Friday, April 30, 2010

Home Again Home Again Lickety Spit

Hi There!
It's me, Kristin, and I'm kinda in a drug induced awake coma, so excuse my random thought process. Today was pretty dreamy. Lots of drugs, naps and snacks. Nick has been a super star with making sure I stay on top of my meds, and cleaning out the nasty blood drains coming from each side of my chest. I could use a few more days like this and I may be good as new! I'm happy to say that my pain is not too bad, just getting in and out of bed is a challenge. The kids are surprisingly understanding too. Jenny-Jane strattles my waist as I sit in bed and feeds me ice cream, and Fisher carefully sits next to me to read stories and and play with toys. My support systems is wild. Between Nick, his mom Virginia, my sister Diane and nanny Judy, they pretty much have our home life humming. There is not an hour that goes by that I dont have flowers, gifts, cards, food etc. delivered to our door. It's humbling and inspiring all in one.

I never really wrote about my hosptial experience, but it was a 30 hour roller coaster. I had an entourage in pre-op with Nick, Virginia, Diane and my friend Krista who is just 18 months past her breast cancer diagnosis. I think we laughed 90% of the time and the hosptial staff thought we were a little nuts. I don't remember much of surgery, execpt feeling nautious afterward and yelling at Diane to quiet down (sorry!). I had bumbling night nurses moving me from post-op to my room, and was awake most of the night in a weird dream state, but all in all, tolerable. All my many doctors visited me in the morning and all said that things were great so far. This weekend I expect to spend resting and then starting the doctor treadmill again next week. I'm pretty nervous about my lab results from my tumor removals, and finding out my cancer "staging". I guess the biggest fear is learning that the cancer has possibly spread to other parts of my body- but I'm being optimistic that it hasn't. I really do feel pretty good except for the impossibly tight bandage around my torso. I expect to hear my chemo regimin this week which kinda freaks me out, but I totally understand that it is a necessary evil. I can honestly say that getting to this finish line won't be easy, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My support system of loved ones is off the charts, thank you to each and every one of you. I feel all your love and positivity coming my way, truly. I'm inspired, encouraged and feel wrapped in your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
love, k

Donuts + Special K + Super Heros

Number One: Here's just one little thing that occurs for every breast cancer mastectomy- Every four hours we have to drain these tubes that are inserted into k's breast cavity. Not a big deal for us, but seriously, can you imagine what that's like for her? Anyway, after hearing the little bedside alarm go off again, I found myself whining, "oh geez, time to drain the tubes again (kindof like that donut commercial)." I realized, at that precise moment, throughout this entire ordeal I haven't heard Special K (my nickname for her) bitch once. Well, except for the one incompetent nurse right after surgery who she almost got fired. I mean it, not once. Amazing!Number Two: My mom, Dianne, Judy and myself are settling into a routine for cleaning, caring, watching and feeding of Fisher and Jenny-Jane (k too I suppose:) I'd say we're doing okay even though the kids are still running circles around us. The house is still in fairly neat order, the dogs and cats are still being fed, the plants are alive and no one has reported us to protective services. However, it's utterly exhausting. So, I'm gonna give a shout-out to all you moms out there (including my own), and, at the same time, throw all the husband-fathers (including me) right under the bus...How can four grown adults barely manage what one does on a daily basis? If she's not an actual Super Hero, she sure is mine.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kristin Kicks It Back Home

I'm Nick's mom Virginia, and thought I'd give a quick update while Kristin and Nick have a quiet moment, finally. It seems like a lot more than a day since Kristin went in for surgery! This morning Diane came to the hospital, helping Kristin to freshen up and feel human again with sisterly hair-braiding and companionship and cheer while the doctors made their rounds. They are pleased with their patient, and Kristin was even able to get a little rest during her remaining time there despite some real discomfort. Lunch included tater tots and grilled cheese, so we knew she was starting to feel a bit more like herself! (A bit of intrigue: a few very serious security guards in her hall -- definitely guarding the famed Brett Michaels. We were glad that Nick restrained himself from various paparazzi schemes.) We brought Kristin home late this afternoon, thrilling Fisher, who is very sweet and careful with Mommy, although extremely curious about the whole thing; and Jenny-Jane, who had to make do with just sitting on Mommy's lap and being held up by others for many Mommy-kisses. Kristin was overwhelmed with all the flowers and gifts and support from you all! We are all so grateful that this first huge step is done. And done with Kristin's usual blend of strength, grit, humor and beauty. Speaking of which, her nurse today said that she had never seen such a beautiful after-surgery patient in all her years. We all agree!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Post Surgery...phew!

APRIL 28th, 2010
At 4:25PM Dr. Harding came into the waiting room and let us know everything went great— as good as it could possibly go. He mentioned it took longer because she is too skinny and, because of this, it's more difficult extracting the tissue. The girl needs more bratwurst! I pressed and asked him on a scale of 1-10, what's the grade? He said he'd give it a 9 and followed that he's a perfectionist and probably will never achieve a 10. I believe him. Dr. Mosharrafa followed about an hour an a half latter and pretty much said the same thing...all went smoothly. Incidentally, his score was a 10/10! Perfect.

