This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Breast Laid Plans...

I have already confessed to you that I had set a goal for the year which I will be unable to keep.  I also had plans to hold a baby shower this spring for my sweet sister who is expecting her first baby. One would have thought that upon hearing the "C" word, I would stop making plans.  That just isn't who I am, but it looks as though I will again be adjusting my plans for the spring and summer as well. 

I spent another long evening with my Dr. to have the stitches taken out last night.  I had been quite nervous about this appointment thinking it meant raising my arm above my head.  Still a very bad idea.  I was again amazed at his gentle touch and great bedside manner, not to mention his sense of humor.  On a quick little side commercial, if anyone in the Bellingham area ever has to experience this very unfortunate hiccup in life, Dr. Kaufman is your man.  He is amazing!  Commercial over, back to our regular programming.... So he removed the bandages said everything looked as it should.  Then with one fluid motion and a tiny little clip, the whole first set of stitches easily out.  OK.  I can handle this.  He then gently moved my elbow up just a bit and followed the same steps on the second surgical site.  One quick little clip and he easily pulled them out.  He gave me another piece of good news.  I am a triple +.  This isn't as common but means good news for me.  The more aggressive cancers are triple - and only respond to chemo.  The triple + means my cells will respond to all the treatments which I will tell you about in a bit.

One of the natural things that occurs after a surgery like this is a collection of serum (fluid) that pools in the surgical sites.  This had happened in my darn teleporter station.  It isn't a bad thing.  Its very normal but adds to the discomfort.  Being as it was still partially numb in several spots, he selected the area where I didn't respond to his touch, used additional local anesthesia and aspirated the liquid.  Sounds fun huh?  Even more exciting is that this will happen again 3-4 more times, with the next one being this Friday. 

Many of you know that I am a bit of a math nerd, (no tally marking Shelly), and that I never minded tests.  Well it's a good thing cause next week will be full of them.  I will be having a CAT scan of my liver and lungs with dye to light up any potential criminal invaders.  Then it's on to x-rays with more die for the same thing.  Then its inject the dye, wait 3 hours and do a full body bone scan.  You thought I was going to say full body massage didn't you.  I know, I know what your thinking.  Wow!  Isn't she lucky.  And yes, yes I am.  I am fortunate that I live in an era where we have the technology to look inside and check out other areas to make sure we get it all.  But hmmm, I wonder if I can sell those images to someone in the medical community... could make a buck?

The kids and I watched the movie "Big Fat Greek Wedding" the other night, just for some laughter.  I have decided that cancer is Greek   It comes from the Greek word pin which means to poke repeatedly with needles and pins, as in a pin cushion or to stab repeatedly with a cane, hence the word cancer.  So there you go. 

After I take all my tests, the oncology team will give me the detailed plan to ensure I come out with flying pink colors.  I already know part of the plan and it is different than what I have shared with you in the past, but it is a good plan and one I feel confident in.  Beginning in about 2 weeks I will:

1) be undergoing chemo and immunotherapy for an undetermined amount of time (the length of time will be determined by the test results next week)
2) phase two is the 7 weeks of radiation, and
3) finally, the hormone therapy
Hopefully I got that all correct.

I know what you're all thinking right now.... oh dear her long, beautiful, wavy, luscious, golden curls.  Except it's not very long anymore or even really golden unless my friend gets a hold of it.  Besides, it will grow back.  I am prepared for my spring with God's agenda for me and have set mine aside. 

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

So be on the look out this spring for a beautiful brunette :0) or a tough looking biker gal with a neon green bandanna on her sweet bald head.  Both will be me.  I will probably need to laugh, so tell me some great jokes about my cancer (Sam).  I might look like I went on a bad diet, bring me dark chocolates or anything with chocolate and peanut butter.  I may look tired, come sit and visit with me. I might be quiet, enjoy the stillness with me. And you will probably see me in my pjs on several occasions, so feel free to join me in yours (Rachelle).  But no matter how I look, know that I will be fighting so don't ignore me, please fight with me.

My kids are fighting with me.  They, along with some really great friends, surprised me Friday night with a "pink" party.  My son had custom ordered some really cool pink bracelets that say "Team Tami In God We Trust"  Tons of you made donations to get a bracelet to show your support.  Thank you.  The extra money they used to buy us 40 lbs of chicken breasts.  The perfect gift for someone with a mal-functioning breast.  One of the highlights of the evening was right before the prayer when a  14 year old friend so eloquently summed up the truth of it all.  He said "Who needs breasts when you have friends like us."  Let me tell you we laughed, and laughed, and plan to keep on laughing.

I continue to be grateful for all of the prayers and support you have poured out. I also am so appreciative of the space you have allowed me to process this with out trying to answer all the questions until I know more.  You have been great.

If you want a bracelet but didn't know about it, Gavin ordered another 100 so message me and he will get one to you. 

Jeremiah 29: 11-13
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord.  "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me."


  1. Tami,
    I would love a bracelet!
    Please let me know if I can ever take you to any of your treatments, or you need to have somebody get groceries or any other chore... and I would still like to do chick-flick movie night! (If you are not to tired...)

  2. Hi Tami,

    Thank you for continuing to share your story.

    I've had the amazing opportunity to walk through a similar journey as to what you are going through. A couple of weeks ago I went to the appointment where she had to have some fluid drained off her surgery area. I also was able to go with her to the CAT scan and bone scan that you referred to. Because of the results she was able to skip the chemo and go straight to radiation. I will go with her on Tuesday for her first appointment.

    At least in the hospital we are at in Boise, it isn't all that common for people to go into the rooms with the patients. But since my friend wanted all of this documented (with photos) her gentle pressure to include me has almost always been accepted.

    I share this just to encourage you that you don't have to be alone. Even if they don't offer it, if you want someone alongside you, just persistently request it. It often helps to have another set of eyes and ears at these appointments as well.

    I also wanted to share a video with you that my photographer friend Jan made for her friend Tina, who just started her chemo treatment. They decided to celebrate her hair with a special day at Tina's salon. I loved the spirit that they captured.

    I look forward to meeting you face to face someday and get to see the spark in your eye that I gather from your writing. Do know that you are in my prayers,

    Chad Estes

    1. Thanks Chad. I look forward to meeting you as well. Because of the lymph node involvement, and my age, they are opting to throw the book at it. I feel good about this as they are anticipating a reoccurance rate of 5%. I can work with that number. I love that you can gather the spark in my eyes from my writing. That means I am conveying myself accurately, said with a smirk and a wink wink. I will check out the video. We have a little plan brewing here too.