Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hey Deni,
So glad to hear the good news. You sound good, strong and good. You go girl! I think a wig might be fun. We're also glad you're being so proactive with your care and recovery. The perscription thing is great. You've really done your research and have taken care.
We're sending you love, light, prayers and support.
Love you. Flora & Fauna

Friday, September 28, 2007

hey from Julie

Hi Deni!

I am so glad to hear you have received good news, and that you have good support, and that you are moving around and staying away from alcohol!

I saw this, this week, and thought it was cute: St. Patrick

Big Hugs,

julie

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gratefulness and the web of life

Whenever I watch the closing credits of a movie I am always struck by the vast number of people it takes to make just one movie. Reflecting on this reminds me I am not alone. So, even though I consider myself fiercely independent and self reliant and in need of very little outside help, reality tells me that I’m part of a web of life that is greater than the sum of it's parts. The number of people who have come into my own life-both the visible and the invisible-shakes up any notion I may have had about being alone or independent.

The people who are part of my medical recovery could be listed in the credits under: referring doctor, doctor of surgery, doctor of oncology, doctor of radiology, doctor or pathology, doctor of anesthesiology, assistants to all these doctors, interns and residents, the technicians who make all the various tests happen, the guys(s) who develop the films, oncology nurses, the nurse who takes the blood, the guys who test the blood, the folks that mix the drugs, the drug manufacturer who sends me free nauseau medication, the receptionists, the financial person at the center and on and on.

Then there are all my Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Yogic, Pagan, Urban Shamanic and other caring friends and family who are praying for my recovery. My friend who did internet research for me so that I could find support. And the support groups and all the great people who I’ve come across at Cancer Care, Gilda’s Place, St. Vincent’s, Y-Me, Inner source health, Shamanic Journey’s; my friends who gave me healing tapes to listen to. And to the women who have shared their stories with me.

And there are my neighbors who are feeding me on a daily basis and doing errands for me; my friends who bring me groceries from the Park Slope Food Coop; all my friends who have gone to the doctor with me so that I don’t have to be alone; my neighbor who accepts the package from Merck for me; my family who sends me extra money and my clients who keep me employed and have offered to pay me even if I can’t work.

And of course my friend who stepped forward to become my health care advocate—I know I could not do this without her and am eternally grateful; and my partner who helps me in so many, many ways.

I haven't mentioned people by name, but know that I am thankful to each and everyone of you; I couldn’t do this alone. Thank you for being part of this journey with me.

A special thanks to my father who taught me grace in the face of adversity and to my mother who taught me tenacity, persistence and gave me a fighting spirit.

Thursday 9-27-07

Well the tests are all in for the time being. The tumors in my left breast are benign; and, as you may recall the pet scan/ct all came in clear too; and the good news remains the same for the sentinel node biopsy. Chemo was fine. The oncology staff at Maimonides is great. I feel really good tonight; now, I am not tap dancing just yet, but I'm cool. It's late but I may go for a short walk anyway--not to worry--just up the street and back, just to move the cells around a bit ;-).

Tomorrow I get the follow shot of neulasta for the white blood cells;back to the naturopath, haircut and then maybe relaxation at integral yoga.
The other day I saw a social worker who is going to be my social worker from Cancer Care. It was really helpful talking with her. she's hooking me up with a wig--which if you know me is not my style--but why not! She is going to help me negotiate the world of cancer and the whole financial aspect. And I think she's going to be a great support in many ways.

My sister sends me a link related to drinking and cancer among women (yes us poor girls just can't hold our liquor the way men can!) you be the judge: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21009784/ Did I quit drinking for the duration of the chemo period--you betcha. Have I cut down on all those chocolate chip cookies I love so much, you betcha. Will it last--you betcha.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This Week-Discovering Assistance on the Net

This Thursday I have my second chemo therapy treatment and I see the doctor again. Last night I explored some organizations on the internet that help pay for medications for people who can't afford them and co-pay assistance programs.

There is much assistance for prescription drugs like Partnership for Prescription Assistance and some co-pay progams available. The anti nausea drug I am taking is called Emend which Merck is graciously supplying. The Patient Advocate Foundation is providing me with an award for co-pay relief which I am very grateful for.