The St. Joe's recovery room was a cross between some episode of ER & MASH, meets Taxi. Lots of beeping, moaning and shouting...mixed with a few of Phoenix's finest deputies joking around while one of their suspects was recuperating two spots down from k. Diane joked that when he woke up, his room wasn't going to be nearly as nice as Kiki's. (We spent around 3 hours here while we waited for our room, but sadly, no Bret Michaels sighting).

Phew...after all that, she's doing great. Her vitals are awesome but she's definitely zonked. Per her request via a red button, she's getting pain meds administered every few hours. If all goes well, we'll have her home and resting by tomorrow night. Thanks again for all the love and support. After today, I'd say we're on the 50yard line, with a heckof a long way to go— but we'll get there. By the way, right before she went to sleep I got her to you know, she's beautiful, inside and out!

Let's Get Those Suckers Out o' There!

She's in... and under the knife as we speak. The doctors and the nurses have been great. They even marked each breast so as not to get anything confused?!?! Krista Stone, who underwent the exact same thing about a year and half ago, flew in from NYC last night and was here for support, hugs and even some laughs. Diane (big sist) and my mom were also there to see her gurney go down the tunnel to surgery. There were just a little bit of tears and, just her style, we heard her joking and laughing together with the anesthesiologist right before making the turn into the double doors. Stay tuned...should be about another 3-4 hours before we know how things went. Thanks again for all the emails and texts- we're feeling the love for sure!!!

It's D-Day....Let's roll!

Okay....Nick here. I wanted to post a quick lil' blog while K's sawing zzzz's due to her pleasantly drug induced sleep. Here's the skinny on what happened today:
The meetings with the doctor's went well this morning. As you can see from Dr. Harding's pesky sketch here, she will be having a full mastectomy on her right breast and what is referred to as a simple mastectomy on her left breast. This means all tissue, muscle and lymph nodes will be removed on one side and just tissue on the other, respectively.

Bridgett, the main nurse at Dr. Harding's office has been monumental in arranging our initial testing and pre-surgery stuff. Although we're still waiting on some of our early test results from the oncotypeDX Assay testing, one tidbit of information we found was that she is considered Hormone Receptor Positive (Est+ and Pos+). This is about the only time when the phrase "testing positive" is good news. This, essentially, means she may respond a little better to a specific type of chemotherapy drug.

Per the suggestion of Dr. Tamir Mosharrafa, our highly recommended plastic surgeon, she went to Tina's Treasures and picked up a bunch of post breast surgery knickknacks which included some flipflops with a flower ribbon on 'em, a vest which has pockets on the inside (totally convenient for holding her soon-to-be-bags-of-fluid for her two drains under her armpits), a new bra, little pillows as well as some pamphlets.

We sat down with Fisher (4 yrs old) before bed and she explained that, "mommy is going to the doctor's for a little bit to get some help." Eventually, he seemed generally okay with the whole idea as long as if he could still hug mommy when she came home. It was very hard for her as she relayed that her friend Jenny always used to say to her kids that if she couldn't be with them in person, she would always be there in their tiny hearts. So friggin' sad....but comforting to the little guy.

Anyway, I think I'm gonna steal one of those magic pills from tiny k (shhhhhhh) and try and get some sleep for tomorrow's big day. Check in is at 9:30 at St. Joe's Hospital, surgery is at 12:30PM. Should last about and hour and a half for the removal part, then another hour for the reconstruction. She'll be pretty zonked out so Bridgett said no visitors right away. Although she loves being catered to in the hospital room, she only gets 23 hours there this time. We'll be back at our house by mid afternoon on Thursday. Kindof crazy. I'll post a follow up as soon as I can to let everyone know how this "first drive down field" goes for us. Thanks so much for all the kind emails, text's and means a ton!

Monday, April 26, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

So everyone wants to know, did you find a lump? How did all this start? Ok, here's the deal-e-o:

About a month ago, let's say, sometime in March, while I was putting on my Very Sexy Victoria Secret push up bra, and doing what I always do, which is pulling my back fat forward to make the illusion of actual breasts, I felt a kind of little marble in my right boob. I wasn't too concerned, but I did think "that seems new". So, I remember hearing somewhere that before a woman's period, she might have little cysts in her breasts that come and go with her cycle. I decided to wait a month and to see if it would disappear. It didn't. Without much thought, I did the responsible thing and made an appointment with my cute gynecologist to feel me up. Here's where things speed up like watching TiVo on fast forward- but it's not commercials we are racing through, it's the start of my new life.

