebrated together. We missed the one the year we got married, because he was activated for the Gulf War and left Dec. 22, 1990. That was the only year we missed together. We just celebrated our 18 year wedding anniversary in December. We have had many ups and downs just like most couples, but thankfully we have had many more ups and we have made it through the down times.
My New Year's resolution is to make sure I appreciate all that I have and realize how blessed I have been in my life. I have always lived life to the tune of live hard, love hard, play hard, and work hard. I will continue that mantra in 2009.
Oh, and we had good news this week to celebrate, my sister Kim's test came back negative for the genetic mutation that I have. Kelly's results are still a week or two away, since her test was delayed by paperwork.
Happy New Year to all!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feeling Better

Well - today was a good day. I'm feeling better from Friday's surgery. Sunday and Monday I was still feeling pretty sore and out-of-it, but today I'm feeling much better. I got a good night sleep (since it was not so windy last night). I haven't left the house since Friday. So, those who know me, know that something must be off, because I'm not usually a home-body :-) . We are going out for dinner tomorrow night (New Year's Eve) and will just come back home to ring in the New Year. I know energy-wise, I'm not up for more than that.
I spent time on the phone renewing all of my referrals for the new year (thanks to my HMO) today. But, also thanks to my HMO, I will not have as much to pay out with copays and such with my upcoming treatment.
My Mom came by to visit today. Unfortunately, she is feeling even worse than she did last week. She is having a hard time breathing and everything she does results in so much pain for her. As you read this, please keep my Mom in your prayers as well.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sore All Over

Soreness... that seems to best describe things since my surgeries. The surgery yesterday was successful. They were able to do it laprascopically. I'm pretty sore. Going from sitting to standing is a challenge. Between my chest muscles and my stomach muscles being cut and and moved and body parts removed, I'm pretty sore. Luckily the pain again is not much. The worse part seems to be coming out of the anesthesia. I don't seem to do well with that. It takes me a long time to "wake up" from it and it does a number to my stomach. Even yesterday they gave me lots of anti-nausea medicine, but that didn't seem to help. I got sick a few times. Towards the end of the night, my I.V. got pulled out and I was spewing blood from my hand. I was exhausted and tired. They discharged me at 11:30pm last night. I could have stayed the night, but decided I would best off at home. Thanks to my sisters for watching the girls yesterday and to my in-laws for keeping them over-night and all day today so Al and I could get some rest. My in-laws are great people and the girls love having them back in Michigan. They are on their way home with dinner for us (home-made southern fried chicken :-)).
It's amazing how life can change in two months. Two months ago I was turning 40, having fun, getting braces. Now, I'm having surgeries and awaiting chemo. But, I know this is something I will get through and it will make me a better person. I will learn some good lessons from this and hopefully put those lessons to good use.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve to all. I am looking forward to this evening. My family will be coming over tonight and we will have a celebration. Al's parents are coming as well. It will be nice to have everyone over. It has become a tradition for my daughters to have everyone here Christmas Eve. Of course with everything going on we thought we would go to one of my sister's houses tonight, but decided it would be best here. Alan's cleaned the house :-) And the girls and I have been straightening and putting toys away.
My Mom has been under the weather lately. As most of you know, she was diagnosed with Lung Cancer last November. I was diagnosed almost a year to the day she was. Her cancer is in-operable. She went through both radiation and chemo this year. It has taken it's toll on her and she has been weak from sickness and treatments. I'm hoping she will feel well tonight and we can celebrate our family all being together. We can thank God for another Christmas that we are able to celebrate together. My girls have been great with me and I get extra love and kisses and hugs lately.
Thanks again to my family and friends for the messages and prayers. I appreciate the e-mails and the Posted Comments. Love to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Surgery

I got a call from the OB/GYN and they will be able to do my surgery this Friday, the 26th. We are so grateful to the doctor for fitting me into his schedule. They did not have any surgical openings until the end of January. The surgery is an Oopherectomy and I will be in the hospital for 1 maybe 2 nights. I'm in awe yet again for someone going beyond what they needed to do, the doctor by coming in the day after Christmas to do the surgery, knowing how urgent it is for me to have it soon. I have to wait 28 days to start chemo from the surgery. So, the sooner we could get it done the better. I'll be grounded from the car again for 10 to 14 days. By then, I will go for outpatient surgery on January 5 for a Medi-Port insertion. This will be how they administer chemo. My left arm will be busy in all of this. From now on, I can no longer have blood drawn or even a blood pressure cuff on my right arm. Due to the lymph node surgery, my right arm is limited. Thanks to a good friend for all the info on the OB/GYN doctors.
The last couple of days have been so busy, making many phone calls and talking with schedulers and doctors and nurses. Thanks to Al yet again, for making so many phone calls and finding ways to get things done and done quickly. He's been great, fantastic. Already taking off so much time to take me to appointments, tests and surgeries.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Family and Friends

My family and friends have been amazing. The out reach from everyone is astounding and overwhelming. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life. My family has been with me every step of the way. My friends have treated me to prayers, thoughts, visits, calls, messages (text messages), e-mails, dinners and treats and desserts and cards and flowers and cookies and fruit and more food. My heart appreciates everything that everyone has done. Even the most simple and thoughtful comment brings a smile to my face, knowing that so many people are behind me, helping me fight this. Thank you!


