I’m adding a quick note to say that I’m so happy that my mom has had a very steady and speedy recovery over the last week. I spoke with her last night and besides the normal post-surgery logistics, she seems to be in good health and spirits. I’m overwhelmed by the support all of you have shown her as it’s helped in ways you’ll never know. I’ve corresponded directly with many of you and I appreciate the care, support, candidness, well-wishes and love you have for her.
I spent last Tuesday pacing in circles until I was able to talk to her. This event has launched me into a deep appreciation for the parent-child relationship and has offered context into my own relationship with my kiddos. There is no relationship like it. I’ve always been close to my mom, regardless of how many miles separate us and this latest chapter only strengthens that bond. If you can believe it, my mom was able to get a Halloween card in the mail for my girls, Midori and Jade, the day after her surgery! They opened it yesterday and we’re so happy. Midori immediately grabbed my iPhone, found Grandma Ann’s contact and called her to thank her for the card. This happened without a single prompt from me (or instructions on how to call her). I swear she knows how to use this phone better than me!
We’re looking forward to seeing her and the whole Barry family at the end of December as Midori, Jade and I will be spending the Christmas break and New Years in Iowa. Nothing puts my current residence in context like the last week of December in Iowa, that’s for sure!
Thanks again for your care and love for my mom. She’s on the road to feeling like herself again; a path is seemingly much shorter with your thoughts and prayers!
Mom called me today and had me listen to a message from her doctor’s nurse. The tests from samples taken during the surgery and the pathology report all came back good. Nothing in the lymph nodes and the 2 types of cancer cells they found in her right breast were in very early stages. The tests from the left breast showed some cellular changes, but were benign. It seems to me that she made the right choice with the double mastectomy. My brother said she looks better today. She went for a massage this morning and she’s feeling very good. She’s a little stiff on the left (I think, or maybe it’s the right) but whichever-other side has better mobility. She’s still getting the hang of the post-surgery maintenance, but she has help and it’s getting easier. I would suppose that as she heals, it’ll be better, but I’m so glad she has the friends she has to help her recover at home. She’s continuing with the homeo pain relief and is managing to stay away from the doctor-prescribed pain killers and she’s introduced her Shaklee regimen back into her body this morning. The supplements and protein has helped her feel like herself again.
Here’s a blurb from James: “Just heard that they got results on tissues they tested from the surgery, and lymph node looks good, removed right had cancer in it (obviously), but remaining tissue showed no residual signs, left side she removed as well as remaining showed no cancer. So, real good news. I’m sure she feels relieved. I stopped in this morning and she was doing well, she had just got back from taking the trash out, driving a couple blocks to her massage therapist, had a massage, and has a couple piano lessons lined up for today.”
Many of you have e mailed me to ask when my mom would start accepting e mails and calls and I think she’s still a few days away from full-contact correspondence. Please feel free to post comments here and I really appreciate your replies to me as well. I’m forwarding them onto her and I think she’ll have the energy to read and talk in a few days.
She read off a list of people she wanted to thank and as you know she’s someone who likes to recognize all for their special traits and actions, but to be honest, she said them so fast I couldn’t write fast enough! So, I apologize if I’m missing anyone (or destroy proper nomenclature) as it’s completely unintentional! She wanted me to say thanks to the Connect Care team at Orchard Hill Church, her cousin Ronnie for the flowers, the many friends and family who have stopped by with flowers and cards and James’ co-workers for their flowers, too. As I’m physically removed from all of the goings on up there in Iowa, I truly appreciate all of you for your thoughts and prayers. This blog was created and instituted by my brother, James and I want to recognize him for this. It is a great idea to keep people informed and a great way for everyone to instantly know how the recovery progresses. I hope you are all well and thanks again!
Greetings everyone! I’m happy to report that my mom came through the surgery just fine. I talked with her at around 1 pm via my brother’s cell phone and she said she awoke from the anesthesia with no pain, or at least less than she normally has. We’re happy to know that her lymph nodes were clean, as far the doctor could tell, but a sample was sent in, just to make sure. James camped out at the hospital and she had close friends near her all day, prepping her for surgery and performing homeopathic pain relief. James got her home around 5:30 and she has round the clock help from two close friends. She’s in very good spirits and in very caring hands. They have been in contact with her physicians and the hardest part is getting my mom to accept a horizontal position for rest. She’s always been on the go! …and seriously, she sounds great and I’m a bit surprised by the amount of energy in her voice. It’s a testament to her mental strength and physical-health conditioning.
I’d like to say thank you to all who have contacted her with their support and your positive energy is felt. My mom has lived alone and extremely independent, but alone is only relative to the number of people who live in her house (sort of). I feel like she has a huge community of people who care and has their presence known. I say sort of, only because the house has its share of foot traffic. 🙂 Your relationships to her are unique, distinct and she appreciates your love and support. Thanks again.