Sorting all of this out can be overwhelming for an individual, but every hospital should have a Social Worker. I was lucky enough to find a support group at St Vincents Comprehnsive Cancer Center the day after I was diagnosed and support through Gilda's Club in New York City. Cancer Care and Y-Me  have also been extremely helpful.

My friends, family and neighbors are also helping me in so many, many ways for which I am very grateful.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hello Everyone!

Hi Deni! Hope you and everyone else had a good weekend.

I saw this excellent article at uncyclopedia today! Amnesty International has figured out how to focus attention on Darfur!

julie

Thursday, September 20, 2007

immune system

So glad and relieved you saw a naturopath! Keeping your mind-body(esp. your immune sys.)-soul strong during this rough spot is vital!! I have a low white cell count and kept getting sick. I take supplements to help boost my immune system and it has helped. Surely all of our virtual hugs and smiles will help you too!

Treatment

After talking with my current doctor and getting a second opinion, I decided to go with the treatment option that does chemo first, followed by possible surgery and then radiation, perhaps. This method will shrink the tumor making it more manageable and making my life a little more manageable. The goal here is to shrink the tumor so that a lumpectomy could occur. There are, of course, no guarantees, but this is the goal. The other plus of doing chemo first is that we will know which drugs actually affect the tumor. There will be eight cycles of chemo. They are done every two weeks--so this should occur over a 16 week period. There will be four cycles of the more aggressive drugs, followed by four cycles of the less invasive drugs. Today I also talked to a Naturopath. These methods should help minimize any affects of the chemo. And that is all the news that is fit to print today.

How to read this blog

If you have never participated in a blog here are a few things to note. Anyone who has been invited to join is welcome to post anything; you do this by creating a new post. You can also comment on the current posting by adding to the comments section of the post. If you want to read prior posting, note that you can go to what's been archived in the left hand column and click on a title and it will take you to that post. That is the best way of getting information. I've also included a list of books and a list of links. So enjoy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hey Deni,
How smart of you to do this. I so understand, telling the story over and over can just wear you out. We've been thinking about you, but haven't wanted to bother you. Linda's been keeping us up to date as much as possible. How are you managing with your treatments?
We're thinking of you and as always sending you lots of love and light.
Lots of love from all of us at the Ranch

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The journey begins

Back in about February or March of this year I noticed some changes in the quality of my right breast. Since I'd started lifting weights again in January, I thought it had something to do with that. But, that isn't really where muscle tissue is. And at any rate, Linda kept insisting I go to the doctor to get it checked out. Anyway, like so many people, it took awhile before I got around to seeing the doctor. And in New York it is always hurry up and wait anyway. So, the gyn was out of town, my own gp wasn't in the office the day I stopped by there in late May and so I saw one of his associates at the Park West Clinic down by Bartell Pritchard Circle. He recommended a doctor Maimonidies. And of course, it's summer and people were on vacation. I called the breast specialist at Maimonidies and was able to get in there in late June; she thought I needed a sonogram, but I couldn't be scheduled for one until July 20. So I had the sonogram and there were some "possible carcinoma's" in the right breast--but I thought that was doctor talk for "want to get paid by insurance company for visit". The radiologist thought I should get an MRI and a biopsy--but I was scheduled to go to Costa Rica on July 24th and decided that was what I would do. I figured if it was cancer--better I have a good summer memory and if it wasn't--nothing lost.

Since returning from Costa Rica I've had the biopsy of the right breast, and an MRI, and an MRI guided biopsy of the left breast, a pet scan/ct, a sentinel node biopsy, port placement and chemo. And I had a second opinion for how to proceed with treatment. While I do have what they call lobular invasive carcinoma of the right breast and I won't know about the left breast till Tuesday, the good news right now is that there is no cancer in my lypmh nodes or any other organs of the body. The other great news is that I have wonderful friends and family who are surrounding me with lots of support, which I am so grateful for.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A little it about why I created this

I created this blog so that anyone who was interested could log on to see what is going on with me and so I didn't have to repeat the same stories over and over again. I hope it is helpful and keeps folks informed. Deni