So, the emotional side of all this. It sucks. I've cried a few times which is good. A couple times after finding out. The morning of my mastectomy surgery while Al drove me to the hospital. The Sunday following surgery when I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time. The two Medical Oncologist's appointments when I think about the treatment that is ahead of me. Otherwise, I've tried to be rational and pro-active and positive. I go to bed at night and I can sleep. Because, I know that this is in God's hands and that until the morning, I can leave it with God. In the morning, we start the fight again and schedule appointments and tests and get referrals and figure this out.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


So, the facts until now are this:

10/14/2008 - Tuesday - Discovered a lump in my right breast.
10/15/2008 - Wednesday - Appt with my Doctor's office - They sent me for a Mamm/Ultrasound
10/17/2008 - Friday - Mamm and Ultrasound done
10/21/2008 - Tuesday - Results from Mamm/Ultrasound - nothing significant with the lump (lump did not show up on either test)
10/22/2008 - Wednesday - Made appt with family doctor
10/26-10/31/08 - Out-of-Town
11/04/2008 - Tuesday - Appt with family doctor - He recommends a specialist
11/07/2008 - Friday - Appt with Surgical Oncologist - 4 options; nothing/MRI/needle biopsy/excision biopsy
11/14/2008 - Friday - Excision Biopsy of Lump in the Right Breast
11/18/2008 - Tuesday - Biopsy results shows smattering of Cancer cells within the lump that was removed - DX is Infiltrating/Invasive Lobular Carcinoma -
What is Invasive Lobular
Carcinoma (ILC)?
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, also known as Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma, is a type of breast cancer that starts in a lobule and spreads to surrounding breast tissue. If not treated at an early stage, ILC also can move into other parts of the body, such as the uterus or ovaries. ILC is the second most common type of invasive breast cancer, accounting for 10 to 15 percent of all breast cancer cases.
Who is most likely to have ILC?
Women between the ages of 45 and 56 are most likely to have ILC. About 20 percent of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.

What characterizes ILC?
ILC is characterized by a general thickening of an area of the breast, usually the section above the nipple and toward the arm. You may not be able to feel a breast lump or hard mass. Instead, an area of breast tissue may only feel differently than the rest of your breast. ILC also is less likely to appear on a mammogram. When it does appear, it may show as a mass with fine spikes radiating from the edges or appear as an asymmetry compared to the other breast.

11/20/2008 - Thursday - Appt with Surgical Oncologist to discuss diagnosis and treatment. Options include an additional lumpectomy in the same area to remove additional tissue, a single mastectomy or a double mastectomy; with any of the three a lymph node test and surgery would be performed. Medical treatment would include some or all of Chemotherapy; Radiation; & Hormone Therapy. Reconstructive options include immediate or delayed, and then saline, gel, or other. MRI and PET CT tests were ordered. Genetic testing for the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 were done.
11/21/2008 - Friday - Appt with plastic surgeon to discuss options.
11/24/2008 - Monday - MRI at St. John Moross
11/24/2008 - Monday - PET CT at St. John Macomb
11/25/2008 - Tuesday - Results - MRI ok; residual cells in right breast, left ok. PET CT showed indeterminate results in Left Neck and 4 skeletal areas
12/01/2008 - Monday - Appt with Medical Oncologist - Wants surgery first, then treatment; ordered Bone Scan to check on the indeterminate results of PET CT. Blood drawn.
12/02/2008 - Tuesday - Confirmed surgery for Friday, December 5 - Bilateral Mastectomy with cyst in neck removed as well
12/03/2008 - Wednesday - Bone Scan at St. John Moross
12/05/2008 - Friday - Surgery - Right Total Mastectomy; Left Prophylactic Mastectomy; Removal of Sebaceous Cyst Left neck; Sentinel Lymph Node Surgery on Right Side (ended up Auxiliary Lymph Node Surgery).
While I was in surgery, the Medical Oncologist called Al and told him that my Bone Scan came back clean, and the blood tests came back good. Great news.
12/06/2008 - Saturday - Discharged
12/10/2008 - Wednesday - Results from surgery - Left neck ok; left breast ok; right side residual cells. Lymph nodes - 41 of 41 positive with cancer (I like to score high :-)). DX - Advance Lobular Carcinoma - Stage 3.
Genetic testing came back positive for BRCA2 (Deleterious) mutation. This means that at some point in the near future I will need an Oophorectomy (Ovaries removed) and that the decision to have the bilateral mastectomy was a good decision.
12/12/2008 - Friday - Appt to have drain tubes removed. Kelly and Kim did their genetic testing.
12/18/2008 - Thursday - Picked up Prostheses and Lymphedema Sleeve.
12/19/2008 - Friday - Appt with Medical Oncologist - wants ovaries out first before treatment. The Gynecologic Oncologist is out of the office for two weeks.
Said I qualified for a Clinical Trial that gives the same Chemotherapy, but adds an additional drug with the Chemo drugs that has been proven in Colectoral Cancer.
There was the big snow fall this day. We spent a long time at the doctor's. Then we went to the OB/GYN office to sign a transfer of medical records. We decided to check with them for an Appt for the ovary removal. They had a Monday appt.
12/22/2008 - Monday - Appt with OB/GYN - Should be able to fit me into his surgery schedule ASAP.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My First Post of Surviving Cancer

November 18, 2008 was the day my life changed forever. The results from my excision biopsy were positive, the lump was cancer. Breast cancer. I will survive this. My angel, my mentor, my surviving role model is my Grandmother. She will help me get through this. My husband who is the most remarkable man I have ever known and my 3 precious daughters, will help me get through this. My beautiful mother and amazing sisters and their families will help me get through this. My extended family and my wonderful friends will help me get through this. I am forever changed.