Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pam Update - Going Well

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and some time off with friends and family.  We had a nice feast at Kelly and Jon’s with the boys a couple of days ago.

Now an update on Pam.  We’ve been to appointments since Pam’s surgery on November 18.  Everything is going well, we are grateful to report.  Key to her breast cancer diagnosis  is that the small tumor was found early during a mammogram.

That was a little over a month ago.  From mammogram to surgery was 30 days.  Lots of factors lead us to be cautiously optimistic.  They acted quickly, it was small, it was Stage 1. The surgeon is first rate and yesterday we met with the radiologist.  He too is very good.  Both are the kind of doctors you want:  at the top of their game, very highly rated technically, and have good people skills.  And they both communicate well so we can understand what is going on.  They are espouse confidence in our situation so we have confidence.

From the start, things have stayed pretty much on track. The original plan was for a lumpectomy followed by radiation.  Chemo is still TBD.  More on that in a minute. The doctors said Pam was a perfect candidate for partial breast radiation which we are going to do.

Basically, a catheter is inserted in the incision area where the tumor was removed.  It will remain there for the 5 days of treatment.  Two times a day doses of radiation are delivered to the tumor cavity and surrounding area.  We expect appointments to be something like an 8:30 AM and a 2:30 PM appointment. They are hoping to start Monday December 9 until Friday December 13.

Meanwhile the tumor is off to a California lab somewhere for oncotype testing.  This is how one website describes it:
The Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test is a unique genomic test that helps women recently diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer. The test generates a score of 0-100 based on 21 specific genes in your breast tumor tissue that was removed during surgery. This unique set of genes predicts your response to chemotherapy as well as the chances of your cancer returning to provide personalized information that is not available from any other test or measure.

We are hopeful the tests determine that there is no need for chemo.  We will see.

Meanwhile, Pam is feeling almost normal.  Aside from her blood pressure being a little high at our appointment (I will be they see that a lot from patients), everything is moving along well.  She is sleeping like she usually does.  She rests a little in the afternoon but seldom naps.  She is eating normally and never had an issue with nausea.

That’s the latest and we appreciate checking in.  We are thankful for your prayers and interest.

Next post will be about a couple of small projects we are doing.  We are so glad to be here.  Especially with this on our plate and for this time of the season.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Big Weekend with the Boys

We get to babysit often and we love to be able to do that.  While Kelly and Jon were gone for the weekend we had the boys (Brooks and Harrison).
We spent some time at their house but the big deal was that they spent their first two nights with us at our house.  We let them know back in April when we first got out place that the extra bedroom with two twin beds was “their room.”

We weren’t sure how it would actually go because: 1) they were not in their own beds, and 2) they usually don’t sleep in the same bedroom.  We went through the ‘normal’ routine after dinner with play time, reading books and then getting baths.  Harry, being 2 years younger, goes to be 30 minutes before Brooks.

Usually he goes right to sleep but when it was time for Brooks to go to bed, Harry was still talking to himself and tossing and turning.  We had to turn on the light when Brooks went down so that didn’t help things.  Then they finally both were settled down.  I could hear them talking a little from the other room but I expected some of that.

About 20 minutes after Brooks went down, they sheepishly presented themselves into the hallway and announced they had to ‘go to the bathroom’. Hmmm.  One begins to wonder if this is the first of many ‘up and downs’....  They did their business, got a drink of water again and went back to bed.

Another 20 minutes, I checked on them and Harry was still talking to himself a little and Brooks was out.  Harry followed shortly after that!  Yay!  We all got a good night’s sleep.  Brooks was up earlier than usual the next morning but we went with the flow.  It turned out fine.

We pulled out all the stops with Donut Day, Chick-Fil-A playtime and lunch and then we went to their house (12 minutes from our house) for naps.  We followed by going back over to grandma and grandpa’s house for the rest of the day and night.  We prepped them for the idea of going to our church the next morning.

On Sunday we arrived on time and both were in the same class which helped.  Ms Karen met them and they had a great time.  Unbeknownst to us; the 8 member children’s choir was scheduled to sing “Jesus Loves Me” at the morning service.

We pushed the envelope and decided to stay for that and let the boys participate and it turned out great.

