Monthly Archives: August 2013

Pathology Report and Renovations

The pathology report came back yesterday and there is no further evidence of either DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) or IDC (invasive ductal carcinoma.)  Hooray!  This means that no further margin surgery is needed.  I still have to have radiation.  I will meet with the radiologist on Sept 10 to formulate the plan for that treatment. As of now, I expect to start radiation around the third week of September. This means that I should finish radiation by the end of the first week of November.

The house renovations are coming along.  The counter tops were installed yesterday.  Unfortunately, there are some issues there that I hope to have resolved today.  There is always something…  The master bath has been demolished and partially rebuilt and the tiling starts tomorrow.  The electricians are here now installing new ceiling lights.  By tonight we should be able to use our new stove and oven!  Pumpkin muffins anyone?

Some day the renovations on my house and my body will be complete.  I will have to come up with something really good to do with all that spare time. Perhaps I can grow some eyebrows?  I have completely lost the right side while the left is pretty sparse.  Anyway, I am sure I will think of something.


This is the partially finished kitchen island.  The chairs are in place to keep me from eviscerating myself on the brackets.  The bar height counter had to go back to the shop for some reworking. Kinda like me, last week.

Home From Surgery – Check that one off!

We finally got home (the ferry was very late of course but the one that we just missed was on time) and Loretta is resting on the chair (we have two, actually) and eating a snack.


All is good.  We need a good report from the pathologist (Monday or Tuesday next week) to be sure that the surgery was successful but the surgeon was very optimistic.


Out of surgery

Spoke to the surgeon and she said she did really well.  She commented that Loretta must be a really cheap date because they didn’t have to use much sedation to knock her out.  They only did local anesthesia so she was really just napping.  So recovery should be easier.

We should be able to see her in the next 30 mins or so.

Surgery Day Begins


Loretta is chillin while we wait for them to start the first procedure of the day.  They are going to insert a guide wire for the surgeon to follow as she takes the additional margin that they wanted.

She is in having it done now….


It’s a beautiful day in Seattle (it’s always like this – ask anyone) but we are looking forward to this day being over.

I will update the blog as things happen.

Chemonday No More

Yesterday was the first Monday in a long time that I didn’t have chemo.  It was great not going to chemo.  I do miss spending time with my various buddies.  They were all great and they will never know how much I appreciate the time they took going with me.

The weird thing about the last chemo is your brain says “Yay the last one.  I am done.”  But, your body still has all the same side effects (multiplied by the previous 15 infusions) it did the prior week.  These side effects will last several weeks.  Just in time for surgery!

I am scheduled for surgery on August 21.  Some additional (2mm) margins will be taken where the DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) was located.  The surgeon will do a touch up on the scar from the previous surgery.  And, she will remove my port!  I am so happy to have my port removed.  I have a real love/hate relationship with my port.  It has served me well but it is time for it to go.  Sometimes I think it wants to leave on its own.


So, I bid a fond adieu to my Bard, single septum, Power Port.

Last Chemo!!

YAY!!!!  This leg of the journey is over.  I had my last chemo this afternoon.  Alexa was my chemo buddy the first part of the day and Roberta was my chemo buddy the second half.  I can’t say it enough – I am very lucky to have such great friends and family.  There are people who show up for chemo all alone.

I am also very thankful for the lab staff and the chemo staff at SCCA.  From the check in people to the nurses.  They greet you with a smile, get you warm blankets and even decorate your id bracelet with stickers for your last day.

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This is Bo.  He works in the lab and accessed my port 9 of the 16 chemos.


My decorated bracelet.

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This is me checking into chemo for the last time.

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Alexa, me and Roberta waiting to be called for chemo.

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Cathy, my nurse, and me.  Cathy was my nurse for my first and last chemos and several in between.


The bag on the left is the Taxol and it is empty!

I still have to get through the next couple of weeks of side effects but should start to feel much better after that.  The next leg of this journey is margin surgery on Aug 21.  But for tonight I am going to celebrate the completion of chemo with Scott and a couple of glasses of sparkling apple cider and a great meal provided by Micheal.