I’m pasting this e mail and her Health Update #10 into her health blog, here: http://barryassoc.wordpress.com/
Please look here for future updates on her recovery and feel free to post comments and initiate strings of discussion. I’m sure she’ll be eager to hear your thoughts and this is a pretty cool way to correspond, anyway. Be sure to subscribe so you’re alerted when there are updates to the state of things. I’ll be happy to answer any questions, too. Thanks again and I hope this finds you well, as well.
Hi, Monday evening. 10/26/09
Today was like trying to get ready for a party and everyone calling at
an hour or two before checking to see what to bring, what time it is,
and what the address is. I would hang up and the phone would ring
and I would answer thinking it was the last person with whom I just hung up
with who forgot something. It was someone else. Thanks, everyone for
keeping it short and sweet.
I’m at the computer right now because I had some Shaklee work to
complete before I head out to the store to get some last minute
supplies and do some mailings. Besides getting ready for a party, it’s
also been a little like getting ready for a trip, packing supplies for the
outing. I was so fortunate that a cancellation to the bra specialist allowed me
to get in there today so that I have that compression bra to help me
heal after surgery tomorrow. Thank you, Laura, for faxing the insurance
info to her for me. Every moment saved by everyone’s help and thoughts
is very appreciated.
My friend and organizer, Jessica, strategized with me what things to have
out so I won’t be reaching or lifting for awhile. Thanks to Kristi G. for
handling my communication responsibilities to my Shaklee family for
this week’s activities.
It was so great to be able to get my students’ pieces set for the Festival
of Trees, Festival, Surprise Class with early lesson. Thank you, Sankey’s
for the thoughtful shawl, Olivia for the 4 yr. anniversary flowers, and
just everyone for the greatest 2 weeks of good attitudes!
Tomorrow, Vicki will pick me up and take me for the node mapping at 6:30 am.
She’ll take me to Medical Park about 8. James is going to be there through
the surgery which is from 9 – 10:30. Jennifer B. wanted to be with after the
surgery for a little bit. That’s all new developments today. As said before,
James will take me home and Kathy P. and Ann P. will do their shifts to
make sure someone is with me per Dr.’s orders. Marc will send out a status
report on Tues. night. I won’t know anything until later on Tuesday myself,
so once I’ve talked with the boys, Marc can let you all know. And thanks
for your sending the information on to others.
Kristi, you can use the directory to send on Marc’s email. Crystal, thanks
for letting my piano studio know. Dr. Zach, thanks for letting CVN know.
Kathleen thanks for letting our high school “Sisterhood of the travelling
bracelet” know. Bob and Mary Lou thanks for passing the info on to the
Nakayama clan. Barb, could you let the NAMTA teachers know? And
Pastor Ed, maybe you could put it on the prayer line for me?
So there you have it. I’m feeling calm. Sleeping well this week.
No doubt I’m in good hands and your prayers are added reinforcement.
My daughter-in-law, Jeni will stop by early on Wed., followed by Laura H.,
Jean, Jacinda, Marsha H. and Joan R. to see me through the day on Wed.
I so appreciate their willingness to help me.
Cards poured in today, and I must put them in a basket unopened as time
is so short. I’ll enjoy them so as I recuperate. The emails and phone messages
are very appreciated, too. Thank you.
10.24.09 Sat. evening
Beautiful fall day today, taught early make up lessons for next week
to free up surgery and recuperation time. Luckily all but one piano
family was able to reschedule their lives to do this. Not easy with
all that people have going on.
Was able to catch the tail end of my grandson, Jackson’s bowling
birthday party. When he asked me to come over to the house
afterward, I had to say no to keep doing stuff on my list.
I stopped by the church to find a phone number and Pastor Ed
was leaving, gave me reassurances, and I told him that it hit me
yesterday that in spite of everything I think, do, or the Dr.’s do,
I could die sooner than I want. I thought after a quick moment of
that realization, “Well, I’m in good hands.” The introspection to
get to that moment was daylong and very draining.
Went shopping for some front closure soft clothes in prep
for surgery. Made sure I ate a good supper–good nutrition
is paramount right now–then headed out to a friend’s retirement
party. Gosh, Marc was ringbearer in her first wedding. I planned to
avoid the food and alcohol and knew I wouldn’t know many people
there so planned to stay a short while, but the band was really good.
FatCat. One of Kathleen’s relatives leaned over, and yelled in my
ear over the music that when he was kneehigh to a grasshopper
he remembered me as that Shaklee lady. I informed him that I
also was in a RnR band for 9 years and spent many a weekend
being in and listening to bands.
