Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday July 29, 2010

Here we go...

Today Christy woke up feeling great. We went for walks and she had to do her dreaded breathing machine. She gives me a go-to-hell look every time I tell her it's that time again. I'm tough though, she only scares me a little..... I'm not gonna lie, she scares the crap out of me!

We had many visitors and appreciate all the love shown to us. Christy felt she needed to stay awake and "entertain" everyone. Christy was really tired at the end of the day. She did make up her mind to stay through Saturday. She is supposed to sleep at a 45 degree angle for three nights. Dr. Strock's orders. She figured with the fancy bed she's sleeping in, she could accomplish that. We don't have a recliner at the house and she would end up sleeping on her back in the bed.

Christy has her nurse that she had last night and she's very happy about that. We'll try to get some rest tonight.

Thank you to everyone who came by to visit. Christy and I feel very loved and we have all of you to thank for that..

Until next time.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday July 28th, 2010

Ok, this is my (Jamey's) first attempt at filling in for Christy on her Blog. So bear with me please.

Today we got to the Hospital at 06:00 A.M. We did our normal pre-op stuff with the Nurses. Our Surgeons came into vistit with us while in pre-op. Christy and I were pleasantly surprised by that. They visited with us and asked if we had any questions.

Dr. Bussey asked Christy again what side we're doing and Christy said "BOTH". Dr. Bussey just laughed and said "I just wanted to make sure you didn't change your mind before surgery". She left and Dr. Strock began talking to Christy. He listened to Christy tell him exactly how she wanted her new boobies. Dr. Strock got out the magic marker from hell and began to color on her like a 5 year old with a big chief tablet. Some of ya'll don't remember big chief tablets, but that's another story.

Once Dr. Strock got done with his marker masterpiece, we were wheeled up to the 2nd floor for the surgical holding area. Christy was like a kid in the elevator. She says riding an elevator in a bed is freaky. I was waiting for her to ask the nurse if we could do it again.

We met with other nurses who began sticking Christy like a pin cushion with various size needles. IV's were hooked up and blood was drawn. We were not back there nearly as long as we were last week. Christy was so excited to have Dr. Harper again to do her anesthesia. He was really good. Dr. Harper asked her the basic questions he did last time, are you allergic to anything, did you get sick last time etc...

After about 45 min in the Surgery holding area, it was time to wheel Christy back. I felt bad because Michelle, Christy's twin sister, started welling up with tears. You don't understand the bond between twins until you witness it first hand. I have seen it several times, so I knew it was coming. I wanted to give her a big hug, but she rushed out. Christy's Mom and Dad told her they loved her and left. I was last and I gave her a big hug and kiss and told her I loved her. I told her she was tough and I was proud of her and I would see her in recovery. They rolled her away and I went to meet my family and friends in the waiting room.

We set around the waiting for a while visiting with everyone. About an hour and twenty minutes later Dr. Bussey came out and found me. She told me she was done and everything went very well. No problems. She told me Dr. Strock was doing the reconstruction as we spoke. We set in the waiting room for a while more, visting, well more joking and laughing. About an hour and thirty minutes later Dr. Strock came out to talk to me. He told me "Everything went great, well actually Excellent!" This made me feel good.

He told me that Dr. Bussey had to remove a little more skin from Christy's left breast (the one with the cancer) than he had expected. He explained that Dr. Bussey's job is to get rid of the cancer. He explained that was not a big deal, because he can fix it. It just meant when he placed the expanders (under the muscle) he was not able to fill the left one with much saline. He was able to fill the right expander with 150cc of saline. He said she has boobies, not as big as they were, but she has some. He wanted me to explain to her not to freak out, he will fill the left one up to match and that they will be "PERFECT" when it's all said and done.

I got called back to recovery about thirty minutes after visting with Dr. Strock. Christy was more coherent than last weeks surgery. I was really happy to see that. I got to spend my 5 minutes with her and then got kicked out. I did learn that our room was on the 2nd floor of the Jones Tower. The nurse told me I could go up there to the room. I gathered up my posse and headed that way. When we got there, Christy had beat us by mere seconds. Good timing on my part, I must say.

