Monday, June 30, 2008

25 years ago...

25 years ago today I married this 19 yr old guitar player and lead singer of the band "Misfit". Who could have predicted what would follow. We've survived holidays, wacky family vacations, two fantastic and unique kids, every kind of pet imaginable, home repairs, several band changes (yours and Jen's) and here we still are. It's been an adventure growing up with you. Want to try for another 25?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Get Smart

Bryan and I went to see "Get Smart" at the theater. It's a great movie if you need a fun outing and big laughs. Don't forget the popcorn and coke!

Friday the 27th

Kim drove up from Henderson to spend the day with me on Friday. She took me to lunch and we met a few girls from work, it sure was good to see everyone's smiling faces. I'll sure be glad when simple activities don't wear me out.
Later that day, the coaching center had some layoffs which affected some really great people's lives. I'm am sure everyone is still numb from the sudden change. I do hope and pray they all find successful and exciting opportunities ahead of them, once this shock wears off. 
If I've learned anything, it's that life is unpredictable and we have to learn to roll with the changes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Things not to take for granted...

Your friends and family and 
that God loves each and everyone of us

Using your arms - just try getting out of the bed or chair without your arms - I know I know if I had abs of steel it would have been helpful about now

Opening a cabinet to get a glass, most cabinets are higher than you think

Picking up, pulling up or fastening anything - those pectoral muscles are used constantly

Washing your own hair

Hugs - I come from a family of "huggers"

Sleeping on your side or stomach

Driving, shopping, and just getting out of the house

Being able to do things around the house without someone saying "Hey, stop are you supposed to be doing that?"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dr. Whitworth visit

I just returned from my surgical follow up with Dr. Whitworth. I had gotten bits and pieces of my results from other doctors, but he went through the full report. The R side tumor was 1.3 cm and margins were clear, and my lymph nodes were negative. Left side, completely clear. He was very pleased with the results and agrees with Dr. Peacock about my chemo treatment plan.

Technical final diagnosis: Breast, Right, 11:00, extreme outer ring, Adenocarcinoma, poorly differentiated, high combined histologic grade, with apocrine features, associated lymphoid tissue. Estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, no amplifications of HER-2 by FISH.
Size of invasive component: 1.3x 0.9x 0.7 cm. Histologic Type: Invasive ductal carcinoma

I try not to give too many gory details, but so many of my family/friends are in the medical profession they want to know. So feel free to skip over anything you'd rather not know.

I have fantastic doctors and they and their teams have done an amazing job at taking care of me. Some of you have asked who I am seeing so here's the line-up:
Dr. Pat Whitworth, Surgeon Nashville Breast Center
Dr. Nancy Peacock, Oncologist, Tennessee Oncology
Dr. Lois Wagstrom, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Clark Ray, Internal Med, Heritage Medical Associates

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thank you Karen

My friend Karen, who just completed her chemo, and did very well, stopped by yesterday to see me. She and her daughter Rose brought me a whole box of scarves and hats in addition to two great books. 
I have had multiple people give me names, phone numbers and email addresses of strong women they know who have just been through this, in addition to women who went through this over 10 years ago. It's scary how many lives this affects each year. I appreciate those women being willing to share their experiences with me and I will probably reach out to them at some point, but it was very nice to talk to Karen who I already knew. 

Dad's home!

Do you know what's better than getting a big hug from your Dad who's been out of the country for 6 weeks? NOTHING!
Dad and Sherry arrived safely home Thursday night after a 6 wk trip abroad. They were exhausted I'm sure, but it was very good to see their faces.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Treatment Plan (revised Friday the 20th)

I saw my Oncologist Dr. Peacock yesterday and got my treatment plan. Somehow between me, doctor, nurse I had misunderstood the schedule. Each Friday, beginning July 11th, I will get one chemo drug (Abraxene). Every 4th week I will get two chemo drugs (Cytoxan and Abraxene). My treatment will end on September 26th. This is a new chemo protocol and has been used for metastatic cancer and now they are using it for early stage as well. So far it's proven to have less side effects and the doctors are excited about that - I'm sure I will be too.
I'm wrapping my mind around "every Friday" for 12 weeks, but I can and will do this. Since my cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes there is less chance I would have a recurrence anyway, but the chemo gives us that bit of extra coverage and I'm going for that.
Waiting to start this until July 11th will give me time to heal from the surgery fully before my treatment begins.
I was instructed to begin walking 30 minutes a day, starting in the next week or so. Since I work with over 50 people with exercise science/personal training backgrounds I'm sure I'll have lots of encouragement on that.