Mary Lou’s book is excellent so far. The author is a breast cancer
survivor, a writer by trade, and it’s the kind of book that coaches
someone like me through the entire process. Luckily, so far,
I’ve had great resources in all of you and what she suggests,
has been the course we’ve done so far. Yesterday, another
book arrived from Caroline whose friend who doesn’t know me
bought for me. Those acts of kindness really take me by surprise.
I got an email from someone I barely know from a trip to Ohio and
I met several of her friends doing a Shaklee meeting. Their bible
study group took time to pray for me. And the cards are coming
in and I have a dedicated basket for them, and will enjoy them much
in the coming weeks and months. One thing the author of the
book says is that this surgery and the after effects last
for three years on average. It’s an experience of endurance.
My hope is that the lymph nodes are clear which lessens the
need for chemo and those side effects.
Well, wanted to get some thoughts down for today. Compared to
yesterday, today felt doable.
So appreciate your support. Sorry this is long, just trying to address everyone’s questions here to help myself.
For the sake of anyone new joining on the health updates…here’s a quicksummary:
*End of Sept. routine mammogram with physical. Oct. 7 biopsy,
*told Oct. 9 showed two cancers infiltrated and multifocal in right breast. Early detection, average growing.
*Oct. 13, MRI done,
*Oct. 15 MRI read giving Dr.Duven a clearer read and diagnosis, for sure a mastectomy (lumpectomy not an option), they don’t take any muscle. It’s surmised that lymph nodes most likely are not affected and will know once I’m in surgery on Tues. the 27th.
Attempted for an overnight stay because of my own concerns about respiratory (lung function at 65%) but that’s not how it’s done and there isn’t a concern about my being able to come out of anesthesia according to my friends, Dr. Inamdar who conferred with a pulmonary Dr.
I’m being prudent in having the left breast removed as well to assist in my future treatment plan. Plans are to not have chemo or radiation although I expect that the oncologist will recommend it esp. if the nodes are affected. Having had a consult with Dr. Bevacqua who is a cellular, molecular biologist who specialized in cancer, and working with
Dr. Gelband in Chicago, and assisted by the medical professionals in my
Shaklee family…Kristi Gonzalez, P.A., my brother Larry (Dr. of Oriental Medicine), Harriet, Beth, Mary, and many others I haven’t talked with who are nurses I will be following a chemical free approach for post surgery.
Your prayers are helping me feel at peace. I feel your support and will enjoy talking with you by phone and possibly blog after surgery. Anyone local I would think that by Friday, Oct. 30 I’d be feeling like company if you wanted to call first. Because of diet restrictions, please NO FOOD. Cards would be nice.
Surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday 9 am at Medical Park on Ridgeway in Waterloo. My prep nurse, is my friend, Mary Clarke who is helping me negotiate the details of the anesthesiologist, and post surgery suggestions on Shaklee (she knows Shaklee thanks to being a member in the Schrock’s Shaklee group).
My cousin, Ron, from Alaska had called numerous times according to my
caller ID and no message and he didn’t reach me, so I called him. His
suggestion was to put everything I think I want to happen down with bullet points on one page for anyone to be able to follow my wishes. He also suggested that I should have a point person to direct visitors and also a person who can let everyone else know what’s going on. Kathleen’s suggestion, too. So the Dr. will call James following the surgery and tell him how it went. Marc will send out an email to everyone getting this email to let you know, probably Tues. night.
Thank you all for offers of help. Kathleen was about to fly out from Colorado, Linda tp drive up from Milan, IL., Kristi come from Des Moines, and Marc to come in from Texas. I’m driving some of you crazy for not seeming to be calling back or accepting help. You’re all very sweet.
Just know that life is already full for me AND you.
Thanks for caring, really. There’s no need for anyone to be turning their lives upside down. My former secretary, Tena, called, followed within minutes by my brother Bob and both told me to take it easy and slow down. To make that happen, I would have had to be way secretive. Instead, I’ve chosen a huge uptake of time to let people know as they we happen to talk. Some of you are hearing it for the first time right now. I really appreciate the friends who have sent a note and let me know they’ve been through a similar chapter in their life and that they’d be in touch later. I was backed up on 10 days of mail until last night, not to mention the emails and phone calls just as I slowly released the information. The level of dialogue is huge.
Mary Lou, thank you for the Cancer book that came yesterday.
So, thanks for understanding, making suggestions, knowing that since I can’t think of everything, you’re helping me out. And thanks for caring enough to get my attention on stuff. I’m hoping tomorrow to get everyone called that I have been wanting to call back since this all happened.
Several of you wanted to know how things will come down.
Monday –prep of my house, car, communication pieces to Marc and the church.
By midnight I have my last solids and can do clear liquids until 5 am Tuesday.