We had several friends and family visit. Christy was awake and talking to everyone. She was really amazed, although she was sore, it was nothing like she expected. She is wearing the pain pump out though!

She got to eat some food, drink some water and tea. She even had some peanut M&M's. We got up and had to take a walk for the nurse, which she did very well. We got her situated in the bed and what did she do? You guessed it, Pain Pump! That's her new best friend. Dr. Bussey came by to vistit and check on Christy, as well as Dr. Harper. Christy was really impressed with that. Dr. Strock will be by early in the morning to check on Christy and change her dressing.

I want to give a special thanks to all our friends and family who have called to check on us. All the thoughts and prayers and support. You don't know how much your loved until something like this happens. I love all of you.

Thank you to my sister Michelle for helping the whole way, I love you. Thank you to my other wife Brandy, I love you! Thank you Aunt Stacy for staying for so long to help us out. I love you very much. Thank you Mom and Dad, Mom and Pops. We couldn't do this without ya'll. We love you so much. Thank you to Luwana for coming out. Kelli , David, Casey and Sarah, Uncle Raymond and Aunt CB, Uncle Geoff, Alan, Kirk and Debra, Sheila. I love all of you very much. I apologize if I left anyone out.

I will try to keep this thing updated as best as I can.

Until next time

Jamey, out.....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday July 26, 2010

Who out there thought they'd be shopping at a Cancer Boutique at the age of 34 for themselves??? No one? Yeah me neither but that is where I found myself this afternoon getting fitted for a comisole. It's just a loose tank top that has velcro in the front but has pockets on the inside to hold by drain bags. (ewwww) :-)
$53 dollars later, I was off to my pre surgery doctor's appointment with Dr. Bussey.

Jamey and Michelle met me there. Dr. Bussey took me back by myself first, looked at my stitches and then "ripped" my steri strips off. I can say she ripped them off because no one else was there! (Jamey disagrees with me on the word "ripped")

After that she called Jamey and Michelle back and asked if we had any last minute questions.
- when will my numbness in my arm pit go away? Could take up to 6 weeks
- can I have Dr. Harper, the anesthesiologist I had last Tuesday, this Wednesday. She said he is on her surgical team and the only reason he wouldn't be there is if he is on vacation. In the event he isn't there, she will make sure the anesthesiologist does exactly what Dr. Harper did since I had a GREAT recovery.
- when will these stitches in my arm pit come out? She will take them out Wednesday while I'm in surgery.
- since I only had 2 lymph nodes removed, do I still run a risk of lymphademia? I have a 1% chance.

Dr. Bussey wanted to know if I was happy with my plastic surgeon, and if I'm still wanting a double mastectomy. Yes and YES!

Off we went and we will see her at 6 am on Wednesday...

Love to all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday July 23, 2010

Jamey and I went to see the plastic surgeon, Dr. Louis Strock in Fort Worth today. We left 2 hours before our appointment, due to construction on I-20, and we were still 15 minutes late. Very frustrating! Dr. Strock must not have noticed because he didn't say anything and the front office staff was VERY nice about it when I called to say we'd be late.

First thing Dr. Strock said was he only does breast reconstruction surgeries with Dr. Bussey. He said she knows what she is doing and that makes his job a lot easier! Good to know. :-)

After yet another physician seeing my boobs, he answered ALL our questions!
- I will need constant care for 2 weeks (sorry Jamey).
- I will not be able to do housework i.e., laundry, vacuum, sweep, etc. for a total of 4 weeks (sorry Jamey :-)
- I will be off work for 6 weeks. He might be pursuaded into 4 weeks depending on my recovery.
- His part of the surgery on Wednesday will be approximately an hour each side. So my total surgery time for Wednesday is 4 - 4 1/2 hours.
- I will have to sleep sitting up for 3 days and keep my elbows at my side for 2 weeks. No laptop :'(

Dr. Strock will reconstuct my breasts to fit my chest wall. In other words, he won't put in gigantic breasts or teeny tiny ones either. He will listen to my "absolute nots" on Wednesday morning (like no bigger than...)