I got permission to share this with you.  After several attempts at different school and such, we hoped for a good video of the kids at their best.  This is it.  Brooks was going for it! And little Harry was trying to keep up with the hand motions the older kids learned that morning.  

It was fun and a milestone weekend.  Kelly and Jon returned on Monday and things got back to normal quickly.

Meanwhile, Pam had some appointments in the last couple of days and we are ready for her breast cancer surgery on Monday Nov 18 at 10:30 AM.  We are very thankful it is Stage 1, it is small and it was caught early.  We are expecting great things.  Thanks for your prayers and interest.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner(less) Chronicles!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Change of Plans - Nov 2019

We were planning on tent camping in Florida for 6+ weeks this winter (Dec-Jan).  We even bought a few supplies including a tent and screened in canopy.  My USAF training told me we wanted to do an “Operational Test and Evaluation”, so I  set it up in the back yard to check it out.
We made reservations at Pinellas County Campground at Fort DeSoto and at Key West for some tent camping.  And we accumulated some supplies and equipment for our next adventure.

Meanwhile we have been also fixing up the house with one project after another and throughly enjoying it.  And watching Pam’s amazing garden grow and product a never ending supply of jalape├▒os, and some kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, carrots, lettuce, and collard greens.

And we’ve enjoyed some house guests recently and always have fun with the boys.  It is such a delight to see them and spend time with them.  It is really great to be able to drop by their place or have Kelly and Jon and the boys swing by for dinner or dessert or hang out time.

And we’ve been catching up on doctors appointments and such.  One that we’ve been “getting around to” finally, was Pam’s yearly isn mammogram test.  She got it scheduled for October 18 and things have been happening pretty quickly since then...

Rather than belabor the point -- testing (subsequent ultrasound then biopsy) confirmed she has breast cancer.  Stage 1, estrogen positive, HER2 negative, invasive, ductal carcinoma.

Ugh.  OK -- With that news though we have plenty of good news from the testing and are very encouraged by our hope of a successful outcome.

Here’s how we got here and where we are at the moment.

  • Mammogram/results - Oct 18/21
  • Ultrasound/results - Oct 23/24
  • Biopsy/results - Oct 28/Nov 1
  • Appointment with the surgeon - Nov 6
  • Genetic Testing Appointment - Nov 7
  • MRI appointment scheduled for - Nov 14
  • Surgery date scheduled for - Nov 18

After surgery (lumpectomy and probable radiation), it will be sent off for further testing.  There are a number of treatments possible with different chemo and depending on the risks, % and likelihood of re-occurrence, they may proceed with some kind of chemo.  

If that occurs (and with the possible loss of hair) Pam adamantly let it be known she will not be wearing a wig.  ­čÖé

How is Pam doing? She’s doing well and handling it all admirably.  Kind of makes her head spin with the news and all the followup with the doctors and such.  But she is positive her faith is strong.  Still - this could kill you and something that will weigh on her I’m sure.

It’s a little weird being the object of other people’s concern, or sympathies (or whatever you call it).  Sometimes it is very uncomfortable “being out there” but we have to remember to let other people help us even if we may not think we need it.  It that makes any sense?

Our overall take is that God is merciful to us. Pam’s life/our life is in his hands. We don’t want to be over dramatic about this -- but this is serious stuff.

At the same time we are quick to remember so many people who have suffered greatly and for a long time with this disease.  In that way it is far different for us.

We have much to be thankful for:

  • Detected early
  • Small (6mm)
  • Slow growing 
  • Stage 1 
  • Not in her lympnodes or spread anywhere else
  • Great care/top notch doctors and nurses
  • We are not on the road RVing somewhere 
  • We are settled into a home base
  • Have an excellent small 100 church (people or so) that is wonderful
  • Surrounded by a supportive and helpful group of Christian friends
  • Our daughter Kelly is right here and a big help
  • Prognosis is very good.  
  • There are many treatment options vs “being a mystery or something they have never seen before...”  
I wanted to let our larger “family” of friends and acquaintance know what’s happening (with Pam’s concurrence) since many of you would like to know.  Feel free to reach out and ask anything you like.

In summary, more camping adventures to Florida can wait.  We cancelled our reservations at Fort Desoto and Key West. We need to be here this winter and take care of this.  We have a terrific network of family, friends, neighbors, and church folks.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner(less) Chronicles