6:30 am I’m at ADI for node mapping. Check in at Medical Park at 8 for a 9 am surgery. It should be done by 10:30 – 11 and Dr. Duven will call James on the surgery report. Mary said that I’ll be in Phase One recovery while I get the effects of anesthesia, the bleeding, breathing, hydration stabilized. Phase two I can sleep or wake up better. I hope to move around to help get the anesthesia out of my system. That’s when I’ll be taking Herb Lax, drinking Performance, and eating my gluten free bread with sunflower seed butter so they can drug me up to assist with pain. Pam, the nurse that called me on Wednesday told me it would be 5 or so when James can pick me up and bring me home. He and Marc and I will talk by 3 way once I’m home. Kathy will be with me until 9. Ann P. will come at 8:30 and stay overnight.
Wed. I get to do little walks around inside my house, hydrate well, eat anything I want (that is healthy), sleep and hopefully not need too much if any of the pain meds. I KNOW that I’ll be drinking the CINCH Tea. It does wonders for pain.
Thurs.I am having my regular weekly massage, very recommended for getting better faster. I know Ann P. will adjust positions and pressure as needed. Then I have 2 well spaced students, and Diane bringing me a healthy supper. And if things are going well enough, I’ll listen in on a 9 pm Shaklee call with my Shaklee family.
Friday a student midday and otherwise sleeping, eating, walking, and checking my month end business on my Shaklee website. Sat. same and close out the month.
I’ll leave lights out for Halloween except for my 3 grandkids.
Sunday church and Mon. still a reduced schedule. And that’s a week of lots of taking it easy and slowing down. Just like all of you have ordered.
So next Tuesday you’ll hear from Marc for me.
Hi, (Thurs. pm 10.15.09),
Whew, you can look forward to this slowing down now. Decision made. MRI read confirming everything we knew on the biopsy. Ann P. sent me a wonderful summary of that.
There was no new information for me, more confirming for Dr. Duven, but I want to have the best odds for myself and that means having both breasts removed. I’m scheduled for Tues. the 27th, although there may be a slight chance Dr. Duven would work on his day off to do it on the 23rd which would give a weekend recovery time. They don’t see any concern about making that Shaklee incentive trip Nov. 10-15 to Mayan Rivera.
Tomorrow am, I hope to switch out the rental car then head to Chicago. Linda from Milan, IL. will go with me to Dr. Gelband’s as he balances the organs and systems.(Jean, I’ll drop the Shaklee DVD off on my way through CR.) Tomorrow, I’ll stay overnight at Linda’s place. We’ll be the presentors at two Shaklee parties in Iowa City Saturday am and pm. People are all ears about environmental toxins!
Today, I got back from the MRI read to a note left in my mudroom from a very unhappy customer. And a call from someone whose order apparently is in post office heaven. So, that does answer some of your questions if I’m staying current with my stuff, and the answer is no, but I’m not stressing about it. More important things happening.
Got calls today from a couple of people not on email and fairly close to me who wanted a complete rehash of events. I told them that I would snail mail them the prior updates to bring them up to speed instead. I was able to talk in person to most of my piano studio.. It was poignant when one parent reminded me she had lost her mother to breast cancer and one of my piano students said her classmate (5th grade) had lost her mom. Lots of offers to help from the piano families. Another parent, a nurse, sings accolades about Dr. Duven. I have to
thank Laura for her truly amazing ability to listen, and capture my feelings and then pray for me so beautifully. She only got a 12 minute piano lesson today between her telling me about how it felt to be in the amazing Chicago Marathon with 4000 World Vision runners who raised over $700,000, and our church with 74 runners/walkers and almost $39,000 raised that will provide clean drinking water for many villages…and me telling her my news.
Tonight the organic buying club met and ordered and I am trying frozen pomegranite seeds. Sounds fascinating as does most of the other things I get to try.
First Kristi’s notes from Dr. Sandy Bevacqua’s call yesterday afternoon, then notes from today’s MRI from Ann P.
Dr. B- Biofilm/ what is going on in the gut? Biostasis is disrupted, so what is going on? Heavy metal toxicity, etc? What is the chemical toxicity? There is a wrench in the works, what is the bottom line, something is going on….. are you ready to get to the bottom of it? Focus on intestinal issues- very important. Get rid of animal fat and dairy in the diet, coffee, etc that causes acidity. Juicing/veggie juices huge benefit.
Osteopenia/osteoporosis is happening when we pull minerals from the bone for shortages in the body and the hallmark is calcifications showing up in the body– and gets stored again this way b/c it’s “old” minerals and isn’t used very well. Not absorbing minerals well from the intestines is probably the underlying issue. Important also for detoxification.
Detoxification in the body doesn’t work properly = toxins rising in the body and many toxins are known carcinogens.