He will fill the expanders as much as he can during surgery, after that we will have to go to his office every so often to get them filled. Once I reach my size, and am done with chemo, I will have another surgery to remove the expanders and insert "the new girls".

Gross news was, I won't be able to shower for 9 days! OMGosh!!! Ewwwww
Oh well, I won't be doing anything during those 9 days so it should be ok. And I'll probably be too scared or sore to shower anyway! So if no one comes over, I understand!

He gave us our post-surgery homecare instructions, gave me 5 different prescriptions (to have ready after surgery), scheduled our follow-up appointment and said he'd see us on Wednesday.

I can't believe this is the weekend before! Guess I should do what little housework I can... for now!

Love to all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday July 22, 2010

I got my results back today from my Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and it was NEGATIVE!!!!

I haven't been in a very good mood today until I heard those results! Now I am on cloud 9! Thank you to everyone for their prayers!!!

So tomorrow we meet with the plastic surgeon and I will have an update after that!

Love to all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday July 20, 2010

Yesterday we (me, Jamey and Morgan) went up to THFW for my Lymphoscintigraphy, which is a technique that is used to determine the sentinel lymph node (first lymph nodes the tumor is draining into). I didn't know what to expect and let me tell you, it was something else!

I had a great technician named Mandi. She inserted a needle, which had small amounts of radioactive material, into the side of my areola. That was awkward, and yet another person in the DFW area to see my boobies :-).

When she was done with that, she had me massage my own breast to work that stuff around and get it into my lymph nodes. I told her "this is what I brought my husband for!" yet she never went to get him :(
After about 15-20 minutes, she slid me into the tube and starting taking pictures. She marked two spots in my armpit with a permanent marker and sent me home.

Today, we had to be back at 7:00 am for a 9:00 am lymph node biopsy (they didn't take me back until 11:20 am). I couldn't have anything to eat or drink after midnight last night and I REALLY WANTED MY COFFEE! And it didn't help that both Michelle and Jamey had thiers!

The procedure went great. Dr. Bussey came out and talked to Michelle and Jamey and said she removed 2 lymph nodes, will send those out to the lab to biopsy, and I should have my results within 48 hours. Please pray these are negative! If negative, I will have a "bilateral simple Mastectomies with immediate reconstruction". If positive, I will have a simple right mastectomy and a modified radical left mastectomy. Simple means just removing the breast tissue. Modified radical means removing the breast tissue and all of the lymph nodes on that side. Radical mastectomy removes the breast tissue, the lymph nodes, AND the muscle behind the breast. Just a little A&P for ya!

Thank you to everyone for all the positive thoughts and prayers. Without all of you, and my wonderful family, this whole process would be unbearable! I definitely wouldn't have a positive attitude, and so far that positive attitude has been helpful.

I want to say thank you to Michelle for going with us today and keeping Jamey company, and Happy Birthday to Holly!

Love to all!
Christy (on pain meds :-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday July 18, 2010

Sorry I haven't blogged in awhile but there hasn't been too much to report cancer wise. Now that I have my surgery date, I'm trying to wrap some things up at work and get things taken care of at home.

Friday we went for my pre-op lab work. Since I have so many things scheduled at THFW, they didn't know which account number to register me under, so of course the one they chose was wrong. Took 45 minutes to fix that.

Had an EKG, chest x-ray, answered a million health questions, gave a urine sample and then they tried to get blood. I didn't inherit much from my mother (since we all look like Dad), but the one thing I did inherit is her translucent teeny tiny rolling veins. OUCH! Of course they finally got what they needed and 2 hours later, we were on our way.

Also last week, I was called for jury duty and my dryer went out again. I guess all this is God's way of keeping my mind off of the cancer. It's ok, I can handle it!

Love to all,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday July 13, 2010

Today I received all my appointments! Everything is scheduled...

