Monday, January 28

Wishing for snow!

We were so close...
We had it and we let it go!
We spent the weekend in Eugene. We woke up Sunday morning to a glorious snow storm. Unfortunately we were not prepared for snow. We decided to hurry home so we can go sledding and build a snowman. When we left Eugene there were about 4 inches of snow on the ground and it was dumping snow. The drive home was treacherous until 18 miles south of Salem. Suddenly the snow disappeared. We arrived in Portland and there was no trace of snow.
We went to bed last night wishing and hoping.
I woke up around 12:30 AM and was very happy to see snow quietly falling. The street, roofs and cars had just a light dusting. "Oh goody", I thought. If this keeps up we will certainly have a snow day.
Sadly, it didn't keep up... We ended up with only a dusting and a delayed opening.
We want to play in the snow!

Wednesday, January 16

Ready to Travel!

It arrived...
The boy has a passport and he is ready to travel.
We finally worked through our country's crazy bureaucratic system of getting a child a passport.
France here we come!

Feelin' the LOVE!

I always think my house looks a bit empty and boring once we take down our holiday decorations. This year I had a plan... I coordinated a fused glass class at Jennifer Wells Studio on NE Alberta. I made these fun window ornaments for Valentine's Day. 
I really enjoy these classes. It is the best way to escape parenting, motherhood and the various other things that stress me out these days. I'm looking forward to getting back for another class soon. Let me know if you would like to join me!

Thursday, January 10

I'm a very lucky girl!

It is confirmed.
My pathology report found no cancer.
You can't imagine how relieved we are.  You can't imagine how scared we were.
I still have to jump through a few hoops before I can close this chapter (entitled, "The scariest month of my life").
I will meet with a surgeon at the OHSU breast cancer clinic next week to discuss and schedule an excisional biopsy.
A radial scar is considered a high risk lesion and it is strongly recommended that I have the entire area removed.
The area is the size of a walnut - about 2 cm round.
I'm nervous about scars, breast distortion and recovery.
There is also a slight chance that some cancer can be found when the entire lesion is sent to pathology.
The radiologist felt confident that she was able to obtain good samples, and seemed to indicate that everything should be fine.
It has been a very emotional and draining few weeks. Thank you again for your love and support. It really meant a lot to me.
I am a very lucky girl!

partial news, but good news (I think/hope)

I think/hope I will have good news to share tonight.
Tyler and I are going to see the radiologist at 3:30 to discuss the pathology results.
The technician was very serious in her tone so it was difficult to decipher.
She confirmed that my results were in.
She tried to get another radiologist to call me - as my radiologist was away for the morning.
She made it clear that she is not authorized to interpret the pathology report, but she would read the first few line.
This is what she read:
  • proliferative fibrocystic changes
  • ? ductal hyperplasia
  • duct ectasia
  • apocrine change
  • columnar cell change
  • negative atypia
  • negative malignancy
Okay... I am no expert, but I think this is good.
I will post more tonight.
Keep your fingers crossed and thank you so much for your thoughts and concern.

Wednesday, January 9

The ultimate shit story!

I think this happened to take my mind off of things today...
Every preschool/work morning, it is a delicate dance getting my child and myself out the door by 8:30 AM. Since school started in September, my record has been stellar.  I think 8:38 was my latest departure, but my average departure time is probably 8:32 AM. We are almost always the first to arrive when school opens at 8:45 AM.

For this to happen, I carefully weave through the morning routine..
  • Make coffee for my husband and me
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Drink coffee in bed with my sweetie and talk about our day (this is especially nice if my son is still asleep)
  • Welcome our son into our bed around 7 AM
  • Watch a PBS kids program or DVD (Curious George - Today we watched Wallace & Gromit)
  • Shower (wash and dry hair on alternate mornings - clearly this takes more time)
  • Make lunch for my son (pack breakfast and lunch for my husband and me if I am really with it)
  • Get myself dressed
  • Put on some make-up, brush my hair, etc.
  • Pack up what ever I need for my day (gym bag, work stuff, etc.)
  • Get my son a little snack or drink
  • Get my son to sit on the potty (he usually poops at 8 AM while watching a show in our bedroom)
  • See my husband off to work
  • Clean the potty
  • Get my son dressed
  • Get my son to brush his teeth
  • Feed my son breakfast or prepare some breakfast for the drive to school.
We hustle down to the garage, and if all goes well we are on our way by 8:30 AM.
It is a delicate dance, but I am pretty darn good at it.