Biofilm in our body is the slimy layer- organized, complex, many species of flora- yeast, fungus, bacteria, viral, etc. Different communities along the intestines, etc. Ie; Lactobacillus and Bifidus go to different areas of the intestines. Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria are both present- very shocking. Antibiotics, etc (? Was that right?) obliterates biofilm, stress, auto-accident, surgery, loss of loved one, etc can also break apart normal healthy biofilm. Need nutrition to drive the immune system to kill cancer cells and protect us. Perhaps a serious digestional issue???
Get rid of cancer…. you need to do 3 things:
1. Create normal pH in the body- normal cells like neutral/alk pH and oxygen and good nutrition. The cancer cells like acid pH, no oxygen, and poor nutrition- sugar. We need to alkalinize the body (good prevention) Test the morning urine midstream 7.0 to 7.5 pH is ideal.
(Mine is 7.0) (6.5 to 8 is typical range but not in cancer). 70% alkaline diet recommended. No cow Dairy. rare goat/sheep dairy. NO FLOUR of any kind. No wheat. Sugar to no more than 10 gm per meal (fruit, etc) Veggies, sprouted foods, bean, seeds, clean grass fed, organic grass fed animal proteins. No Coffee. (Fax to Dr B your pH, etc to be tracking it) (Hallelujah Acres, Hippocrates Institute… alkalinize you day 1, types of programs at institutes thru America) Immune system will pop off and kill the cancer cells as soon as you alkalinize and boost nutrients) 4.0-9.0 pH paper with 2 blocks- Robin will help with where to get the strips.(Apparently all strips are not made the same, so I ordered from Dr. B.)
2. Boosting Immune System (I’m boosted, plus suggestions from both Dr. G and Dr. B.)
3. Detoxification- big deal, not needed immediately but clearly is needed. (could be bad Biofilm and if you turn it over you need to detox to get that waste out from the biofilm releasing– so Dr B has put together a biofilm turnover program as toxins are there not just in fat stores) Can be testing waste for chemicals. If you detox and release too much chemical at a time it can be VERY TOXIC and people can actually die. Needs to be gradual and not too intrusive to the system… “toughing it out” isn’t a great approach. vivix is a detoxifying and stabilizes endocrine function.
(I’ve experienced the type of detox which is “hold onto the
shower curtain” type of thing and it’s much better to do gradual).
Getting a “DIAGNOSIS” is huge— don’t identify WITH IT… it’s not who you are. Don’t take the diagnosis on yourself and instead take action!
Ann is the CAPTAIN of the recovery team. Dr B is the biochemist. Who is the spiritual leader?(Connie May and my Orchard Hill Church Family) Team needs to align with her decision and support her on the process. 75-86 pretty ideal glucose range, (I’m higher than that) minimize cancer cell replication. Mineral balance very important for cancer. Iodine. Dr Brownstein- thyroid, iodine, why we need it, etc. good authority and writing books on this. Iodine drives the Cyto. P-450 enzyme/reactions…. eating up like crazy b/c of all the toxins we are hit with and we use the iodine to detox the body (zinc, manganese, boron, tin, calcium, iodine, etc.) We aren’t born with extra organs… why take them away vs. saving the organs and restoring their intended function. Taking away organs is taking away the body thermostats. Not a good idea.(This discussion was about killing off a thryoid as is often done–we were NOT talking about my issues as my thyroid tests were fine) Ioderal is her favorite iodine supplement. (metagenics also a good one). Midwest is severly deficient in iodine (and vit. D)
Sometimes you stress the body to make it better. Toxin to treat toxins sometimes is very effective. ie black salve for melanoma….
Need to consider drastic measures for mold issue– get name for the mold species. (One of my many homework assignments). Iowa is high mold due to pesticide chemicals. (we have poor quality food in Iowa)
(There was more, but Kristi had to leave). The big thing that Teresa reminded me of was Dr. Sandy said, “Ann, with your team in place, with your health practices already, with your clarity of purpose, I’m NOT worried about you!”
And I’m not either.
I left today’s appointment with Dr. Duven with a very positive feeling about his expertise and ability. He answered questions in a straightforward and honest way and with a caring and gentle manner without making either one of us feel hurried or as if we asked a dumb question.
I was happy to hear him say there will be NO muscle tissue removed as he will be taking the breast tissue away from the chest wall and no muscles, tendons, or major nerves will be excised. Sensory nerves will be affected/removed which supply the breast, which will result in numbness in the chest area, however no major nerves serving the arm will be affected which control arm movement. (Nerves do regenerate so I say never assume that the numbness will be permanent…it could be, but why squelch the possibility and hope that there may be some feeling regenerated….this is my personal philosophy…I’m not a doctor) This surgery is referred to a “Simple Mastectomy” which means “the breast tissue (lobules, ducts, and fatty tissue) and a strip of skin with the nipple are removed”.