Monday July 19, I go in for my sentinel node biopsy injection
Tuesday July 20, I have my biopsy
Friday July 23, Consultation with Dr. Strock, the plastic surgeon.
Monday July 26, Back to Dr. Bussey for the final pre-op appointment
Wednesday July 28, SURGERY!!!!

Sometime before July 19th I have to go in for my pre-op lab work, but other than that, everything is scheduled!

I am ready... I am ready to get it over with, I am ready to be done with it, I am ready to be a cancer survivor!!!

Love to all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday July 12, 2010

Today we met our surgeon, Dr. Bussey. She specializes in diseases of the breast only. When we got there, there wasn't anyone at the front desk. After about 2 or 3 minutes, Dr. Bussey comes up to the front herself. She told us her front office staff person wasn't in today, so Dr. Bussey did it all! She gave me my new patient paperwork to fill out, she took my DL and insurance card and made copies and then took us to our exam room and met with us... flabbergasted!!! Who says physicians can't do things themselves???

After my exam (yet another physician that has felt me up) she sat us down and told us our options and her recommendations.

Due to my age, type of cancer, and where the cancer is located she does not think I will be a good candidate for breast conservation (lumpectomy). She recommends a mastectomy. Since I have already decided to have a double mastecomy, to which she also recommended, she said I could wait and do genetic testing later. Genetic testing will tell if this cancer will spread to my other breast (which will be gone) or my ovaries. If genetic testing is positive, I can safely wait until 40 or 41 to have my ovaries removed. If I were to go through genetic testing now, she would not recommend both the double mastectomy AND having my ovaries removed at the same time. So I can wait, but I will get it done!

Since my cancer is lobular, she recommends an outpatient procedure prior to surgery to do the sentinel node biopsy, instead of at the time of surgery. Lobular cancer cells and the lymph nodes cells appear the same at first and could take longer to determine cancerous. Dr. Bussey likes at least 48 hours prior to surgery so we don't get a false negative and therefore I won't have to have 2 surgeries.

Next steps are to meet with the plastic surgeon, schedule my outpatient SNB procedure and get on the surgery schedule, which Dr. Bussey said should be in 2 weeks or so. Hopefully tomorrow I will get all that scheduled!

Oh, before I forget... word on the street in Mineral Wells (where I'm from) is Michelle, my twin sister, has breast cancer. So if you hear that, it isn't true...

Happy birthday to our puppy Gunner, who is 8 today!

Love to all

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday July 8, 2010

Woo Hoo! Today was a great day!
We went to see Dr. Nugent, the oncologist, today and we like him. I was worried I wouldn't, and then either have to find another one, or stick with this one for the next 5+ years. So I'm happy!

After taking my family history, which he said was "dull", he did an exam and then came back in and talked to us. I will need chemotherapy, but not before surgery. He said the size of my tumor is 1.3 cm, which isn't large but it isn't small. The Stage of cancer is usually determined after the tumor is removed, but when I asked him what Stage he thought I was, he said Stage I. AWESOME!!!

He discussed the radiation/chemotherapy regimens with both breast conservation (lumpectomy) and mastectomy. Although I can be a candidate for breast conservation, at 34, it would leave my breast "unappealing" without a shirt on. Now I know the #1 objective is to be cancer free, but I'm only 34! Also, anyone who really knows me, knows I already want a breast deduction, so I don't want them to do breast conservation and make it this big again :).

After he realized where our decision was heading, double mastectomy, he agreed. With lobular cancer, it's not only harder to detect, there is a 10% chance that it will go bilateral. While 10% isn't high, it's high enough for me! Again, remember, #1 goal is to be cancer free, in BOTH breasts!

With a double mastectomy, he doesn't believe I will need radiation, only chemotherapy. The duration of chemo and the "cocktail" will be determined by the tumor DNA and other medical scientific stuff. What should I expect? Chemo sessions every 3 weeks for 4-6 months to start 2-3 weeks after surgery.