Day 1: Gyno says "you know, I don't feel one lump, I feel three". Bonus. He sends me for my first mammogram. (I'm 39)

Day 8: Having my boobs squeezed to kingdom come, the mammogram lady says "so, how old are your kids?" As she looks at the images on her computer, I tell her they are one and four. She, no kidding, whines, "but they're just babies!!!!" and runs out of the exam room. Then I'm having an ultrasound at the same clinic where the technician tells me, "Oh, there's nothing to worry about unless the doctor comes in the room." Cue the doctor. I'm in one of those surreal situations with a doctor sitting in front of me telling me that he is concerned and I need to have these three lumps biopsied right away. My heart is on the floor.

Day 10: In surgeon's office getting felt up again (no joy here, damn it), and he says, "I feel four lumps". Again, bonus. He biopsies all 4 while Nick sits next to me holding my hand, while inside I know he is crumbling. Good news, the biopsies really don't hurt even though Nick said he used some kind of knitting needle contraption to jab me about 12 times. The doctor says he really thinks they are benign fibroadenomas and he would be really surprised if they were anything else. Hell, ok, that sounds good. So we didn't freak out.

Day 15: I'm exercising alone, walking around Steele Indian School Park and my phone rings. It's the surgeon. "I want you to come in today so we can discuss your results." Are you f'ing kidding me? Tell me what's wrong!!! He says "They are not what we expected. You will need surgery." I call Nick from the park and recite what I just heard. Let the freaking out begin. We head right to the surgeon's office where he tells me I've got breast cancer and we need to do a mastectomy asap and I need to see an oncologist right away. I've never even considered hearing these words. Never.

Day 17: Meet the oncologist. He is confident, but doesn't have enough information yet to tell me what kind of breast cancer I have. Nick keeps saying "we want the good breast cancer". Doc says I'll definitely need chemo and is proud to show me his chemo room. The room is so depressing, that it's a joke. I'll ask Nick to tell you the chemo room story later. Honestly, it's pitiful. But he's a great doctor, so I'll deal.

Day 18: Meet the plastic surgeon for my new breasts. This appointment seems kind of exciting. Nick and I wish we were here just for some new ta-ta's for me, but alas, it's because I have cancer. Man, that word is harsh. Anyway, breast reconstruction is not like breast augmentation. Let me just say it takes 8 months- yes 8 months and 6 procedures. Holy shit! But worth it, of course :)

Day 22: That's tomorrow and I meet with the boob surgeon and the plastic surgeon again for pre-op discussions.

Day 23: That's this Wednesday April 28th and I go under the knife for my double mastectomy and installation of my "expanders" which will eventually become my new breasts.

Whew!!! I know that was long and I don't blame you if you skipped most of it, but that's the story of my journey so far. Henceforth, we'll try to stay in the present to let you know what's going on. I REALLY appreciate all your notes. In fact, I'm totally flabbergasted. Your comments and emails and gifts and flowers have been over the top, thank you. I honestly feel guilty that I can't thank you for each kind gesture, but please know, I receive and feel grateful for every one deep in my heart. These are the mini-miracles of cancer I heard about. I'm in awe.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Here we go!

The reason I've gathered you all here today...ok, you know why you are here. And I really appreciate that you want to know what's happening with this crazy blip on our life map. As you know, I've got breast cancer. Wow. It's even hard to say after I've been living with my diagnosis since Tuesday, April 20th, just 6 days ago. The emotions are off the charts, again, waaayyyy off the charts. I'm sure I'll be filling you in that roller coaster on this blog throughout my journey. At times, I may writing from a pain medication haze, but honestly, won't those be the most entertaining? I think so.

Nick and I are committed to updating this blog very regularly to keep you informed of my progress. Sometimes you'll hear from me, sometimes from him. I'm excited about getting an "ipad" which is some flat wireless computer thing I can surf the web, watch movies, watch porn (just kidding, mom!!) and update my blog from during my recovery. Right now, I'm mentally and physically getting ready for my double mastectomy (removing both breasts) on this Wednesday April 28th. It sounds harsh, I know, but I'm very much at peace with it, right now. As they wheel me into the operating room, I may be a flailing mess, but I'm not so sure. Get this cancer shit out of me- fast, is how I'm looking at it now.

There is so much to say, and I want to explain how I got to this point in the whole finding it and surgery next week ambush. But I'll stop for now and say that I will beat this thing. 'nuff said. Oh, one more thing. You can write comments to me on the blog and I would love to hear from you often. And please, not too mushy. You know I'm not the mushy type :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's Eat!

Team Kick It Kiki:
A ton of our friends have been asking how they could help and even bring us dinner. Thank you so much for this by the way. Well, it turns out there's this nifty web site that Andrea and her team helped set up. If anyone is interested, they can simply go to the site and enter Kristin's Calendar ID and Security Code (see below). This way, if you wanna bring something over, it's easy to see how much meatloaf we've already consumed that day:) Thanks again for all your support. love, n
Calendar ID: 38480
Security Code: 3498