In addition, a “Sentinel Node Biopsy” will be done…meaning that the first one or two lymph nodes that cancer could travel to will be removed and a frozen section done to determine if there is any spread beyond the breast tissue. There will be one incision…Dr. Duven’s technique allows the lymph nodes to be reached through the incision made for the mastectomy. There will be one drain placed which will draw off fluid from around the incision into a soft plastic tubing. A dressing and compression-like bra will help relieve any discomfort, and staples will be removed at a follow-up visit. A shower can be taken the next day…yeah!!!!
This will be done at ambulatory surgery which does not involve an overnight stay. Normal activities and self-care can be resumed immediately depending on how you feel….it will take a few days of rest just to feel like doing much but moving around will help the general anesthesia be metabolized through the body; no exercises with arm until after the staples are taken out, then specific exercises are given.
The concern was raised with regard to possible limited lung capacity and the importance of deep breathing following surgery to reduce any chance of pneumonia development or other lung complications. A consult with the GP will be made with regard to that.
A referral will be made to an oncologist for evaluation, discussion, and recommendation. (I promised Dr. Christ that I would go get all the facts and so when Dr. Duven wanted me to follow through on that part so that I would know what the treatment plan they would recommend, I, of course agreed. What is typical for a lumpectomy is radiation in order to get the same results as a mastectomy. Because of the types of cancers, a lumpectomy wasn’t a choice. They’ll recommend chemo whether there are any cancer cells in the nodes or not I’m guessing. What I’m formulating in place of doing chemo is the work with Dr. Sandy and Dr. Gelband, plus some of you have some fabulous suggestions that show you’re thinking ahead of all this too. Teresa has offered to make me juice like I did for her when she was recuperating from her breast surgeries, and Francy is a strong proponent of wheat grass.)
Discussion of lymphedema (swelling of the arm which occurs when many or all lymph nodes are removed and lymph flow in the arm is reduced). In addition, discussion with regard to prosthesis and reconstructive surgery. (Although this is all good information, I see
lymphedema and reconstructive surgery to be non issues. I will be seeing a Jill Roberts for a compression bra to help following surgery and a pouch for the drain.)
I respect your decision Ann, regarding removal of both breasts and understand your thoughts/doubts/fear regarding the second breast possibly developing cancer at a future date. I was confident that Dr. Duven gave his opinion honestly regarding if it were his wife he would recommend removal of the one breast which showed the cancer and not the second since the MRI showed no suspicious areas, however, this is YOUR decision and yours alone. What you decide is right for you. Thanks. Ann P.
(After Ann left, I asked the nurse to look at the strange difference in coloration from the biopsy. She said 3 times, “Boy are you bruised! And just healing so the lighter area is healing first” . )
I hope this helps you… Ann P.
It did Ann. I hope the rest of you are up for helping me, too, on what I need whatever that will be coming up.
Ann B. now.
So my Shaklee friends, when do you think I need to stop my herbs? I think it was that, or else I was too active following the biopsy or whatever. I had stopped herbs for 5 days. It has NOT been a problem for me, but after two nurses quite emphaticly commenting about my bruising, I feel like this is something I need to think about ahead of the coming surgery. Suggestions?
So, I will be spending next week getting myself organized for what’s to come in the next 10 days, then the plan for the week following surgery for recovery which includes end of month happenings with Shaklee, and redoing student’s schedules, so having things in place and thought through instead of through any anesthesia fog. With today’s sharing of this news for the first time to so many, I’d like to get them the updates and have everyone up to the same place.
The biggest focus is to come up with a chemo alternative that I truly believe will work and I’ll do and stick with. I see so many people who have that initial rush of desire to get well and will do almost anything, to just slip back into old habits and have a rapid decline in their health. I know that you’ll all second the motion that I need to evaluate everything I have on my plate, and make changes that have a healing effect.
I’ll pop back in when there’s something to share. Just know I although I appreciate your thoughts… the amount of messages is so daunting, that I probably won’t respond. And if you have a differing opinion as to what you’ve read here, you are entitled to it and probably better to not share it with me. The idea is for me to heal and not stress which happens when I’m defending my decision as happened again tonight by someone close to me. I love that so many are sending funny emails, but I’m really buried, so thanks for the thought and let me ask for that when I can appreciate it more.
I’ll trust that you will take the time like me and in concert we can put plans for a healthier life into action.Okay? OK!
I started to say that having no message yesterday was due to Wed.’s
being killer days. Will have to learn to rephrase that. Wed’s are already busy, plus putting in an extra chiro scoliosis appt., quick stop by to make a Dr. appt. and instead she got me surgery ready with the papers, and then a 2 hour consult with Dr. Bevacqua thrown in……it was a full day.