My next question was will immediate reconstruction interfere with chemotherapy. He assured me it wouldn't and he also agreed with that decision. Immediate reconstruction means when they remove both breasts, they will also remove some/most of my skin, then sew up the rest. They will insert expanders under the skin and then gradually (over time) fill it until it becomes the size I want. Once chemo is over, I would have another surgery to remove the expanders and get my new boobs!

I will also need to see a Genetic Counselor after everything is over. I will have blood drawn and go through my "dull" family tree for the sake of Morgan, my sisters, and my Mom.

Long story short, if you are going to have breast surgery, I guess I have the best kind! *big smile!*

Dr. Nugent will contact Dr. Bussey, the surgeon, and touch base with her, let her know which direction we are headed, and send her all paperwork for my surgery consult on Monday. Until then, that is all I know.

Thank you to Aunt Stacy for scheduling all my consultation appointments so quickly! You are the BEST!

Thank you to my sister Michelle for going with us today and helping me during the family history part, even though you almost listed off your "known drug allergies"!

Happy 15th Anniversary to Jason and Kelli and Happy Birthday to Terri!

Love to all,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday July 7, 2010

Today was pretty normal. Othen than when I was driving to work and enjoying the 75 degree weather and thinking about how much I love my job, I almost asked "why me?" But I didn't! God always has a plan and although I might not know what it is, I will follow this path and "suck it up buttercup" :-)

Started reading my Breast Cancer for Dummies book tonight. Pretty informative, maybe too informative? I'll finish reading it and let ya know.

I have all my films, the path reports, and my questions ready for the oncologist appointment tomorrow. Me, Jamey and my sister Michelle will be there to hear all the answers.

Until then, Happy Hump Day
Love to all,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday July 6, 2010

I have to admit, last night at dinner, I started having anxiety. Anxiety over having to go to work and not having Jamey with me. Crazy I know, but I couldn't help it. I had been with him constantly since we got the news. And of course as sweet as he is he said "Do you want me to take off work tomorrow?" I said "You can't come to work with me LOL" He made me feel better :)

So this morning I walked my 2 and 1/2 miles (thanks Holly) and then off to work I went. I told everyone I work with and then tried to bury myself in work. Of course I went to HR and looked up my benefits, and I'll keep this part short, I'm pretty much screwed. Just kidding! I have insurance, I have a GREAT family and wonderful friends and coworkers, I am young and otherwise healthly, I have a fabulous husband and beatiful daughter. Who cares if I only have 57 hours of PTO and didn't opt for short term disability at enrollment time. This too shall pass!

I have an appointment with the oncologist, Dr. Nugent, this Thursday. I am looking forward to this appointment (is that wierd?). Jamey and I have a lot of unanswered questions, mostly about chemo, so we are hoping to get those answered.

So after the appointments with the oncologist and then the surgeon on Monday, we will have more information. Until then... GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS AND DO YOUR SELF BREAST EXAMS!!!!

Oh, I think Jamey's brother Casey, is having T-shirts made that say "Team PINKston". When I have more information, I'll post.

Love to all!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday July 5, 2010

Today I talked to my OB/Gyn, Dr. Smith. He called to make sure I was ok and see if I had any questions. He was going to refer me to an Oncologist and the surgeon but Aunt Stacy started that process last Friday :)

Jamey and I also met with Carolyn K, the cancer survive that has become my guardian angel. She brought so much reading material for us and for Morgan. She also brought me a surgical pillow that is in the shape of a heart, that she says will become my best friend. She spent about 2 hours here and was VERY helpful. I have this feeling my sister, Jennifer, will start making thousands of these pillows for people like me!

We have an appointment with Dr. Jane Bussey next Monday. Still waiting on an appointment with the oncologist. Until I talk with the oncologist and get his answers to my questions, I am leaning towards a double mastectomy. Still need to decide on immediate or delayed reconstruction surgery.

Happy Monday!

My first weekend...

