update: (added 4.11.11 – from Pat)
Hello Family and Friends,
Well, this has been a fun, exciting week-end. Let me start with the exciting news. Steve and I went to see the radiologist on Friday. After going over all of my reports, she does not see a need for me to have radiation treatments after I finish with chemo. I was so relieved, because that would have been for six weeks, every day (M-F). Now I can make plans and get the next surgery scheduled to finish the breast reconstruction. Otherwise, that would have been delayed until sometime in the fall.
Saturday was the fun part. The family and I had such a great time at the Tarrant County Race for the Cure. The weather was perfect. Steve and I walked the mile, and the kids (Lauren, Stephanie and Keith) walked the 5K pushing Isaac and Ameila in a stroller. I am sure there were over 20,000 people there. Lauren and Stephanie surprised me in several ways as they prepared for this day. I was only recently aware that they had sent e-mails to everyone about the race and were accepting donations in my name. Right before our race started they gave me a paper listing all of you who had donated and were walking with us. I want to thank all of you so much for your donations. They raised a significant amount of money. This is just another example for me of how wonderful all of you are. They also made signs for the family to wear with my picture saying they were walking for me. Isaac and Amelia were quite excited to wear them. Drew and Grant were at a father/son retreat with our church or they would have been with us, too. It was just a very special day for me to be there with my family.
Once again, I did not have any additional side effects from the chemo. These last two weeks were a little different because I hit more of a slump at the end of the first week than I had before. My blood count dropped even a little lower, so it has taken a little longer to build up my energy. Still, I am so relieved that this is all I have had to deal with.
My next chemo treatment is April 18th, a week from tomorrow. I feel certain that everything will continue to go well. It is such a blessing to still receive so much care and support from everyone, and I especially appreciate your prayers. Many answered prayers have helped me get through all of this as well as I have.
Love to you all,
update (added 3.28.11 – from Pat)
This week-end is the end of the three weeks following my second chemo treatment. I am very grateful to tell you that this three weeks has been just a little better than the first three. The doctor seems to think that I will continue to respond about the same way each time. So, my updates may not change very much, which is good. Once again, I just got very tired during the first week, and my blood count did drop very low after a week. The injection that I get the day after each chemo treatment kicks in when this happens, and I start to get my energy back. I have not gotten sick or experienced any other side effects.
I have spent more time with my grandkids, which has been great. I really miss keeping them on a regular basis like I was doing before all of this began. I have also started back to work at Williams-Sonoma a day or two a week during the time that I am feeling well. They have been very understanding about my treatments, and want to do whatever is best for me. Monday I will have my third chemo treatment, and then I will be halfway through. I expect the following three weeks to be about the same, so please pray that will be the case.
Saturday, April 9th, is the Fort Worth Race for the Cure. All of my family and I are going to participate. We will all enjoy walking, running (not me) and pushing grandkids in strollers as we join with hundreds of others for this great cause. This is at the end of the second week following my next treatment, so I will be feeling fine. Afterwards, we will all be going to eat together. I hope that the weather is great and look forward to having a fun morning.
I continue to be blessed with your support and your prayers and hope you know how much I appreciate that.
Love to all,
update: (added 3.5.11 – from Pat)
Dear Family and Friends,
I am sending you another update, although I don’t have much to say this time. The past week and a half have been great. Since last Thursday, I have been feeling back to normal with plenty of energy. I have been busy everyday with lots to do, especially spending time with the grandkids. Of course, I was expecting to lose my hair this week and that is happening quickly. There is not much left. I was ready with my wig, so soon you will all see the new me. Also, my appetite has definitely returned, and I have gained back a few pounds. I have to be careful, though, because I certainly don’t want them all back!
Monday is chemo treatment #2. My hope and prayer is that the following three weeks will be much like the first cycle. I realize that it could get a little worse, but maybe that won’t happen. I contintue to be amazed at the support and concern that I am still receiving…cards, calls, visits, food, etc. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family and cannot thank you enough for being there for me.
Love you all,
update: (added 2.24.11 – from Steph)
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support. Her first week after chemo was better than we expected, but tough in that she was so zapped of energy that she could barely stand or walk. someone had to be with her. Lauren and I took turns…kids one day so the other could go be with mom…then swap. I’ve never seen her so exhausted. she could barely turn her head to look at you. that broke my heart.