Second to Last Taxol – Moving Week

Well this post is just a bit late!  What a week it has been.  It started out like the previous 11 weeks, Chemomonday.  My buddy for the day was Alexa.  Thank you Alexa.  We did the usual  – take the ferry and walk to SCCA.  We stopped at Whole Foods on the way to pick up lunch and for me to hop into the bathroom to apply Lidocaine and Saran Wrap to my port.  I know the bathroom code by heart.  They never seem to change it. We then finished the walk to SCCA and checked into the lab.

The lab was really quiet for a Monday.  This is very unusual.  I was able to get my favorite port accessor, Bo.  He is very good and I have seen him for more than half of my chemo visits.  After lab, we went to the 5th floor, checked in for chemo and sat down to wait and eat lunch.  This is were the story gets interesting (not really but saying it sounds good.)

While hanging out, my left ear started get red and hot, what I call Hot Ear.  It occasionally happens to me and goes away after a bit.  Well this time it didn’t go away but continued to spread until both ears and my face were red.  This was not the flushed face I usually get on Tuesdays after Taxol.  This was the white eyed, red faced, raccoon look of an allergic reaction.  It was red and hot and hot and red.  A very attractive look to accompany a bald head and angry, rashy arms.

When my chemo nurse, Cathy, saw me she was like “What’s up with your face?”  I said I didn’t know and that it wasn’t only my face with an issue but my foot needed a little looksie, too.  (On the Saturday before chemo my left foot was swollen on the top just below the middle and second smallest toe.  The skin in between the toes was sloughing off and just plain yucky.  While the swelling was down, the skin was still pretty bad off.  I am such a joy to take to chemo!)

Cathy called the lab to see if they had used anything new while accessing my port.  They hadn’t.  She then talked to the oncology nurse who talked to the oncologist.  Those chemo nurses are on the ball and take really good care of their patients.  I was given IV Benedryl for the allergic reaction.  In about 10 minutes my face started looking better.  in about 20 minutes it was almost back to normal.  No one knows what happened, just one of those mysterious things.  It happened again the next day, but not to the same extent.  As for my foot, again, who knows what is happening.  I was told to soak it in an astringent solution and apply Neosporin.  It was so much better in a few days that it is hard to believe how bad it had looked.

On Tuesday, we moved.  Yes, we moved.  We moved about 50 yards into our construction zone.  I hired Hill Movers and they sent three guys to carry our belongings from one 3 story townhouse, 50 yards down the street, into another 3 story townhouse.  This is almost like a movers worst nightmare.  Loads of stairs in both homes with no driving break in between.  They were awesome!  And they were tired.  David and his friend Nick stopped by and helped with the move.

On Wednesday my dear friend (and Realtor) Eileen came to help me move the rest of the stuff that the wasn’t ready for the movers.  It turned out to be way more than I thought. Eileen must have made twenty trips (just like the movers) to the new townhouse.  We got some unexpected help from a friend and his two boys who happened to be in town on a visit.  Thanks Jim, Logan and Taylor.  Wednesday night, the move was finally complete.  Eileen, you rock and I owe you big time for all your help.

Thursday I was exhausted. Scott came home from work and worked on the house for hours.

Friday I was exhausted. (I do have a separate story about my encounter with PHONE GUY that my Bainbridge Island female friends will appreciate.) Scott came home from work and worked on the house for hours.

Saturday I was tired. Scott worked on the house for 12 hours.

Sunday I am tired.   Scott is still working on the house.

Our contractor has been working as much as possible but there is a lot to do.  The final product is beginning to emerge and it is a beauty!  Scott has done the lions share of unpacking while installing the kitchen, helping lay the floor, building out a closet, setting up the internet and cable, and doing a million other things.  I, on the other hand, feel like a slug.

Would I recommend renovating and moving at the end of six months of surgery and chemo?  I am not sure I would.  But I would recommend not putting your life on hold when a great opportunity presents itself.  The cancer treatments are temporary.  The renovations are temporary.   We seized the moment and we are very happy that we did.