News – November 17, 2013

Well, great. I just typed 3/4 of a new update and it disappeared. Just like that. sigh……………….. Let me start over.

This is a somewhat difficult entry. Let me just jump right in and get right to it.

The 2nd week of October we went back to Siesta Key. This replaced our trip to the Grand Canyon that fell through when the federal shut down took place. We stopped in Atlanta on the way, and while walking around Olympic Park, I became so winded that we had to just stop so I could get my breath. Our room at the condo was 2nd floor this time, so going up and down stairs continued to be a chore the week we were gone. Honestly, I had had other breathing issues this summer, prior to changing blood pressure meds. But they seemed to clear up with the new medication. Oh well……………. Anyhow, I knew that I had an appointment with Dr. Smith Monday when we got back, and a check up with Dr. Reed on Wednesday. I figured we’d address the issues then.

Dr. Smith immediately scheduled another CT. (we have been watching lungs for awhile because of some little spots. And breast cancer typically goes to the lung.) Dr. Reed heard a rattling and followed up by adding a CTA on top of the CT. The tests showed considerable fluid on the lung, so Dr. Reed got me in to see Dr. Lanier, a pulmonologist. He studied the x rays and drew off fluid (that was fun…………no, it could have been worse. Just uncomfortable.), then ordered oxygen–24/7. And more tests. We were trying to see if it could be heart problems. No such luck (that’s fixable). The fluid took us more and more in the direction of the cancer. Yes, the tumor markers were going down with the oral chemo. But markers are only a part of the story of this disease. Finally had a bronchoscope and biopsy of lung tissue last week, which confirmed our fears. There is a malignant tumor in the lung. Dr. Lanier turned me over to Dr. Smith, and we will go from there.

Unfortunately our appointment was very late Friday afternoon, and Dr. Lanier’s schedule had gotten way off. We were over an hour late seeing him, which threw us off in seeing Dr. Smith. That meant we were rushed trying to ask and answer questions about things. (We had to get to home health to get more O2 tanks for the weekend.) Here’s what we do know as of now…..

Dr. Smith’s office is contacting my surgeon from 10 years ago. He will put in a port asap, and I will then begin chemo immediately. Like within a day or two. As Dr. Smith says, we have to take the gloves off and get at this as fast and as hard as possible. I believe the drug is taxotiere (sp?). I haven’t read up on it yet. We do know it’s a very strong drug. I am not allowed to travel, and I can’t be around anyone with so much as a sniffle.I won’t be “doing lunch” very much for a while, girls. Guess you’ll have to come here, Just as long as there are no sniffles, that is. We do not know how long each session will be, or how many sessions. I have a feeling the number of sessions will be dependent on how I respond to the drug. If I’m not responding, well, there’s no point in continuing that one, I guess. I’ll be checked continually, for anemia and infection.

We have had a little time to get our heads wrapped around things. I have to say, I really, in my heart, knew the outcome. I had actually had a couple of dreams this fall that were leading me down that path. Preparing me, I guess. Not the first time I’ve done things like that. I dreamt about the man who gave me away in my wedding, 5 days before he passed away. We were out of the country, and I knew we had to be home soon after that dream. Weird, huh? And there have been of other times. God leading toward preparation.

Anyway, we have a plan and we will proceed from there. I have already started thinking about things I can do here in the house to occupy myself. I bought a box of books at the library sale plus what I have on my Nook. And some beading I’ve been wanting to do, plus my knitting. We have been coping with the tiredness ever since I started on the oxygen (draining the fluid really “drained” me physically, and it is something that doesn’t go away). If I cook I try to do enough of a main course that will last more than one meal. Then all we have to do is fix some veggies. And by “we” I mean Mike. He is Super Man. He carts these O2 tanks around, helping me get them ready for the day ahead so I have enough to get me where I need to be. The tanks only last about 3 hours, so you have to plan things out. For home use there is Big Bertha Blue. It’s a big machine that creates its own O2. Trouble is, we have a 2 story house. So it has to be carted up and down steps. I am in hopes of getting a battery pack machine so that doesn’t have to happen. We’ll have one up and one down. Mike can’t continue to take this thing up and down the stairs. His back and herniated disc will give out. He has been doing a lot of the shopping for incidentals, too. Like I said, he is Super Man. I’d be lost without him.

I’m doing OK. We do need prayers that the chemo drug yields results. I’m not sure what options there are if I don’t respond to it. So give it all you have there. But whatever happens, will happen. We will take it one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other.

I have to give some wonderful news. I attended the christening of Jude Mateo Hendrick today. Harmony and Ed’s darling boy. It was a joyous occasion, with children everywhere: sweet little Riley and all the Bocas. How joyful. And next weekend (hopefully I will get to go) is Walker T.’s 2nd birthday. That sweet boy of Tracy and Brian Eppolito (nephew of Pam and Duncan McKenzie) brings us so many smiles. Life really is good.

Prayers needed: my friend JoEllen’s little girl has been in and out of Vandy for 7 weeks with a problem in her intestines. Please pray for her. She has terrible pain associated with it. Debi Jordan’s nephew and his fiancé were in a horrible car wreck, leaving them both hospitalized and needed long term care and healing. Pray for Bart and Missy. Mike’s cousin Bobby is in the final stages of a vicious and aggressive cancer that came out of nowhere. They have told him he will not face the pain his daughter did when she died of cancer several years ago, but it is tough to know he may be suffering. Pray for Bobby’s good rest and healing. Pray also for Bill Bayley, our brother-in-law. Dani, his wife, passed away in February, from a brain tumor. He now has bladder cancer and has undergone treatment and surgery. Pray for complete recovery. Remember the people of the Philippines, the people who were struck by today’s storms, and all who have unnamed requests. And thank you all for everything you do for us and all prayers you send. We remain blessed by you all. And we love you all.

Blessings to all, Anne, Mike, and the fur babies (Sebastian and Lucy the nurse dog)