Thank you for your continued prayers, love and support!
Laura

Thank yous

How do you even begin to write thank you notes in a situation like this. I have been overwhelmed by so many people helping, cooking, cleaning, praying and just loving me. I hate to even write names, because I'm sure I'll leave someone out unintentionally.
Bryan, Jenni, Josh, Chassi, Anna, Morgan and Emri - you guys/gals are why I do everything I do
Dad and Sherry - even from Russia and by global phone - you've been there
Linda and Lisa - "there were never such devoted sisters" as the song says
Kent, Adelia, Deanna, Dan, Lauren, Logan, Alan, Michael, Franklin - family who is always there to help
Aunt Jewel and Cousin Nancy - two of my favorite people - I picture you two with a big map on the wall with all the cousins locations mapped out: You get the call and it lights up and the family phone chain starts moving with great news, prayer requests, new babies or even tv appearances. You are like our family super-heros!
Mickey, Denise and Catherine - if you need anything organized, cleaned or planted or just need someone to have your back - these are the girls
Lori and Angie - the "Friday night hair washing team"
Mike, Lori, Sophie and Elijha - Awesome family who is always here to help
Kim, Amber, Joyce and Liz - you are all a bit older than me so I can literally say I've known you since cradle roll class when we were infants. You have been there for every significant event as long as I can remember - I love you all.
Angela- you are the first person I called when I had my biopsy report in hand - you have been a blessing for your knowledge and your amazing friendship for the past what is it now 15 years?
Kathy - my travel, shop, giggle girlfriend - I'll be ready for a trip soon
Sandy - do you ever sleep? you are amazing
Allison - my wonderful girlfriend from childhood - how did you know that Wonder Woman season 3 was the one I was missing?
Mike Wuster - Josh's Kung Fu teacher who gave me a crash course in energy/visualization/meditation/breathing and it works amazingly well for discomfort and relaxation.
So many others that have done so much and someday I'll get cards out: Anna, Karen, Megan, Lindy, Nicole, Jennifer, Leanne, Amy, Kristen, Dekisha, Arnold, Joan, Carmen, Jane, John, William, Harriet and family, Stefini, Harry, Larry, Lauren, Rebecca, Abbey, Jamie, Patty and her girls, Ken, Elliot and Lucy, Shay, Sherry, Patrick, MariEtta, Chris, Rose, Billy, Teresa, the Sowing Circle girls J-Ho, Janie, Samara, Lisa, and everyone at Gordian and Verizon, and on and on...

I am overwhelmed with all the love, prayers and support!!!

Thanks Elijha Bay!


Last night Elijha had a tournament game and I told him to hit one for me, since I couldn't be there to watch. He hit a home run!! Go Elijha!! I'll give you a high five, as soon as I can raise my arms that high. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

While I was out...

While I was in surgery, some little elves came over and turned my deck/yard into a relaxing oasis with Palm trees, umbrella, decorations, lights, etc... I'm not sure how I'll ever repay all these people.
My pathology reports have been promising, I had no lymph node involvement. God is soooo good!!
I will see the Oncologist tomorrow to get my full treatment plan.
Thank you all!
Laura

Surgery and beyond

I had surgery on June 10th and came home the next afternoon. The first couple of days were rocky, but since then I've just been very sore and bruised. Not being able to use my arms has been the hardest part. Every day I've felt a bit better and as of today I can brush my own hair and raise my arms to shoulder level. I guess that is something I had always taken for granted.

Thank you for all your prayers, love and support,
Laura

Pre-Surgery Party

A group of my fabulous girlfriends had me a "pre-surgery party" 4 days before my operation and showered me with lots of pajamas, books, DVDs, snacks and even some fun body art. They stocked our freezer with delicious meals so we wouldn't have to worry about cooking for a good while. We had a great evening!

Laura

Ugh..found a lump

The first week in May I was washing with some new pink body wash and was lathering really good and noticed a small lump on my R upper chest. For some of us girls who consume too much caffeine, these types of lumps/bumps can come and go, but a few days later it was still there so I called my doctor and he got me in for a mammogram and ultrasound the next day. I had a biopsy the next week and confirmation of a small breast cancer followed. They do feel this was caught very early.
After weighing all my options I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy. This was done on June 10th. I just knew I would sleep better at night knowing I didn't have to worry about it recurring in the L side, and I appreciate those that supported me in this decision. I do plan to continue reconstruction as time goes on.
Ten years of my nursing career was spent in Oncology nursing so I knew who to call right away to get the best doctor on the case - this has been such a blessing.
I can't express how much love, support and prayers have been surrounding me during these last few weeks. I've literally heard from people all over the world. I know I will get through this whole ordeal and be a stronger person for it. I love all of you for being there for me,
Laura

Why the title "Just put on a little lipstick?"

I had the most amazing loving Mom in the whole world and she felt "just a little lipstick" could solve most problems we encounter. For example: If you woke up with a huge zit on picture day, got a bad haircut, hadn't slept in a week, had just had your heart broken, etc... she would give you a wonderful hug and say "Just go put on a little lipstick, and no one will notice ____."

Lipstick has pulled me, my sisters and our friends through many events through the years (even though we've made fun of the advice) and I'm sure it will pull me through this one too. So if you are running low, hit the Revlon counter and get yourself a new shade for whatever you are facing today.

Love,
Laura