There’s so much to say about what is coming together. Dr. Wilson
explained that the scoliosis curve had compromised the nerve energy
for years and any correction, even the very slightest can help. I know
that without the neck strengthening we had been doing I would have
suffered horribly from the biopsy (belly down, twisted legs to the side,
and laying on the side of your face for 45 minutes), and the MRI
position and I had no sensation of problems. Yesterday for 18 min.
I had 17 lb weights and for 2 min. they added another 2 1/2 lb. I know,
you’re probably aghast, but it’s true and that’s going from the first
time he tractioned that way and I was crying because it hurt so bad
and I think it was less than 7 lb. for 4 min.
Dr. Christ, my GP, explained that she felt a slight density on the right
side that caused her to ask about the need for a mammogram. She
feels that the restrictions that came back from the pulmonary exam
I had asked for was probably due to the scoliosis and the burn scars.
(That happened when I was 2 yr. old and I have burn scars from under
my arms to couple inches above my knees. She also feels that is no
concern about anesthesia during surgery. She told me yesterday that
an 8 yr. very sick, probably with the flu, when asked to take off her
face mask to look down her throat, sneezed fully into Dr. Christ’s
face. So even though Dr. Christ was Purelling sp? like crazy….even
I was a little reluctant to shake her hand at the end of the appointment.
I want to thank James, Marc, my brother Larry, Teresa and Loren
Wakefield, Kristi Gonzalez for coming on Dr. B’s call yesterday.
Sandy Bevacqua asked the unasked question of “WHY” does Ann
have to be a cat with 9 lives, living another chapter of something
threatening her, this time cancer. I love that, and hate that. So,
it will take some time to decipher all the homework she gave, so
for now I suggest you all stop sugar, drink good water, exercise
more, and write out where your life will be in 10-15-20 years. See….
all that’s easy for me…..it’s the giving up of white rice I joyfully
embrace (she caught me on my languaging of using the work HARD
So, I’m off to massage, MRI read …both with my friend Ann Pixler
and another appt. with Dr. Wilson, then my normal day.
Thanks so much everyone for walking with me.
Tuesday 10.13.09 evening
My long-time friend, Martha (whose son and my son were in Suzuki violin together when they were 4 and 5 and now old men at 36) and I attend Bible Study together on Monday nights. When I was in Chicago last night, Connie shared with the group what I had learned on Friday. Martha said that in the last 12 hours she realized that she needed to call me to shared her experiences with her mastectomy. I so
appreciate her calling offering good solid advice about what she knows. She had her last radiation treatment today. Please send healing thoughts to Martha. Here’s her advice.
*Stay overnight *Request a visiting nurse who helps with measuring
the drainage, wrapping your chest, plan to take it easy as anesthesia can make you feel tired for several days *Take a valium for the MRI for claustro-phobia *Hydrate alot so your veins are up and you won’t suffer with your IV,
*Keep your arms up for better circulation follow surgery and you won’t get lymphedema *After 2 weeks, insurance will pay for a lady at Kimball 2-3 times a week to massage your wounds with E oil.
*Dr. Duven is excellent.
*He’ll give you arm exercises.
*Why did it take 3 weeks to schedule my surgery when yesterday would do?
*Dr. V, MD was my anethesiologist.
*Don’t be in crowds and use sanitizers.
*Pray and ask for healing.
*Dr. Sing was my Oncologist and I had researched and he was schooled at Columbia U. With 12 sessions of chemo, he had
found products so I had zero effects on my diabetes and HBP.
We ended up with her affirming me that my health coming into this is
good. She recommended to save energy. I was putting this message together and meanwhile I had sent her the previous Health Updates and she had read them and written back already. I must share this with you.
Hi Ann: I just finish to read your emails, you are also a great writer another talent I did not know, I was filling I was in your presence, sounds you are in the right track, chousing Dr. Duven it was very wise, he is the only one who does only breast surgery and remember:
– Dr. Sing (oncology)
– Visiting nurse.
– Dr. Foens ( radiology )
– Dr. Vemullapali ( anesthesiology )
– lots of liquids so your veins will be up.
– lots of funny movies and documentaries.
I did a research on all of those physicians and they are the best.
Prayer Before Surgery
Loving Father, I entrust myself to your care this day; guide with wisdom and skill the minds and hands of the medical people who minister in your Name, and grant that every cause of illness be removed, I may be restored to soundness of health and learn to live in more perfect harmony with you and with those around me. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Into your hands, I commend my body and my soul. Amen.
Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to You. Allow your healing hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others. Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all. Touch my mind with Your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in my need, and help me to lead others to You by my example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which You have created, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer After An Surgery
Blessed Savior, I thank you that this operation is safely past, and now I rest in your abiding presence, relaxing every tension, releasing every care and anxiety, receiving more and more of your healing life into every part of my being. In moments of pain I turn to you for strength, in times of loneliness I feel your loving nearness. Grant that your life and love and joy may flow through me for the healing of others in your name. Amen.