Thursday July 1, 2010: I had a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound to look at the lump that Jamey and I discovered in late April. Of course I didn't tell but a handful of people I even found the lump, because I knew it would be nothing...
I had 11 x-rays and then the ultrasound. The radiologist was looking at the ultrasound and said "I don't like what I see, I think it is some kind of cancer. I need to do a needle biopsy. Is there someone we can call to be here with you?" She meant emotionally of course, because the needle biospy was easy. I immediatly called Jamey, who was at home and off work strangely enough. He immediately came up to the hospital and was there during the biopsy. Dr. Evans told me she would call the lab and try to get my lab results the next day (Friday) so I wouldn't have to wait all weekend for the results. If she said anything else after that, I didn't hear her. She started sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher.

Friday July 2, 2010: Dr. Evans called me at 9:45am and said the lab results came back and they were positive for "Lobular Cancer". Since I had almost 24 hours to come to grips that I "might" have cancer, even though I was still shocked, I heard everything she said. Lobular cancer isn't the most common form of breast cancer, but there is a 10% chance of it spreading (bilateral disease). Since this was caught early, my chances are good. She wasn't sure of the agressiveness of the "invasive tumor". I will need surgery and chemo, maybe chemo first, then surgery. I will definitely need chemo (since I'm only 34). When I have surgery they will take some lymph nodes out as well and test those to make sure my cancer hasn't spread. Do I have any questions? Ummmmmm, yeah! The first question I always ask my doctor is "If this were you or your wife, what would you do? Where would you go?" Dr. Evans told me that if I wanted to go to Fort Worth, she recommends Dr. Jane Bussey. If I want to stay in Stephenville, she recommended Dr. Frazier, of course :).

Off Jamey and I go to make the phone calls to tell everyone we know. We were sitting at the kitchen table with both house phones and both cells phones. Good thing our cell phones are unlimited! We also sat Morgan down and told her :( She handled it well. We did tell her she is going to hear a lot of things from people, like "My so and so had cancer and she died..." and if she has ANY questions, to ask us).

I receive a phone call from my new guardian angel, Carolyn K. Without saying too much about her, she is a 14 year breast cancer survivor, that was diagnosed when she was 42, that will now be at my side during this entire process should I need her. It was already nice to have someone to ask questions to since she has been through all this. I didn't even know I had questions yet!

Friday afternoon we had an appointment with Dr. Frazier. He explained how cancer stages are determined. Tumor size (<2cm 2-5 >5), nodes (T1, T2, T3), Mets (Metasticised). Confused? yep! We talked about surgery options. Breast conservation or Mastectomy. Breast conservation would be a lumpectomy, where they just remove the lump and some lymph nodes, have radiation and/or chemo and then have breast reconstruction done. Everyone knows what a mastectomy is. Dr. Frazier said since my tumor is so close to the nipple, it would be hard to save it because that requires leaving a lot of breast tissue and that might not remove all the cancer. So he suggests a mastectomy. I then asked "well since I have a 10% chance of the cancer spreading to the other side, do I think about a double mastectomy". He said "If you're a worrier like me, you don't want to sit there 10 years down the road and wonder if the cancer is back in the other breast, so yes".

The next topic of conversation was, do we think about immediate breast reconstruction surgery at the time of the double mastectomy (we still haven't decided on surgery yet) or do we have the double mastectomy, then have chemo, then come back later and do the breast reconstruction surgery? He recommends have the double and then coming back last for the breast reconstruction surgery, just so we can concentrate on the chemo and make sure it works, and then worry about getting boobs. :)

We all decided the next step would be to meet with an Oncologist to determine if I need chemo before surgery, or after, or both. I also decided to meet with Dr. Bussey and see what she says. Besides, if I want immediate breast reconstruction at the time of surgery, I have to choose someone in Fort Worth because Stephenville doesn't do plastics.

Off we went out of town for the holiday. Nothing like spending time with family!!!

Saturday July 3, 2010: Jamey and I are still making phone calls and still spending the holiday weekend with friends and family.
I received a phone call from Carolyn checking up on me and sure enough, I had more questions! We agreed to meet Monday afternoon.