Friday, September 25, 2009

Has it been that long already?

Good morning dear reader.  If you are as tired as I am, then you’ll be able to follow along this morning.  If you are one of those ‘wake up in the morning smiling and happy’ people, then I pity you….this posting might just drive you to your coffee pot in the hope of achieving a caffeine high after which all this will make sense.

If that first sentence is an indicator as to how this is going to go, then we are all in for a crazy ride today.  It was pointed out to me last night at choir practice that and update to these pages might be in order.  So I checked the date of my last post, and it was a long time ago…and things have happened.  But, hold the phone!!!  Choir practice?  Your saying “But, Rod, you haven’t been in choir for so long…what gives?”  Yes, dear reader…I am back in choir.  And it feels good to be able to sing praises to my Lord again in the way that only choir can provide!!  Along with having a real blast (thanks Bernie!!!) during the practice, it was very good for my mood to go and start learning some new songs and to sing.  If there are any men out there who want to join, we really need basses and tenors (Jesse, I thought you were coming this year?  I’m hunting you down at church on Sunday!!!).  But, I digress.  That is my first tangent of the day, and I don’t guarantee there won’t be more.

As I mentioned, things have happened in the past couple weeks.  Last time we spoke, I believe I said that all is well.  In that respect, it has changed, because now all is better.  That’s right…improvement is happening daily.  The last two drains came out last week (one because it was plugged and not doing any good, and the other because it was pretty much done draining).  And, with the drain removal comes the ability for Dianne to wear prosthetics.  I have to be careful here, because I am under censorship as to what I can or can’t say about this.  Not that Dianne is watching over my shoulder, but she will read this (Hi babe!!  I love you!!!!) and will critique and chastise if necessary.  And, being a man (and we all know that men love boob talk), this is going to be hard for me to keep this real, and to write this in an acceptable manner.  Suffice it to say that Dianne wears prosthetics now so she looks like all the other mom’s out there (this is really important for the kids…they want their mom to look like other moms).  There is so much more that could be said from a man’s perspective….regarding the grope factor, the ooh la-la factor and the woo-hoo factor…but I promised I would behave.  Therefore, allow me say this:  All is well.  Exclamation point, Exclamation point!!!!!!!!!  (I’m sneaking in a w00t w00t and a thumbs up the prosthetics!!!!!!)  LMAO.

Ok, so what else has happened?  Well, Dianne has been to the CCI to get all mapped out for radiation.  She has tattoo’s now (nothing fancy, just 3 or 4 little dots) that are used for lining her up.  Radiation Therapy begins on October 1 and she will have a minimum of 20 treatments, possibly going up to 30 (and anywhere in between).  The side effects of radiation are fatigue and possible burning in the treatment area.  I will let you know how the RT is going as it begins and happens.

Also, Dianne has been back to the hospital once since all the drains came out.  At this ‘appointment’ the surgeon had to shove a needle into the surgery area in order to suck out all the liquid that was pooling.  It was not a huge amount or a dangerous amount, but it did need to come out.  Having it removed made Dianne a whole lot more comfortable (it was after this appointment that she went and got her prosthetics.  Typical man…always back to the boobs.)  The surgeon is very very pleased at how well Dianne is healing, and also is very pleased at how much movement she has in her shoulders and arms.  I should mention that this process of getting drained via a needle was in no way painful for Dianne….there are no nerves in the surgical site, and since the needle went in through an incision, she felt nothing.  Kudos to the surgeon for doing an awesome job!!!!!

Hmm, is there anything else I need to say here?  Hmm…thinking….thinking….Oh!!!  I know.  We did get the pathology report back from the surgery.  This has caused some confusion because of the way I wrote it up for the church bulletin.  So, let me clarify here.  As expected, there was no cancer found on the right side, and there was cancer found on the left side.  The tumor they removed was cancerous (as we all know).  The interesting part is that initially, there were two tumors in the left breast.  However, they only removed one.  The other one had disappeared!!  Yes, dear reader…the chemo did it’s job!!!  The one tumor was gone, and the second one had shrunk to the point that made the surgery much easier.  One of the initial concerns was that the tumor(s) were either attached or very close to the chest wall, which would have made for a very difficult surgery.  But it wasn’t.  Thus, the surgery was ‘easy’ and the surgeon was very happy.

Now, here is the part that caused a bit of angst in reading the church bulletin.  We knew going in to the surgery that they were going to remove stuff from the armpit.  They did not know if there was cancer in the lymph nodes, but they were not going to take a chance.  So, during the surgery, they went in to the pit area (sounds like a NASCAR event) and removed a ‘mass of stuff’.  In this ‘mass of stuff’ there were 14 lymph nodes.  Out of these 14 lymph nodes, 6 were cancerous.  Dear reader, this is NOT a surprise.  And this is NOT a bad thing.  It would have been bad had they not removed them.  But it was suspected for quite some time that there was cancer in the nodes, and the pathology only confirmed the suspicion.   Thus, there is no reason for us to be alarmed or upset at this bit of news…we pretty much expected it.  That is the part that I did not clarify in the church bulletin.  For those who were alarmed when they read that, I apologize for not being more clear.  For those who were just confused by it….the confusion should be over now.  If not, ask me and I’ll try explain it (‘splain, Lucy). 

As of right now, dear reader, everything is going according to plan.  Dianne continues to do her physiotherapy at home, and she continues to heal.  Some of the side effects that were caused by the chemo / steroid combination are disappearing (including the insomnia).  Although she is not looking forward to Radiation, the benefits far out-weigh the risks, thus it is easier to face.  It is going to be a long month (October).  She will be going to the CCI 5 days a week until she hits her allotted amount of treatments.  If she needs rides, we will be contacting our Helping Hands coordinator (Karen, I believe that is still you, right?).  For at least the first couple weeks, she will be using the bus service on days the Rebecca is in Kindergarten (except Tuesdays, because apparently Marlene is taking her every Tuesday (Thanks Marlene, you are a real sweetheart and we love you to pieces)).  On non kindergarten days, I am taking an extended lunch (and extending my shift at the end of the day) in order to pick up Dianne and Beck, go to the CCI, get treated and get them back home.  (Thanks to my boss for being the most awesome and amazing boss EVER!!!!)  And all that should take us through the month of October.

Dear reader…again I say…all is well.  Dianne has the one major hurdle left, and we trust that God will give us the strength to get through this as much as He has been with us during this whole process.  I’d like to give a shout out to my mom, who spent a few days with us to help out.  Mom did a bunch of work for us, she drove Dianne to some appointments and was generally a real joy to have in the house.  Thanks Mom, we love you lots!!!!  And once again, dear reader, thanks to everyone who is praying for us, sending us positive vibes and helping out in whatever way they can.  We truly appreciate everything, and words cannot express the gratitude we feel.

And with that, I must get back to work.  I must get my mind off of prosthetics and back onto computers.  As difficult a task as this may seem, I can do it.  And if I can’t, I’ll at least have a smile on my face for the remainder of the day. 




  1. Henry wrote:

    Hey Rod! It's great to see that in everything God provides you and Dianne energy and happiness in every day life. We are all praying this next round of treatments gets you guys closer to the end of this long journey.

    God Bless,

    Henry & Laura

    Sept. 26

  2. Ron wrote:

    Thanks for keeping us abreast of the situation, Rod -- good to know you and Dianne are keeping your senses of humour through all of this. You remain in our prayers.


    Sept. 25