My last piano student of the night was the daughter of the Inamdar’s.
When the parents (the Dr.’s I referred to in an earlier update) came to get her, he asked when the surgery would be scheduled and I explained
that the MRI reading comes back on Thurs. Mrs. Dr. was assuring me the in situ was a good sign, and Mr. Dr. gently corrected her that it was infiltrating and I added that Dr. Waid had emphasized multifocal, too. They said that should I need anything from them, they would drive over right away to help. They reflected that their daughter will be taking from me for 10 years and I was one of the very first people they met upon moving to CF.
So contained but not certain as to the spread. Martha had asked me the size and Dr. Duven said he didn’t see it on the report but would surmise about 1/3 of an inch which sounds like a boulder to me. Martha said she had to have 9 lymph nodes removed and I’m hoping that when they check that I’ll be clear. Dr. Duven surmised that it hasn’t gone into the lymph nodes, but until that is checked, there’s no way to know for sure. We’ll have to see.
Both Marc and James called today to see how the MRI went. I’m so sorry that this is consuming so many peoples’ psyche when time could be better spent. But at the same time I appreciate the sense of care and concern from everyone. Marc wanted to be on tomorrow’s consult with Dr. B as well. Jessica recommended today that it be taped so I can listen back later. Loren promised to set it up for Teresa to do that tomorrow.
While I was arriving at Medical Park, my friend Jennifer called and it was
good to talk to her as I know she has walked in my shoes, not with cancer, but with facing traumas and leaning into her faith. The MRI went well. It was strangely easy, although I found there was no real preparation given for it verbally or in any reading that I did.(I’m trying not to get sucked into too much internet searching at this time). I signed papers, and then they quickly sent me to the lab to have blood drawn to see if my kidneys could handle the dye, then I was told to put on that wonderful capes that ties in the front. Luckily, I had thought ahead to dress in warm socks and in slip-on pants and and not jeans. Denise gave me about a 3 minute overview–warning me that if I moved, then the whole thing would have to be redone on a different
day. So I complimented her on the room which was very peaceful, nice blue sky ceiling tiles and green trees. She said that her supervisor was claustrophobic and had designed the room. She said the other place where MRI’s are done has a very small room, no windows. She also said that scheduling at Allen was much more efficient. I was impressed that Denise had done this for 19 years! I have to say I went at 9:30 and I was in the room at my scheduled 10 am time and walked out of there by 10:40 through a very full waiting room. How lucky am I!
I thought I would describe the MRI a bit so that later when I reread this I can have captured some of the thoughts. There was an overall sound in the room of regular rhythms that sounded like tom tom drums. She asked me what kind of music I wanted to listen to and I chose classical. (Has anyone ever seen the movie “Soyant Green?”) I lay facedown on the bed, my forehead rested in a form, elbows supporting some of the weight, and she positioned sheets under my shins as to my liking. Very skilled actually. She put the headphones on me, put a panic ball under my left hand, arms laying above my head. She exclaimed how bruised I am from the biopsy and I laughed saying,
she should have seen it last Thurs! I credit Shaklee C +E cream that it looks so much better today.
And we began.
It was loud sounds. First the repetitions sounded like Dough, dough, dough,then dah, dah, dah, and there seemed to be a stereo effect from left to right. The I believe she imaged everything through first and then inject the dye into the IV and did it all again. She said that the two will be compared, then subtracted to give the results. She said the sequences were about a minute each with a break in between. The 2 1/2 min. segments at the end. I think what I didn’t expect
was how loud it was, to the point it has to harm your hearing.
The Lamaze method of childbirth has always served me well when I feel
stressed for breathing and visualizing. I actually almost fell asleep at the end, except for the sheer volume of the sound. I imagined this was a very contemporary rock band, keeping pretty good rhythm with lousy melodies.
Although she told me that I could eat and drink normally, I’m feeling a tad bit hyper tonight. Maybe the dye? Am just about ready to go upstairs and get some of my favorite concoction of Physique and Energizing Soy Protein and the other stuff.
I want to thank everyone so much. Lori and Mary for your input to quell my concerns about Dr.’s. Not that I’m worried, but the stressors are the unknowns. When we can move an unknown into a known, it just helps cut down on the length of possible diversions. I decided to let each family in my piano studio know as I saw or talked to adults. First student out of the chute today called for a reschedule. When I told him the news, and he asked what he could do, I answered, “Don’t call to reschedule, please show up.” I did appreciate that he called when I didn’t respond to his email this morning from my MRI perch.
And my plans to be on an 8 pm Phone party, and 8:35 Team Up call was replaced by doing a makeup lesson and then talking to Martha. It’s all good!