Friday, March 31, 2017

Compassion That Compels & A Quick Update

This photo was taken shortly after my diagnosis in February. I was blessed to meet my friend Emily for lunch and conversation. Emily is a breast cancer overcomer and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Having gone before me, she was so comforting to speak with and has been such a great sounding board for my questions and a prayer warrior extraordinaire. Emily surprised me with this beautiful and thoughtful bag from Compassion That Compels. She had received her own Compassion bag during her battle with cancer and has since become friends with Kristianne Stewart, the woman behind this beautiful ministry which is in Louisiana.

Honestly, that first week after diagnosis, my head was spinning and trying and I was trying to learn so much, process so much and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. The bag and thoughtful items that filled it were almost too much to process right that moment as grateful as I was. This was the first of many overwhelming moments in this journey.

Later, when I had some quiet time and really looked through the bag I was touched to reread an encouraging and beautiful note from Paula, the woman who sponsored my bag of thoughtful gifts selected for this journey. Paula is also a cancer overcomer. Kristianne's own card explained her ministry and had such a perfect verse at the bottom of the card.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

That's one I'm holding on to. Along my favorite devotional was an amazingly soft and cozy blanket, two journals - each beautiful and with scripture, a travel mug, mints, tea, a beautiful "beanie" for chemo patients, even a sweet scripture pen was sent by Rosie. Rosie's card has "prayer warrior" as her title and the back is filled with perfect advice to live by.

Shortly after I found out that I wouldn't be having chemo a handyman came to our house to repair a door. He was telling me about his sister and her battle with breast cancer and how she has lost all her hair. I grabbed the beanie and asked if he thought she might want it. He was so sweet and said yes, it looked like something she would wear and enjoy. It was so fun to wrap up for her. How wonderful it was able to pass on one of the beautiful blessings.

My bag goes to my appointments to hold all my paperwork and snacks. Especially snacks. =D

Compassion That Compels is a beautiful ministry and non profit started by Kristianne after cancer touched her own family.  Not only providing specific items of comfort but lots of prayer and support. It has really been beautiful to see Kristianne's posts on Facebook and Instagram. Kristianne is so much more eloquent than I could hope to be, I hope you'll check out the site and read through some blog posts.

And the update.....

Today we met with Dr. S. who is my new Radiation Oncologist. As with each office we've be working with in the journey everyone was amazing from R at the front desk to V, his nurse. He took time to explain and allay my fears about radiation. Yes, I can hug my family. No, I will not glow green.

For the first time my staging came up. I'm technically 1a.

My next appointment is Monday afternoon where I will have a CT scan to help Dr. S. map out my radiation treatment plan. The following week we will likely mark me up and start radiation. At that point I will know if the shorter radiation plan will be right for me but either way I have a lot of peace about the process now.

So until then, have a great weekend.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Captain of My Ship.....

Chris and I saw Dr. G. last night for my treatment plan. We do get a little punchy sitting in waiting rooms together.

At the end of my post op earlier this month with my surgeon, Dr. C., she appointed Dr. G. the new captain of my ship and I'm thankful he is. He has taken and is taking care of people I love.

He was pleased with my Oncotype score and was adamant that chemotherapy would be of no benefit in my situation. That felt great.

He then went on to give us a crash course in some of the current clinicals and so, so many statistics. It was a little mind numbing but the purpose was to show us why my treatment would be as it is.

Dr. G. referred me to a radiologist who will be administering my radiation. He is hopeful I will have a four week long treatment period - once per day each week day for four weeks. Dr. S. will make the final decision. Praying friends, four weeks is my hope!

So now it's time to wait for radiation to get started. I won't see Captain G. for about eight weeks when we'll move onto medication.

And praying friends, some traveling mercies for Chris and he flies to visit his family would be much appreciated.

All my love,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Oncotype Score!

I've got a quick update and a reason to smile today!

This morning I logged onto to my patient portal to pay a couple of bills and found there was an update to my chart. My Oncotype score is in and it's exactly what I hoped for!


If you clicked into the Oncotype Testing link in my last post you know that this means that chemotherapy is not recommended for a score of 16.

It's a huge relief to know already, as we didn't think we'd have an answer until Wednesday afternoon. That's when we'll meet with my oncologist for his treatment recommendation.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and love.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Post Op with Joe

This week has been so much better than last week. The pain is lessening every day and I'm getting a little bit more energy. I'm still writing thank you cards for all the sweetness bestowed on me this last week and we still have a house full of gorgeous flowers and the most loving cards.

Chris is away on business this week and Joe has been home on spring break babysitting me. I'm so very thankful he's been so willing to hang out and help with dog walks and everything else. He even accompanied me to today's post op appointment after a quick lunch out. He's been absolutely awesome and I'm feeling so blessed.

After my incisions were checked (healing nicely) Joe came in and Dr. C confirmed the good news of the clear margins and a negative lymph node. We discussed that my oncologist, Dr. G had requested that Oncotype testing be done. I'll include this link because it's something I knew nothing about.


The gist of it is, I want a number of 17 or less. That will mean chemotherapy will not be needed.

Dr. G will give me that number as well as my treatment plan on the 22nd as the test takes about two weeks.  Just as Dr. C had all my confidence for surgery, Dr. G does as well for my treatment. I'm in good hands and that gives me peace.

Waiting? Well that isn't my specialty but the 22nd will be here soon.

Chris, Marc, Marie and Aiden all have a bug. I hate that Chris is sick in a hotel. Praying for all of them and hoping Joe and I evade the germs somehow.

Until the 22nd.....

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A shower and clear margins!

Surgery, thankfully, went very well and yesterday was a fairly comfortable, if somewhat fuzzy, day of couch time with Gus. Getting up and moving was difficult but when I was planted on the couch the pain was really manageable.

Today has been a great one so far. I am off pain meds and doing great on ibuprofen only which makes my stomach and head so much happier. A shower this morning pretty much was life changing and putting on real clothes feels so much more normal.

Right after showering I received a call from my surgeon's office with great news - clear margins and a negative lymph node.  Praising God for that!

A visit from dad topped off my morning although Gus kind of hogged him.

Next week I'll see my surgeon and we'll discuss the next step, but for now I'll just enjoy this answered prayer and look forward to seeing Marc, Marie and Aiden in a bit.

I can't begin to express how much all the love and prayers have meant to all of us.

Thank you will never be enough.