This morning things didn't quite work out. We were cutting it a bit close on time.
Shortly after 8, I came upstairs to help my son clean his bottom and empty his potty.
This was a morning when his diaper was bone dry. The potty was filled with a LOT of pee and a pile of the stinkiest, messiest and wettest poop. I helped him to clean his bottom and carefully placed him up on the bed so I could remove the potty and get it flushed and cleaned. Somehow I lost my balance and tripped, kicking the potty over -- ALL OVER!
My freshly showered feet and legs - covered in shit and pee
The side of our bed - duvet cover - sprayed with shit and pee
The bedroom floor (hardwoods thank god) - covered in shit and pee
Shit and pee was everywhere!!!
I nearly died.
It was the worst toxic mess I have ever seen.
I tried my best to remain calm and clear-minded.
It wasn't easy, but I did manage to get everything cleaned up, the duvet cover in the laundry, and left the house by 8:50 AM.
Everyone seemed to be late for school this morning (I'm sure they didn't have an excuse that even comes close to mine!). We didn't even miss circle!

Tuesday, January 8

Fear is a terrible thing

Am I being foolish or am I smart to prepare myself for difficult news?
I have spent hours on the Internet -- researching, reading medical cases, reviewing clinical trials, and reading heartbreaking stories.
I can tell you it SUCKS!!! 
It is making me a bit CRAZY!!
I am sick with worry!
I try to convince myself that I am too young and healthy to have cancer.
Not true... There are countless breast cancer stories -- people who are smart, successful, healthy, interesting, pretty, charming, fit, etc.  
They are moms - they are daughters - they are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. 
It is not fair that these lovely women have been diagnosed with this terrible disease. 
It is really shitty.
It is really unfair.
There is no fairness when it comes to cancer.
I am not immune from this disease.
None of us are.
I don't want to lose my hair.
I don't want to lose my breasts.
I don't want to worry my husband.
I don't want people to feel sorry for me.
I don't want to stop being a mom to my son.
I love my life and I don't want it to change.
It is really scary!
Yet, I know that fear won't change my results.
What will come of my results?
I have lived my life trying to avoid difficult subjects and issues.
Compassion is not an inherent trait for me.
Perhaps that is about to change?!

Monday, January 7

The biopsy is done, but the journey is still long...

My husband and I went to OHSU today for my stereotactic biopsy. The radiologist believes that she was able to obtain a good tissue sample. She plans to contact me on Thursday with the pathology results.

Overall, the procedure was fine. It was a bit uncomfortable as I was not able to talk or move during the procedure - about 30 minutes. I have a tiny 1/4 inch incision. I feel fine - just a bit of emotional exhaustion.

The most difficult part was the pre-procedure consultation. We were informed that I would have to have surgery regardless of the biopsy results.
If the pathology is benign, I will still need to have an excision surgery to remove the entire radial scar.
If the pathology shows cancer, I will have to have surgery to remove the cancer.
We were also told that in my radiologist's experience with radial scars about 50% come back with some sort of irregularity (either cancer of pre-cancerous cells).
As you might imagine, this left us quite scared and uncertain.

I really appreciate your wonderful calls and notes. I even got a call from Japan yesterday ;-)
I hope to post happy news soon. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, January 3

Monday is the day

Are you as tired of this issue as I am?
I can't wait to get back to writing about happy and fun stuff.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, OHSU has agreed to perform a stereotactic needle biopsy. I was able to schedule my procedure on Monday. 
The procedure should be fairly simple and take only 90 minutes.  The recovery should also be relatively easy - much better than the surgical excision biopsy that was originally recommended. The most difficult part will be waiting 36 hours for results.

Tuesday, January 1

A Traditional New Year's Day Dinner

Since our friends, "The Bubbas", moved to Portland in 2001, they have been hosting us for a traditional Southern New Year's Day Dinner.  This meal features...

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes for LUCK
Collard Greens for WEALTH & PROSPERITY
Ham for HEALTH (I had an extra large helping!)

And Apple Pie for PLEASURE!!
As always, the company was delightful and the food was delicious. We have enjoyed seven years of luck, prosperity, health & pleasure. Let's hope the same is in store for 2008!
Wishing you and your family LUCK, PROSPERITY, HEALTH and lots of PLEASURE ;-)
Happy New Year!

A happy and healthy new year (I hope)!!

Let me first start by thanking all my friends and family for your notes, calls and reassurance. We can only hope that my recent health findings are solely a scare and reminder for all of us to live life to the fullest. 2008 has started and I am determined to embrace life and make the most of every moment.  

There has been one small victory on the breast front that I am pleased to report. OHSU has agreed to perform a less invasive biopsy. I will have a stereotactic needle biopsy. It is still a complex procedure, but will be much less invasive than the surgical excision biopsy.

I don't think I will have the procedure until mid-January, so I will be on pins and needles until the procedure is complete and biopsy results are shared.

My husband and I are hoping to meet with the radiologist over the next few days to learn more about this finding and the upcoming biopsy.

Stay tuned...

Wishing us all a very happy and healthy new year!!