Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Master Plan

Ummm.... where am I? Who am I? Ok, I'm almost throw-up tired but have so much to report that I have to blog it baby! Let's start with yesterday, my big meeting with Dr. Mosharrafa, the plastic surgeon. It was the day of the big unveiling. I was pretty scared to see what was under my huge bandage, and guess what? It wasn't as elephant man as I expected. In fact, it was kind of a let down. As those who know me well, you are aware that I am (was) not a well-endowed woman. So when the bandages came off, I really didn't look that different. Yes, I have no nipples (yes, we have no bananas, everybody sing!) and have some pretty big scars across the middle of where my boobs were, but honestly it's not too freakish. The hardest part was removing the drains that were inserted about 12 inches into my chest cavity. I high-pitched screeched like a wussy as the doctor pulled out each tube and he said jokingly "the tea is ready". How funny is that? I now have to wear this nasty flesh colored mom-bra 23 hours a-day to keep hard pressure on my chest cavity as everything heals. It's pretty padded so I look kind of stacked, but unfortunately it hurts like a son of a bitch, especially when I'm laying down. Here's the kicker, I'll be in this thing for 18 months since I have to wait a year after radiation to have my "exchange surgery" meaning taking out my chest expanders and putting in my breast implants. Sleeping the first night in this new bra was torture and I've reconsidered staying on pain meds at night until I get some relief.

Today was the changing of the guard in our house. Nick's mom who was here for the past 9 days headed back East- thank you soooooo much for everything Virginia!!!- and Nick's sister Wendy joined us last night. Like Nick's mom, Wendy is fun, funny, wicked smart and great with the kids so I know we'll have a memorable week. Our first stop this am was scary westside Phoenix for a PETscan. I kept saying that I wanted a fish and Nick said he wanted a kitten, but I guess it wasn't that kind of place. This procedure is done at this point to evaluate my body for any evidence of cancer metastasizing in other areas. It's similar to an MRI in that they put you in a tube like thing and xray every inch of you. I was definitely freaking out about this one. Bad enough that I have breast cancer, but to learn that cancer might be in other places too? I just couldn't bear it. Especially since I have the 8 cancer infected lymph nodes, it wouldn't be out of the question. But here's the best news of the day... in the words of my sweet oncologist Dr. Wendt, "there is no metabolic activity to suggest metastatic disease". Meaning, the cancer has not spread beyond the lymph nodes that were removed during last week's surgery. YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

He then went on to describe, in detail, and I swear 85% of it was in some wild alien language, my planned 16 week regimen of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation and then many years of hormone pill popping to keep things at bay. Thank God Wendy is a trained journalist and took copious notes and asked every right question to help us semi-understand what the doctor was saying. Here's the nutshell: I had "highly aggressive and high-grade" tumors which were removed during surgery, but what keeps them from coming back is the chemo, radiation and hormone therapy. Here's my schedule, get this, STARTING THIS MONDAY MAY 10TH, (holy shit!!!) I have chemo every two weeks for a total of 8 weeks (that means 4 infusions) of drugs called adriamycin and cytoxin. Seriously powerful stuff- they are throwing the big guns at me. Then the second round of chemo, again every two weeks for a total of 8 weeks (4 infusions) I get a drug called taxol. After those 16 total weeks, I do radiation for 6 weeks, which is 5 days a week, but only lasts for a few minutes each time. I hear radiation is like a walk in the park after chemo- let's hope so.

Now let's talk side effects. I can expect to lose my hair about 12-17 days after starting chemo. That puts us around May 23rd, crap. We stole the hysterical catalog from the oncologist's office of all the horrible wigs, scarves, hats and my personal favorite, the terry-cloth turbin with velcro front closure. I'm not quite sure what I'll be donning, but I'm guessing cute hats and scarves. Wigs in AZ summer heat? Shut up. Then there's the nausea, vomiting, head aches, mouth sores and all that other fun that will also ensue, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'll have plenty of time for that roller coaster. Good news is that there are serious medications now available to help control the sick-feeling side effects and I'll be into those like Jenny-Jane on a pickle. Let's just say you should buy stock in Claussen NOW!

I have no appointments tomorrow (thursday) and just an easy ecocardiogram on Friday, so things are good in the hood. I plan on doing lots of laughing and trying not to freak out about chemo on Monday. We considered today a victory and I think that's a great place to end. :)



14 comments:

  1. Kristin and family, I am so, so happy to hear this victory news. It is wonderful and sounds like you're in good hands with love and smart docs all around you.

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  2. The clear scan is the best news! I am so very relieved and happy for you all. You'll be the most gorgeous hat-and-scarf gal ever! Love and miss you!

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  3. Hi Friend! So glad to hear good news. Have been thinking about you night and day. We simply must get you a turban to wear when you need to feel "in charge" should be white terry with a gold buckle for added style. I will get on it ASAP.
    XOXOXOX

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  4. YIPPPPEEE! YIPPPPEEEE! YIPPEEEEE! I am moved to HAPPY tears that there is no cancer anywhere else in your little bod! What a blessing sister!

    I am so grateful Virginia was able to be with you this last nine days and that Wendy is here too...what a wonderful family!
    luv u doll! xoxo

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  5. Negative margins AND a clear scan...way to go! I hear pink camouflage scarves/hats/turbins are in style this season....we're all wearing them...:-)

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  6. Amen and pass the biscuits as they say in the south!!! Glad to hear the good news that they got that crap out of you! Keven says you still be a hot momma in his mind - with or without hair...and I am thinking a Pucci silk scarf would look so cute on you...I am on the hunt!!!!! xoxo - Nanni

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  7. Kristin,

    What a beautiful way to start May 6, 2010. Thank you for sharing this blessed news, you are truly an inspiration to everyone. Some one up there truly loves you as we all do here.

    Love, Karen

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  8. Awesome news! I hope you have all the laughs you can handle this weekend. Best of luck starting Chemo next week. Thank you for the blog.

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  9. Love, love, love to read your posting, because I feel like I'm there laughing with you over a glass (or seven) of wine!!! You will look SO cute in hats, although I think the turbin sounds pretty cute :) xoxo Mimi

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  10. If anyone can ROCK a turbin, it would be you Kristin - so go for it!! I am thrilled to read about your great news. I am inspired by your blog in so many ways - and the Handley family is sending you energetic vibes and you and the whole fam remain in our daily prayers. Laugh lots today, tomorrow and every day - even through the chemo - the laughter will pass the time quickly. Keep on kicking, Kristin! xoxo, Steph

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  11. I feel like I have been holding my breath since the first email you sent announcing cancer, this the first post that we can all breathe a little. Yes, still a long road ahead - but what great news! You are incredible and if you are ever craving some fried cheese curds or a brat, let me know and I'll bring over some tasty treats. Continue to kick it and take care, Kris Kainass (fellow WI girl)

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  12. WOW Your a trooper! personally i think a rainbow afro wig might be worth dealing with the arizona heat, probably should get Nick one too..

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  13. Hot damn! Great scan results! Am so glad and how hard that was to get that test and to wait for results. Tip of the day: Biotene for mouth sores, at Walgreens or CVS in the mouth wash department. Very important. Wishing you quick healing and good pain meds. Julie D.

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  14. I read your blog to Mamaw (my mother's mother & one of the two women who raised me :)) tonight. She is so impressed by your beautiful writing and sense of humor. She said you are 'aces in her book.' She said she thinks you should make writing your vocation...perhaps a book? Love you to you my sister. staci

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