The next big hurdle is she should be losing her hair the end of this week. They say it’s about 14 days after the first chemo that it happens. I really hope it happens fast. They say sometimes patients go to bed and they wake up the next morning and all their hair is on their pillow. Crazy! We found her an awesome wig. She looks beautiful and confident. the color and style are great. We’ve also bought some scarves and hats. She’s ready…well at least logistically. This part is going to be very difficult for her. y’all know…Pat is always perfectly put together. I’m ready for her to see that with or without her hair…she will still be Pat.
update: (added 2.22.11 – from Pat)
Once again, I am writing a short update for Lauren to send to everyone. It has been one week since my first chemo treatment. Overall, I was relieved that some side effects that I expected did not occur. I was fully expecting to be sick for two or three days and that did not happen. I have three different nausea medications, and I was very faithful about taking them. However, I did not expect the extreme lack of energy. I knew that I could be tired, but that is an understatement. I was a true couch potato during the middle of the week and a little better this week-end. I did have a fairly busy week-end, though, and was wiped out last night.
Today I had to go to the lab for blood work and found out that my white cell count is very low. I received an injection last Tuesday that the nurse said will kick in to help with that. She said that the low count definitely contributed to my being so tired. She prescribed an antibiotic for five days because I am very susceptilbe to infections right now , so I am to avoid being around too many people for a couple of days. After that, she said that I will start feeling a lot more like myself. I certainly hope so.
So, now I will see what week two will be like and then report back to the lab next Monday for more blood work. My next chemo treatment is March 7. I will be glad to get through this first three weeks and hopefully have a general idea of what to expect after each treatment.
I continue to receive so much love and support from everyone and appreciate that so much.
Love and blessings,
update: (added 2.13.11 – from an email from LoLo)
Just a quick update to let you know that mom starts chemotherapy tomorrow. She will have 6 treatments in total, 1 every 3 weeks. So, for the next 5 months or so she will be in the thick of it. If you think of her tomorrow, please pray that she will be minimally affected by all this and will be able to tolerate any side effects without too much disruption to her normal routine. Please pray for her emotional stamina as well as physical. I can tell that she is trying so hard to stay positive through all this, but it’s just a little too much at times and very overwhelming. I (lauren) will go with her tomorrow, so don’t worry, she won’t be alone.
Thanks again for all the prayers, support, love, and encouragement you have all been to mom and dad! They appreciate it so much more than you could ever know (we all do!). She has loved receiving all the cards, packages, flowers, trinkets, meals, gift cards, phone calls, visits….It has just made the hugest difference! Their house looks like a Hallmark storeJ – it’s so great!
update: (added 1.30.11 – from an email from LoLo)
Mom came home from the hospital on Sunday and has spent the week resting and recovering. She says that she is feeling much better than she expected and that the pain is much more manageable than she thought it would be. This is a big praise! She still has a long road to recovery, but so far so good.
She heard from the breast surgeon late Wednesday about the results of the lymph node testing.
NOTE: During the surgery the Dr. removed the closest lymph node to the cancer mass and tested it to see if the cancer had spread. The results showed evidence of cancer in that lymph node, so they removed an additional cluster of lymph nodes “downstream” of that one to see how far the cancer had spread. Those lymph nodes were sent off for extensive testing and that is the results we were waiting for.
The surgeon said that the cancer appears to have only spread to just one additional lymph node. All the others tested were CLEAR of cancer. We are considering this great news because we are able to know the extent of the cancer. (i.e. if all nodes had shown the cancer we would not have known how much further the cancer had spread).
She has a meeting with the oncologist in a week and will discuss at that time what further treatments are required. She also has follow-up appointments with the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon next week to check the status of her recovery.
update: (Saturday morning) During surgery, they tested the lymph node cancer and it came back positive. They’ve taken out more for testing. Results will be back Tuesday and they will decide about chemo and all the rest. Obviously, this is not the news the family (or any of us) were hoping for, but we continue to pray.
Hey, Folks! Just letting you know that Pat’s surgery is today (Friday, 1.21) at 1:30pm in Texas. Set aside some time today and 1. give thanks that the cancer is isolated, 2. pray for the doctors’ hands, and 3. pray for her family and friends who will be waiting at the hospital. It will be a long day.